Author Topic: World War I - Reassessing the Blame  (Read 63729 times)

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Offline TimM

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #45 on: October 26, 2013, 10:56:32 AM »
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The governor of the provence was General Oscar Potiorek. After WW I started he was put in command of the Austrian force that invaded Serbia In spite of the fact he had never commanded a force larger than a division. To say the 2 or 3 depending on the source 1914 Austrian invasions were failures is putting it mildly. The word moron is a good word to describe him.

The way he bungled the job in Sarajevo, I'd have to agree.
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Offline londo954

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #46 on: October 26, 2013, 02:20:00 PM »
I think the chief contributing factors to WWI was the alliance system that was set up in previous years as well as the personalities of ALL the leaders involved

Offline TimM

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #47 on: October 26, 2013, 04:32:57 PM »
When egos get involved, logic often fails.
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Offline londo954

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #48 on: October 27, 2013, 07:51:38 PM »
I know for Nicholas the beginning of the war was a matter of honoring the treaties and obligations....the GIANT what if of this questions
What would have happened if he had halted or not mobilized

Offline Превед

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #49 on: November 08, 2013, 02:30:23 PM »
What made WW1 a very schizophrenic war is the substantial number of soldiers who hoped that the enemy would win and / or that their empire (and all empires) would loose:
Irish fighting for the UK, Alsatian-Lorrainers and South Jutlanders fighting for Germany, Czech nationalists and Italians fighting for Austria-Hungary, Poles fighting for Russia, Communists in all countries etc.
« Last Edit: November 08, 2013, 02:42:04 PM by Превед »
Берёзы севера мне милы,—
Их грустный, опущённый вид,
Как речь безмолвная могилы,
Горячку сердца холодит.

(Афанасий Фет: «Ивы и берёзы», 1843 / 1856)

Offline edubs31

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #50 on: November 08, 2013, 05:13:56 PM »
What made WW1 a very schizophrenic war is the substantial number of soldiers who hoped that the enemy would win and / or that their empire (and all empires) would loose:
Irish fighting for the UK, Alsatian-Lorrainers and South Jutlanders fighting for Germany, Czech nationalists and Italians fighting for Austria-Hungary, Poles fighting for Russia, Communists in all countries etc.

Good point. It's funny to consider nationalism as being one of the major factors for the start of the war. But I suppose we should separate the terms "nationalistic/patriotic" and "loyalty" just as we separate the views and actions of one's government from its citizens/subjects. I guess the divergence is best exhibited by how the governments of Europe simply were not keeping up with the rapidly changing times; culturally, political, technologically. The people were forced to rally around each other rather than their governments and were naturally suspicious of power and privilege during times of military and economic strife.

We see the United States was also in the midst of a progressive era at this time. One Democratic President served for eight years between 1913-21 and even his two predecessors who combined to occupy the White House for the first thirteen years of the century (Taft, Roosevelt) were decidedly left-leaning and progressive by modern Republican standards. The government of the United States proved far more flexible - both in the sense of its political apparatus, and in terms of the individuals of the era who led it - than the conservative monarchies and post-monarchies of Europe.

Of course the government of the United States wasn't tested (not at least since the Civil War) like that of England, France, Germany, Russia, Austria-Hungary, Ottoman's, etc. Nor was the US ever in any serious jeopardy of winding up on the losing side of the war. Public perception is influenced heavily, not only by the specific conditions unique to individuals themselves, but by broader perspective. Citizens and soldiers alike need hope and to be reassured by the likelihood of ultimate victory. When hope of this is lost, as it was in Russia by the time of the Tsar's abdication and in Germany not much later, people will often choose to pick a fight they can win. Can't beat the Germans? Take down the government. Can't be the allies? Depose the Kaiser.

The oft used phrase in sports is that "winning cures/takes care of everything". Does this not work for societies and governments also? Does anyone think that Nicholas would have been forced to abdicate had that Russian steamroller flattened Germany within a year or two as initially suggested? Maybe Nicholas's downfall, like that of a number of politicians, was not being able to remain popular and a source of national unity while tempering the lofty expectations put forth by his people...Of course you generally win elections and/or stay in power by shouting "Yes we can", not "No we shouldn't".
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Offline TimM

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #51 on: November 08, 2013, 07:13:40 PM »
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Does anyone think that Nicholas would have been forced to abdicate had that Russian steamroller flattened Germany within a year or two as initially suggested? Maybe Nicholas's downfall, like that of a number of politicians, was not being able to remain popular and a source of national unity while tempering the lofty expectations put forth by his people...Of course you generally win elections and/or stay in power by shouting "Yes we can", not "No we shouldn't".

The first President Bush won the first Gulf War.  It didn't help him in the 1992 Presidential Election, he got soundly trounced by Bill Clinton.
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Offline Rodney_G.

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #52 on: November 09, 2013, 01:34:51 PM »
What made WW1 a very schizophrenic war is the substantial number of soldiers who hoped that the enemy would win and / or that their empire (and all empires) would loose:
Irish fighting for the UK, Alsatian-Lorrainers and South Jutlanders fighting for Germany, Czech nationalists and Italians fighting for Austria-Hungary, Poles fighting for Russia, Communists in all countries etc.

One might also include in this regard: many Jews of the Russian Empire; national and ethnic groups within Austria-Hungary other than Austrians and Magyars;  some French and British Colonial troops .
Rodney G.

Offline edubs31

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #53 on: November 09, 2013, 05:04:27 PM »
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Does anyone think that Nicholas would have been forced to abdicate had that Russian steamroller flattened Germany within a year or two as initially suggested? Maybe Nicholas's downfall, like that of a number of politicians, was not being able to remain popular and a source of national unity while tempering the lofty expectations put forth by his people...Of course you generally win elections and/or stay in power by shouting "Yes we can", not "No we shouldn't".

The first President Bush won the first Gulf War.  It didn't help him in the 1992 Presidential Election, he got soundly trounced by Bill Clinton.

I see your point Tim but the reasons for Bush's defeat differ greatly with Nicholas's abdication. "Operation Desert Storm" looks like a minor skirmish compared to World War I. Needless to say the countries involved had far more invested in the Great War also - aside from Iraq and Kuwait of course. Had Nicholas led Russia to an easy victory over the Germans, like Bush did over Hussein and Iraq, he'd have been viewed as a national hero.

Comparing a Tsar to a President has its limitations also. For one, the American people voted Bush out in the election of 1992 in what was a peaceful demonstration. The Tsar was forced to abdicate under conditions that an American President has never had, and God willing, never will have to face…Losing a global war, economy in tatters, revolution. All taking place at the same time! Even Lincoln didn't have it as difficult.

Were Nicholas II up for reelection every four years its possible he may have been voted off the throne. But choosing not to vote for someone and wanting them dead, as in the radical socialist attitudes towards Nicholas in Russia, are two VERY different things. Really the only thing the two had in common was an economic downturn near the end of their "reign". But again the collapse that took place in WWI-era Russia really doesn't compare to the recession of 1991/92 in the United States. For Bush it was really bad timing. Perot and Clinton had ramped up their attacks effectively enough by the fall of '92 to defeat a sitting President who would easily have stayed in power had those elections taken place in either November '89, '90, or '91 instead.
Once in a while you get shown the light, in the strangest of places if you look at it right...

Offline TimM

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #54 on: November 10, 2013, 11:40:31 AM »
What Nicholas should have done is use the same weapons that defeated Napoleon and would later defeat Hitler, the size of Russia and the Russian winter.

He should have pulled back deep into Russia and let the Germans come to him.  The farther the Germans go into Russia, the longer their supply lines get, which the Cossacks could then harry.   The Kaiser's troops would be no more prepared for the Russian winter than Hitler's were.  Let winter hit them, then send in the Cossacks to finish them off. 

I think this might have worked.  The Russians would have had the home turf advantage here.
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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #55 on: November 16, 2013, 08:29:26 PM »
TimM

The Russians did retreat after the Germans and Austrians broke through as a result of the Golrice-Tarnow offensive in 1915. As a result of the retreat just about every politician in the Duma got up and denounced the government for incompetence ect. The german advance into Russia as a result of this offensive ended in September 1915. Falkenhayn was against any farther advances into Russia. It should also be pointed out the germans really could not advance too much farther into Russia because they could not keep their armies supplied. Note: A WW I army really can't advance that far from a railhead. So the germans had plenty of time from September to dig in and bring up winter gear. As for Cossacks harassing them. Russian attempts to send Cossacks and partisans on raids behind German lines usually ended in failure. 1916-17 was a different war than 1812 or 1941-44 they just didn't work out. The Russians did practice "scorched earth" for awhile during the 1915 retreat which created several million refugees. Who if they didn't like the government before sure hated it afterwards as their homes were looted and burned and they were driven off to the East. Taking care of them helped cause the breakdown of the Russian rail system that hekped cause the Feb/Mar 1917 revolution.

Offline TimM

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #56 on: November 17, 2013, 11:33:30 AM »
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It should also be pointed out the germans really could not advance too much farther into Russia because they could not keep their armies supplied.

Isn't that exactly what happened in World War II?

Surely, if the more advanced WWII German Army couldn't handle the Russian winter, then surely the Kaiser's army would have been quickly finished off.
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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #57 on: November 18, 2013, 08:28:00 PM »
These are the differences:
WW I 1915: The Germans stopped their offensive in September they had time to dig in, resupply, issue their troops winter gear before winter hit them. They also were not hit by constant Russian attacks all winter all along their front line like what happened in 1941-42. The germans and Austrians also had a fairly straight line to hold from the Baltic to the Rumanian border. Their armies didn't advance as fast as WW II armies so they could be supplied by rail. Thay also never went farther than 175 miles from their own territories which made supply easier. The Germans and Austrians also had good intelligence on Russian movements and offensives. The winter clothing they had back then may not have been all that sophisticated but it did keep you warm. Also in WW I defense had an edge over the offensive.

WW II 1941: The germans kept attacking until the end of November 1941 until their troops couldn't go any farther. When they stopped they couldn't dig in because the ground was frozen solid. They were hit with a series of large scale Russian offensives the entire length of their front which went from then Leningrad to the Black sea. There front line was anything but straight. Defense didn't have it over the offensive like WW I. The Germans had to supply these forces a much greater distance from Germany than in WW I and they could not get the suppies they needed including winter equipment to the front in the amount they needed. The Russians also practiced deception rather well so the Germans were often taken by surprise by the Russian attacks..

Offline TimM

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #58 on: November 21, 2013, 11:36:16 AM »
So if Hitler had done what the Kaiser did, history might have been a lot different.
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Offline JamesAPrattIII

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Re: World War I - Reassessing the Blame
« Reply #59 on: November 27, 2013, 04:02:29 PM »
You might say that Hitler implemented some really brutal, racist and inept occupation policies in Russia that soon alienated the people in most of the areas he conquered. They also motivated the Red army to fight harder. This is what lost the war in Russia more than anything else. A number of Germans tried to tell him he needed to change his policies but Hitler refused. Some people then and now think that if a less brutal and more politicaly smart occupation policy had been implemented Hitler would have defeated the USSR. One of them was believe it or not Soviet leader joseph Stalin. So you can say the Kaiser's policy of bringing down the Russian Empire in a campaign of internal subversion worked.

Some other things I would like to point out: It was Hitler and his Generals who decided at the end of October 1941 who decided to launch the final offensive towards Moscow. Having defeated the Red army in battle after another they were thinking one more great battle they will capture Moscow and win the war. Which is why they kept attacking until their troops were totally exhausted. Other things that need to be pointed out. The germans throughout the war underestimated the Red army and what it could do. Also in both world wars the germans  lacked the resources to fight a long multi front war and had real problems keeping their armies adequetly supplied.