Jump to content


Photo

Was Ww1 Inevitable?


  • Please log in to reply
44 replies to this topic

#21 Mikel2

Mikel2

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,193 posts

Posted 24 March 2015 - 1111 AM

Sooner or later, in the colonies where mud would be a problem (or underdeveloped roads), someone would try to put armored car on tracks or halftracks to get at all those pesky rebels.

 

Had WWI not started in 1914, you can also expect a lot of inertia and money continuing to be spent in the technologies they always thought to be war-winning. Why would they change?


  • 0

#22 swerve

swerve

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,779 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Reading, Berkshire
  • Interests:Too many to list all, but include military, economic &technological history. And cycling.

Posted 24 March 2015 - 1128 AM

Armoured cars already existed. Tracked vehicles had already been invented, & putting guns (even in turrets) & armour on them to make tanks had been proposed before the war. It was their time: the war gave a boost, but tanks would have happened soon anyway.


  • 0

#23 rathi

rathi

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 209 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:California

Posted 24 March 2015 - 1357 PM

Some of the nations involved were likely going to inevitably go to war, but idiotic diplomacy that caused a massive continent scale conflict could have been avoided.

 

France, Russia and the U.K. all had motivations to fight a war with Germany, but it was Willy's massive fuck ups that lead to fighting them all simultaneously. The Ottomans and Austrians were headed for collapse, but they could have dissolved in a more minor conflict. The U.S. wouldn't have intervened in most other political circumstances.


  • 0

#24 Ken Estes

Ken Estes

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,437 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle
  • Interests:USMC Tanker, Historian

Posted 24 March 2015 - 2317 PM

The immediate problem was the blank check given by William II to the Austrians, trumping the Russian backing of Serbia. At hat point, the A-H needed to back down, but they were in panic mode vs Serbia. The Tsar's order for full mobilization was the second irrevocable error, but  even then it was not too late.

 

The irony was that nobody really needed to acquire more land.


  • 0

#25 RETAC21

RETAC21

    A la lealtad y al valor

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 13,004 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Madrid, Spain
  • Interests:Military history in general

Posted 25 March 2015 - 0159 AM

I would wager that land acquisition was a secondary consideration for all but Italy, whose aims grew to the point where they were bound to be frustrated. The AH empire was crumbling, and like the Argentnians un 82, they looked for an external enemy. The Germans were worried that Russia was becoming too powerful, which it was, and the British were having their primacy questioned from the US and Germany, so their alliance with France was natural.

Regarding the tank, moee tanks would have saved lives, just like the airplanes. No need for them was identified in 1914 because trench warfare so far had been mostly sieges or short lived.
  • 0

#26 Adam_S

Adam_S

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,100 posts

Posted 25 March 2015 - 0226 AM

One of the more interesting examples of early tracked vehicles.

 

p2005-5-568-img1.jpg

 

This was taken on Scott's second Antarctic expedition, circa 1910-1913.


  • 0

#27 Mikel2

Mikel2

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,193 posts

Posted 25 March 2015 - 1733 PM

One of the more interesting examples of early tracked vehicles.

 

p2005-5-568-img1.jpg

 

This was taken on Scott's second Antarctic expedition, circa 1910-1913.

 

Whatever happened to those tractors? Didn't they break down on their way to the pole? I wonder if they'll be found some day...


  • 0

#28 Adam_S

Adam_S

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,100 posts

Posted 25 March 2015 - 2016 PM

 

Whatever happened to those tractors? Didn't they break down on their way to the pole? I wonder if they'll be found some day...

 

 

They didn't get very far but they did manage to haul a lot of stuff. IIRC Scott was quite impressed with the basic idea and figured (rightly) that they would be the future of polar exploration.


  • 0

#29 Mikel2

Mikel2

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,193 posts

Posted 26 March 2015 - 0403 AM

 

 

Whatever happened to those tractors? Didn't they break down on their way to the pole? I wonder if they'll be found some day...

 

 

They didn't get very far but they did manage to haul a lot of stuff. IIRC Scott was quite impressed with the basic idea and figured (rightly) that they would be the future of polar exploration.

 

 

 

 

 

clarkson460.jpg


Edited by Mikel2, 26 March 2015 - 0404 AM.

  • 0

#30 cbo

cbo

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,108 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 12 April 2015 - 0710 AM

Somehow I look at the great war as one of the last border pushers of Europe that means that the region is pretty stable at the moment. I think there might have been more unrest if it hadn't happened. IIRC the second world war didn't move the borders around that much, without the great war I think there would have been more skirmishes in the past century.

 

(Edit, with the exception of the Balkans...)

/R

 

There was a lot of border-shuffling in Europe after WWII as well.

 

- Finlands borders with the USSR were changed after the Winter War

- Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, eastern Poland as well as part of East Prussia were swallowed up by the USSR

- Poland moved 100-300 km west and swallowed up East Prussia and parts of Germany

- Eastern most tip of Slovakia (Czechoslovakia) was taken by the USSR

- Rumania lost Moldova to the USSR

- Italy lost Istria to Yugoslavia

 

And there was a massive relocation of people after WWII, I suspect a lot more than after WWI....?


  • 0

#31 Mikel2

Mikel2

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,193 posts

Posted 13 April 2015 - 1141 AM

 

 

And there was a massive relocation of people after WWII, I suspect a lot more than after WWI....?

 

 

Imagine if they had followed the Palestinian refugee model post WWII...   


  • 0

#32 Ken Estes

Ken Estes

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,437 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle
  • Interests:USMC Tanker, Historian

Posted 13 April 2015 - 1224 PM

That's part of decolonization, cf. Pakistan for example.

 

Relocation in Europe post WWII was huge, not even contemplated by the 'peacemakers' of 1919. In their case, essentially, borders changed but populations remained in place.


Edited by Ken Estes, 14 April 2015 - 1238 PM.

  • 0

#33 glenn239

glenn239

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,439 posts

Posted 15 April 2015 - 1101 AM

rathi France, Russia and the U.K. all had motivations to fight a war with Germany, but it was Willy's massive fuck ups that lead to fighting them all simultaneously.

 

 

 

After 1871 France was done with solo wars with Germany, whatever the cost.  In 1905 during the 1st Moroccan crisis the French government accepted a political humiliation rather than face the prospect of a war sans the Russian army.

With Britain, there was almost no conceivable war scenario in which Germany and Britain alone would go to war. 

With Russia, there was mutual distrust between Germany and Russia that could never overcome the natural tendency to prefer their then-current alliance partners.  Google Ukraine 2014 or Poland 1939 to see examples of why.

Given all this, it seemed more likely that Germany either avoids war altogether or fights the lot.


Edited by glenn239, 15 April 2015 - 1102 AM.

  • 0

#34 rathi

rathi

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 209 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:California

Posted 20 April 2015 - 1654 PM

 

 

After 1871 France was done with solo wars with Germany, whatever the cost.  In 1905 during the 1st Moroccan crisis the French government accepted a political humiliation rather than face the prospect of a war sans the Russian army

 

 

That Moroccan crisis is a prime example of a diplomatic screw up from the Kaiser that could have trivially been avoided. He managed to isolate Germany diplomatically over a tantrum about not getting enough of the imperialism cake.

 

With Britain, there was almost no conceivable war scenario in which Germany and Britain alone would go to war.

 

 

Germany had the economic advantage and would eventually have come close to parity with the royal navy. Germany could have then  instigated a naval conflict under more favorable circumstances.

 

With Russia, there was mutual distrust between Germany and Russia that could never overcome the natural tendency to prefer their then-current alliance partners.  Google Ukraine 2014 or Poland 1939 to see examples of why.

 

 

Hardly. Bismark signed the Reinsurance treaty specifically to avoid the Franco Russian alliance, but the Kaiser once against bungled that one.

 

Given all this, it seemed more likely that Germany either avoids war altogether or fights the lot.

 

 

No, it took considerable diplomatic failures to get Russia, France, Britain, U.S. and Japan as enemies, while ending up with two crumbling empires as allies. Britain and Russia were rivals in the great game, Britain and France were historical enemies and all 3 working together was without precedent.


  • 0

#35 glenn239

glenn239

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 4,439 posts

Posted 21 April 2015 - 0738 AM

 

That Moroccan crisis is a prime example of a diplomatic screw up from the Kaiser that could have trivially been avoided. He managed to isolate Germany diplomatically over a tantrum about not getting enough of the imperialism cake.

 

 

Right, but it demonstrated that France was not to be goaded into a one on one war, and that Britain would not tolerate matters moving past the point of coercion into open provocation.  The result of the Moroccan Crisis was to show that a solo war by Germany upon France was not possible.

 

Hardly. Bismark signed the Reinsurance treaty specifically to avoid the Franco Russian alliance

 

 

The Reinsurance Treaty avoided a Franco-Russian attack on Germany, but could not make a solo war upon France possible, because France would not provoke a solo conflict after 1871, while the treaty was void in the case Germany did so. 

 

 No, it took considerable diplomatic failures to get Russia, France, Britain, U.S. and Japan as enemies, while ending up with two crumbling empires as allies.

 

 

Germany’s pre-war diplomacy certainly was atrocious, but it does not follow that preventing a natural drift towards Entente would have been as easy as might be imagined. 


  • 0

#36 cbo

cbo

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,108 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 June 2015 - 0612 AM

The immediate problem was the blank check given by William II to the Austrians, trumping the Russian backing of Serbia. At hat point, the A-H needed to back down, but they were in panic mode vs Serbia. The Tsar's order for full mobilization was the second irrevocable error, but  even then it was not too late.

 

The irony was that nobody really needed to acquire more land.

 

From my recent reading, it seems that the German military leadership - and to a large extent also the political - saw a world war as almost inevitable by 1912-1913. It was realized that at some point, Austria-Hungary would have to deal with the Serbs to subdue that nationalistic sentiments among its own population and this would likely draw Russia into a war with Austria-Hungary. As Germany could not allow Austria-Hungary to collapse, they had to back them, which in turn would draw in France and possibly Britain as the latter would not allow Germany to dominate the continent of Europe.

 

The German Army was ready and wanted the war sooner rather than later, while the Navy wanted the conflict postponed until the Kaiser Wilhelm Kanal was   enlarged to allow the German Navy to shift back and forth between North Sea and the Baltic Sea and Helgoland had been sufficiently fortified. Hence the Germans did not back Austria-Hungary in its desire to deal with the Serbs in 1912-1913, but had more or less comitted itself to do so in 1914.

 

It appears that the German and Austrian-Hungarian leadership was very much seeing a succesfull conflict with Serbia and Russia as inevitable, both to preserve Austria-Hungary but also to knock out Russia as a threat to both countries. There is also a nationalist-racist undercurrent, casting the conflict as one between the Slavic and the German races.

 

That is not to say that the conflict needed to develop as it did, but it would've required either a complete change of policy in Austria-Hungary or Russia not mobilizing  and intervening on behalf of the Serbs. Once that ball got rolling, it is difficult to see how things would've transpired much differently in 1914.


  • 0

#37 Ken Estes

Ken Estes

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 14,437 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Seattle
  • Interests:USMC Tanker, Historian

Posted 28 June 2015 - 1039 AM

Were the German and A-H Empires so convinced of inevitability, then there would have had to be much more and closer collaboration between Moltke and Conrad about placing German troops in Galicia and various other efforts to plan a coalition war. As it stands, there was little interest on either side and even the scheme to employ a single corps under Conrad's operational control went nowhere.

 

The German Army knew that conditions in the future would become poorer than the present, given the expansion of Russian rail, troop strength and armaments in general of both France and Russia. But that hardly argues that they were ready for war. Everybody fell short of financial preparations, although German reserves were better than most, i.e. 6 vice 2-3 months anywhere else. The generalized short war illusion was part of the lack of facing up to the realities of the day.

 

There were stutters on both sides that might have changed the nature of 1914. The Tsar did initially order the limited mobilization vice total. Wilhelm II asked the General Staff why they had to attack France at all, beckoning a revival of the Waldersee Plan vice Schlieffen's outline. Groener wrote after the war that they could have changed the mobilization planning and rail schedules to conform to that.


  • 0

#38 FlyingCanOpener

FlyingCanOpener

    Kakistocrat

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 9,024 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Iberia, LA USA
  • Interests:Geomatics // Naval History // Soccer // Teaching

Posted 28 June 2015 - 1218 PM

Were the German and A-H Empires so convinced of inevitability, then there would have had to be much more and closer collaboration between Moltke and Conrad about placing German troops in Galicia and various other efforts to plan a coalition war. As it stands, there was little interest on either side and even the scheme to employ a single corps under Conrad's operational control went nowhere.
 
The German Army knew that conditions in the future would become poorer than the present, given the expansion of Russian rail, troop strength and armaments in general of both France and Russia. But that hardly argues that they were ready for war. Everybody fell short of financial preparations, although German reserves were better than most, i.e. 6 vice 2-3 months anywhere else. The generalized short war illusion was part of the lack of facing up to the realities of the day.
 
There were stutters on both sides that might have changed the nature of 1914. The Tsar did initially order the limited mobilization vice total. Wilhelm II asked the General Staff why they had to attack France at all, beckoning a revival of the Waldersee Plan vice Schlieffen's outline. Groener wrote after the war that they could have changed the mobilization planning and rail schedules to conform to that.


In the 1880s-1910s timeframe, how much cooperation did the KuK and German armies cooperate, even without war on the horizon? Don't have a lot of sources handy but I don't remember much of any cooperation apart from Germans wargaming scenarios and sneering at the assumed incompetence of the Austrians.
  • 0

#39 Thonar3

Thonar3

    Crunchie

  • Members
  • Pip
  • 30 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 28 June 2015 - 1255 PM

Not much time, thus I will only try to add here some things until I have more time tomorrow to add more:

1. Wilhelm the 2nd: Despite his quick-tempered character, his reputation is actually worse then it should be. In contrast, after speaking out Germanies support to A-H after the killing of the crownprince, which can be seen as a mistake, he was one of the few people who actually tried to prevent a war or to keep it at least local. He even thought after the Serbian answer to the Austrian ultimatum that there would be no war because it was seen by him as enough and a political victory.

Unfortunately important German diplomats who favoured a war had quite some influence (and Wilhelm II. actual influence in the events of the July are also overrated).

2. "Illusions of a fast war": I wouldn't call it illusions, especially not when it is your only chance of winning the war at all (Germany never had in his history the ability or the luck to be able to fight a long lasting war, especially not when you are "surrounded by enemies"). Also the initial German attack until the battle at the Marne actually proved the ability that such a war was possible, later the 2nd world war proved again that quick victories are in fact possible. Even during the Great War the eastern front for example was far more "fluid" and the collapse of the Italian army at the Isonzo proved the possibility of quick-successes too.
Even on the western front, the Germans fought far more maneuverable than their foes on a tactical to operational basis.
The lessons learned of the first world war from the German side actually found the basis for the successes of 1939 to 1941.

 

3. German - Austrian military cooperation: There were huge differences in Command and Control between the German army and the Austrian army. I'm not sure if a military cooperation was actually so easily possible.

 

 

To the questions: Was the war inevitable? Yes, pretty much. This can be especially seen also in the populace of the countries which cheered for the war pretty much everywhere. Something that never happened again to the same extent in every other war AFAIK.


Edited by Thonar3, 28 June 2015 - 1257 PM.

  • 0

#40 FlyingCanOpener

FlyingCanOpener

    Kakistocrat

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 9,024 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:New Iberia, LA USA
  • Interests:Geomatics // Naval History // Soccer // Teaching

Posted 28 June 2015 - 1359 PM

To the questions: Was the war inevitable? Yes, pretty much. This can be especially seen also in the populace of the countries which cheered for the war pretty much everywhere. Something that never happened again to the same extent in every other war AFAIK.


Inevitability seems to be hindsight. As Ken notes on the first page, the summer of 1914 was in the midst of unbridled optimism in essentially every aspect of life. Everything was revolutionary and making life for the better, so why wouldn't a war be short, sharp, and end up with their side winning it all? Remember, the last real drawn out war was a century previously so if technology was making everything else old obsolete, wouldn't the old drawn out wars become obsolete in favour of a short decisive war?

The thing to remember about the crisis involving the death of Franz Ferdinand was that until armies started shooting and the Germans crossed into France. After all, Aboukir was seen as much more of a serious crisis, and none of the sides had come to blows, so why would Serbia touch off a war?

From here, the biggest cause was the failure of senior leaders being unable to contain a crisis that was frankly easy to contain even after Serbia complied with the ridiculous demands. Put it this way: if Bismarck was in charge instead of Bethmann-Holwig, would there have been a war? I seriously doubt it.
  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users