Im curious what you think.

Hosted by Francois Gousse this discussion group is dedicated to AFV's of the First World War from all countries as well as tank development during the 1920s and 1930s.

Im curious what you think.

Joined: March 15th, 2004, 9:45 am

March 15th, 2004, 10:30 am #1

Britain joined WW1 because of the terrible alleged atrocities the Germans were comitting in Belgium.

This is justified. Its natural for a good country to want to wage in if another country is being horribly brutalised.

However... The Belgians and French were spreading rumors about Germans bayonetting babies.. Raping hundreds of women.. Lining up hundreds of men, women, and children, and shooting them all.. And some historians now think.. That was mostly lies on the French and Belgians part, to try to get support.

As Germany rolled through Belgium, it didnt want any fight. They were going to march through Belgium, to get to France. But as a large number of Belgians are French.. Lots of townsfolk, farm-folk, etc, would gather up their guns, and start taking pot-shots at the advancing Germans. The Germans, would then fire back. These attacks against the Germans got so frequent and serious, that the Germans eventually got enraged and shelled Belgian towns where their attackers had come from. The Germans would go through a town, and systematically shoot people that they thought were in league with the people constantly assailing them. There is historical evidence of this.

However.. There is no historical evidence of any of those disgusting, terrible atrocities that got Britain disgusted enough with Germany to go to war against her.

In retrospect.. I think Britain was justified, because they thought the rumors were true!! And if they were true.. I think they did the right thing. But, I dont think that those ridiculously terrible atrocities were ever comitted. And so as I view the history behind us.. I dont think Britain should have ever gotten involved. Nor Australia.. Nor the USA...

Im just talking hypothetically. If Germany did not commit all of those atrocities.. Then I dont think Britain should have thrown their hand into the war. And I dont think they did commit all of those atrocities.

Thats just what I've come to think. What do you think? This is a touchy subject, but lets keep this discussion humane and friendly.

-Vil.
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David Maynard
David Maynard

March 15th, 2004, 10:58 am #2

Britain was a signatory of a treaty guaranteeing Belgian neutrality, which was of course violated by the German invasion. We didn't need any atrocity stories to get involved. The Belgians were also entitled to defend their country against aggression. In addition, Belgian independence would undoubtedly have disappeared in the event of a German victory.

The German policy of reprisals was not ad hoc, it already existed, and grew out of their experience of franc tireurs after the Franco-Prussian wars. Some of the civilian killing undoubtedly took place after blue on blue incidents, which are inevitable in the chaos of war. Which hardly justifies killing over 500 people at Dinant, for instance.

British involvement in the First World War was inevitable as staying out would leave the Germans in a better position to defeat the French. And then left Britain alone in the face of single continental super power.
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Joined: March 15th, 2004, 9:45 am

March 15th, 2004, 11:10 am #3

I guess it just seems like Germany did everything right.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assasinated by Serbia... German/Austria declared war on Serbia... In response, Russia declares war on Germany/Austria, and in response to that, France declares war on Germany/Austria.. So there Germany and Austria are.. The heir to the Austrian throne assasinated.. And the perpetrator of the crime, being bastioned by two other nations..

It seems like they were perfectly justified in starting WW1. So it just bugs me that they are always looked upon as the terrible menace.

-Vil.
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gilles Thomas
gilles Thomas

March 15th, 2004, 12:43 pm #4

From british point of wiew there was also a major problem in seeing the Germans control most of the harbours along the british channel. There was a naval race betwin UK and Germany because of the developpement of the Hochseeflotte.
Gilles
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Nick Balmer
Nick Balmer

March 15th, 2004, 7:00 pm #5

Britain joined WW1 because of the terrible alleged atrocities the Germans were comitting in Belgium.

This is justified. Its natural for a good country to want to wage in if another country is being horribly brutalised.

However... The Belgians and French were spreading rumors about Germans bayonetting babies.. Raping hundreds of women.. Lining up hundreds of men, women, and children, and shooting them all.. And some historians now think.. That was mostly lies on the French and Belgians part, to try to get support.

As Germany rolled through Belgium, it didnt want any fight. They were going to march through Belgium, to get to France. But as a large number of Belgians are French.. Lots of townsfolk, farm-folk, etc, would gather up their guns, and start taking pot-shots at the advancing Germans. The Germans, would then fire back. These attacks against the Germans got so frequent and serious, that the Germans eventually got enraged and shelled Belgian towns where their attackers had come from. The Germans would go through a town, and systematically shoot people that they thought were in league with the people constantly assailing them. There is historical evidence of this.

However.. There is no historical evidence of any of those disgusting, terrible atrocities that got Britain disgusted enough with Germany to go to war against her.

In retrospect.. I think Britain was justified, because they thought the rumors were true!! And if they were true.. I think they did the right thing. But, I dont think that those ridiculously terrible atrocities were ever comitted. And so as I view the history behind us.. I dont think Britain should have ever gotten involved. Nor Australia.. Nor the USA...

Im just talking hypothetically. If Germany did not commit all of those atrocities.. Then I dont think Britain should have thrown their hand into the war. And I dont think they did commit all of those atrocities.

Thats just what I've come to think. What do you think? This is a touchy subject, but lets keep this discussion humane and friendly.

-Vil.
Hello,

David Maynard is absolutely correct in his reply.

In 1914 Britain was very conscious of the growing power of Germany, and feared having to fight Germany alone.

With the advent of steam ships, we could not afford to have a powerful army sitting where the Duke of Parma's had sat in 1588. Only hours notice would be given of any descent on ourshore.

We could not rely on the Protestant Wind anymore.

The Grand Fleet was not that much superior to the German High Seas Fleet, and in the right conditions, an army might make it over the Channel.

In the 1905 - 1912 period several very good books including John Buchan's 39 Steps, and Erskine Childers Riddle of the Sands had been based on ideas that were not beyond the bounds of possibility, in the way that General John Hacketts novels of the 1980's, and Humphrey Hawksley's of today are.

In Riddle of the Sands in 1912, the Germans were secretly building up an invasion fleet in Heligoland.

The idea was taken so seriously that there was a full scale British Army exercise in 1912, which had an enemy "German" army landing at Caister in Norfolk. It set off for London.

The British Army set off from Aldershot and marched up to the Haverhill, Newmarket area, where the first encounter "battle" took place. Beaten back it fought a fighting retreat, to the Bassingbourne area north east of Royston. This area was used for the final battle, because it was in a wide valley below a high escarpment formed by the chalk hills of the Chilterns.

The King, Generals Kitchener,French and many others watched the final battle, when off course the Brits emerged victorious. All the officers went off to a Cambridge College to have a post exercise wrap up.

My great uncle was at Trinity, in the Cambridge OTC at the time. I have his 1912 Cambridge Ordnance Survey map from the exercise which he watched whilst tearing around on a motorcycle.

Sadly this mock battle had at least two real deaths.

About a mile from Letchworth, on a country lane from Willian to Little Wymondley, is a small stone monument to two Royal Engineer Officers killed when their aircraft crashed. They had been sent out to test the theory that aircraft might have a future role to play in warfare.

As so often the British wanted to fight the war in somebody else's back yard to keep it out of our homes.

Poor old Belgium paid a heavy price.

Fiction played its part in creating the fact. Without the strong pressure of public opinion caused in part by writers like Erskine Childers, we would probably not have not have been in a place to have mobilised such an effective "Contemptible Little Army".

Regards

Nick Balmer




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Anonymous
Anonymous

March 16th, 2004, 10:17 am #6

Britain joined WW1 because of the terrible alleged atrocities the Germans were comitting in Belgium.

This is justified. Its natural for a good country to want to wage in if another country is being horribly brutalised.

However... The Belgians and French were spreading rumors about Germans bayonetting babies.. Raping hundreds of women.. Lining up hundreds of men, women, and children, and shooting them all.. And some historians now think.. That was mostly lies on the French and Belgians part, to try to get support.

As Germany rolled through Belgium, it didnt want any fight. They were going to march through Belgium, to get to France. But as a large number of Belgians are French.. Lots of townsfolk, farm-folk, etc, would gather up their guns, and start taking pot-shots at the advancing Germans. The Germans, would then fire back. These attacks against the Germans got so frequent and serious, that the Germans eventually got enraged and shelled Belgian towns where their attackers had come from. The Germans would go through a town, and systematically shoot people that they thought were in league with the people constantly assailing them. There is historical evidence of this.

However.. There is no historical evidence of any of those disgusting, terrible atrocities that got Britain disgusted enough with Germany to go to war against her.

In retrospect.. I think Britain was justified, because they thought the rumors were true!! And if they were true.. I think they did the right thing. But, I dont think that those ridiculously terrible atrocities were ever comitted. And so as I view the history behind us.. I dont think Britain should have ever gotten involved. Nor Australia.. Nor the USA...

Im just talking hypothetically. If Germany did not commit all of those atrocities.. Then I dont think Britain should have thrown their hand into the war. And I dont think they did commit all of those atrocities.

Thats just what I've come to think. What do you think? This is a touchy subject, but lets keep this discussion humane and friendly.

-Vil.
> But as a large number of Belgians are French..

French-speaking, not French — there is a big difference

Also, you may want to get the historical details a little more correct than you do in your first reply in this thread Off the top of my head, Austria-Hungary declared war on Serbia in July 1914 after seeking German support for this move, but Germany didn't actually get involved yet. Russia then went to war against Austria-Hungary (only) in reply, prompting Germany to go to war due to the perceived Russian threat. Then things started to snowball.
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Joined: March 5th, 2004, 1:20 pm

March 16th, 2004, 2:00 pm #7

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Regards from Canada.
Francois.
Site moderator.
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Phil Radley
Phil Radley

March 17th, 2004, 2:51 pm #8

Britain joined WW1 because of the terrible alleged atrocities the Germans were comitting in Belgium.

This is justified. Its natural for a good country to want to wage in if another country is being horribly brutalised.

However... The Belgians and French were spreading rumors about Germans bayonetting babies.. Raping hundreds of women.. Lining up hundreds of men, women, and children, and shooting them all.. And some historians now think.. That was mostly lies on the French and Belgians part, to try to get support.

As Germany rolled through Belgium, it didnt want any fight. They were going to march through Belgium, to get to France. But as a large number of Belgians are French.. Lots of townsfolk, farm-folk, etc, would gather up their guns, and start taking pot-shots at the advancing Germans. The Germans, would then fire back. These attacks against the Germans got so frequent and serious, that the Germans eventually got enraged and shelled Belgian towns where their attackers had come from. The Germans would go through a town, and systematically shoot people that they thought were in league with the people constantly assailing them. There is historical evidence of this.

However.. There is no historical evidence of any of those disgusting, terrible atrocities that got Britain disgusted enough with Germany to go to war against her.

In retrospect.. I think Britain was justified, because they thought the rumors were true!! And if they were true.. I think they did the right thing. But, I dont think that those ridiculously terrible atrocities were ever comitted. And so as I view the history behind us.. I dont think Britain should have ever gotten involved. Nor Australia.. Nor the USA...

Im just talking hypothetically. If Germany did not commit all of those atrocities.. Then I dont think Britain should have thrown their hand into the war. And I dont think they did commit all of those atrocities.

Thats just what I've come to think. What do you think? This is a touchy subject, but lets keep this discussion humane and friendly.

-Vil.
I think its not right to apply todays standards and values to a war that happened 85/90 years ago.

the speed of communication now makes us believe we are truly well informed (we may not be).

people simply thought differently back then. societies had unique characteristics.

whether Germany was 'sucked' into war by their ill-timed alliance with Austria-Hungary or whether they just wanted to throw their industrial weight around, makes no difference. They started it, and we finished it!

Comments about wanting to fight one's war in someone else's backyard seem a little unfair. What prime-minister or president or dictator would want a war in their own country? Germany was hardly in Her own back yard! Rather, she was trying to nick someone elses.
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Joined: March 5th, 2004, 1:20 pm

March 17th, 2004, 10:44 pm #9

n/t

Regards from Canada.
Francois.
Site moderator.
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mike foncannon
mike foncannon

March 18th, 2004, 2:07 am #10

I guess it just seems like Germany did everything right.

Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assasinated by Serbia... German/Austria declared war on Serbia... In response, Russia declares war on Germany/Austria, and in response to that, France declares war on Germany/Austria.. So there Germany and Austria are.. The heir to the Austrian throne assasinated.. And the perpetrator of the crime, being bastioned by two other nations..

It seems like they were perfectly justified in starting WW1. So it just bugs me that they are always looked upon as the terrible menace.

-Vil.
Unfortunately, as so often happens, the circumstances of starting a war are seldom so cut and dried.

Serbia didn't assasinate Archduke Ferdinand and his wife, who, from most accounts were a likeable enough couple.

Rather, it was a group of nationalists/terrorists who felt the Austro-Hungarian Empire had occupied the more usable half of Serbia for long enough.

Serbia had made an alliance with Russia in the hope that it would prevent Austria from gobbling up the other half.

Austria then allied itself with Germany, etc. etc. creating a domino chain.

Of course, one of the theories of the time was that with so many alliances in place, a government would be foolish to start anything...kind of like an early version of Mutually Assured Destruction.

It was all designed to maintain the status quo, if no one moved then everything was OK.

However, the Statesmen failed to anticipate the Wild Card: that what a Government thought foolish, a fanatic might find plausible.

John Brown caused much the same chaos when he led the raid on Harpers Ferry, upsetting the carefully worked out compromises between North and South and triggering the American Civil War.

Austria could have responded with some restraint and considered their options. Afterall, they already had the perpetrators in custody, albeit some had been summarily executed. They could have chosen to crack down on the locals or the occupied territory.

Instead, by marching into what remained of Serbia, they kicked the table and knocked down the first domino, leaving Germany with a two-front war.

If you analyse the situation, Germany really didn't have a dog in the fight in the Balkans. There was no real prize to be won by going to war with 3/4s of Europe, except maybe bragging rights.

Germany had no justification but Honor....nor did Britain and France. However, it was sufficient.

Just my Two Cents,
mike










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