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"The Deadly Consequences of WWI's Alliances" Topic

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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP18 May 2024 5:12 p.m. PST

" With the signing of the armistice, German soldiers, hollow-eyed with battle fatigue and hunger, abandon their trenches and begin walking home from France four long years after Kaiser Wilhelm 2nd had boastfully promised them victory there within four months. Their dirty gray columns are escorted to the German border by squads of Allied troops who follow at a prearranged distance. Victor and vanquished alike, these men are among the lucky survivors of a war that had just killed 40 million men, women and children while also triggering the most momentous reset of the global order since the Fall of Rome.

Although the judgment of history is that Germany's military leaders were most at fault in starting the war, there's always been plenty of blame to go around. Fingers were also pointed at the two alliances that divided the six, The Triple Entente [Britain, France, Russia] and The Triple Alliance, a.k.a. the Central Powers Alliance [Germany Austro-Hungary, Italy]. The accusation is that rather than deter war as hoped, these alliances either obligated or enabled its members to join the fight, turning what should have been a small Balkan war into the first world war…"

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rmaker18 May 2024 6:34 p.m. PST

Although the judgment of history is that Germany's military leaders were most at fault in starting the war

Only if one accepts the text of the Armistice agreement, which was forced on the Germans by Clemenceau. It should be remembered that other than Austria's declaration of war against Serbia, France was the first to actually declare war.

Disco Joe18 May 2024 7:01 p.m. PST

So it is about WWI and yet it was posted under WWII.

smithsco18 May 2024 7:12 p.m. PST

Who declared war first is too simplistic. They're all to blame but Germany and Russia more so. Unconditional support of Austria and Serbia ensured a war. Beyond that Germany's 12 hour ultimatum to Russia created a de facto state of war before France joined in. Also France agreed to respect Belgian neutrality while Germany didn't. Germany was most responsible for the expansion of the war with Russia a close second.

Cuprum218 May 2024 8:03 p.m. PST

smithsco, you are oversimplifying…

Everyone knows the reason for the war. The assassination of the Archduke by a Serbian terrorist. If you look a little more broadly, behind this murder you can clearly see the actions of the Serbian government (which fell under the influence of the idea of ​​creating "Greater Serbia" and separating Slavic territories from Austria-Hungary), that is, this is an act of state terrorism and a legitimate reason for carrying out an "anti-terrorist operation" on the part of Austria-Hungary. After the Serbs refused to allow Viennese representatives to participate in the investigation. Hostilities began, which became the trigger that launched the actions of military alliances, which quickly led first to a pan-European and then to a world war.

But in fact, the causes of the world war were much more complex. Alas, there will always be a reason if there are objective economic reasons for the war.
France – wanted to return Alsace and Lorraine and move to the forefront in Europe after the defeat of Germany.
Russia wanted to realize its long-standing dream of control over the Black Sea Straits (a major vulnerability for Russian trade).
Germany was suffocating from a lack of resources, which prevented it from taking a leading position in the world economy. The problem could only be solved by acquiring new colonies.
Britain wanted to obtain the Turkish possessions, Mesopotamia and Palestine, which had huge oil reserves.
Türkiye wanted to keep the Balkans under its control and obtain the resource regions of Iran.
Smaller players naturally had their own interests.

And everyone believed that at this moment it was quite possible to achieve their goals by military force…

The situation has escalated to an explosive point. All that remained was for a spark to arise…

Disco Joe, well, considering that the causes of the Second World War were practically the same as the First World War – not such a big mistake)))

smithsco18 May 2024 10:02 p.m. PST

Of course it's more complex. That's why I said going off of who declared war is far too simplistic. Everyone has blame. I believe Germany and Russia could have stopped the war from expanding more than any other powers could and they chose not to thus making them most culpable.

Frankly Austria and Serbia going to war over the assassination makes sense. It is a minor footnote in European history if Germany and Russia make different choices. They were the dominant powers of central and eastern Europe.

BillyNM18 May 2024 10:43 p.m. PST

"France – wanted to return Alsace and Lorraine"?
Wanted to retake would be more appropriate. These regions were taken over bit by bit by France starting in the 16th century and not completed until the 18th. Both areas were essentially Germanic by language and culture, not to mention being part of the Holy Roman Empire. IIRC this was even recognised by the French who classed regiments raised there as foreign and uniformed them differently.

Cuprum219 May 2024 1:33 a.m. PST

The occupation of Serbia by Austria-Hungary would destroy Russian influence in the Balkans and, accordingly, Russian plans to control the Black Sea straits. Consequently, Russia did not want to allow the occupation of Serbia.
The defeat of Austria-Hungary seriously undermined the balance of power in Europe – accordingly, Germany could not allow this. It was obvious to the Germans that France would immediately intervene in the conflict, so it was decided to attack first…
So who wanted a world war? Nobody. But it was practically inevitable. Who had to sacrifice their interests for the sake of peace? Nobody wanted to be the only one who would bear the brunt of the costs…

OSCS7419 May 2024 4:57 a.m. PST

Cuprum +1

smithsco19 May 2024 5:14 a.m. PST

I don't dispute the problems they all faced. Bearing the brunt of the costs is exactly what they all did because they were shortsighted. Sometimes a temporary setback is acceptable without needing to spill the blood of millions. Unfortunately Vladimir Putin and Joe Biden haven't learned this lesson. Too few leaders have.

Bill N19 May 2024 5:25 a.m. PST

It should be remembered that other than Austria's declaration of war against Serbia, France was the first to actually declare war.

Source? The timeline I've always seen is that Germany declared war on Russia on August 1 and on France on August 3, with France only declaring war on Germany later that day. The German Declaration of War delivered to the French President lists alleged hostile acts by French aviators as a casus belli. It does not say anything about a prior French declaration of war. When French forces entered Alsace in August of 1914 a state of war already existed between France and Germany, and Germany had already entered Belgium, and IIRC the German ships had already shelled French North Africa.

donlowry19 May 2024 8:25 a.m. PST

So it is about WWI and yet it was posted under WWII.

Well, it was all really one big war with a 21-year time-out in the middle. But, yeah, why post it here?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2024 11:32 a.m. PST

Because it created summat to talk about.

Donlowry, you are right in your question, but look at how the response rate has died in just one year.

I have no idea why, but the stats for any contribution are awful.

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2024 2:57 p.m. PST

+1 Cuprum, with one exception:

Britain wanted to obtain the Turkish possessions, Mesopotamia and Palestine, which had huge oil reserves.

Britain's government did have designs on Mesopotamia and more on Persia, rather than Ottoman Arabia, but it tried hard to keep Türkiye neutral, knowing how much a war with Türkiye put Egypt and the Suez Canal at risk, and would draw troops and resources away from any campaign to keep Belgium free.

The profoundly stupid seizure, on Churchill's orders and without consulting the government (of which he was a member) of the just finished Reşadiye and Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel effectively gave Türkiye the nudge it needed to fall into the Central Powers alliance. Those two ships had been paid off and should have been delivered before WWI started, but by first delaying the hand-over, then seizing the ships, Churchill managed to create exactly what the government was trying to avoid- a war in the Middle East that would draw troops and resources from the main front in France and Belgium, and promoted a real threat to the Suez Canal.

So, like most wars, it was started by a few ambitious people with too much power (and not enough sense) for their nations' good.

Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP19 May 2024 3:34 p.m. PST



Cuprum219 May 2024 4:36 p.m. PST

smithsco, no one can see the future. The military plans of all participating states saw the future war as quick and carrying few costs with a serious possible gain. But war is an absolutely unpredictable matter. It's unlikely that anyone could imagine the bloody nightmare that actually happened.

35thOVI Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2024 6:02 a.m. PST

Peacetime alliances are ridiculously stupid! It leaves a country and its leadership with no leeway nor maneuverability. Involvement in a war, should always be a decision, not a requirement of an agreement.

They have led to two world wars, all starting in Central Europe, but no one learns.

Where is war going on now and are alliances being expanded? 🙄

Personal logo Dal Gavan Supporting Member of TMP20 May 2024 2:42 p.m. PST

It's interesting that Churchill was blaming the Goeben incident for dragging Turkey into the war

Churchill was a politician, and pollies have a habit of shifting the blame, FS.

It was the first time Churchill screwed up in the Middle East in the Great War. It wouldn't be the last. Gallipoli anyone?

Don't forget the Salonica front, either. In WWII we can add Greece 1941, Crete, Syria and that great strategic triumph Lemnos. Add in his attempt to divert the convoy carrying the Australian 7th Division (with no heavy weapons or ammunition) to Rangoon, just before it fell. I suppose he thought the diggers could hold Rangoon with bayonet and rifle butt. He also diverted 19 Aust. Brigade to garrison Ceylon- after swearing he'd allow the 2AIF to return to Australia to fight the Japanese.

Still, he provided England with a great and inspiring PM in early WWII. Not so inspiring if you weren't English, less so again if you were one of us colonials.

Dn Jackson Supporting Member of TMP21 May 2024 1:23 p.m. PST

"Britain wanted to obtain the Turkish possessions, Mesopotamia and Palestine, which had huge oil reserves."

There's oil in what's called Palestine?

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