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The Us And The Destruction Of The British Empire


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#221 R011

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Posted 10 August 2019 - 2253 PM

If the Tsar fell in 1914, I would expect a republic - most likely a more or less social democrat one like the Kerensky regime. If the Germans aren't despatate enough to let Lenin return, the Bolsheviks might fade away.
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#222 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 0117 AM

 

 

 

I know, a lot of Conservatives wish that too. But it was unavoidable as soon as the Germans put foot in Belgium. We would have had the German HSF across the channel from us at Dover, which was completely unacceptable. After all, this was a generation raised on 'Riddle of the Sands' and 'The Battle of Dorking'. Like American's, it was imperative we fought our wars abroad.

 

I know we had a treaty with France over mutual defence, but it was far from certain another Government would honor it. It the attack on Belgium that swung it, and act of such colossal stupidity, you almost wonder if the German Empire wanted to fight the British one.

 

Having the German fleet in the Channel wouldn't alter the strategic equation. The problem was the same Napoleonic France had, you can't get to the Birtish isles without the Royal Navy appearing at some moment and cutting your lines of communication. In Napoleonic times armies could live off the land, in 1914 that wasn't feasible anymore.

 

The best result of WW1 would have been a German victory in 1914 if you think about it.

 

 

Different times though. That was in the age of sail when the wind direction and the relative difficulty of landing troops made it an all but impossible task. Even then the RN still kept a very large chunk of its fleet in home waters. In the age of steam, wind is nearly irrelevant. You would have had a German army camped in Belgium glowering at Britain, implying it could just take a hope across any time it like. Bearing in mind how weak the British Army was, it would have took maybe a few days of the High Seas Fleet holding the RN off, and London had fallen.

 

Think of the technical innovations in the 20 odd years before the first world war. Sea mines, Torpedo's, Torpedo Boats, Submarines. And Airpower wasnt sufficiently developed to tip the balance back towards the British.

 

I think the value of fiction is exaggerated, but Childers Claimed in a later foreword to 'Riddle of the Sands', that his nightmare scenario had made the RN invest in more facilities and warships at Chatham. Ive no reason to disbelieve him.

 

 

The best result of WW1 would have been Britain and France staying the hell out and allowing Germany to trounce Russia. The Tsar would have fallen, and its difficult to see the Communists getting control of Russia, because the Germans would have seen no need to allow Lenin back. Its probably the best possible outcome for Russia Ironically.

 

Good point, although what would Germany have done with the Russian Royal family?  Put another member on the throne as a puppet, or perhaps a minor German Prince as Tsar?

 

 

I seem to recall the Throne was actually offered to a cousin of the Tsar after he abdicated, he turned it down. Possibly he might have accepted if the circumstances had been different.

 

Or it could have been a Republic. If the war had been shorter, Kerensky may  have had more options. Certainly I cant see the Bolsheviks being half as successful without Lenin being the lightning rod.


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#223 Mikel2

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Posted 11 August 2019 - 2233 PM

Speaking of a hypothetical German victory in the East in WWI - one that wouldn't be lost to the Western powers -   How did the Germans treat the local occupied population in Ukraine? I have to assume that they must have been far more humane than their successors 25 years later.  Did they do their "collective punishment for franc-tireur activity" shtick there too?


Edited by Mikel2, 11 August 2019 - 2234 PM.

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#224 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 0131 AM

I seem to recall a German Ambassador or commissioner was assassinated by local insurgents, but I can remember maddeningly little else about it.


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#225 bojan

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Posted 12 August 2019 - 0442 AM

They stripped every last bit of grain to ship it to Germany that was starving.


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#226 Murph

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Posted 26 August 2019 - 0553 AM

If the Tsar fell in 1914, I would expect a republic - most likely a more or less social democrat one like the Kerensky regime. If the Germans aren't despatate enough to let Lenin return, the Bolsheviks might fade away.

True, they might fade away, and we would have a socialist democrat Russia, or perhaps a Constitutional monarchy?  


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#227 Murph

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 0605 AM

Could it be said that "Lord" George is the direct cause of much of the UK's malaise during and after the war?  


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#228 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 0644 AM

Who? :huh:

 

The only one I can think close to blame was King Edward VII, and it seems to me that his fostered ties with France were actually pretty much what the Government of the day wanted. There is a pretty good account of the whole process in 'The Guns of August'.


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#229 Murph

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Posted 05 September 2019 - 1856 PM

I'll have to re-read my copy, I haven't read it in years.
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#230 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 0215 AM

As I understand it, the drive to an alliance with France and Russia was, at least in part, the increasing threat to India from Russia. So if we were allies, less need for forces to defence India. There was also the side issue at the same time of the increasing size of the Kaiser fleet. If we had an alliance with France, they could concentrate their fleet on the Med, and we could concentrate our fleet on the North Sea and Atlantic. That would give both of us local superiority over the Kaiser and his allies (I gather the Italians were onside for a considerable period leading up to WW1, before they switched sides to us).

 

I dont think we could have done anything different. The tragedy was we didnt recognise by hitching our coat to Russia, we were more than likely going to be dragged into any European war. Even then we might have played the perfidious albion card, till Belgian neutrality was violated. And that was a line in the sand we absolutely would not put up with. So I cant blame Edward VII for this, he was just being the executor of the Governments will.

 

I cant really blame either our side or the Germans for WW1, since neither side wanted it. I can blame the Kaiser and the Tsar for being reckless, but then they were monarchs, its kind of part of the territory really.


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#231 Murph

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Posted 06 September 2019 - 1347 PM

I don't know Stuart, I kind of blame the German Government/Kaiser for playing brinksmanship with the other nations when they could have backed off mobilization and calmed things down.  Instead the Kaiser and his minions kept stirring the pot, and underestimated how close to total disaster they were headed towards.  


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#232 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 0238 AM

Well the Russians were surely guilty of pretty much the same thing.

 

Its just a personal opinion, but the Kaiser was like Khrushchev, he was happy to stir things up when there was no danger to himself or his own country. When there was, he instantly backed off. The previous times he did this, when he attempted to meddle at Agadir and even in the Boer conflict, were easy. He controlled the process, he could turn it off whenever he liked (in fact, with the Boers, it never go started beyond some invective directed at Britain). What he didnt see with Serbia was, that there was another nation that had the ability to drive the process, that might prove equally or more reckless than his own.

 

His main guilt was of being a fool, and trying to be more influential than Germany warranted in the Balkans. He didnt want a world war, and to be fair to him, and he tried to avoid coming to blows with the British Empire which he knew would be fatal. Far too late of course.


Edited by Stuart Galbraith, 07 September 2019 - 0252 AM.

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#233 Murph

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Posted 07 September 2019 - 1545 PM

Well the Russians were surely guilty of pretty much the same thing.

 

Its just a personal opinion, but the Kaiser was like Khrushchev, he was happy to stir things up when there was no danger to himself or his own country. When there was, he instantly backed off. The previous times he did this, when he attempted to meddle at Agadir and even in the Boer conflict, were easy. He controlled the process, he could turn it off whenever he liked (in fact, with the Boers, it never go started beyond some invective directed at Britain). What he didnt see with Serbia was, that there was another nation that had the ability to drive the process, that might prove equally or more reckless than his own.

 

His main guilt was of being a fool, and trying to be more influential than Germany warranted in the Balkans. He didnt want a world war, and to be fair to him, and he tried to avoid coming to blows with the British Empire which he knew would be fatal. Far too late of course.

I agree, but he still bears a lot of the guilt, if for nothing else appointing the idiots who ran the train off the tracks into positions of power.  


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#234 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 09 September 2019 - 0541 AM

Well, Bureaucrats will be Bureaucrats. I remember reading Moltke's desperate appeal to the Kaiser to not mobilize against Russia only because it would ruin the timetable. :D

 

I can see now why Kennedy love the Guns of August so much. The German General staff was EXACTLY like the staff of SAC.


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#235 Murph

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 2019 PM

I just got a new book by Derek Leebaert on this topic:  https://www.amazon.c...0?ie=UTF8&psc=1


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#236 R011

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Posted 09 November 2019 - 2137 PM

Well, Bureaucrats will be Bureaucrats. I remember reading Moltke's desperate appeal to the Kaiser to not mobilize against Russia only because it would ruin the timetable. :D
 
I can see now why Kennedy love the Guns of August so much. The German General staff was EXACTLY like the staff of SAC.


Except SAC was thoroughly subordinate to the USAF and Combined staffs and those staffs were able to present JFK with more options than all out war on mobilization.
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#237 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 0226 AM

 

Well, Bureaucrats will be Bureaucrats. I remember reading Moltke's desperate appeal to the Kaiser to not mobilize against Russia only because it would ruin the timetable. :D
 
I can see now why Kennedy love the Guns of August so much. The German General staff was EXACTLY like the staff of SAC.


Except SAC was thoroughly subordinate to the USAF and Combined staffs and those staffs were able to present JFK with more options than all out war on mobilization.

 

 

I strongly get the impression that the advice for a blockade did not come from the Joint Chiefs, but came from McNamara and the committee meetings. Ive got a vague feeling Daniel Ellsburg said RAND actually wargamed Cuba about a year before it happened, and that threw up the blockade option. I wont swear to that though.

 

The JCS were military men, they offered military options. That was their job. That there was an option that came out of left field that was a political option didnt occur to them, nor to be honest, should it have occurred to them. That was the Politicians job to do that kind of thing. The difference with the Kaisers Germany is there was military men, and there were Politicians, but the Politicians had virtually no power to influence the Kaiser. It was in effect a short circuited system.


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#238 RETAC21

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 0442 AM

 

 

Well, Bureaucrats will be Bureaucrats. I remember reading Moltke's desperate appeal to the Kaiser to not mobilize against Russia only because it would ruin the timetable. :D
 
I can see now why Kennedy love the Guns of August so much. The German General staff was EXACTLY like the staff of SAC.


Except SAC was thoroughly subordinate to the USAF and Combined staffs and those staffs were able to present JFK with more options than all out war on mobilization.

 

 

I strongly get the impression that the advice for a blockade did not come from the Joint Chiefs, but came from McNamara and the committee meetings. Ive got a vague feeling Daniel Ellsburg said RAND actually wargamed Cuba about a year before it happened, and that threw up the blockade option. I wont swear to that though.

 

The JCS were military men, they offered military options. That was their job. That there was an option that came out of left field that was a political option didnt occur to them, nor to be honest, should it have occurred to them. That was the Politicians job to do that kind of thing. The difference with the Kaisers Germany is there was military men, and there were Politicians, but the Politicians had virtually no power to influence the Kaiser. It was in effect a short circuited system.

 

 

There's much distortion about who came up with the blockade, but it seems it was JFK himself.


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#239 Stuart Galbraith

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 0729 AM

Its certainly possible. He was after all Navy, he must have had a fairly good idea of what was possible and what wasn't.

 

I have to say reading the transcripts of the Kennedy Tapes, there is no moment where someone says 'Hey guys, Ive got a really great idea....'. It seems almost as if it evolved, presumably from some discussion or other about capturing the ships at sea.


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#240 Rick

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Posted 10 November 2019 - 0739 AM

Stuart, who does the U.K believe is their main military threat?


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