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Rethinking WWI


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#1    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 08:03 AM

I thought this was quite interesting. Mr. Michael Gove, who is a person in the current British government, has been voicing opinions about the First World War, as related here.

"Left-wing myths about the First World War peddled by Blackadder belittle Britain and clear Germany of blame, Michael Gove says today."

http://www.dailymail...-academics.html


This is not a unique viewpoint; I've seen several books and articles from reputable historians that have argued much the same thing. In fact, I've got a couple of books about Douglas Haig that try to consider him in a more objective light. But it appears that Labour very much took exception to it:

"Labour condemns Michael Gove's 'crass' comments on first world war


Tristram Hunt says education secretary's attack on 'unpatriotic' views is a shocking attempt at political point-scoring"
http://www.theguardi... news:Position1

Is it mind-bogglingly crass and insensitive to question the received wisdom? Is it just political point scoring? If it is, who is in fact doing this, Mr. Gove or Labour, I wonder?

Edited by Colonel Rhubarb, 05 January 2014 - 08:03 AM.

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#2    third_eye

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 08:18 AM

Quote

.... the “treaty alliance system” that was prevalent in Europe with numerous treaties interconnecting the various states was really at the heart of why what would have been a small conflict, not noteworthy in any way in history, escalated into one of the bloodiest wars in human history with over 15 million people dead.  Somewhat ironically, the spark that set it all off was the assassination that nobody really cared about.
So why go to war over an assassination, if nobody cared?  Because, while nobody seemed to much care about the assassination itself, Austria-Hungary had been looking for an excuse to wage a “preventative war” against Serbia as a state in order to weaken or destroy them so as to take back territory in the Balkans, which had been taken during the Balkan Wars.  They had not taken it back up to this point because they lacked Germany’s support; without that support, they feared Russia too much, because of the treaty Russia had with Serbia.
  • today I found out link

Old time tested treaties in the hands of misguided fools ... I thought Blackadder got it all spot on ...

Quote

... Although Archduke Franz Ferdinand, the nephew of Austria's emperor and heir-apparent to the throne, was not very well liked by most, his assassination by a Serb nationalist was viewed as a great excuse to attack Austria-Hungary's troublesome neighbor, Serbia.
However, instead of reacting quickly to the incident, Austria-Hungary made sure they had the backing of Germany, with whom they had a treaty, before they proceeded. This gave Serbia time to get the backing of Russia, with whom they had a treaty.
The calls for back-up didn't end there. Russia also had a treaty with France and Britain.
This meant that by the time Austria-Hungary officially declared war on Serbia on July 28, 1914, an entire month after the assassination, much of Europe had already become entangled in the dispute.
At the start of the war, these were the major players (more countries joined the war later):
  • Allied Forces (a.k.a. the Allies): France, the United Kingdom, Russia
  • Central Powers: Germany and Austria-Hungary

Heigh HO heigh HO ... its off to WAR we go ....

not to mention the Versailles Treaty practically made the stage for little Adolf to shine and gave Europe the bigger production capabilities to start a bigger better war in WW2

Quote

"Labour condemns Michael Gove's 'crass' comments on first world war

The lady doth protest too much methinks - Willy Shakes

Eh ? Mon Colonel ?

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#3    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 08:33 AM

Oh yes, i think it was a lot more complex than simply the Hun wanting to stamp all over Europe in pickelhaube and jackboots, it was all pretty much inevitable because A had a treaty with B which guaranteed that they'd help them out if C intervened, which of course they would do if E was threatened by A, and meanwhile F had arranged a completely independent treaty with B that guaranteed that they'd intervene if F felt threatened by G. Nevertheless, I think that Mr, G does make some pertinent points, and for Labour to jump and shout "Crass and insensitive! The man should be fired and charged with Hate Crimes!!" seems, well, rather crass on their part, does it not? What's that bit about anyone being free to express their opinion, which I'm sure they'd be in support of if anyone asked them..?

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


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#4    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 08:38 AM

That is the trouble with historians, they are every bit as much ideologically unbalanced as the worst modern news reporters, but they bury it in a swarm of footnotes.


#5    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 09:34 AM

Gove is a d********.


#6    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 09:39 AM

View PostSir Wearer of Hats, on 05 January 2014 - 09:34 AM, said:

Gove is a d********.
care to elaborate further?

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

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#7    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:26 AM

The man's an educational philistine.
Actually, that's insulting to the philistines. The man's just pig ignorant.
His ideas about education would be regressive in the Victorian era. His idea of "improving behave" was to give out Bibles toschools because the kids lacked "moral character".

His grasp of history is appealing.


#8    Valdemar the Great

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:28 AM

View PostSir Wearer of Hats, on 05 January 2014 - 11:26 AM, said:

The man's an educational philistine.
Actually, that's insulting to the philistines. The man's just pig ignorant.
His ideas about education would be regressive in the Victorian era. His idea of "improving behave" was to give out Bibles toschools because the kids lacked "moral character".

His grasp of history is appealing.
So does that mean that you criticise his views on the subject of WWI, or is this just a personal animosity you have towards him?

Life is a hideous business, and from the background behind what we know of it peer daemoniacal hints of truth which make it sometimes a thousandfold more hideous.

H. P. Lovecraft.


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#9    questionmark

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:32 AM

Any European 1900s power (aka Austria-Hungary, Britain, France, Germany or Russia) that claims being innocent of WWI lies. They had all been arming themselves for the better part of 30years to gain European supremacy putting pressure into the pot until it had to burst. The myth that Germany was the alone causant had to be created after the war to justify the death of millions and nothing to show for it.

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#10    Frank Merton

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:45 AM

Some participants in arms races are leaders, others are responders.  Once one gets going it's hard but not impossible to tell which are which.


#11    ealdwita

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 12:11 PM

View PostFrank Merton, on 05 January 2014 - 08:38 AM, said:

That is the trouble with historians, they are every bit as much ideologically unbalanced as the worst modern news reporters, but they bury it in a swarm of footnotes.

Thanks for that, Frank.....Love you too! Have a cigar.....Posted Image

I think the Colonel had it about right in #3.

Edited by ealdwita, 05 January 2014 - 12:12 PM.

"G a wyrd swa hio scel, ac gecnwan n gef!": "Fate goes ever as she shall, but know thine enemy!".

"I was born with a priceless gift - the ability to laugh at other peoples' troubles" - Dame Edna Everage

#12    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 10:18 PM

View PostColonel Rhubarb, on 05 January 2014 - 11:28 AM, said:

So does that mean that you criticise his views on the subject of WWI, or is this just a personal animosity you have towards him?
One segues nicely into the other.
His views on WW1 are monstrously ill-informed.
That said, Blackadder is a SATIRE and exaggerated some things to the point of ridicule (Brigadier General Sir Douglas Butcher of the Somme Hague for example was not insane or dedicated to "moving his drinks cabinet closer to Berlin one inch at a time").


#13    spud the mackem

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 10:46 PM

View PostColonel Rhubarb, on 05 January 2014 - 08:33 AM, said:

Oh yes, i think it was a lot more complex than simply the Hun wanting to stamp all over Europe in pickelhaube and jackboots, it was all pretty much inevitable because A had a treaty with B which guaranteed that they'd help them out if C intervened, which of course they would do if E was threatened by A, and meanwhile F had arranged a completely independent treaty with B that guaranteed that they'd intervene if F felt threatened by G. Nevertheless, I think that Mr, G does make some pertinent points, and for Labour to jump and shout "Crass and insensitive! The man should be fired and charged with Hate Crimes!!" seems, well, rather crass on their part, does it not? What's that bit about anyone being free to express their opinion, which I'm sure they'd be in support of if anyone asked them..?
Labour will jump on any bandwagon to score points,and as for free speech,well that has me speechless, you can only do that in this country if you're Not British,by birth.

Edited by spud the mackem, 05 January 2014 - 10:47 PM.

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#14    Neognosis

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Posted 05 January 2014 - 11:19 PM

Dan Carlin's last Hardcore History covers the beginning of WWI.

It is VERY, VERY good and riveting. If you like history at all, I think you will find yourself listening to this every time you are in the car, at work, etc..

http://www.dancarlin.com/disp.php/hh

"Blueprint for Armageddon" is the latest one, about WWI. I cannot recommend it enough.


He pretty much agrees with this:





Quote


the “treaty alliance system” that was prevalent in Europe with numerous treaties interconnecting the various states was really at the heart of why what would have been a small conflict, not noteworthy in any way in history, escalated into one of the bloodiest wars in human history with over 15 million people dead.



#15    Sir Wearer of Hats

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Posted 06 January 2014 - 12:56 AM

Basically, everyone was looking for a chance to knock heads, the empires were all rubbing each other the wrong way (particularly in Africa and the Middle East) and bucking for new territory.





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