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July 07, 2014


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Side-note: I left a comment in the previous thread on Arizona poverty rates. The real answer is quite simple. Find it at the end of the Comments section, here:


"Throughout May and June 1914, (German Army Chief of Staff) Moltke engaged in an "almost ultimative" demand for a German "preventive war" against Russia in 1914. The German Foreign Secretary, Gottlieb von Jagow, reported on a discussion with Moltke at the end of May 1914:

"Moltke described to me his opinion of our military situation. The prospects of the future oppressed him heavily. In two or three years Russia would have completed her armaments. The military superiority of our enemies would then be so great that he did not know how he could overcome them. Today we would still be a match for them. In his opinion there was no alternative to making preventive war in order to defeat the enemy while we still had a chance of victory. The Chief of the General Staff therefore proposed that I should conduct a policy with the aim of provoking a war in the near future."

-- 1914: Delusion or Design by John C.G. Rohl (cited by Wikipedia)

It's hard to understand how a World War could break out under the circumstances described without militarism, imperialism, and nationalism being at the center of it all, with trade concerns on the periphery. All of the European powers suffered from these -- even "international" socialists became nationalists during the War -- but Germany and its allies surely had a surfeit even by standards of the period.

Don't forget that from 1906 to 1908 Austria-Hungary and Serbia fought a war over economic tarriffs (The so-called Pig War).

Are not wars "always" about the spoils (Oil).

And re your side note Emil, "Simple Answer" did I miss a solution?

The spying war. Do U think we can figure out how to blame Germany for us spying on their investigation of us spying on them. Another CIA blunder, mostly likely with the help of NSA.

Robin Hood is dead, Snowden is in Russia doing the 2 step. We need help before the delusional politicians are the death of us all.

Partition of the Ottoman Empire.
Lines in the Sand.
Blood on our Hands.

i am old enough to remember when November 11th was "Armistice Day", not Veterans Day. It was a day to celebrate the end of a war; a war so vast and deadly, so unlike any the world had ever seen that it was known simply as "The Great War".
The change from a day to celebrate the end of a war to a day to celebrate warriors came in 1954. That year there was a Red under every bed, the U.S. and U.S.S.R. were engaged in a (sometimes) "Cold War" by exploding larger and still larger thermo-nuclear bombs, and oh yes; the year i got my Polio shots. My mother wept, and laughed as she wept as she hugged me when it was announced there was a vaccine for Polio: But that's another story.
With the hindsight of half a century it seems plain that a holiday to celebrate the end of a war went against the grain of a government with ambitions of Empire. How much better for instilling a martial spirit it would be to have a holiday honoring warriors, and by extension war! Then too, the draft had continued from December of 1941 to then (and would continue 'til 1973); it must have seemed an easy way to throw a bone to the millions of young men enslaved for two years.
Or perhaps the irony of celebrating the end of 'The War To End All Wars', the 'War To Make The World Safe For Democracy' doomed Armistice Day regardless. How much blood, how much treasure has been wasted since the first Armistice Day!
Still, it would be nice to have a day to honor and celebrate Peace...

Well Said, Krazy Bill!

I found John Mosier’s “The Myth of the Great War: How Germans won the battles and how the Americans saved the allies” to be the best book I have read about the “Forgotten War”.

Not to get on a soapbox: but Woodrow Wilson basically caused WWII (Maybe our worst president ever – and that’s really saying something given some of the Wachadoodles lately).

Boy, I bet the next Crusade is going to be a hum-dinger.


How do you see Wilson causing the war? I tend towards the French and British and the harsh terms they imposed on the Germans.

@All: Here’s the short version. France and Briton did not want to end the war until Germany had really suffered. (Check WWII Germany, CSA America or Japan for really suffer). The agreement going was that there would be no separate peace’s.

I cannot speak to Wilson’s motivations. Perhaps it was that the US had run up 122,000 deaths (88,000 on the Western Front) in a remarkably short time. Or, more probably, he fell in love with his “14 Points” plan. A plan met with almost universal scorn.

He threated the British and French that he was more than willing to make his own peace with the Germans and they could continue on. The BEF had already been erased from the board – twice. The French were at the wit’s end. They could not go it alone without the Americans and had to go along. So peace it was.

On paper, the peace terms seemed very severe – especially the levies for war damages. But they never paid them anyway so what did that matter.

Germany exited the war with its cities and industries intact. Its army and officer corps was still totally the best in the world (except for maybe the Americans). Compared to France, Belgium, Italy, the Balkans, and Russia (where are fighting occurred) life went on as before. They couldn’t believe that they had lost. They looked around for scapegoats. It had to be the Jew’s, or the Socialists, something. Hey; our army had whipped the snot out of opponent it went up against (except the Americans).

WWII was WWI continued with a time out.

cal lash wrote:

"And re your side note Emil, 'Simple Answer' did I miss a solution?"

Actually, I missed one. A teaser:

"While illegal immigration did contribute (in Arizona) to increased poverty and dragged income averages down, there's a much larger contributing factor. It too is demographic."

You can read the rest as a new comment in the previous thread, here:


I read "The Great War and Modern Memory" years ago. I didn't like. It's a book about the liturature and poetry inspired by the war - not the actual war itself. I was disappointed because it was written by Paul Fussell. I'm just not a lit and poetry kind of guy.

My disappointment was that Mr. Fussell wrote one favorite books of all time: "Class: A painfully accurate guide through the American status system." If you run across it - read it.

I think the causes of WW I are far simpler than are sometimes made out.

The first hostilities opening WW I began when Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia. Nominally, the assassination of the Archduke by a Serb (and Yugoslav nationalist) triggered this, but regardless of what Austria-Hungary suspected (or didn't) about Serbian government involvement, this was a good excuse to reopen a recent conflict with Serbia; one which the Austro-Hungarians actually lost.

Serbia had been an economic satellite of Austria-Hungary but was trying to get out from under its thumb. Serbia's major export was pork and most of it was bought by Austria-Hungary.

In 1904 and 1905 Serbia established trade relations with France and Bulgaria. As a result, Austrian goods (which were more expensive because of tariffs) became unsaleable in Serbia. Austria responded by banning Serbian pork. The Serbs persevered and by 1908 Austria had to capitulate.


There is an additional critical point to be noted: "Russia supported Serbia's actions, and war between Austria-Hungary and Russia was averted only because of a German ultimatum in 1909 demanding the cessation of Russian aid to Serbia."

Following this humiliation, in which German military threats were able to keep the Russians on the sidelines of the Austria / Serbia trade war, the Russians announced a major reconstruction and enlargement of its military. This was in 1912.

As noted in a comment above, the German General Staff of the Army feared the completion of this rearmament and was itching for an excuse to smash the Russian military before it had a chance to complete its preparations.

Now, look what happened in WW I:

First, Austria-Hungary declares war on its recent trade rival, the Serbians, whose economic machinations forced the great power to capitulate. The assassination presented a chance to reverse this humiliating loss by military means.

Russia, which had partially completed its military expansion, mobilized the next day in support of Serbia, just as they had wanted to during the earlier trade-war but had been intimidated out of by German threats. Again, a case of "We'll show them!". Germany mobilized in response to Russia; and we know from their own records and witnesses that the German high-command was itching to smash Russia before it could complete its military improvements.

Nationalistic and militaristic Germany had been planning for an invasion of France through Belgium and Luxembourg since the Schlieffen Plan of 1905. (Incidentally, this is the route taken by Adolf Hitler when the Nazis invaded France in the next war, though the Nazis entered through through Ardennes Forest sections in Belgium and Luxembourg in an attempt at surprise.)

The Germans invaded these countries because they wanted to protect their western flank while they attacked the Russians in the east. Britain was drawn in, in response to this.

In my opinion, then, the proximate cause of the war was the desire of Austria-Hungary to avenge a recent, humiliating trade-war loss with Serbia, by military means this time, and to bring a straying lamb back into its powerful fold. Serbia set a bad example in an empire rife with other dissatisfied satellites and nationalist groups.

Russia was humiliated by its intimidation in this recent trade war by Germany, whose military superiority forced them to stop sending aid to Serbia. This time, with a partially beefed-up military, they didn't back down. (Well, they TRIED to negotiate the terms of demobilization with Germany, which refused.)

Germany wanted to smash Russia before its military became formidable enough to push THEM around. They also hated France, and were just all around militaristic, goose-stepping jerks who, even at that time, regarded themselves as a superior people/culture and had strong nationalist, expansionist tendencies and had a blind love of authority (remarked upon by both Mark Twain and Jerome K. Jerome in their travel writings -- prophetically so in the latter case: see Three Men On The Bummel).

The Nazis were so popular precisely because they played to these already existing sentiments. The big change was the extreme anti-semitism and the cooptation of "socialism" as a response to the Great Depression.

Mr. Talton wrote:

"The 1918 flu pandemic, which followed the war like a judgment from the almighty, claimed as many as 100 million."

Not a god I want anything to do with. Why cause four times the casualties of the Great War, this time primarily targeting uninvolved innocents? (Why, for that matter, allow the Great War itself?)

The more I look at the Bible, both Old and New Testaments, the more diabolistic this "god" seems to me.

The God of the Old Testament demanded supplication in the form of sacrifices of animals (e.g., lambs). What kind of justice demands the sacrifice of the innocent to atone for the sins of the guilty?

Then there are instances such as the sacking of Jericho, where God ordered every man, woman, child, and animal to die by the sword (carried out) except for a prostitute named Rahab and her household, who had earlier collaborated. (See Joshua 6, particularly verse 21.) Something similar was ordered in the case of the Amalekites in I Samuel 15:3, but the soldiers spared some of the animals and took them. God was reportedly pissed-off that his orders hadn't been carried out in that instance with total annihilation of all classes of inhabitants.

The God of the New Testament also demands the sacrifice of an innocent to atone for the sins of the guilty: this time the sacrificial lamb is a human being.

The Book of Job features God and Satan torturing someone over the equivalent of a bar-bet. Why God felt the need to prove something to Satan (about Job or anything else) I don't know. Surely, Satan was a big enough liar that he wouldn't admit error anyway and would come up with some weaselly alternative interpretation of events and motives regardless.

I could go on and on but this suffices to make the point.

P.S. Yes, the Nazis coopted "socialism" earlier than the Great Depression; at that point (early 1920s) they were trying to steal the thunder of the Communists, who they also feared, by offering a non-Communist version of socialism that would appeal both to the common worker and to the petit-bourgeois. Even this built on already existing elements (reflected in Ostwald Spengler's conception of "Prussian Socialism"). The left-wing of the Nazi Party faded in influence after Hitler took over and by the time of the Night of the Long Knives was kaput.

So, when I say that they coopted socialism in response to the Great Depression, I mean merely that they made programmatic elements of it as a means of combating unemployment, etc..

Obviously, Mr. Talton knows all this: I'm clarifying for anyone else who might have found my comment above confusing.

But the Germans did make the reparation payments (except during the Nazis). They paid it off in 2010. For a short article on the whole diplomatic mess:


I don't see how the US Army was in any way better than the Germans. We were woefully unprepared to fight and just provided the raw manpower to tip the balance in favor of US banking interests. The Germans thought the British to be the worthiest of opponents in both world wars.

The reports passed on the ministers were, as we all realized much later, grossly misleading. Victories were much overstated. Virtual defeats were represented as victories, however limited their scope. Our casualties were understated. Enemy losses were pyramidal. That was the way military authorities presented the situation to Ministers – that was their active propaganda in the Press. All disconcerting and discouraging facts were suppressed in the reports received from the front by the War Cabinet – every bright feather of success was waved and flourished in our faces.
- Lloyd George

The awfulness of the British Army in WWI almost leaves one for a lack of words to describe its wretchedness. I can’t think of a single significant victory. Their losses were appalling. Their leadership was criminally inept.

The American army was a thrown together mess – no question. Mostly equipped with outdated French equipment (e.g. the god awful 75 artillery piece.) Did have good leadership though.

Belleau Wood, Mt. St. Mihiel and Argon Woods were decisive victories. They took objectives that the Germans were determined to hold. They broke the spirit of the German army.

Something I didn’t realize until recent times. I thought our participation in the war was at a minor scale – similar to Canada or Australia. But by October 1918 there were 2 million American soldiers in France.

The Brits did well in the Middle East, but it is their only bright spot. I agree about the Brit leadership. I do think the Germans drained their last drops with their offensive before the Americans could make a difference. They were a defeated army after that failure and just holding on.

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