July 1914 (book title)

Discussion in 'History' started by mathman, May 3, 2013.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    World War I (book describes how it started) seemed to have resulted from a series of blunders by leaders of the major powers, principally Germany, Austria, and Russia. Has any other major war in history resulted from blunders by all parties, in contrast to deliberately started?
     
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  3. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Suppose it rather depends what one consider to qualify as a blunder. My understanding of the WW 1 case was that there was a series of interconnected treaty obligations which inevitably led to war amongst all, once any party suffered any infringement. Hence Franz Joseph's assassination let to a chain reaction. I haven't read the book you mention but presumably it will argue that the chain reaction could have been broken, if diplomacy had been more adroit (?). But it seems to me what qualifies as a blunder depends on the viewpoint of the historian. For example in the Falklands War, one would probably say the Argentine junta blundered by miscalculating Thatcher's determination. If one thinks the war should have been avoided and not fought, one might then also say Britain blundered by not opting to seek a negotiated solution. Equally, the Iraq invasion is seen by many as a strategic blunder by the USA, pointlessly upsetting the Shia/Sunni balance of power and leading to the rise of sectarian strife across the Middle East. But one might also say Saddam Hussein blundered tactically, by playing a silly game over weapons inspections and thus providing Bush and the neocons with their excuse for "regime change".
     
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  5. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    I think there is a distinction between the cases you mentioned and WW I.
    Argentina deliberately invaded the Falkland Islands and the US deliberately went to war against Iraq. You could argue that, in both cases, the decision itself was a blunder, but that is not the point of WW I. Although the alliances were there, none of the participants wanted war, other than Austria punishing Serbia.
     
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  7. arauca Banned Banned

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    Do we have something going Syria is a allied with Russia and Iran , and the FUKUS allied are supporting the rebels , which wand to dis stabilize a stable nation for about 50 years. It is known that FUKUS are supporting them with weapons do we have to establish a camp in Jordan ?
     
  8. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    What's the connection to the thread?
     
  9. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I sort of see what you're getting at, but to be Devil's Advocate, I think I could counter that neither Argentina nor Britain wanted war in 1982. Argentina wanted the Malvinas and calculated, wrongly, that they would not be stopped.

    Or, to turn it round to your way of looking at it, Austria wanted to punish Serbia, but was that not a deliberate act of war, just as much as invading the Falklands - or Poland?

    But getting back to my general point, I doubt that countries usually WANT the wars they get themselves into. I suspect they get into them through cack-handedness, obstinacy or painting themselves into a corner diplomatically.

    I admit that the invasion of Iraq could be argued to be different, in that it certainly did seem to many of us that a powerful lobby in the US really wanted a war, somehow, with some Arabs, somewhere, to slake their undirected thirst for revenge over 11th September. (According to Richard Clarke's book, Rumsfeld wanted war with Iraq because there were no suitable military targets in Afghanistan!).
     
  10. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    The distinction between the Falkland war and WW I start is that in the first case, Argentina was directly attacking British interests, while the start of WW I Austria and Germany hoped that Russia would not intervene to protect Serbia.

    A major factor in the start of WW I is that Germany wanted Austria to act quickly so that they would have great power opinion sympathetic to avenging Ferdinand's assassination. Instead Austria dawdled for three weeks before sending Serbia an ultimatum, so that passions cooled down.
     
  11. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Sure. I wouldn't dissent from the view that the origin of WW1 was more than usually daft. But from what I've read, there was a lot of latent militarism around, so while nobody may actually have wanted war, there were a lot of people getting geared up in case there should be one.
     
  12. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    The major powers were all prepared, as you say, but before 1914 there were a whole series of incidents where war could have started, but they managed to avert it each time. Examples Morocco (1905 and 1911), Bosnia (1908), Balkan wars (1912-1913).
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes. Reflecting on this, I wonder if what leads to wars is not so much that countries WANT war, but that they sort of EXPECT one. And then it becomes quasi-inevitable, and all it takes is an appropriate incident. But enough, I should read some more history rather than speculating ex ano.
     
  14. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    I agree with you comment about expectation. The great powers formed themselves into two major antagonistic alliances, sort of expecting war. After WW II there was the cold war (Nato vs. Warsaw pact), but there was enough sanity on both sides to avoid a direct confrontation (Cuban missile crisis is the closest example of almost).
     
  15. dragon0788 Registered Member

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    It really good book. I advise everybody
     
  16. sanam5511 Registered Member

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    it is indeed a great book...read it recently....I also highly recommend THE WORLD AT WAR...a 1973 documentary series for ww2
     
  17. OriginalBiggles OriginalBiggles, Prime Registered Senior Member

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    Would someone kindly advise the author's name? It is rather important in evaluating his/her credentials and his/her familiarity with the subject matter.

    Would anyone read it if Jerry Springer was the author?
     
  18. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    JULY 1914


    Countdown to War

    By Sean McMeekin

    Illustrated. 461 pp. Basic Books
    ------------------------------------------------------

    There is another book, which gives a broader perspective that is also worth looking at.



    THE SLEEPWALKERS


    How Europe Went to War in 1914

    By Christopher Clark

    Illustrated. 697 pp. Harper
     
    Last edited: Aug 29, 2013
  19. OriginalBiggles OriginalBiggles, Prime Registered Senior Member

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    Sean McMeekin teaches history at Koc University in Istanbul, where he lives. Another Guardian page relates an interesting story of why he wrote this book. I like to discover interesting things such as this. The site below is a list of books on the Great War recommended by McMeekin with commentary by him. Still more interesting stuff!

    www.theguardian.com/books/2013/jul/31/top-10-books-austria-hungary-sean-mcmeekin



    Christopher Munro Clark is even more illustrious. An Australian, born in 1960 in Sydney, he received a Ph.D at the University of Cambridge and is Professor of Modern European History there and is a fellow of St.Catharine's College. [these are my own words purely as a precis of his qualifications extracted from Wikipedia]

    en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chris_Clark_(historian)


    Thanks mathman for your trouble to post as you have.

    Both books are eminently suitable for a student of the history leading up to World War Two, the war itself and its aftermath.
     
  20. NCDane Registered Senior Member

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    World War One WAS deliberately started:

    Germany had for decades considered the advantage over France gained by the !870-71
    Franco-Prussian War to have been insufficient, and had been spoiling for a chance to
    obtain greater advantage, through war if need be.

    Also, Germany supported Austrian expansion in the Balkans, and after Archduke Ferdinand
    was assassinated encouraged Austria to go to war over it, knowing that Russia would almost
    surely be drawn in on Serbia's behalf, and France along with it, since France and Russia had
    a military treaty. Germany could have averted war by refusing to endorse Austria's demand,
    which no sovereign nation could agree to, that Serbia permit operation of Austrian
    courts martial on Serbian soil. Instead Germany encouraged Austria from the start of the
    crisis, guaranteeing war.

    As to the objection that Russia and France might also have taken steps to avoid war, such
    as letting Austria have its way with Serbia, perhaps that is true. However, the issue raised
    by OP was whether starting the war was deliberate, and it is reasonable to consider the word
    "deliberate" to mean that war was, from the start of the crisis, THE desired outcome. It certainly
    was for the governments of August 1914 Germany and Austria! But I do not believe the same
    could be said for Russia and France.
     
  21. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    I believe you are oversimplifying. I suggest you read the books I referenced.
     
  22. NCDane Registered Senior Member

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    I am satisfied with my own source for this period, namely Robert Massie's excellent Dreadnaught.

    And your own sources are guilty of distortion if they fail to assign preeminence to the simple fact
    that Austria intended for its ultimatum to be rejected, a course of action made possible only by German support.
     
  23. mathman Valued Senior Member

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    That fact is important in both books. However the situation can't be simply reduced to that fact alone. Other facts: Serbian ambitions (including all south Slavs in a Serbian controlled state - Yugoslavia), Russia appointing itself the protector of Slav interests, France determined to get Alsace-Lorraine back, etc.
     

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