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WW1 trench warefare as population control


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#1    Br Cornelius

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:01 PM

I was talking to a New Zealand friend over the christmas holidays and he told me something shocking.
He said that during the WW1 the  UK government cabinet papers showed that the government was very concerned that a glut of underemployed working class people posed a threat to national stability with a very real fear of Russian style revolution. The papers supposedly say that they were very well aware that the trench warfare they advocated was wasteful of people and that this was a way to avoid such a post war revolution by reducing the working class population of the UK.

The question is, is this true and does anyone have references to the supposed cabinet papers.

Br Cornelius

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#2    questionmark

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:08 PM

I doubt it is true, but no, I don't have access to those papers.

The trench warfare resulted from the deployment of a single piece of army equipment: The machine gun. Armored vehicles to neutralize them had not been yet invented. In fact, once they were it was over pretty quick and never used again in that extend.

Besides, the world population did not significantly get lower in WW!, gruesome as it was.

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#3    Br Cornelius

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:13 PM

View Postquestionmark, on 07 January 2013 - 09:08 PM, said:

I doubt it is true, but no, I don't have access to those papers.

The trench warfare resulted from the deployment of a single piece of army equipment: The machine gun. Armored vehicles to neutralize them had not been yet invented. In fact, once they were it was over pretty quick and never used again in that extend.

Besides, the world population did not significantly get lower in WW!, gruesome as it was.
I was skeptical - but this man is intelligent to a degree that I cannot believe he was mistaken. The policy may not have been effective - but thats not to say that it wasn't tried.

Br Cornelius

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Robert Anton Wilson

#4    Taun

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:14 PM

The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 killed from 20 to 50 million people - 1 to 3 percent of the worlds population! (exact count impossible of course)... WWI killed about 16 million...

The epidemic lasted about 13 months while the war lasted just shy of 5 years...


#5    Corp

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:16 PM

...yeah this has a strong smell to it. I'd need to actually see the papers since the reasoning doesn't make any sense given that trench warfare we well in use before the Russian Revolution. The Battle of the Somme, the most wasteful attack by the British during the war, happened roughly nine months before the first rumblings of the Russian Revolution began. So unless the British government knew the future the use of trench warfare is in no way connected to fears of social unrest. In fact after the Soviets took control the methods of trench warefare actually involved and men weren't being slaughters to the degree they had been in the first few years of the war. In all the theory makes no sense and doesn't fit with the historical data we have.

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse...A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

#6    Br Cornelius

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:22 PM

View PostCorp, on 07 January 2013 - 09:16 PM, said:

...yeah this has a strong smell to it. I'd need to actually see the papers since the reasoning doesn't make any sense given that trench warfare we well in use before the Russian Revolution. The Battle of the Somme, the most wasteful attack by the British during the war, happened roughly nine months before the first rumblings of the Russian Revolution began. So unless the British government knew the future the use of trench warfare is in no way connected to fears of social unrest. In fact after the Soviets took control the methods of trench warefare actually involved and men weren't being slaughters to the degree they had been in the first few years of the war. In all the theory makes no sense and doesn't fit with the historical data we have.
I will have to see if I can get references as without them its just a terrible idea. Still, as I said, knowing this man I find it difficult to believe there isn't something in it.

Br Cornelius

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Robert Anton Wilson

#7    ealdwita

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:37 PM

Until the Cabinet Secretariat was formed in December 1916 no formal records of Cabinet meetings, such as minutes and conclusions, were kept. The only record of Cabinet decisions was contained in letters written by the Prime Minister to the Sovereign after each meeting.

I have on file - Papers of the Committee for Imperial Defence to 1914 (HMSO, 1964), and Cabinet Papers, 1915-1916 (HMSO, 1966), and I can find nothing there, so where Br Cornelius' mate found the info is a mystery to me.

(PS. Having said that, It's not beyond the realms of possibility!)

View PostTaun, on 07 January 2013 - 09:14 PM, said:

The Influenza Epidemic of 1918 killed from 20 to 50 million people - 1 to 3 percent of the worlds population! (exact count impossible of course)... WWI killed about 16 million...

(Can o' worms time) The geographic origin, or underlying cause of that little episode was never identified either!

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#8    Corp

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 09:39 PM

Well even smart people can be tricked or drawn in to foolish theories. Or maybe he's just messing with you. Because the theory just makes zero sense.

Another hit against this idea is that the French, Germans, Belgians, Italians, Ottomans, Serbs, Greeks, and Austrians all engaged in trench warefare. So it wasn't just the British who came up with this idea, it was the military theory of the day. Even the Russians used trenches, though to a much lesser degree. And it should be noted that the French suffered far more loses to due the flawed thinking of trench warefare than the British. So unless all these governments were afraid of worker uprisings that had not happened yet...

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse...A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.

#9    Taun

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Posted 07 January 2013 - 10:10 PM

View Postealdwita, on 07 January 2013 - 09:37 PM, said:


(Can o' worms time) The geographic origin, or underlying cause of that little episode was never identified either!

It's a bit amazing that it spread so far and so fast considering that the fastest means of transportation was either train or steamship...


#10    questionmark

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 10:17 AM

View Postealdwita, on 07 January 2013 - 09:37 PM, said:

(Can o' worms time) The geographic origin, or underlying cause of that little episode was never identified either!

While quite right, I doubt that in the teens of the 20th century anybody would have been capable of altering a virus, in fact they had a hard time creating a new strain of potatoes, something that today can be done in high school science class.

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#11    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 02:37 PM

View PostBr Cornelius, on 07 January 2013 - 09:01 PM, said:

I was talking to a New Zealand friend over the christmas holidays and he told me something shocking.
He said that during the WW1 the  UK government cabinet papers showed that the government was very concerned that a glut of underemployed working class people posed a threat to national stability with a very real fear of Russian style revolution. The papers supposedly say that they were very well aware that the trench warfare they advocated was wasteful of people and that this was a way to avoid such a post war revolution by reducing the working class population of the UK.

The question is, is this true and does anyone have references to the supposed cabinet papers.

Br Cornelius

Why am I not surprised that Cornelius is the poster of such a ludicrus story?

The stalemate called trench warfare happened because no one had a big enough technological or numerological advantage to break the others line. The Germans tried gas, we adapted and used gas masks. We tried tanks and caught them with their pants down. Their lines broke so they surrendered.

There was no conspiracy to reduce your numbers by sending you over the top to be mowed down by German machine guns. At the time it was the only tactic boths side had available to wage war on each other. I will also point out that it isnt just privates who went over the top but officers too. Go watch Black Adder because even Captain Darling took part in the charge.


#12    Br Cornelius

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 03:46 PM

View PostMr Right Wing, on 08 January 2013 - 02:37 PM, said:

Why am I not surprised that Cornelius is the poster of such a ludicrus story?

The stalemate called trench warfare happened because no one had a big enough technological or numerological advantage to break the others line. The Germans tried gas, we adapted and used gas masks. We tried tanks and caught them with their pants down. Their lines broke so they surrendered.

There was no conspiracy to reduce your numbers by sending you over the top to be mowed down by German machine guns. At the time it was the only tactic boths side had available to wage war on each other. I will also point out that it isnt just privates who went over the top but officers too. Go watch Black Adder because even Captain Darling took part in the charge.
I was looking for the evidence which my friend says exists. If it cannot be turned up I will revert to my original position of skeptism.
The whole thing hings on evidence and without it I am not really interested. I will have to try contacting him and getting a link, but he spends most of his time abroad working so it may be some time.

Maybe you should try that approach with your own wild ideas :D

Br Cornelius

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#13    Mr Right Wing

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:02 PM

View PostBr Cornelius, on 08 January 2013 - 03:46 PM, said:

I was looking for the evidence which my friend says exists. If it cannot be turned up I will revert to my original position of skeptism.
The whole thing hings on evidence and without it I am not really interested. I will have to try contacting him and getting a link, but he spends most of his time abroad working so it may be some time.

Maybe you should try that approach with your own wild ideas :D

Br Cornelius

Oh I'm sorry the Germans never used gas and we never invented the tank because I havent posted evidence.


#14    Br Cornelius

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:09 PM

View PostMr Right Wing, on 08 January 2013 - 04:02 PM, said:

Oh I'm sorry the Germans never used gas and we never invented the tank because I havent posted evidence.
I was refering to the fact that you dismissed the possibility that the idea could be true without seeing the evidence (or lack of).

This thread was a bait to see if anyone had that evidence - I was skeptical when I was told the story and I remain skeptical because there is as yet no evidence.

The other facts you mentioned are immaterial to this thread.

Br Cornelius

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Robert Anton Wilson

#15    Corp

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Posted 08 January 2013 - 04:45 PM

I doubt evidence will turn up since the theory doesn't fit the time frame of the war nor the historical facts we have. Sounds like an attempt to link the population reduction conspiracy theories with historical "fact".

War is an ugly thing, but not the ugliest of things: the decayed and degraded state of moral and patriotic feeling which thinks that nothing is worth a war, is much worse...A man who has nothing which he is willing to fight for, nothing which he cares more about than he does about his personal safety, is a miserable creature who has no chance of being free, unless made and kept so by the exertions of better men than himself.




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