Jump to content


Photo

"lions Led By Donkeys" - Topic Close To Billb's Heart


  • Please log in to reply
190 replies to this topic

#81 Argus

Argus

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,902 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Melbourne

Posted 14 January 2014 - 0818 AM

I'm pretty sure the visa requirement for a UK citizen to enter Australia came in after we were consigned to the aliens queue at Heathrow, The Australian passport was a subset of the British passport until 1967 anyway.

 

As for acting like dickheads....? Apart from being a poor choice of phrase by anyone named Richard, it may pay to look in the mirror. Yeah you're getting the bums rush. - But, and I don't quite know why, you've turned into a bit of a twit lately.

 

You got a bee up your arse about those fire support platforms, and its buzzed it way up to your bonce where it seems to be rattling about, shaking out all common sense and proportion to drip off the end of your nose. Now why you turned from a reasonable, stable, sort of a bloke into a drama queen is none of my business, sorry as I am to see it happen. However one way or another you've managed to trash your good name and reputation, while developing a decent sized chip on the old shoulder yourself. So you're getting zero tolerance as default from many people, and then dropping into conversations like a turd into a wedding punch bowl just makes it worse - vicious circle with only one outcome likely in the end.

 

Sorry to be blunt, but I wouldn't bother if I didn't care.

 

shane


  • 0

#82 DB

DB

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 11,267 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Hertfordshire, England

Posted 14 January 2014 - 1805 PM

Apologies for not contributing to this topic, but it's clear to me that all but one or two know so much more about it that I couldn't add anything of substance to the "facts".

 

I do agree that scoring political points in relation to the 100th anniversary is poor form.

 

I'm not entirely sure that I agree with Stuart that Gove is particularly responsible for this. If one takes Bill's position regarding the 1960s era resurgence of the anti-war (to pick one of many possible labels) view of the Great War, then it's clearly correct to state that this was sourced from a largely left-wing section of society.

 

If one considers the Telegraph article, one could also argue that claiming that an emphasis on the "non-white" contributions demeans the contributions of the "white" parts of Empire smacks of sour grapes that whoever is complaining couldn't complain about things being the other way round. Damned whatever you do.

 

Anyway, I'm pleased to see that what I thought was going to be a topic that thoroughly engaged Bill turned out to be so. I've learned a lot, although I am unconvinced that saying "it's the militarism" is a sufficient excuse to invade another country. Who was responsible for their militarism if it wasn't the Germans themselves?

 

Pity that we've diverted off into irrelevant bollocks about Commonwealth Immigration policy, though - one could argue that the failure of the commonwealth to find relevance in today's commercial world is yet another example of the UK's ability to "lose the peace".


  • 0

#83 nigelfe

nigelfe

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 2,184 posts

Posted 14 January 2014 - 2237 PM

BillB

 

Re RUSI journal, I don't think its online but haven't looked for it.


  • 0

#84 Argus

Argus

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 3,902 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Melbourne

Posted 15 January 2014 - 0309 AM

RUSI online archive is a WIP, up to 1875 by their website so probably a bit further along. However its members only and upwards of 75 quid a year. Pitty they haevn't followed the Naval Review's lead.

 

http://www.naval-review.org/

 

shane


  • 0

#85 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 15 January 2014 - 0610 AM

My own view, the Germans were clearly militarist. And they were in an Arms race vis the UK which clearly framed how the conflict developed. But I dont see either as a reason for the war, any more than the resulting alliances were a reason for the war. Latterly it was blamed on the Germans, and to be honest I have a hard job seeing the Germans as being as keen on the war against France as made out. After all, why would the Kaiser try to negotiate a peace at the 11th hour if he was so damn keen on the big parade through Paris? It doesnt add up. I certainly accuse the Germans of reckless driving, but thats a case you can lay against most of Europe (and Russia in particular) in this period.

 

Much like my view.

 

The Germans must certainly take quite a lot of the blame for the war, but far from all of it. They didn't recruit, train & arm disgruntled citizens of a neighbouring country to murder its presumed next head of state & his wife. Nor did they overreact to that crime by demanding the country sections of whose security services had (without government approval or prior knowledge) organised & facilitated that crime should take measures one of which would violate its own constitution, then declaring war when it promptly accepted almost all of the ultimatum. What Germany did do was say it would  "faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship"

 

This is generally accepted as being tantamount to unconditional backing for whatever Austria-Hungary did. But the German (Wilhelm's) reaction to the Serbian reply to the ultimatum was that it 'amounted to a capitulation in the humblest style, and with it there disappeared all reason for war'. The same day that was written, A-H declared war.

 

So, there we have it. The real bad guys were Franz-Josef & his high command, who were itching for an excuse for war with Serbia. If the Germans had been more cautious in their offer of support for A-H, so that A-H wasn't sure of German support even if it went OT, perhaps A-H would have held back, accepted the Serbian grovelling, & the war would not have begun. But does that mean that Germany was solely or mainly responsible, as later claimed? I'd say not.

 

The Russians mobilised their army according to pre-war plans. The Tsar asked for a mobilisation against Austria only, but his generals said it wasn't possible, so he ordered a general mobilisation, while telling the Kaiser it wasn't aimed against them. Since the Germans probably knew that a general Russian mobilisation included moving armies into position for an attack on Germany, this must have seemed like duplicity by Nicholas.

 

Like the Russians, the Germans didn't have a plan for this scenario. Their mobilisation plan assumed an attack on France. So, when Wilhelm, like Nicholas, asked his generals if they could adjust their plans (in this case, refrain from attacking France), they told him that it wasn't possible. The German & Russian governments had trapped themselves into war with countries they didn't really want to fight, & which weren't showing signs of attacking them, by the inflexibility of the plans drawn up by their generals. So, who do we blame? The Russians, for triggering German mobilisation by only having one response to an Austrian attack on Serbia? Or the Germans, for only having one response  . . . . ?

 

I reckon the blame was widely shared, & the argument should be over how much to allocate to the various parties, not whether it was all the fault of the Germans. I think that proposition is insupportable. It doesn't even begin to address the question,"Which Germans?".


Edited by swerve, 15 January 2014 - 0611 AM.

  • 0

#86 Richard Lindquist

Richard Lindquist

    Purveyor of flints to General Washington

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10,274 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lighthouse Point, FL, USA
  • Interests:military hardware, military history

Posted 15 January 2014 - 0905 AM

The prevailing attitude towards German "militarism" and "atrocities" 1914-1918 shows that, whatever their military failures, the Brits won the propaganda war.
  • 0

#87 BillB

BillB

    Scooter Trash Gunphobic, apparently

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12,214 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:English East Midlander in Glasgow, UK
  • Interests:most things military, military modelling, Vespa motor scooters, Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Posted 15 January 2014 - 1015 AM

The prevailing attitude towards German "militarism" and "atrocities" 1914-1918 shows that, whatever their military failures, the Brits won the propaganda war.

Really Richard? Do tell us more.

 

BillB


  • 0

#88 BillB

BillB

    Scooter Trash Gunphobic, apparently

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 12,214 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:English East Midlander in Glasgow, UK
  • Interests:most things military, military modelling, Vespa motor scooters, Staffordshire Bull Terriers

Posted 15 January 2014 - 1305 PM

Well we had a lot of help from the Germans themselves, its pretty clear that a number of their reservists ran amok when shot at in Belgium and shot innocent people. The numbers and atrocities may have been magnified, but they were not inventions which seemed to be the immediate postwar assumption in some quarters. It probably also helped the Americans spoke English. I suspect The Times newspaper may have had a greater readership in New York and Washington than The Silesian Sun for example. :)

 

Interesting article in The Telegraph here which has some relevance. Ultimately if you cant get 2 historians to agree on the war, why expect the national press or Parliament. :D

http://blogs.telegra...e-thank-heaven/

Ref the first para, in some instances it was more than nervous/poorly disciplined reservists, it was premeditated to send a message intended to forestall franc-tireur activity a la 1870-71. The figures appear to back that up; 6,000 dead civvies, 25,000 assorted buildings destroyed including Louvain university and 1.5 million Belgian civvies displaced. Figs from (sorry Archie!) Wiki - I know but the pdfs are too big to paste up: http://en.wikipedia....Rape_of_Belgium

 

Ref the second para, I like Hannan, but I do think he's talking out of his arse a wee bit there. :)

 

BillB 


  • 0

#89 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 15 January 2014 - 1404 PM

The prevailing attitude towards German "militarism" and "atrocities" 1914-1918 shows that, whatever their military failures, the Brits won the propaganda war.

Assisted by German blunders, such as the execution of Edith Cavell. Perfectly legal, no doubt of her guilt (she proudly boasted of it), & done for what seemed like a sound reason (discouraging other women from doing things that a man would expect to be executed for, on the expectation of getting away with it) - but a PR disaster.


  • 0

#90 Archie Pellagio

Archie Pellagio

    Now flouridating a water source near YOU!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,224 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montpelier, Vermont
  • Interests:Vermonter global conquest rampages!

Posted 15 January 2014 - 1745 PM



Figs from (sorry Archie!) Wiki

BillB

 

No apology necessary, I'm a massive fan of Wikipedia.

Just, like all sources, needs some common sense in its application.

 


  • 0

#91 Adam_S

Adam_S

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 1,345 posts
  • Gender:Male

Posted 15 January 2014 - 1814 PM

 

My own view, the Germans were clearly militarist. And they were in an Arms race vis the UK which clearly framed how the conflict developed. But I dont see either as a reason for the war, any more than the resulting alliances were a reason for the war. Latterly it was blamed on the Germans, and to be honest I have a hard job seeing the Germans as being as keen on the war against France as made out. After all, why would the Kaiser try to negotiate a peace at the 11th hour if he was so damn keen on the big parade through Paris? It doesnt add up. I certainly accuse the Germans of reckless driving, but thats a case you can lay against most of Europe (and Russia in particular) in this period.

 

Much like my view.

 

The Germans must certainly take quite a lot of the blame for the war, but far from all of it. They didn't recruit, train & arm disgruntled citizens of a neighbouring country to murder its presumed next head of state & his wife. Nor did they overreact to that crime by demanding the country sections of whose security services had (without government approval or prior knowledge) organised & facilitated that crime should take measures one of which would violate its own constitution, then declaring war when it promptly accepted almost all of the ultimatum. What Germany did do was say it would  "faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship"

 

This is generally accepted as being tantamount to unconditional backing for whatever Austria-Hungary did. But the German (Wilhelm's) reaction to the Serbian reply to the ultimatum was that it 'amounted to a capitulation in the humblest style, and with it there disappeared all reason for war'. The same day that was written, A-H declared war.

 

So, there we have it. The real bad guys were Franz-Josef & his high command, who were itching for an excuse for war with Serbia. If the Germans had been more cautious in their offer of support for A-H, so that A-H wasn't sure of German support even if it went OT, perhaps A-H would have held back, accepted the Serbian grovelling, & the war would not have begun. But does that mean that Germany was solely or mainly responsible, as later claimed? I'd say not.

 

The Russians mobilised their army according to pre-war plans. The Tsar asked for a mobilisation against Austria only, but his generals said it wasn't possible, so he ordered a general mobilisation, while telling the Kaiser it wasn't aimed against them. Since the Germans probably knew that a general Russian mobilisation included moving armies into position for an attack on Germany, this must have seemed like duplicity by Nicholas.

 

Like the Russians, the Germans didn't have a plan for this scenario. Their mobilisation plan assumed an attack on France. So, when Wilhelm, like Nicholas, asked his generals if they could adjust their plans (in this case, refrain from attacking France), they told him that it wasn't possible. The German & Russian governments had trapped themselves into war with countries they didn't really want to fight, & which weren't showing signs of attacking them, by the inflexibility of the plans drawn up by their generals. So, who do we blame? The Russians, for triggering German mobilisation by only having one response to an Austrian attack on Serbia? Or the Germans, for only having one response  . . . . ?

 

I reckon the blame was widely shared, & the argument should be over how much to allocate to the various parties, not whether it was all the fault of the Germans. I think that proposition is insupportable. It doesn't even begin to address the question,"Which Germans?".

 

 

So, what might have happened if the Kaiser got his way and Germany just sat on the defensive along the French border while heading off east to thrash the Russians?


  • 0

#92 R011

R011

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,644 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Posted 15 January 2014 - 2014 PM

The Germans would have held the French in Alsace-Lorraine, The Russians and Serbs would have been screwed in 1914 at least as bad as in real life.  The British would have been looking for a reason to go to war with Germany (as they wouldn't have invaded Belgium), but might well be more concerned with an emerging civil war in Ireland.

 

From there, who knows? Perhaps a negotiated peace if both sides were not too intransigent.  Perhaps not.   Almost certainly political change in Russia, though perhaps not a Bolshevik revolution.  If Britain stayed out, then so would the US.


  • 0

#93 Archie Pellagio

Archie Pellagio

    Now flouridating a water source near YOU!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,224 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montpelier, Vermont
  • Interests:Vermonter global conquest rampages!

Posted 15 January 2014 - 2057 PM

Britain would've at least found an excuse to blockade Germany at sea  under the guise of some sort of quarantine-esque operation, and it wouldn't be too long before a BEF was sent to the continent anyway, so 1915 instead of 1914, maybe 1916 at a stretch.


  • 0

#94 Richard Lindquist

Richard Lindquist

    Purveyor of flints to General Washington

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 10,274 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Lighthouse Point, FL, USA
  • Interests:military hardware, military history

Posted 15 January 2014 - 2145 PM

The prevailing attitude towards German "militarism" and "atrocities" 1914-1918 shows that, whatever their military failures, the Brits won the propaganda war.

Assisted by German blunders, such as the execution of Edith Cavell. Perfectly legal, no doubt of her guilt (she proudly boasted of it), & done for what seemed like a sound reason (discouraging other women from doing things that a man would expect to be executed for, on the expectation of getting away with it) - but a PR disaster.


The French executed two German nurses as spies, but no one ever mentioned that.
  • 0

#95 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 16 January 2014 - 0749 AM

Britain would've at least found an excuse to blockade Germany at sea  under the guise of some sort of quarantine-esque operation, and it wouldn't be too long before a BEF was sent to the continent anyway, so 1915 instead of 1914, maybe 1916 at a stretch.

Why? 

 

I often see it said that Britain would join in, or would have to, without any explanation of causes or motives. You've made an assertion, but not forward any arguments to support it.


  • 0

#96 Archie Pellagio

Archie Pellagio

    Now flouridating a water source near YOU!

  • Members
  • PipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPipPip
  • 15,224 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Montpelier, Vermont
  • Interests:Vermonter global conquest rampages!

Posted 16 January 2014 - 0800 AM

The same reason they joined the war in 1914: Germany was the primary threat and everyone was champing at the bit to get it on.

Belgian neutrality was a convenient justification.

 

This argument has been hashed out a thousand times before on this forum.


  • 0

#97 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 16 January 2014 - 0847 AM


The same reason they joined the war in 1914: Germany was the primary threat and everyone was champing at the bit to get it on.

Belgian neutrality was a convenient justification.

 

This argument has been hashed out a thousand times before on this forum.

 

As well as what Stuart says, remember that politicians in the UK needed a justification. 'Gallant little Belgium' was something the public could get excited about. Germany fighting the widely loathed Russian Empire, the bogey man of the 19th century (remember the Great Game?) & with its brutality of 1904-5 still remembered, would not arouse public hatred. Rather the contrary, in fact, especially if the Germans had been better at information management & Wilhelm & Bethman-Hollweg had managed to rein in the army.

 

Imagine that Germany had acted in line with the line Wilhelm expressed on July 28th, when he thought there was no justification for war, & August 1st, when he wanted to step back from the brink. Imagine that he demanded & got (doubtless with the high command kicking & screaming) a defensive posture, on the grounds that he'd not lead Germany into an unjustified war, with help to Austria-Hungary only to fulfil treaty obligations if it was attacked by Russia, too big an A-H defeat being unacceptable due to the strategic position.

 

So, we have disrupted German mobilisation in response to Russian mobilisation. Troops accumulate at depots, & troop trains are turned round, to reinforce the east, with the western frontier getting only what it needs for defence in the case of a French attack. To be consistent with Wilhelm's statement on the 28th, Germany would not support A-H against Serbia, but would reinforce defences in Galicia when necessary - as it was. Germany doesn't declare war on anyone unless they declare war first, & attacks nobody. All this accompanied by a blizzard of telegrams to London, Paris, St. Petersburg, & anyone else thought worth talking to, & statements to the press, declaring Germany's peaceful intentions & assuring everyone it isn't going to attack anybody. It could even publicly deplore A-H policy in Serbia, A-H not being able to complain because of its need for support against Russia.

 

What then? Do the French attack? They're not treaty-bound to, in those circumstances. Russia wasn't a friend, merely an ally of convenience. France hosted Polish political emigres, & objected to Russia's unilateral (in violation of treaties) suppression of Polish autonomy, & Russification of Poland. A-H & to a lesser extent Germany could use that against Russia, if they'd had the wit. So if France attacks, it's a war of choice against a well-behaved Germany. How can the UK support that? Politically very, very difficult. I don't see much public support for it.

 

German rescue of A-H from disaster at the hands of the Russians, in a limited war, would be perfect for Germany. A limited victory, clearly German (with A-H the humiliated junior partner), & moderate concessions demanded from Russia. At most, perhaps Germany could demand the reinstatement of the Kingdom of Poland & its constitution, with Germany as a guarantor of its autonomy. How could the French & British object to that, since they'd strongly objected when Russia quashed it? Polish autonomy would be wildly popular in both Britain & France.

 

You see? Different behaviour by Germany could cause different behaviour by Britain, & even France. It might have stored up trouble for the future, but that's a different matter.


Edited by swerve, 16 January 2014 - 0856 AM.

  • 0

#98 R011

R011

    Member

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 6,644 posts
  • Gender:Male
  • Location:Toronto, Ontario, Canada

Posted 16 January 2014 - 0942 AM

Recent historical inquiry suggests even the apparently apocryphal 'Crucified Canadian Soldier' may have a strong ring of truth to it.

 

I had a second hand possible confirmation that sometihng like that happened at least once.

A World War II vet told me he spoke to a German medical officer who was a Great war infantry veteran.  The doctor said that he was treating a couple of SS men in Normandy who were rather proud of themselves for mistreating some Canadians.  The doctor told them that had been a bad ideas.  He and his mates had once done rather awful to a Canadian soldier in the last war (I can't recall if it was crucifiction but it was something similar). The next day the Canadians visited their trenches and made them regret it.  The SS guys laughed at the wimpy army guy.  A bit later he treated one of the SS men again. He just told the doctor he was right abut the Canadians.


  • 0

#99 glenn239

glenn239

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,118 posts

Posted 16 January 2014 - 1228 PM

Why? 

 

I often see it said that Britain would join in, or would have to, without any explanation of causes or motives. You've made an assertion, but not forward any arguments to support it.

 

 

Here,

 

http://net.lib.byu.e...och/476-500.htm

 

(35412) No. 487.
Sir Edward Grey to Sir F. Bertie.
Foreign Office, August 2, 1914.
Tel. (No. 303.)
D. 4:45 P.M.

After the Cabinet this morning I gave M. Cambon the following aide-mémoire:

"I am authorised to give an assurance that if the German fleet comes into the Channel or through the North Sea to undertake hostile operations against French coasts or shipping the British fleet will give all the protection in its power.

"This assurance is of course subject to the policy of Hi Majesty's Government receiving the support of Parliament and must not be taken as binding His Majesty's Government to take any action until the above contingency of action by the German fleet takes place."

I pointed out that we had very large questions and most difficult issues to consider, and that the Government felt that they could not bind themselves to declare war upon Germany necessarily, if war broke out between France and Germany to-morrow, but it was essential to the French Government, whose fleet had long been concentrated in the Mediterranean, to know how to make their dispositions with their north coast entirely undefended. We therefore thought it necessary to give them this assurance. It did not bind us to go to war with Germany unless the German fleet took the action indicated, but it did give a security to France that would enable her to settle the disposition of her own Mediterranean fleet.

M. Cambon asked me about the violation of Luxemburg. I told him the doctrine on that point laid down by Lord Derby and Lord Clarendon in 1867. He asked me what we should say about the violation of the neutrality of Belgium. I said that was a much more important matter; we were considering what statement we should make in Parliament to-morrow, in effect whether we should declare violation of Belgium neutrality to be a casus belli. I told him what had been said to the German Ambassador on this point. I also explained how at the beginning of a great catastrophe such as this European war, of which no one could foresee the consequences where we had such enormous responsibilities in our Empire, as in India, or as regards countries in our occupation such as Egypt, when even the conditions of naval warfare and the possibility of protecting our coast under these conditions were untried, it was impossible safely to send our military force out of the country.

M. Cambon asked whether this meant that we should never do it.

I replied that it dealt only with the present moment. He dwelt upon the moral effect of our sending only two divisions. But I said that to send so small a force as two or even four divisions abroad at the beginning of a war would entail the maximum of risk to them and produce the minimum of effect.

 

 

Bolded part; the effect of the Royal Navy preventing German warships from exiting the North Sea should be French domination of the Atlantic, presumably to the purpose of hunting down German merchant vessels.


  • 0

#100 glenn239

glenn239

    Crew

  • Members
  • PipPip
  • 5,118 posts

Posted 16 January 2014 - 1244 PM

To be consistent with Wilhelm's statement on the 28th, Germany would not support A-H against Serbia, but would reinforce defences in Galicia when necessary - as it was. Germany doesn't declare war on anyone unless they declare war first, & attacks nobody. All this accompanied by a blizzard of telegrams to London, Paris, St. Petersburg, & anyone else thought worth talking to, & statements to the press, declaring Germany's peaceful intentions & assuring everyone it isn't going to attack anybody. It could even publicly deplore A-H policy in Serbia, A-H not being able to complain because of its need for support against Russia.

 

What then? Do the French attack? They're not treaty-bound to, in those circumstances. Russia wasn't a friend, merely an ally of convenience.

 

Assuming an explicit agreement between Britain and Germany prior to the German army taking up positions in Galicia, presumably this might work - albiet at the potential cost to Britain of its friendship with Russia. 

 

Assuming no neutrality agreement between Britain and Germany, (and that really has to be the realistic expectation), then the arrangement is a house of cards that will come down upon Moltke's head.  In this instance, it would be possible for the worst of all world's for Germany; war with the Britian, and no chance for a quick victory over the French.


Edited by glenn239, 16 January 2014 - 1246 PM.

  • 0




0 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 0 guests, 0 anonymous users