Senate The World War I Thread

Discussion in 'Community' started by Point Given, Mar 25, 2014.

  1. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2006
    star 5
    Just to continue the discussion over the point and causes of WWI over here, @Darth Guy, @Lord Vivec

    This can also serve as a catchall thread, since this is the 100th year anniversary of the beginning of the war.

    Anyway to throw in my thoughts, though the war's causes can be considered stupid, it was a war that was needed to be fought, as the distinct alliances, the arms race between Great Britain and Germany, colonial competition and rising nationalism all led to the point. Though the old imperial system chugged along for another couple of decades until the second World War broke it, it was fatally wounded by the war. It's unfortunate that it took so many deaths to change this though.
    Rogue_Follower likes this.
  2. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    1. Mental_Floss has a great WWI centennial blog, detailing events as they happened ~100 years to the week. The author is doing the run-up, and he plans to cover events until at least the Armistice.

    2. While the World Wars did destroy 19th-century imperialism (and Europe's unchallenged world dominance) for good, I have trouble wrapping my mind around the argument that they were necessary for it to happen. The things that destabilized the colonial empires-- financial exhaustion, powerful entities spreading ideas about self-determination and freedom (from Wilson to the Atlantic Charter to the two superpowers pushing for decolonization), the spread of communism-- were really incidental. A couple-hundred-odd million people dying for the mess that the colonial empires left in their wake? Colonial empires that likely would've collapsed in much the same way they ended up collapsing (fighting like hell to keep their territories against native insurgencies)?
    Last edited by Darth Guy, Mar 25, 2014
  3. Lord Vivec Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Apr 17, 2006
    star 7
  4. Goodwood Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    May 11, 2011
    star 4
    I would argue that, while World War I might not have been necessary for the growth of the human species (this includes the end of imperialism, etc.), it was an inevitable conflict. If Archduke Ferdinand hadn't been shot, someone else important would've died sooner or later, and the whole house of cards that made up the system of world power checks and balances would have come crashing down.

    As for the end of that war planting the seeds for the next great conflict? Well...do you honestly believe that the "victorious" nations were even capable of resolving the aftermath in a manner that wouldn't piss off the "conquered" peoples?
  5. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    You should check out Dan Carlin's latest podcasts in Hardcore History, as they also delve into the topic.
  6. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    There aren't that many World War I movies sadly, but the one that always comes to mind for me would be the 2001 TV film The Lost Battalion. A really intense and gripping, and very brutal account of what warfare was like during that time.
  7. Kiki-Gonn Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 26, 2001
    star 6
    Yeah, calling WWI necessary seems like one of the greatest indictments anyone could hurl against humanity :)

    A tangential WWI vignette that has always stuck with me was when the Shackleton expedition finally got back to civilization after being lost in the Antarctic. Pretty much the first question out of his mouth was to ask when the war had ended, naturally assuming the dust up had run its course...

    "Tell me, when was the war over?"
    "The war is not over. Millions are being killed. Europe is mad. The world is mad."
    Last edited by Kiki-Gonn, Mar 26, 2014
    Point Given likes this.
  8. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 4
    You could also try "All Quiet on the Western Front", either the theatrical movie with Lew Ayres or the later TV remake with Richard Thomas and Ernest Borgnine. Both are very powerful stories told from the German viewpoint, and both focus on the brutality and futility of war.
  9. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    I'm not sure I'd go with necessary. Inevitable in some form or other, yes probably, as the whole messy storm of imperialism, nationalism, and the desire to win glory was just incredibly strong. I don't know that a smaller war would've exorcized those feelings, and I certainly don't think a smaller war would've obviated pressures that led to the war.

    But any thing's possible. A regional war might have rewritten the balance enough that those powers that didn't get involved would be too dominant to tackle. But of the European powers, I can only see the British staying out of the war, and only in a circumstance where the French were the aggressors rather than defenders.

    But the Habsburg and Ottoman dynasties were riding for a fall even without the war. They were the weak links, but took sufficient attention that Germany could hold off all comers. Without them in the Central Powers, I think Germany might not have gotten into things. So if the Ottoman and Habsburg empires broke apart into rump states... then maybe the war wouldn't have been inevitable. At least not in a recognize able way.

    But people would still be total jingoistic fools probably.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  10. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    Why oh why did I forget about that one? That's the best WWI to view.
  11. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Most people at the time ignored it, but after the Russo-Japanese War and the '05 revolution, Russia was also extremely weak. It was just strong in comparison to the dual monarchy and the sick man of Europe. I think Franz Ferdinand's idea of a triple monarchy might have staved off Slavic nationalism for a while, but it's anyone's guess how long that would've been.

    The German Empire was no more multi-ethnic than the UK and Metropolitan France. I think it would've been able to handle its Polish minority if it hadn't been for the war. I'm not so sure it would've been able to weather the ever-growing liberal and left-wing opposition that ultimately did the Kaiser in, however.
  12. Kenneth Morgan Chosen One

    Member Since:
    May 27, 1999
    star 4
    You could also try "The Fighting 69th" with James Cagney (more of a flag-waver, but there is some reference to the harshness of the conflict), "The Blue Max" with George Peppard (another one from the German standpoint; it references the way the air war moved from honorable battle to total war), and "Aces High" with Malcolm McDowell (it's lesser known, but effective in a portrayal of the effects of war on a British fighter squadron).

    And, of course, there's "Blackadder Goes Forth". Or, more precisely, the last few moments of the last episode of "Blackadder Goes Forth".
  13. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I prefer anti-war films to propaganda ones to be perfectly honest. That's why I like All Quiet on the Western Front so much.
    yankee8255 and darth fluffy like this.
  14. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Depends on whether he continued the ruinous arms buildup or not. It was the desperate economic strait of the war that brought him down.

    But I wonder how many monarchies would've stayed gone, as opposed to just deposing rulers, without Allies to insist on it. The dual monarchy almost survived, and the Ottomans almost did too -- in Hungary and Turkey proper that is.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  15. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9

    I would say it was inevitable because of the increasingly entangled alliances, the removal of von Bismarck from his diplomatic duties*, and the bloody Balkans agitating for Balkan's sake... A powder keg like that is going to explode, we merely quibble over what the first spark may be.

    (* If it's von Clausewitz I am thinking of, I apologise - I am no expert in this field)

    Curious question time - what, if not the Great War, would have pushed military doctrine to its modern counterpart? WWI is famous for inflexible and rigid thinking; gaily coloured armour, etc - it had to fail to be shown to be obsolete, no?
  16. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    The Allies didn't depose the Ottomans, and the Kaiser abdicated (and more relevantly, Hindenburg and Ludendorff resigned) before the Armistice and the proto-Weimar Republic was the entity that ultimately surrendered. Pre-war suppression of opposition didn't make Wilhelm popular among liberal and left-wing groups-- some of them quite powerful like the SPD-- so at the very least I think Germany would've placed more limits on the Kaiser's authority eventually.

    @I Are The Internets I remember liking All Quiet on the Western Front because of how bleak and anti-war it is, but I haven't seen it for quite a while.
    Last edited by Darth Guy, Mar 26, 2014
  17. Point Given Mod of Literature and Community

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Dec 12, 2006
    star 5
    Bismarck's removal has always been overrated to me. It's always been cast as an arrogant Wilhelm II throwing his weight around, getting rid of a genius and reaping what he sowed later on. But Bismarck was just as responsible for his own removal. He tried to push the new Kaiser around, without understanding his personality. He publicly challenged Wilhelm on social legislation, threw a hissy fit when he didn't get his own way, and tried to undermine him. Wilhelm was practically forced to ask for his resignation because of Bismarck's actions.

    Bismarck ended up dying almost 15 years before the war anyway, but the issue was that Wilhelm was too aggressive and didn't have any other moderating influences upon him. But Bismarck wasn't going to be that moderating influence because he had spiked his own guns, so to speak.
    Last edited by Point Given, Mar 26, 2014
  18. Darth Guy Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 16, 2002
    star 10
    Bismark was overrated period. Among other things (like being a reactionary), picking fights with most of your neighbors generally isn't a good idea; he lucked out that it went Prussia's way.
  19. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
  20. GrandAdmiralJello Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

    Manager
    Member Since:
    Nov 28, 2000
    star 10
    Er, I didn't mean to imply the Allies insisted on the departure of the Ottomans. I mentioned their postwar rump state right after. They definitely insisted that Otto Von Habsburg not be given the throne though, and Churchill at least implied that the Allies wanted to prevent a Hohenzollern heir from the German throne. I'm not as versed on this as you are though, but that was what my impression was.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
  21. I Are The Internets Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Nov 20, 2012
    star 7
    I remember reading accounts of what mustard gas would do to the individuals that it would affect during a conflict. That's quite possibly the worst weapon that has ever been used pre-Atomic bomb.
    Sarge likes this.
  22. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Aug 18, 2002
    star 7
    just got stuck down a wikipedia hole from reading this thread and i discovered that tunick was a hohenzollern in a past life

    [IMG]
  23. Sarge Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Oct 4, 1998
    star 4
    All this talk about great WW1 films and no one has mentioned Gallipoli?

    I suppose you can stretch the point and add The African Queen too, but that's really more of an adventure movie with WW1 as a distant backdrop.
    LostOnHoth likes this.
  24. Ender Sai Chosen One

    Member Since:
    Feb 18, 2001
    star 9
    Ah Gallipoli, where the inadequacies of the British officer class resulted in a hilariously botched landing at the very beach we'd leaked to the Turks we intended to land at. Instead of the one we planned to surprise them by landing at.

    @Sarge, have you read Les Carlyon's book on Gallipoli? I would highly, highly recommend it. Paints the Australians in a fairly favourable light, but then again we've always enjoyed a good fight and that makes us effective, if irreverent, soldiers.

    Who, ahem, join the war when hostilities break out and not years later. :D
  25. duende Force Ghost

    Member Since:
    Apr 28, 2006
    star 5
    at the beginning: jolly good sport! this should be a bit of fun!

    two years later: AAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH