WW1 was Britain's chief geopolitical mistake? Britain transformed a smaller continental war into real World War, and weakened her own global position

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,447
SoCal
Actual US involvement in the fighting was minimal and the Lack of AEF would not directly chnage anything much.
You're forgetting the psychological effect of the US entry into the war on the Germans. Sometimes the psychological effect of causing one's enemy to believe in impending doom is worth an awful lot.

However there are two bigger issues

(a) without the pressure of US entry into war and the immense amount of fresh troops the Germans may not have embarked on their massive 1918 offensives which broke the German army as a fighting force.

(b) with US credit, large amounts of material woudl not have been soucred from the USA. Purchaused would not have totally stopped as godl exports and other exports would have been enough to pay for significnat but much smaller amount of imports from the USA. (mostly likely causing a recession in the USA) This would have greatly reduced the abilty of the Entente to make large scale ofensives on the western front.

but the lack of US entry into war would not have changed much for the Ottomans, Bulgarians and Austria-Hungarains whuch would haver collasped and sought pecae on any terms inlate 1918 anyway, freeing up significnat Entente resources.

US Entry would also have had an upside, million tons of Entente shipping freed up form transportingt and supplying AEF in 1917, and 2 million tons in 1918. France and Britain equiped the AEF with artillery, machine guns, tanks and aircraft , the decrease in resources froml;ack of US material would be signifnctaly offset by these savings (though I;m pretty sure a significant deficit would remain,)

So in an 1918-19 where the Germans hodl the Hindenberg line in greater strnegth and the Entente is unable to resource large scale offensives, what does the stalmate mean for both sides. Well the Central powers economic collapse is much more prounced and woudl be reduced to just Germany which would feeling internal stability problems.
Completely agreed with all of this. In turn, this makes me wonder--would Britain and France be willing to sue for a compromise peace before Germany would have collapsed? Also, I'm presuming that imports from the East are not going to be able to save the Germans in this scenario, correct?

Also, if Britain and France do win due to German collapse, are they going to aim for an even harsher peace treaty considering that they would know from the very beginning that the Americans are not going to help them enforce this peace treaty?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
You're forgetting the psychological effect of the US entry into the war on the Germans. Sometimes the psychological effect of causing one's enemy to believe in impending doom is worth an awful lot.
I'm not I'm just saying it;s not a direct factor. This largely drove the Germans decision for offensive in 1918.

Completely agreed with all of this. In turn, this makes me wonder--would Britain and France be willing to sue for a compromise peace before Germany would have collapsed? Also, I'm presuming that imports from the East are not going to be able to save the Germans in this scenario, correct?
I''m assuming German occupation in teh east is more or less a wash. Whihc is my current understanding. On my reading list, but I do not claim great knowledge.

Both France (Clemenceau ) and the UK (Lloyd George) had fairly hard line win at all costs leaders who were very secure politically,

Also, if Britain and France do win due to German collapse, are they going to aim for an even harsher peace treaty considering that they would know from the very beginning that the Americans are not going to help them enforce this peace treaty?
A German civil war is possible.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,447
SoCal
I'm not I'm just saying it;s not a direct factor. This largely drove the Germans decision for offensive in 1918.
Agreed.

I''m assuming German occupation in teh east is more or less a wash. Whihc is my current understanding. On my reading list, but I do not claim great knowledge.
Which book about this topic is on your reading list?

Both France (Clemenceau ) and the UK (Lloyd George) had fairly hard line win at all costs leaders who were very secure politically,
Yes, I seem to recall you previously mentioning this.

A German civil war is possible.
With the Anglo-French using this as an opportunity to march all of the way up to Berlin?
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
Which book about this topic is on your reading list?
Nothing in particullar in mind, WW1 economic, ww1 in the east are topics on my list

I tend to work by topic, I see what books i can get and read them all. 5-15 books a topic. I have a lot of time and I like reading.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Futurist

Ad Honoris
May 2014
23,447
SoCal
Have you considered using the Internet Archive's free books? It contains a lot of free books and some of them are pretty good, interesting, and informative. :)
 

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,633
Sydney
this was a campaign determined by the quality of senior leadership
or lack thereof , the old saying that " the army with the least incompetent generals win " is applicable
futuristic is right to point out that the German population was in a state of revolt
only the success of the spring offensive would have sustained the will to fight
as for the Allied leadership , they were solid on pursuing the war

Clemenceau statement on his government objective is pretty clear , no negotiated armistice ever
"on my foreign policy and domestic policy , they are the same ....wage war
we have waged war , we are waging war , we will wage war until complete victory

The man was anti-militarist and thought they were imbeciles , often criminally so

 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist
Sep 2016
1,352
Georgia
Futurist, Germany failed to defeat British and French during the Spring Offensive, while American presence was still small. They wasted their last offensive resources, even though AEF involvement in fighting was minimal.

We also should consider that British, French and Italians achieved great success on other fronts :
Austrians were crushed during Vittorio-Veneto offensive
Ottomans were decisively defeated in the Middle East during Battle of Megiddo
Allies ( French + British + Serbs + Greeks ) defeat Bulgarians in Vardar offensive. Bulgaria was the first nation to sue for peace, by the way.

So what are the prospects for Germans ? They completely failed to achieve a decisive victory on the Western front and wasted their last resources on that offensive, while all of their allies were defeated on other fronts and Blockade of Germany still continues. Meanwhile, there is Bolshevik Revolution on the East and Civil War.
 
Last edited:
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

sparky

Ad Honorem
Jan 2017
5,633
Sydney
Austro-Hungary was in a state of complete meltdown , the Allied were going for Vienna with nothing much but cheering crowds impeding their advance
the offensives planed for mid 1918 were using an abundance of tanks planes and artillery ,
during the one hundred days offensive they suffered NO set-backs ,
German soldiers were surrendering in large numbers after minimal resistance , often whole units with their NCO and officers
that was the end
on the Eastern front while there was little military resistance , officers reported with disquiet the success of the Bolshevik propaganda on their troops
while the letters received were grievous in the extreme on the state of things at home
 

pugsville

Ad Honorem
Oct 2010
9,970
Have you considered using the Internet Archive's free books? It contains a lot of free books and some of them are pretty good, interesting, and informative. :)
Use it regualrly.
the Combined Arms Research Libray another with penlty of stuff (CARL)
the League of Nations archive has lots of economic data.

But I'm community member at my local University which is my first port of call, I like reading Books, rather than downloads. The State Libaray in townis good, but it's non borrowing so you have to read it there. I use trove once I;m after a book which will tell me which libraries have it.
 
  • Like
Reactions: Futurist

Tercios Espanoles

Ad Honorem
Mar 2014
6,701
Beneath a cold sun, a grey sun, a Heretic sun...
Ferguson is not an unbiased historian, he is a noted right winger who has a reputation for presenting history in a fashion to suit his political agenda
Is he really a right-winger? I've only read one of his books (The Pity of War) and came away with the impression he was of the radical left, specifically of the peacenik camp.