Author Topic: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?  (Read 27709 times)

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Offline Annie

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Just about every single war and conflict of the last 90 years can be traced directly or indirectly to WWI. The only exceptions may be some civil wars in underdeveloped countries. Let's examine the wars that have happened since, and their causes. Just about everything dates back to WWI, and the hapless dissecting of Europe and the Ottoman Empire in the treaties that followed.

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

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

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

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

I'm sure the list could go on. I do wonder what the world would be like today had cooler heads prevailed, and WWI never came to pass.
« Last Edit: October 10, 2007, 12:56:10 PM by Annie »

Offline FairyCutie86

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This is all so true.  Great information!

Offline Annie

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Thanks! I'm so glad somebody finally answered! I thought this would be a great, deep topic we could get into discussing here.

Olishka~ Pincess

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Annie, this is very interesting thanks for posting it! I think World War I was the war that stated all the drama. Anyone notice that World War II is more discussed and know about more than World War I. This is very informative.

Offline Greenowl

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It is an interesting topic, no doubt about that, but one that has been touched upon in several other threads, e.g. the Habsburg and Hohenzollern threads as well as (I think) Nicholas II. I don’t agree that the Second World War has received greater attention than the First, and it is certainly not the case in this Forum. 

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

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

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

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


Offline FairyCutie86

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Annie, this is very interesting thanks for posting it! I think World War I was the war that stated all the drama. Anyone notice that World War II is more discussed and know about more than World War I. This is very informative.

I totally agree with you.  World War I most certainly started all of the drama.  Personally, I have always been far more intrigued about WWII, becuase there was so much that happened.  Even in my history classes way back when in high school (ok only 3 years ago), we discussed WWII more than WWI.  I think alot of students just find WWII more interesting for some reason when WWI is just as fascinating.  Thanks for posting this forum Annie!

Offline imperial angel

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That's true, it was the first modern war, and it really started the modern world, and modern warefare. I think that people find World War II more interesting because it is more contemporary, closer to our times, as in people who were alive at that time, are much more likely to be alive today than people who were alive in 1914. We are almost on the century mark there. Misconceptions about modern war did play a huge role in World War I, as did the alliance system of the time, unrest in the Balkans, complacency about war, the leadership involved, etc these were the root causes of the war in my opinion. Either way, it is a fascinating topic to study. I first got interested in World War I and that era has an 8 year old reading L. M. Montgomery's Rilla of Ingleside, which is a kids book, but gives a good picture of how young people at the time dealt with the war, and lived during it. I have always liked World War I poetry, if anybody here likes literature, it express the realities of the time in a beautiful way. I have a rendezvous with death ( however you spell that) In Flanders Fields, the poetry of Rupert Brooke, etc. I can find and post it, if anybody wants me too, or at least I can post my favorite.

Offline Mari

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Very interesting and since you brought up Verdun I thought I would post this:
 
The Battle of Verdun was one of the most important battles in World War I on the Western Front, fought between the German and French armies from 21 February to 18 December 1916 around the city of Verdun-sur-Meuse in northeast France. It remains one of the longest battles in history, spanning roughly 10 months. see Alistair Horne, The Price of Glory: Verdun 1916 (Viking-Penguin, 1991) p.1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And Imperial Angel do post your favorite of Rupert Brooke please?  I wish Ken Burns would do a Documentary of WWI!

Offline Greenowl

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Mari, that quote you gave from a French Soldier:
"You eat beside the dead; you drink beside the dead, you relieve yourself beside the dead and you sleep beside the dead." is very apt, as that is what the situation was like for these unfortunate men. I have heard it said that there in not a metre of soil in Verdun today that was not living matter (either man or horse) 90 years ago. However, nowadays nature has covered the scars of battle (and even some of the former villages, which were never inhabited again) and thus a walk in the former communication trenches is an almost pleasant experience, as there are new trees, green grass, moss and even some flowers and I had to keep reminding myself of where I was. However, there are certain areas on one side of the fort that remain closed to the public as it is feared that there are still mines there, although I wonder if they would still be lethal after all these years?

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

Imperial Angel, please post your favourite of Rupert Brooke poems!
« Last Edit: October 19, 2007, 12:45:21 PM by Greenowl »

Offline Mari

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I like looking at the People that were involved in WWI..so while we're waiting for a Poem or a view on how WWI could have been prevented,  I thought I might post this.   In War, I read there are the Hunters and the Hunted.  Here is a Hunter WWI flying Ace ,Manfred von Richthofen the famous Red Baron. 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

« Last Edit: October 20, 2007, 01:17:56 AM by Mari »

Offline imperial angel

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Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
« Reply #10 on: October 21, 2007, 02:33:17 AM »
I will post in Flanders Field ( it isn't by Rupert Brooke though), which is my favorite World War I poem, but this is my favorite Rupert Brooke, World War I poem.

v. The Soldier

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

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

Sorry for how long that took, I've been busy recently.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
« Reply #11 on: October 21, 2007, 02:51:43 AM »
Okay, this is my favorite World War I poem.

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae (1872-1918)

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

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

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

There you have the whole mood of a generation, and the whole meanning of a war, or at least that seems so to me. In L. M. Montgomery's kids book which I read at 8 ( Rilla of Ingleside) I was most interested in Walter, who was Rilla's brother, and a doomed young soldier. Many doomed young soldiers emotions are caught up in this poem, as are those of Engish soldiers in Rupert Brooke's aptyly named The Soldier.

Offline imperial angel

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Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
« Reply #12 on: October 21, 2007, 08:46:33 PM »
Okay, this is the last World War I poem I really, really like.

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

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

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

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

Anyway, those are three young soldiers who were doomed and that is their take on the war, three views. I would love to read more World War poetry or thoughts on the war to end all wars. I forgot to post Rupert Brooke's dates of birth and death which are (1887-1915), so we have three different soldiers, who died in three different years of the war represented here. It sometimes seems to me that the well known World War I poetry is all by young soldiers who died in it, as well as fought. Are there any really well known poems by those who fought, but lived? I'm sure there are lesser known ones, but apart from Rupert Brooke, who is quite well known, these other two weren't well known poets ( as far as I know), so how famous these poems are really owes something to the fact they are good expressions of a generation who indeed die in this war, as they pretty much predicted they would in these poems. Of course, many did die who left no record of their emotions or thoughts behind them, at least in poetry, which is evocative, and can speak across many generations, as these poems do for me anyway.
« Last Edit: October 21, 2007, 08:56:33 PM by imperial angel »

Offline Mari

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Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
« Reply #13 on: October 24, 2007, 03:10:34 AM »
WWII was built on WWI and so the division of the German spoils sets Germany up to Smoulder. During the period after the War Germany will enter a Depression and thus allow the rise of the Nazi Party. The United States will not enter a Depression until 1929 and enter a period of isolationism. "The war caused the disintegration of four empires: the Austro-Hungarian, German, Ottoman and Russian. Germany lost its colonial empire and states such as Czechoslovakia, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Yugoslavia gained independence. The cost of waging the war set the stage for the breakup of the British Empire as well and left France devastated for more than a generation."

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

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

A History of the Twentieth Century by Martin Gilbert

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

Vladimir Lenin asserted that imperialism was responsible for the war. He drew upon the economic theories of Karl Marx and English economist John A. Hobson, who predicted that unlimited competition for expanding markets would lead to a global conflict.[7] This argument was popular in the wake of the war and assisted in the rise of Communism. Lenin argued that the banking interests of various capitalist-imperialist powers orchestrated the war.[8]
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_I
« Last Edit: October 24, 2007, 03:29:07 AM by Mari »

Offline Mari

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Re: WWI- ever notice how many wars were started by the "War to End all Wars"?
« Reply #14 on: October 24, 2007, 03:33:12 AM »
Well, could WWI have been prevented?