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Origin of WWI -Current thinking


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They thought they could have a nice and proper war like they had in the before-times, Napoleonic style. But now they had invented much more advanced military technology that came with the advent of mechanization.

That is why, in the first battles of WWI French soldiers were butchered as they stood in their fields. They found out the hard way that no amount of courage can prevail against gunfire.

In other words they didn't know what the hell they had just started.

Then the war became a thing of its own, with all the usual momentum that keeps wars going. Bring in the men wearing suits and top hats...

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23 hours ago, OftenWrong said:

They thought they could have a nice and proper war like they had in the before-times, Napoleonic style. But now they had invented much more advanced military technology that came with the advent of mechanization.

That is why, in the first battles of WWI French soldiers were butchered as they stood in their fields. They found out the hard way that no amount of courage can prevail against gunfire.

In other words they didn't know what the hell they had just started.

Then the war became a thing of its own, with all the usual momentum that keeps wars going. Bring in the men wearing suits and top hats...

This is my thinking now too.

But then, why did the war of 1914 last so long?

=====

Duty. Devoir.

Edited by August1991
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23 hours ago, OftenWrong said:

They thought they could have a nice and proper war like they had in the before-times, Napoleonic style. But now they had invented much more advanced military technology that came with the advent of mechanization.

That is why, in the first battles of WWI French soldiers were butchered as they stood in their fields. They found out the hard way that no amount of courage can prevail against gunfire.

In other words they didn't know what the hell they had just started.

Then the war became a thing of its own, with all the usual momentum that keeps wars going. Bring in the men wearing suits and top hats...

 

An ammo shortage in 1915 led to a year long lull in major fighting. Only a few big engagements occurred. Across the Channel, Kitchener's Army of fresh recruits were forming and training. But again...weapon shortages. Uniform shortages...the works. Nobody would be ready until mid-1916...and getting them across to France was a chore.

Edited by DogOnPorch
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36 minutes ago, August1991 said:

This is my thinking now too.

But then, why did the war of 1914 last so long?

=====

Duty. Devoir.

 

It actually unfolded at about the only speed it could due to the technology of the day. Everything depended upon a train timetable...a style of warfare introduced in the US Civil War with Jackson end-running McDowell at First Bull Run by rail. That plus the time needed to prepare for a major offensive that would 'break the stalemate' and 'win the war'. Months went by...no discernable action except snipers and trench mortars. But behind the lines...much activity.

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Not surprisingly, it was the Germans who first introduced the infiltration tactics that would go onto become the Blitzkrieg under Guderian's watch in WW2. Stoßtruppen...storm troopers (w/o the Nazi stuff) first saw action in 1917 on the Italian Front. The Allies went in big with the tank at about the same time. Between the two, this more or less ended the dominance of the fixed machinegun with artillery support. The Germans had tested the tactics at Verdun (1916) with mixed results and then took a year to improve their tactics before committing them in any numbers.

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5 minutes ago, August1991 said:

Disagree.

Ordinary people followed the rules of the day: Duty.

Nowadays the rule is: Oppose Authority.

=====

I reckon that in three generations, about 100 years or so, Europeans will forget their violent past.

How long does it take great-grand children to forget?

 

Edited by August1991
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59 minutes ago, DogOnPorch said:

Not surprisingly, it was the Germans who first introduced the infiltration tactics that would go onto become the Blitzkrieg under Guderian's watch in WW2....

Gimme a break. Germans?

Napoleon was the first psychopath who wanted to dominate Europe. 

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47 minutes ago, August1991 said:

Gimme a break. Germans?

Napoleon was the first psychopath who wanted to dominate Europe. 

 

Stoßtruppen Tactics...what I'm referring to...involved bypassing strongpoints with the main force while then using special weapons like flamethrowers and high explosives to reduce surrounded and isolated positions. Very effective. Used at Caporetto with tragic results for the Allies. Then employed during the infamous Ludendorff Offensive which was the WW1 version of the Ardennes.

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

Generaloberst Heinz Guderian...author of the Blitzkrieg, used these tactics as the basis for his thesis on modern warfare...used to the utmost effectiveness during WW2's early years.

Kleines-Flammenwerfer.png?resize=770,104

  

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1 hour ago, August1991 said:

Disagree.

Ordinary people followed the rules of the day: Duty.

 

Perhaps duty for those that rushed to volunteer. But the speed at which things moved was very much dictated by the  movement capacity of the European rail system on one end and the production capacity of weapons and munitions on the other. 

As an unintended side effect of the lull in 1915, not only did Medieval warfare in the form of catapults and trench maces occur...but great leaps forward in the use of aviation as a tool of war. Both the aircraft and airship. Not much else to do....except invent new ways....since the old had obviously stalled. 

Chemical warfare was the other way forward, so to speak, that turned-up in 1915. But it had so many drawbacks that it ultimately failed unless used in very specific ways. Coating the entire front with chlorine, or later, mustard agent...turns out...bothers your guys just as much as theirs...heh.

eb200d93-659d-48f3-9df2-20b75ac553d3.jpg

 

Edited by DogOnPorch
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  • 2 weeks later...
On 10/16/2020 at 1:06 AM, DogOnPorch said:

Perhaps duty for those that rushed to volunteer. But the speed at which things moved was very much dictated by the  movement capacity of the European rail system on one end and the production capacity of weapons and munitions on the other. 

'''''

The rail system (technology) is one reason for the origins of the war. Duty is another. But duty is possibly a synonym for "we'll win soon".

Yet, nothing explains why this war extended so long - to 1918 - and the folly lasted for another 30 years to 1945.

The previous eruption was because of Napoleon.

IMV, Thatcher was correct when she said that Britain always sided on the opposite of a European collusion.

===

When Britain allied with Prussia in 1756, it took a position opposing Europe hegemony.

Edited by August1991
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Britain? Thatcher?

What about Sweden or Norway - the Swedes and Norwegians are the world's virtual signalers, traditional Lutherans.

The last time Sweden was involved in a European war was the Thirty Years War of 1600s or so.

Norwegians? They have their own currency, have nothing to do with the euro or the European Union, Brussels.

Finland? Denmark?  Let's be honest, practical. The Finns allied with Hitler to fight against Stalin.

=====

While Yugoslavia was involved in a civil war, heck - while France and Germany were involved in a civil war, while people were being incinerated - Swedes stood aside and watched.

What a country!

=====

Meanwhile, people in Canada, Australia, New Zealand took risks and died.    

 

Edited by August1991
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2 hours ago, August1991 said:

 

The last time Sweden was involved in a European war was the Thirty Years War of 1600s or so.

 

 

Sweden made the Allies pay dearly for their "neutrality". They allowed German access to resources and infrastructure which was the Third Reich's main source of iron ore if I'm not mistaken...

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Yet, nothing explains why this war extended so long - to 1918 - and the folly lasted for another 30 years to 1945.

 

No...what I said explains it.

Offensives took months to prepare...and they avoided offensives during the winter for the most part. Tick tock...

It could have easily gone into the 1920s...Germany wasn't defeated. But they were sold-out...which as we know led to WW2.

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The Treaty of Versailles was punitive and designed to humiliate Germany who had to take financial responsibility for the entire war...which the Serbians started. 

You can only humiliate people for so long before they...you know...fight back.

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On 10/26/2020 at 4:56 AM, DogOnPorch said:

 

Sweden made the Allies pay dearly for their "neutrality". They allowed German access to resources and infrastructure which was the Third Reich's main source of iron ore if I'm not mistaken...

No, on the, contrary. Swedish men survived the war. Unlike many French, Russian, Australian, Canadian men born around 1920. 

So Swedes enjoyed the benefit of the defeat of the Nazis - without the cost, while "virtual signaling" their goodness. 

====

The "war/tumult" lasted for 30 years from 1914 to 1945. It is wrong to say "World War I" and "World War II". From 1914 to 1945, people in the world suffered various catastrophes.

In Europe, they suffered similar from 1789 to 1815 - also about 30 years.

I reckon that such tumults occurred after people forgot the previous tumult.

Which American now remembers - even by family story - the hurt/shame/carnage of the US Civil War?

Edited by August1991
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5 hours ago, August1991 said:

No, on the, contrary. Swedish men survived the war. Unlike many French, Russian, Australian, Canadian men born around 1920. 

So Swedes enjoyed the benefit of the defeat of the Nazis - without the cost, while "virtual signaling" their goodness. 

====

The "war/tumult" lasted for 30 years from 1914 to 1945. It is wrong to say "World War I" and "World War II". From 1914 to 1945, people in the world suffered various catastrophes.

In Europe, they suffered similar from 1789 to 1815 - also about 30 years.

I reckon that such tumults occurred after people forgot the previous tumult.

Which American now remembers - even by family story - the hurt/shame/carnage of the US Civil War?

 

Okay...you're not understanding what I wrote.

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On 10/26/2020 at 3:01 AM, DogOnPorch said:

 

No...what I said explains it.

Offensives took months to prepare...and they avoided offensives during the winter for the most part. Tick tock...

It could have easily gone into the 1920s...Germany wasn't defeated. But they were sold-out...which as we know led to WW2.

Germany was unable to carry on with the collapse in the fall of 1918. The myth of the "stab in the back" grew out of a dinner conversation between Ludendorff and a British officer after the armistice. The British officer asked Ludendorff why Germany surrendered when it did. Ludendorff struggled to come up with a face saving explanation and the Brit offered something like "Were you stabbed in the back?" Ludendorff siezed on the phrase and the myth was born. 

The reality was Germany was broke and could no longer provide for the civil population. Mutinies and riots broke out and civil authority began to crumble. Hindinburg and Ludendorf decided that an Armistice before the allies crossed into Germany was preferable to total defeat. They saw the armistice as a pause while the allies saw it as a surrender. However, Germany collapsed at that point.

During the latter part of the war, the emphasis was on support for the troops at the expence of the civil population. That led to the bewilderment of the troops at the front who could not understand why the generals surrendered. They had no idea what conditions were like back home. 

Defeat in war carries serious psychological consequences for the losers. It is emasculating. That leads to an unwillingness to face the reality that you were  overwhelmed by superior force or tactics and the need to find a scapegoat, whether it is the jews, the generals or the democrats.

Churchill was the one who recognized this problem and in 1945, he and General Marshall settled on a plan. "In defeat, resolution; in victory, magnanimy." They rebuilt the enemy nations rather than punish them.

One more bit of trivia before I have my coffee. There is a myth that Germans flocked to the colours at the outbreak in 1914. The famous photo of the crowd in which Hitler was spotted years later was doctored. Hitler was ther, but the crowd wasn't that large. Many Germans were not happy with going to war. Life was pretty good at the time and a war wasn't viewed as a good idea.

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Good post.^

They were indeed broke. As were the rest of the participants save the USA. But the Army was none-the-less undefeated. This led to the whole sold-out-by-the-Jews meme so important to Hitler's rise that you mention.

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21 minutes ago, SpankyMcFarland said:

Is this thread about the origin of WWI? The assassination of Archduke Ferdinand, unstable empires, dangerous alliances...that stuff? 

 

Yup...and why it lasted four years.

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