History - WWI stories

Came across two articles worth sharing


The below was news to me, from the second link.

  1. World War I showed the world what a united Germany could do. Germany was formed in 1871, making it almost 100 years younger than the United States and much younger than France and the United Kingdom.

Interesting that Bismarck was utterly opposed to a general war in Europe, predicting that if it came, it would be due to “…some damned foolish thing in the Balkans…” And so it was. He was also reputed to have said “…the whole of the Balkans is not worth the life of a single Pomeranian grenadier…”

But foolishness prevailed.

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It really was quite crazy how it started and escalated.

The war could have been largely avoided. There was a power struggle between England and Germany France and Russia. The punishments that were reeked out on Germany after the war left thousands homeless and unemployed and basically set in place the chance for a leader like Hitler to emerge. All of Germany’s foreign territories were divided among Japan and the big powers of Europe after WWI.

The punishments Germany intended for Russia, France, and Belgium had they won, were far worse than anything imposed by Versailles.

Not to me, the unification of Germany and indeed states like modern Italy is one of the key parts of school history in many European nations where the curriculum stresses how relatively recent the concept of an unifed ‘Germany’ or ‘Italy’ is.

I have numerous family members who died or served in WW1 which was the last war Ireland was part of as a whole within the UK. The area my family is from is building a memorial to the 825 men who died in WW1 from the local area. Given it is a sparsely populated area in many places this was a huge total. For many years though the WW1 veterans were ‘second class’ in Irish history. Their misfortune of serving at a time roughly parallel to an independence struggle meant memorials to them were either not put up or not renovated once the British left.

The whole deal was about imperialism of many nations. Germany’s basic goals were national security and to prevent Russia, France and Great Britain from becoming too powerful and overrunning them. Germany at that time did have some designs on portions of Belgium, Alsace-Lorraine, a small part of the Baltics that were German speaking and that historically changed hands about as frequently as we change our gym socks. They also wanted to have territories in Africa just like France and GB but the France and GB were not going to let that happen because they wanted to control the potential natural resources and economy there. Britain wanted control of the seas and felt Germany a threat in the Baltic. Keep in mind, at this time GB was basically controlling India, large portions of the middle east and Africa, as was France. GB, France and Russia wanted to surround Germany which also they pressed Germany to form alliances with Austria-Hungary and Italy. After Germany’s defeat the winners wasted no time in dividing up the spoils to make themselves more powerful and expanding their empires. Germany was heavily repressed and were literally starving.

I contend again that how Germany was treated after WWI paved the way for Hitler as Germany sought a strong leader and a way out of their economic woes. It also added to the development of the Soviet Union following the Bolshevik revolution. WWI strengthened them. This is just history. We know this. You imply Germany apparently had a severe plan to punish these other countries had they won the war. I am aware of no great plans for Germany to severely punish the other countries after WWI had they won. I have never seen such a plan. Do you have a copy?

This is an age-old effort that we see being played out again today in the Russian -American/NATO struggle where we are basically trying to surround Russia and suppress them.

Great Britain didn’t ally with France and Germany until after Germany rebuffed them and started building a navy whose stated goal was to overturn British naval superiority. Britain, being an island nation dependent on imports to feed their people couldn’t tolerate a Germany stronger than both Russia and France on land and as strong as Britain on the seas.

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Great Britain at that time was the height of imperialism. Let’s not pretend they were somehow an innocent victim. They had an empire around the globe. France had huge territorial holdings.This was a power struggle between countries for economic and military control, Germany in WW1 was no more a instigator of the war with the other 3 big European powers.

The Germans weren’t choir boys in all of this and neither were either of these other countries. They all had selfish motives. Churchill was a major war hawk of WWI. As far as I know it still takes two to tango and Germany wasn’t playing solitaire here. After the war, they were forced to sign a treaty stating total responsibility for starting that war. . One side or the other always wants to divide blame into white hats and black hats. Life isn’t like that.

Why should Great Britain get to tell Germany they can’t enlarge their navy?

Why is Great Britain supposed to sit by passively while they do?

Why is Great Britain seen as a judge of how large other people’s navies or armies should be?

True. But it’s not certain that Germany really intended to wrest dominion over the seas from Britain, just to come close. Again, while Kaiser Bill dismissed him, Bismarck cautioned that Germany should never attempt to be a sea power, but to be a land power.

Britain’s entire empire was dependent on her sea power. If Germany surpassed her, Germany could have taken every Brit colony. At the time, that was deemed a greater source of wealth than it probably was.

Power among European countries at the time was so enormous that while most didn’t realize how ruinous a general war in Europe would be, they knew it would be bad. Both Germany and France, therefore, devised strategies that they thought would ensure a short, quick war without full industrial engagement. It didn’t turn out that way, of course.

Great Britain was pursuing what they saw as their own interests, which did not include naval parity with Germany.

Indeed, and that is understandable but it had no ‘official’ role to play in setting some sort of limit on the navies of other nations. The death knell of the British Empire was already been heard in any case by some of of the more forward looking individuals in British politics.

Who said it did?

That comment we can certainly agree on.

It still comes down to who has control. That is what is about the top dog resent challenge and will do what ever they can to not lose that position.

It wasn’t just Germany and France. It included Great Britain and Russia too. Churchill was the John McCain and Lindsey Graham of his day when it came to war.

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