100 years later - remembering world war 1
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31-01-2014, 05:45 AM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
(30-01-2014 08:21 PM)Brownshirt Wrote:  ...
Anyway, my point?

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-25156510

Hmmm. Interesting stuff. Genetic memory intrigues me much... more from an organisational perspective but still.

btw, this article might be better placed in the Science section?

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31-01-2014, 05:10 PM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
(28-01-2014 01:25 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  Wait, are you saying that WW1 was Canada's first war?

Um, no?

(28-01-2014 01:25 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  What about the Bore War?

Boer...
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(28-01-2014 01:25 AM)earmuffs Wrote:  New Zealand troops fought in the Bore War, surely Canadian troops did also.

Yes, there were Canadian troops sent. But they were sent at a regimental level and somewhat piecemeal. Perhaps 10,000 Canadians served (including non-military personnel such as medical staff). Compare the 600,000 who were dragged into WWI...

The WWI cohort was perforce more organized, given how much more substantial it was.

(28-01-2014 03:02 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  I don't see him saying that WWI was Canada's first war; only that the First Canadian Division was formed then. The FCD was formation of the Canadian Expeditionary Force; basically a military force deployed in a foreign nation.

Also, in point of fact: Canadian forces were deployed by the British Empire during the Second Boer War. Over 7,000 Canadian soldiers and support personnel were involved in the second Boer war from October 1899 to May 1902. Prior to WWI, it was the largest military action undertaken by Canadian forces.

Yes. That.
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31-01-2014, 07:32 PM (This post was last modified: 31-01-2014 09:11 PM by JAH.)
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
Odd side story to the serious discussion above. My great uncles, and I think maybe my grandfather was involved, owned a german restaurant in Chicago when WWI was declared, it was named after the family name which was clearly germanic. They had a rock thrown thru the window. I do not know the rest of the story for sure but I am pretty certain they closed the restaurant shortly thereafter. I have seen at some point a picture of the broken window and the family name above it.

I think the most fascinating aspect of WWI is how the treaty of Versailles set up germany for failure and how it led it to accept the demagogue that was Hitler. It is also interesting to me how a war economy then re-energized germany, much as it did later for the US. One should note that the world wide depression in the interim did not help germany much.

If you care to know "The Germans are coming" my great-grandfather was from Darmstadt om Main.
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31-01-2014, 10:13 PM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
It wasn't just the war economy that re-energized Germany, though. The single biggest step was unilaterally scrapping the Versailles treaty.

Oh, here's an interesting tidbit that crosses threads and topics - someone who attended the negotiations in Versailles predicted that the reparations and conditions being forced on Germany would not only bankrupt them but would lead to another rise in German nationalism and result in another massive European war. And, that someone was none other than John Maynard Keynes. THE HORROR!!!!!!

As for Germany's war economy was re-energized faster than the US, I'm not sure that's really true. The US was very xenophobic and had not yet realized it was their problem to be involved in every problem in the world, so getting support - and Congressional votes - to start a massive military build up was not so easy. Unlike Hitler, Roosevelt couldn't just give an order and make it happen. He needed Congress to vote for the appropriations and to agree to his policies. Once that finally happen, the US came forward rapidly. It just took us a lot longer to get out of the gate. The British had much the same problem. Their people did not want another war and many felt arming themselves again could only result in a fight. Chamberlain is one of the most maligned people in history and his completely blamed for the Appeasement Strategy, but I'm not sure what he really could have done. And, to his credit, when he got back from his meetings with Hitler in Munich and publically declared "pease for our time", he privately told his government there was not going to be peace for much longer and that they needed to hurry up and start building airplanes as fast as they could.

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31-01-2014, 10:36 PM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
BnW, I clearly must study up on my pre-WWII german history. I had no knowledge that germany unilaterally scraped the Versailles treaty. The war economy certainly did not hurt the recovery of germany. I would suspect that I might find that given the conditions of other european nations at the time they found that resisting that would be too costly.

I know the US was slow to respond. I suspect that japanese historians find that the raid on Pearl Harbor was a huge mistake. It woke up the one country in the world that because of its distance from the other combatants made it a place that could produce the armaments that could defeat the axis.

It remains whether a forceful "League of Nations" or an early attempt at the european union might have prevented the horror that was WWII. I would continue to say that the oppressive nature of the treaty of Versailles led to WWII.

If I might, the seeds of WWII were sown by the victors of WWI.
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31-01-2014, 11:49 PM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  It wasn't just the war economy that re-energized Germany, though. The single biggest step was unilaterally scrapping the Versailles treaty.

Nah - it was the phat loot. Like, literally. From '38 on Germany ran on loot.

Prior to that it was everybody's recovery. By '33 and the Nazi takeover the worst was almost over. So '34, '35, '36, most countries' economies had nowhere to go but up.

(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  Oh, here's an interesting tidbit that crosses threads and topics - someone who attended the negotiations in Versailles predicted that the reparations and conditions being forced on Germany would not only bankrupt them but would lead to another rise in German nationalism and result in another massive European war. And, that someone was none other than John Maynard Keynes. THE HORROR!!!!!!

It's very easy to remember predictions when they were correct! Keynes was far from the only one to say "there will be another war". But since it happened, we say, "oh, how prescient!", as opposed to "as likely to be wrong as right"...

(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  As for Germany's war economy was re-energized faster than the US, I'm not sure that's really true. The US was very xenophobic and had not yet realized it was their problem to be involved in every problem in the world, so getting support - and Congressional votes - to start a massive military build up was not so easy.

I'm not sure that bears out; the naval build-up was certainly a demonstrative foreign policy move. And led to the Washington treaty - a cap via diplomacy by the UK and Japan, who damn well knew they couldn't keep up economically if no brakes were applied...

Certainly there was a strong isolationist streak, but so far as military policy was concerned that was very much branch-selective.

(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  Unlike Hitler, Roosevelt couldn't just give an order and make it happen. He needed Congress to vote for the appropriations and to agree to his policies. Once that finally happen, the US came forward rapidly. It just took us a lot longer to get out of the gate. The British had much the same problem. Their people did not want another war and many felt arming themselves again could only result in a fight. Chamberlain is one of the most maligned people in history and his completely blamed for the Appeasement Strategy, but I'm not sure what he really could have done. And, to his credit, when he got back from his meetings with Hitler in Munich and publically declared "pease for our time", he privately told his government there was not going to be peace for much longer and that they needed to hurry up and start building airplanes as fast as they could.

Actually the UK and France were very much preparing for war - in 1941. After Mussolini stood down Hitler over Austria (in 1934) but then had no backup in '38 over the Anschluss and the Czechoslovak question, well, the Pact of Steel happened. And by then everyone knew a reckoning was due eventually.

But nobody thought the Germans would gamble so wildly in 1939-1940. And the invasion of France was very much a shoestring want-of-a-nail wild toss of the dice. The German army took the odds and won, which is why it looks brilliant in hindsight...

(31-01-2014 10:36 PM)JAH Wrote:  BnW, I clearly must study up on my pre-WWII german history. I had no knowledge that germany unilaterally scraped the Versailles treaty. The war economy certainly did not hurt the recovery of germany. I would suspect that I might find that given the conditions of other european nations at the time they found that resisting that would be too costly.

They didn't repudiate the treaty in one go; they publicly repudiated parts of it, yes, but always piecemeal (over several years - re-occupying and re-militarising the Saar and the Rhineland, military expansion, etc). And by '37-'38, they didn't bother repudiating, just ignoring.

(31-01-2014 10:36 PM)JAH Wrote:  I know the US was slow to respond. I suspect that japanese historians find that the raid on Pearl Harbor was a huge mistake. It woke up the one country in the world that because of its distance from the other combatants made it a place that could produce the armaments that could defeat the axis.

Given lend-lease and armed neutrality and shipping convoys, that was rather true already!

By Japanese lights the Pearl Harbour attack was down-right essential. The Philippines threatened the supply lines to the East Indies, the Philippines were American, therefore America had to be prevented from interfering. Ergo, destroy their fleet and break the morale of the corrupt mongrel hedonist USA so they give up and stay home.

But then, you can't really expect rationality from fascists...

(31-01-2014 10:36 PM)JAH Wrote:  It remains whether a forceful "League of Nations" or an early attempt at the european union might have prevented the horror that was WWII. I would continue to say that the oppressive nature of the treaty of Versailles led to WWII.

If I might, the seeds of WWII were sown by the victors of WWI.

Many, many things could have averted WWII. Not quite as many as WWI, but a lot.

If you want my thesis (you probably don't Wink ) then it is the Depression and the Depression alone that led to WWII (and market crashes are very much a mob phenomenon - hence, eminently avoidable if one could somehow re-roll the dice). That's what pushed things over the line into making it so much as possible. 1920's Weimar Germany was no war-making state. It took a knife's edge power grab by the Nazis in '33 for WWII-as-we-know-it to become possible. Not to mention the re-alignment in Japan of the zaibatsu with the military (having been opposed during the 20s) due to the economic dislocation (well, and also the '27 Kanto earthquake)...

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01-02-2014, 01:52 AM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
(31-01-2014 11:49 PM)cjlr Wrote:  If you want my thesis (you probably don't Wink ) then it is the Depression and the Depression alone that led to WWII (and market crashes are very much a mob phenomenon - hence, eminently avoidable if one could somehow re-roll the dice). That's what pushed things over the line into making it so much as possible. 1920's Weimar Germany was no war-making state. It took a knife's edge power grab by the Nazis in '33 for WWII-as-we-know-it to become possible.

I think my history teacher and yourself would get along quite well. He is quite fond of the idea that the Depression is responsible for the rise of Hitler, and subsequently WWII.

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01-02-2014, 08:18 AM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
(31-01-2014 11:49 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Nah - it was the phat loot. Like, literally. From '38 on Germany ran on loot.

Prior to that it was everybody's recovery. By '33 and the Nazi takeover the worst was almost over. So '34, '35, '36, most countries' economies had nowhere to go but up.

There was another dip in the late 30s but, yes, there was some level of recovery going on for many years. It was pretty slow, though. The US economy has been recovering for some time but there is a big difference between "better" and "good". And, my point was that Germany would not have recovered at all if they had not stopped paying the reparations.

(31-01-2014 11:49 PM)cjlr Wrote:  It's very easy to remember predictions when they were correct! Keynes was far from the only one to say "there will be another war". But since it happened, we say, "oh, how prescient!", as opposed to "as likely to be wrong as right"...

True, but Keynes said it in real time. He was at Versailles and I believe, when the treaty was put forth, he was saying it was a really bad idea. He may not have been the only one, I really don't know. I dropped that in mostly for the humor aspect, though.

(31-01-2014 11:49 PM)cjlr Wrote:  I'm not sure that bears out; the naval build-up was certainly a demonstrative foreign policy move. And led to the Washington treaty - a cap via diplomacy by the UK and Japan, who damn well knew they couldn't keep up economically if no brakes were applied...

Certainly there was a strong isolationist streak, but so far as military policy was concerned that was very much branch-selective.

My point was that military spending, as a portion of GDP, was really low. Of coure we spent some money but we were not in any way ready to go to war until we started a massive build up. And, even our Naval build up didn't really start until after Pearl Harbor. Go look at how many aircraft carries were built after the battle at Midway. To be fair, that was partly because we did not fully appreciate the value of those ships until after Midway.

(31-01-2014 11:49 PM)cjlr Wrote:  Actually the UK and France were very much preparing for war - in 1941. After Mussolini stood down Hitler over Austria (in 1934) but then had no backup in '38 over the Anschluss and the Czechoslovak question, well, the Pact of Steel happened. And by then everyone knew a reckoning was due eventually.

But nobody thought the Germans would gamble so wildly in 1939-1940. And the invasion of France was very much a shoestring want-of-a-nail wild toss of the dice. The German army took the odds and won, which is why it looks brilliant in hindsight...

I don't understand your comment about 1941 as the war started in 1939. And, France started preparing for war a lot earlier but they knew that they were screwed if Germany militarized again. England took a while to get moving, though. A democracy just takes a lot longer as you need to convince people and vote on it. Hitler just gave orders. There is an excellent book called Figther Boys about the Battle of Brittain. The first part of the book talks about the forming of the RAF and the problems they had preparing for the inevitable war due to the various issues they had as a democracy. The book in general was, I thought, a pretty good account of the whole thing.

As for some of the other comments - no, the Germans did not repudiate Versailles all at once but the stopping of the reparations payments was a very big first step for them and one that made their rearming possible. As for the idea that the Depression allowed the rise of Hitler, is that controversial? I was always taught that the Depression is what caused the climate that made the Nazi rise to power possible. I suppose it's possible they could have come to power anyway, it's impossible to really play "what if". Btw, I love this stuff and can discuss it for ever. Do you have a history background? I love history. I read it all the time. I have not read any WWII stuff in a few years but this is making me think I may pick some up again.

JAH - there are countless books on pre-Nazi Germany and Hitler's rise to power. One I would recommend is Hitler and Nazi German by Jackson Spielvogel. It goes all through the history and the conditions that lead to Hitlers rise. There are a lot of books that do the same thing but I'm partial to this one because Dr. Spielvogel was one of my professors when I was in college. I actually have an autograped first edition of the book somewhere on my book shelf. I may actually pick it up and read it again.

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01-02-2014, 08:35 AM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
(31-01-2014 11:49 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  It wasn't just the war economy that re-energized Germany, though. The single biggest step was unilaterally scrapping the Versailles treaty.

Nah - it was the phat loot. Like, literally. From '38 on Germany ran on loot.

Prior to that it was everybody's recovery. By '33 and the Nazi takeover the worst was almost over. So '34, '35, '36, most countries' economies had nowhere to go but up.

(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  Oh, here's an interesting tidbit that crosses threads and topics - someone who attended the negotiations in Versailles predicted that the reparations and conditions being forced on Germany would not only bankrupt them but would lead to another rise in German nationalism and result in another massive European war. And, that someone was none other than John Maynard Keynes. THE HORROR!!!!!!

It's very easy to remember predictions when they were correct! Keynes was far from the only one to say "there will be another war". But since it happened, we say, "oh, how prescient!", as opposed to "as likely to be wrong as right"...

(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  As for Germany's war economy was re-energized faster than the US, I'm not sure that's really true. The US was very xenophobic and had not yet realized it was their problem to be involved in every problem in the world, so getting support - and Congressional votes - to start a massive military build up was not so easy.

I'm not sure that bears out; the naval build-up was certainly a demonstrative foreign policy move. And led to the Washington treaty - a cap via diplomacy by the UK and Japan, who damn well knew they couldn't keep up economically if no brakes were applied...

Certainly there was a strong isolationist streak, but so far as military policy was concerned that was very much branch-selective.

(31-01-2014 10:13 PM)BnW Wrote:  Unlike Hitler, Roosevelt couldn't just give an order and make it happen. He needed Congress to vote for the appropriations and to agree to his policies. Once that finally happen, the US came forward rapidly. It just took us a lot longer to get out of the gate. The British had much the same problem. Their people did not want another war and many felt arming themselves again could only result in a fight. Chamberlain is one of the most maligned people in history and his completely blamed for the Appeasement Strategy, but I'm not sure what he really could have done. And, to his credit, when he got back from his meetings with Hitler in Munich and publically declared "pease for our time", he privately told his government there was not going to be peace for much longer and that they needed to hurry up and start building airplanes as fast as they could.

Actually the UK and France were very much preparing for war - in 1941. After Mussolini stood down Hitler over Austria (in 1934) but then had no backup in '38 over the Anschluss and the Czechoslovak question, well, the Pact of Steel happened. And by then everyone knew a reckoning was due eventually.

But nobody thought the Germans would gamble so wildly in 1939-1940. And the invasion of France was very much a shoestring want-of-a-nail wild toss of the dice. The German army took the odds and won, which is why it looks brilliant in hindsight...

(31-01-2014 10:36 PM)JAH Wrote:  BnW, I clearly must study up on my pre-WWII german history. I had no knowledge that germany unilaterally scraped the Versailles treaty. The war economy certainly did not hurt the recovery of germany. I would suspect that I might find that given the conditions of other european nations at the time they found that resisting that would be too costly.

They didn't repudiate the treaty in one go; they publicly repudiated parts of it, yes, but always piecemeal (over several years - re-occupying and re-militarising the Saar and the Rhineland, military expansion, etc). And by '37-'38, they didn't bother repudiating, just ignoring.

(31-01-2014 10:36 PM)JAH Wrote:  I know the US was slow to respond. I suspect that japanese historians find that the raid on Pearl Harbor was a huge mistake. It woke up the one country in the world that because of its distance from the other combatants made it a place that could produce the armaments that could defeat the axis.

Given lend-lease and armed neutrality and shipping convoys, that was rather true already!

By Japanese lights the Pearl Harbour attack was down-right essential. The Philippines threatened the supply lines to the East Indies, the Philippines were American, therefore America had to be prevented from interfering. Ergo, destroy their fleet and break the morale of the corrupt mongrel hedonist USA so they give up and stay home.

But then, you can't really expect rationality from fascists...

(31-01-2014 10:36 PM)JAH Wrote:  It remains whether a forceful "League of Nations" or an early attempt at the european union might have prevented the horror that was WWII. I would continue to say that the oppressive nature of the treaty of Versailles led to WWII.

If I might, the seeds of WWII were sown by the victors of WWI.

Many, many things could have averted WWII. Not quite as many as WWI, but a lot.

If you want my thesis (you probably don't Wink ) then it is the Depression and the Depression alone that led to WWII (and market crashes are very much a mob phenomenon - hence, eminently avoidable if one could somehow re-roll the dice). That's what pushed things over the line into making it so much as possible. 1920's Weimar Germany was no war-making state. It took a knife's edge power grab by the Nazis in '33 for WWII-as-we-know-it to become possible. Not to mention the re-alignment in Japan of the zaibatsu with the military (having been opposed during the 20s) due to the economic dislocation (well, and also the '27 Kanto earthquake)...

Without the Nazis, there may well not have been a European war, unless Mussolini's loony aspirations to empire could cause one.

However, the Japanese would likely have precipitated a war in the Pacific, regardless.

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01-02-2014, 09:34 AM
RE: 100 years later - remembering world war 1
(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  There was another dip in the late 30s but, yes, there was some level of recovery going on for many years. It was pretty slow, though. The US economy has been recovering for some time but there is a big difference between "better" and "good". And, my point was that Germany would not have recovered at all if they had not stopped paying the reparations.

The vast majority of reparations were paid in the early 1920s, and payments were finally suspended in 1931 - two years before the Nazis took power!

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  True, but Keynes said it in real time. He was at Versailles and I believe, when the treaty was put forth, he was saying it was a really bad idea. He may not have been the only one, I really don't know. I dropped that in mostly for the humor aspect, though.

Indeed, I know, and several of the signatories expressed similar sentiments.
(the maréchal Foch on the French side perhaps most famously)

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  My point was that military spending, as a portion of GDP, was really low. Of coure we spent some money but we were not in any way ready to go to war until we started a massive build up. And, even our Naval build up didn't really start until after Pearl Harbor.

The US naval build-up started during WWI (well - actually you can trace it back to McKinley and TR). Under Wilson the navy was supposed to expand massively. Obviously come 1919 there was no more Hochseeflotte to play, and the French had given up on top tier status years ago, but the UK felt obliged to keep up, and Japan too...

Example: the Japanese plan (which was already more than they could afford) called for 8 new battleships. The British plan called for 8 of their own (that they could ill-afford). The American plan was for 50.

But, really, everyone was cutting military spending in the 1920s, and cutting massively. The US could maintain a lower percentage rate, absolutely, but I'd say that's primarily due simply to a larger economy (and, y'know, a non-exhausted-by-four-years-of-grinding-total-war economy!).

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  Go look at how many aircraft carries were built after the battle at Midway. To be fair, that was partly because we did not fully appreciate the value of those ships until after Midway.

Indeed; the US could build more in several months than Japan built in six years.

But it's not like the Japanese weren't aware of the disparity; just that their ideology said they wouldn't need fight a war of attrition.

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  I don't understand your comment about 1941 as the war started in 1939.

The UK and France had started serious re-armament in 1938 (I highly doubt Chamberlain's line was anything but for the press, for example - the military leadership and the political classes knew the shit was starting to hit the fan). Their problem was that they figured they'd have longer to get ready.

If the Germans had waited until 1941 they'd've been turned back at the border. As it was, the 1940 invasion was very much a wild desperation gamble. The German economy was about to tank and the longer they waited the stronger the opposition got (and actually the same principles applied the following year in the east, for that matter).

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  And, France started preparing for war a lot earlier but they knew that they were screwed if Germany militarized again. England took a while to get moving, though. A democracy just takes a lot longer as you need to convince people and vote on it. Hitler just gave orders. There is an excellent book called Figther Boys about the Battle of Brittain. The first part of the book talks about the forming of the RAF and the problems they had preparing for the inevitable war due to the various issues they had as a democracy. The book in general was, I thought, a pretty good account of the whole thing.

Eh... kind of.

Far more of a problem than selling it to the general public (who, watching the Germans, the Italians, the Soviets, the Japanese, etc, did figure preparing for the worst would be prudent) was the issue of inter-service politics and the personalities of the top brass (in the UK, yes, and even more so in France).
(consider the fate of the UK Fleet Air Arm, compared to the RAF, for example - or, hell, look at the squabbling between Coastal, Bomber, and Fighter commands while there was a war on!)

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  As for some of the other comments - no, the Germans did not repudiate Versailles all at once but the stopping of the reparations payments was a very big first step for them and one that made their rearming possible.

They stopped in 1931 as mentioned; this was amidst a general economic collapse and nobody begrudged them the act.

Not that any had ever really expected the full amounts to be paid.

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  As for the idea that the Depression allowed the rise of Hitler, is that controversial? I was always taught that the Depression is what caused the climate that made the Nazi rise to power possible. I suppose it's possible they could have come to power anyway, it's impossible to really play "what if".

Oh, certainly. But it was economic desperation that got them their best election results (early '32) and their vote went down in late '32. It was street gangs and paramilitaries which won the '33 elections...

'Course there were lots of extremist parties doing the same dance at the time. Just that the Nazis were the best at it.

(01-02-2014 08:18 AM)BnW Wrote:  Btw, I love this stuff and can discuss it for ever. Do you have a history background? I love history. I read it all the time. I have not read any WWII stuff in a few years but this is making me think I may pick some up again.

I also love talking about it.

Mind, I'm a physicist, so I haven't had much time for history in my academic life.
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(01-02-2014 01:52 AM)Free Thought Wrote:  I think my history teacher and yourself would get along quite well. He is quite fond of the idea that the Depression is responsible for the rise of Hitler, and subsequently WWII.

I think that's a fairly well-known thesis; what I think is less known is the extent to which the Japanese militarist takeover was precipitated by the economic conditions of 1930 and 1931.

I'm not entirely sure why, because the process is so fascinatingly parallel, that more isn't made of the downfall of Taisho democracy in the same breath as the collapse of Weimar Germany.

(01-02-2014 08:35 AM)Chas Wrote:  Without the Nazis, there may well not have been a European war, unless Mussolini's loony aspirations to empire could cause one.

Mussolini might well have tried some damnfool thing in the Balkans, but he was at heart fairly cautious.

Cold War era propaganda about Stalin's slavering Commie Hordes aside.
(because, yeah, that was not going to happen - not that Red Alert isn't a great game!)

I think some border adjustments would have been possible in any case, though. Poland in particular was a shambling geographical horror.

(01-02-2014 08:35 AM)Chas Wrote:  However, the Japanese would likely have precipitated a war in the Pacific, regardless.

See above.
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