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Inventing the Schlieffen Plan


Dikke Bertha
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Thanks Terry for the link to the Albertini books,just when I thought a month digesting Strachan's chapter on the origins was enough :(

What I still don't get though is what possible motive there might be for France-Russia conspiring to start a conflict in 1914,Strachan seems to indicate that Alsace Lorraine while desirable to take back would not have been enough motive for France to start a war.Russia's possible motives apart from the Dardanelles I also don't see or maybe they were motive enough.Anyway a fascinating thread.

Best/Liam

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The last suggestions for peace came from Sazonov, and like the suggestions from everyone else, Austria ignored them. France and Russia, no matter how warlike, cannot be to blame for Austrian decisions, especially the ones where Austria decided to ignore even German advice. To blame one nation or alliance exclusively is too simplistic and ignores all the evidence that each nation was taking its own decisions that forced the pace to war.

Terry

Ah. Sazonov wanted to talk while he was mobilizing, knowing full well he had 15 days after begining mobilization until Russia and France were going to invade Germany. If Sazonov really wanted to talk, mobilization was counter-productive.

I think it is safe to say that neither Austria nor Germany wanted war with Russia - or France. If the Germans had wanted that, the time to do it was 1904. Make an alliance with the Japanese, and the Germans have had WWI under far better circumstances. The British would have been in a real quandry. But Wilhelm didn't want a continental war, he wanted inflluence in world politics.

But the Germans and Austrians were determined to punish Serbia, and with good reason.

Terence Zuber

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Terence,

I think it is safe to say that neither Austria nor Germany wanted war with Russia - or France.

I think it fair to say that Austria and Germany wanted war with France and Russia far more than they wished for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, and far more than the diplomatic defeat halting the war with Serbia would have involved. Austria was quite happy to be allowed to crush Serbia, if that could not be arranged, Austria and Germany were quite happy to fight Russia alone, if that was impossible, they were even willing to risk fighting Serbia, Russia and France. It was only the factor of Britain that seems to have caused the politicians any unease - distinct from the military who had anticipated it for some time - and much the same applied in reverse. Russia was quite happy to fight Austria alone, and if that was impossible she was just as happy to fight Germany too with France supporting her. None of them wanted the war they ended up with, but none were willing to do much to avoid it either.

If the Germans had wanted that, the time to do it was 1904. Make an alliance with the Japanese, and the Germans have had WWI under far better circumstances.

A better opportunity is hardly proof they didnt change their mind by 1914. After all, the Russian Great Program was hardly well received in Germany and that had only just past the enactment when the July Crisis arose.

But Wilhelm didn't want a continental war, he wanted inflluence in world politics.

Yes, but attempting to split the Entente's by pushing a crisis was not the method to do it, and it appears that this was exactly Bethmann's policy in 1914, as in each previous crisis as soon as war looked likely Britain had stood by her partners. Germany did not need a war to gain influence.

But the Germans and Austrians were determined to punish Serbia, and with good reason.

To punish the guilty people yes, to punish the state and the many innocent Serbians, no. (The US had a lot more reason to attack Israel after the Liberty incident but did nothing as just one example where direct retaliation would have been well within rights.) Nothing prevented Austria using the Serbian reply to the Note to secure all she needed for justice, it was the desire to dimember Serbia and form a Balkan League based on Austria by parcelling out the pieces taken as bribes that Austria wanted war to put into effect. Nothing prevented Austria trying to persue justice through the legal system and she far from exhausted all possible alternatives.

Terry

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Terence,

I think it is safe to say that neither Austria nor Germany wanted war with Russia - or France.

I think it fair to say that Austria and Germany wanted war with France and Russia far more than they wished for a peaceful resolution to the crisis, and far more than the diplomatic defeat halting the war with Serbia would have involved. Austria was quite happy to be allowed to crush Serbia, if that could not be arranged, Austria and Germany were quite happy to fight Russia alone, if that was impossible, they were even willing to risk fighting Serbia, Russia and France. It was only the factor of Britain that seems to have caused the politicians any unease - distinct from the military who had anticipated it for some time - and much the same applied in reverse. Russia was quite happy to fight Austria alone, and if that was impossible she was just as happy to fight Germany too with France supporting her. None of them wanted the war they ended up with, but none were willing to do much to avoid it either.

If the Germans had wanted that, the time to do it was 1904. Make an alliance with the Japanese, and the Germans have had WWI under far better circumstances.

A better opportunity is hardly proof they didnt change their mind by 1914. After all, the Russian Great Program was hardly well received in Germany and that had only just past the enactment when the July Crisis arose.

But Wilhelm didn't want a continental war, he wanted inflluence in world politics.

Yes, but attempting to split the Entente's by pushing a crisis was not the method to do it, and it appears that this was exactly Bethmann's policy in 1914, as in each previous crisis as soon as war looked likely Britain had stood by her partners. Germany did not need a war to gain influence.

But the Germans and Austrians were determined to punish Serbia, and with good reason.

To punish the guilty people yes, to punish the state and the many innocent Serbians, no. (The US had a lot more reason to attack Israel after the Liberty incident but did nothing as just one example where direct retaliation would have been well within rights.) Nothing prevented Austria using the Serbian reply to the Note to secure all she needed for justice, it was the desire to dimember Serbia and form a Balkan League based on Austria by parcelling out the pieces taken as bribes that Austria wanted war to put into effect. Nothing prevented Austria trying to persue justice through the legal system and she far from exhausted all possible alternatives.

Terry

You missed the part about Russian mobilization being counter-productive to negotiations

Germany did not need a war to gain influence.

Right. Absent a war, the Germans end up running Europe.

Minor edit - current times comment deleted forum rules Keith

Who had the most modern industry, highest-tech economy, best universities, etc?

1914 is for sure the last chance the French have - given their low birthrate and agricultural economy, they're headed for the second league.

The Russians were pure adventurers - war with Turkey over Constantinople in 1878, with Japan over Manchuria in 1904, almost-war with Great Britain over Afghanistan and Persia. Always pushing. The first serious Russian novel, A Hero in Our Time, is about drunken officers conquering the Caucasus.

Terence Zuber

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Terence,

You missed the part about Russian mobilization being counter-productive to negotiations

Yes it was, but it followed equally counter-productive decisions in Berlin and Vienna. Sazonov couldnt have forced Germany to tell Austria to hurry up and declare war two weeks before she would be ready to do much, and he was equally powerless to make Austria follow such reckless advice whilst still refusing to talk. Russia did make a lot of errors, but the pace - the factor that really proved fatal - was one chosen by the Central Powers.

1914 is for sure the last chance the French have - given their low birthrate and agricultural economy, they're headed for the second league.

To borrow a phrase from Moltke, they could still have hoped to pass the test in 1917 when the Russian Great Program completed - they were paying for much of the improvements in Russian railroads and industry after all.

The Russians were pure adventurers - war with Turkey over Constantinople in 1878, with Japan over Manchuria in 1904, almost-war with Great Britain over Afghanistan and Persia.

And Germany had wars with Denmark, Austria and France, whilst Austria had wars with France and Piedmont/Italian states and many near wars in the Balkans too. To brand the Russians adventurers or war mongers needs to be seen in perspective. as all the Great Powers were much the same, it is how they became Great Powers in the first place. Russia certainly did not persue a pacifist policy, but she was far from alone.

The first serious Russian novel, A Hero in Our Time, is about drunken officers conquering the Caucasus.

So what? This does ignore Krylov and Pushkin to name a few, Russia was not short of litary figures, but a novel published in the 1830's is hardly evidence of Russia being responsible for the war breaking out in 1914 any more than citing the German beer hall festivals as a reason Germany started it would be, but it may well show rather more Cold War reasoning than anything else!

Neither of the alliances created the war alone, trying to single out one or two nations whilst ignoring the others is hardly sensible let alone good historical judgement.

As a military man, would you declare war two weeks before you were at all ready to act in a situation of international tension?

Terry

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Russian mobilization starts the Great Power war. It is the irevocable step.

It is clearly no such thing. Even in 1914 Germany said there would be no war if Russia ceased mobilizing, therefore ordering it is entirely reversable unless another nations uses the act as an excuse in itself. How had Belgium decided to go to war with in 1914 when she mobilized? After all, by your interpretation it is irrevocable and must end in war?

No way. The Great Program was sure to meet with a German response.

If they recast the constitution, thereby allowing the others states a bigger say in German affairs, something Prussia was not at all keen on. However, a cynic would point out that the Great Program did see a German response at the end of the July Crisis.

I'd say that there are qualitative differences involved here.

There certainly are, but people can point to any power and say it was X,Y, or Z with some degree of justification.

I didn't go to a lot of beer hall festivals, but they are pretty tame stuff. Men and women drink beer, eat bratwurst and sing. I never saw an ugly drunk. These are not your football hooligans. If that's the worst charge you can lay on German society...

They are usually good fun, and most Germans are good people too, but like in all nations not all are harmless. I dont intend to lay charges against German society, I have some very good German friends for one thing, but there are of course some very serious charges that could be laid both from the pre-WWI period (The Zabern Affair as a minor example) to some somewhat far better known incidents during WWI and WWII.

I'm trying to reestablish balance. Up to now the Entente has gotten off pretty easily.

Establishing balance requires a balanced approach in itself, simply picking up mud from one side and throwing it the other really doesnt work. For every act of one side there is a counterpart on the other. I can see your point, but simply repeating the same old charges against Russia or the Entente nations that were first aired in 1914 and without reference to the vast amount of info we can now use to balance things properly is not going to achive much. I am sure you would not accept somebody quoting the Bryce Report as conclusive proof of events in Belgium, so why think others will not look further and then question what you say unless you provide a balanced perspective?

Everybody declared war two weeks before they were ready to act.

I would love you to show me actual discussions and orders dating from up to the 14th July where Britain, France or Russia had decided to start a war irrespective of what Austria or Germany did? The only powers declaring war were Austria (Serbia), Germany (Russia, France, Belgium), and then Britain (Germany) respectively, so if we remove the Austrian declaration of war it would appear the others do not start until mid-August, by which time somebody may have been able to sort out a compormise solution. It might not be likely, but it wouldnt have hurt to try.

In all seriousness, Germany declared war on Russia and then didnt take any action in the west that required a declaration of war for another three days, so why could she not have declared war at the moment she was ready to act? If the declaration of war on Russia had been followed instantly by a move in the west I could see your point, but cutting off all chances of peace before being ready to do anything was to say the least, acting unnecessarily.

Terry

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I think you will find that it does. Hence the general verdicts of most people even today blaming Germany and Austria for war in 1914

Most people these days go for joint causation. You know my opinion - I think the big players are responsible for the big consequences - Germany, Russia, Britain.

The word 'can' being very important. However the side to issue the declaration of war leaves no room for doubt.

The existence of a principle does not equate to its blanket endorsement in any situation. It’s possible that two or more governments can all disagree on whether ‘menacing’ is taking place. What is important is whether the Germans really did feel threatened as a nation, and acted in accord with longstanding doctrine and in accord with the German public’s understanding. I’m not a shrink, but when your top general collapses in hysterical blubbering tears on 1 August 1914 over the prospect of his plan being axed, I’m thinking he’s genuinely - honest and for true - feeling menaced.

I never noted Jagow and Bethmann. They both lied quite a lot over the last few days of the July Crisis, it was not at all impossible for them to simply check if a named town had indeed been bombed.

AFAIK, neither knowingly made false accusations against France. I seem to recall that the Chancellory picked up on the newspaper accusations without bothering to check facts and then were embarrassed after finding out they were wrong.

So presumably you imagine they didn’t check the ultimatum to Belgium prior to sending it?

You're assuming that Moltke was lying when he stated, via the 2 August ultimatum, that the French plan of march would be via Belgium. But AFAIK, Moltke and the German army actually believed this would be true.

Any advance on who Beglium had decided to declare war on when she mobilized yet?

We are discussing Great Powers and their mobilizations . Belgium was not a Great Power, nor could her actions menace the national security of a Great Power, which is the underlying principle to the doctrine of mobilization meaning war.

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You're assuming that Moltke was lying when he stated, via the 2 August ultimatum, that the French plan of march would be via Belgium. But AFAIK, Moltke and the German army actually believed this would be true.

There were also claims of French units having entered into Belgium also, and all written on 26th July. So there clearly were lies used to justify the act from the outset. It has already been pointed out here that Jagow never once mentioned such a thing about a belief France was going to attack through Belgium, and nor did Bethmann in his address to the Reichstag, both cited necessity had guided German policy and nothing about having to pre-empt France.

We are discussing Great Powers and their mobilizations .

No we are not. The saying was, and is when discussing this subject, 'Mobilization means war' with no distinction. You have stated several times that war must follow because the act of mobilization was so costly. For your ideas to have any weight you must therefore show who Belgium was going to war with. If a minor power meant war it would still have to mobilize, or do you somehow think it must become a great power before progressing to war? It is the act of mobilization under discussion, the act is open to all to perform, so either the act of mobilization itself means war, or it means no such thing.

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Russian mobilization starts the Great Power war. It is the irevocable step.

It is clearly no such thing. Even in 1914 Germany said there would be no war if Russia ceased mobilizing, therefore ordering it is entirely reversable unless another nations uses the act as an excuse in itself. How had Belgium decided to go to war with in 1914 when she mobilized? After all, by your interpretation it is irrevocable and must end in war?

If Russia stops mobilizing, ther's no war: exactly what Isaid.

Belgium is a not a Great Power and incapable of defending itself, much less attacking it's neighbours, and mobilization is war not because of semantic nonsense like this, but because it leads to Great Power offensive action

No way. The Great Program was sure to meet with a German response.

If they recast the constitution, thereby allowing the others states a bigger say in German affairs, something Prussia was not at all keen on. However, a cynic would point out that the Great Program did see a German response at the end of the July Crisis.

In 1913, even before the Great Program, the Germans had agreed to a significant increase in the army. You're contending that the Germans were willing to risk national suicide because you think (and this is news to me) that Baden wanted some indeterminate 'greater say' in German 'affairs', whatever that mends.

I'd say that there are qualitative differences involved here.

There certainly are, but people can point to any power and say it was X,Y, or Z with some degree of justification.

Obfuscation again: failure to refute a specific assertion.

I didn't go to a lot of beer hall festivals, but they are pretty tame stuff. Men and women drink beer, eat bratwurst and sing. I never saw an ugly drunk. These are not your football hooligans. If that's the worst charge you can lay on German society...

They are usually good fun, and most Germans are good people too, but like in all nations not all are harmless. I dont intend to lay charges against German society, I have some very good German friends for one thing, but there are of course some very serious charges that could be laid both from the pre-WWI period (The Zabern Affair as a minor example) to some somewhat far better known incidents during WWI and WWII.

Try Belgian misrule in the Congo or British concentration camps in South Africa.The Zabern affair was harmless in comparison.

I'm trying to reestablish balance. Up to now the Entente has gotten off pretty easily.

Establishing balance requires a balanced approach in itself, simply picking up mud from one side and throwing it the other really doesnt work. For every act of one side there is a counterpart on the other. I can see your point, but simply repeating the same old charges against Russia or the Entente nations that were first aired in 1914 and without reference to the vast amount of info we can now use to balance things properly is not going to achive much. I am sure you would not accept somebody quoting the Bryce Report as conclusive proof of events in Belgium, so why think others will not look further and then question what you say unless you provide a balanced perspective?

Everybody declared war two weeks before they were ready to act.

I would love you to show me actual discussions and orders dating from up to the 14th July where Britain, France or Russia had decided to start a war irrespective of what Austria or Germany did? The only powers declaring war were Austria (Serbia), Germany (Russia, France, Belgium), and then Britain (Germany) respectively, so if we remove the Austrian declaration of war it would appear the others do not start until mid-August, by which time somebody may have been able to sort out a compormise solution. It might not be likely, but it wouldnt have hurt to try.

Everybody declared war the first week in August. Nobody could do anything much above divisional level until the mass army could be mobilized and deployed. The Austrians could not attack the serbs until 12 August, the French and Russians could not invade germany until 14 August.

Nobody had done anything on 14 July. What are you talking about?

In all seriousness, Germany declared war on Russia and then didnt take any action in the west that required a declaration of war for another three days, so why could she not have declared war at the moment she was ready to act? If the declaration of war on Russia had been followed instantly by a move in the west I could see your point, but cutting off all chances of peace before being ready to do anything was to say the least, acting unnecessarily.

Why did the Fench declare war on the Germans on 3 August and then not launch a major attack until 14 August? Because mobilization was war. The declaration of war was window-dressing. Terence

Terry

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Forgive me, salesie, but your allusion to dead and squawking parrots escapes me. I couldn't help thinking of the sketch in Monty Python.

Fischer unleashed his treatise in 1961, and that, along with the War by Time Table notion espoused by AJP Taylor, was the diet that I was weaned on when I studied history as a schoolboy.

There is a historiographical nicety in seeing such a vigorous challenge to Fischer on the fiftieth anniversary of his essay : it's almost as if he, in the run up to the fiftieth anniversary of the Great War, promulgated a view that was controversial and unpalatable ; and that now, on the threshold of the Centennial, there is an equally controversial and unpalatable suggestion being made to refute it.

Phil (PJA)

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Forgive me, salesie, but your allusion to dead and squawking parrots escapes me. I couldn't help thinking of the sketch in Monty Python.

Phil (PJA)

If you take a look at my post #575, Phil, you may just understand my Norwegian-Blue parody a little better i.e. by introducing the work of Fritz Fischer, who wrote much more than an essay about direct German culpability for WW1 (&2), work which led to Ritter and others denouncing his tomes as being "anti-German" (though Fischer was in fact German himself and served in the Wehrmacht in WW2), I had visions of even more Monty Pythonesque replies coming from Glenn239 in response.

Cheers-salesie.

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What Belgian misrule in the Congo ?

There is absolutely no doubt that the exploitation of the Congo Free State was in all aspects horrible. But that was not run by the Belgian governement or people. It was a privately run affair by the King of the Belgians. Leopold II

You might remember him, Terence, it is the same one who was being bullied , already in 1908, by those "poor warmongers" Wilhelm II and Moltke, to allow free passage through Belgium for an attack on France.

Carl :rolleyes:

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Terence,

If Russia stops mobilizing, ther's no war: exactly what Isaid.

So therefore the act of mobilization itself does not mean war as it is still reversable, and clearly refutes your earlier comment;

Russian mobilization starts the Great Power war. It is the irevocable step.

Declaring war on a nation that already might not like you very much is an irrevocable step, invading a neutral nation that has treaties with other great powers is also irrevocable. As you have now noted, Russian mobilization did in itself not make war inevitable, it was the German decision on what response to take that did.

Belgium is a not a Great Power and incapable of defending itself, much less attacking it's neighbours

Belgium would be perfectly capable of attacking The Netherlands or Luxembourg, so it clearly could attack its neighbours.

mobilization is war not because of semantic nonsense like this, but because it leads to Great Power offensive action

Yes, Germany decided to claim this after the event, but she didnt seem to have made such a policy clear prior to 1914, and it is clear from the governments running other nations, including Austria, that mobilization did not mean war to them.

In 1913, even before the Great Program, the Germans had agreed to a significant increase in the army.

They had just decided to abandon the naval challenge to Britain, over the inability to fund it any further.

Try Belgian misrule in the Congo or British concentration camps in South Africa.The Zabern affair was harmless in comparison.

Try the Herero genocide, the introduction of aerial bombing of cities, gas warfare - both banned under international law prior to WWI - the Llandovery Castle sinking, and any number of massacres in WWII before we come to the industrialized slaughter of racial and political enemies in German concentration camps. Zabern served to illustrate a point, it seems you wish to consider a wider scope - not a good tactic for someone defending Germany in the early to mid 20thC.

Why did the Fench declare war on the Germans on 3 August and then not launch a major attack until 14 August?

Maybe you need to study this more, Germany declared war on France.

Because mobilization was war. The declaration of war was window-dressing.

So between mobilization and acting there were two weeks in which to look for a solution if nobody decided to declare war and remove that last point.

Berchtold to Shebeko;

Considering the circumstance however, that Russia was evidently mobilising against us, we too had to extend our mobilisation, while I expressly mentioned, that these measures, it goes without saying, constituted no hostile move against Russia and were merely lo be considered as the necessary counter-move lo the Russian mobilisation.

So clearly Berchtold was not following your claims for the meaning of mobilization.

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The real problem is that the Germans were not ruthless enough, just like today. Trying to be Mr. Nice Guy. Good Europeans. (Tough love for the Greek children). If you replace Wilhelm II with Frederick the Great, then, say 1904, you get a repetition of Fritz's attack on Silesia in 1741 or Saxony in 1756, with the Austro-Germans invading Poland. If you replace the younger Moltke with his uncle, you get the same thing. The elder Moltke was screaming for a preventive war on Russia from 1877 to 1888 (actually, he even wanted one in 1859): take Poland and then Germany would have defensive glacis on both fronts. But Wilhelm, Schlieffen and the younger Moltke did no such thing, and let all those wonderful opportunities pass by. Pretty bizarre behaviour for inveterate warmongers.

Terence Zuber

If a Hitler type personalilty were in charge in Berlin in 1904, there is no question in my mind but that Germany would have acted at the start of the Russo-Japanese war. This may have been either an attack on France or war with Japan - in the latter case Britain is drawn in as Japan's ally and France is given the extremely unplatable choice of making war upon its Entente Partner Britain or siding against its alliance partner Russia.

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There were also claims of French units having entered into Belgium also, and all written on 26th July. So there clearly were lies used to justify the act from the outset.

The German note to Belgium of 2 August states,

The Imperial Government possesses reliable information of the intended deployment of French forces on the Givet-Namur stretch of the Meuse. This information leaves no doubt about France's intention to advance against Germany through Belgian territory.

The Imperial Government cannot help but be concerned that without assistance Belgium, in spite of its good intentions, will not be able to repel a French attack with sufficient prospects of success to provide an adequate guarantee in the face of the threat to Germany. It is essential for Germany's survival to pre-empt this enemy attack. <BR style="mso-special-character: line-break"><BR style="mso-special-character: line-break">

The German Government would therefore consider it with utmost regret if Belgium saw an unfriendly act in the fact that measures taken by its enemies force Germany for defence purposes likewise to enter Belgian territory.

In order for the Germans to be lying, Moltke's information on the French plan of march has to be 'unreliable' in Moltke's own opinion. Do you have any evidence from the German archives that Moltke thought this way? A simple letter from Moltke would do.

No we are not. The saying was, and is when discussing this subject, 'Mobilization means war' with no distinction.

Well, I'm discussing only Great Powers, which is why I stated that between 1815 and 1914 no Great Power ever conducted a general mobilization without a war following. A minor country like Belgium or Switzerland can't threaten the national security of a Great Power - they're too weak. It is the act of menacing national security that makes mobilization an act of war. Since Belgium is too small to do this against Germany while Russia is large enough that it can, the tiny Belgian mobilization is not an equal issue to the massive Russian.

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I've deleted a comment, and a reply to that comment. I'm sure that those who read them will understand why

Alan

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And I have just looked back a day or two and deleted some more comments. One or two more might shortly be edited to avoid deleting the genuine parts of debate.

let us be clear

This forum does not permit modern political comment.

References to period outside out remit are only acceptable if they contribute something genuine and serious to a discussion.

Keith

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Well, I'm discussing only Great Powers, which is why I stated that between 1815 and 1914 no Great Power ever conducted a general mobilization without a war following.

No Great Power had ever cited mobilization as a cause of war. If they had you would have been able to post it long before this point, so the German decision to claim this is also without any precedent. However, as nobody was aware of the German doctrine, they cannot be responsible for transgressing. Even the ultimatum to Russia does not specify war as the result of Russian action, so the politicians in Germany were obviously less than sure of what you claim everyone knew.

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Terence,

Nothing prevented Austria trying to persue justice through the legal system

Terry

Ah, the lawyerly answer again.

Which policeman is going to arrest the Serbian malefactors?

Who is the prosecutor? How does he collect evidence?

Who is the judge?

What laws will the Serbs be tried under? We using English common law? Roman law? Code Napoleon? Code duello?

Who executes the sentence?

Terence Zuber

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Terence,

Try Belgian misrule in the Congo or British concentration camps in South Africa.The Zabern affair was harmless in comparison.

Try the Herero genocide, the introduction of aerial bombing of cities, gas warfare - both banned under international law prior to WWI - the Llandovery Castle sinking, and any number of massacres in WWII before we come to the industrialized slaughter of racial and political enemies in German concentration camps. Zabern served to illustrate a point, it seems you wish to consider a wider scope - not a good tactic for someone defending Germany in the early to mid 20thC.

At Zabern (Saverne) in Alsace in Nov/December 1913 a regimental commander arrested and tried by courts-martial some of the locals whom he felt had harassed his officers. Bethmann-Hollweg reacted weakly to this incursion of the miltary into civilian justice and a majority in the Reichstag criticized this. It's not even a blip in German history: Hajo Holborn, an outspoken republican who fled Germany in 1933, does not even mention it in his majesterial 3-volume History of Modern Germany, nor does Gordon Craig in Germany 1866-1945. How this leads to "industrialized slaughter of racial and political enemies" is mystifying.

Terence Zuber

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Terence,

Ah, the lawyerly answer again.

Suggesting Austria follow a legal process to get justice for the assassination rather than opting for a war that would kill thousands at least and ended up killing millions, is somehow lawyerly or wrong in your opinion?

What laws will the Serbs be tried under? We using English common law? Roman law? Code Napoleon? Code duello?

Who executes the sentence?

Well, we will never know, because this would have needed Austria to actually talk to people! My own thoughts would be that Austria should have presented the evidence against the suspects, not just a demand for extradition and a bald statement that Austria had evidence against them, and then requested extradition. If this were really a problem, a trial could have been arranged by mutual concent. If Serbia was refusing to follow such a process, then Austria would have had just grounds for war. In 1914 Austria took a week to compose the Note, but expected all conditions met in one third the time it took to write it. Do you imagine Austria suddenly lost all sympathy when the Note was seen because people felt sorry for Serbia or because people saw Austria was looking to start a war?

At Zabern (Saverne) in Alsace in Nov/December 1913....

In my original reply to your comment about an 1837 novel about drunken Russian officers I noted;

I dont intend to lay charges against German society, I have some very good German friends for one thing, but there are of course some very serious charges that could be laid both from the pre-WWI period (The Zabern Affair as a minor example) to some somewhat far better known incidents during WWI and WWII.

Now you write;

How this leads to "industrialized slaughter of racial and political enemies" is mystifying.

Maybe the names Auschwitz, Buchenwald, Dachau, Mauthausen, Ravensbruck, Majdanek, Treblinka and Sachsenhausen ring a bell here? At Zabern the German army treated civilians with little regard for their rights, Forstner striking down a partially paralyzed cobbler with his sword because he laughed at him, by the 1940's the general disregard for civilian, or indeed enemy POW's rights, led to the industrialized slaughter that almost all modern Germans rightly condemn. If you are somehow 'mystified' about German involvement in these events, I can only let others draw whatever conclusion they can from this.

All nations have incidents in their past that are regrettable, entire books could be devoted to the subject, but we are shifting further and further away from the military aspects. I imagine people would prefer it if the discussion returned to its original purpose as I do not see we are likely to agree on this part of the subject.

Terry

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Please stop quoting the entire content of lengthy posts.

I think, Chris, that they are quoting a previous post and then inserting new comment in among it. Whilst that perhaps gets them off the charge of needlessly quoting lengthy posts, there seems to be little consistency in the style of such new insertions, and I, for one, am often finding it hard to tell what is 'quote' and what is new text.

This debate seems set to last longer than the Great War itself, and I wonder whether, for the benefit of those of us who are dipping in from time to time, someone might attempt an interim 'executive summary' of where we have got to so far.

Mick

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