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THE FIRST WORLD WAR - who wants to talk about it?


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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2010 1:55:27 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 4, 2010 3:22:01 PM PDT
Rachel says:
Sycamore:

The name you chose Sycamore is in Hebrew is the name of a tree,same as in English!

I think you mean Weimar; Berlin became a place of decadence. The Weimar Republic by Detlev Peukert

Rachel :)

Posted on Apr 4, 2010 2:13:41 PM PDT
briefcandle says:
It's hard to imagine world war II, without the personality of AH. He never accepted the fact that germany was defeated in the field. It was injured german pride rather than privation that galled him. I guess any other sort of fascist ultranationalist could have nursed the same grudges, but AH added to it the vision of grossdeutschland and will to genocide.
One might agree with foch that versailles was not a peace, but a 20 year armistice, this might conceivably be an instructive prescience that explains war with france and britain, but find in the treaty of versailles the dark vision of barbarossa, a germany spread from brest to vladivostock, and factories consuming the bodies of the despised races, it's just not there.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 4, 2010 9:50:02 PM PDT
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Posted on Apr 5, 2010 8:24:11 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 28, 2011 7:51:14 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 9:08:12 AM PDT
A. J. Meblin says:
I believe that one strong motivation for our second war in Iraq is to create a military presence on both sides of Iran. A second reason is to control water in that region; Tigris and Euphrates rivers...

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 9:10:38 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 9:20:39 AM PDT
A. J. Meblin says:
Your Masters' Degree humbles me, but I dare suggest that WWI happened for several reasons:
1. Germany unified late (compared with other Euros) and got into the Imperialism game late,
2. Imperialism was particularly deceptive in the way war was conducted because the conflicts and destruction were in non-Euro countries, with weapons that were much more effective because of industrial revolution gains,
3. An unfathomable lack of concern for human life, for which I have no explanation,
4. Entangling alliances, which are repeated in micro-examples in young men today with street gangs and "sets". In this example boys who fight can count on their friends to help if they need it.
5. Propaganda posters were effective in motivating men to enlist because it was a relatively new medium; the art work was superb in creating sense of duty to stop the dreaded Hun, etc.

My humble submission is based on teaching modern world history at a California public high school, and reading as much as I can. I am, however, no expert historian.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 9:46:23 AM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 9:49:33 AM PDT
Meblin, I don't think you are wrong but...
1) Austria-Hungary initiated the combat, and its regime dated from the 13th century. If imperialism was both desirable and obligatory for nations seeking global respect, then Austria would not have waited until the 20th century to join the game. As for Germany, what exactly did it want? It already had bits of France and Poland, I don't think it really wanted Russia though some were already discussing the need for lebensraum. The wars Germany almost got involved in were about Africa and about Pacific islands -- not vital nor strategic in any respect.
2) Other than the Belgian treatment of the Congo, can you name other examples of gross mistreatment of native peoples by their European overlords?

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 10:23:39 AM PDT
A. J. Meblin says:
You are correct about Austria-Hungary starting the thing, and I do not know why the A-H Empire did not engage in the new Imperialism. But it was entangling alliances that brought in the rest of the Euro Imperialists. I was taught that Germany was hot for territory in other continents, and that is borne out by their "sphere of influence" around Tsingtao, China, and in Africa, and the Pacific islands. Not vital to governments NOW, but back then, your international status was enhanced greatly by having many colonies. Vital back then also because one needed coaling stations around the globe. Russia was hindered not just by inferior leadership during the Russo-Japanese War by not having coaling stations, and other countries not wanting to help resupply her ships. So Russian coal ships had to follow, slow, plodding...

Mistreatment? Everywhere. Gross mistreatment, that depends on what you mean by gross. I think that the British seriously disrupted the Indian commerce by dominating the salt trade, and prohibiting its manufacture, as had been tradition in India for thousands of years ranks as mistreatment. Gross? Dunno. Bringing opium to China to balance the trade? Pretty bad, but Gross? I think that by todays standards ALL Imperialism would be considered Gross if it were promulgated on us.

And, lastly, I am not trying to indict the Imperialists as war criminals; they made the world really exciting from a standpoint of history!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 11:26:22 AM PDT
With a few famous exceptions, the British Army treated the people of India humanely. I think subjects of the French Empire suffered far more abuse, and subjects of the Germans even more.

I guess my point, or maybe just my reason for joining in again after months away from this thread, is that "imperialism" seems like a poor target for blame. For one thing, what is it? Primarily economic? political? military?

If military, then it is just a continuation of what the Egyptians, Phoenicians, Persians, Athenians, Macedonians, and Romans were doing a few thousand years ago.

If economic, then it takes decades to integrate two separate economies into a single trading bloc. If the goal is only to exploit the raw material resources of a colony, then there are few if any new customers for the products of the home country.

And if the goal is only political -- increased prestige from the possession of colonies, but otherwise these colonies are net losers from the economic and military standpoints -- then there are lower-cost ways to achieve these goals.

"Imperialism" seems like too vague a thing to blame for WWI or the start of WWI. Whatever motives existed, they were not new and they did not need a new theory of geopolitics to explain them.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 11:49:09 AM PDT
A. J. Meblin says:
Imperialism is mentioned mainly to provide reason for WWI in that "modern" weapons had been mostly used abroad, not on the Continent. The spitzer bullet, Maxim and Mauser guns, and Krupp, Schneider, and Armstrong cannons, among others, were used on non-Euros. With the exception of the very short Franco-Prussian War, the average civilian in London, Paris, Vienna, Berlin, did not know what he was in for, because of Imperialism. Imperialism provided the testing grounds for those "modern" weapons, as it hid the results on human flesh. I revise my position to say I am not using the Imperialism as a reason for the war, per se.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 12:34:59 PM PDT
Omnireader says:
Good info!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 12:45:52 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 12:52:16 PM PDT
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In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 2:43:08 PM PDT
RE: "I revise my position to say I am not using the Imperialism as a reason for the war, per se."

I think that's right, even if many of the textbooks name it as the main reason.

Now nationalism is a totally different thing -- nationalities wanting to control other nationalities, and those other nationalities wanting self-determination.

My niece is a HS freshman, currently studying the US involvement in WWI. Her teacher is pushing the imperialim argument, and actually said the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was not a cause of the war, only "a stepping-stone". I wonder if the notes she's taken are an accurate reflection of his views. She's pretty adamant that they are accurate, and says she's not the only one who has challenged him on facts as well as opinions.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 3:29:32 PM PDT
A. J. Meblin says:
WWI as an internal combustion engine:
Industrialization = carburetors
Imperialism = pistons
Nationalism = gasoline
Alliances = transmission
Franz Ferdinand assassination = spark plug!

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 4:51:34 PM PDT
MarcA says:
Marxbites,

An 1867 criticism explains events of 1917? Have you a hot tub time machine?

I know I walked in late to this discussion but I'm still confused.

Posted on Apr 5, 2010 5:04:51 PM PDT
A. J. Meblin says:
That was an analogy for World War I. Very impromptu and not thoroughly vetted for accuracy. Just my view.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 6:31:07 PM PDT
Leslie Funk says:
Greetings A.J.Meblin...I have a perticular interest in your #5 point about propaganda, and the artwork that evolved from this. There is an amazing collection from all parties involved in the pusuit of enlisting the commen man. The glory of war and the distain for the opposition was the fodder for some incredible artwork and slogans. Cheers, Les

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 6:34:31 PM PDT
Leslie Funk says:
Greetings Baustian...In regards to your #2 point, have you read King Leopolds Ghost, by Adam Hochschild? If you have, do you recommend any other books on this subject? Cheers, Les

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 6:40:52 PM PDT
Leslie Funk says:
God bless independant thought...Les

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 6:59:00 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Apr 5, 2010 7:00:20 PM PDT
Leslie Funk wrote: "I have a perticular interest in your #5 point about propaganda"

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Kaiser,_the_Beast_of_Berlin

describes a classic propaganda film that presented a completely twisted image of the Kaiser.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 7:21:12 PM PDT
It's "cui bono", you ignoramus.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 5, 2010 7:26:11 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Jun 18, 2012 11:02:48 AM PDT]
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Discussion in:  History forum
Participants:  94
Total posts:  858
Initial post:  Nov 4, 2009
Latest post:  Apr 9, 2013

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