WW1 The question of German guilt
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16-02-2014, 11:36 AM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
(16-02-2014 11:18 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 10:59 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  A scapegoat was needed and well sucks to suck but Germany got to play that role since well they lost. Of course in hindsight this was a horrible travesty and helped to set the stage for WW2 and the rise of Fascism (among many other factors) WW1 is one of these events in history that just make you shake your head. The war was inevitable because all the nations of Europe felt war was inevitable. I think the best portrayal of the pointlessness of this conflict was All Quiet on the Western Front it had a profound affect on me when I read it in high school.

It's all well and good to say "everyone was at some fault", but that's almost as incredibly useless a piece of analysis as to say "war is bad"...
Wink

It was Austria who wanted to de facto annex Serbia in response to something Serbia didn't do; Russia who felt obliged to interfere first; Germany who suggested the Austrians double down and Germany who first attacked neutral countries.

Which again isn't to say were better or worse places at the time (after all, even the Ottomans had a parliament - and it represented the entire empire, which is arguably more democratic than the western European states). And of course everyone said "we are defenders of freedom and the other guys are literally Satan" in wartime propaganda. S'just that one side won, and their message was obviously longer lasting. That and the conflation with the sequel, I grant, in a lot of peoples' pop understanding - but of course, at the same time, if someone doesn't see a clear moral distinction in WW2 then they're pretty darn hopeless.
Tongue

I think people forget - or rather, just don't realize - there were a lot of people (just everyday people) who figured a war might turn out okay or was perhaps a necessary evil. And that's not because of some ludicrous paranoid-delusion Shadowy Cabal of Global Elites (Reptiloids, probably); that's just a matter of people having emotions and lacking perfect knowledge.

Fun historical bonus fact: Theodore Roosevelt was almost asked to mediate the then-July Crisis (in particular the Russians remembered his role in 1905); if he had won the 1912 Republican nomination he would have been President at the time and that almost certainly would have happened. In which case the war would probably have been averted, Serbia having already accepted Austria's ultimatum almost in its entirety, and Austria saying that wasn't good enough only with German backing in the face of Russian agitation.

Did you respond to what I said because it was the last thing listed? Because you are making a fantastic counter-argument for statements I did not make. I agree that the majority of the world thought that War was a good idea and their side would trounce the evil bastards that dared to affront them. Jingoism was rampant at the turn of the last century and no one had any idea how the new technology in the form of Machine guns and Tanks would change warfare.

As to who started the war I can just as easily make a case that the British ship the Dreadnaught had more impact in raising tensions than the assassination of the Archduke did. That was just the spark that lit the giant powder keg that had been being built since the 1880's. WW1 was a clusterfuck and to say that any One nation was more at fault is not really looking at the whole situation. In this case it was everyone's fault and sometimes war is bad, just sayin.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense

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16-02-2014, 11:56 AM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Did you respond to what I said because it was the last thing listed? Because you are making a fantastic counter-argument for statements I did not make.

Um... Yes.
Sadcryface

Sorry I wasn't clearer about that! Your comment is what got me thinking, is all.

(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I agree that the majority of the world thought that War was a good idea and their side would trounce the evil bastards that dared to affront them. Jingoism was rampant at the turn of the last century and no one had any idea how the new technology in the form of Machine guns and Tanks would change warfare.

Yes - especially because tanks hadn't been invented yet.
Big Grin

(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  As to who started the war I can just as easily make a case that the British ship the Dreadnaught had more impact in raising tensions than the assassination of the Archduke did. That was just the spark that lit the giant powder keg that had been being built since the 1880's.

Well - first Italy changed everything. Then Prussia changed everything. Then Germany changed everything. Then Africa changed everything. Then America changed everything. Then Japan changed everything. Then Dreadnought changed everything. Then the Balkans changed everything...
(or - we call it a powder keg only because it did explode - perfect hindsight and all that!)

But no, I don't think the Dreadnought argument carries nearly as much water as is sometimes made out. Naval tensions were a late 1900s thing. By 1914 the race was over; the British had in fact rejected the concept of a naval treaty proposed by Germany because they were rather of the opinion that they could keep (and grow) their lead. By 1913 the newest generation of ships were the two German Bayern-class superdreads compared to the 6 British Queen Elizabeths.

I mean, the final alignment only came about between Fashoda and Tangier; it was after that that the Germans started feeling their backs to the wall. Although Italy and the Ottomans were still wild cards...

(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  WW1 was a clusterfuck and to say that any One nation was more at fault is not really looking at the whole situation. In this case it was everyone's fault...

Devil's advocate: to say everyone was strictly equally at fault is likewise shortsighted.

(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  ... and sometimes war is bad, just sayin.

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16-02-2014, 12:44 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
(16-02-2014 11:56 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Did you respond to what I said because it was the last thing listed? Because you are making a fantastic counter-argument for statements I did not make.

Um... Yes.
Sadcryface

Sorry I wasn't clearer about that! Your comment is what got me thinking, is all.

Was just making sure. Thumbsup

(16-02-2014 11:56 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I agree that the majority of the world thought that War was a good idea and their side would trounce the evil bastards that dared to affront them. Jingoism was rampant at the turn of the last century and no one had any idea how the new technology in the form of Machine guns and Tanks would change warfare.

Yes - especially because tanks hadn't been invented yet.
Big Grin

I realise that, however my point was more that the industrialisation of war was something that no one was even considering pre-WW1. Cavalry Charges (with horses) were still considered a goto tactic at this point. As much as the horror of Gas attacks changed the world the machine gun nests were still the single biggest change from all previous wars and nobody saw that coming. Hindsight is 20/20 here but still had anyone even suspected the horror that was WW1 I doubt so many would have been so eager.

(16-02-2014 11:56 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  As to who started the war I can just as easily make a case that the British ship the Dreadnaught had more impact in raising tensions than the assassination of the Archduke did. That was just the spark that lit the giant powder keg that had been being built since the 1880's.

Well - first Italy changed everything. Then Prussia changed everything. Then Germany changed everything. Then Africa changed everything. Then America changed everything. Then Japan changed everything. Then Dreadnought changed everything. Then the Balkans changed everything...
(or - we call it a powder keg only because it did explode - perfect hindsight and all that!)

But no, I don't think the Dreadnought argument carries nearly as much water as is sometimes made out. Naval tensions were a late 1900s thing. By 1914 the race was over; the British had in fact rejected the concept of a naval treaty proposed by Germany because they were rather of the opinion that they could keep (and grow) their lead. By 1913 the newest generation of ships were the two German Bayern-class superdreads compared to the 6 British Queen Elizabeths.

I mean, the final alignment only came about between Fashoda and Tangier; it was after that that the Germans started feeling their backs to the wall. Although Italy and the Ottomans were still wild cards...

That was kind of my point, it was not so much 1 event as it was hundreds of small events that just kept raising tensions in a setting where extreme nationalism and Jingoism were en vogue eventually you get to the straw that broke the camels back. WW1 could have broken out anytime from 1900-1920 and the results would have been more or less identical but the death of a mid-level Austrian Nobleman and his wife were ultimately what set the gears of war in motion and Germany did encourage Austria's response however to put all blame on Germany was simply political. In the end it was a leading factor in allowing the rise of the Dictators in Europe.

(16-02-2014 11:56 AM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  WW1 was a clusterfuck and to say that any One nation was more at fault is not really looking at the whole situation. In this case it was everyone's fault...

Devil's advocate: to say everyone was strictly equally at fault is likewise shortsighted.

(16-02-2014 11:36 AM)Revenant77x Wrote:  ... and sometimes war is bad, just sayin.

Tongue

Some were less at fault than others but only by degrees, and if anything Germany was less at fault than some of the victor nations that laid all of WW1 at the doorstep of the Kaiser.

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense

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16-02-2014, 01:11 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  I realise that, however my point was more that the industrialisation of war was something that no one was even considering pre-WW1. Cavalry Charges (with horses) were still considered a goto tactic at this point. As much as the horror of Gas attacks changed the world the machine gun nests were still the single biggest change from all previous wars and nobody saw that coming. Hindsight is 20/20 here but still had anyone even suspected the horror that was WW1 I doubt so many would have been so eager.

Totally agreed.

(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  That was kind of my point, it was not so much 1 event as it was hundreds of small events that just kept raising tensions in a setting where extreme nationalism and Jingoism were en vogue eventually you get to the straw that broke the camels back.

Yep. To the degree we can say history is probabilistic, the event which did set things off needn't be somehow more significant than the things which didn't.

(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  WW1 could have broken out anytime from 1900-1920 and the results would have been more or less identical

I'd amend that thesis; it's quite possible a war could have broken out, but if it had been a couple years earlier the Haber process wouldn't have been industrialised yet and the blockade would have broken German armaments manufacture, and if it had been two years later the Russian army would have been twice as big...

I think a continued lurching along at high tensions without a breakpoint is more plausible than is sometimes given credence.
(or maybe that's my hindsight considering how incomparably better for everyone that would have been - but compare perhaps the Cold War, where actual tensions ebbed and flowed but it was a total outside event which eventually changed things)

(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  ... but the death of a mid-level Austrian Nobleman and his wife...

The crown prince isn't really "mid-level", no?

(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  ... were ultimately what set the gears of war in motion and Germany did encourage Austria's response however to put all blame on Germany was simply political. In the end it was a leading factor in allowing the rise of the Dictators in Europe.

Yes - absolutely. The great powers were all playing chicken, and nobody blinked until 20 million people were dead.

The overshadowing role of Germany sometimes hides how dissatisfied peoples in all the other central and eastern European nations were a huge contributor to WWII.

(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Some were less at fault than others but only by degrees, and if anything Germany was less at fault than some of the victor nations that laid all of WW1 at the doorstep of the Kaiser.

Nah, I think we can all agree whose fault it really is - America.

Yes. You heard me. I mean, seeing as even the slightest hint of lean in inclination before the war started might have made somebody think twice.
(or - it's possible, should one be so inclined, to frame any actor's deeds as that elusive mythological beast, the "tipping point")

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16-02-2014, 01:35 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
(16-02-2014 01:11 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  WW1 could have broken out anytime from 1900-1920 and the results would have been more or less identical

I'd amend that thesis; it's quite possible a war could have broken out, but if it had been a couple years earlier the Haber process wouldn't have been industrialised yet and the blockade would have broken German armaments manufacture, and if it had been two years later the Russian army would have been twice as big...

I think a continued lurching along at high tensions without a breakpoint is more plausible than is sometimes given credence.
(or maybe that's my hindsight considering how incomparably better for everyone that would have been - but compare perhaps the Cold War, where actual tensions ebbed and flowed but it was a total outside event which eventually changed things)

I phrased this poorly, obviously the war itself would have changed with the situation what I meant was the dogpile at the beginning with both Alliances escalating whatever finally pushed them past the brink. Pre-WW1 it was actually thought that the German, Austro-Hungarian, Ottoman alliance was more likely to hold up seeing as the French, British, Russian alliance had several factors that would suggest a split (Historical French-British hatred, the fact that France and England were both Democracies and Russia was the worst Aristocracy left in Europe) but then again a delay of a couple of years and maybe the Russian Revolution happens anyway I mean it was not as though pre-War Tsarist Russia was a nice place and without a second front would the Central Powers have been forced to go as crazy with the Naval warfare?

(16-02-2014 01:11 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  ... but the death of a mid-level Austrian Nobleman and his wife...

The crown prince isn't really "mid-level", no?

Was being hyperbolic there.

(16-02-2014 01:11 PM)cjlr Wrote:  
(16-02-2014 12:44 PM)Revenant77x Wrote:  Some were less at fault than others but only by degrees, and if anything Germany was less at fault than some of the victor nations that laid all of WW1 at the doorstep of the Kaiser.

Nah, I think we can all agree whose fault it really is - America.

Yes. You heard me. I mean, seeing as even the slightest hint of lean in inclination before the war started might have made somebody think twice.
(or - it's possible, should one be so inclined, to frame any actor's deeds as that elusive mythological beast, the "tipping point")

It took some major doing to get America into the war. As a side note does anyone else find the story of the Lusitania a far more of a compelling story than the Titanic?

(31-07-2014 04:37 PM)Luminon Wrote:  America is full of guns, but they're useless, because nobody has the courage to shoot an IRS agent in self-defense

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16-02-2014, 02:18 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
It is not just those in control which would find it a difficult proposition that the sacrifices they had made throughout he war was pointless, the public themselves would have difficulties admitting they were in some way duped, and would prefer to envisage a bogeyman to justify their experience.
One has only to see the sort of mental somersaults christians will go through to justify creationism and their bible to understand why truth is very low on many peoples agendas, far more important it seems is the desire not to be seen as being in the wrong.
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18-02-2014, 09:41 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
Oh, without a doubt the Germans were guilty. The only question that remains is how long are they going to let the world tell them to be a shamed of their guilt! I say no more!! The father land must rise up and reclaim what was taken from them by das uden! No more guilt! No more shame! Own what mein fuehrer has has done for Deutschland!!! Pick up plows and beat them back into swords! Deutschland unite! Deutschland unite! Deutschland unite!!

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18-02-2014, 10:10 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
(18-02-2014 09:41 PM)Drich Wrote:  Oh, without a doubt the Germans were guilty. The only question that remains is how long are they going to let the world tell them to be a shamed of their guilt! I say no more!! The father land must rise up and reclaim what was taken from them by das uden! No more guilt! No more shame! Own what mein fuehrer has has done for Deutschland!!! Pick up plows and beat them back into swords! Deutschland unite! Deutschland unite! Deutschland unite!!

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18-02-2014, 10:16 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
WWII is reasonably clear cut but there is definitely more to WWI.
I'm English and 37, my group of friends ranges from early 20s to 70s, I can say without a shadow of a doubt that the majority of the English, including myself are thoroughly ashamed of the Empire but there is a minority of some significance that are proud of it.

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20-02-2014, 10:16 PM
RE: WW1 The question of German guilt
(18-02-2014 10:10 PM)Monster_Riffs Wrote:  
(18-02-2014 09:41 PM)Drich Wrote:  Oh, without a doubt the Germans were guilty. The only question that remains is how long are they going to let the world tell them to be a shamed of their guilt! I say no more!! The father land must rise up and reclaim what was taken from them by das uden! No more guilt! No more shame! Own what mein fuehrer has has done for Deutschland!!! Pick up plows and beat them back into swords! Deutschland unite! Deutschland unite! Deutschland unite!!

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