Senate The World War I Thread

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

  1. Ramza Administrator Emeritus

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    In the documentary the attitude is completely unjustified and was plainly informed by a lazy Germans=Nazis=Bad point of view. I was commenting on that - I no longer remember enough early twentieth century history to comment well outside of that scope.

    Though at least it's kicked off an interesting discussion ITT.
    Last edited by Ramza, May 27, 2014
  2. Sarge Chosen One

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    Which nation sent its armies marching into other countries? Unless the revisionists have changed all the history books, that would be Germany. If the "Great War" had begun with France, Britain, Russia, and the Low Countries marching into Germany, I'd be more inclined to dispute the demonization of Germany.
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  3. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    This one's really easy.

    1. The war didn't start with German troops going anywhere.

    2. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Russian_invasion_of_East_Prussia_(1914)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_theatre_of_World_War_I
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Eastern_theatre_of_World_War_I
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Italy_in_World_War_I
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Japan_in_World_War_I

    Allied powers such as Italy and Japan entered the war almost exclusively for territorial gain. France, the UK and Russia gleefully took advantage of the green light to carve up the Ottoman Empire and Germany's African colonies (the latter allowing the Brits to finally achieve the Rhodesian ideal of a continuous territory "from Cape Town to Cairo").
    Last edited by Darth Guy, May 27, 2014
  4. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    Describing a situation as a powder keg doesn't actually take away responsibility for the war. Just because you're next to a powder keg and someone lit a match doesn't mean you run in and pour fuel.

    I don't see how it's even possible to blame the Allies here. They didn't do anything to start a war. Serbia gave in to most of A-H's ultimatum. When the Germans demanded Russia demobilize, the Russians offered to negotiate but the Germans ignored it.

    This is irrelevant and you know it. The Russian one occurred before the July Crisis and Serbia wasn't in the process of threatening a country with war at the time.

    Are you for real?

    The poor Germans had no choice but to invade the evil Belgians who dared get in the way of the German war plan by existing? How is this even an argument?

    I'm sorry, but where exactly does not having altruist intent suddenly shift blame from the guys who started the war to the UK? And if it doesn't, what does this have to do with anything other than continue the "but the Allies were bad too so how can you say Germany was the villain" routine you've got going?

    The UK may have wanted to keep Germany in check. But they didn't exactly start a war over it did they?

    And we're back to the war crimes olympics. I see we have no choice but to sit down, do a tit for tat list of everyone's bad actions, and then, only then, can we decide who was "in the wrong."

    Or we could look at how Germany had been itching for a war, saw an opportunity and certainly helped AH along in getting this started. We can take into account that yes, the UK would have probably liked Germany kept in check but no, they weren't doing anything about it until Germany started invading countries.

    German troops entered Belgium on August 4th. A-H troops entered Serbia on August 12th. At no point here were Allies invading another country.
    1) How dare the Allies take away Germany's colonies after Germany lost a war it started. Guess what, when you lose wars you start, you lose your colonies. This wasn't new.
    2) The Ottoman Empire choose to enter this war on the side of the aggressors. How they are the victims here I'll never understand.

    You've got no thesis here. It's just more of the same "Allies are just as bad as [enemy]" fallacy that practitioners of bad history love.
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  5. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    allow me to settle this

    @Darth Guy: can you name ONE GERMAN who is not and was never a nazi?
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, May 27, 2014
  6. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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  7. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    That doctor from Animaniacs, though he was *shudder* Freudian.

    And I can't post lengthy stuff at the moment because I've consumed some *cough* bad history.
  8. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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  9. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    secret nazis

    lingui tertii imperii is an encoded version of mein kampf, designed to subliminally turn you into a nazi

    so is animaniacs
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, May 27, 2014
  10. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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  11. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    hmmm, yes, his central role in internet memes has brought delight to millions. it is hard to imagine him as a nazi
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, May 27, 2014
  12. GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin + Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Even and Ramza are correct here, I say. Brief comments:

    I. Vivienne, PG, both maritime law and the law of war respected the right of non-belligerents. Parties at war had the absolute right to impound weapons, munitions, etc. Not so civilian stuffs. WWI occurred after the Hague Conventions codifying the traditional laws of war, including targeting of civilians. These things weren't concepts invented at Geneva.

    II. The only nation that didn't want the war was the UK, and them only because they were already top dog. But they weren't terribly distressed by it either. The French wanted colonies, and most importantly Alsace-Lorraine. The Russians wanted the Balkans and Constantinopolis. The Austrians wanted to not collapse. The Slavs wanted to be Slavic. The Ottomans wanted the Balkans back. Italy wanted Austrian lands and colonies. Japan wanted colonies.

    III. How hard is the thesis that everybody was a **** back then? Why do we need to subscribe to the absurd rah rah Allies narrative? What is this, 1930? You can agree that the Germans were absolutely despicable without treating them like the Great Hun you see in propaganda posters. Nobody's condoning what Germany did -- we're just saying WWI was a war where everybody pretty much sucked.

    IV. Vivec are you trying to trade places with me and become the champion of the colonialist powers? It's a little weird. :p like, the Ottomans and Austrians in particular were really repressive to minorities but nobody fought the war on behalf of the Armenians or the Slavs. (Edit: well maybe the Russians cared about the Slavs)


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
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  13. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    birds gotta fly, fish gotta swim, and slavs gotta slav, i always say
    Last edited by Rogue_Ten, May 28, 2014
  14. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    Jello, I don't see how your post at all detracts from my points here about who is responsible for the war. I presented dates, events, and actions showing that A-H and Germany were aggressors. I present a soutce material that isn't wikipedia as a good reference for demonstrating that fault lies with Germany and A-H. I'm following all the rules of good history (a field I have no training in).

    Even has presented genocide olympics, a "both sides are just as bad" fallacy which other historians would ridicule, and proceeded to make Germany the victim in the German invasion of Belgium. How on Earth can you say he is correct?
  15. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    Vivec, I think you're missing everyone's point. Your argument is basically a variation on "Germany shot first." Everyone else is trying to say that assigning blame for a war should be a bit more complicated than that.

    For instance, the Nez Perce Indians technically made the first aggressive act against the United States during that conflict. However, might it also be relevant that, in the first place, the US military was expelling them on the basis of a "treaty" to which they were never signatories? Or that the group was initially trying to comply, in spite of this?

    Or, to take the case of World War I itself, you may as well argue that no countries are responsible at all, but Gavrillo Princip. Sometimes, there's a difference between identifying the first act of aggression and assigning overall responsibility for a war. Don't confuse the two.
  16. Rogue_Ten Chosen One

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    gavrilo princep is my homedawg, not gonna lie
  17. CloneUncleOwen Jedi Master

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    [IMG]

    "I was never a Nazi, but I do tie my shoes with little knot-zeees. I also support all my claims with wikipedia, which means...

    I KNOW NOTHING... NOTHING!"
    Last edited by CloneUncleOwen, May 28, 2014
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  18. GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin + Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    Well, the lack of historiographical training may be the issue here. For one thing, assigning "blame" is simplistic and assumes a causal understanding of history. You give the actors far too much agency. What we're saying is that due to the times -- nationalism and jingoism being a bad combo -- it would've happened anyway.

    It may be historically relevant to note which factor pushed the pot over the boiling point, yes. But let's not pretend that it was the sine qua non -- that's why this blame notion is absurd.

    And, really, A-H definitely did not want its chastisement of Serbia to result in a larger war. In fact, they hoped that their alliance would dissuade Russia from intervening -- which was why Russia needed French support, to dissuade Germany from intervening, and France wanted the UK to ensure the Germans wouldn't just smash Russia quickly and go for them.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.
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  19. Darth Guy Chosen One

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    My genocide olympics > Sochi
  20. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    1) Your example with the Indians makes no sense. WWI isn't a case of the Central Powers having no choice but to go to war for their very survival.
    2) You've mischaracterized my argument completely. It's not a variation of Germany shot first. It's fully taking into account the context of the scenario and taking into account the many instances Germany and A-H could have prevented the war from happening and chose not to.
    3) No one here has yet to actually address those instances, despite me having already listed them.
    Assigning blame is something routinely done by various historians (like Max Hastings, who I cited a page ago) and by governments, supranational authorities, and NGOs, like when it came to assigning blame for the Russian-Georgia War a few years ago.

    I further contest your assertion that it would have happened anyway. You can't know that in any meaningful sense, or even if you could, it wouldn't be something you can demonstrate to anyone here. Fault lies here with the Central Powers.
  21. GrandAdmiralJello Comms Admin + Moderator Communitatis Litterarumque

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    I. Responsibility is not the same as blame. It's a political act -- and usually the losers are made responsible. Easy to do because things are rarely simple.

    II. Uh, this is a pretty significant part of history -- analyzing trends, circumstances, etc. Assuming casualty and agency is a pretty lay understanding, which is exactly what we're being critical of here.

    But let's change the discussion. Hand me a top quark on a plate, or I refuse to believe in quantum mechanics. You can't prove it. So neener.

    See the problem of not understanding the field of study and trying to argue anyway? Perhaps we can't persuade a simplistic lay understanding that demands villains and heroes -- but I'm not bothered in the least by it. You wouldn't be either, I'm sure.


    Missa ab iPhona mea est.

    Edit: also if we really want to cite the acts of historians and governments, Churchill's take on it is particularly illuminating. He absolutely blamed the Germans -- but in so doing, he admitted that "blame" as such was a silly thing as everybody was generally hearing up for the war except of course the Brits. :p
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  22. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    1) I didn't cite those examples to say that the Allied nations were like an oppressed Indian tribe. I stated the specific limitation of the example in the very post. Let me repeat the key sentence for you: "Sometimes, there's a difference between identifying the first act of aggression and assigning overall responsibility for a war."

    2 & 3) They have responded extensively to your point. All you actually mean is that they could have prevented war from breaking out on that particular day, and on the occasion of that specific incident. You've done little to nothing to demonstrate the Germany was the prime mover that was pushing the region towards conflict, to the point that basically everyone was just waiting for an excuse to get started.

    Think about it this way. The "Great Compromise" of 1850 staved off Civil War between the North and South over the issue of slavery. That's absolutely true. But it's also true--and even more relevant--that just eleven years later, a Civil War would break out between the North and South over the issue of slavery. Dealing with the crisis of the moment is not the same thing as dealing with the underlying causes of the war. In this case of the American slavery, no one had really defused the actual issue that was pushing the two sides towards fighting, so every successive compromise just delayed something that was, absent some broader work on this issue, inevitable.

    So, fine. Germany could have done a better job in the immediate crisis. But assigning blame for a war should be about it's underlying causes. In the case of World War I, all the major combatants were pretty much equally guilty.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, May 28, 2014
  23. Lord Vivec Force Ghost

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    Jello, you can dismiss my points as just a layperson wanting to assign heroes and villains (which is not at all what I'm doing), but the fact is historians have assigned blame (responsibility, whatever word you'd prefer to use) as well. Going on a "history is written by the victors" fallacy is wrong.

    I'd suggest a reading of Germany's Aims in the First World War by Fritz Fischer which does a detailed look at connecting German aggression pre-WWI to it's actions which led to the War.
  24. Jabba-wocky Chosen One

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    No one's denying there was German aggression pre-WWI. They're pointing out that you could take equally "detailed looks" at all the other participants and see how their aggression pre-WWI connects to the lead-up to war. If they were all doing it, Germany can't have been especially bad for doing it too.

    I mean, you're quite literally not even addressing their main concern. It's two separate arguments. If you want to rebut them, you need to talk about the long term causes that led to war, and how Germany was a much greater culprit there than were other nations. They're not addressing your points about the immediate triggers because they don't disagree with your analysis--it's just sort of irrelevant to the actual question of how the war came about.
    Last edited by Jabba-wocky, May 28, 2014
  25. SiouxFan Jedi Knight

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    Mar 6, 2012
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    Clearly you haven't talked to a lot of Southerners! ;)

    Why do we not give the Russians more of the blame? They were either unwilling or unable (depending on which account you read) to mobilize only on the southern front, basically forcing the Germans to mobilize as well. Naturally, you could argue that the Germans did not mobilize only on the eastern front, but the Triple Alliance made the Germans fear an invasion by the French.