Jump to content
The Great War (1914-1918) Forum

Remembered Today:

Inventing the Schlieffen Plan


Dikke Bertha
 Share

Recommended Posts

Not a lot, other than the fact that in the same way WW2 apologists blame the allies for sowing the seeds of WW2 in 1919, the WW1 apologists seek to shift the blame for WW1 as well.

You are correct, the last real post on the Mons thread was in mid 2010, but any discussion about a book without the input of the author is like having a rock n roll show without the band... as it is... Elvis has just entered the building, so I would be keen to see some of the issues addressed from your side.

Believe it or not, i am not partisan in this, rather, my interest is to get your take.

A thought to your sentence on this thread...

"Russia declared general mobilization first, setting the Franco-Russian attack plan in motion."

IMHO mobilization means nothing. I assume it was clear to everyone back then that due to communications, infrastructure etc. that Russia would need a head start in any conflict to be anywhere near ready, whether she planned offensive or defensive action. The act of mobilistation is not prrof of intent, and in the case of Russia (as history shows) was very prudent.

(A parallel most infantrymen would be able to appretiate, in a potentially hostile situation to lock and load, not only to be ready, but also to signal determination.... it does not mean you are on a path of no return and intend to burn a village down)

Your interpratation of Serbian Guilt, I dont go along with it, but I am willing to let you educate me...

I assume the details of the following are correct?

http://www.firstworl...anultimatum.htm

What is missing for me is ... what was unreasonable in the Serbian reply? One could argue that the Austrians were really pushing it.

and to some it all up... I still dont see how it justifies invading neutral Belgium?

Best

Chris

Chris,

When the Russians and French were setting up their attack plan in 1911, it was expressly acknowledged that mobilization meant war.

The Russians and French had agreed to invade Germany on the 15th day of mobilization. There's no mention of hanging around to talk.

The French attacked into Alsace on 7 August.

"Russian needed a head start" - why should the Germans give the Russians a head start?

Why did the French and British invade neutral Greece?

"What was unreasonable about the Serb reply?" Only that the Serbs were trying to hide the fact that they had committed a murder and an act of state-sponsored terrorism.

If the Serbs acknowledge what Apis had done and take appropriate action, no WWI. Last chance to avoid Armageddon

As far as the Mons thread goes, I'll go over there, but I have a life.

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris,

I think you're aware that Conrad von Hötzendorf had been urging various preventative wars for years on much flimsier pretexts than an assassination. He was even briefly dismissed for his "hawk" stance.

Don't forget Luxembourg--Belgium wasn't the only doormat of 1914.

Paul

Right.

Conrad also proposed preventive war on the Italians.

He didn't get that one, either.

Absent the assassination, there is no war at all.

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

IMHO mobilization means nothing. I assume it was clear to everyone back then that due to communications, infrastructure etc. that Russia would need a head start in any conflict to be anywhere near ready, whether she planned offensive or defensive action. The act of mobilistation is not prrof of intent, and in the case of Russia (as history shows) was very prudent.

Best

Chris

German political-military doctrine was that mobilization meant war. The basis for was in part Germany's unique situation sandwiched between two rival powers, and also European precedent. It seems to have evolved with specific reference to Prussia's experiences in 1866 and 1870, and from the fact there was no instance to 1914 (at least that I am aware of) of a Great Power mobilizing its whole armed forces and then did not go to war. Moltke's mistakes were notorious, but this was not one of them; Moltke cannot possibly have concluded from past precedent that even one Great Power could mobilize without there being a war, let alone five of them.

In terms of other Powers' views on the matter, it appears neither Austria-Hungary nor Great Britain viewed mobilization as meaning Great Power war. Austria-Hungary certainly viewed its partial mobilization at Serbia as meaning war though.

Russia's attitude in 1914 was contradicted by its attitude in 1912; during a Balkans crisis that year matters got out of hand and mobilization was decided for the Kiev Military District. Less than a day passed and cooler heads prevailed - the order was cancelled because it was feared the mobilization of even one district meant war. So in 1912 Russia cancelled mobilization of one district for fear of European conflagaration while in 1914 she mobilized six.

France's attitude in 1914 is opaque. But in 1870 the French government was confronted just after declaring mobilization, by way of an unexpected internal proposal for international mediation, as to the meaning of their action. It was decided that mobilization was incompatable with further negotiations, and therefore meant war. The proposal brought forward was therefore nixed by the French themselves before it was even acted upon.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Terence,

I would rather not drag the topic too far from the Schlieffen Plan here as the July Crisis can get complex to say the least, but I felt it only polite to address your answers to me;

1. Everybody knew who Apis was.

And in 1914 nobody had anything to suggest he was involved until the war was well under way.

Come on. The Austrians demanded an investigation. They knew what they would find.

Maybe, but at the time Austria declared war they had no actual link to Apis - he was not implicated by the assassins, only Ciganovic and Tankosic were noted at this point - and Austria showed almost nothing to other powers to justify her actions. Maybe Austria did not have to justify her actions as she was a Great Power and could exercise her sovereign right to declare war on whoever she wanted to, but exactly the same applied to Russia, and if Austria wished to avoid war with Russia it was down to Austria to present as much evidence as possible to try and force Russia to back away from military support of Serbia.

2. And after the fact the Russians would have been shocked, just shocked, to think that Apis had organized the assassination.

Maybe, maybe not. Austria offered nothing in the way of evidence against Apis, and nothing in the way of diplomatic talks to clear the way for some action against Serbia. All we do know is Austria had no evidence to link Apis to anything until long after all Europe was at war, and iirc not until long after the war was over.

3. Apis was not an 'officer', he was the head of Serb security. If he was a loose cannon, then a responsible government would have removed and punished him. Instead, the Serb government protected him.

I think you are confusing Tankosic with Dimitrijevic (Apis), the former was implicated and Austria requested Serbia hand him over - but offered nothing to support this request - whilst Apis was not implicated at all and Austria made no accusation against him. Given time and negotiation Serbia may well have handed Tankosic over, but Austria neither negotiated or allowed time to achieve anything - expecting Serbia to respond fully in a tenth of the time it had taken Austria to compose the Note.

4. The Serb government was in the wrong. It owed the Austrians the gravest apology, full cooperation and compensation.

I agree, but I do not think this needed to be war, nor that Austria could not have discussed the matter with Serbia.

5. The Russians owed the Austrians full support in punishing an act of murder and terrorism by their rogue client state. Instead, they declared general mobilization.

Russia was shown no evidence to support the idea Serbia as a state was involved in the assassination, Austria refused to talk to anyone rather than share any evidence she had - the evidence she did supply was only after she was at war. Maybe if Austria had actually discussed matters openly Russia would not have acted as she did - although if Austria had been honest about her intention to parcel out pieces of Serbia as bribes to other Balkan states, her claim to be acting only to get justice for the assassination would have evaporated.

6. The assassination was a calculated outrage. What were the Austrians supposed to do?

How about trying to persue those actually responsible and have them tried in a court rather than start a war? How about negotiate with Serbia after the reply to the Note as the Kaiser suggested? War was not the only possible response. Nothing forced Austria to refuse to talk to other nations in order to make her case against Serbia.

7. The point being here that the Russians had two weeks at the minimum to conduct negotiations

Germany had at least days between ordering her own mobilization and any planned military action - the start of the Liege coup - so why did Germany declare war and not at least try to solve matters short of war in that time? She could have mobilized and talked for those three days, still declared war the moment she was ready to act at Liege if no settlement had happened and lost no time or suffered any inconvenience by doing so. Why cut off all hope of a settlement until it was absolutely necessary?

8, You missed this part. There was no reason for the Russians to mobilize - unless they wanted to get the war going.

You seem to have missed the fact that Austria declared war on Serbia and was still refusing to talk to Russia. Russia was forced to either do nothing and suffer a massive diplomatic defeat or use the threat of military force to compell Austria to cease her war and start to talk.

Given the Austrian Crown Council meeting on 7th July had concluded that going to war with Serbia would mean war with Russia too, how on earth is following that policy a sensible option for Austria? Austria knew exactly how her actions would force Russia to react, yet made no attempt to avoid it.

I would also like to echo the sentiment Chris expressed;

I still dont see how it justifies invading neutral Belgium?

Belgium was not connected in any way with events in Serbia or Russia, so the German invasion was still a gross breach of faith and unwarrented aggression to a small state she had sworn to protect and uphold the neutrality of. A great wrong was done to Belgium - the exact words Bethmann used - and nothing can change that.

Terry,

You're being disingenuous: "There was no [legal] proof Serbia was involved" "The Russianjs had no [legal] proof Serbia was involved." Please!

Which avoids the entire point that the Serbs caused the assassination. Legal nitpicking notwithstanding, this is the hard fact you can't dance around.

The Serbs had three weeks to think over their answer to the Austrians: they decded to stonewall.

Let's hold an international conference! I'm sure the Russians and French would have been dispassionate seekers after the truth.

The minute the Russians learned of the Austrian note, they began "secret" moboilization measures. Funny way of placing diplomacy first.

When the Russians started the war, they knew full well that a Franco-German war was going to be fought in Belgium. Even the French had been saying so since 1905. This wasn't 1839 anymore.

Terence Zuber

German political-military doctrine was that mobilization meant war. The basis for was in part Germany's unique situation sandwiched between two rival powers, and also European precedent. It seems to have evolved with specific reference to Prussia's experiences in 1866 and 1870, and from the fact there was no instance to 1914 (at least that I am aware of) of a Great Power mobilizing its whole armed forces and then did not go to war.

Glenn,

Right.

And the Russians mobilized first.

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Terry,

You're being disingenuous: "There was no [legal] proof Serbia was involved" "The Russianjs had no [legal] proof Serbia was involved." Please!

Which avoids the entire point that the Serbs caused the assassination. Legal nitpicking notwithstanding, this is the hard fact you can't dance around.

The Serbs had three weeks to think over their answer to the Austrians: they decded to stonewall.

Let's hold an international conference! I'm sure the Russians and French would have been dispassionate seekers after the truth.

The minute the Russians learned of the Austrian note, they began "secret" moboilization measures. Funny way of placing diplomacy first.

When the Russians started the war, they knew full well that a Franco-German war was going to be fought in Belgium. Even the French had been saying so since 1905. This wasn't 1839 anymore.

Terence Zuber

Glenn,

Right.

And the Russians mobilized first.

Terence Zuber

Terence - Terry and I have engaged in the discussion many times. Terry's position tends to be that Austria required some formal Serbian government participation in the attack in order to be held accountable. I find this incomprehensible since it invites countries to attack one another without repercussion, (Oh, I didn't punch you in the face, my hand puppet Binky did that on his own. Naughty Binky...). My position is that Austria only required proof the crime was hatched upon Serbian soil, after which the Serbian government was responsible and accountable for the attack. Between friendly countries, such accountability is in policing and punishment. Between enemy countries as Serbia and Austria were, it was necessary for the Serbs to go the extra mile to prove it wasn't an attack. However, since their army was involved and in Pasic's own writing it is noted that Princip's group crossed into Bosnia, its seems a tad unlikely that any police investigation would be productive for Serbia.

Serbia couldn't have it both ways. If Serbia was soveriegn then Serbia was 100% accountable for crimes committed from her soil. If Serbia was not soveriegn, then the Austrian note trampled upon nothing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Precisely! Thanks for confirming my point about Britain's centuries old stance - I knew you'd get there in the end. Britain would not pledge neutrality over Belgium <...>

If Germany had had any geo-political nous at all in 1914 (and for the previous two decades) she would have waited to see if France did actually enter Belgium first (as it supposedly believed it would, and especially if she intended to fight on internal lines at the very beginning as Terence constantly says she did) - then, under the treaty, Germany could have demanded that Britain act against France. Now that would really have put Britain onto the diplomatic back-foot.

<...>

Cheers-salesie.

The French reply was irrelevant to the question of Britain's obiligations to Germany in the event France violated Belgium; obviously, the French could announce one thing on 1 August and then later do something entirely different. And if, with the French left rolling forward through the Ardennes, the British then declare France was somehow provoked by Germany's calling France fat or something, where is the 1839 treaty for Germany?

Note that France made two declarations on the matter, not one - the statement of the French minister in Brussels was different than the one made in London. You might want to review the Brussels text, which is interesting in the fashion it differs from the BD version. Which of these two statements represented France's "real" policy, I assume that Bethmann was to guess at by throwing a dart at the board.

In terms of the Anglo-German obligation, French statements are set aside altogether. Either the Germans would or would not guarantee they would respect Belgium; no guarantee conditional or otherwise was ever made by Germany. Either the British would or would not guarantee they would set themselves against any violator of Belgium in the future; no guarantee conditional or otherwise was ever made by Britain. The German ambassador opened discussions that could in theory have led to this joint guarantee, but the British Foriegn Minister rejected in principle any such discussion.

From Moltke's perspective I too would be interested to know why German planning departed from awaiting a French attack via Belgium to marching forward - Myth of the Schlieffen plan being somewhat unconvincing in its insistence that the 1914 plan bore no resemblence to the 1906 memo. I should think that Schlieffen's 1906 memo must have had at least an influence in this decision not to await the French to move first, if indeed his previous planning had been on the basis of counterattacking a French advance.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The assassins were Hapsburg subjects and were responsible for the idea and the execution of the plan,Young Bosnia claimed responsibility for the act.

Pasic didn't want a war with Austria Hungary and favoured a modus vivendi with his neighbours,he also didn't get on with Apis.

Austria Hungary didn't need to start a war as a response to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand but they made sure that

they did regardless of the Serbian response to an outrageous ultimatum.

And seeing as we are flirting with outright speculation who is to say the Austrians didn't organise the assassination themselves,that to me is as fanciful as saying the Serbian government did.As we are all well aware intelligence agencies

are well capable of rogue acts some with and some without the knowledge of their superiors.Nothing new there.

There are no good guys in the muddy waters of imperial self interest.

Best/Liam

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Terry's position tends to be that Austria required some formal Serbian government participation in the attack in order to be held accountable.

Not what I have said, but thank you for misrepresenting me here.

Austria could do anything she liked, but she had to take the consequences for doing so, therefore it was upon Serbia to prove some form of state involvement if she expected Russia to avoid direct military support of Serbia.

My position is that Austria only required proof the crime was hatched upon Serbian soil, after which the Serbian government was responsible and accountable for the attack.

Serbia couldn't have it both ways. If Serbia was soveriegn then Serbia was 100% accountable for crimes committed from her soil. If Serbia was not soveriegn, then the Austrian note trampled upon nothing.

The world seems to have missed the Anglo-American war over the so-called shoe-bomber, the US-Saudi war over sponsoring Al-Qaeda, or even the Indo-Pakistani war over the Mumbai terrorist attacks you were so sure would elad to war in days! Most state adopt a sensible policy about identifying the criminals and do not simply adopt the criteria you suggest before lurching to war. No nation accepts state liability for the acts of a citizen acting outside the legal constraints of his official capacity, it will accept the liability of punishing that person or extraditing him, but it does not accept that such an individual has committed an act of state policy by his criminal act.

An example would be rather more in line that if a Canadian army officer murdered an American serviceman, it would not have ever been the case that Canada had sanctioned an act of war by being the employer the man unless he had declared his intetion to act in such a way prior to the event, nor would it be the case that he had committed Canada to war by his act. If the US decided to use the murder as a pretext to invade Canada, they would be at liberty to do so, but the act itself did not demand it, and the US would never respond in such a way unless it desired war far more than it valued justice.

Maybe you would like to take this opportunity to explain to everyone why Austria did not present Serbia with any real evidence against Talkosic or Ciganovic other than the simple demand they be handed over due to alledged involvement? How many states hand over serving military personel simply because another demands it? They ask to see the evidence. Given you have failed to do so on four boards now, maybe you would like to start off differently here and try to explain why Austria presented no evidence?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After many years of online forums, I have slowly reached the opinion that there is (for some reason) no single individual capable of determining who is guilty of starting WW1.

Many people are capable of delivering a very good argument... but most often are not capable of considering a counter argument.

It may be an idea for a TV Series (am sure it would take a number of episodes)... a reality courtroom show with real lawyers, a real judge, and an impartial Jury....

Over a period of weeks to present all the evidence and arguments... and decide with 20/20 hindsight, all info availible and the objectivity from an impartial jury who know and care nothing about WW1.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Serbia couldn't have it both ways. If Serbia was soveriegn then Serbia was 100% accountable for crimes committed from her soil. If Serbia was not soveriegn, then the Austrian note trampled upon nothing.

Huh??? Thats a new one....

You mean... every time an American tourist is murdered in Mexico... the Americans should send the marines?

I was robbed twice in Peru... should I claim my money back from the embassy here at home??

;-)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The French reply was irrelevant to the question of Britain's obiligations to Germany in the event France violated Belgium; obviously, the French could announce one thing on 1 August and then later do something entirely different. And if, with the French left rolling forward through the Ardennes, the British then declare France was somehow provoked by Germany's calling France fat or something, where is the 1839 treaty for Germany?

Note that France made two declarations on the matter, not one - the statement of the French minister in Brussels was different than the one made in London. You might want to review the Brussels text, which is interesting in the fashion it differs from the BD version. Which of these two statements represented France's "real" policy, I assume that Bethmann was to guess at by throwing a dart at the board.

In terms of the Anglo-German obligation, French statements are set aside altogether. Either the Germans would or would not guarantee they would respect Belgium; no guarantee conditional or otherwise was ever made by Germany. Either the British would or would not guarantee they would set themselves against any violator of Belgium in the future; no guarantee conditional or otherwise was ever made by Britain. The German ambassador opened discussions that could in theory have led to this joint guarantee, but the British Foriegn Minister rejected in principle any such discussion.

From Moltke's perspective I too would be interested to know why German planning departed from awaiting a French attack via Belgium to marching forward - Myth of the Schlieffen plan being somewhat unconvincing in its insistence that the 1914 plan bore no resemblence to the 1906 memo. I should think that Schlieffen's 1906 memo must have had at least an influence in this decision not to await the French to move first, if indeed his previous planning had been on the basis of counterattacking a French advance.

And your point about guarantees is?

I thought we'd already established that Britain's policy for centuries had been no guarantee of neutrality to any state over any action against any other state. Britain signed the 1839 & 1870 treaties as a guarantor of Belgium neutrality not as a neutral in any shape or form itself. Neutrality clauses in treaties was the province of other states not Britain (for example, the Reinsurance Treaty between Germany and Russia, up for renewal in 1890, but, despite repeated request from Russia to renew, Germany refused). Britain gave no state, including France and Russia, any firm commitment over anything; even with her Entente partners Britain only had an "understanding" (until 2nd August 1914, when Britain gave a commitment to France that the Royal Navy would do everything in its power to secure the French coast and shipping in the event of France and Germany going to war).

If the German diplomatic service didn't understand this centuries old stance by Britain then that simply shows a lack of diplomatic nous on their part. So why do you labour the same point? No guarantees over anything to anyone by Britain, full stop (except as a guarantor of Belgian neutrality) - I KNOW, so what's your point?

Also, I would be interested to see your explanation of the essential differences between France's Aug 1st assurances to Britain and Belgium - what difference did the wording make to the bottom line?

Cheers-salesie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After many years of online forums, I have slowly reached the opinion that there is (for some reason) no single individual capable of determining who is guilty of starting WW1.

Many people are capable of delivering a very good argument... but most often are not capable of considering a counter argument.

It may be an idea for a TV Series (am sure it would take a number of episodes)... a reality courtroom show with real lawyers, a real judge, and an impartial Jury....

Over a period of weeks to present all the evidence and arguments... and decide with 20/20 hindsight, all info availible and the objectivity from an impartial jury who know and care nothing about WW1.

Bismarck himself had something to say about a potential Balkans war:

Bismarck in 1888, when addressing the Reichstag on the dangers of a European war breaking out over a Balkan crisis, warned of the imminent possibility that Germany would have to fight on two fronts; he spoke of the desire for peace; then he set forth the case for war and demonstrated its futility: "Bulgaria, that little country between the Danube and the Balkans, is far from being an object of adequate importance… for which to plunge Europe from Moscow to the Pyrenees, and from the North Sea to Palermo, into a war whose issue no man can foresee. At the end of the conflict we should scarcely know why we had fought."

That last sentence, "At the end of the conflict we should scarcely know why we had fought." - These words resonate to this very day about WW1, never mind a Balkans crisis in 1888, do they not?

Cheers-salesie.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Russians and French had agreed to invade Germany on the 15th day of mobilization. There's no mention of hanging around to talk.

The French attacked into Alsace on 7 August.

"

Whose mobilization? Russian and French? How does that work unless they mobilize on the same day?

And who mobilized 15 days before the 7th of August?

Best

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

"Russian needed a head start" - why should the Germans give the Russians a head start?

And why should the Russians wait for the Germans to do so first if they knew german Mobilization would be much swifter?

It is a simple calculation.... if you know, that when push comes to shove Germany could be ready within a week, but you would need two weeks... then, even if you were NOT planning aggressive action, you would be pretty stupid NOT to get ready in time.

As to the 2nd part... "why should the Germans give the Russians a head start" .. it seems you are saying the Germans were decided on war anyway?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris,

As to the 2nd part... "why should the Germans give the Russians a head start" .. it seems you are saying the Germans were decided on war anyway?

Whilst I am well aware that Terence does not agree at all, Annika Mombauer has suggested this, both in her book on Moltke and in papers for War in History. She lays out a resonable case to show that Germany was fairly clear something was likely to happen in late July, though she may well go too far in suggesting that this is because Germany wanted war and not simply because they accepted the policy of Austria and Germany in the July Crisis were likely to lead to a situation where war might occur.

http://wih.sagepub.com/content/6/4/417.full.pdf+html

It is certainly worth a look for anyone interested.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Chris,

As to the 2nd part... "why should the Germans give the Russians a head start" .. it seems you are saying the Germans were decided on war anyway?

Whilst I am well aware that Terence does not agree at all, Annika Mombauer has suggested this, both in her book on Moltke and in papers for War in History. She lays out a resonable case to show that Germany was fairly clear something was likely to happen in late July, though she may well go too far in suggesting that this is because Germany wanted war and not simply because they accepted the policy of Austria and Germany in the July Crisis were likely to lead to a situation where war might occur.

http://wih.sagepub.com/content/6/4/417.full.pdf+html

It is certainly worth a look for anyone interested.

Hi Terry,

I believe germany wanted war... and it would have been silly for the Russians not to prepare for it.. So I guess I am at odds with Terence.

I shall look into the Mombauer writings, thanks for the tip.

Best

Chris

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Chris,

I dont believe any of the nations wanted the war they ended up with, though all were willing to accept war rather than face a major diplomatic defeat, and even then there were only a few people in each nation that decided the course taken. German leaders certainly had second thoughts at the end of July, but by what control of the crisis remained was down to Austria, and she was not going to be denied her war even if it took everyone else into a much larger war.

Terry

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Whose mobilization? Russian and French? How does that work unless they mobilize on the same day?

And who mobilized 15 days before the 7th of August?

Best

Chris

Chris,

Whoever mobilized first. In the event, the Russians did, 1st day of mobilization 31 July, so the French kicked off their invasion of Germany on the 15th day of mobilization,14 August.

The French attacked into Alsace with VIII Corps and 8th Cavalry Division on 7 August. It wasn't the main attack, but it was an attack into Germany.

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Huh??? Thats a new one....

You mean... every time an American tourist is murdered in Mexico... the Americans should send the marines?

I was robbed twice in Peru... should I claim my money back from the embassy here at home??

;-)

Ther American tourist in Mexico is not the presumptive successor to the Hapsburg Emperor of Austria.

Sorry you got robbed twice in Peru. I have no idea what this has to do with the matter at hand. Complain to the State Department if it makes you feel better. Be glad you weren't abducted by narcoterrorist Communist guerrillas.

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And your point about guarantees is?

I thought we'd already established that Britain's policy for centuries had been no guarantee of neutrality to any state over any action against any other state. Britain signed the 1839 & 1870 treaties as a guarantor of Belgium neutrality not as a neutral in any shape or form itself. Neutrality clauses in treaties was the province of other states not Britain (for example, the Reinsurance Treaty between Germany and Russia, up for renewal in 1890, but, despite repeated request from Russia to renew, Germany refused). Britain gave no state, including France and Russia, any firm commitment over anything; even with her Entente partners Britain only had an "understanding" (until 2nd August 1914, when Britain gave a commitment to France that the Royal Navy would do everything in its power to secure the French coast and shipping in the event of France and Germany going to war).

If the German diplomatic service didn't understand this centuries old stance by Britain then that simply shows a lack of diplomatic nous on their part. So why do you labour the same point? No guarantees over anything to anyone by Britain, full stop (except as a guarantor of Belgian neutrality) - I KNOW, so what's your point?

Also, I would be interested to see your explanation of the essential differences between France's Aug 1st assurances to Britain and Belgium - what difference did the wording make to the bottom line?

Cheers-salesie.

Great Britain's/Germany's lack of commitment to France and Russia about the 1839 Treaty was irrelevant to the question of Anglo-German obligations to each other under the 1839 Treaty - you are essentially arguing to the effect that if Germany/Britain break their contract with everybody, then they apparently had no contract to be begin with. That interesting interpretation of legal obligation would be news to Judge Judy.

Since Great Britain had produced a functional and workable precedent in 1870 which Grey, now faced with the complicating factor of his ententes, withdrew from in 1914, Moltke's interpretation that the 1839 Treaty was 'off' for Great Britain has foundation. I think Moltke was irresponsible not to give the Foreign Office a 'green light' circa 1908-1914 to strive for an understanding centered on Belgium and fleet reductions. Not necessarily because there was a snowball's chance that Grey would overturn her ententes in favour of German hegemony over Russia, but rather to create a better international 'backstory' for Germany's aggression against Belgium should war break out.

In terms of the functional difference in French wording between London and Brussels; would you rather be menaced by your 300lbs skinhead cellmate, or violated by them?

.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Hi Terry,

I believe germany wanted war... and it would have been silly for the Russians not to prepare for it.. So I guess I am at odds with Terence.

I shall look into the Mombauer writings, thanks for the tip.

Best

Chris

Mombauer doesn't know a ripping thing about war planning or military operations.

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The assassins were Hapsburg subjects and were responsible for the idea and the execution of the plan,Young Bosnia claimed responsibility for the act.

Pasic didn't want a war with Austria Hungary and favoured a modus vivendi with his neighbours,he also didn't get on with Apis.

Austria Hungary didn't need to start a war as a response to the assassination of Franz Ferdinand but they made sure that

they did regardless of the Serbian response to an outrageous ultimatum.

And seeing as we are flirting with outright speculation who is to say the Austrians didn't organise the assassination themselves,that to me is as fanciful as saying the Serbian government did.As we are all well aware intelligence agencies

are well capable of rogue acts some with and some without the knowledge of their superiors.Nothing new there.

There are no good guys in the muddy waters of imperial self interest.

Best/Liam

Tankosic was Serbian, not Austrian.

A casus belli exists or it doesn't; that Austria sent a note before an army was a favour to Serbia; it was not required. You are correct to say Austria need not start a war, (she could in theory have held a big assassins' parade and made Princip the heir to the throne). But Austria was within her rights to do so.

What Pasic wanted from Sarajevo is irrelevant; Pasic had specific actionable intelligence weeks prior which he had a severe duty to pass to Austrian authorities and Pasic did nothing and made no warning. Whether Pasic 'got on' with Apis is also irrelevant; if Pasic's intelligence services were out of control, then Austria is thereby invited to come to Belgrade with her army and restore order, on the basis of the fact that Serbia is unable to uphold her own soveriegn duties.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

And why should the Russians wait for the Germans to do so first if they knew german Mobilization would be much swifter?

It is a simple calculation.... if you know, that when push comes to shove Germany could be ready within a week, but you would need two weeks... then, even if you were NOT planning aggressive action, you would be pretty stupid NOT to get ready in time.

As to the 2nd part... "why should the Germans give the Russians a head start" .. it seems you are saying the Germans were decided on war anyway?

You're reduced to putting words in my mouth.

The Germans knew that since 26 July the Russians were "secretly" mobilizing, and did nothing.

The Germans knew that the Russains had decided on partial mobilization against Austria alone, and did nothing.

The Germans mobilized only after Russia had mobilized against them.

Russia mobilized first, forcing everyone else to mobilize and implement their was plans in turn.

Russian mobilization meant that the Russians and French were going to launch a coordinated two-front invasion of Germany on the 15th day of mobilization. Which is exactly what they did.

Which part of this doesn't add up to Russia launcing an aggressive Great Power war?

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

After many years of online forums, I have slowly reached the opinion that there is (for some reason) no single individual capable of determining who is guilty of starting WW1.

That's because no one is 'guilty'. They were collectively responsible, which is a different thing. Guilt implies premeditation and criminal planning. Responsibility implies influence, errors and incompetence.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Terry's position tends to be that Austria required some formal Serbian government participation in the attack in order to be held accountable.

Not what I have said, but thank you for misrepresenting me here.

Austria could do anything she liked, but she had to take the consequences for doing so, therefore it was upon Serbia to prove some form of state involvement if she expected Russia to avoid direct military support of Serbia.

My position is that Austria only required proof the crime was hatched upon Serbian soil, after which the Serbian government was responsible and accountable for the attack.

Serbia couldn't have it both ways. If Serbia was soveriegn then Serbia was 100% accountable for crimes committed from her soil. If Serbia was not soveriegn, then the Austrian note trampled upon nothing.

The world seems to have missed the Anglo-American war over the so-called shoe-bomber, the US-Saudi war over sponsoring Al-Qaeda, or even the Indo-Pakistani war over the Mumbai terrorist attacks you were so sure would elad to war in days! Most state adopt a sensible policy about identifying the criminals and do not simply adopt the criteria you suggest before lurching to war. No nation accepts state liability for the acts of a citizen acting outside the legal constraints of his official capacity, it will accept the liability of punishing that person or extraditing him, but it does not accept that such an individual has committed an act of state policy by his criminal act.

An example would be rather more in line that if a Canadian army officer murdered an American serviceman, it would not have ever been the case that Canada had sanctioned an act of war by being the employer the man unless he had declared his intetion to act in such a way prior to the event, nor would it be the case that he had committed Canada to war by his act. If the US decided to use the murder as a pretext to invade Canada, they would be at liberty to do so, but the act itself did not demand it, and the US would never respond in such a way unless it desired war far more than it valued justice.

Maybe you would like to take this opportunity to explain to everyone why Austria did not present Serbia with any real evidence against Talkosic or Ciganovic other than the simple demand they be handed over due to alledged involvement? How many states hand over serving military personel simply because another demands it? They ask to see the evidence. Given you have failed to do so on four boards now, maybe you would like to start off differently here and try to explain why Austria presented no evidence?

Trivilaizing the assassination of the heir to the Austrian throne is absurd.

It's not a question of a Canadian killing some American PFC grunt.

It was the official action of the Serb intelligence service.

You assidiously avoid explaining why the Serbs would do such a thing.

Using Occam's razor (the simplest answer is best), the Serb secret service anticipated a severe Austrian reaction, which would lead to war. Serbia has just gotten through initiating two such wars in the last three years.

What you really like are lawyerly arguments, which are irrelavent in discussing international relations. Soverign states ultimately have only one means of resolving irreconciliable differennces, ultima ratio regius - war.

In contrast to your silly analogies, let's try a real-world case, practically parallel to Sarajevo. A terrorist organization, supported by the government, launches an attack on the United States: 3,000 dead.

According to you, what the US should have done was go to the Hague and presented their case, complete with subpeonas that couldn't be served and no "smoking gun" evidence. The international court could have gravely considered the matter for several years, filling warehouses with paper, but finally returning no verdict. And if the International Court finds Bin Laden guilty, so what? Are they going to send their 59 year-old night watchman to Afghanistan to arrest him?

What did the US really do? Send in Special forces, followed by B-52s, followed by the 82nd Airborne Division. Ultima ratio regius.

Then we assassinated the head of the terrorist organization while he was in a neutral country, living next door to their military academy.

Terence Zuber

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
 Share

×
×
  • Create New...