Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => The Russian Revolution => Topic started by: Annie on October 10, 2007, 12:50:55 PM

Title: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Annie on October 10, 2007, 12:50:55 PM
Just about every single war and conflict of the last 90 years can be traced directly or indirectly to WWI. The only exceptions may be some civil wars in underdeveloped countries. Let's examine the wars that have happened since, and their causes. Just about everything dates back to WWI, and the hapless dissecting of Europe and the Ottoman Empire in the treaties that followed.

WWII is a direct result of WWI and the treaty of Versailles. If not for it, there would have been no Hitler. Then you can add to that every war caused directly or indirectly caused by WWII. Add the Holocaust. Add the problems in the middle east to this day.

All wars caused by communism, even the Cold War, are a result of WWI because that's when the Bolsheviks gained control in Russia. The influence could not have spread if this had not happened first. So add Viet Nam, Korea, and many others to the list. Add Stalin's terrors and purges.

The Iraq War is even a great grandchild of WWI's domino effect. Because of the way the country was inconsiderately made out of territory containing groups of people who didn't like each other, factional violence has been a problem. US policy is to blame, yes. US invaded because of Saddam. Saddam's brutal regime was bad, and a cause too, but it kept the warring factions under control and now that it's gone, there is more factional violence because the groups living there can't get along and should never have been one country to begin with. Had the lines not been drawn around Iraq the way they were, there would have been no Saddam.

After WWII, the most obvious problem caused by WWI is the one that started it all, trouble in the Balkans! All the problems of the former Yugoslav republics date to the time of WWI and of course way before, but again it was the hapless mapmakers of 1919 who, as with Iraq, put them all in a mix that didn't gel. Their totalitarian regime was bad but also kept the factions in line, and after it was gone, the old hatreds were able to surface and fester as in the  past. So in that way, they are right back where they were 100 years ago, and worse.

I'm sure the list could go on. I do wonder what the world would be like today had cooler heads prevailed, and WWI never came to pass.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: FairyCutie86 on October 11, 2007, 05:33:30 PM
This is all so true.  Great information!
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Annie on October 12, 2007, 05:46:13 PM
Thanks! I'm so glad somebody finally answered! I thought this would be a great, deep topic we could get into discussing here.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Olishka~ Pincess on October 12, 2007, 08:21:49 PM
Annie, this is very interesting thanks for posting it! I think World War I was the war that stated all the drama. Anyone notice that World War II is more discussed and know about more than World War I. This is very informative.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Greenowl on October 13, 2007, 06:05:39 PM
It is an interesting topic, no doubt about that, but one that has been touched upon in several other threads, e.g. the Habsburg and Hohenzollern threads as well as (I think) Nicholas II. I don’t agree that the Second World War has received greater attention than the First, and it is certainly not the case in this Forum. 

The general view among historians seems to be that had the tragic events of 28th. June 1914 not occurred, something else would have triggered a general European war. What seems to have made the war inevitable was that politicians and generals were still thinking in terms of warfare in the 19th. century and did not consider the huge advances in technology that had occurred. Thus they believed that the war would be short and over in a few months. Likewise, the general population seemed to welcome the war enthusiastically, again ignorant of the horrors of “modern” warfare. This is a sharp contrast to their attitude in 1939 and indeed, the wish to avoid a repetition of the horrors of World War One was part of the reason for the policy of appeasement applied by Britain and France throughout the 1930s.

In my humble opinion the most horrific battle of the First World War took place at Verdun in 1916. I have visited the fortress, which is now a memorial, and it made a lasting impression on me. The conditions under which the men fought were beyond belief.

If the First World War had not taken place the German Empire would probably have survived. It is more difficult to know what would have happened in Russia, while I firmly believe that Austria-Hungary would have disintegrated at some stage, as not even Archduke Franz-Ferdinand (as Emperor Franz II) could have held the various nationalities together. Likewise, the world might have been spared the evils of Nazism, but not necessarily of communism.

On a more personal note: had the First World War not taken place I might be writing this e-mail from the vicinity of Prague instead of Stuttgart!

Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: FairyCutie86 on October 15, 2007, 03:09:44 PM
Annie, this is very interesting thanks for posting it! I think World War I was the war that stated all the drama. Anyone notice that World War II is more discussed and know about more than World War I. This is very informative.

I totally agree with you.  World War I most certainly started all of the drama.  Personally, I have always been far more intrigued about WWII, becuase there was so much that happened.  Even in my history classes way back when in high school (ok only 3 years ago), we discussed WWII more than WWI.  I think alot of students just find WWII more interesting for some reason when WWI is just as fascinating.  Thanks for posting this forum Annie!
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: imperial angel on October 19, 2007, 12:43:39 AM
That's true, it was the first modern war, and it really started the modern world, and modern warefare. I think that people find World War II more interesting because it is more contemporary, closer to our times, as in people who were alive at that time, are much more likely to be alive today than people who were alive in 1914. We are almost on the century mark there. Misconceptions about modern war did play a huge role in World War I, as did the alliance system of the time, unrest in the Balkans, complacency about war, the leadership involved, etc these were the root causes of the war in my opinion. Either way, it is a fascinating topic to study. I first got interested in World War I and that era has an 8 year old reading L. M. Montgomery's Rilla of Ingleside, which is a kids book, but gives a good picture of how young people at the time dealt with the war, and lived during it. I have always liked World War I poetry, if anybody here likes literature, it express the realities of the time in a beautiful way. I have a rendezvous with death ( however you spell that) In Flanders Fields, the poetry of Rupert Brooke, etc. I can find and post it, if anybody wants me too, or at least I can post my favorite.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Mari on October 19, 2007, 02:06:57 AM
Very interesting and since you brought up Verdun I thought I would post this:
 
The Battle of Verdun was one of the most important battles in World War I on the Western Front, fought between the German and French armies from 21 February to 18 December 1916 around the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in northeast France. It remains one of the longest battles in history, spanning roughly 10 months. see Alistair Horne, The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 (Viking-Penguin, 1991) p.1

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The German siege of Verdun and its ring of forts, which comprised the longest battle of the First World War, has its roots in a letter sent by the German Chief of Staff, Erich von Falkenhayn, to the Kaiser, Wilhelm II, on Christmas Day 1915.

In his letter to the Kaiser, Falkenhayn argued that the key to winning the war lay not on the Eastern Front, against Russia – whom he believed was on the
point of revolution and subsequent withdrawal from the war – but on the Western Front.  He reasoned that if France could be defeated in a major set-piece battle Britain would in all likelihood seek terms with Germany, or else be defeated in turn.

The battle of Verdun lasted from February 21 to December 16. It began when Von Falkenhayn the German chief of staff wanted to bleed the French white which means destroy their population. The French only had 30,000 troops to defend the forts and the Germans had 140,000 soldiers and the ammunition had been moved to other places in the western front, not only that, but the French trenches were incomplete.
Question about this as sources differ.....

The task of besieging Verdun fell to the German Fifth Army under Crown Prince Wilhelm.  He planned to assault the town from both side of the surrounding Meuse River, a plan vetoed by Falkenhayn, who, cautious by nature, feared heavy losses, ordered the attack to be confined to the east bank of the river.

French Commander-in-Chief Joffre received intelligence of the imminent attack, hastily deploying reinforcements to the French Second Army.  Meanwhile the fortress commander, Lieutenant Colonel Emile Driant, also a politician and published author, vainly attempted to improve Verdun’s trench systems in time.

Driant prepared for the onslaught by posting two battalions, led by himself, at the tip of the Verdun salient on the east bank of the Meuse River.  He faced formidable opposition: one million German troops against 200,000 defenders.
  A French division sent in piecemeal that same day was dispersed under heavy German artillery fire.  The next day Douaumont fell to the 24th Brandenburg Infantry Regiment.  The effect on French morale of the loss of Douaumont was marked, both upon the remaining defenders and the reinforcements freshly arrived.  Popular French sentiment within the country demanded its recapture: withdrawal from Verdun was therefore politically impossible.

The French Commander-in-Chief, Joffre, remained unflappable.  He issued a statement noting that any commander who gave ground to the advancing Germans would be court-martialled.  He summarily dismissed General Langle de Cary, who was responsible for the defence of Verdun, for deciding to evacuate Woevre plain and the east bank of the Meuse River.

 In 4 days the Germans had captured 10,000 French prisoners and had used Flamethrowers in large numbers. One French fort which was consider the strongest  fort in the world was given up without a fight or any French resistance. The French media was in fact telling the public the war was going well for the French. General Phillipe Petain became in charge of the French in the area. He moved all his supplies in one road nicknamed Sacred Way.

A French Soldier describes the situation:
"You eat beside the dead; you drink beside the dead, you relieve yourself beside the dead and you sleep beside the dead."
"People will read that the front line was Hell. How can people begin to know what that one word - Hell - means."

Germany had under-estimated how many troops they would lose and after capturing the villages of Cumières and Chattancourt to the west of Verdun, their next objective was Fort Souville.

How important do you think the Battle of Somme was in comparison Greenowl? 

And Imperial Angel do post your favorite of Rupert Brooke please?  I wish Ken Burns would do a Documentary of WWI!
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Greenowl on October 19, 2007, 12:41:23 PM
Mari, that quote you gave from a French Soldier:
"You eat beside the dead; you drink beside the dead, you relieve yourself beside the dead and you sleep beside the dead." is very apt, as that is what the situation was like for these unfortunate men. I have heard it said that there in not a metre of soil in Verdun today that was not living matter (either man or horse) 90 years ago. However, nowadays nature has covered the scars of battle (and even some of the former villages, which were never inhabited again) and thus a walk in the former communication trenches is an almost pleasant experience, as there are new trees, green grass, moss and even some flowers and I had to keep reminding myself of where I was. However, there are certain areas on one side of the fort that remain closed to the public as it is feared that there are still mines there, although I wonder if they would still be lethal after all these years?

With regard to the Battle of the Somme: a soldier who fought there commented:
"People will read that the front line was Hell. How can people begin to know what the word - Hell – means?."
The Battle of the Somme, fought in summer and autumn 1916, was one of the largest battles of the First World War. With more than one million casualties it was also one of the bloodiest and costliest battles in human history. The Allied forces attempted to break through the German lines along 40 km front north and south of the River Somme. One purpose of the battle was to draw German forces away from the Battle of Verdun; however, by its end the losses on the Somme had exceeded those at Verdun.
Verdun left its mark on French national consciousness for generations, and the Somme had the same effect on generations of Britons. On the FIRST day of the battle, 1st July 1916, the British suffered 57,470 casualties, including 19,240 dead — the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. Although the battle of the Somme was a tactical stalemate, it was a strategic Allied victory and some historians hold that it damaged the German Army beyond repair. The implication of this argument is that by the end of the battle, the British and German armies were more evenly matched. Anecdotal evidence for this includes comments from Crown Prince Rupprecht.
On 24th. February 1917, the German army made a strategic scorched earth withdrawal from the Somme battlefield to the prepared fortifications of the Hindenburg Line, thereby shortening the front line they had to occupy. It has thus been suggested German commanders did not believe the army could endure continual battles of attrition like the Somme. Loss of German territory was compensated for by a strengthening of their defensive lines, an option not open to the Allies because of the political impossibility of surrendering French or Belgian territory.

Imperial Angel, please post your favourite of Rupert Brooke poems!
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Mari on October 20, 2007, 01:13:41 AM
I like looking at the People that were involved in WWI..so while we're waiting for a Poem or a view on how WWI could have been prevented,  I thought I might post this.   In War, I read there are the Hunters and the Hunted.  Here is a Hunter WWI flying Ace ,Manfred von Richthofen the famous Red Baron. 

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I was delighted with the performance of my red machine during its morning work and returned to our quarters. My comrades were still in the air and they were very surprised, when, as we met at breakfast, I told them that I had scored my thirty-second machine. A very young Lieutenant had "bagged" his first aeroplane. We were all very merry and prepared everything for further battles. I then went and groomed myself. I had not had time to do it previously. I was visited by a dear friend, Lieutenant Voss of Boelcke's Squadron. We chatted. Voss had downed on the previous day his twenty-third machine. He was next to me on the list and is at present my most redoubtable competitor.

When he started to fly home I offered to accompany him part of the way. We went on a roundabout way over the Fronts. The weather had turned so bad that we could not hope to find any more game.

Beneath us there were dense clouds. Voss did not know the country and he began to feel uncomfortable. When we passed above Arras I met my brother who also is in my squadron and who had lost his way. He joined us. Of course he recognized me at once by the color of my machine.

Suddenly we saw a squadron approaching from the other side. Immediately the thought occurred to me: "Now comes number thirty-three." Although there were nine Englishmen and although they were on their own territory they preferred to avoid battle. I thought that perhaps it would be better for me to re-paint my machine. Nevertheless we caught them up. The important thing in aeroplanes is that they are speedy.

I was nearest to the enemy and attacked the man to the rear. To my greatest delight I noticed that he accepted battle and my pleasure was increased when I discovered that his comrades deserted him. So I had once more a single fight. It was a fight similar to the one which I had had in the morning. My opponent did not make matters easy for me. He knew the fighting business and it was particularly awkward for me that he was a good shot. To my great regret that was quite clear to me.

A favorable wind came to my aid. It drove both of us into the German lines. My opponent discovered that the matter was not so simple as he had imagined. So he plunged and disappeared in a cloud. He had nearly saved himself.

I plunged after him and dropped out of the cloud and, as luck would have it, found myself close behind him. I fired and he fired without any tangible result. At last I hit him. I noticed a ribbon of white benzine vapor. He had to land for his engine had come to a stop.

He was a stubborn fellow. He was bound to recognize that he had lost the game. If he continued shooting I could kill him, for meanwhile we had dropped to an altitude of about nine hundred feet. However, the Englishman defended himself exactly as did his countryman in the morning. He fought until he landed. When he had come to the ground I flew over him at an altitude of about thirty feet in order to ascertain whether I had killed him or not. What did the rascal do? He took his machine-gun and shot holes into my machine.

Afterwards Voss told me if that had happened to him he would have shot the airman on the ground. As a matter of fact I ought to have done so for he had not surrendered. He was one of the few fortunate fellows who escaped with their lives.
I felt very merry, flew home and celebrated my thirty-third aeroplane.
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On a comical note:

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THE most beautiful being in all creation is the genuine Danish hound, my little lap-dog, my Moritz. I bought him in Ostend from a brave Belgian for five marks. His mother was a beautiful animal and one of his fathers also was pure-bred. I am convinced of that. I could select one of the litter and I chose the prettiest. Moritz has taken a very sensible view of the world-war and of our enemies. When in the summer of 1916 he saw for the first time Russian natives—the train had stopped and Moritz was being taken for a walk—he chased the Russian crowd with loud barking. He has no great opinion of Frenchmen although he is, after all, a Belgian. Once, when I had settled in new quarters, I ordered the people to clean the house. When I came back in the evening nothing had been done. I got angry and asked the Frenchman to come and see me. When he opened the door Moritz greeted him rather brusquely. Immediately I understood why no cleaning had been done.

Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: imperial angel on October 21, 2007, 02:33:17 AM
I will post in Flanders Field ( it isn't by Rupert Brooke though), which is my favorite World War I poem, but this is my favorite Rupert Brooke, World War I poem.

v. The Soldier

If I should die, think only this of me:
That there's some corner of a foreign field
That is forever England. There shall be
In that rich earth a richer dust concealed;
A dust whom England bore, shaped, made aware,
Gave, once, her flowers to love, her ways to roam,
A body of England's breathing English air,
Washed by the rivers, blest by suns of home.

And think, this heart, all evil shed away,
A pulse in the eternal mind, no less
Gives somewhere back the thoughts by England given;
Her sights and sounds; dreams happy as her day;
And laughter, learnt of friends; and gentlenes,
In hearts at peace, under an English heaven.

Sorry for how long that took, I've been busy recently.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: imperial angel on October 21, 2007, 02:51:43 AM
Okay, this is my favorite World War I poem.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (1872-1918)

In Flanders fields the poppies blow
Between the crosses, row on row
That mark our place; and in the sky
The larks, still bravely singing, fly
Scarce heard amid the guns below.

We are the Dead. Short days ago
We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,
Loved and were loved, and now we lie
          In Flanders Fields.

Take up our quarrel with the foe:
To you from failing hands we throw
The torch; be yours to hold it high.
If ye break faith with us who die
We shall not sleep, even though popppies grow
         In Flanders Fields.

There you have the whole mood of a generation, and the whole meanning of a war, or at least that seems so to me. In L. M. Montgomery's kids book which I read at 8 ( Rilla of Ingleside) I was most interested in Walter, who was Rilla's brother, and a doomed young soldier. Many doomed young soldiers emotions are caught up in this poem, as are those of Engish soldiers in Rupert Brooke's aptyly named The Soldier.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: imperial angel on October 21, 2007, 08:46:33 PM
Okay, this is the last World War I poem I really, really like.

I have a rendezvous with Death by Alan Seeger (1888-1916)

I have a rendezvous with Death
At some disputed barricade,
When Spring comes back with rustling shade
And apple blossoms fill the air-
I have a rendezvous with Death
When Spring brings back blue days and fair.

It may be he shall take my hand
And lead me into his dark land
And close my eyes and quench my breath-
It may be I shall pass him still.
I have a rendezvous with Death
On some scarred slope of battered hill,
When Spring comes round again this year
And the first meadow-flowers appear

God knows 'twere better to be deep
Pillowed in silk and scented down,
Where love throbs out in blissful sleep,
Pulse nigh to pulse, and breath to breath,
Where hushed awakenings are dear..
But I've a rendezvous with Death
At midnight in some flaming town,
When Spring trips north again this year,
And I to my pledged word, am true
I shall not fail that rendezvous-

Anyway, those are three young soldiers who were doomed and that is their take on the war, three views. I would love to read more World War poetry or thoughts on the war to end all wars. I forgot to post Rupert Brooke's dates of birth and death which are (1887-1915), so we have three different soldiers, who died in three different years of the war represented here. It sometimes seems to me that the well known World War I poetry is all by young soldiers who died in it, as well as fought. Are there any really well known poems by those who fought, but lived? I'm sure there are lesser known ones, but apart from Rupert Brooke, who is quite well known, these other two weren't well known poets ( as far as I know), so how famous these poems are really owes something to the fact they are good expressions of a generation who indeed die in this war, as they pretty much predicted they would in these poems. Of course, many did die who left no record of their emotions or thoughts behind them, at least in poetry, which is evocative, and can speak across many generations, as these poems do for me anyway.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Mari on October 24, 2007, 03:10:34 AM
WWII was built on WWI and so the division of the German spoils sets Germany up to Smoulder. During the period after the War Germany will enter a Depression and thus allow the rise of the Nazi Party. The United States will not enter a Depression until 1929 and enter a period of isolationism. "The war caused the disintegration of four empires: the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman and Russian. Germany lost its colonial empire and states such as Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Yugoslavia gained independence. The cost of waging the war set the stage for the breakup of the British Empire as well and left France devastated for more than a generation."

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Britain was pledged to provide a Jewish National Home. the League of Nations confirmed that Jews could immigrate there as of right, leaving Britain to work put how to satisfy the conflicting aspirations of Arabs and Jews.
Quote

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There also follows a list of all the things Germany had to give up including Japan got all of Germany's Coal Mine and Railroad concessions in China. France and Britain received most of Germany's pre-1914 treaty rights and commercial concessions. The coal mines of the Saar Basin were transferred to France. Germany could neither build nor buy Submarines nor have an Air Force. Danzig a German  Baltic port was made a free City under League of Nations control. New Zealand and Australia shared Germany's Pacific territories. In the Rhineland no  German Military  force could be stationed there and no military fortifications built. for Germany's future economic future the loss constituted 16 per cent of the pre-war coal production and 48 per cent of her steel production. but what apparently caused tremendous psychological damage was the clause known as the War Guilt Clause.

http://books.google.com/books?id=jhwY1j8Ao3kC&pg=PR5&vq=WWI&dq=Sir+Martin+Gilbert&psp=1&sig=ZmUA0w9zvN3saLItJ8ioMjT-kbI#PPA116,M1

A History of the Twentieth Century by Martin Gilbert

Other theories of the War:
Cordell Hull, American Secretary of State under Franklin Roosevelt, believed that trade barriers were the root cause of both World War I and World War II. In 1944, he helped design the Bretton Woods Agreements to reduce trade barriers and eliminate what he saw as the cause of the conflict.

Vladimir Lenin asserted that imperialism was responsible for the war. He drew upon the economic theories of Karl Marx and English economist John A. Hobson, who predicted that unlimited competition for expanding markets would lead to a global conflict.[7] This argument was popular in the wake of the war and assisted in the rise of Communism. Lenin argued that the banking interests of various capitalist-imperialist powers orchestrated the war.[8]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Mari on October 24, 2007, 03:33:12 AM
Well, could WWI have been prevented?
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Greenowl on October 25, 2007, 06:05:46 PM
Imperial Angel, thanks ever so much for posting those immortal poems. I shiver every time I read those evocative and well-known lines "If I should die, think only this of me: That there's some corner of a foreign field That is forever England" and "In Flanders fields the poppies blow Between the crosses, row on row". With regard to your question as to whether there were really well known poems by those who fought, but lived: would any of Siegfried Sassoon's poems qualify??

Mari, with regard to your question: in my view the answer is "in theory probably YES, in reality probably NO". Had Archduke Franz Ferdinand not been assassinated and had Kaiser Wilhelm not been so impulsive and had the Austro-Hungarian and German general staffs been a bit more realistic things MIGHT have been different, and then of course had the system of alliances not existed....there are so many "ifs" and of course we are always wiser in hindsight.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: imperial angel on October 25, 2007, 07:59:19 PM
I shiver too, particularly in regards to the Flanders Field one. I wasn't familiar with Sassoon before you mentioned him, but I looked him up on he internet, and yes, he would qualify, just from reading what I read there. From what I read, it appears his attitude towards the war was not favorable, and quiite different than those of the other soldiers  and their poems I have posted so far. The one poem I came across that I really liked of his was The Deathbed, where he talks about a young soldier dying who hated war. It is rather long, but if I have the time, I will post it. It studies the same theme as in these other poems, a young soldier dying, but in a really different way, and it isn't autobiographical, as these others ended up being because Sasson survived the war. As for whether it could have been prevented, perhaps had the leadership been wiser, and the alliance sysrem different, agreed. As well, there was such complacency about war.. it was ''the war that would be over by Christmas'', and then ''the war to end all wars'', the leaders and people involved in this war just had no idea what this war would become, or that war would happen and it would be so devastating.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Mari on October 26, 2007, 03:43:28 AM
Apparently the "War to end all Wars" view was not shared by many of the Soldiers of that period. 

Quote
Memoirs show that soldiers expressed a wide variety of views about the war, and most of them did not express Remarque's pessimism.  Although none of the survivors were ever again the same as they had been in 1914, every soldier had changed in a different way.  Some who survived the war became dedicated to pacifism.  Others looked forward to the next war.  Most, however, never entirely made up their minds.

In an odd Irony, the above View could almost be said to reflect the Politics of the 1920's and 30's among various Countries.
http://www.firstworldwar.com/poetsandprose/ww1lit.htm
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Rachel on October 31, 2007, 10:18:09 PM
Annie, this is very interesting thanks for posting it! I think World War I was the war that stated all the drama. Anyone notice that World War II is more discussed and know about more than World War I. This is very informative.

And that little fact is currently the bane of my existence! I am desperate for info on Russia during WW1, and all I keep finding is WW2. I mean, come on! There's more to European history than WW2.

Nik Cornish's book does an excellent job of laying out the basics, but I require more information than that and I'm having a devil of a time finding it.

I think part of the problem with WW1 was that the conflict was never clarified, it was almost entirely political. There was no one thing that people could rally around and say they were fighting for, such as with WW2. There was no central evil power to fight against. That could be part of the reason why so little has been written about WW1 as opposed to the mountains of works on WW2.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: imperial angel on November 01, 2007, 03:15:03 AM
True.. I also believe that at the time, even if clearly not in retrospect as much, Germany was seen as the evil they were fighting against, and the Kaiser the form of it. Of course, that was all propaganda and used as such. That least was used as propaganda for the war, which shows it was believed at some level. I enjoyed your illiminating thoughts! All in all, World War I is a much harder conflict to understand than World War II.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Colm on November 07, 2007, 07:37:32 AM
Well, could WWI have been prevented?

I think that the assaination of the Duke was just an excuse to begin the war and not it's cause, conditions in Europe at that time, made war inevitable, it had been developing since the Franco-Prussian war of 1870-1871, intence nationalism of the various European countries was exaggerated to such an extent, that it went further than the love of ones own to his  >:(country, to a lack of respect and contempt for the peoples of other nations,  >:( i have noticed quite a lot of this on the various topics on the forum, even today this exists, interesting article by Solana, posted by Lyss regarding this and Europe
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Greenowl on November 08, 2007, 07:01:04 AM
I agree Colm, the assassination in Sarajevo was only the trigger and had that not happened some other incident would probably had led to a similar situation. Nationalism was a very powerful force from the mid-19th century all across Europe and in its most extreme form led to all sorts of problems.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Colm on November 08, 2007, 09:48:21 AM
I agree Colm, the assassination in Sarajevo was only the trigger and had that not happened some other incident would probably had led to a similar situation. Nationalism was a very powerful force from the mid-19th century all across Europe and in its most extreme form led to all sorts of problems.

Just to add to this/ Russias's foreign policy at the time concenrated on the Balkans and her support for Serbia also contributed to the wars outbreak, as it was the largest Slav nation in the Balkans she rallied them against Austrian and German encroachment, as a result Russia lost millions of men at this time,and a lot of land, up unti 1917 to 1920 the white and red armies continued to fight within Russia, pro-anti communists, the antis supported by Britain and France, who hoped to end Bolshevik rule, also various British French American and Japanese military units occupied parts of Russia, then Poland in 1920 invaded Byelorussia and also in the Ukraine,the white armies where all eventually defeated and it was'nt until 1921 that the Japanese left Serbia, the last allied nation to leave Russian soil
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Mari on November 09, 2007, 04:00:06 AM
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Most historians and popular commentators include causes from more than one category of explanation to provide a rounded account of the causal circumstances behind the war. The deepest distinction among these accounts is that between stories which find it to have been the inevitable and predictable outcome of certain factors, and those which describe it as an arbitrary and unfortunate mistake

Some Historians and their Schools of thought on the War:

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A.J.P. Taylor's “Railway Thesis”. In Taylor’s opinion, none of the great powers wanted a war, but all of the great powers wished to increase their power relative to the others. Taylor argued that by engaging in an arms race and having the general staffs develop elaborate railway timetables for mobilization, the continental powers hoped to develop a deterrent that would lead the other powers to see the risk of war as being too dangerous. Taylor argued, the need to mobilize faster than one' s potential opponent made the leaders of 1914 prisoners of their own logistics.

West German historian Andreas Hillgruber argued that in 1914, a “calculated risk” on the part of Berlin had gone awry. Hillgruber argued that what the Imperial German government had attempted to do in 1914 was to break the informal Triple Entente of Russia, France and Britain, by encouraging Austria-Hungary to invade Serbia and thus provoke a crisis in an area that would concern only St. Petersburg. Hillgruber argued that the Germans hoped that both Paris and London would decide the crisis in the Balkans did not concern them and that lack of Anglo-French support would lead the Russians to reach an understanding with Germany. In Hillgruber’s opinion, the German government had pursed a high-risk diplomatic strategy of provoking a war in the Balkans that had inadvertently caused a world war.

Samuel R. Williamson lays most of the blame with the Austro-Hungarian elites rather than the German in his 1990 book, Austria-Hungary and the Coming of the First World War. Another recent work is Niall Ferguson's The Pity of War which completely rejects the Fischer thesis, laying most of the blame on diplomatic bumbling from the British. Recently, American historian David Fromkin has allocated blame for the outbreak of war entirely to Germany and Austria-Hungary in his 2004 book Europe's Last Summer. He theorised that the German military leadership, in the midst of a European arms race, believed that they would be unable to further expand the German army without extending the officer corps beyond the traditional Prussian aristocracy. Rather than allowing that to happen, they manipulated Austria-Hungary into starting a war with Serbia in the expectation that Russia would intervene, giving Germany a pretext to launch what was in essence a pre-emptive strike.
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All very interesting which do you lean toward? I find the Serbian and Austrian-Hungarian Conflict very complicated in itself left over from the treaty of Berlin 1878! Where is the article by Solana?




http://members.aol.com/TeacherNet/WWI.html
This site has some original documents that look interesting!
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Greenowl on November 09, 2007, 07:12:09 AM
I think that while ALL of the above-mentioned theories played a role (especially the so-called railway thesis, the arms race and the system of alliances) , the most important cause was (a) nationalism in Austria-Hungary and (b) Germany's miscalculations (i.e. promising  Austria-Hungary unconditional support although the general staff must have been aware of the weakness and inefficiency of the Austro-Hungarian army, assuming that Britain would not become involved and would ignore the breach of Belgian neutrality and finally assuming that Russia would be so slow to mobilise that they could deliver a knock out blow to France and end the war on the western front before dealing with Russia.....had German politicians and staff officers been more clear-sighted they would not have been so eager for a war and would have tried to "restrain" the Kaiser, thus the war, had it occurred at all, might have been another local conflict confined to the Balkans).
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: dmitri on November 09, 2007, 07:40:52 AM
The ending of the Three Kaiser League was a disaster. It was fatal for Russia, Geman and Austria-Hungary not to be allied. Of course Nicholas II and his full mobilisation of the Russian army was insane. He started the ball rolling in a major way. Talk about opening Pandora's Box when you have no way of closing it and do not possess the weapons to fight Germany. How insane that was.
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Colm on November 09, 2007, 01:08:01 PM
The ending of the Three Kaiser League was a disaster. It was fatal for Russia, Geman and Austria-Hungary not to be allied. Of course Nicholas II and his full mobilisation of the Russian army was insane. He started the ball rolling in a major way. Talk about opening Pandora's Box when you have no way of closing it and do not possess the weapons to fight Germany. How insane that was.
Dmitri sorry for using your last post as my quote but i stiil am not sure how to send a new post without Quoting a previous one.

It's so interesting researching and reading other opinions and having the chance to get a point of view accross, just in response to Mari, re Javiers Solanas article on the E.U It was posted by Lyss under no Hitler no Stalin and it's on the economist web, i would not know what way to lean about the 1st world war there was so may counteralliances which woulh give you the head staggers.

 another point to note is that besides the Hapsburg empire suspisions re Serb Nationalism well before the Duke was assasinated by a secret agent resident in Bosnia but of Serbian nationality, just as noted by Greenowl in a previous post i noticed this war was planned by all the major powers but this Extended further than within Europe, i would agree that Germay at the time was the better equipped than Russia but it looks like Germany was unwilling to restrain Austria willingness to keep control of Bosnia 25 days after assasination Austria gave Serbia 10 demands and only 8 where met the 2 remaining where submitted to the hague, Germany at this point gave Russia a 24 hour ultimatum
Title: Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
Post by: Peter C on November 16, 2007, 04:14:38 AM
The basic cause of WW1 was rivalry between the imperialist (capitalist) states of Western Europe, principally the UK, France and Germany. This was reflected in the massive armament race between these countries during the 10-15 years preceding the outbreak of hostilities in 1914. It was also reflected in the redistribution of colonies after 11 November 1918, including so-called mandates from the League of Nations.

Imperialism is a necessary consequence of capitalism, since corporate survival demands continuous expansion of markets and production, which involves continuously increasing needs for raw-material inputs. Western Europe is not self-sufficient in the mineral resources required to sustain large modern industrial societies. They must be obtained elsewhere, and history from 1492 onward shows that the representatives of the West European market economy were and are prepared to use any means at their disposal to acquire what they needed – including genocide on a unique scale.

Those of you who enjoy repeating fantasy figures about deaths in the Soviet Union should consider the fact that the European marketeers exterminated about 90% of the indigenous population of what is now called Latin America in their frenetic search for riches. The figure for North America is around 98%. Who cares?

WW1 could probably have been prevented if the British Labour Party and the German Social Democrats had voted against the huge monetary appropriations that were needed to prosecute the war. But they sold out as usual to their capitalist masters. For some time prior to August 1914 both Lenin and the great Irish socialist James Connolly had warned that the working-class of Western Europe was going to be led to the slaughter in the service of imperialist rivalries, and they were absolutely correct.

WW1 in itself led to nothing but death or misery for most of the participants, but it did not definitively resolve the imperialist conflict, which erupted again in what is called WW2. The other causal factor in WW2 was of course the continuation of the war against the Soviet Union that had begun in 1919. The fear and loathing of socialism was and is shared by capitalists despite their internal conflicts.

The infamous Munich pact signed by the British, the French and the Germans was not appeasement, as represented in the Western media. It was a clear case of collusion. Chamberlain told the Germans that they could have “a free hand” in Central and Eastern Europe if they promised not to attack British international shipping. See In Our Time, Leibovitz and Finkel, Monthly Review Press, New York 1998, and The Drift to War 1922-1939, Richard Lamb, W. H. Allen, 1989. E.g. at meetings between British and French government representatives on November 28, 1938, Chamberlain mentioned the hopes that the Nazi regime embodied for the British upper class, i.e. the destruction of the USSR.

Wars subsequent to 1945have generally resulted from attempts to break out of the imperial grasp. Every country that has attempted to establish independence from imperial domination has been subject to either economic, political or military attack, or all three. For details, see Killing Hope, William Blum, Common Courage Press. 1995.
The Korean War was started by the US – see The Hidden History of the Korean War, I.F. Stone, Monthly Review Press, 1965.

The US war on Vietnam was a continuation of the French imperial war. At the treaty of Paris in 1954 the French, Americans, British and Vietnamese agreed that the French forces would be allowed to withdraw without being attacked, and nation-wide elections would be held in Vietnam within 18 months. But as President Eisenhower wrote, everyone knew that Ho Chi Minh would be elected, and he was a Communist. So that was that.

The reason for US support of the French and US need for domination of Vietnam was given by Eisenhower. In 1953 the Eisenhower government asked the US Congress to allocate 400 million dollars (about USD 2.8 billion in today’s money) to help the French, who were fighting desperately to maintain their colonies in what was then called Indo-China and is now known as Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos. For various reasons, there was opposition to this request within the US. Some Congressmen said it was a giveaway that served no purpose.

Eisenhower: “Now let us assume that we lose Indo-China. If Indo-China goes, several things happen right away. The Malayan peninsula, the last bit of land hanging down there (sic!), would scarcely be defensible - and the tin and tungsten that we so greatly value from that area would cease coming . . . . All of that weakening position around there is very ominous for the United States, because finally if we lost all that, how would the free world (sic!) hold the rich empire of Indonesia? . . . So when the United States votes $400 million to help that war, we are not voting a giveaway program. We are voting for the cheapest way that we can to prevent the occurrence of something that would be of the most terrible significance to the United States of America - our security, our power and ability to get certain things we need from the riches of the Indo-Chinese territory and from Southeast Asia.” From Remarks, Governors’ Conference, August 4, 1953, Public Papers of the Presidents, 1953, p. 540.

This is one of the clearest statements of the imperialist imperative on record. And imperialism without war has never and will never exist.