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Discussion: (7 comments)

  1. Jon Murphy

    Fascinating piece, sir. I do have one question, though:

    With Germany spoiling for a fight, do you think a clear message from the Brits would have prevented war? As it was, there were facing the French army and the Russian (which was, I believe, the largest in the world at the time. Please correct me if I am wrong). Would the British have been the breaking point, or just another enemy to sweep away for Germany’s rise to power?

    1. I think that you are wrong to ignore the role that Britain played in the origins of the War. On page 249 in the reference below you will find what Colonel House had to say about the issue. Britain wanted war because it was threatened by a German increase in naval power. The war was a stupid error by men who knew far less than they thought that they knew. We have the same situation again as the advisers and presidents/prime-ministers show little understanding of the complexity of the issues involved.

      http://www.scribd.com/doc/33156561/The-Intimate-Papers-of-Colonel-House-Vol-1-4

      1. Once More Around The Block

        On page 249 in the reference below you will find what Colonel House had to say about the issue.

        Who, the self-styled “Colonel” who never served in the military and after visiting Europe spouted that he had found “militarism run stark mad.” The same man who helped to draw up the failure of a manifesto for the League Of Nations? For a chilling read, try his book.

        1. I have no admiration for anyone in the Wilson Administration. That said, it is quite clear that the simple, ‘it was the German’s fault,’ view is not correct because we have plenty of evidence from the period that paints a much more complex picture than the one painted by the victors after the war was over.

  2. But was World War I—the Great War, with its massive armies, its global character and its horrific casualties—truly a product of an automatic system of security guarantees? Not really. While existing alliances certainly shaped the general context for the war that followed, more important were Berlin’s own ambitions and London’s failure to make clear in the weeks before the war that it would indeed go to war if Germany’s army violated Belgium’s neutrality and attacked France.

    I disagree. Berlin was not alone in its push for war. Britain wanted war as badly if not more because it feared a rising Germany as it was in clear decline.

    1. Once More Around The Block

      Vangel, I have to disagree. All of the main combatants were rife with internal divisions. So much so that they were not looking for war.

      It took London, bogged down with the Irish, almost a month after the assassination to realize that the fuse was already lit.

      If they were ll spoiling for war mobilizations would already be in place for France, Germany and Britain. As it was they were all caught off guard and raced to mobilize so as not to be caught short.

      1. If they were ll spoiling for war mobilizations would already be in place for France, Germany and Britain. As it was they were all caught off guard and raced to mobilize so as not to be caught short.

        The French jumped at a chance to go after Germany once the treaty with Russia expired because it wanted the land it lost to Germany in the previous conflict. The British were worried about the growth of Germany and had fears that their navy would be threatened by growing German naval power. The Germans were not entirely to blame for the war because the other side had as much to do with it as they did.

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