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How Pacifism Led to the Great War -- and Could Lead Us into the Next One
American Thinker ^ | 02/03/2011 | Robert Morrison

Posted on 02/04/2011 7:23:54 AM PST by SeekAndFind

When then-Sen. Barack Obama made a short video for the "peace caucus" delegates to the 2008 Iowa Caucuses, he captured the enthusiastic support of his party's pacifist wing. It was enough to propel him to the Democratic nomination. Hillary Clinton's ad -- showing a red telephone ringing at 3 a.m. -- only emphasized to party pacifists that Obama was their man.

And, of course, leading antiwar figures like George Soros heavily bankrolled MoveOn.org and other liberal media outlets -- all echoing the same pacifist line. Pacifism -- as the name implies -- ought to lead to peace. But it too often doesn't.

In one famous case, pacifism doubtless led the world into a cataclysm. In 1914, Great Britain was governed by the Liberal Party. Their leading statesman was Sir Edward Grey, the foreign secretary.

On June 28 of that fateful year, the heirs to the thrones of Austria-Hungary, the Archduke Franz Ferdinand and his wife, Sophie, were assassinated. Serbian nationalists killed them in the Bosnian city of Sarajevo. All Europe staggered toward the abyss.

Great Britain might have stayed out of it if only Germany had not invaded Belgium. Both Germany and Britain had an eighty-year treaty to protect Belgian neutrality and territorial integrity. Sir Edward repeatedly issued statements calling upon "all parties" to honor their commitments. Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany dismissed treaties as "mere scraps of paper" and gave his generals the go-ahead to attack France through Belgium. The infamous Schlieffen Plan required that "the last man on the [German] right will brush the Channel with his sleeve." That would be the English Channel.

Sir Edward never said openly and directly to Germany: If you violate Belgian neutrality, Britain will declare war on you. Why not?

G.K. Chesterton, the famed English writer, tells us why in his memoirs. Chesterton was well-connected in Liberal Party circles. He wrote the Liberals were indebted to Manchester millionaires for their party's campaign financing. Those Manchester millionaires were religious pacifists. They would not have tolerated any blunt, direct warning to Kaiser Wilhelm from Sir Edward Grey or from the Liberals' prime minister, H.H. Asquith.

To close this loop, however, it is necessary to show that the headstrong Kaiser would have been deterred by such an unambiguous warning. Fortunately, such evidence exists.

Sir John Wheeler-Bennett is the greatest of diplomatic historians of the interwar period of 1919-1939. In the summer of 1939, Sir John visited the ex-Kaiser at his exile home in Holland. There, on the eve of a second horrific conflagration, the deposed German emperor confirmed to this young British scholar that if he had only known that Britain would declare war, he would never have allowed his generals to invade Belgium!

Thus, we see how the entire world was dragged into the cataclysm of World War I -- with its 20 million dead. Out of what Winston Churchill called the world crisis was born Communism, Fascism, Nazism, Japanese Imperialism, and Arab nationalism. We can trace to World War I some of what we are seeing on the streets of Tripoli, Cairo, and Amman even today.

I was fortunate to have Sir John Wheeler-Bennett as my professor of diplomatic history at the University of Virginia. I have not forgotten his worldly wisdom. It was thus with the deepest misgivings that I watched as our unprepared president advanced from one dangerously naïve statement to another as he sought and won the presidency.

Mr. Obama's bowing to desert despots, his fawning speech in Cairo, his signing of an appeasing treaty with Russia -- within days of the exposure of a Russian spy ring! -- all of these communicate U.S. weakness and increase the danger to steadfast American allies -- like Israel and the newly free states of Eastern Europe.

Let us hope that President Obama pulls back from his party's pacifist majority in time.

There was never a real prospect that Britain would not fight if Germany violated its treaty on Belgium. But a clear, strong "shot across the bow" might have prevented the horror of the trenches.

Ronald Reagan said that "no war in my lifetime has taken place because America was too strong." He set about rebuilding our "hollowed-out" military and repairing the damage done by four years of the invertebrate Jimmy Carter.

President Obama is gutting our defenses and broadcasting his belief that America has been the obstacle to world peace -- until, that is, the Obama administration, bedecked with olive leaves and holding doves in its extended hands, was installed. No more hazardous mindset can be imagined. Peace through strength has ever been the safest of policies for this Great Republic.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: chesterton; egyptcrisis; gkchesterton; militarism; pacifism; peace; sarajevo; selfloathing; smearfinancier; spookydude; war; wwi
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1 posted on 02/04/2011 7:23:56 AM PST by SeekAndFind
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To: SeekAndFind

Evil preys on the weak.


2 posted on 02/04/2011 7:29:20 AM PST by crosshairs (The word for actor in Greek is hypocrite (its true).)
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To: SeekAndFind

Silly argument. If only the so-called “pacifists” had had their way in 1914. If France, Britain, and Russia had wanted peace, at worst, there would have been a localized war between Serbia and Austria. World War I was unnnecessary. Without that war, we would have never had Hitler, Lenin, or Stalin


3 posted on 02/04/2011 7:29:23 AM PST by Captain Kirk (Q)
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To: SeekAndFind

Silly argument. If only the so-called “pacifists” had had their way in 1914 the world would be a much better place today. If France, Britain, and Russia had wanted peace in 1914, at worst, there would have been a localized war between Serbia and Austria. Even in the case of Belgium, that country was hardly worth the slaughter of a generation. World War I was unnnecessary. Without that war, we would have never had Hitler, Lenin, or Stalin


4 posted on 02/04/2011 7:30:33 AM PST by Captain Kirk (Q)
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To: SeekAndFind
This is nothing new. The Romans said it best, Si vis pacem, para bellum (If you want peace, prepare for war). The Japanese said it another way. After a victory, tighten your helmet straps.
5 posted on 02/04/2011 7:31:58 AM PST by GonzoGOP (There are millions of paranoid people in the world and they are all out to get me.)
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To: Captain Kirk

And if the US had stayed out, France and Britain would have had no choice but to negotiate an armistice that was less one-sided against Germany, and Germany would have been less likely to want a rematch in 1939.


6 posted on 02/04/2011 7:34:42 AM PST by PapaBear3625 ("It is only when we've lost everything, that we are free to do anything" -- Fight Club)
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To: PapaBear3625

Exactly. The Kaiser’s regime had its faults but it was a model of liberty and democracy compared to the Soviet Union and Germany.


7 posted on 02/04/2011 7:36:59 AM PST by Captain Kirk (Q)
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To: SeekAndFind

Wrong. He is an Islamist. This is all about Islam taking over. The stupid sheep in the west are easily manipulated by TV and the media.


8 posted on 02/04/2011 7:43:06 AM PST by Frantzie (HD TV - Total Brain-washing now in High Def. 3-D Coming soon)
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To: SeekAndFind

When this writer called Soros an anti-War type...he lost ME.

Soros is the biggest war monger of them all.

War on capitalism, heavy collateral damage in U.S.
War on Republicans...collateral damage in the Dummie community (well that is a redeeming fact)
War on Bank of England..Collateral damage among depositors.

War on Israel....collateral damage to be determined.


9 posted on 02/04/2011 7:43:44 AM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: Captain Kirk

But pacifists never get their way when someone is bent on having a war. In 1914, it was Kaiser Billy.


10 posted on 02/04/2011 7:45:34 AM PST by Daveinyork
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To: SeekAndFind

Had GB remained steadfast at Munich against Hitler’s demands to annex part of Czechoslovakia WWII might have been averted as well.


11 posted on 02/04/2011 8:00:32 AM PST by Mike Darancette (The heresy of heresies was common sense - Orwell)
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To: SeekAndFind

It wasn’t just what happened in 1914. That was simply the dénouement. Decades of passivity, ambiguity, and pusillanimity in the face of German aggrandizement and daring predated that fateful year.


12 posted on 02/04/2011 8:53:46 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Captain Kirk

“Silly argument. If only the so-called ‘pacifists’ had had their way in 1914. If France, Britain, and Russia had wanted peace, at worst, there would have been a localized war between Serbia and Austria.”

I don’t get it. How would the pacifists have stopped Germany from trying to conquer Europe? Or are you under the impression that Germany didn’t start the war, that it was everyone’s fault, and that “nationalism,” “imperialism,” the arms race, or whatever, were to blame? That’s called “the Sarajevo fallacy,” and, as you could have guessed, is false.

France, Britain, and Russia were no more to blame for the wider war than they were 25 years later.


13 posted on 02/04/2011 8:58:18 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: PapaBear3625

“if the US had stayed out, France and Britain would have had no choice but to negotiate an armistice that was less one-sided against Germany, and Germany would have been less likely to want a rematch in 1939.”

On the other hand, if they had demanded unconditional surrender and invaded and destroyed imperial Germany, as they did in 1945, they would have avoided the “stabbed in the back” narrative and perhaps Hitler.


14 posted on 02/04/2011 9:00:54 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

Aggrandizement? Not so in the first world war. Yes there was a buildup, but the man who put it all together saw the cornerstone of Germany freedom was his alliance with Austria and Russia. The League of 3 Emperors.

The Kaiser screwed that all up by pushing the Russians to ally with France. Prior to that Germany and Britian had been allies against France.


15 posted on 02/04/2011 9:07:31 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: SeekAndFind

The premise of the article is immensely flawed, and the author’s take on the events of 1914 are inaccurate.


16 posted on 02/04/2011 9:09:46 AM PST by r9etb
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To: PapaBear3625

“an armistice that was less one-sided against Germany”

By the way, there’s been this notion ever since Keynes’ famnous “Carthaginian peace” book—and probably before—that the allies were too harsh on Germany. How a nation that savaged several others without one enemy setting foot on their own soil was like Carthage is beyong me. But nevermind, they started it, and so they deserved rough trade. Or, in the very least, unbalanced treatement.

The Carthaginian thesis has plausibility because of hyperinflation, depression, and Hitler. If you look at it closely, however, that was their own fault, too. Okay, France’s fault partly for being so heavy-handed in occupying the Rhine. But nothing forced Germany to respond in the worst way imaginable, i.e. non-stop printing money.

Anyway, the point is, for whatever reason Germany never fulfilled the supposedly onerous conditions of peace. They never paid the money back; they rearmed, they reoccupied off-limit zones. Given all that, how can we say the peace was to blame? Well, because of the depression and Hitler. But if you didn’t notice, the entire world went through a depression and they didn’t all get Hitlers. Yes, Germany’s depression was in many ways worse, but, again, that was their fault. No one forced them to hyperinflate, not even France.

All this ignores one other possible explanation for Hitler’s rise. The one that he and his ilk were fond of repeating endlessly. This was the famous “stabbed in the back” excuse. Germany didn’t really lose, they rationalized, because no one invaded Germany. Also, because Germany can’t lose. I mean, come on, they’re Germany! Needless to say, a harsher peace could’ve convinced them otherwise, as it did in ‘45.


17 posted on 02/04/2011 9:13:12 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: BenKenobi

“Yes there was a buildup”

Exactly. Everyone saw the “Germany problem” rising. France, obviously, but also Britain. Which is why they tried to stop them from building a navy. But they didn’t try very hard, and all along the line Germany smelled their weakness. And that is why they pounced, because they thought everyone was too weak to stop them. They should have been convinced otherwise.

“The Kaiser screwed that all up by pushing the Russians to ally with France. Prior to that Germany and Britian had been allies against France.”

Don’t drown in diplomatic tangles and geopolitical confusions. The bare facts are that Germany was seen as a lesser power, desperately wanted to alter that condition, and eventually went to war in order to control the European continent. The deals they made along the way are historical curiosities, but only serve to make the larger story fuzzy.

It would be as we explained the Soviet Empire of the Cold War period in terms of their shifting alliances with Poland and China, or whatever, ignoring completely their intent to dominate the globe. Germany’s cannot be understood outside of power politics, and were in no way amenable to normal diplomatic relations.


18 posted on 02/04/2011 9:22:24 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: BenKenobi

“It would be as we explained the Soviet Empire...” = It would be as IF we explained the Soviet Empire...


19 posted on 02/04/2011 9:25:34 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

Germany was responsible?

Russia was responsible for the 1st world war. They were the first power to throw their weight around. Had the alliance between Russia and Germany stayed around, the world would not have gone to war.


20 posted on 02/04/2011 9:28:44 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“but the man who put it all together saw the cornerstone of Germany freedom was his alliance with Austria and Russia. The League of 3 Emperors. The Kaiser screwed that all up by pushing the Russians to ally with France. Prior to that Germany and Britian had been allies against France.”

By the way, it’s impossible to understand WWI without knowing that there was a war faction in government. A faction that, like the Nazis, figured they could fight a successful general war in Europe. These are the types who drafted the “Schlieffen Plan.” They got their way in 1914.


21 posted on 02/04/2011 9:29:39 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: BenKenobi

“Russia was responsible for the 1st world war. They were the first power to throw their weight around.”

You, sir, have been duped by Germany. Just so happens that, according to diplomatic conventions, throwing your weight around and mobilizing for war are not themselves acts of war. They never had been considered such, except suddenly by Germany in 1914. I wonder why?

Germany deliberately built their system around being able to mobilize in the midst of fighting, whereas Russia and France had to mobolize first, for weeks, before they had stategic options. This allowed Germany to wait until after its enemies mobilized to invade them, thus plausibly blaming them for starting it. Well, plausibly to people who nowadays don’t realize mobilizing for war and fighting a war aren’t the same thing. But they didn’t fool everyone way back when.

By the way, if Russia started it, why did Germany invade Belgium? What does Belgium have to do with Russia? What does Germany and Russia not being allies anymore have anything to do with Germany trying to conquer France?


22 posted on 02/04/2011 9:39:06 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

Ridiculous. Britain practiced Splendid Isolation after Crimea. Their best allies were the Germans on the continent, to contain France on the continent.

It’s only after the Russians and the Germans fell out that Germany felt ‘trapped’, and diplomatically isolated. Even after the buildup their navy was nothing compared to Britain, which is why the naval war was a mere sideshow.

Germany didn’t smell any weakness. They fought in 1914, after Russia mobilized, because they had no choice. Once the Entente was put together between Britain and France and Russia (the three world powers at the time), that left Germany allied with Austria. This was a drastic upset in the balance of power.

Russia invaded them in East Prussia, and it was Lundendorff and Hindenburg who destroyed them at Tannenburg and the Masurian Lakes.

Despite being massively outnumbered, the Germans fought for 4 years on the continent and it took bringing the US, to end the war. Germany managed to fight the three world powers at the time to a standstill. Sure they lost, but they destroyed Russia (far larger and more powerful at the time), and came within a hair’s breadth of destroying France. Had France surrendered in 1917, the war would have ended, with Germany defending her possessions in the west, and owning most of former Poland and Lithuania in the east.

The typical balance under Metternich was France + Austria + Spain, vs Prussia, Russia and Britain. Austria and Germany were natural rivals, as were France and Russia, as were Britain and Spain. Once the Russian and German alliance fell out, the only natural partner was Austria.


23 posted on 02/04/2011 9:40:12 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: Tublecane

“whereas Russia and France had to mobolize first”

So you admit that Russia AND France mobolized first? Germany fought back in self-defense. Do you think that if she were on the offensive that they would choose to fight a two front war? Hardly.

If the war was started with Germany, they would have fought on only the eastern or the western front. Instead, because Russia declared war on them, they were forced to defend on both. Defended so well that, as you said, they never fought on German soil in the west.


24 posted on 02/04/2011 9:45:04 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“What does Germany and Russia not being allies anymore have anything to do with Germany trying to conquer France?”

By the way, I realize the answer is that Russia starting it by throwing its weight around and thus causing war with Germany would have left Germany vulnerable to a backstabbing by France, which justified them in a preventive attack. Not only do you now justify Germany in treating a country throwing its weight around as a cause for war, which was never the case before. But they are also justified in invading another country because they might at some point in the future attack them while they’re fighting the aforementioned war. Which, also, was never the case before.

Reminds me of those who argue that the Soviets were justified in conquering Eastern Europe because they had been invaded a couple of times in the recent past. Which, first of all, ignores the imperialistic wars they fought shortly before being invaded against Poland and Finland. But it also acts as if everyone else is just a pawn in the nation in question’s strategic calculations. As if they have no dignity of their own.

Never have I heard such thin justifications for empire. At least in the dark old days of colonialism they argued that their rule was better for those they had conquered.


25 posted on 02/04/2011 9:46:49 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: SeekAndFind
"How Pacifism Led to the Great War -- and Could Lead Us into the Next One">

The Franco-Prussian War led to WWI.

26 posted on 02/04/2011 9:49:15 AM PST by Flag_This (Real presidents don't bow.)
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To: BenKenobi

“So you admit that Russia AND France mobolized first? Germany fought back in self-defense.”

Wrong. Mobilization is not an attack. It never, ever had been considered a cause for war before. That was never part of the diplomatic tradition. You have fallen directly into the trap Germany laid for you, allowing it to argue “self-defense” for purely offensive acts.

“Do you think that if she were on the offensive that they would choose to fight a two front war?”

Yes! That was their plan. They wrote it down! It’s called the Schlieffen Plan.

“Instead, because Russia declared war on them, they were forced to defend on both.”

Wrong. Russia did not declare war on them. Now you’re simply lying.

“Defended so well that, as you said, they never fought on German soil in the west.”

Why do you figure they did as well as they did? Could it possibly be that they deliberatly planned things so that they’d be able to mobilize while they fought, unlike their enemies? Also, because, unlike their enemies, they actually were on the offensive?


27 posted on 02/04/2011 9:52:45 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Flag_This

“The Franco-Prussian War led to WWI.”

No, actually, God creating the heavens and the earth led to it.


28 posted on 02/04/2011 9:53:31 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: SeekAndFind

A better argument would involve the 1928 Kellogg-Briand Pact that “banned war.” I would argue that reliance on that worthless treaty kept Britain and France from realizing the danger they were facing in Germany until it was too late.


29 posted on 02/04/2011 9:54:27 AM PST by denydenydeny (Power always thinks it has a great soul and vast views, beyond the comprehension of the weak-Adams)
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To: Tublecane

League of Three Emperors?

Russia was an Empire too. Who do you think dismembered Poland?

“Germany in treating a country throwing its weight around as a cause for war,”

A Russian invasion into East Prussia, is cause for a defensive war. The Germans in the First World War, did not have the same goals as in the Second World War. Nor did they fight in the same manner or the same fashion.

Outside of the opening year, the entire war was defensive. Russia collapsed in 1917. Then France held on, and Germany finally collapsed in 1918, after the US came into the war.

The Germans did not want war in 1914. They knew that if they fought everybody, they would lose. They did the best they could in a hopeless situation, and darn near pulled it out in the end.


30 posted on 02/04/2011 9:56:08 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: Tublecane

“Yes! That was their plan. They wrote it down! It’s called the Schlieffen Plan.”

Yes, I studied the Schlieffen Plan. The Plan was to be used in the case that a two front war was inevitable. The German plan in an offensive war in the West was the same as in 1870, to run straight through Sedan and to Paris.

They did not want a two front war. They knew going in that war against the Entente was suicide. The reason for the swing through Belgium, is because they wanted to draw the French forces in Lorraine deep into Germany and swing around Paris.

In a war against France alone, they would have just massed everyone at the border and punched through again, using surprise. Which is what they did in 1870. They already had the playbook for victory against France. They needed one for France and Russia.

When Russia invaded East Prussia, the war was on. Germany did not invade Russia. Germany did not invade Belgium until after Russia invaded East Prussia.

Things were so bad in East Prussia that Moltke replaced the East Prussian commander with replaced by Lundendorff and Hindenburg, because he wanted to withdraw all German forces behind the Oder river, and abandon all of East Prussia.

Lundendorff was elevated and he recalled Hindenburg to the eastern front. They realized that the attacks of the Russian 1st and 2nd armies, under Rennenkampf and Samsonov were not co-ordinated. Then they realized that their communications were unshielded. So not only were they not listening to one another, they were broadcasting their movements to the Germans.

Lundendorff managed to slip in armies behind the Russians, and encircle the second Army at the First battle of Masurian Lakes. Than 4 months later, he was able to do the same to Rennenkampf, who hadn’t even bothered to advance from Gumbinnen to Koenigsberg.


31 posted on 02/04/2011 10:07:10 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“Germany didn’t smell any weakness.”

They did, or else they wouldn’t have fought. They may have banked on Britain staying out of it, but that’s only a different sort of weakness.

“Ridiculous. Britain practiced Splendid Isolation after Crimea. Their best allies were the Germans on the continent, to contain France on the continent.”

It was a long time between the 1850s and 1914. This was the period, in fact, during which Germany became a world power. And if Britain didn’t immediately see them as a threat, they obviously eventually did. Hence all the arms control agreements, designed to keep Germany from catching up with the big boys.

“It’s only after the Russians and the Germans fell out that Germany felt ‘trapped’”

Whatever. You can justify pretty much everything under the sun by saying you feel trapped. The Nazis argued the exact same thing, hence the battle cry of “lebensraum.” The Soviets could’ve argued similarly. Doesn’t justify starting wars, conquering continents, and empire-building.

“Even after the buildup their navy was nothing compared to Britain, which is why the naval war was a mere sideshow”

I’m scratching my head as to the relevance of this.

“They fought in 1914, after Russia mobilized, because they had no choice.”

BS. Russia mobilizing was not at the time considered casus belli. If Germany took it as such, they would have been at least in violation of various principles of diplomacy and international law. But they didn’t, as it turns out. Using Russia as casus belli was a lie, specifically tailored to trick people like you.

Germany had a choice, and they made it.

“Despite being massively outnumbered, the Germans fought for 4 years on the continent and it took bringing the US, to end the war. Germany managed to fight the three world powers at the time to a standstill...Had France surrendered in 1917, the war would have ended, with Germany defending her possessions in the west, and owning most of former Poland and Lithuania in the east.”

Hooray for Germany!

“far larger and more powerful at the time”

Larger, yes, but obviously not more powerful. Unless you mean something like “latently powerful.” As I’ve always said, hold latent power in one hand and poop in the other, see what gets filled first.

“The typical balance under Metternich was France + Austria + Spain, vs Prussia, Russia and Britain. Austria and Germany were natural rivals, as were France and Russia, as were Britain and Spain. Once the Russian and German alliance fell out, the only natural partner was Austria.”

You fall here into the Kissenger trap, viewing competing nations as fundamentally similar. Often they are, but not always. You must treat an aggressor differently than a mere rival. The balance of power after 1815 was not comparable to the balance in, for instance, 1914, 1939, or 1945. I’d like to have seen Metternich keep the peace with Napoleon in the picture.


32 posted on 02/04/2011 10:23:59 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: BenKenobi

“The typical balance under Metternich was France + Austria + Spain, vs Prussia, Russia and Britain. Austria and Germany were natural rivals, as were France and Russia, as were Britain and Spain. Once the Russian and German alliance fell out, the only natural partner was Austria.”

You fall here into the Kissenger trap, viewing competing nations as fundamentally similar. Often they are, but not always. You must treat an aggressor differently than a mere rival. The balance of power after 1815 was not comparable to the balance in, for instance, 1914, 1939, or 1945, for lack of aggressors (Germany, Germany, and the Soviet Union, respectively).

I’d like to have seen Metternich keep the peace with Napoleon in the picture. His fame derives from Europe happening to temporarily run out of Napoleons.


33 posted on 02/04/2011 10:32:06 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

“They did, or else they wouldn’t have fought.”

They didn’t have a choice once France and Russia mobilized, and Russia invaded.

“They may have banked on Britain staying out of it, but that’s only a different sort of weakness.”

They hoped Britain would stay out of it, but the Schlieffen Plan left them no other options. Their first choice was to stay out of war.

“It was a long time between the 1850s and 1914. This was the period, in fact, during which Germany became a world power. And if Britain didn’t immediately see them as a threat, they obviously eventually did.”

They weren’t really considered to be a threat, until after Bismarck left and the diplomacy changed. Bismarck understood two things, that Germany only could be formed with the isolation of France, and the only way Germany could do so is by allying with Russia and Britain against Austria and France.

Religion wise, the alliance between Germany and Britain made sense. When the league of three emperors fell apart, and the Entente formed, Germany was the isolated power, not France. This left her in a much weaker position. Diplomacy is important, because the whole powder keg exploded because of failures in diplomacy.

“Hence all the arms control agreements, designed to keep Germany from catching up with the big boys.”

The point being that if you include the French Empire and the British Empire and compare it to the German Empire, the German Empire was far weaker than both. Far weaker even than the Russian Empire in terms of manpower.

You are right that technologically they were considered to be the best on land, but what did Britain care what they did in Europe?

“The Nazis argued the exact same thing, hence the battle cry of “lebensraum.” The Soviets could’ve argued similarly. Doesn’t justify starting wars, conquering continents, and empire-building.”

The Nazis were not the same as the Kaiserreich. It’s a real pity that Wilson intervened because it was a ‘nice job breaking it’ hero. America intervened too late to do any good, and early enough to still get involved. Had America intervened early along with the rest of Britain’s allies and Empire, the war would have ended quickly. That she waited until 1917, when the war was nearly lost, cost the stable governance in not just Germany, but Austria as well. Yes, two Kings were toppled, but the Kaiserreich wasn’t the Nazis.

The whole second world war could have been prevented had America either intervened early or stayed out of it. As usual, America intervened to protect their communist allies.

“Even after the buildup their navy was nothing compared to Britain, which is why the naval war was a mere sideshow”

I’m scratching my head as to the relevance of this.

“They fought in 1914, after Russia mobilized, because they had no choice.”

BS. Russia mobilizing was not at the time considered casus belli. If Germany took it as such, they would have been at least in violation of various principles of diplomacy and international law. But they didn’t, as it turns out. Using Russia as casus belli was a lie, specifically tailored to trick people like you.

Germany had a choice, and they made it.

“Despite being massively outnumbered, the Germans fought for 4 years on the continent and it took bringing the US, to end the war. Germany managed to fight the three world powers at the time to a standstill...Had France surrendered in 1917, the war would have ended, with Germany defending her possessions in the west, and owning most of former Poland and Lithuania in the east.”

Hooray for Germany!

“far larger and more powerful at the time”

Larger, yes, but obviously not more powerful. Unless you mean something like “latently powerful.” As I’ve always said, hold latent power in one hand and poop in the other, see what gets filled first.

“The typical balance under Metternich was France + Austria + Spain, vs Prussia, Russia and Britain. Austria and Germany were natural rivals, as were France and Russia, as were Britain and Spain. Once the Russian and German alliance fell out, the only natural partner was Austria.”

You fall here into the Kissenger trap, viewing competing nations as fundamentally similar. Often they are, but not always. You must treat an aggressor differently than a mere rival. The balance of power after 1815 was not comparable to the balance in, for instance, 1914, 1939, or 1945. I’d like to have seen Metternich keep the peace with Napoleon in the picture.


34 posted on 02/04/2011 10:41:54 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“A Russian invasion into East Prussia, is cause for a defensive war.”

That didn’t happen until after Germany declared war on France and Russia and after they invaded Belgium.

“The Germans in the First World War, did not have the same goals as in the Second World War.”

Not all of the same goals, but enough of them.

“Nor did they fight in the same manner or the same fashion”

Well, they didn’t have tanks and planes, and not “blitzkrieg,” exactly, although they did mobilize faster than everyone else. They didn’t have the SS and the Nazi ideology, but the similarities are daunting. And all the differences aren’t really germane to the present discussion, i.e. whether they started the war.

“The Germans did not want war in 1914”

Yes they did. That’s why they declared war and invaded other countries.

“They did the best they could in a hopeless situation”

The best they could do was declare war on nations that had not given them cause for war and invade a neutral country? If that’s the case, I wonder, what would not doing their best entail? What would it have taken for them to be seen as aggressors?


35 posted on 02/04/2011 10:43:22 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: BenKenobi

“Russia invaded them in East Prussia, and it was Lundendorff and Hindenburg who destroyed them at Tannenburg and the Masurian Lakes.”

You seem very tied to this idea that Russia attacked first. Are you not aware that Germany declared war and started fighting in the west a full couple of weeks before Russia moved? If so, I suggest you brush up.

Are you aware, further, that this was Germany’s entire plan? To be able to fight after its enemies have started mobilizing, and to mobilize on the move without having to wait precious weeks after hostilities have begun.


36 posted on 02/04/2011 10:49:58 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Marty62

That make Soros a criminal, not a war-monger. Soros wants not-war so he can manipulate all parts of his empire.


37 posted on 02/04/2011 10:52:20 AM PST by Oztrich Boy (History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce - Karl Marx)
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To: BenKenobi

“I’m scratching my head as to the relevance of this.”

Outside of Jutland, the naval campaign was basically irrelevant through the first world war.

“BS. Russia mobilizing was not at the time considered casus belli.”

Invading East Prussia isn’t Casus Belli? Germany did what America would have done in the same situation. Fight as hard as she could as long as she could.

“Germany had a choice, and they made it.”

True, they could have surrendered. I somehow doubt that facing that situation that America would have surrendered.

“Hooray for Germany!”

Yeah, hooray for Germany. Unfortunately for the Baltics and for everybody, not the case. Think the Baltics aren’t happy to be spared Russian domination?

“Larger, yes, but obviously not more powerful. Unless you mean something like “latently powerful.” As I’ve always said, hold latent power in one hand and poop in the other, see what gets filled first.”

Russia had a 2:1 manpower advantage. Adding France and Britain and their respective Empires makes it close to 8:1. That’s not even counting the Italians, who fought the Austrians to a standstill. Add America and that’s 10:1 manpower advantage for the allies.

Germany knew that war against everyone in 1914 was suicide, but they stood up against Russia and France and Britain for 4 years. Nobody, not even the most optimistic expected them to hold out that long. Everyone expected that the war would be over by Christmas, especially in Britain and France, for the same reasons that I’m laying out here.

The only advantage that Germany had was choosing the battlefield, and fighting on the defensive. And it was nearly enough. Strategically, the war is hopeless. Past the first battle of the Marne, the Allies held the initiative, which they never relinquished. You can’t win playing defense.

“I’d like to have seen Metternich keep the peace with Napoleon in the picture.”

Metternich’s system was designed to keep France from doing what she had just done, and conquer all of Europe.

This is why 1870 was such a surprise. Prussia alone took on France and won. They had the plan, and the intiative, France did not. WW1, the Germans played defense, and unsurprisingly lost.

WW2, Hitler managed to invade and defeat everyone, just like Napoleon, and lost in Russia, just like Napoleon. In the end, unlike Napoleon, the state was occupied, and divided. Unlike Napoleon, German allies were occupied. If Germany had treated France the way France treated Germany, France would have been partitioned, and the low countries would be German. Unlike in the Second world war, where all of Eastern Europe became Russian, and they simply traded one dictator for another.

The worst part about both wars? Democracy came out the worst. It wasn’t until the last decade of the 20th century that countries which existed in the first decade had been restored.

So what were all those wars for?


38 posted on 02/04/2011 10:54:59 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“They didn’t have a choice once France and Russia mobilized, and Russia invaded.”

Ha! Congratulations, you’ve fallen for Germany’s propaganda. Mobilization does not equal war. Never did, never will. Germany invaded first (Belgium, that is). Russia didn’t invade until after Germany declared war on them.

“They hoped Britain would stay out of it, but the Schlieffen Plan left them no other options.”

I don’t understand this.

“Their first choice was to stay out of war.”

“What evidence is there for this claim?
Diplomacy is important, because the whole powder keg exploded because of failures in diplomacy.”

Yes, but not in the way it’s usually presented. The nations Germany eventually went to war with failed diplomatically in the sense that they did not accurately demonstrate their willingness to fight.

“You are right that technologically they were considered to be the best on land, but what did Britain care what they did in Europe?”

Do you seriously think Britain was neutral as to who dominated the European continent? Then why did they go to war after all?


39 posted on 02/04/2011 10:59:59 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Oztrich Boy

I’m not talking about a shooting war.

He is a war-monger in the sense he takes down business and Govs without firing a shot.
Same results, same collateral damage.


40 posted on 02/04/2011 11:01:25 AM PST by Marty62 (Marty 60)
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To: Tublecane

That was the plan, but Russia mobilized much quicker than Germany expected, and deployed onto German territory into East Prussia, before Germany had adequate defenses deployed.

This was a shock, and why the German commander wanted to pull the troops back to the Oder and abandon all of East Prussia and Koenigsberg to the Russians.

First Masurian Lakes was a shocker. And they called it Tannenburg for the same reason as the first battle of Tannenburg, over much the same terrain. The alliance of Poles and Lithuanians finally managed to smash the Knights.

Perhaps the most critical effect, is the fact that Moltke deployed divisions from the west (which didn’t arrive in time), and away from the western Front. Troops that weren’t available at the First Battle of the Marne.

The entire outcome of the war was pretty much decided in the first two months. German lack of confidence, prevented them from landing the knockout blow, but their adequate early defense, prevented them from getting knocked out.

After that it was all about the numbers. Germany simply could not win the war. Play it out at the end of 1914, and 9 times out of 10, they do worse than history says that they did. The 1 time in 10, they manage to hold out for 4 years, and defeat Russia.


41 posted on 02/04/2011 11:08:08 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“They did not want a two front war”

No, who would? Unfortunately, you can’t conquer Europe without dealing with both the east and the west.

“They needed one for France and Russia.”

Why? Because one or the other might attack them, and eventually the other when their back was turned? Possibly, originally. ut that’s not how it turned out, considering Germany moved first. And even if it was the case that they planned offensive operations just in case at some point in the future it became The World Against Poor Germany, we generally don’t condone such practices. The Soviet Union had reason to believe it might be invaded again, but that did not justify them building an Evil Empire in Eastern Europe, Asia, and elsewhere in the meantime.

“When Russia invaded East Prussia, the war was on.”

Ugh. Please, please, please consult a timeline.


42 posted on 02/04/2011 11:09:10 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

They had been neutral in European conflicts since Crimea, 60 years prior to the first world war.

The Entente was signed in 1904. The Schlieffen Plan was intially designed the year after. If the plan were designed to be an offensive plan, why did Germany wait 10 years to implement it?

It was designed as a reaction to the Entente as a defensive counterattack to the alliance of France and Russian.


43 posted on 02/04/2011 11:14:38 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“That was the plan, but Russia mobilized much quicker than Germany expected, and deployed onto German territory into East Prussia, before Germany had adequate defenses deployed.”

I’m at a loss as to how this translates into Germany not starting the war. Russia didn’t invade until two weeks after Germany declared war on them, and more than a week after Germany invaded Belgium. Thus commencing offensive operations against France—i.e. the beginning of WWI—which, by the way, unlike Russia never invaded them, even after war was declared.


44 posted on 02/04/2011 11:15:06 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

“we generally don’t condone such practices.”

Oh really. Which is why Russia is the good guy here?

Look, America so far is 2 for 2 for coming in late to European wars, leaving Britain and France out to dry, and fighting just in time to save their communist allies.

They did it in 1917, only coming in after the Revolution, and they did it again in 1941, in coming in at Pearl Harbour, after Barbarossa and the Russians were in.


45 posted on 02/04/2011 11:16:57 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: Tublecane

Russia never invaded Germany?

Look up a map of Tannenburg. It’s clear as day.


46 posted on 02/04/2011 11:20:35 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“Outside of Jutland, the naval campaign was basically irrelevant through the first world war”

I bring up Germany’s naval build-up not as it relates to their fighting capacity in the war, but as it relates to the diplomatic climate of the prewar years. The strategic value of Germany’s navy is irrelevant to the issue of who started the war and why. It is very relevant to the pre-war psychology of Britain, France, Russia and Germany’s “arms race.”

“True, they could have surrendered.”

Surrender? How? No one was fighting them!

“Russia had a 2:1 manpower advantage”

Yeah, and I can give an AK47 to a chimpanzee, but that doesn’t mean he can win a duel against me and a slingshot (that is, if I knew how to use a slingshot). The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and if Germany was so successful against Russia it is because Russia isn’t as powerful as it seemed. Manpower isn’t everything.

“Germany knew that war against everyone in 1914 was suicide”

No, they didn’t. They thought they’d win; that’s why they started it. Contrary to popular revisionist history, nations do not start wars because they are afraid. It’s the opposite, actually. Which is why the best way to avoid war is to scare people.

“Metternich’s system was designed to keep France from doing what she had just done, and conquer all of Europe.”

And it wouldn’t have worked if France had continued to be what it recently was.

“This is why 1870 was such a surprise. Prussia alone took on France and won. They had the plan, and the intiative, France did not.”

Exactly. They didn’t count on an aggressive Germany. Just like, later, they didn’t accurately gauge Hitler. Just like Kissenger mistakenly believed the Soviet Union and the U.S. were morally and strategically equivalent.

“So what were all those wars for?”

Ask Germany and Germany.


47 posted on 02/04/2011 11:31:36 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: Tublecane

“I bring up Germany’s naval build-up not as it relates to their fighting capacity in the war, but as it relates to the diplomatic climate of the prewar years.”

Yeah, Britain wasn’t happy with their naval build up, but the Germans were unwilling to suffer losses, and the British were never challenged. The reason Germany was unwilling to suffer losses is because their navy was far inferior to the Royal Navy.

“Yeah, and I can give an AK47 to a chimpanzee, but that doesn’t mean he can win a duel against me and a slingshot (that is, if I knew how to use a slingshot). The proof of the pudding is in the eating, and if Germany was so successful against Russia it is because Russia isn’t as powerful as it seemed. Manpower isn’t everything.”

True, Russia had defects in both command and deployment. Edges where Germany had the advantage. However, their manpower was signficant enough that they were fighting on Austrian territory, well into 1917, prior to the collapse.

At the very worst, a stalemate. Tannenburg saved Germany from outright defeat, it wasn’t what knocked Russia out of the war.

“No, they didn’t. They thought they’d win; that’s why they started it.”

They were so frightened of the Entente that they put together the Schlieffen Plan. As an effort to try to compensate for the overwhleming disadvantage they would have in a two front war against France and Russia.

“Contrary to popular revisionist history, nations do not start wars because they are afraid.”

I don’t see how quoting the German high Commander in Moltke, and his belief that Germany would lose prior to the first world war, is ‘revisionist’.

“And it wouldn’t have worked if France had continued to be what it recently was.”

Actually, it worked pretty darn well, until France allied with Russia to start off the worst century in the history of man. Pax Americana has lasted 65 years, which is 2/3rds what Metternich acheived. See where we are 35 years from now in 2040.

“Ask Germany and Germany.”

You mean, ask Russia and Germany? The aggressors in both wars. Russia wanted the Porte, which didn’t work out so well, did it? It’s taken nearly a century, but most of what she’s conquered has been given back.


48 posted on 02/04/2011 11:44:42 AM PST by BenKenobi (one of the worst mistakes anybody can make is to bet against Americans.")
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To: BenKenobi

“If the plan were designed to be an offensive plan, why did Germany wait 10 years to implement it?”

First of all, because, as I’ve been saying, it was also their plan to look like the victim. And you can’t do that until after France and Russia look—to people who don’t know better—aggressive, for instance during an international crisis like the Austro-Serbian war.

Secondly, it was never my position that Germany’s entire leadership was war-crazy. The belligerent faction carried the day, eventually, and for reasons relating to the frenzied circumstances and the perceived weakness of Russia, France, and Britain.

It’s not as if I imagine Germany planned world domination in 1905, then sat on their hands and waited for the right time to spring their trap, like evil geniuses. This describes some of them, no doubt. The big story is that they were upstarts and an emerging power, with a proven propensity for aggression (as in 1870), that had a contigency plan for continental domination which happened to be put into practice when the war faction got their way.

It’s not necessary to ask why they acted when they did, specifically, except to say that they must have thought they could get away with it. Either that, or they went crazy. The main point is that they did it. It was carried out. Not successfully, but nobody’s perfect.

“It was designed as a reaction to the Entente as a defensive counterattack to the alliance of France and Russian.”

Counterattack? For there to be a counterattack, there must first be an attack. Germany attacked (Belgium) first. How was this “defensive”? It wasn’t. I can’t understand why you take Germany’s perceived fear of France and Russia so seriously all these years later. Germany’s the one who invaded first. If France and Russia were paranoid by mobilizing, they had reason to be. They were right! Germany was bent on European mastery.

If Germany was isolated and had much to fear from its neighbors, France and Russia, though they had eachother, also had much to fear. Which ones’ fears were more justified? Tie goes to the countries that don’t declare war and invade first.


49 posted on 02/04/2011 11:49:26 AM PST by Tublecane
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To: BenKenobi

“fighting just in time to save their communist allies

They did it in 1917, only coming in after the Revolution, and they did it again in 1941, in coming in at Pearl Harbour, after Barbarossa and the Russians were in.”

Are you arguing this is anything but a coincidence?


50 posted on 02/04/2011 11:53:20 AM PST by Tublecane
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