Was World War I worth it?

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,131
SoCal
The Great Powers' attitudes towards the Balkans were a mess that still is not really resolved. They basically shifted their positions as the situation dictated.

@Futurist
Well, yes, as far as the Middle Ages go, the right of conquest applies.
Yeah, so basically, the right of conquest applied first and later on the Serbs used historical grounds that were originally the result of their right of conquest.
 

Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,413
Republika Srpska
As far as A-H was concerned, they almost attacked Serbia in December 1912 but backed down fearing Russian reaction. Franz Ferdinand however had plans to just annex Serbia to the Habsburg empire.
 
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Maki

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
3,413
Republika Srpska
A-H had one main goal in the Balkans: secure their TRADE dominance there either through treaties with Balkan states or through other means. It was absolutely neccessary for Austria-Hungary to keep Thessalonika open for their goods. So, in 1897 Russia and A-H decided to freeze the Balkans and preserve the status quo but by 1908 A-H apparently believed that strictly keeping the status quo was not completely in their interest so they disrupted it by annexing Bosnia. It seems that by that point even A-H realized that the Ottomans were going to get kicked out so they started planning for that. They offered an alliance to Bulgaria and along with Germany entertained a rather far-fetched idea of an anti-Slav alliance comprised of Romania, Greece and the Ottomans.
 
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Feb 2019
808
Serbia
The right of conquest, of course.
So not settler colonialism and some excuses over Texas? Going by this, why do you believe it was good for this particular war to happen but have said nothing about dozens and dozens of other historic wars that happened for the exact same, if not better reasons?

Yes, I certainly get all of that. However, my point here was that it's possible that the existing residents of the Mexican Cession in 1848 (other than perhaps the Native Americans there) might have preferred US rule over Mexican rule due to the fact that this region was historically neglected by Mexico. Of course, no one actually did a plebiscite in the Mexican Cession in 1848, so we can't actually be sure about this.

I do know that US settlers in California proclaimed the independence of the Bear Flag Republic (California Republic) in 1846, but I don't actually know if they had majority support among Alta California's population for this move of theirs.
So you're not even certain that the war was justified on the grounds of self determination because we haven't even seen the population express their opinion on the matter and are basing this off pure speculation?

AFAIK, at least a part of Russia's rationale in expanding into Central Asia was to discourage Turkic raiders. Still, millions of Russia did settle in Central Asia after the Russian conquest--though I am unsure if this was actually an initial Russian aim in regards to this. In 1989, Central Asia had almost ten million Russians, if I recall correctly.
Fair enough.

Actually, it's certainly possible that colonialism was (or at least would have been) beneficial for certain populations in a more humane form. One could certainly view the independence movements in the Third World (or at least some of them) as ultimately producing a worse outcome for the Third World than a continuation of colonialism and the granting of full equality to the natives would have been. The thing is, though, that had colonialism continued, European countries might have been faced with a choice between granting citizenship and full equality (no gerrymandering, et cetera) to their colonized subjects--which would have meant that their colonized subjects would have outnumbered the metropole's population and thus began dictating national policy to the metropole. Also, this would have meant unlimited or almost unlimited freedom of movement between the former colonies and the metropole--which could have likewise resulted in demographic changes that Europeans might have disliked. In the US context, it is worth noting that a majority of Puerto Ricans currently live in the US rather than in Puerto Rico due to mass migration over the last several decades.
I was pointing out that it was a bit of a double standard to claim decolonisation being good and with that colonialism bad, but to justify the Mexican-American War by saying that the settlers got a higher living standard than they would've had if they weren't conquered.
What you are saying also implies that the form of an Imperial Federation gets formed, again pure speculation.

If Third Worlders want First Worlders' help in running their countries, I would certainly support that. I also support having the West give aid to the Third World as long as the West watches carefully that this aid isn't actually going to be stolen by corrupt Third World politicians. A continuation of colonialism would have probably been untenable for demographic reasons, though. This is why the only colonies that are still colonies today are those colonies that have a small population and thus aren't actually a demographic threat to the metropole. Unlimited migration from Puerto Rico to the US hasn't been very harmful to the US since there are only something like 10 million Puerto Ricans (including those in the US) and over 300 million Americans. Unlimited migration from the Belgian Congo to Belgium would be quite a different story, though.
Again, this implies that internal migration happens as if it's a certainty. As for ''if they want their help'' and that the West should watch for corrupt politicians, alright, I don't have anything to add.

Oh, colonialism (or at least its milder forms) could have certainly been said to have been good for the colonized peoples--or at least it would have been good had the colonized peoples been given citizenship and full equality. The question is, though, is it actually good for the colonizing powers? Indeed, would colonizing powers have actually wanted to become outnumbered and outvoted by their colonial subjects?
Again, implying that the mass internal migration would happen.

Just how did Serbia historically acquire these territories, though? By conquest?
As I said, I'm not opposed to expansionism and conquest, but when that is justified on poor reasoning with an inexcusable intent such as living space I don't support it.
 
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Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,131
SoCal
A-H had one main goal in the Balkans: secure their TRADE dominance there either through treaties with Balkan states or through other means. It was absolutely neccessary for Austria-Hungary to keep Thessalonika open for their goods. So, in 1897 Russia and A-H decided to freeze the Balkans and preserve the status quo but by 1908 A-H apparently believed that strictly keeping the status quo was not completely in their interest so they disrupted it by annexing Bosnia. It seems that by that point even A-H realized that the Ottomans were going to get kicked out so they started planning for that. They offered an alliance to Bulgaria and along with Germany entertained a rather far-fetched idea of an anti-Slav alliance comprised of Romania, Greece and the Ottomans.
I thought that the Young Turk Revolution forced the Austrians' hand in regards to Bosnia since Bosnia was about to send representatives to the Ottoman parliament for the first time in 30 years?

As for an anti-Slav alliance, it is worth noting that Franz Ferdinand actually flirted with the idea of giving Transylvania to Romania before his assassination as a way of weakening Romanian-Russian ties. It's unclear if FF wanted all of Romania to become a federal unit within A-H or for Romania to remain an independent state but to also have Transylvania. The first option is more likely, but it's possible that FF could have accepted the second option had push come to shove in order to ensure that Romania won't ever actually slip out of its alliance with the CPs.

Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Ottokar von Czernin discusses this to some extent in his 1919 book--which, fortunately for us, is available for free in its entirety at the Internet Archive:

In the world war : Czernin von und zu Chudenitz, Ottokar Theobald Otto Maria, graf, 1872-1932 : Free Download, Borrow, and Streaming : Internet Archive
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,131
SoCal
So not settler colonialism and some excuses over Texas?
Settler colonialism is what can occur on the land afterwards. The right of conquest is what gives one a claim to the land itself. Of course, one could be motivated by a desire to engage in settler colonialism when one conquers land, but one's claim to this land is still going to be based on the right of conquest--at least initially.

Going by this, why do you believe it was good for this particular war to happen but have said nothing about dozens and dozens of other historic wars that happened for the exact same, if not better reasons?
Which other wars are you talking about here? Completely serious question, for the record.

I did endorse Russia's expansion into Siberia and northern Central Asia (southern Central Asia would probably be too much for Russia to handle for demographic reasons), the settlement of Han Chinese in Manchuria and Inner Mongolia (Xinjiang is much more questionable due to the genocide of the Dzungars), the Japanese settlement in Hokkaido, the idea of expanding the Gaza Strip into the northern Sinai, et cetera. Which examples did I miss here?

So you're not even certain that the war was justified on the grounds of self determination because we haven't even seen the population express their opinion on the matter and are basing this off pure speculation?
Yep; there were no opinion polls back in 1848. The US could have theoretically held a plebiscite in the Mexican Cession in 1848, but then it could have been rigged just like the French plebiscite in Nice and Savoy in 1859-1860 possibly was.

Fair enough.
OK.

I was pointing out that it was a bit of a double standard to claim decolonisation being good and with that colonialism bad, but to justify the Mexican-American War by saying that the settlers got a higher living standard than they would've had if they weren't conquered.
What you are saying also implies that the form of an Imperial Federation gets formed, again pure speculation.
Oh, certainly! Perhaps I should have clarified my views by saying that I have no problem with Third Worlders asking for Western help or even asking the West/Westerners to rule over them just as long as the West doesn't directly annex these territories (like France did with Algeria; annexation would be a problem since it would result in demands for political power) and just as long as the West does not institute a system of free migration between the West and the Third World where any Third Worlder could move to the West with ease and permanently stay there.

Of course, I do have a soft spot for settler colonialism since it creates new realities on the ground (as long as it is not very brutal, of course) and realities on the ground ultimately count for a lot. For instance, had India flooded Kashmir with Hindu settlers after 1949, Kashmir would have been much less of a problem for India nowadays. If one doesn't engage in settler colonialism or simply doesn't have enough willing people to engage in settler colonialism, though, then one is going to need to depend on either brute force or the support of the natives in order to maintain the existing order--which would in turn mean that if the natives are going to ask you to leave and you are going to be unwilling to engage in brutality towards the natives, then the era of colonialism is going to come to an end. If one is unable to alter the demographics in an area (without extreme brutality, of course) and one loses or never acquires the support of the natives/locals, then colonialism is bound to fail--which is why I think that colonialism and really any territorial expansion should only be done if one can either successfully use settler colonialism to alter the demographics of an area (without extreme brutality, of course) or acquires and keeps the support of a majority of the natives/locals after a conquest. The US did the first of these things with the Mexican Cession (and really, with all of its westward territorial expansion since 1783) and did the second of these things with Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Now, if some non-landlocked US state or US territory would want to leave the US nowadays, then I don't think that the US should use force to stop them--though I would be opposed to this on a personal level (as opposed to on a political level).

Again, this implies that internal migration happens as if it's a certainty.
Give Puerto Rico's example and the hundreds of millions of Third Worlders who currently want to move to the West, I certainly don't think that this is an unreasonable assumption. If Third Worlders genuinely want Westerners to rule over them, though, then they should get their wish just as long as this does not entail formal annexation (like with Algeria) or freedom of movement from the Third World to the West.

As for ''if they want their help'' and that the West should watch for corrupt politicians, alright, I don't have anything to add.
OK; good.

Again, implying that the mass internal migration would happen.
It's not an unreasonable assumption due to the West being much wealthier than the Third World is, though.

As I said, I'm not opposed to expansionism and conquest, but when that is justified on poor reasoning with an inexcusable intent such as living space I don't support it.
What about expansionism based on the right of conquest?[/quote]
 

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
21,131
SoCal
A-H had one main goal in the Balkans: secure their TRADE dominance there either through treaties with Balkan states or through other means. It was absolutely neccessary for Austria-Hungary to keep Thessalonika open for their goods. So, in 1897 Russia and A-H decided to freeze the Balkans and preserve the status quo but by 1908 A-H apparently believed that strictly keeping the status quo was not completely in their interest so they disrupted it by annexing Bosnia. It seems that by that point even A-H realized that the Ottomans were going to get kicked out so they started planning for that. They offered an alliance to Bulgaria and along with Germany entertained a rather far-fetched idea of an anti-Slav alliance comprised of Romania, Greece and the Ottomans.
BTW, couldn't the Austrians have built a port in Croatia? Why rely on Greek ports if you can build your own ports? Heck, I think that Fiume was already up-and-running during this time.
 
Settler colonialism is what can occur on the land afterwards. The right of conquest is what gives one a claim to the land itself. Of course, one could be motivated by a desire to engage in settler colonialism when one conquers land, but one's claim to this land is still going to be based on the right of conquest--at least initially.
So all wars of conquest are based on the right of conquest and everything else is just a side effect?

Which other wars are you talking about here? Completely serious question, for the record.
If the first paragraph on the right of conquest is true and all such wars are based on the right of conquest, then all wars which are based on it are just. What makes the Mexican-American War particularly special so you declare it good?

ep; there were no opinion polls back in 1848. The US could have theoretically held a plebiscite in the Mexican Cession in 1848, but then it could have been rigged just like the French plebiscite in Nice and Savoy in 1859-1860 possibly was.
So you admit you don't know if the settlers and the natives wanted to be a part of the US? If this is the case the justification based on self determination kind of falls flat and is based on assumptions and speculation, not on raw information.

Oh, certainly! Perhaps I should have clarified my views by saying that I have no problem with Third Worlders asking for Western help or even asking the West/Westerners to rule over them just as long as the West doesn't directly annex these territories (like France did with Algeria; annexation would be a problem since it would result in demands for political power) and just as long as the West does not institute a system of free migration between the West and the Third World where any Third Worlder could move to the West with ease and permanently stay there.
So you admit to the earlier claims on living standards and decolonisation being a double standard? Alright. Algeria was a bit of a special case, on the rest I more or less agree with.

Of course, I do have a soft spot for settler colonialism since it creates new realities on the ground (as long as it is not very brutal, of course)
It will always be brutal to an extent, the settlers will displace the native population and outgrow them if the goal is to alter demographics significantly, in some cases outright expulsion of natives might be necessary if the native population is too great. And you admit that you don't support the treatment of natives after the Mexican-American War, so what justifies it as being a ''good'' war as opposed to every other war of conquest ever?

If one doesn't engage in settler colonialism or simply doesn't have enough willing people to engage in settler colonialism, though, then one is going to need to depend on either brute force or the support of the natives in order to maintain the existing order--which would in turn mean that if the natives are going to ask you to leave and you are going to be unwilling to engage in brutality towards the natives, then the era of colonialism is going to come to an end. If one is unable to alter the demographics in an area (without extreme brutality, of course) and one loses or never acquires the support of the natives/locals, then colonialism is bound to fail--which is why I think that colonialism and really any territorial expansion should only be done if one can either successfully use settler colonialism to alter the demographics of an area (without extreme brutality, of course) or acquires and keeps the support of a majority of the natives/locals after a conquest. The US did the first of these things with the Mexican Cession (and really, with all of its westward territorial expansion since 1783) and did the second of these things with Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands.
Interesting way of thinking, I do not agree with most of it but still. Another solution is indirect rule, it worked for Rome, it worked for the British to an extent etc. Furthermore what of settler colonialism in places like Canada or Central Australia which are mostly uninhabited? I do not have such a problem with this as you can't really displace the population if there is nothing to displace.

Give Puerto Rico's example and the hundreds of millions of Third Worlders who currently want to move to the West, I certainly don't think that this is an unreasonable assumption. If Third Worlders genuinely want Westerners to rule over them, though, then they should get their wish just as long as this does not entail formal annexation (like with Algeria) or freedom of movement from the Third World to the West.
It's not an unreasonable assumption due to the West being much wealthier than the Third World is, though.
It's an assumption nonetheless, not a fact. For all we know they could very well just block this freedom of movement and no one moves anywhere. Speculation and alternate history can always go either way and since we are discussing real history here I would prefer to discuss what actually happened. Same can be applied to the earlier point of self-determination. For all we know the natives and even the settlers might've voted to stay with Mexico if there was a plebiscite. An assumption can go either way and for all intents and purposes it's fiction, no matter how reasonable it will just be guessing of something that never happened.


What about expansionism based on the right of conquest?
I can ask you the same thing. What makes the Mexican-American War ''good''? Would you say that a war is good if you became a casualty? Is every other war of conquest also good and you just didn't mention it? And if the war of conquest is good, then it would perhaps be easier to ask a question of what war wasn't good? And finally, do you claim that the Mexican-American War is good just because your country expanded? Would you also claim it to be good if The British Empire swept the land via Canada and the US didn't get it.