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In Honor of Remembrance Day: The Questions That Sparked World War I


SilentScope001

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I know many people love, er, I mean, know of WWI.

 

However, I am afraid people are not so interested about the actual questions that sparked World War I. The actual debates, the struggles. Okay, I don't know much either, but I do remember only two questions during that time period. I need you guys to answer them. In Honor of Remembrance Day.

 

Question of the Balkans: Should there be a pan-Slavic state, known as Yugoslavia? There were lots of nationalist setinment to unite the Slavs, which were in the indepedent nation of Serbia and in Bosna-Hergizationa, controlled by Austria-Hungray. In fact, a terrorist wanting this pan-Slavic state killed the Archduke of Austria, which sparked World War I. (Yugoslavia attacked Serbia in response to this terror attack, and Russia was allied to Serbia. The entangling alliances led up to Britian, France, and Russia to battle against Austria, Germany, and the Ottaman Empire)

 

Question of Netural Waters: Should a netural nation trade with nations that are at war? And if they trade with nations that are waging war, are they therefore justifiable targets and should be bombed in order to stop the enemy from gaining resources? Germany did use u-boats to sink netural (american) ships, and the British mined waters in order to sink netural (american) ships as well. Has the neturality of a nation violated if they don't follow this sort of thing? And what about civilian deaths on those trading vessels?

 

And, should Germany follow international law and state to the enemy that their ship will be attaked before attacking said ship?

 

Alright, so that second question didn't start World War I, but it did lead to American involvement in the war, on the side of the Allies.

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Actually, I believe the Zimmerman incident with Germany and Mexico had more to do with the US entering the war than the Lusitania. Prior to the end of WW2 the US was phobic about not involving ourselves in European affairs (I am sure I am not the only one who wishes that were still true). But Germany was trying to keep the US out of the war by creating a war on our back door step. That is the kind thing that has never failed to anger Americans. Had they left alone the US may well have stayed out of it. What effect that might have had is anyones guess.

"While it is true you learn with age, the down side is what you often learn is what a damn fool you were before"

Thomas Sowell

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Question of the Balkans: Should there be a pan-Slavic state, known as Yugoslavia? There were lots of nationalist setinment to unite the Slavs, which were in the indepedent nation of Serbia and in Bosna-Hergizationa, controlled by Austria-Hungray. In fact, a terrorist wanting this pan-Slavic state killed the Archduke of Austria, which sparked World War I. (Yugoslavia attacked Serbia in response to this terror attack, and Russia was allied to Serbia. The entangling alliances led up to Britian, France, and Russia to battle against Austria, Germany, and the Ottaman Empire)

There is no easy answer to this one. The problems of the Balkans are way older than WWI (the Turkish invasion of Asia Minor and the Balkans should be reasonably far enough back in time). As for recent history (WWI&II), maybe somebody forgot to ask the people who lived there what they wanted, united or not?

 

Question of Netural Waters: Should a netural nation trade with nations that are at war? And if they trade with nations that are waging war, are they therefore justifiable targets and should be bombed in order to stop the enemy from gaining resources? Germany did use u-boats to sink netural (american) ships, and the British mined waters in order to sink netural (american) ships as well. Has the neturality of a nation violated if they don't follow this sort of thing? And what about civilian deaths on those trading vessels?

When you do commerce with a nation that is at war, you are actively supporting that nations war efforts, pretending to be neutral or not, supporting both sides of the conflict or not. I would say it is fair game to go after them. If the socalled "neutral" partisans exposes their civilians to harm under the pretense of neutrality, shame on them. Even more so if it is deliberate for propaganda and dubious justification purposes.

 

Just my NSHO ;)

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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Another issue is the commitment of Britain to the defence of France against Germany. In the history of the time this was as bizarre as America siding with Morocco against Britain. This is discussed in many books, but most interestingly in 'Sea Power' by the anonymous author 'T124' (1940). Essentially you had a Britain who had been primed pre-war by key individuals to support France. Then after the outbreak of hostilities the commitment became a British emphasis on troops over ships. This was both bizarre and unhlepful because it fooled the land command into believing tehy could win on land were it was tactically impossible.

 

 

Good topic choice, BTW. If we merely go through the emotional components of honouring the dead we will quickly forget the truth of the deaths. If we forget the truths we are doomed to repeat them.

 

EDIT (Trading at war):

 

In that case China is actively supporting genocide in Sudan, and terrorism in Iraq, not just with materials but finished weapons.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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And then at the bitter end of it all, after trading it out for a few years, and after spending a bundle on 50,000 speakers to wander around America talking up the need for America to join the war and make some real money - JP Morgan takes a well deserved break and lets the Woodrow Wilson and the US congress make the decision to send the boys over there!

As dark is the absence of light, so evil is the absence of good.

If you would destroy evil, do good.

 

Evil cannot be perfected. Thank God.

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  • 2 weeks later...
And then at the bitter end of it all, after trading it out for a few years, and after spending a bundle on 50,000 speakers to wander around America talking up the need for America to join the war and make some real money - JP Morgan takes a well deserved break and lets the Woodrow Wilson and the US congress make the decision to send the boys over there!

 

Who was JP Morgan?

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Guest The Architect

Your Mum.

 

JP Morgan was a famous Yankee art collecting, banker guy, also renowned for his humanitarianism. Back in the day he was one of the richest people in the world.

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Prior to the end of WW2 the US was phobic about not involving ourselves in European affairs (I am sure I am not the only one who wishes that were still true).\

 

Seems to me history is doomed to repeat itself. Or rather, people forget the levels of sacrifice demanded by war.

 

The Vietnam syndrome ran out, now theres a brand new Iraq syndrome, that should at the very least make decisionmakers think a little harder. I hope it lasts.

Edited by Gorgon

Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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I would argue that isolationism is history repeating itself. :) If intervention in Vietnam put off or prevented full-on war with Soviet Russia then surely it was worth it?

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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We are to assume that without Vietnam a giant domino effect would have ensued and half the countries in Asia would have spawned communist style rebellions, untill the west would be forced to act. You know 'World Communism'

 

Utter hogwash

Edited by Gorgon

Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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We are to assume that without Vietnam a giant domino effect would have ensued and half the countries in Asia would have spawned communist style rebellions, untill the west would be forced to act. You know 'World Communism'

 

Utter hogwash

 

I assume by hogwash you mean some sort of fantastic aromatherapeutic, citrus and cinnamon concoction for bathing magic pigs.

 

Even with the USA fighting for Vietnam the communists went on to topple Laos and Cambodia. If Vietnam had been uncontested give me a couple of reasons why Thailand, Burma, and Malaysia would have survived?

 

When you can think of reasons why the rest of Southeast Asia would have survived, can you then explain why Northeast india - a place still suffering a communist insurgency - would have been OK. I sure as hell can't, so I'll be very impressed if you can.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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Question of the Balkans: Should there be a pan-Slavic state, known as Yugoslavia? There were lots of nationalist setinment to unite the Slavs, which were in the indepedent nation of Serbia and in Bosna-Hergizationa, controlled by Austria-Hungray. In fact, a terrorist wanting this pan-Slavic state killed the Archduke of Austria, which sparked World War I. (Yugoslavia attacked Serbia in response to this terror attack, and Russia was allied to Serbia. The entangling alliances led up to Britian, France, and Russia to battle against Austria, Germany, and the Ottaman Empire)

Well, "should" is hard to say. Both Serbia and Austria-Hungary had different viewpoints of the future of Bosnia-Herzegowina. AH wanted to create an European Islam, so huge sums for education and industrialization have been spend to show the Bosnians that not nationalism, but socio-eco progress was the way to go while retaining their (mostly) Moslem religious identity.

Serbia on the other hand graved for nationality. Much to the disgrace of the ethnic German and Hungarian citizens, Archduke Ferdinand was known as a huge reformer (which would take effect once Franz Joseph would cease), reforms that would favor the Slavic parts of the Dual-monarchy (thus Bosnia as well). Obviously, this scared Serbian nationalists. Being Slavic Pro made Ferdinand a dangerous man for the Serbs, preventing the possibility for a pan-slavic Balkan state even more. This led to the assassination of Ferdinand and his wife, eventually.

Edited by Morgoth
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We are to assume that without Vietnam a giant domino effect would have ensued and half the countries in Asia would have spawned communist style rebellions, untill the west would be forced to act. You know 'World Communism'

 

Utter hogwash

 

I assume by hogwash you mean some sort of fantastic aromatherapeutic, citrus and cinnamon concoction for bathing magic pigs.

 

Even with the USA fighting for Vietnam the communists went on to topple Laos and Cambodia. If Vietnam had been uncontested give me a couple of reasons why Thailand, Burma, and Malaysia would have survived?

 

When you can think of reasons why the rest of Southeast Asia would have survived, can you then explain why Northeast india - a place still suffering a communist insurgency - would have been OK. I sure as hell can't, so I'll be very impressed if you can.

 

Firstly, Vietnam is a tremendous success story for the communist takeover, Ho Chi Minh is second in fame only to Che Guevara, who also happens to be the most well known individual in the world according to several surveys.

 

The greatest military in the world sent home beaten, people demonstrating in the street all over the west for the rigth of the Vietnamese to take his fate into his own hands. Were a second communist insurgency to follow the withdrawal from Vietnam, the US would have been completely powerless to stop it.

 

Where exactly is the deterrant here ?

 

Secondly, the way to lessen the chance of two superpowers figthing a war too terrible to imagine is to fight less satelite wars, not more.

Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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Wow, there is some bad history being preached in this thread. Seriously, there are some great books out there on Vietnam, I highly recommend them to people.

 

Stanley Karnow's Vietnam is a good source. Also, "4 Hours in My Lai" is a must read, although it's a bit off topic.

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I don't deny that the USA was strategically beaten in Vietnam. I am asking whether it was a phyrric victory in the sense that at least proved a speed bump to further expansion. Had it not been for the US at least trying to halt communism the South would have possibly fallen by 1968 if not before. Don't lets forget that besides time the communists lost something between 1 and 2 _million_ casualties. Which is a sizeable chunk who could have been later used in the domino process I already described.

 

I've forgotten, though, what the relevance is to world war. Oh yes, isolationism. Let's see.. first half of the century an isolationist USA, and two world wars. Second half of the century an involved USA, and no world wars.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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The US propped up a corrupt immitation of a democracy against a popular uprising. We are assuming a little much to say that Ho Chi Minh would have instantly turned his attention towards conquest of his neighbours had he not been bogged down at home, and more so that a communist movement would even have succeded in Thailand which has strong nationalist and royalist ties, as well as entrenched religion, all of which are at odds with communism.

 

Communism may have even been preferable to the people, of course the problem there is that once you do away with basic freedoms, they don't just return on their own.

Edited by Gorgon

Na na  na na  na na  ...

greg358 from Darksouls 3 PVP is a CHEATER.

That is all.

 

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Let me take this into a different direction. I'll pose two questions about the war and lets see what opinions everyone has.

 

1) How would history have changed had Germany won, or at least ended the war on more favorable terms?

 

2) What impact did the US entrance have on the war and if the US had not entered what would have changed? Would history be different today?

 

I'll post my own thoughts in a bit, but I'm curious what you guys think.

"While it is true you learn with age, the down side is what you often learn is what a damn fool you were before"

Thomas Sowell

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We would have had to do without disgruntled bavarian corperals, namely one Adolph.

That is true. And very significant.

"While it is true you learn with age, the down side is what you often learn is what a damn fool you were before"

Thomas Sowell

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Pure speculation...

 

1) How would history have changed had Germany won, or at least ended the war on more favorable terms?

I don't think the monarchy would have survived in Germany, the Kaiser was in a precarious position already two thirds into the war. The ensuing anarchy and unrest might have led to a different outcome though (with no "backstab" theory to propel the Nazi party to power), with the communists as the likely dominant party in post war Germany. Maybe Germany and Russia would still be fighting today over who should be the center of world communism (with China as the laughing third)?

 

2) What impact did the US entrance have on the war and if the US had not entered what would have changed? Would history be different today?

It was probably more than anything a moral boost for french troops on the verge of nationwide mutiny and english troops that might have started thinking some very republican thoughts. Without the vastly superior numbers and production capacity that the US was able to provide, they (the orignal warring countries) might have fought for a few more years until all involved countries sunk into a state of complete civil unrest and rioting. Austria-Hungary was falling apart at the seems, Italy was disintegrating, the secret weapon of the germans (Lenin) was setting Russia on fire and France, England & Germany was killing their men faster than the homefront could possibly make babies.

 

Edit: And maybe the Ottoman Empire might still be around... altough that one is very hard to speculate about. The British empire did a mixture of very stupid and very bright things in the campaigns against Turkey. If they were still around, there probably wouldn't have been a middle east conflict today, as jews and arabs would live under Ottoman law.

“He who joyfully marches to music in rank and file has already earned my contempt. He has been given a large brain by mistake, since for him the spinal cord would surely suffice.” - Albert Einstein

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1) By 1918 it was virtually impossible for germany to win any snese of occupying the whole of France. They had neither manpower nor logisitics to support such an offensive victory. However, in the face of large offensive gains by Germany then a peace might have been negotiable. It is true that the French leaders were bellicose in the extreme, but the British weere becoming increasingly tired of this attitude of being willing to "Fight to the last Englishman".

 

Such a negotiated peace could go many ways. On the one hand it could be seen as a mark of sense in high places overriding the military establishments. IN this case it could have lead to an era of monarchism predicated on peace. On the other hand if such negotiations came after offensive gains then the troops might still feel stabbed in the back, as they did in real history. Germany would still have been an economic mess either way, and unrest would have been certain. In the face of such unrest we might have seen an influx of Bolshevik agents. We might have traded Nazi Germany for a superpowered Eastern Bloc.

 

2) The impact of US troops was significant in many ways, although not as significant as they would have liked to think. They were fresh, and enthusiastic, and well armed. But they were also tactically very inexperienced. However, while their value is debateable, what is not is that they had the mnpower reserves to grind Germany up using the attritional operations of the day. This knowledge drive the Germans to make peace without fighting to the death. Undoubtedly it saved tens if not hundreds of thousands of lives.

 

3) Had the United states declared in the favour of the Western Allies at the outset, the Central Powers could not possibly have hoped to win, given teh combined power of France, Britain, Russia, and the United States. When the line solidified in 1915 I suggest that peace would have been inevitable.

"It wasn't lies. It was just... bull****"."

             -Elwood Blues

 

tarna's dead; processing... complete. Disappointed by Universe. RIP Hades/Sand/etc. Here's hoping your next alt has a harp.

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We are to assume that without Vietnam a giant domino effect would have ensued and half the countries in Asia would have spawned communist style rebellions, untill the west would be forced to act. You know 'World Communism'

 

Utter hogwash

 

I assume by hogwash you mean some sort of fantastic aromatherapeutic, citrus and cinnamon concoction for bathing magic pigs.

 

Even with the USA fighting for Vietnam the communists went on to topple Laos and Cambodia. If Vietnam had been uncontested give me a couple of reasons why Thailand, Burma, and Malaysia would have survived?

 

When you can think of reasons why the rest of Southeast Asia would have survived, can you then explain why Northeast india - a place still suffering a communist insurgency - would have been OK. I sure as hell can't, so I'll be very impressed if you can.

I'll just copy, paste and embellish from the thread you locked.

 

You'd think the Domino theory would've been dead and gone by now, discredited as it is. I suppose the fact that communism didn't spread like wildfire after the war is a testament to its resounding success and efficacy? How awfully convenient.

 

Ho Chi Minh didn't have any interest in expansion, he wasn't that staunch of a communist, he was always a Vietnamese nationalist first and foremost (Minh's declaration of independence borrowed several passages from America's). Neither did Minh have any interest in starting a civil war. He was already the president of the North, France had promised him the South, and he was going to win the Vietnamese Presidential election by a landslide and unify the country, as by that time he was pretty much a national hero, but the Southern incumbent decided to appeal to America's fear of unfettered communism to stay in power. Unfortunately for the incumbent and the US, Minh had been trained in guerilla warfare in part by the US during WWII when Japan was occupying Vietnam (gee, that doesn't sound familiar at all.) Vietnam sure as hell wasn't China or the Soviet Union. Hell, when Minhh showed up at Woodrow Wilson's office during the deliberations over the Versailles treaty, had the guards let him in to talk to the President about getting Vietnam out from under France's yolk Minh probably never would have become a communist in the first place and the US wouldn't have had any reason to invade at all. But when WWII ended and Vietnam still remained a colonial holding, socialism became the most prominent tool against imperialism just like it was all over the world in those days.

 

If anything, America's only consistent reason for invading Vietnam was to stop the non-violent spread of Communism. And even saying that is misleading because "spread" implies a coordinated effort. Aside from notable exceptions in South and Central America there weren't any Communist revolutions that came about as a result of foreign-trained insurgents being sent back to their home countries, which was the catalyst for the "Communist epidemic" Cold War fears (and even those exceptions had more to do with Havana than the USSR's prolific Lenin School). There are precious few Cold Warriors left who would argue that America was freedom and democracy such that it had a reasonable mandate to prevent native-born Communist revolution by force.

Edited by Pop
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Pop speaks truth about Ho Chi Minh. China never really got on well with him because of his nationalism. He was a very interesting character.

 

But don't forget that the US evacuated a lot of Vietnamese people before the NVA marched south. To those folks, the US being in Vietnam was a blessing and they've now established their own small communities in states across America. There is always about a dozen sides to any story, I suppose.

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Pop speaks truth about Ho Chi Minh.

Broadly speaking, I think so too. By this time, the rivalry between Chinese and Russian Communists was a huge factor in the region, as in the Vietnamese invasion (liberation?) of Cambodia - the Vietnamese communists were allied with Moscow, the Cambodians with Beijing. The Chinese even invaded Vietnam in 1979. Not really consistent with the idea of a communist juggernaut sweeping across South-East Asia.

 

With regards to the original questions, I notice that Yugoslavia and its continuing collapse are back in the news - Kosovo is approaching UDI, and with the US and Europe's support.

 

3) Had the United states declared in the favour of the Western Allies at the outset, the Central Powers could not possibly have hoped to win, given teh combined power of France, Britain, Russia, and the United States. When the line solidified in 1915 I suggest that peace would have been inevitable.

Would they have rated the US' power so highly in 1915, though? I'm not sure the European powers really saw the US as an equal until the First World War made its name as a power, so to speak.

 

If you're right, though, and the war had been over much more quickly, chances are the next war, whatever it was, would have been fought sooner. It was the horror of the Great War that led a generation of politicians down the path of appeasement and destroyed the popular notion of war as a heroic adventure for young heroes, and I think that had to go at some point. Fascism would still have arisen in Europe because it was (certainly in the cases of Italy and Spain) more a response to Communism than a result of the post-war settlement, and Russia would still have turned Communist because I don't think the war was that decisive a factor in that either.

"An electric puddle is not what I need right now." (Nina Kalenkov)

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