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Are the Prussians gone for good?


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Showing 1-25 of 261 posts in this discussion
In reply to an earlier post on Apr 18, 2017, 1:00:52 PM PDT
Da Judge ™ says:
That's the French for you!!!

Posted on Mar 23, 2017, 6:03:01 AM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 23, 2017, 4:40:20 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 22, 2017, 8:46:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 22, 2017, 8:53:03 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
All Quiet on the Western Front!

Posted on Mar 22, 2017, 4:14:54 PM PDT
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 29, 2017, 4:30:00 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2017, 12:02:45 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2017, 12:04:16 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
Of course its unusual for everything to go as planned..

Personally, I think von Moltke chose to take Too big a risk by recommending war instead of trying to rebuild German relations with Britain after backing down from war in the Balkan Crisis of 1912. Having the Royal Navy Neutral would have eliminated the devastating British blockade and allowed trade with the US to continue via Scandinavia and the North Sea, and perhaps through Holland and Belgium. But what sort of a Militarist would he have been to propose counting on Peace?!

I don't see Britain wanting France and Russia to dominate Europe any more than Germany. Their aim was still a Balance of power.

As for 1914, I think the root of the failure (in addition to logistics) was similar to General Pickett's reply to the question of why the Confederacy lost the Battle of Gettysburg: "I always thought the Yankees had something to do with it."

"Les pantalons rouge" have often been derided as symbolizing the French charging into the German machineguns, but I think it was French Elan cultivated before the war that enabled them to surprise von Moltke by turning about and counter-attacking at the Marne.

The Politically Correct French Army Reserves of 1940, carefully isolated throughout the training of officers and men from contamination by the thinking of the Professional officers, were too incompetently trained and led to stand and fight at Sedan and further north on the Meuse when the Panzers attacked and got across the river. The vital town of Stonne subsequently changed hands 17 times, but there were too few regulars to cut the Panzers' supply lines.

For all the faults of French doctrine, training and equipment in 1914, they still had the Elan to halt their retreat and Attack at the Marne. And they had forced the Heer to use enough ammunition in advancing that critical units found themselves in short supply.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2017, 10:27:27 AM PDT
Kohli says:
Very good point regarding bad infrastructure and streched supplies, Thank you!

Nonetheless, if you look at how close it was..2 more Corps may have been decisive (or the 1. Army behaving less idiotic).

The point is:

The Schlieffen-Plan was gamble from day one. Somehow Moltke did not get this ant ried for security on all fronts.

Interestringly this goes against one of the oldest Prussian doctrines:

"Wer alles defendieren will, defendieret gar nichts" (Frederick the Great)

(Who wants to defend it all, defends nothing at all)

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 18, 2017, 9:47:03 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 18, 2017, 10:50:22 AM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
Thanks!

Von Schlieffen's Plan was for a war with only France, and was really just a draft that remained at his home following his retirement and until after the war.

Upgrading the forces in East Prussia in the case of actual war with Russia was a prudent move by von Moltke, considering the Russian modernization program, although it would have been better to have stationed the 2 corps in East Prussia in the first place rather than having them in transit at the critical time.

Von Moltke began getting rattled when the Russians launched an offensive so soon, using their best trained and equipped troops rather than waiting for the bulk of the army to be mobilized. Unfortunately for Russia and their Allies, the Tsar's Generals still left a lot to be desired and were defeated before they properly coordinated their advance. Their ignorance of communications security was also of great benefit to the German defense and counter-attack.

Due to the poor road network near the front, I don't think von Moltke could have made use of the 2 corps in his right wing.

They would have been useful in pursuit of the French forces invading Alsace once they began to withdraw towards Paris. Or the Heer might have defended the border less fiercely, and drawn the French Offensive more deeply into Germany before springing a trap. "Quintilius Varus, give me back my legions!"

As it was, the German regulars and reserves defeated the French consistently at every meeting engagement of similarly-sized units, causing heavy French casualties through superior tactics and training without the need for the French to hurl themselves on the German defenses.

But despite superior German training and in part due to their firepower, which von Moltke counted on to make up for the shortage of troops, his advance was running short of supplies at the Marne. It seems No One had properly estimated the massive expenditure of ammunition and the transport needed.

Von Moltke really needed a fleet of half-tracks to move ammunition and food to his front-line troops, rather than simply more troops which would require more food. Transport from the Belgian railheads was the biggest bottleneck and forced the German withdrawal to good defensive positions within supply.

He hadn't expected the French to be able to offer such stiff resistance and mount a strong counter-attack after weeks of retreat.

Posted on Mar 18, 2017, 6:56:45 AM PDT
Kohli says:
Great Posts F. Gleaves!

Just a little addendum:

The Shlieffen plan also suggested to defend East Prussia only lightly (with Landwehr and even Landsturm formations) and ultimately give it up in order to have more troops for the Western Front.
But the OHL lost it`s nerves and transferred 2 whole corps from the West to the East...these were than lackin at the Marne in the West and arrived long after the decisive victory of Tannenberg in the East.
I think the Schlieffen plan COULD have worked, if Moltke had stuck to it.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2017, 9:24:10 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
Ludendorff, using Hindenburg as his figurehead, was already essentially military Dictator of Germany for most of World War I. He only restored power to the civilian government in October 1918 in the hope of them negotiating better surrender terms with the Allies, saying the Army couldn't fight any longer.

Then he blamed the defeat on the Social Democrats.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2017, 7:09:35 PM PDT
Clog says:
I was just looking up the bio of Colmar Freiherr von der Goltz, one of Moltke the Younger's competitors for the job as Chief of the General Staff.

Seems he reckoned the world was too small for both the German and British Empires as early as 1899.

Reading FM Haig's diaries, I see he also regarded war with Germany as inevitable at about that time.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2017, 6:28:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2017, 6:51:02 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
Germany was concerned that French investment in the Russian railroads, steel industry and other war-related industries was already beginning to achieve results, with completion of the modernization of the Russian Army and the railroad expansion program due in 1917.

That would give the Russians the ability to mobilize and transport their upgraded armies with something like the speed of the Germans, allowing the French and Russians to attack Germany simultaneously.

Which meant that the longer war was delayed, the greater the risk of German defeat.

By 1912 the German leadership had already come to believe that Britain meant to destroy the German mercantile competition by supporting the French in the next war, so it wouldn't make any difference whether they invaded Belgium or not. Kaiser Wilhelm expected young King Albert of the Belgians to be as venal as his Uncle Leopold, or to cave in under threat of attack if Belgium didn't grant German troops free passage to the French border.

So von Moltke decided to adapt von Schlieffen's single-front plan, which had called for Germany's Austro-Hungarian and Italian allies to provide most of the forces to defend the Rhineland.

Von Moltke counted on destroying the French Army with a quick right hook through Belgium while a largely Bavarian force held the defenses on the border of Alsace-Lorraine, trapping the French offensive between the hammer and the anvil.

Then he could turn on the Russians before they could mobilize an effective offensive, driving them back and gaining more farmland to feed Germany despite the British blockade. With Britain in the war, speed was essential in order to put more land under the plow before the blockade could weaken Germany.

With Russia mobilizing on the East, Austria-Hungary would have its hands full and couldn't help on the Western Front, and in fact for the first month or two of the war was asking Italy to send troops to help hold off the Russians.

Worse yet, the Italians had absolutely no intention of supporting the Germans and allowing their fragile economy to face ruin by a British blockade, so von Moltke only had about 70% of the troops which von Schlieffen thought was the minimum for the right wing to be able to destroy the French.

And being only intended for a war against France alone, the Schlieffen Plan lacked a timetable.

Moltke would have a limited amount of time available before he would need to transfer troops to the East.

Von Moltke did his best to provide adequate logistics for the advance through Belgium, but even if the Belgians had granted him free passage and the full support of their railroads, the road network in the border areas was inadequate to supply even the reduced number of troops Moltke could put in the field. He went ahead anyway.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 17, 2017, 3:49:09 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Mar 17, 2017, 4:48:56 PM PDT
F. Gleaves says:
There were plenty of Ultra-Nationalist Germans, but they lacked the Charisma Hitler projected.

Most likely, without Hitler a Nationalist regime would have still come to power, ruling by decree if not by a popular majority. Probably that of von Papen or Kurt von Schleicher, who as Chancellor at the start of 1933 was the one who actually put out for bid the contracts for the Autobahn and other big public works projects. After a few more months in office, he would have gotten the credit for kick-starting the German economy.

I figure either would have been more cautious than Hitler, and kept the peace if he'd gotten the Munich deal.

Britain would have gone along with German "adjustment" of its border with Poland, feeling that it had achieved a Continental balance of power between France, Germany and the USSR.

Without Hitler, maybe WW2 could have been avoided altogether.

It was only when the Japanese learned that the UK was stretched too thin to properly defend its colonies, that they began planning their grab for SE Asia. And at Yamamoto's insistence, the attack on Pearl Harbor and the Philippines.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 12, 2017, 4:14:04 AM PDT
Clog says:
You still had the writings of people like Karl Haushofer, of course.

Developed the geostrategic concepts of Lebensraum. His research assistant was none other than Rudolf Hess.

There were questions whether he should be tried at Nuremberg after the war. But he wasn't deemed responsible enough.

Didn't stop him and his wife from committing suicide.

So yeah, the intellectual manure AH drew upon was widely spread.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2017, 4:53:45 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 11, 2017, 5:25:04 PM PST
Gregory G. says:
Quite true.

Very good post.

Although it might be said that Hitler was exceptional in his capacity to play "Risk" from 1934 to 1941.

Mind you it did not take all that much nerve to shrug off the possibility of being bombed by a few Handley Page Heyfords.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Handley_Page_Heyford

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 11, 2017, 3:45:05 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 29, 2017, 4:29:09 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 9:43:47 PM PST
briefcandle says:
it would affect the rise of fascism

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 7:29:26 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 29, 2017, 4:29:08 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 6:08:53 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2017, 6:09:38 PM PST
Clog says:
They had plans like the Baghdad Railway - it was just one component of a larger scheme - that would have retooled the backbone of world trade from the sea lanes controlled by the U.K. and later the US to a more continental one.

Meanwhile, in Europe they were using their central position in the continent's rail network to fiddle the freight charges in their companies' favor.

The outcome would've been global domination by the militarists and economic nationalists.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 5:34:40 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 3, 2017, 12:15:23 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 4:18:24 PM PST
Gregory G. says:
Looks good.

Do you remember that splendid Fawlty Towers episode "Do not mention the War."?

Well every time the German guys sit down with their European counterparts-or with Brits or Aussies (me) sooner or later the WAR is going to be mentioned...usually by the Germans.

If I try to talk about the Great War-or even the Napoleonic stuff it is simply ignored.I presume age has something to do this as most are elderly (?70) and were either born during or immediately after the war.

Their grasp of history jumps from the battle of the Tuetoberger Forest (9 AD) "We beat the Romans" to 1933-it's almost some kind of default mode... :-)

No-one has ever heard of generals von Kluck,Bulow and Hausen-but all know about Rommel-"the good guy."

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 3:54:01 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 29, 2017, 4:29:06 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 3:17:19 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2017, 4:01:53 PM PST
Gregory G. says:
I meet quite a few German expats around here.

They generally start most sentences with "In Germany..."

I generally respond by pointing at the million square miles of dusty rice paddies round about and say "That doesn't look much like Germany to me."

Very Euro-centric people the Germans-and they and the Dutch have been avoiding their NATO obligations for years.

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 2:52:38 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 29, 2017, 4:29:04 AM PDT]

Posted on Mar 10, 2017, 2:50:14 PM PST
[Deleted by Amazon on Apr 29, 2017, 4:29:03 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Mar 10, 2017, 2:42:30 PM PST
Last edited by the author on Mar 10, 2017, 3:53:40 PM PST
Gregory G. says:
True.

Although it was beginning to de-rail itself as early as the battle of Charleroi and was well and truly off the tracks by the time of Guise-St Quentin.It is a bit of a myth that the French only detected the inwards wheel as von Kluck approached Paris.The wheel inwards had occurred a week before.

A big "What if" is why attack the West at all?Given the German post Bismarckian obsession with the Slavic hordes-later Bolshevik hordes-why not use diplomacy to keep the West moderately on side and,for example,stop building useless battle fleets.

The French,Belgian and British armies were never going to do them any great harm in 1914-15 nor were their counterparts in 1940.

Possibly the U.S would have stayed out of both conflicts (which ensured their defeat)and the U.S-Japan war would have been quite separate,if it was fought at all.

The major problem appears to be that the Germans-being a landlocked country-really had no idea what THE WORLD actually meant.

I have met many around here and I rather suspect that they still don't know.
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Discussion in:  History forum
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Initial post:  Nov 28, 2009
Latest post:  Apr 18, 2017

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