Alexander Palace Forum

Discussions about Russian History => Imperial Russian History => Topic started by: Constantinople on November 12, 2010, 10:46:53 PM

Title: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Constantinople on November 12, 2010, 10:46:53 PM
I came across something interesting in a book I am reading on Financial history.
In 1906 and 1907, the British government bailed out a couple of investment banks that got into trouble and had to borrow gold from France and Germany (or their central banks). Russia then shipped gold to Germany I think that this is an indication of little expectation there was of war.  I couldn't find details for the years immediately preceding WW1 but assume the same agreement held.  
    The purpose of this thread is to explore what indicators there were of a war immediately prior to the Great War. Or possibly, what indicators there weren't.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: TimM on November 13, 2010, 05:42:08 AM
It was the Kaiser's land grabbing that helped make everyone wary of him.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Sergei Witte on November 13, 2010, 06:50:27 AM
There were very little actual signs of an upcoming war before the assasiation of Franz Ferdinand.  With a hindsight we can now say that there were many but that is easy.

Actually, what land grabbing do you refer to, Tim? IMO it was more rhetoric of Wilhelm and the Ober Heeresleitung that were perceived as a threat to the British politicians that could be a sign of increasing tensions. Of course Wilhem was deaf to these developments. Before the assasination of Franz Ferdinand there were very little direct signs. Long term causes were of course there but they go back to 1880 or so.

The secrecy which surrounded agreements between countries was another tricker.

This changed after the assasination. Then it became obvious that Austria wanted war against Serbia and is was known that this would set a chain of reactions which would lead to a big European war.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Sergei Witte on November 13, 2010, 11:28:52 AM
Here you can find much info on signs of the War

http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/1914m/gooch/firstpps.htm
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Petr on November 13, 2010, 11:42:16 AM
Great resource. Thanks.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Constantinople on November 13, 2010, 11:50:53 AM
Briilliant resource Sergei.  Actually it was the Austro Hungarians who were trying to expand into the Balkans.  The Russians were too after their defeat in the Russo Japanese war and this was causing some friction between Austro Hungary and Russia and Turkey and Russia.  The Germans were actually having problems developing an empire as they had started too late.  I am sure the Germans saw the prospect of a war as an opportunity to build on the small empire that they had developed.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Petr on November 13, 2010, 12:04:52 PM
Actually it was the Austro Hungarians who were trying to expand into the Balkans. 

But there was also the "Berlin to Baghdad Railroad" efforts of the German government, which also involved extending German influence into the Balkans and then on to Turkey (the Germans took a page out of Cecil Rhodes' book). Of course, the proximity of the Balkans to the Austro-Hungarians made their interest of expanding into the Balkans a natural (displeasing the pan-slavicists).
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Constantinople on November 13, 2010, 01:05:35 PM
the berlin to baghdad railway wasnt exactly empire building except in the purely economic sense.  Germany was not trying to turn the ottoman Empire into a colony, mpre liike a client state.  As for the Balkans, it respected its ally's territorial sphere of influence.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Sergei Witte on November 13, 2010, 03:32:50 PM
The Balkans seem to be number one reason for the European tensions. As 3 of the biggest nations wanted to grow their influence in the Balkan States. (Russia, Austria and Germany)

Also the increasing agressive politics of England against Germany to protect their Empire were a reason for increasing tensions. They worked actively - but also secretly - on making alliances with France and Russia. This all increased the antagonism between nations.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Constantinople on November 13, 2010, 10:14:15 PM
Prior to the Baghdad to Berlin railway, the main problem that Britain had with its Indian colonies was Russia moving down and gaining influence in Afghanistan and Persia. 

By the way, there are two stations in Istanbul (Serkici - which was the terminus for the Orient Express) and one near Kadikoy which were gifts of the Germans for allowing the Turkish stretch of the Berlin to Baghdad railway.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Petr on November 17, 2010, 08:58:23 PM
the berlin to baghdad railway wasnt exactly empire building except in the purely economic sense.  Germany was not trying to turn the ottoman Empire into a colony, mpre liike a client state.  As for the Balkans, it respected its ally's territorial sphere of influence.

Well of course turning the Ottoman empire into Germany's client state would not be looked on favorably by the British (or the other triple entente parties). As the colonial powers showed, economic empire building was often followed by a more aggressive form of de facto or even de jure occupation (hence the reference to Rhodes and his railroad). In either case it would have been perceived as a threat to British (and French) interests in the middle east. The Russians would not be happy either  or both because of their cultural and religious solidarity with the Balkans and/or their concerns about the possible effect it would have on the control of the Bosphorus. The Ottoman Empire at that point was the "sick man of Europe" and did not pose a threat to Russia in this regard but direct or indirect German control of the straits could pose a grave threat.  Plus the Ottomans were still in control of a large swath of the middle east and impinged on Britain's position in Egypt and Mesopotamia. 
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Clemence on January 04, 2017, 02:18:07 PM
Found this very interesting:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_crisis (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnian_crisis)

There's a whole episode of the Fall of Eagles series on this: "Dress Rehearsal", I was just curious if anyone ever discussed that in this forum in the past.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on January 05, 2017, 05:02:50 PM
This crisis is also mentioned in Nicholas and Alexandra and more than a few other books. Lets just say it left the Russians humiliated and next time they were not going to back down. Nicholas in 1911 or 12 said he wanted to avoid a major war until 1917 until the country and army could recover from the effects of the Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 revolution. In 1914 when FF is assassinated the Austrians saw this as their last chance to crush Serbia  before Russia became to strong. result WWI.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 05, 2017, 06:15:08 PM
The murder of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was not "an excuse" to start a war. Serbia in 1914 was a rogue state, the murder of the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife was the result of a conspiracy in which senior officers in the Serbian army were involved. One of them was "Apis", the head of their Intelligence service. Austria had a very strong case to occupy Serbia and put some order in her backyard.

Russia simply had no business there. Douglas Smith in his book Rasputin writes how Rasputin opposed the war until it was declared.

"He [Rasputin] told the Petersburger Newspaper on 13 October 1912:

"What have our "little brothers" about whom our writers screamed, whom they defended, shown us? [...] We have seen the deeds of our little brothers and now we understand [...] Everything [...] Yes [...] As concerns all those various alliances there, well, alliances are good, as long as there's no war, but once war heats up, where are all those allies? They're invisible.
So, fine, dear man, you, by way of example, but look! There's war in the Balkans. And so writers begin to shout in all those newspapers: Let us have war, let us have war! So we, naturally, must fight [...] And they have been calling everyone to war and stoking the fire [...] So I then would ask them [...] I'd ask those writers: "Gentlemen! Why are you doing this? Do you think this is right? One must try to dampen passions if there are tensions, or it'll lead to a big war, and not enflame people's anger and hatred."

And after the murder of Franz Ferdinand in Sarajevo, with Rasputin recovering of an assasination attempt (he had been stabbed in his village of Pokrovskoe by a follower of one of his enemies, the monk Iliodor), he kept sending telegrams to the tsar trying to prevent the war.

"On 12 July [Old Style, 25 July 1914 NS] Rasputin wired Vyrubova: "A serious moment, there's a threat of war." The next day he cabled again, urging her to tell the tsar to avoid war at any cost. On the following day, 14 July, he received an unsigned telegram from Peterhof, most likely from Vyrubova, asking him to change his mind and support the calls for war: "You are aware that our mortal enemy Austria is preparing to attack little Serbia. That country is almost entirely made up of peasants, utterly devoted to Russia. We shall be covered in infamy should we permit this shameless reprisal. If the occasion arises, use your influence to support this just cause. Get well soon."

Rasputin, a Russian peasant, didn't buy the official version of "brave, little Serbia", peopled by "good Orthodox peasants". 
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on January 05, 2017, 09:32:41 PM
This crisis is also mentioned in Nicholas and Alexandra and more than a few other books. Lets just say it left the Russians humiliated and next time they were not going to back down. Nicholas in 1911 or 12 said he wanted to avoid a major war until 1917 until the country and army could recover from the effects of the Russo-Japanese War and the 1905 revolution. In 1914 when FF is assassinated the Austrians saw this as their last chance to crush Serbia  before Russia became to strong. result WWI.

James, could you shed some light on you comment about Russia wanting to wait until 1917 before they waged war? I've heard you mention this before and I'm curious.

What did the three years between 1914 and '17 offer Russia? Certainly they weren't lacking in manpower and nothing on the horizon from a technological standpoint comes to mind. Such as major innovations in infrastructure and weaponry. Was it their economy that needed a little more time to recover?
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on January 12, 2017, 04:49:08 PM
The Russians in 1914 started a major army expansion and reorganization plan that scared more than a few German and Austrian generals. Some historians have stated that if this plan had been completed in 1917 the Russian army would have been so large and well equipped that it would have been impossible for the Germans and Austrians to have gone to war with the Allies and had a chance of winning. So in 1914 they decided it's now or never and FF assassination provided the Austrians the excuse they needed. Also note Russia was also in the middle of a major naval building program.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on January 12, 2017, 08:42:24 PM
In the Hapsburg section of this site there are a number of books that deal with the Austro-Hungarian Empire and this and earlier periods.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 13, 2017, 06:22:27 AM
The Russians in 1914 started a major army expansion and reorganization plan that scared more than a few German and Austrian generals. Some historians have stated that if this plan had been completed in 1917 the Russian army would have been so large and well equipped that it would have been impossible for the Germans and Austrians to have gone to war with the Allies and had a chance of winning. So in 1914 they decided it's now or never and FF assassination provided the Austrians the excuse they needed. Also note Russia was also in the middle of a major naval building program.

I object to the use of "excuse" to describe the reaction of Austria to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife. A team of murderers is trained by the Serbian army, provided with weapons by the Serbian army, smuggled across the border by Serbian border guards and hidden in safe houses following the plan of senior Serbian officers, including the head of the Serbian Intelligence service, Dragutin Dmitrijevich, "Apis". The Serbian government knows about it, but fails to do anything to avert it or to give a clear warning to the Austrian authorities.

We are not talking about some people burning Austrian flags during a demonstration in Belgrade. If a conspiration to murder the heir of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is not a obvious "casus belli", I don't know what it is. 
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: nena on January 13, 2017, 03:25:06 PM
From what I have been taught, there are differences in the trigger and the reason of starting the WW1. The trigger, 'initial spark', (word 'excuse' would be too harsh but it is very similar to 'trigger', if not the same) was that unhappy assassination in Sarajevo on June 28th (St. Vido's day, a special day in Serbian traditional history, therefore people understood the Heir's visit on that same day as a provocation) but the reason was desire of AH Empire to expand its borders over Balkan countries. (so called, 'Drang nach Osten' [German: Drang nach Osten,  "yearning for the East", "thrust toward the East", "push eastward", "drive toward the East" or "desire to push East") was a term coined in the 19th century to designate German expansion into Slavic lands.]). I

Also, the annexiation of Bosnia and Herzegovina in 1908 by AH Empire was also one of the triggers among Balkan people. Simply the old world that had been known to the people was going to be destroyed. After the WW1, the three great Empires crashed. So I could tell that there were several indications before 1914 that were implying the WW1. 

Also, one thing more : AH Empire sent an ultimatum to Serbia which consisted 10 items and Serbian Government was ready to accept them all expect the last one - to allow the foreign army (Austro-Hungarian) to spread all over Serbia.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 15, 2017, 10:00:29 AM
From what I have been taught, there are differences in the trigger and the reason of starting the WW1. The trigger, 'initial spark', (word 'excuse' would be too harsh but it is very similar to 'trigger', if not the same) was that unhappy assassination in Sarajevo on June 28th (St. Vido's day, a special day in Serbian traditional history, therefore people understood the Heir's visit on that same day as a provocation) but the reason was desire of AH Empire to expand its borders over Balkan countries. (so called, 'Drang nach Osten' [German: Drang nach Osten,  "yearning for the East", "thrust toward the East", "push eastward", "drive toward the East" or "desire to push East") was a term coined in the 19th century to designate German expansion into Slavic lands.]).

Regarding St. Vitus' day, Franz Ferdinand travelled to Bosnia to inspect military exercises that routinely took place in summer. It was not for the Austrian army to coordinate its calendar with Serbian mythology. The predatory intentions of Austria towards Slav countries in the Balkans in Serbian or Russian history books are just a projection of Serbian intentions, their Greater Serbia project. Austria did NOT want to annex Serbia and the Hungarians, who had a say on that matter, even less so. Franz Ferdinand is quoted as saying that annexing Serbia would only add "one more pile of thieves, murderers and rascals, plus a few plum trees" to the Empire.

Serbia was a bomb ticking across the border. The Austrians did not want to take it home. They wanted it deactivated. They would have been glad to see the Bulgarians (other Slavs) or Albania taking part of the land Serbia had acquired after the Balkan wars of 1912-13 and was busy getting ethnic-cleansed. 

Also, one thing more : AH Empire sent an ultimatum to Serbia which consisted 10 items and Serbian Government was ready to accept them all expect the last one - to allow the foreign army (Austro-Hungarian) to spread all over Serbia.

Austria sent an ultimatum with several points, some of which would have allowed the presence of Austrian troops in Serbia. It was not different to what NATO requested in 1999 to avoid a repetition of the Bosnian ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

"The Austrian note was a great deal milder, for example, than the ultimatum presented by NATO to Serbia-Yugoslavia in the form of the Rambouillet Agreement drawn up in February-March 1999 to force the Serbs into complying with NATO policy in Kosovo. Its provisions included the following:
NATO personnel shall enjoy, together with their vehicles, vessels, aircraft and equipment free and unrestricted passage and unimpeded access through the Former Republic of Yugoslavia, including associated airspace and territorial waters. This shall include, but not be limited to, the right of bivouac, manoeuvre, billet and utilization of any areas or facilities as required for support, training and operations."
Quote: Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.456


Of course, the NATO ultimatum, as the Austrian one, supposed a limitation of Serbian national sovereignity, but that is the consequence of being a rogue state, as Serbia was, in 1999 and in 1914. Austria could not expect any cooperation from the Serbian authorities in the investigation of the Sarajevo murders, and could not sit quietly waiting for another Austrian general, governor or heir to the throne being assassinated.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on January 18, 2017, 01:32:22 AM
All good points there NicholasG and thanks for the clarification James.

I for one have never accused Austria of truculence or capriciousness regarding their response to Serbia and the assassination of the Arch Duke. And given the political dynamics of Europe at the time and how the Hapsburg's were slowly losing their grip on power it seemed all the more logical to strike quickly and decisively.

Assuming what James is saying about Russia's naval build up and restoration of its pre-Russo-Japanese military strength/prestige by 1917 it seems all the more likely that this opportunity was one that couldn't be passed up. Now Austria-Hungary had justification for their impetuous behavior. Germany machinations on the otherhand cast serious doubt about the Kaiser's claims of wanting to seek a peaceful resolution with Nicholas and Russia to the dispute.

Sounds to me like 1914 was Germany's opportunity to assert its dominance over a rebuilding Russia, a disengaged France and a disorganized map of states in central and Eastern Europe. Once you can stomach the loss of life and convince yourself that the economic and long term political risks are justified what reason did Germany NOT have for escalating the war?
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Clemence on January 18, 2017, 01:59:21 PM
NicolasG I hope you will not mind I quote your posts, you made me go and read more on that historic period I find the most interesting. Obviously being Greek myself I find it hard to see things from the perspective of people from outside of the Balkans, and I believe it's hard for anyone outside the Balkans realise how we in this region feel about history of our countries.

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I object to the use of "excuse" to describe the reaction of Austria to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand and his wife. A team of murderers is trained by the Serbian army, provided with weapons by the Serbian army, smuggled across the border by Serbian border guards and hidden in safe houses following the plan of senior Serbian officers, including the head of the Serbian Intelligence service, Dragutin Dmitrijevich, "Apis". The Serbian government knows about it, but fails to do anything to avert it or to give a clear warning to the Austrian authorities.

I also would have used the word ''excuse'' only to imply that Austria had already decided they wanted war and the only thing they were thinking of was how to declare one. As to inform the Austrian authorities, I believe I have read something about diplomats who later said they had, but that was not a good moment for diplomacy, of either side.

''Immediately following the assassinations, the Serbian ambassador to France, Milenko Vesnić, and the Serbian ambassador to Russia, Spalaiković, put out statements claiming that Serbia had warned Austria-Hungary of the impending assassination. Serbia soon thereafter denied making warnings and denied knowledge of the plot. Prime Minister Nikola Pašić himself made these denials to Az Est on 7 July 1914, and to the Paris Edition of the New York Herald on 20 July 1914. During the war, the former Serbian Military Attaché to Vienna, Colonel Lesanin, claimed that Prime Minister Pašić had ordered the Serbian ambassador to Vienna, Jovanović, to warn Austria-Hungary of the plot, but Jovanović carried out his instructions poorly''

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/July_Crisis)

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Regarding St. Vitus' day, Franz Ferdinand travelled to Bosnia to inspect military exercises that routinely took place in summer. It was not for the Austrian army to coordinate its calendar with Serbian mythology. The predatory intentions of Austria towards Slav countries in the Balkans in Serbian or Russian history books are just a projection of Serbian intentions, their Greater Serbia project. Austria did NOT want to annex Serbia and the Hungarians, who had a say on that matter, even less so. Franz Ferdinand is quoted as saying that annexing Serbia would only add "one more pile of thieves, murderers and rascals, plus a few plum trees" to the Empire.

Serbia was a bomb ticking across the border. The Austrians did not want to take it home. They wanted it deactivated. They would have been glad to see the Bulgarians (other Slavs) or Albania taking part of the land Serbia had acquired after the Balkan wars of 1912-13 and was busy getting ethnic-cleansed. 

I wonder why were Bosnian territories more appealing to Austria, since they annexed them and by so acting they came closer to the Balkans and to Serbia. There must have been good reasons for expanding south taking risks.

''At the Congress of Berlin in 1878, the Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Gyula Andrássy obtained the occupation and administration of Bosnia and Herzegovina, and he also obtained the right to station garrisons in the Sanjak of Novi Pazar, which remained under Ottoman administration. The Sanjak preserved the separation of Serbia and Montenegro, and the Austro-Hungarian garrisons there would open the way for a dash to Salonika that "would bring the western half of the Balkans under permanent Austrian influence." "High [Austro-Hungarian] military authorities desired [an...] immediate major expedition with Salonika as its objective."

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bosnia_and_Herzegovina)

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Austria sent an ultimatum with several points, some of which would have allowed the presence of Austrian troops in Serbia. It was not different to what NATO requested in 1999 to avoid a repetition of the Bosnian ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

This reminds us that all empires think they can dictate and decide on other countries but they rarely resolve the problems they use as an excuse to invade.

Quote
Of course, the NATO ultimatum, as the Austrian one, supposed a limitation of Serbian national sovereignity, but that is the consequence of being a rogue state, as Serbia was, in 1999 and in 1914.

So you made me search the definition of a rogue state:

As early as July 1985, President Reagan had asserted that "we are not going to tolerate … attacks from outlaw states by the strangest collection of misfits, loony tunes, and squalid criminals since the advent of the Third Reich," but it fell to the Clinton administration to elaborate this concept. In the 1994 issue of Foreign Affairs, National Security Advisor Anthony Lake claimed "the reality of recalcitrant and outlaw states that not only choose to remain outside the family [of democratic nations] but also assault its basic values. Lake labeled five regimes as "rogue states": North Korea, Cuba, Iraq, Iran and Libya. In theory, at least, to be classified as a rogue, a state had to commit four transgressions: pursue weapons of mass destruction, support terrorism, severely abuse its own citizens, and stridently criticize the United States. While four of the listed rogue states met all these transgressions, Cuba, though still known for severely abusing its citizens and its strident criticism of the United States, no longer met all the transgressions required for a rogue state and was put on the list solely because of the political influence of the American Cuban community and specifically that of the Cuban American National Foundation. Syria and Pakistan, two nations which were hardly regarded by the United States as paragons of rectitude, avoided being added to the list because the United States hoped that Damascus could play a constructive role in the Arab-Israeli peace process, and because Washington had long maintained close relations with Islamabad—a vestige of the Cold War''

(https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rogue_state)

Is there a similar definition of failed empires? Because I think at that point we had on one hand the Balkans that were full of countries that were new and with inexperienced adminitrations and on the other empires so old that were very close to their ends, even if they prefered to ignore the signs. In the July crisis I personally would expect more from Austria not only because they were the stronger but mainly because they should be the wiser and more experienced. Sadly they decided for war and we all know how it ended.

Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: nena on January 18, 2017, 03:17:44 PM

Regarding St. Vitus' day, Franz Ferdinand travelled to Bosnia to inspect military exercises that routinely took place in summer. It was not for the Austrian army to coordinate its calendar with Serbian mythology.

I see your point and I agree, but as an multi-ethnic Empire, Austria-Hungary should have been more careful, they could have known that the visit might cause mess. He also was warned about possible revolt.

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The predatory intentions of Austria towards Slav countries in the Balkans in Serbian or Russian history books are just a projection of Serbian intentions, their Greater Serbia project.

I disagree, see :

the term became a motto of the German nationalist movement in the late nineteenth century. It was one of the core elements of German nationalism and part of Nazi ideology; as Adolf Hitler said on 7 February 1945: It is eastwards, only and always eastwards, that the veins of our race must expand. It is the direction which Nature herself has decreed for the expansion of the German peoples.

I don't see any trace of Serbian or Russian sources in those definitions (check Wikipedia, those lines do not come from 'Slavic' authors). The idea of Great Serbia did exist, but we can't say that is 'just a projection of Serbian intentions'.

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Franz Ferdinand is quoted as saying that annexing Serbia would only add "one more pile of thieves, murderers and rascals, plus a few plum trees" to the Empire.

I believe in that, but the annexing happened actually regardless of Franz Ferdinand's personal minds.

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Serbia was a bomb ticking across the border. The Austrians did not want to take it home. They wanted it deactivated. They would have been glad to see the Bulgarians (other Slavs) or Albania taking part of the land Serbia had acquired after the Balkan wars of 1912-13 and was busy getting ethnic-cleansed. 

They wanted it deactivated but it was activated. I am never approving murder, even I am sorry because of D.D.Apis's roles in murdering King Alexander and Queen Draga back in 1903 and F.Ferdinand's murder in 1914.

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Austria sent an ultimatum with several points, some of which would have allowed the presence of Austrian troops in Serbia.

You answered to yourself about Austria's ultimatum:

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Of course, the NATO ultimatum, as the Austrian one, supposed a limitation of Serbian national sovereignity
, and that's why the ultimatum couldn't not be accepted, even the Serbian Government was almost ready to accept it. 

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It was not different to what NATO requested in 1999 to avoid a repetition of the Bosnian ethnic cleansing in Kosovo.

I understand making parallels between two events, but this is thread about WW1 not about late events. I am not approving ethnic-cleansing or murders but some events in early 1990s before that ethnic-cleansing also caused all what happened. Serbia lost over 2500 lives in NATO bombing.

But please, let's get back on the thread.

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but that is the consequence of being a rogue state, as Serbia was, in 1999 and in 1914.

It all depends on how you define 'rogue'. In some cases I see what you mean.

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Austria could not expect any cooperation from the Serbian authorities in the investigation of the Sarajevo murders, and could not sit quietly waiting for another Austrian general, governor or heir to the throne being assassinated.

I know, but starting a war maybe was not the best solution. I believe that it was all done too early (ultimatum and the sequence war) and I completely understand the anger and grief but it all caused the disintegration of the Empire and creation of new countries after 1918.   

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Obviously being Greek myself I find it hard to see things from the perspective of people from outside of the Balkans, and I believe it's hard for anyone outside the Balkans realise how we in this region feel about history of our countries.

I agree, me being a Serb also see thing in a different way than people out of the Balkan. Medias has great influence of making someone's view and attitude to something.

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"On 12 July [Old Style, 25 July 1914 NS] Rasputin wired Vyrubova: "A serious moment, there's a threat of war." The next day he cabled again, urging her to tell the tsar to avoid war at any cost. On the following day, 14 July, he received an unsigned telegram from Peterhof, most likely from Vyrubova, asking him to change his mind and support the calls for war: "You are aware that our mortal enemy Austria is preparing to attack little Serbia. That country is almost entirely made up of peasants, utterly devoted to Russia. We shall be covered in infamy should we permit this shameless reprisal. If the occasion arises, use your influence to support this just cause. Get well soon."

You are right - Rasputin said in 1915 that he had sent over 20 telegrams (among them one very serious as he said) to NII asking him not to entry the war, and Nicholas II also was ready to stop the mobilization but after several conversation he started it the day after. Empress Alexandra also panicked and sent telegram to Rasputin in Tyumen in July of 1914. Of course that the war was worst option.

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Rasputin, a Russian peasant, didn't buy the official version of "brave, little Serbia", peopled by "good Orthodox peasants". 

I have never read or heard that Rasputin said anything about Serbia in that content.

But, in the end, this is all just discussion, I love it, you are all great people to talk about. I just we to expand our points of views; of course that I believe in one theory and will never persuade (and don't want) someone that mine POV is 100% correct. Same goes for anyone else, anyone have their opinions and point of view. We are all right in some way.

EDIT :

From Clemence:

Quote
In the July crisis I personally would expect more from Austria not only because they were the stronger but mainly because they should be the wiser and more experienced. Sadly they decided for war and we all know how it ended.
Agreed.
Quote
I also would have used the word ''excuse'' only to imply that Austria had already decided they wanted war and the only thing they were thinking of was how to declare one.
That's what I am saying.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 19, 2017, 07:42:48 AM
I will reply to some issues raised in the previous posts, but I will not quote from them.

1. German Nationalism and Austro-Hungarian Empire.

The Austro-Hungarian Empire was a multi-ethnic empire. Any kind of nationalism: Hungarian, Czech, Serb, German... was poison for it. It is ridiculous to say that its aim was the conquer and oppresion of the Slavs by the Germans.

2. Serbian warning before the Sarajevo murders.

I wrote that there was not a clear warning from the Serbian side. There was a warning, what proves that the Serbian authorities knew what was going on. Jovanovic, the Serbian minister (ambassador) met with Leon Bilinski (a Slav, by the way), the Austro-Hungarian Minister of Finance and Governor of Bosnia and told him that something bad might happen to Franz Ferdinand if he visited Sarajevo. It sounded like a threat from the mafia and Bilinski did not take it seriously.

"He [Jovan Jovanovic, the Serbian minister in Vienna] met with Leon Bilinski, joint Austro-Hungarian finance minister, at noon on 21 June in order to issue the Austrian government with a warning against the likely consequences if the archduke were to visit Bosnia. But the warning was delivered only in the most oblique terms. A visit by the heir apparent on the anniversary of the Kosovo defeat, Jovanovic suggested, would surely be regarded as a provocation. Among the young Serbs serving in the Austro-Hungarian forces "there might be one who would put a ball-cartridge in his rifle or revolver in place of a blank cartridge...." Bilinski, unimpressed by these auguries, "showed no sign of attaching any importance to the communication" and merely replied: "let us hope that nothing does happen.".... It is clear that he [Bilinski] was disinclined at the time to take the warning seriously - it was couched in such general terms that it might even be construed as a gesture of mere intimidation, an unwarranted attempt by the Serbian minister to intervene in the internal affairs of the monarchy by implying vague threats against its most senior personnel."
Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p. 60-61

- The warning was not only "vague". It was misleading about the source of the threath: "a young Serb serving in the Austro-Hungarian forces", not a team of murderers crossing over the border from Serbia.
- The Serbian authorities could have given the Austro-Hungarian all the information they had about the plot, offered their cooperation, replaced the border guards on the Serbian side at short notice, moved against "Apis" or at least kept him and his circle under vigilance... They did none of that.

3. The Serbian reply to the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum.

The Serbian government was not "almost ready" to accept it.

- The Serbian government had received assurances of support from Saint Petersburg:

"In the first telegram, Spalajkovic [Serbian ambassador in Saint Peterburg] reported that the Russian foreign minister had "condemned" the Austro-Hungarian ultimatum with disgust", declaring that no state could accept such demands without "committing suicide". Sazonov had assured Spalajkovic that Serbia could "count unofficially on Russia support" [...] The second telegram on that night, dispatched at 1.40 a.m. on 25 July, reported that the Russian ministerial Council had decided to take "energetic measures, even mobilization", and were about to publish an "official communiqué in which Russia takes Serbia under its protection".
[...] At 8 p.m. on 25 July, Spalajkovic fired off a further dispatch... The [Serbian] attaché had been talking with the chief of the Russian General Staff and told Spaljakovic that the Military Council had shown the "greatest readiness for war" and was resolved to "go to any lenght in protecting Serbia". The Tsar in particular had surprised everybody with his determination.
Moreover, it had been ordered that at exactly 6 p.m., the deadline for the Serbian reply, all the final-year cadets in Russia were to be raised to officer rank, a clear signal of imminent full mobilization...."
Cristopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p. 462-3

- The Serbian reply was a perfect exercise in hypocrisy. It was composed to looked reasonable, while conceding nothing.

"The claim often made in general narratives that this reply represented an almost complete capitulation to the Austrian demands is profoundly misleading. This was a document fashioned for Serbia's friends, not for its enemy. It offered the Austrians amazingly little. Above all, it placed the onus on Vienna to drive ahead the process of opening up the investigation into the Serbian background of the conspiracy, without, on the other hand, conceding the kind of collaboration that would have enabled the effective pursuit of the relevant leads...
Yet the text was perfectly pitched to convey the tone of voice the reasonable statesmen in a condition of sincere puzzlement, struggling to make sense of outrageous and unacceptable demands. This was the measured voiced of the political, constitutional Serbia disavowing any ties with its expansionist pan-Serbian twin in a manner deeply rooted in the history of Serbian external relations. It naturally sufficed to persuade Serbia's friends that in the face of such a full capitulation, Vienna had no possible ground for taking action."
The Sleepwalkers, p.465-6

- There was a symbiotic relationship between the Serbian "good guys" - the Prime Minister Pashich, the "moderate" politicians and the "bad guys" - "Apis" and the "Black Hand", who used terrorism to pursue their "Great Serbia" project.

"In a sense, perhaps, the Austrians really were demanding the impossible, namely, that the official Serbia of the political map shut down the expansionist ethnic Serbia of irredentism. The problem was that the two were interdependent and inseparable, they were two sides of the same entity. In the ministry of War in Belgrade, an official location if there ever was one, there hung, in front of the main reception hall, the image of a Serbian landscape, before which stood an armed allegorical female figure on whose shield were listed the "provinces still to be liberated": Bosnia, Herzegovina, Voivodina, Dalmatia, and so on."

The Sleepwalkers, p.467
 
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 19, 2017, 08:30:19 AM
4. The question of responsibilty for WWI

The Versailles treaty, forced on the Germans, declared that "Germany and her allies" were the only responsible for the war. That is false, but Western (British and American) historians have been quite happy following this line: it was all the Prussian militarism's fault. A composite picture has been created with both world wars, Wilhem II has merged with Hitler as the "evil German guy" and Hitler's aims of conquest of Lebensraum in the East has been made Wilhem's ones.

The reality is that Wilhem II did not want the war. He might be a bombastic man who enjoyed the pose of great warrior, but he was not plotting to have a war. Germany declared war on Russia after both Russia and France had ordered general mobilization. The system of alliances was like two groups of gunmen facing each other in a Western film. The general mobilization of a great power was one of those gunmen drawing his gun from the holster. There was no going back.

The first great power which ordered general mobilization was Russia on 30 July 1914. Austria declared war on Serbia on 28 July, but that was not a threath for Russia. Austria wanted a localized war in the Balkans. It would have been the third in three years. In the first Balkan war 1912-13, Serbia, Montenegro, Greece and Bulgaria joined forced against the Turkish Empire, which was defeated. In the second Balkan wars the winners fought over the spoils, and Bulgaria was defeated by a coallition of its former allies, joined by Rumania and the Turkish Empire.

A third, local Balkan war between Austria and Serbia would have meant Serbia's defeat. Albania and Bulgaria would have joined Austria towards the end and Serbia would have been cut down to its size before the Balkan wars, with Albania and Bulgaria getting the land that Serbia lost. The rest of Serbia would have been temporarily occupied by Austria, the Serbian king would have abdicated, some kind of regency established, the Serbian army reduced and "Apis" and those involved in the Sarajevo murder hanged (Apis was executed by the Serbs after all in 1917, he had become a nuisance even for them). But instead of a small, local war there was a global brutal carnage which caused 10 million deaths, the end of three Empires, the Russian revolution, and, eventually, the horrors of Bolshevism and Nazism.

So, who or what was guilty for starting WWI? The belief, among senior officers in the Russian Army, Duma politicans and the majority of the Russian educated class, the intelligentsiya, that Russia had to support their "little Slav brothers" in the Balkans, whatever their behaviour. Nicholas II shared this belief, but he hesitated, and if there had been a strong statesman by his side, like Stolypin (murdered by a terrorist in 1911), opposing the involvement of Russia, a world war could have been averted. So, the answer should be: "stupid pan-Slavism".
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 19, 2017, 04:52:32 PM

Regarding St. Vitus' day, Franz Ferdinand travelled to Bosnia to inspect military exercises that routinely took place in summer. It was not for the Austrian army to coordinate its calendar with Serbian mythology.

Really?! :)
Given that  a substantial proportion of the population of Bosnia self-identified as ethnic Serb, it would, at the very worst, had displayed a certain sense of self-preservation - and concern for the life of their future Emperor - had they bothered to note the date. At best, it would have been a gesture of sensitivity towards their Serb subjects. The symbolism of Kosovo Polje was cultivated strongly among Serbs who had been Ottoman subjects (a topic Austrians and particularly Hungarians might have had some empathy with); it was not limited to the national state of Serbia.

Any state acting with the crass arrogance and insensitivity you attribute seems to me to be unfit for purpose.

The predatory intentions of Austria towards Slav countries in the Balkans in Serbian or Russian history books are just a projection of Serbian intentions, their Greater Serbia project. Austria did NOT want to annex Serbia and the Hungarians, who had a say on that matter, even less so. Franz Ferdinand is quoted as saying that annexing Serbia would only add "one more pile of thieves, murderers and rascals, plus a few plum trees" to the Empire.



Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf thought differently, and was certainly in favour of wrapping both Serbia and Montenegro into a "Greater Croatia" - it was his aim in 1915-16 when the two were defeated. They were flip sides of the same issue; the same nationalist theories.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 20, 2017, 05:49:19 AM

Regarding St. Vitus' day, Franz Ferdinand travelled to Bosnia to inspect military exercises that routinely took place in summer. It was not for the Austrian army to coordinate its calendar with Serbian mythology.

Really?! :)
Given that  a substantial proportion of the population of Bosnia self-identified as ethnic Serb, it would, at the very worst, had displayed a certain sense of self-preservation - and concern for the life of their future Emperor - had they bothered to note the date. At best, it would have been a gesture of sensitivity towards their Serb subjects. The symbolism of Kosovo Polje was cultivated strongly among Serbs who had been Ottoman subjects (a topic Austrians and particularly Hungarians might have had some empathy with); it was not limited to the national state of Serbia.

Any state acting with the crass arrogance and insensitivity you attribute seems to me to be unfit for purpose.


OK, let's remember some facts to keep the discussion in focus.

1. The Battle of Kosovo (field) took place in 1389. That is, in 1914 it had happened 525 years ago.
The Battle of El Alamo ended on 6 March 1836. That is, "only" 181 years ago next March. Should Mexicans who live in Texas have to stay indoors on that anniversary?

2. In the Battle of Kosovo Serbs fought against the Turks. Franz Ferdinand was not a Turk.

3. The Austro-Hungarian Empire had never waged a war on Serbia.

4. Bosnia had come under Austro-Hungarian rule as the result of a treaty, not by conquest.

So, again, why should the Austro-Hungarian authorities have honoured an old myth used by Serb nationalists to justify hate and violence? On this point, the subsequent history of the 20th century has completely vindicated the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On 28 June 1989, when tension between the Muslim and the Serbian population in Kosovo ran high, Miloshevich (Milosevic)  visited the Kosovo field and from a tribune pronounced a speech to a million man crowd in which he played the usual themes of Serbian victimhood, Serbia as defender of civilization and did not rule out the possibility of "armed battles" in the future. I think we all know what happened in Bosnia few years afterwards.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 20, 2017, 06:03:13 AM
Any state acting with the crass arrogance and insensitivity you attribute seems to me to be unfit for purpose.

Could you tell me what is the purpose of a multi-ethnic state?

I will propose this: prevent neighbours of different ethnic groups from butchering each other, provide a fair legal system and efficient administration for all subjects (citizens), foment economic development in all the regions of that empire (state) and tolerate the different religions and cultures within its territory.

If we accept those criteria for evaluation and we are objective, we would have to admit that the Austria-Hungarian Empire deserves much better marks than any other contemporary empire: the British, the French, the German, the Russian... or the American. Certainly much, much better marks than its southern neighbour, the Kingdom of Serbia. 
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 20, 2017, 08:17:03 AM

The predatory intentions of Austria towards Slav countries in the Balkans in Serbian or Russian history books are just a projection of Serbian intentions, their Greater Serbia project. Austria did NOT want to annex Serbia and the Hungarians, who had a say on that matter, even less so. Franz Ferdinand is quoted as saying that annexing Serbia would only add "one more pile of thieves, murderers and rascals, plus a few plum trees" to the Empire.


Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf thought differently, and was certainly in favour of wrapping both Serbia and Montenegro into a "Greater Croatia" - it was his aim in 1915-16 when the two were defeated. They were flip sides of the same issue; the same nationalist theories.

Conrad was a soldier. The decision on a settlement in peacetime would not depend on him.

Could you explain me what kind of nationalism was supported in 1914 by the Austro-Hungarian authorities, who ruled an empire whose raison d'etre was checking nationalism in Central Europe?

The Austro-Hungarian Empire did not need neither more land nor more unruly subjects in the Balkans. They just wanted to preserve the status quo and have a neighbour that behaved in a civilized way. So, their attitude was (had to be) defensive.

And what kind of neighbour Serbia was? We will have to look at what in 1914 was recent history.

On 11 March 1903 King Alexandar and Queen Draga were brutally murdered in Belgrade in a coup carried out by nationalist officers in the Serbian army. The royal couple had hidden in a concealed room within their palace, but they got out after being promised that their lives would be spared. They weren't. The King and the Queen received a hail of bullet at point-blank (36 bullets into the King's body, 14 into the Queen's)  and their corpses were savagely mutilated. The murderers chopped the King's fingers and slitted open the Queen's stomach with their sabres. They had sabres because they were officers. All of them, the whole thing was a gentleman's affair. After enjoying themselves that way, the murderers threw the corpses from a window to a yard.

Were the murderers punished by the new Serbian king, King Petar I? Far from it! He belonged to another dynasty, the Karadjeorjevic, which had kept a century-long vendetta with the dynasty-family King Alexandar belonged to, the Obrenovich. And King Petar, after all, owed the murderers the throne and was a grateful man. The murderers were promoted. Two of them were chosen by the new king to oversee the education of his children: they would make real men of them!

"The regicide network was especially influential at court. "So far", the British envoy Wilfred Thesiger reported from Belgrade in November 1905, the conspirator officers "have formed his Majesty's most important and even sole support"; their removal would leave the crown "without any party whose devotion or even friendship could be relied on". It was thus hardly surprising that when King Petar looked in the winter of 1905 for a companion to accompany his son, Crown Prince Djordje, on a journey across Europe, he would choose none other than Apis, fresh from a long convalescence and still carrying three of the bullets that had entered his body on the night of the assasinations. The chief architect of the regicide was thus charged with seeing the next Karadjorjevich king through to the end of his education as prince. In the event, Djordje never became king; he disqualified himself from the Serbian succession in 1909 by kicking his valet to death."
Christopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.15

Another of the murderers, Colonel Mishich, was tutor to the future Crown Prince Alexandar. [Gordon Brook-Shepherd, Royal Sunset, p.38]
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 20, 2017, 08:22:32 AM
The career of Apis, the main conspirator in King Alexandar and Queen Draga murder plot, had no ceiling. He was appointed Professor of Tactics (!!!) at the Serbian Military Academy and, in his free time, became in 1911 one of the founders of a not-so-secret society, the Black Hand (official name: Ujedinjenje ili smrt!, Unification or Death), whose aim was the unification of "Serbdom" by whatever means (emphasis on terrorism). One of the sponsors of the journal of the Black Hand (yes, it was a secret society with a journal), Pijemont, was Crown Prince Alexandar, the heir apparent.

But the plotters of 1903 were not journos. They preferred action and soon they had plenty of it. After the Turkish Empire had been attacked by Italy in Lybia at the end of 1911, Serbia grabbed the opportunity to forge an alliance with Bulgaria, which would become the core of a anti-Turkish league with the addition of Montenegro and Greece. The Turks were duly defeated, but the victors did not reach an agreement on the spoils. The Serbs did not want to cede Macedonia to Bulgaria, as was agreed before they attacked the Turks as allies. A war ensued, with Bulgaria fighting all its previous allies plus Turkey. Bulgaria lost.

The result of these two wars in less than one year (October 1912-August 1913), besides much blood spilled, was that Serbia doubled its territory and population. Unfortunately, many of the inhabitants of that "ancient Serb land" recently "liberated" and annexed to the Kingdom of Serbia weren't Serbs. That was a nuisance, certainly, but not one which couldn't be done away with good ethnic cleansing.

"In October and November 1913, the British vice-consuls in Skopje and Monastir reported systematic intimidation, arbitrary detentions, beatings, rape, village-burnings and massacres by the Serbs in the annexed areas. “It is already abundantly evident”, Vice-Consul Greig of Monastir reported, “that Moslems under Servian rule have nothing whatsoever to expect but periodical massacre, certain explotation and final ruin.” Eleven days later, he filed a further report warning that the “Bulgarian and especially the Moslem populations in the districts of Perlepe, Krchevo and Krushevo [were] in danger of extermination by the very frequent and barbarous massacres and pillage to which they are subjected by Servian bands”. By the end of the month, “pillages, murder and outrages of other kind by bands of Servian comitajis and persons in league with them” had created conditions of near-anarchy. Albanians and other Muslims, Bulgars, Vlachs and Jews, the vice-consul reported in December, dreaded the prospect of subjection to “a peniless state” that seemed bent on “draining every community of its means of existence to an extent unknown in the blackest day of the Turkish regime.
[…]
It was only the cumulative detail of the reports emerging from the annexed areas, combined with corroborating accounts from Romanian, Swiss and French officials that persuaded the British Foreign Office that the news of Macedonian atrocities [committed by Serbs] should not be dismissed as Austrian propaganda.”

Cristopher Clark, The Sleepwalkers, p.44-45

Meanwhile:

“It was a mark of the Black Hand's enhanced prestige that Apis was promoted to lieutenant-colonel in January 1913 and appointed Chief of General Staff's intelligence division in August, a role that placed him in control of the extensive network of Serbian Narodna Odbrana agents inside Austria-Hungary”

The Sleepwalkers, p. 46

The stage was set for the Sarajevo murders. This is the picture of the state of affairs before June 1914, and Serbia does not look pretty in it.   
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 20, 2017, 05:31:17 PM

Could you tell me what is the purpose of a multi-ethnic state?

I will propose this: prevent neighbours of different ethnic groups from butchering each other, provide a fair legal system and efficient administration for all subjects (citizens), foment economic development in all the regions of that empire (state) and tolerate the different religions and cultures within its territory.

If we accept those criteria for evaluation and we are objective, we would have to admit that the Austria-Hungarian Empire deserves much better marks than any other contemporary empire: the British, the French, the German, the Russian... or the American. Certainly much, much better marks than its southern neighbour, the Kingdom of Serbia.

I'd say I was pretty objective. I feel pretty dispassionate. I have written on the Austrian role in world war one from several sides and can appreciate the perspective of many of those involved. But mainly I see the situation of the common man charged to actually fight it. And the people in the crossfire.

You have said that the Austrian authorities had no need at all to care about the meaning of Kosovo to some of their subjects. I am not sure how this squares with your subsequent claim that it was a successful multi-ethnic state which prevented people from butchering each other. In fact, in the aftermath of Sarajevo, that's exactly what they did.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 20, 2017, 05:45:45 PM

OK, let's remember some facts to keep the discussion in focus.

1. The Battle of Kosovo (field) took place in 1389. That is, in 1914 it had happened 525 years ago.
The Battle of El Alamo ended on 6 March 1836. That is, "only" 181 years ago next March. Should Mexicans who live in Texas have to stay indoors on that anniversary?

2. In the Battle of Kosovo Serbs fought against the Turks. Franz Ferdinand was not a Turk.

3. The Austro-Hungarian Empire had never waged a war on Serbia.

4. Bosnia had come under Austro-Hungarian rule as the result of a treaty, not by conquest.

So, again, why should the Austro-Hungarian authorities have honoured an old myth used by Serb nationalists to justify hate and violence? On this point, the subsequent history of the 20th century has completely vindicated the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On 28 June 1989, when tension between the Muslim and the Serbian population in Kosovo ran high, Miloshevich (Milosevic)  visited the Kosovo field and from a tribune pronounced a speech to a million man crowd in which he played the usual themes of Serbian victimhood, Serbia as defender of civilization and did not rule out the possibility of "armed battles" in the future. I think we all know what happened in Bosnia few years afterwards.

So in ceding that Kosovo had power to evoke sentiment into the 1990s (and it does now; you can follow the comments on any online article on Serbian history should you care. And have you read about the train?!), you charge that it was irrelevant in 1914, when Bosnia was - in the view of of many of its people, a good number of whom actually moved to Serbia - an occupied state? That it was OK for the Austrian military to blithely dismiss this and send the Heir to the Throne to face it?

"facts" (as you or Christopher Clark perceive them) are not the issue. Emotions are. And a responsible government takes care not to inflame them.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 20, 2017, 06:04:29 PM

The predatory intentions of Austria towards Slav countries in the Balkans in Serbian or Russian history books are just a projection of Serbian intentions, their Greater Serbia project. Austria did NOT want to annex Serbia and the Hungarians, who had a say on that matter, even less so. Franz Ferdinand is quoted as saying that annexing Serbia would only add "one more pile of thieves, murderers and rascals, plus a few plum trees" to the Empire.


Franz Conrad von Hotzendorf thought differently, and was certainly in favour of wrapping both Serbia and Montenegro into a "Greater Croatia" - it was his aim in 1915-16 when the two were defeated. They were flip sides of the same issue; the same nationalist theories.

Conrad was a soldier. The decision on a settlement in peacetime would not depend on him.

Could you explain me what kind of nationalism was supported in 1914 by the Austro-Hungarian authorities, who ruled an empire whose raison d'etre was checking nationalism in Central Europe?



Ah, so we can ignore Conrad, and his influence and that of the military. But we can take Franz Ferdinand's personal view (insofar as known) as indicative of that of "the state".

I'm curious - are you aware of the Austro-Slav movement? And have you heard of the Party of Right? Not that the government necessarily supported this (though many hoped that Franz Ferdinand did), but I think it gives a little nuance to the picture you are painting. You cite endless examples of the instability and turbulence of contemporary Serbian history, while contending that the Habsburg authorities had the right to simply ignore this, and to send their crown prince headlong into it.

It matters not whether Austria intended to swallow Serbia. It matters whether people in Serbia thought they did. But mostly what matters HERE is whether - as I posted, and it was all I posted - anyone had the right to simply wave the issue away, as you contended.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Clemence on January 21, 2017, 02:07:57 AM
Quote
OK, let's remember some facts to keep the discussion in focus.

1. The Battle of Kosovo (field) took place in 1389. That is, in 1914 it had happened 525 years ago.
The Battle of El Alamo ended on 6 March 1836. That is, "only" 181 years ago next March. Should Mexicans who live in Texas have to stay indoors on that anniversary?

It seems there are many people who do not realise how little things change in centuries in some parts of the world. The Balkans will always consider Turks as oppressors no matter the date. Glad to know there are countries that have the best relations with their neighbours, but these countries are not in the Balkans.

Quote

2. In the Battle of Kosovo Serbs fought against the Turks. Franz Ferdinand was not a Turk.

No, he was not an Ottoman. The Empire he rappresented was in alliance with the Ottoman Empire though. May I remind you that the Austrians and the Ottomans were great allies and there have been many people that have been arrested in Austrian territories and given in custody to the Ottomans who brutally murdered them? That were the terms of friendship between civilized Empires back then and some things will never be forgotten, not by the oppressed.

Quote

4. Bosnia had come under Austro-Hungarian rule as the result of a treaty, not by conquest.

So the annexetion and crisis of 1908 never took place?


Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 21, 2017, 05:57:56 AM
Quote
OK, let's remember some facts to keep the discussion in focus.

1. The Battle of Kosovo (field) took place in 1389. That is, in 1914 it had happened 525 years ago.
The Battle of El Alamo ended on 6 March 1836. That is, "only" 181 years ago next March. Should Mexicans who live in Texas have to stay indoors on that anniversary?

It seems there are many people who do not realise how little things change in centuries in some parts of the world. The Balkans will always consider Turks as oppressors no matter the date. Glad to know there are countries that have the best relations with their neighbours, but these countries are not in the Balkans.



I realize that some things do not change in some places. Reading about the ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in Macedonia in 1913 reminds anyone the ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

It does not have to be that way. People usually get over things that happened centuries before they were born. For example, the British had Joan of Arc burned at the stake 585 years ago and French do not use as a excuse to plot the murder of visiting British Prime Ministers or to loot the houses that British have bought in Provence, killing the men and raping the women in the process. That's a feature of what is usually called "civilization".

Quote
2. In the Battle of Kosovo Serbs fought against the Turks. Franz Ferdinand was not a Turk.

No, he was not an Ottoman. The Empire he rappresented was in alliance with the Ottoman Empire though. May I remind you that the Austrians and the Ottomans were great allies and there have been many people that have been arrested in Austrian territories and given in custody to the Ottomans who brutally murdered them? That were the terms of friendship between civilized Empires back then and some things will never be forgotten, not by the oppressed.


Could you name just one single war before WWI in which the Habsburg/Austrian/Austro-Hungarian Empire fought on the same side? Let's say between 1389 (Kosovo Battle) and 1914 (Sarajevo murders). That's 525 years. If they were so "great allies" it shouldn't be so difficult to find at least five wars. Please, name ONE if you can.

Quote
4. Bosnia had come under Austro-Hungarian rule as the result of a treaty, not by conquest.

So the annexetion and crisis of 1908 never took place?


Autro-Hungarian troops occupied Bosnia as a result of the Treaty of Berlin in 1878. They had to fought a short campaign against supporters of the Ottoman authorities (including Ottoman regular soldiers) - not against supporters of a "Great Serbia". In 1908 they were already there. They just said that a province they had administered during 30 years would become part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire by decree. The Russians made a lot of noise because they expected to grab the occasion to get the right for their navy of crossing the Turkish Straits, but ended up empty-handed. There was sabre-rattling, threats, diplomats became frantic, the press agitated... and that was all. No Serb suffered loss of life, limb or property.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 21, 2017, 06:57:04 AM

OK, let's remember some facts to keep the discussion in focus.

1. The Battle of Kosovo (field) took place in 1389. That is, in 1914 it had happened 525 years ago.
The Battle of El Alamo ended on 6 March 1836. That is, "only" 181 years ago next March. Should Mexicans who live in Texas have to stay indoors on that anniversary?

2. In the Battle of Kosovo Serbs fought against the Turks. Franz Ferdinand was not a Turk.

3. The Austro-Hungarian Empire had never waged a war on Serbia.

4. Bosnia had come under Austro-Hungarian rule as the result of a treaty, not by conquest.

So, again, why should the Austro-Hungarian authorities have honoured an old myth used by Serb nationalists to justify hate and violence? On this point, the subsequent history of the 20th century has completely vindicated the Austro-Hungarian Empire. On 28 June 1989, when tension between the Muslim and the Serbian population in Kosovo ran high, Miloshevich (Milosevic)  visited the Kosovo field and from a tribune pronounced a speech to a million man crowd in which he played the usual themes of Serbian victimhood, Serbia as defender of civilization and did not rule out the possibility of "armed battles" in the future. I think we all know what happened in Bosnia few years afterwards.

So in ceding that Kosovo had power to evoke sentiment into the 1990s (and it does now; you can follow the comments on any online article on Serbian history should you care. And have you read about the train?!), you charge that it was irrelevant in 1914, when Bosnia was - in the view of of many of its people, a good number of whom actually moved to Serbia - an occupied state? That it was OK for the Austrian military to blithely dismiss this and send the Heir to the Throne to face it?

"facts" (as you or Christopher Clark perceive them) are not the issue. Emotions are. And a responsible government takes care not to inflame them.

I did not write that nationalist myths are irrelevant. I wrote that a multi-etnic empire, which had to keep nationalism in check for its own survival and for the safety of its subjects, did not have to bow to them. The Austro-Hungarian Empire included Serbian and Muslim subjects. Muslims were being killed by Serbs in recently-annexed Macedonia. Honouring the myths used by radicals to fuel the flames of hate was not the way.

Imagine this situation. November 12, 1864: Sherman orders the burning of Atlanta. November 12, 2017: a small group of citizens of Atlanta calls for a demonstration on the anniversary asking for reinstatement of racial segregation.
What should the authorities do? Should they replace the Atlanta black city major with a white man for a day?  And the flag of the United States at official buildings with the confederate flag? Maybe, exceptionally, celebrate a "segregation day" in public transportation?
Or should the authorities in Atlanta just ignore them and, if they become violent, have them arrested by the police and prosecuted?

And I think that a historian has to work with facts. Hitler may have been frustated for not being admitted to the art academy in Vienna and not becoming an artist. Stalin may have had his emotional balance shattered by the suicide of his wife in 1932. Gavrilo Princip may have had a sensitive nature, affected by the fact that it was the flag of the Autro-Hungarian Empire which was displayed at official buildings in Sarajevo, instead of the flag of the Kingdom of Serbia. I simply don't care. The fact is that he murdered in cold blood two persons: the heir apparent of the Austro-Hungarian Empire and his wife and that provoked what was then the bloodiest war in history. Enough for the current Serbian authorities to consider him a hero.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 22, 2017, 03:27:38 PM

I did not write that nationalist myths are irrelevant. I wrote that a multi-etnic empire, which had to keep nationalism in check for its own survival and for the safety of its subjects, did not have to bow to them. The Austro-Hungarian Empire included Serbian and Muslim subjects. Muslims were being killed by Serbs in recently-annexed Macedonia. Honouring the myths used by radicals to fuel the flames of hate was not the way.



The Austro-Hungarian empire was not as sensitive to the dangers of nationalism as you are arguing. I think some people could see the problem spiralling out of control - Franz Joseph and *perhaps* Franz Ferdinand, who both had particular animus against both German and Hungarian nationalism. But the very existence of the dual empire was in itself predicated on Hungarian nationalism of what became a particularly repressive kind. If the Austrian ruling class could see this, the Hungarians clearly couldn't. And, passive as it was, the Austrian side of the empire continued to maintain the dominance of the German language to an unbalanced extent - to the extent that grammar schools could bring down the government. It was, I agree, much better than many of its peers - and we tend to look back on it with nostalgia, as did its subjects later - but it was not the perfect multi-ethnic state. Multi-ethnic by accident, not design. And its development was patchy, geographically if not ethnically. The south slav states Bosnia and Dalmatia (with Galicia, a less recent acquisition) were the poorest parts.

That is by the by, just posted because I like robust debate! :-) Among the men who killed Franz Ferdinand was one Muslim. To this little group, religion was infinitely less an issue than the question of foreign repression. To ethnic Serbs (as we are not talking about the State of Serbia), the Kosovo/Vidovdan meme became an anti-occupation one - whoever the occupier. It was not anti-muslim. They grossly and fatally overplayed this when the south slav state became a reality, in assuming that others (the Habsburg slavs) would take their national day to their hearts, but part of the reason why it became an issue for the Catholic slavs was the death of Franz Ferdinand on that day. In 1914, the day was far less charged to Austrian subjects. In 1921, actually, the one ally Serbia had in approving the Vidovdan constitution were the Bosnian muslims, because it was a secular constitution - which protected the muslims against the near-pogroms taking place in parts of the countryside.

I'd say again, though, that it doesn't matter. By refusing to side-step the day - or even to try to turn it to their own benefit by emphasising that Bosnia had joined Austria in escaping the Ottoman empire - they lost their crown prince.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 22, 2017, 03:36:57 PM


It seems there are many people who do not realise how little things change in centuries in some parts of the world. The Balkans will always consider Turks as oppressors no matter the date. Glad to know there are countries that have the best relations with their neighbours, but these countries are not in the Balkans.



I realize that some things do not change in some places. Reading about the ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in Macedonia in 1913 reminds anyone the ethnic cleansing committed by Serbs in Bosnia in the early 1990s.

It does not have to be that way. People usually get over things that happened centuries before they were born. For example, the British had Joan of Arc burned at the stake 585 years ago and French do not use as a excuse to plot the murder of visiting British Prime Ministers or to loot the houses that British have bought in Provence, killing the men and raping the women in the process. That's a feature of what is usually called "civilization".



Folks, what no-one here has yet mentioned is that while the Battle of Kosovo may have taken place in 1389, the territory the Ottomans occupied as a result remained in their control until the nineteenth or twentieth centuries. So while people may have been looking to a medieval event as a symbol, it was a symbol with a lot of modern resonance.

I don't think that bringing Britain into this as a counter example is very useful, because let's not forget Norther Ireland, and the active grudges many people bear over battles which took place hundreds of years ago.

Serbia has a *lot* of issues as nation state, but to hold it up as a perennial "special case" of particularly obnoxious nationalism is not helpful to anyone. We also need not to read history backwards from the events of the 1990s to what happened in 1914. Christopher Clark's book has ben criticised for doing just that.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 22, 2017, 05:24:19 PM
Certainly the Austro-Hungarian Empire was not the perfect multi-ethnic state. Neither the Roman Empire nor the current United States of America are examples of perfect multi-ethnic states because such thing does not and cannot exist, being human nature as it is. Different ethnic groups can live more or less peacefully in the same country, with each group trying to get privileges for themselves or they can butcher each other. In 1914 the Austro-Hungarian Empire, including the Kingdom of Hungary, belonged to the first category, the Kingdom of Serbia, which had made a cult of nationalism, to the second one.

The one token muslim Bosnian in the team of murderers was merely there to make more difficult for Austrian investigators to pick the scent trail and follow it all the way to Belgrade. It was a Serbian nationalist plot. What killed Franz Ferdinand and his wife was Serbian nationalism, not some coincidence in the dates or negligence of Austrian authorities in paying attention to the anniversary of a battle.

The importance of the date, St Vitus Day, the anniversary of the Battle of Kosovo, has been overstated for two reasons

1. Historians love that kind of coincidences, it's the equivalent of astrology in their trade and makes things more interesting for readers. I have read in a book published by a British historian (not Mr. Clark) that Franz Ferdinand and Sophie were murdered on their wedding anniversary. They weren't.

2. Serbs, and people who are glad to accept their narrative, can use the coincidence to make the visit of Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo look like a "provocation". This way they can shift the blame to Austrian authorities and create a smoke-screen around what happened on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo: a dirty, treacherous double murder in cold blood. 

If Franz Ferdinand had visited Bosnia on 24 June, 2 July, 15 March or 28 February, there would have been a murder attempt. And if he had avoided visiting Bosnia altogether, sooner or later a Serb would have traveled to Austria and tried to kill him.

If Serbia is "hold up as a perennial special case of particularly obnoxious nationalism", the reason may be the behaviour of Serbian authorities. For example, inaugurating a monument to the terrorist Gavrilo Princip in Belgrade on the anniversary of the double murder he commited (28 June 2015). The president of Serbia, Tomislav Nikolic, several ministers in the Serbian government and a band of music of the Serbian army attended the inauguration, a bishop of the Serbian Orthodox Church blessed the statue. The president Nikolic said: "Gavrilo Princip was a hero, a symbol of the idea of freedom, the assassin of tyrants and the carrier of the European idea of liberation from slavery".

http://www.dw.com/en/gavrilo-princip-assassin-who-sparked-wwi-gets-statue-in-belgrade/a-18546305

Cristopher Clark's book is excellent and "does not read history backwards". It reads history forwards, from the murder of King Alexandra and Queen Draga in Belgrade 1903 to the start of WWI. If it has been criticised is, I guess, because it shatters the myth of "brave, little Serbia attacked by the Austrian bully" and "gallant Serbia, defender of Christian civilization in the Balkans".Obviously Serbs and their allies do not like it, neither people that wish to agree with the Treaty of Versailles in blaming exclusively "Germany and her allies" for WWI.   

Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 23, 2017, 03:23:32 AM

Cristopher Clark's book is excellent and "does not read history backwards". It reads history forwards, from the murder of King Alexandra and Queen Draga in Belgrade 1903 to the start of WWI. If it has been criticised is, I guess, because it shatters the myth of "brave, little Serbia attacked by the Austrian bully" and "gallant Serbia, defender of Christian civilization in the Balkans".Obviously Serbs and their allies do not like it, neither people that wish to agree with the Treaty of Versailles in blaming exclusively "Germany and her allies" for WWI.

I can assure you that people are capable studying the motivation of Princip and colleagues from a completely different perspective. And of reaching quite different conclusions. You seem to be blinded by the Kingdom of Serbia. Not sure why you feel the need to make these sweeping comments impugning the motivation/objectivity of anyone who disagrees with you. Have you ever been to Bosnia? Did you live there in the 1990s? It's remarkable that you think people could see that first hand and emerge with the motivation you imagine.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 23, 2017, 05:14:12 AM
I can assure you that people are capable of studying the motivation of Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, Charles Manson, Daesh terrorists and "colleagues" from completely different perspectives. And of reaching quite different conclusions. That does not mean that all those conclusions are equally valid.

I study what happened in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 and reach the conclusion that Gavrilo Princip was a POS who murdered in cold blood a man and a woman who deeply loved each other, left three children orphaned and provoked what was then the worst carnage in human history.

The President of Serbia studies what happened in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 and reaches the conclusion that Gavrilo Princip is a Serbian hero who deserves a monument in Belgrade.

Obviously, quite different conclusions.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Janet Ashton on January 23, 2017, 07:23:20 AM
That does not mean that all those conclusions are equally valid.

In the case of Princip, as Christopher Clark himself says, "given the complexity and secrecy of the groups involved and the paucity of reliable sources, there will always be room for debate" about his motivations.

I study what happened in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 and reach the conclusion that Gavrilo Princip was a POS who murdered in cold blood a man and a woman who deeply loved each other, left three children orphaned and provoked what was then the worst carnage in human history.

The President of Serbia studies what happened in Sarajevo on 28 June 1914 and reaches the conclusion that Gavrilo Princip is a Serbian hero who deserves a monument in Belgrade.

Obviously, quite different conclusions.

And what do *I* think?

I find it curious that in all this debate you haven't once asked me for my views or sought to address them with any evidence.

Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 23, 2017, 10:47:16 AM

In the case of Princip, as Christopher Clark himself says, "given the complexity and secrecy of the groups involved and the paucity of reliable sources, there will always be room for debate" about his motivations.


I cannot find the sentence you are quoting in Clark's book The Sleepwalkers. He writes that the work of reconstructing the murder plot of Sarajevo is difficult, because of the lack of documentation (it was a secret conspiracy, after all). I do not think that Clark's book leaves any doubt about the motivation of Princip and the rest of the team of assassins: Serbian nationalism, the "Greater Serbia" project. I'm quoting from the British paperback edition (Penguin Books, 2013).

"It should be emphasized that the archduke was not targeted on account of any alleged hostility to the Slavic minoriries in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, but, on the contrary, because, to borrow the words of his assasin, Gavrilo Princip, "as future Sovereign he would have prevented our union by carrying through certain reforms". p.49

"The boys dwelt at length on the suffering of the Serbian nation, for which they blamed everyone but the Serbs themselves..." p.51

"At least as important as the contact with activists like Vasic, or with the written propaganda of the Narodna Odbrana was the coffee-house social milieu that provided a sense of belonging for young Bosnian Serbs hanging out in Belgrade [...] The prevalent political mood in these places was ultra-nationalist and anti-Austrian. There is a revealing passage in the court transcript in which the judge asked Princip where Grabez had adquired his ultra-nationalist political views. Princip replied artlessly: "After he [Grabez] came to Belgrade, he took up the same principles". p.53

Anyway, motivation is far less important that the deed itself. The stupid Russian intelligentsia was expert in finding noble and pure motivations behinds the actions of terrorists and revolutionaries. Finally, the revolution they had hoped for overthrew their hated tsarist regime and first, Dzherzhinsky and his colleagues in the Cheka, and then Stalin, took care of them.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 23, 2017, 10:49:28 AM

And what do *I* think?

I find it curious that in all this debate you haven't once asked me for my views or sought to address them with any evidence.

Well, this is not a Sunday school, where shy little children have to be encouraged to say something by their teachers. If you want to tell your views, do it. You have had the chance in your previous posts.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on January 27, 2017, 01:14:18 AM
Since this discussion has narrowed itself down to focusing on the specifics - largely revolving around Archduke's assassination & preceding ethnic and/or political tensions between the Austrians & Bosnians - I thought I'd unwind things a little and go for a broader view. Below are some of the key factors I can think of that led to the war. I'd like to hear some thoughts on how much each of these factored in to the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 and what should be added (or subtracted from) the list...

- Tensions within the Balkan states in the decades leading up to the start of War. Followed by the inability of the great European powers to settle their disputes in the region or carve up the territory in an equitable manner. A vacuum being left as a result of this. No one power asserting authority or legitimacy as ruler/overseer of the region.

- The Ottoman Empire's downward spiral. Perhaps looking to make one last stand by strengthening their alliance with Germany and pressuring British interests in Middle Eastern territory that they still held sway over.

- The personal incompatibility and awkwardness of Kaiser Wilhelm II in relation to his royal cousins whose feelings generally ranged from distrust to downright disdain. Exemplifying this was Wilhelm's inferiority complex regarding England and the complicated relationship he had with Edward VII...two men of opposite personalities.

- Exacerbating the aforementioned personal tensions between the Kaiser and his European relatives was the bitterness felt by his Danish relatives toward Germany ever since the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1864. Given that two of the Danish princesses - the sisters Alexandra & Dagmar - just so happened to become Empresses of dominant European powers (England and Russia respectively), and given their sore feelings towards Prussian rule, this seems like a more important factor than perhaps it's given credit for.

- Germany's vigorous foreign policy under Chancellor Bismarck followed by its naval build up in the 1890s. Naturally discomforting to other European powers it was, mostly importantly, Britain whose hand was forced. The British, traditionally reluctant to forge the sort of alliances that ironically helped create the entanglements that led to the First World War, was suddenly in something of an arms race with Germany. This encouraged Britain to strengthen its ties with France (skillfully managed by Edward VII himself) and later Russia, thereby encircling Germany and infuriating the Kaiser and the German government.

- The disastrous result of Russo-Japanese War...a conflict all but encouraged by the German Kaiser...embarrassed Russia and helped spark revolutionary tensions at home leading to Bloody Sunday and permanent resentment of the Russian people towards their Tsar an autocratic regime. In England meanwhile the Boer Wars proved surprisingly difficult for the British who lost some face on the international stage as a result.

- The shock assassination of the Austrian Arch Duke in Sarajevo and the boiling over of tensions between the Austria-Hungarian empire and Bosnia. This guaranteed that even if all out continental war had narrowly been avoided that tensions between the two country's aforementioned allies (Germany & Russia) would still have required the kind of swift & strategic diplomacy Nicky & Willy proved incapable of.

- Bad luck, bad timing and downright stupidity...Russia lacked capable diplomats such as Sergei Witte (retired, somewhat discredited and near the end of his life) and Pyotr Stolypin (assassinated). Germany had no Bismarck to turn to and was contending with a power struggle between it's erratic, impetuous Kaiser and ambitious Generals asserting dominance in matters of foreign policy. France was a democratic state probably somewhat disrespected by the other imperial powers and lacking the sort of ambition & influence the U.S and President's Teddy Roosevelt (1901-09) & Woodrow Wilson (1913-21) brought to the table. England's George V lacked vision and intellect (much like his Russian cousin), wit & charm like his father, and the power & respect Queen Victoria had. In Austria there was a rift between the elderly conservative Emperor Franz Joseph and his somewhat over-confident progressive nephew heir to the throne.

...then of course you have Alexei's hemophilia and the influence of Rasputin. The Kaiser's disastrous Daily Telegraph interview in 1908 and deformed left arm. Much more than a mere physical impediment...something that seemed to shape his personality. Leopold Lojka's fateful incorrect turn down Franz Josef Street. King George's mixed signals to the Kaiser regarding Britain's intentions of neutrality or military involvement...Like a football team with a game plan and track record of success sometimes you don't need a series of events to connect the dots to a catastrophic event/defeat. You only need a key injury or someone to fumble the ball.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 27, 2017, 07:58:37 AM

revolutionary tensions at home leading to Bloody Sunday and permanent resentment of the Russian people towards their Tsar an autocratic regime.


I think this post makes the same mistake that Russian liberals before the war, bolsheviks and most Western historians. "People" were those Russians who lived in cities, the "educated liberal class" or "the industrial proletariat", the workers. Peasants (80% of the population of the Russian Empire) were just "beasts of burden".

Certainly among those two groups (more so among "educated liberals" than among "industrial workers") there was resentment towards the autocratic regime. But it is difficult to say the same about peasants, who did not leave memoirs or diaries or wrote articles in the press. And it was the peasants who had to fight and die in the war.

So, among the factors that led to war, one was the agitation of the Russian liberal (that is, anti-autocratic) press. Peasants have no voice in the "public opinion", while most of conservatives were germanophiles and supported reaching some kind of agreement with Germany.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: Kalafrana on January 27, 2017, 11:10:20 AM
Janet

I agree with what Nicolas has to say about contributions.

Everyone who has been following this thread has had the opportunity to contribute. I'm finding it very interesting, but have kept quiet so far because I haven't had anything definite to say.

Ann
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: nena on January 27, 2017, 01:27:09 PM
The point is, every medal has two sides and every event will be interpreted in two ways.

Believe it or not, BOTH are correct, but history has tendency to always blame one side.

Why do I say that both points of view are correct - imagine the next situation : one blind person says that he/she does not see anything while another who is able to say that he can see the sky. Both are correct, both see their realities trough their eyes and make conclusions through their experiences.

This is the similar thing - both sides have different and independent views at one person, Gavrilo Princip in this case.

Quote
2. Serbs, and people who are glad to accept their narrative, can use the coincidence to make the visit of Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo look like a "provocation". This way they can shift the blame to Austrian authorities and create a smoke-screen around what happened on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo: a dirty, treacherous double murder in cold blood. 

I don't believe in coincidences, as the saying goes - It is too coincidental to be a coincidence. In those people's POV, that visit indeed was provocation, believe it or not. Like it was not in your POV. But again, this is just my POV - maybe he would have been murder on any other day and maybe he would have never got murdered. Who knows?

Also I hardly believe in objective history, we are human beings and we are prone to make judgments. I do not approve any murder and never will, nor Franz Ferdinand's and his wife Sophie's murder - their children left orphaned, nor King Alexander and Queen Draga's in 1903  but when speaking about victims, let's please try to be 'objective' as history will never be, let's remember all the victims from both sides that died in those terrible wars; In WW1, Serbia lost over 450,000 (yes, many children left orphaned) which is too much for its territory. 

When speaking about murdering in recently-annexed Macedonia in 1913/4, we should remember that there had occurred murders in centuries before during Ottomans and Muslims were not the only victims. When speaking about NATO bombing, cca. 2500 people lost their lives, mostly innocent victims, and year was 1999.

Why I am telling this - to try to get this conversation on higher level, to observe both sides and both points of views.

Honestly, I don't know how intelligent was declaring and starting war back in 1914, and losing all those lives in vain. I also believe that we should learn from the history, since Historia magistra vitae est. I just want to change bad image about the whole nation created by some individuals. If any individual does something, it must not say anything global about the nation.

Best regards!
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on January 27, 2017, 05:18:03 PM

revolutionary tensions at home leading to Bloody Sunday and permanent resentment of the Russian people towards their Tsar an autocratic regime.


I think this post makes the same mistake that Russian liberals before the war, bolsheviks and most Western historians. "People" were those Russians who lived in cities, the "educated liberal class" or "the industrial proletariat", the workers. Peasants (80% of the population of the Russian Empire) were just "beasts of burden".

Certainly among those two groups (more so among "educated liberals" than among "industrial workers") there was resentment towards the autocratic regime. But it is difficult to say the same about peasants, who did not leave memoirs or diaries or wrote articles in the press. And it was the peasants who had to fight and die in the war.

So, among the factors that led to war, one was the agitation of the Russian liberal (that is, anti-autocratic) press. Peasants have no voice in the "public opinion", while most of conservatives were germanophiles and supported reaching some kind of agreement with Germany.

You obviously don't lend much credence to Figues assessment of the peasantry class in Russia in "A People's Tragedy". Otherwise I think you'd find a demythologized Tsar of much less significance than what you are portraying. By the start of World War I it could very easily be argued that Nicholas II was viewed as more of a celebrity than a religious icon worthy of veneration.

Where was this 80% rising up to fight for their Tsar during the Russian Civil War? I know the urban elites had the education and/or military Arsenal necessary to wage battle, but 80% is a pretty overwhelming number. I don't the think the peasants, with their limited exposure and horizons, really cared who was running the affairs of state, be it Monstchist ministers in St. Petersburg or Soviet revolutionaries in Moscow.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 28, 2017, 08:00:25 AM
Could you (or Mr. Figues) explain me the mechanism according to which an illiterate peasant living 500, 1.000 or 2.000 miles from Moscow was affected by the shooting in St. Petersburg of demonstrators led by a socialist priest which refused to stop their advance towards the Winter Palace when told to do so by soldiers?

You cannot have it both ways. You cannot defend at the same time that the war or revolution was caused by a "permanent resentment of the Russian people towards their Tsar and autocratic regime", that "Nicholas II was only a celebrity" and that "the peasants, with their limited exposure and horizons, really cared who was running the affairs of state."

In 1914, 80% of the inhabitants of the Russian Empire were peasants. If you say:

- That "people" were angry with the tsar and that provoked the revolution.
- That "peasants" did not really care who ruled in Russia.

The logical inference is that you are talking about two different groups: "people" and "peasants". So, according to that view, peasants weren't people.

That's exactly what many liberals, oppositors of the tsarist regime, members of the educated class thought before the war.
That's exactly what bolsheviks thought and they acted according to that principle, starving them and reducing them to a state serfdom far worse that the one abolished in 1861.
That's exactly what many Western historians thought, although they did not state it openly.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 28, 2017, 08:44:43 AM
The point is, every medal has two sides and every event will be interpreted in two ways.

Believe it or not, BOTH are correct, but history has tendency to always blame one side.

Why do I say that both points of view are correct - imagine the next situation : one blind person says that he/she does not see anything while another who is able to say that he can see the sky. Both are correct, both see their realities trough their eyes and make conclusions through their experiences.

This is the similar thing - both sides have different and independent views at one person, Gavrilo Princip in this case.

Quote
2. Serbs, and people who are glad to accept their narrative, can use the coincidence to make the visit of Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo look like a "provocation". This way they can shift the blame to Austrian authorities and create a smoke-screen around what happened on 28 June 1914 in Sarajevo: a dirty, treacherous double murder in cold blood. 

I don't believe in coincidences, as the saying goes - It is too coincidental to be a coincidence. In those people's POV, that visit indeed was provocation, believe it or not. Like it was not in your POV. But again, this is just my POV - maybe he would have been murder on any other day and maybe he would have never got murdered. Who knows?

Also I hardly believe in objective history, we are human beings and we are prone to make judgments. I do not approve any murder and never will, nor Franz Ferdinand's and his wife Sophie's murder - their children left orphaned, nor King Alexander and Queen Draga's in 1903  but when speaking about victims, let's please try to be 'objective' as history will never be, let's remember all the victims from both sides that died in those terrible wars; In WW1, Serbia lost over 450,000 (yes, many children left orphaned) which is too much for its territory. 

When speaking about murdering in recently-annexed Macedonia in 1913/4, we should remember that there had occurred murders in centuries before during Ottomans and Muslims were not the only victims. When speaking about NATO bombing, cca. 2500 people lost their lives, mostly innocent victims, and year was 1999.

Why I am telling this - to try to get this conversation on higher level, to observe both sides and both points of views.

Honestly, I don't know how intelligent was declaring and starting war back in 1914, and losing all those lives in vain. I also believe that we should learn from the history, since Historia magistra vitae est. I just want to change bad image about the whole nation created by some individuals. If any individual does something, it must not say anything global about the nation.

Best regards!

When you study some event in human history, you need the context in which it happened. And that means what was happening then or several years before it, that is, in this case around 1914. Not what happened 100 years before, or 525 years before, or in year 250 B.C. Not what would happen afterwards in the future, in 1916 or in 1999 or in year 2050.

Christopher Clark has been accused here of letting what happened in former Yugoslavia (the war, the ethnic cleansing) in 1990s colour his view of the events that lead to the Sarajevo murder and World War I, of "reading history backwards". He doesn't do it. He does not even mention a single time the massacres in Bosnia in 1990s. He does mention the NATO ultimatum to Serbia-Yugoslavia in 1999, to compare it with the Austrian ultimatum to Serbia in 1914, as two similar documents can be compared (let's say, the Constitution of the United States and the Constitution of Italy).

So I think that the focus has to be place on the events in the Balkans 1912-June 1914.

In 1914 in the Austro-Hungarian Empire you had nationalism, different ethnic groups competing for power and influence: more schools using their own language, more jobs for their ethnic group... But these groups lived peacefully together and, whatever the tension in Parliament, it did not cause terrorism or ethnic violence.

From 1912-14, south of the border of the Austrian-Hungarian Empire, there were several nations in a feeding frenzy, attacking the Ottoman Empire and then fighting among them for the spoils. Serbia emerged as the main victor in those wars and people of other ethnic groups who came under Serbian rule suffered the kind of violence that afterwards was called "ethnic cleansing".

Who would you choose to be in 1914: a Serb in Vojvodina, under Hungarian rule, or in Bosnia, under Austrian administration or a Muslim in Macedonia under Serbian rule?

That's the context. That happened 100 years ago. Serbs today are not guilty of it, and are not to be blamed as long as they do not consider the POS Gavrilo Princip a hero (as many politicians and a famous Serbian filmmaker do).
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on January 28, 2017, 10:20:16 AM
Quote
Could you (or Mr. Figues) explain me the mechanism according to which an illiterate peasant living 500, 1.000 or 2.000 miles from Moscow was affected by the shooting in St. Petersburg of demonstrators led by a socialist priest which refused to stop their advance towards the Winter Palace when told to do so by soldiers?

The erosion had begun long before 1905. The "distant Tsar" had become increasingly irrelevant in their lives. This was evident, to an extent, by the underwhelming reception the Tsar/Romanov dynasty received during the 1913 tercentenary celebrations as well.

Religion too, it should be added, seems to have taken on a declining role of significance as Russia drew nearer to the revolution...and it wasn't just because many of the revolutionaries themselves were anti-religion. Brusilov, for one, believed the revolution had been caused, in a large part, by a decline in the church's influence. Given the historical linkage of Tsar & religion and how the Tsar's themselves drew their divine right to rule from this mythology it seems logical that Nicholas II's power waned along with Christianity itself...

Here's a quote from Orlando Figes...

"And what about the countryside itself? This was the bedrock of "Holy Russia", the supposed stronghold of the church. The religiosity of the Russian peasant had been on of the most enduring myths - along with the depth of the Russian soul - in the history of Russia. But in realty the Russian peasant had never been more than semi-detached with the Orthodox religion. Only a thin coat of Christianity had been painted over bis ancient pagan folk-culture. To be sure, the Russian peasant displayed a great deal of external devotion...and it is certainly true that most peasants thought of themselves as Orthodox. If one could go into a Russian village at the turn of the century and ask its inhabitants who they were, one would probably receive the reply; "We are Orthodox and from here." But the peasants' religion was far from the bookish Christianity of the clergy. They mixed pagan cults and superstitions, magic and sorcery, with their adherence to Orthodox beliefs. This was the peasants' own vernacular religion shaped to fit the needs of their precarious farming lives."

Quote
You cannot have it both ways. You cannot defend at the same time that the war or revolution was caused by a "permanent resentment of the Russian people towards their Tsar and autocratic regime", that "Nicholas II was only a celebrity" and that "the peasants, with their limited exposure and horizons, really cared who was running the affairs of state."

Well I mentioned it as one of about NINE factors in my post. Figures that you NicholasG - an active member on here for all of nine-months and seemingly always trying to push a political agenda (nearly all of your posts either derisively contain the phrase "liberal" or something to that affect. As if the only way any of us can come to a conclusion is through the funnel of ideology) - would cherry-pick one single line/entry as your focus. 

That said how are those two statements illustrative of me trying to have it both ways? For some Nicholas was once considered a great Tsar but that viewed had been destroyed by "Bloody Sunday" and the debacle of the Russo-Japanese War. For others the Tsar was merely a figurehead, or a puppet, for the interests of the Ministers and capitalists. Whereas Alexander II was revered and Alexander III was, at least, feared/respected, Nicholas II was neither of those things. And for still more, the Tsar had simply faded from view over time...or perhaps he never was quite the source of veneration he was made out to be. If you can place at least half of Russians into those three camps then you have the numbers necessary for a pretty overwhelming anti-Tsarist movement.

Quote
- That "people" were angry with the tsar and that provoked the revolution.
- That "peasants" did not really care who ruled in Russia.

The logical inference is that you are talking about two different groups: "people" and "peasants". So, according to that view, peasants weren't people.

And they were a people a world apart. I would suggests an educated urban liberal living in St. Petersburg had about as much in common with a uneducated rural peasant for Siberia as the Native tribes had with the European settlers of America in the 17th/18th centuries. The only thing that seemed to hold it all together was the Russian Orthodoxy. But as I pointed out above the influence of religion, it could be argued, was hugely overstated even for the most devout.

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That's exactly what many liberals, oppositors of the tsarist regime, members of the educated class thought before the war.
That's exactly what bolsheviks thought and they acted according to that principle, starving them and reducing them to a state serfdom far worse that the one abolished in 1861.
That's exactly what many Western historians thought, although they did not state it openly.

And assuming you are correct here, how does any of this challenge the point of my original comment above? Are you suggesting that Nicholas II and Tsardom wasn't in the midst of a death spiral on the eve of World War I? That on the surface things may have appeared calm & stable but that the autocracy need only have been pushed off the ledge to go from seemingly being at its highest point to splattered on the ground below?
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on January 28, 2017, 02:48:52 PM
First, I would start defending myself from the accusation of having a hidden agenda. My agenda - if anything - is open. I am a monarchist. As simply as that. My interest in Russian monarchy, besides historical, is political. I couldn't care less about rococo architecture, furniture, jewelry, family trees, what colour the dresses of the bridesmaids were in the wedding of the second son of the Duke of Schleswig-Holstein and that kind of things...

As far as I know, the discussion of political topics is not forbidden on this forum. My opinion is that the the tsarist monarchy was better than anything that has followed it in Russia, from the Provisional Government to Vladimir Putin. It wasn't perfect, laws had to be changed (in particular, to do away with the legal discrimination of Jews) but they would have been changed in due time without a revolution. Racial segregation was done away with in the United States in the 20th century without a revolution, a civil war, the creation of a network of concentration camps, several famines and the death of dozens of million human beings. If you disagree with this opinion, you are free to express your views without me accusing you of having a liberal agenda.

Secondly, my references to "liberals". Have I written disparagingly about early 20th-century Russian liberals? I think I have. Why? Because I dislike them. They wanted so much to overthrow the tsarist monarchy and reach power that they did not hesitate to undermine their country when it was in a weakened condition, fighting a decisive war (It would have been much better for everyone if that war had not happened, but that's a different matter). They sided with revolutionaries, because they knew that they themselves were not strong enough for their aim and once they had power (Lvov- Head of the Provisional Government, Guchkov-Minister of War, Miliukov-Foreign Affairs) they executed an almost perfect exercise in incompetence, cowardice and stupidity, which made things much easier for Lenin and his thugs (The idiot of Kerensky also deserves a big part of the blame).

Thirdly, Russian peasants and religion. I don't think that either Mr Figes or a general in Trotsky's Red Army (Brusilov) are reliable authorities on this topic. Seeing a decline in religion because of the persistence in the countryside of pagan traditions which are centuries old is ridiculous. So it is to use the persistence of those traditions as a proof that the peasants weren't actually Orthodox. Only an atheist or someone with a Puritan background could write that, certainly not a Catholic or an Orthodox. The Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church will fight any kind of thing that smells of a cult of the devil, but it will tolerate without any kind of worry innocent traditions, pagan or not. An Orthodox priest will not worry too much about people having fun on Ivana Kupala - the summer solstice, a Catholic priest about Carnival.

Last, your comment about the "educated liberal from St Petersburg" and the peasants like Native American Indians, as if Russian peasants scalped the urbanites who dared travel into the countryside (They didn't. They sometimes pelted with stones and gave a good hiding to narodniki revolutionaries who came to incite them to rebellion). Well, I cannot refrain from saying it: It sounds a bit condecesding. It reminds me of something that some woman who was running as a candidate in some kind of election said about deplorable people.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on February 02, 2017, 11:54:59 PM
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Last, your comment about the "educated liberal from St Petersburg" and the peasants like Native American Indians, as if Russian peasants scalped the urbanites who dared travel into the countryside (They didn't. They sometimes pelted with stones and gave a good hiding to narodniki revolutionaries who came to incite them to rebellion). Well, I cannot refrain from saying it: It sounds a bit condecesding. It reminds me of something that some woman who was running as a candidate in some kind of election said about deplorable people.

You are assuming that I'm making the European Settlers & the St. Petersburg educated class out to be the good guys, and that I'm making Native Americans and the Russian peasants (in this example) out to be the bad guys when nothing could be further from the truth. I'm simply pointing out how the only things the two sides had in common was that they happened to live in the same country and/or subscribe to the same religion.

Lets scrap that example...here's a better one. Liberal urban elites in St. Petersburg around the turn of the century had about as much in common with conservative rural peasants in Siberia as...northern urban elites had with African slaves on southern plantations in pre-1860s America. Prior to Alexander II's emancipation manifesto serfdom in Russia could certainly be seen as comparable to slavery in America. But the only thing that the black slave truly had in common with a free white man in the north is that they A) both lived in the same country, and B) probably were both raised Christian. Yet how much of a role did Christianity truly play in the philosophical outlook of American society at the time? Did religion really help bring whites and blacks closer together in the US or the urban elites and the peasantry class in Russia? Has racism & biggotry vanished in the US or elsewhere simply because majorities of those religions pray to the same God...hell no!

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Thirdly, Russian peasants and religion. I don't think that either Mr Figes or a general in Trotsky's Red Army (Brusilov) are reliable authorities on this topic. Seeing a decline in religion because of the persistence in the countryside of pagan traditions which are centuries old is ridiculous. So it is to use the persistence of those traditions as a proof that the peasants weren't actually Orthodox. Only an atheist or someone with a Puritan background could write that, certainly not a Catholic or an Orthodox. The Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church will fight any kind of thing that smells of a cult of the devil, but it will tolerate without any kind of worry innocent traditions, pagan or not. An Orthodox priest will not worry too much about people having fun on Ivana Kupala - the summer solstice, a Catholic priest about Carnival.

If you dig back to some conversations on here from years past you'll find that many AP members (myself included) have been openly critical of Brusilov's decision to join the Reds. However your snide comment about him being part of "Trotsky's Red Army" is an enormous over-simplification that ignores both the complexities of the decisions Brusilov was faced with and his successes on the battlefield while a Tsarist general.

For the religion portion of your post I attempted to summarize my views above. Admittedly I don't know too many Orthodox Russians but I know a ton of Catholics. My cousin and his wife Teresa see themselves as God fearing, church going and devout...and yet...they're moderately pro-choice (with reservations), supportive of same-sex marriage and liberal on most social issues. Does this make them bad Catholics, or not Catholic at all? Look at the current Pope. If he had been alive a few hundred years ago pushing his progressive agenda on the church establishment, not only would he never have even sniffed the papacy, he might have wound up burned at the stake!

So Figes here is suggesting that the Orthodox peasant, while outwardly devout, may also have customized their religious views to fit within their niche culture and certainly modified over time their opinion of the Holy Tsar, Father of all Russia.

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Secondly, my references to "liberals". Have I written disparagingly about early 20th-century Russian liberals? I think I have. Why? Because I dislike them. They wanted so much to overthrow the tsarist monarchy and reach power that they did not hesitate to undermine their country when it was in a weakened condition, fighting a decisive war (It would have been much better for everyone if that war had not happened, but that's a different matter).

A preposterous war brought about by stupid people for stupid reasons and costing millions of lives. It's easy to lob Molotov cocktails from the cheap seats a century later, but I wonder what your outlook would have been if you were a working class factory worker sent to die at the front in the Tsar or Kaiser's armies. The result of the revolution was bad and led to a great evil. But the reasons behind reorganizing Tsarist Russia were far from foolish...and certainly the anger, frustration and desperation felt by the common subjects of Russia needed a proper funnel that the Tsarist regime couldn't provide.

Far as I can tell monarchy works in two ways...First, when people are willing to give up most of their rights & freedoms because they either are too afraid, uneducated or unambitious to fathom a system where the wisdom of the people (and their elected representatives) can effectively govern. And second, when the head of the regime itself (King, Emperor, Tsar, etc.) is loved & respected, and can be relied upon to A) have the best interests of their country in mind at all times, and B) have the competency and intellectual capability to govern...Neither of these applied in Russia by 1917.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on February 02, 2017, 11:55:17 PM
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They sided with revolutionaries, because they knew that they themselves were not strong enough for their aim and once they had power (Lvov- Head of the Provisional Government, Guchkov-Minister of War, Miliukov-Foreign Affairs) they executed an almost perfect exercise in incompetence, cowardice and stupidity, which made things much easier for Lenin and his thugs (The idiot of Kerensky also deserves a big part of the blame).

Well I'd say you're being a bit too harsh on the Provisional Government who many would argue had a nearly impossible task, but that's certainly a point of view that can be argued. Nicholas II could probably have convinced his armies to march on St. Petersburg and Moscow and put down the riots. This decisive measure might have been a temporary solution and saved his dynasty for a short while longer. Ultimately though - and I give Nicky some credit for this - it would have resulted in increased bloodshed and fostered even greater resentment toward the Tsar by his people. If Nicholas hadn't abdicated when he did he probably would have been deposed or assassinated before long.

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As far as I know, the discussion of political topics is not forbidden on this forum.

I think it's pretty obvious that political topics are practically encouraged on this forum, so long as we stick to topic at hand. I'm not critical of you expressing your political opinions NicholasG, I'm critical of your opinions themselves (as you are mine). You'll notice a majority of AP members discuss little to no politics at all on here. They use the forum for other reasons. But if you do chime in with strong political opinions expect to be challenged...that is all.

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My opinion is that the the tsarist monarchy was better than anything that has followed it in Russia, from the Provisional Government to Vladimir Putin. It wasn't perfect, laws had to be changed (in particular, to do away with the legal discrimination of Jews) but they would have been changed in due time without a revolution.

We agree here. Though I must say that I find it a little amusing, and not the least bit pathetic, that a defense of the Tsarist regime (and moarchy in general) needs to be juxtaposed with what has taken place in Russia over the past century. If the best thing that can be said for monarchy and the reign of Nicholas II is that is was better than post-1917 Russia that's certainly not good enough...making you smarter than an idiot doesn't make you smart in general.

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Racial segregation was done away with in the United States in the 20th century without a revolution, a civil war, the creation of a network of concentration camps, several famines and the death of dozens of million human beings. If you disagree with this opinion, you are free to express your views without me accusing you of having a liberal agenda.

Fair enough. So perhaps then the question is this...were Americans in the 20th century fundamentally better people than Russians/Soviets? Or did we simply benefit from having a social structure and representative democracy that respected the rule of law? A system that gave the people themselves a voice and some measure of control over the affairs of state?

Now that I know you're a monarchist this becomes a little easier since virtually any point I argue is to come at your from the Left :-) I could pretend to channel my inner Rush Limbaugh and it would seem liberal by comparison, lol.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on February 05, 2017, 07:39:11 AM

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My opinion is that the the tsarist monarchy was better than anything that has followed it in Russia, from the Provisional Government to Vladimir Putin. It wasn't perfect, laws had to be changed (in particular, to do away with the legal discrimination of Jews) but they would have been changed in due time without a revolution.

We agree here. Though I must say that I find it a little amusing, and not the least bit pathetic, that a defense of the Tsarist regime (and moarchy in general) needs to be juxtaposed with what has taken place in Russia over the past century. If the best thing that can be said for monarchy and the reign of Nicholas II is that is was better than post-1917 Russia that's certainly not good enough...making you smarter than an idiot doesn't make you smart in general.


I just think that you have to compare apples to apples. The Russian tsarist regime was a monarchy. But in 1900 all the countries in Europe, with the exception of France, Switzerland and the Republic of San Marino, were monarchies. The monarchic systems in Britain, Spain, Germany, Austro-Hungary and Russia were different. The Russian system is not my favourite. But you have to take into account how Russia was ruled before Nicholas II and how it was ruled after Nicholas II and that provides the relevant context to judge the Russian tsarist regime by 1900.

Imagine this hypotetical situation: at the end of his term as President of the United States, Trump's administration proves to have been a complete failure (I don't think it will be, but you probably do): economic ruin, no friends or allies in the world....
If a Trump supporter said: "Well, anyway, Trump has been a much better head of state than Bashar al-Assad or Kim Jong-un". Would you concede the validity of that argument? Or would you argue that Trump administration has to be compared to that of previous POTUS (let's say, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama) and that's the proper reference to determine if it was a sucess or a failure?



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Secondly, my references to "liberals". Have I written disparagingly about early 20th-century Russian liberals? I think I have. Why? Because I dislike them. They wanted so much to overthrow the tsarist monarchy and reach power that they did not hesitate to undermine their country when it was in a weakened condition, fighting a decisive war (It would have been much better for everyone if that war had not happened, but that's a different matter).

A preposterous war brought about by stupid people for stupid reasons and costing millions of lives. It's easy to lob Molotov cocktails from the cheap seats a century later, but I wonder what your outlook would have been if you were a working class factory worker sent to die at the front in the Tsar or Kaiser's armies. The result of the revolution was bad and led to a great evil. But the reasons behind reorganizing Tsarist Russia were far from foolish...and certainly the anger, frustration and desperation felt by the common subjects of Russia needed a proper funnel that the Tsarist regime couldn't provide.


I think I have never written that WWI was a great and enjoyable experience. But maybe it will be fair to remember that many supporters of the tsarist regime were totally against starting it (especially in the right-wing/Conservative side of the political spectrum) and that very few, if any, of those who opposed the tsarist regime in 1917 wanted to end it.

- The liberals (Lvov, Miliukov, Guchkov) in the Provisional Government were all for continuing it.
- Kerensky (a Trudovik, that is, a kind of Socialist Revolutionary) was all for continuing it.
- Lenin and the bolsheviks were all for transforming the World War in a Civil War: the carnage had to continue, with the difference that it would be Russians against Russians, instead of Russians against Germans.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on February 05, 2017, 07:52:23 AM

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Racial segregation was done away with in the United States in the 20th century without a revolution, a civil war, the creation of a network of concentration camps, several famines and the death of dozens of million human beings. If you disagree with this opinion, you are free to express your views without me accusing you of having a liberal agenda.

Fair enough. So perhaps then the question is this...were Americans in the 20th century fundamentally better people than Russians/Soviets? Or did we simply benefit from having a social structure and representative democracy that respected the rule of law? A system that gave the people themselves a voice and some measure of control over the affairs of state?



First, Americans in the 20th century benefited from not having to fight a war with millions of casualties in American territory. The Japanese attack to Pearl Harbor was the closest thing, and Pearl Harbor is some 2.400 miles away from San Francisco.

Secondly, I find it funny how liberals say that they respect all cultures, and at the same time they want to impose them a typically Western political system: liberal democracy, whatever their religion, values, social structure, economic development, previous history...
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on February 05, 2017, 10:03:26 AM


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Thirdly, Russian peasants and religion. I don't think that either Mr Figes or a general in Trotsky's Red Army (Brusilov) are reliable authorities on this topic. Seeing a decline in religion because of the persistence in the countryside of pagan traditions which are centuries old is ridiculous. So it is to use the persistence of those traditions as a proof that the peasants weren't actually Orthodox. Only an atheist or someone with a Puritan background could write that, certainly not a Catholic or an Orthodox. The Catholic Church or the Orthodox Church will fight any kind of thing that smells of a cult of the devil, but it will tolerate without any kind of worry innocent traditions, pagan or not. An Orthodox priest will not worry too much about people having fun on Ivana Kupala - the summer solstice, a Catholic priest about Carnival.

If you dig back to some conversations on here from years past you'll find that many AP members (myself included) have been openly critical of Brusilov's decision to join the Reds. However your snide comment about him being part of "Trotsky's Red Army" is an enormous over-simplification that ignores both the complexities of the decisions Brusilov was faced with and his successes on the battlefield while a Tsarist general.

For the religion portion of your post I attempted to summarize my views above. Admittedly I don't know too many Orthodox Russians but I know a ton of Catholics. My cousin and his wife Teresa see themselves as God fearing, church going and devout...and yet...they're moderately pro-choice (with reservations), supportive of same-sex marriage and liberal on most social issues. Does this make them bad Catholics, or not Catholic at all? Look at the current Pope. If he had been alive a few hundred years ago pushing his progressive agenda on the church establishment, not only would he never have even sniffed the papacy, he might have wound up burned at the stake!

So Figes here is suggesting that the Orthodox peasant, while outwardly devout, may also have customized their religious views to fit within their niche culture and certainly modified over time their opinion of the Holy Tsar, Father of all Russia.


Ok, let's follow your order:

1. Brusilov was a general in Trotsky's Red Army. That is not an opinion. That's a fact. And, knowing that fact, one might doubt his value as an authority on peasant religion. That's an opinion, but I think one that can be defended. Certainly, if I wanted to know more about the beliefs of Orthodox peasants, I would consider an Orthodox priest or a Christian philosopher, like Sergei Bulgakov or Nikolai Berdyaev, a much better option.

2. "Devout pro-choice Catholics". That's the language of The New York Times. They do not exist. They are not "bad Catholics". I'm a bad Catholic. They are not Catholic at all. And excuse me if I use "pro-abortion" instead of "pro-choice" (being killed would never be the baby's choice).

I'll give you an example. Suppose that there is a student group at some university whose aim is finding ways of promoting pacifism. Suppose that one day one member argues that the best way to achieve world peace would be for the United States to triple its military budget and for the US Army to launch preemptive nuclear strikes against North Korea and Iran. How would the rest of members of that student group react? I guess they would try to convince him he is wrong, but if he does not change his mind, they would expel him, because there is no way they could consider he supports pacifism. The argument that that's what his consciente tells him or that they are not allowing him freedom of thought would not avoid him being kicked out.

There's a commandment that says: "You shalt not kill". Francisco, the current Pope, has not changed it. He cannot. It's beyond the authority of a Pope to cross out any of the Ten commandments of the list.

3. And now, let's return to the "decline in religion". The persistence of ancient pagan traditions or a myriad of different superstitions among Orthodox (or Catholic) believers is not a proof of a "decline in religious beliefs". If it were so, Christianity would have been in decline since the I century a.C. Priests know about it, they do not care about it. I wrote "innocent pagan traditions", like jumping over bonfires on the summer solstice's night. That's fairly innocent. Child sacrifice is also an ancient pagan tradition, but it isn't innocent.
The appearance of a group of people who consider themselves Catholic while denying basic tenets of the Catholic faith (or rather, natural law) is, on the other hand, a clear evidence of decline in religious beliefs.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on February 12, 2017, 11:53:51 PM
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1. Brusilov was a general in Trotsky's Red Army. That is not an opinion. That's a fact. And, knowing that fact, one might doubt his value as an authority on peasant religion. That's an opinion, but I think one that can be defended. Certainly, if I wanted to know more about the beliefs of Orthodox peasants, I would consider an Orthodox priest or a Christian philosopher, like Sergei Bulgakov or Nikolai Berdyaev, a much better option.

How does his reluctant choice of sides during the Civil War matter? If he had supported the Whites would he suddenly be a more valid source?

Figes does use the diary entries of numerous actual peasants & priests in his book, which I encourage you to read. You didn't really think that a respected historian like he simply based his position on the Orthodoxy off of the opinions of Brusilov alone did you? I simply offered the Brusilov example. Was one that I could think of off the top and I wasn't going to sift through a few hundred pages of Figes' book to quote other sources. My apologies!

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2. "Devout pro-choice Catholics". That's the language of The New York Times. They do not exist. They are not "bad Catholics". I'm a bad Catholic. They are not Catholic at all. And excuse me if I use "pro-abortion" instead of "pro-choice" (being killed would never be the baby's choice).

Playing around with my words there some NicholasG. I said pro-choice with "reservations". Their opinion on abortion is shaped more by social & political realities than by their own moral convictions. Which is to say, they would never have an abortion themselves nor would they recommend it to anyone else. It troubles them that abortions exist at all. However they understand that changing some laws or overturning Roe V. Wade here in the US isn't going to solve the problem or stop abortions from happening.

Since you're obviously hardcore right-wing on this topic does it trouble you that countries that have essentially banned legal abortion haven't seen a decline in the number of abortion "crimes" being committed? You think you can simply rid an evil by passing some laws? How very Monarchist of you! Women aren't going to stop terminating unwanted pregnancies. So maybe my cousins would prefer abortion be kept safe albeit rare rather than see an uptick in poor women drinking bleach or using wire hangers.

And isn't this a practical example for how & why the influence of religion declines in the first place? When it doesn't keep pace with the changing times and social/political realities?

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The appearance of a group of people who consider themselves Catholic while denying basic tenets of the Catholic faith (or rather, natural law) is, on the other hand, a clear evidence of decline in religious beliefs.

And what are those basic tenets? Here are a few that come to mind...

God is the creator of all things. We are God's children & servants. We are subject to original sin. We seek redemption through God. We are to be responsible and charitable. We literally adhere to scripture and consider it God's word.

The last one in particular is something that people are always parting ways with. "Thou Shall Not Kill" right? What does scripture have to say about war (and what defines "war"?), or in self-defense (and what defines that, or what limits are placed on it?), or capital punishment (and when is it appropriate to sentence to death a person who is imprisoned and no longer a mortal threat to innocents?)? Jeremiah & Psalms talk about God's role in the creation of the child while it's still in the womb and these scriptures - along with Exodus - are used by many as proof of God's objection to abortion the violation of natural law that you suggest.

Personally I wish God had been a little more involved with my wife & I while our children were still in the womb rather than being concerned with possible abortions...Maybe then we wouldn't have had SIX miscarriages without a single successful pregnancy to date!

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First, Americans in the 20th century benefited from not having to fight a war with millions of casualties in American territory. The Japanese attack to Pearl Harbor was the closest thing, and Pearl Harbor is some 2.400 miles away from San Francisco.

Very true. But now your making excuses for why Americans have had it easier when a moment ago you seemed to be praising 20th century Americans for managing to end the evils of segregation without having to resort to war or revolution...

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Racial segregation was done away with in the United States in the 20th century without a revolution, a civil war, the creation of a network of concentration camps, several famines and the death of dozens of million human beings.

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Secondly, I find it funny how liberals say that they respect all cultures, and at the same time they want to impose them a typically Western political system: liberal democracy, whatever their religion, values, social structure, economic development, previous history...

lol, and no sooner do you say the following..."If you disagree with this opinion, you are free to express your views without me accusing you of having a liberal agenda."...then once again you whip out the liberal card and do exactly what you promised you wouldn't do!

To offer a response however, is there a fair share of hypocrisy in liberalism? Absolutely. But a building cannot stand if it has a faulty foundation, yes? You need to start off with some type of framework in order to implement your ideals, whatever they might be. If you believe wholeheartedly that democratic values are the only way that society can hope to live peacefully and address the greater good then naturally you must insist upon this type of structure be adopted before other positive progressive changes can implemented...otherwise they won't sustain.

Take Nazism for example. Should liberals be called hypocrites and barred from criticizing Hitler and the Nazi regime simply because they preach open-mindedness and respect for other cultures as part of the general ethos? Don't you have to draw the line somewhere?
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on February 12, 2017, 11:56:26 PM
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I just think that you have to compare apples to apples. The Russian tsarist regime was a monarchy. But in 1900 all the countries in Europe, with the exception of France, Switzerland and the Republic of San Marino, were monarchies. The monarchic systems in Britain, Spain, Germany, Austro-Hungary and Russia were different. The Russian system is not my favourite. But you have to take into account how Russia was ruled before Nicholas II and how it was ruled after Nicholas II and that provides the relevant context to judge the Russian tsarist regime by 1900.

I'm fine with this. Sounds you like you are a "bad monarchist" the same way you are a "bad Catholic" :-) I consider this a good thing by the way. Modification is essential.

I would agree that Russia clearly needed to be guided gently down the staircase from pre-Nicholas style autocracy to a post-Nicholas democracy. Instead what happened to Russia is that it got tossed down an open elevator shaft and was rescued (if you can call it that) from certain death only because the Bolsheviks cast a temporary safety net.

Of course Nicholas himself shoulders some of the blame for this. His lacking intellect, stubborness and weakness (confronted by his domineering wife and overwhelming responsibilities) made certain that whatever progress might have been obtained after the Manifesto of 1906, and first real steps toward a functioning Constitutional Monarchy, would quickly be swept away.

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Imagine this hypotetical situation: at the end of his term as President of the United States, Trump's administration proves to have been a complete failure (I don't think it will be, but you probably do): economic ruin, no friends or allies in the world....If a Trump supporter said: "Well, anyway, Trump has been a much better head of state than Bashar al-Assad or Kim Jong-un". Would you concede the validity of that argument? Or would you argue that Trump administration has to be compared to that of previous POTUS (let's say, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama) and that's the proper reference to determine if it was a sucess or a failure?

Interesting, and I applaud your ability to turn my own argument somewhat against me here. Of course the answer is going to be that I would rate him against other Presidents of the US and other like-minded world leaders of democratic allied nations (Merkel, May, Trudeau, etc.), not the leaders of radically different nations like Syria or Iran.

What's funny is that some of my leftist friends don't fear Trump the way you might normally expect a group of people who otherwise despise him and what he stands for. In their minds Trump's Presidency will be a spectacular failure. So much so that it will cost him reelection, cost his party power in the 2018 midterms and make certain that Americans don't take a risk on such a risky and unqualified wild card candidate for a very long time. To them a President like Ted Cruz would be worse. He would slowly unravel the liberal/progressive initiatives they believe in and do so in a way - as a smart & savvy politician - that would allow him and his party to maintain greater popularity and credibility in the future.

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I think I have never written that WWI was a great and enjoyable experience. But maybe it will be fair to remember that many supporters of the tsarist regime were totally against starting it (especially in the right-wing/Conservative side of the political spectrum) and that very few, if any, of those who opposed the tsarist regime in 1917 wanted to end it.

- The liberals (Lvov, Miliukov, Guchkov) in the Provisional Government were all for continuing it.
- Kerensky (a Trudovik, that is, a kind of Socialist Revolutionary) was all for continuing it.
- Lenin and the bolsheviks were all for transforming the World War in a Civil War: the carnage had to continue, with the difference that it would be Russians against Russians, instead of Russians against Germans.

True, but then the leaders of the respective sides weren't the ones shedding blood on the battlefields. Lenin - whose respect for human life & dignity was always dubious at best - obviously saw the war as a necessary means to bring about revolution. And honestly it's hard to say he was wrong.

Kerensky and the heads of the Provisional Government had different motives for staying the course. And again we are brought back to the leader of the conservatives/monarchists, the Tsar himself. Nicholas was obviously in favor of keeping the war going (even post-abdication) at whatever the cost.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on February 13, 2017, 01:29:34 PM
Ok, I would not like this threach to branch off in twenty different directions, so I will just write about abortion laws (It was not me who raised the issue, so I think I have the right to reply) and peasant religiosity on the eve of the Russian revolution (or about historical research methodology).

First, abortion. I am a (bad) Catholic, I am pro-life (anti-abortion, if you prefer it) and I would like to have abortion forbidden in the law of my own country and all over the world.

1. Would laws which made abortion illegal be the end of abortion? No.
2. Would pregnant women continue to look for abortion, even if it were illegal? Yes, they would (fewer of them).
3. Would some of those women die as a consequence of complications in those illegal, "backyard" abortion? Yes, a small percentage of them.


1. Laws which made abortion illegal would not be the end of abortion. No law in the long history of humankind has suceeded in completely eradicating a crime. It is not monarchists, it is progressists who think that man's nature is completely elastic, moldable, and through good laws and government intervention would be possible to create heaven on Earth. Conservatives, or anyone who accepts the Judeo-Christian religious tradition, know that man is a fallen, flawed creature. Only limited success is possible.

But law, by penalizing an act, can reduce the incidence of that kind of act. And law can (and have to) show how things should be. It cannot say that fair is foul and foul is fair. Law has to protect human life, specially when it is weaker, at the beginning and at the end.

2. Pregnant women would continue to look for abortion, even if abortion was made illegal. But fewer of them would do, compared to the situation when abortion is completely legal and available. It does not trouble me that "countries that have essentially banned legal abortion haven't seen a decline in the number of abortion "crimes" being committed", for two reasons.

- There are only a handful of countries in that category (only Chile and Nicaragua come to my mind) and "statistics" about abortion in those countries have been produced by the Guttmacher Institute (the "research" branch of Planned Parenthood) or similar organizations, whose credibility is nil.

- Common sense does not allow that the number of abortions in a country will "stay put", after passing a law banning it. Many of the women that go to an abortion "clinic" have many, many doubts about what they are going to do. And that in a country where abortion is legal, "safe" (for the mother, not for the children), widely available, and portrayed in a positive way in the media. A law banning abortion might not change the mind of those women who are decided to have an abortion, whatever, but will tilt the scales in favour of the child's life in most of the rest.

3. If abortion was made illegal, some women would die (or have their health seriously damaged) as a consequence of "backyard" (illegal) abortions. That is an unintended effect of a law banning abortion. But many children (in the USA, millions) would be saved. That's one of the intended effects of a law banning abortion. And many women would be saved, too. That's another intended effect.

Because nowadays adult women (not only the baby girls killed in abortion) DO die as a consequence of abortion, in the USA and in any country where it is legal. And many women have their health (physical and mental) seriously damaged as a consequence of legal abortion. Those women just realize what a horrible mistake they have committed, when that mistake is irreversible. Some of them look for healing (in the Catholic Church or in other religious denominations), others simply cannot cope with the guilt and either commit suicide or choose a self-destructive way of life that ends up killing them. They are also victims of abortion, but for Planned Parenthood or pro-abortion lobby groups they do not exist.

And just to end the part about abortion, I would like to consider what abortion is, in a dispassionate way, without child's body parts or women bleeding to death in backyard abortions. Pro-abortion advocates call themselves "pro-choice". But what choice they are talking about? The choice about the life or death of a human being that a woman has begot.

Pro-life advocates are called "retrogade" for wanting to return to the statu quo regarding abortion current in 1960 in all the Western world. But pro-abortion advocates defends that a woman has the right to kill the child she has begot. In the Roman Empire, the law allowed the paterfamilias, the head of the family, to kill his children or sell them into slavery. So we have progressed (with the difference that now the right of life or death is granted to the mother) to Rome, II century a.C.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: NicolasG on February 13, 2017, 01:49:32 PM
Regarding Figes, his "respectability" as a historian has been damaged by former behaviour towards a colleague in his trade.

On the other hand, he might, or might not, used a representative selection of sources to reach his conclusions about the Russian peasants' attitude towards religion on the eve of revolution. I would have to borrow his book from the library to check it.

My guess is that his selection of souces is not representative, because simply there's a scarcity of documents: peasants do not keep diaries, write essays, or send letters to the press. Any secondary source published in Russia after the revolution will, of course, convey the idea that religion played little or no role in the life of peasants. That was the view of the communist regime, which wanted to eradicate it.

Regarding sources I have read a book written by a "respected American historian" who used a book published in Moscow in 1935 as a source to describe the life conditions of workers in Saint Petersburg before war and revolution. Of course, in the book the life of workers in Imperial Russia was completely dark, in Stalin's Soviet Union, bright. If the author of the 1935 book had written something different, she would have been sent to the GULAG.

I have read enough books published by professors in Western universities to know that the idea that they have followed proper methodology because they have gone through some kind of "peer review" is BS. 

Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: edubs31 on February 18, 2017, 11:20:24 AM
Not sure why I'm wading back into this...I find it amusing that of all the points having been made that you chose to fixate on abortion and the religiosity of the peasants.

How about we return the discussion back to some of the other eight things I listed (reply #44) as possible factors that contributed to the start of the War. Maybe we can, I dunno, get back on topic and talk about that?

Quote
Since this discussion has narrowed itself down to focusing on the specifics - largely revolving around Archduke's assassination & preceding ethnic and/or political tensions between the Austrians & Bosnians - I thought I'd unwind things a little and go for a broader view. Below are some of the key factors I can think of that led to the war. I'd like to hear some thoughts on how much each of these factored in to the outbreak of hostilities in 1914 and what should be added (or subtracted from) the list...

- Tensions within the Balkan states in the decades leading up to the start of War. Followed by the inability of the great European powers to settle their disputes in the region or carve up the territory in an equitable manner. A vacuum being left as a result of this. No one power asserting authority or legitimacy as ruler/overseer of the region.

- The Ottoman Empire's downward spiral. Perhaps looking to make one last stand by strengthening their alliance with Germany and pressuring British interests in Middle Eastern territory that they still held sway over.

- The personal incompatibility and awkwardness of Kaiser Wilhelm II in relation to his royal cousins whose feelings generally ranged from distrust to downright disdain. Exemplifying this was Wilhelm's inferiority complex regarding England and the complicated relationship he had with Edward VII...two men of opposite personalities.

- Exacerbating the aforementioned personal tensions between the Kaiser and his European relatives was the bitterness felt by his Danish relatives toward Germany ever since the Schleswig-Holstein War of 1864. Given that two of the Danish princesses - the sisters Alexandra & Dagmar - just so happened to become Empresses of dominant European powers (England and Russia respectively), and given their sore feelings towards Prussian rule, this seems like a more important factor than perhaps it's given credit for.

- Germany's vigorous foreign policy under Chancellor Bismarck followed by its naval build up in the 1890s. Naturally discomforting to other European powers it was, mostly importantly, Britain whose hand was forced. The British, traditionally reluctant to forge the sort of alliances that ironically helped create the entanglements that led to the First World War, was suddenly in something of an arms race with Germany. This encouraged Britain to strengthen its ties with France (skillfully managed by Edward VII himself) and later Russia, thereby encircling Germany and infuriating the Kaiser and the German government.

- The disastrous result of Russo-Japanese War...a conflict all but encouraged by the German Kaiser...embarrassed Russia and helped spark revolutionary tensions at home leading to Bloody Sunday and permanent resentment of the Russian people towards their Tsar an autocratic regime. In England meanwhile the Boer Wars proved surprisingly difficult for the British who lost some face on the international stage as a result.

- The shock assassination of the Austrian Arch Duke in Sarajevo and the boiling over of tensions between the Austria-Hungarian empire and Bosnia. This guaranteed that even if all out continental war had narrowly been avoided that tensions between the two country's aforementioned allies (Germany & Russia) would still have required the kind of swift & strategic diplomacy Nicky & Willy proved incapable of.

- Bad luck, bad timing and downright stupidity...Russia lacked capable diplomats such as Sergei Witte (retired, somewhat discredited and near the end of his life) and Pyotr Stolypin (assassinated). Germany had no Bismarck to turn to and was contending with a power struggle between it's erratic, impetuous Kaiser and ambitious Generals asserting dominance in matters of foreign policy. France was a democratic state probably somewhat disrespected by the other imperial powers and lacking the sort of ambition & influence the U.S and President's Teddy Roosevelt (1901-09) & Woodrow Wilson (1913-21) brought to the table. England's George V lacked vision and intellect (much like his Russian cousin), wit & charm like his father, and the power & respect Queen Victoria had. In Austria there was a rift between the elderly conservative Emperor Franz Joseph and his somewhat over-confident progressive nephew heir to the throne.

...then of course you have Alexei's hemophilia and the influence of Rasputin. The Kaiser's disastrous Daily Telegraph interview in 1908 and deformed left arm. Much more than a mere physical impediment...something that seemed to shape his personality. Leopold Lojka's fateful incorrect turn down Franz Josef Street. King George's mixed signals to the Kaiser regarding Britain's intentions of neutrality or military involvement...Like a football team with a game plan and track record of success sometimes you don't need a series of events to connect the dots to a catastrophic event/defeat. You only need a key injury or someone to fumble the ball.

Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on February 23, 2017, 05:26:49 PM
The book "Defeat in Detail" by Edward Erikson deals with the Balkan wars 1912-13

As for Franz Ferdinand he was against going to war. he also was unpopular in part because he had plans when he became Emperor to turn the Empire into a federated nation. One does not know what have happened if he had not been assassinated but just about anything would have been better if there had been no WW I ect.
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on March 03, 2017, 01:05:14 PM
Some youtube presitations at the National WW I museum and memorial which may be of interest on this and other matters:

The Forgotten realm on the eve of the great war: Austria-Hungary July 1914
The Outbreak of war 1914
Between the rock and a hard place
Tides, Tectonic plates and talismans all over again
Title: Re: Signs of war in the Pre WW1 period
Post by: JamesAPrattIII on March 07, 2017, 12:05:12 PM
Eb in your reply 14 you asked about the pre WW I Russian defense build up. It is mentioned in the books "The Eastern Front 1914-1917" by Norman Stone and in more detail in On Effectiveness of Military Institutions Volume I WW I by Williamson Murray and Allan Millet