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  #101  
Old 11-12-2019, 10:48 PM
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I haven't read The Sleepwalkers, but I was given to understand Clark's position was to reject the question of the attribution of guilt entirely as being generally unhelpful to understanding the multipartite process ?

(oh, Little Nemo beat me to the punch. FWIW if we're having this discussion, my position is they all did it. Each of the powers had jingoistic actors in key decision-making roles, they each entered the war pursuing nationalist gains and ultimately it wasn't so much a Mexican stand-off as a quick-draw contest)
Oh yes, they all did it. No doubt, as I said "Not that the rest are in any way blameless.". It's just that maybe France gets 10% more blame than the others- and in no way is Germany 100% to blame as Versailles held them to be. You are correct in that Clark doesnt assign national blame- but he does blame the blindness and stupidity of various leaders and bureaucrats. In general, France was more lusting after a war than the other Powers, but the blindness and stupidity of other Power's leaders and bureaucrats led to the war also.
  #102  
Old 11-13-2019, 12:03 PM
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No, he said he did. That's not the same as "he did". And then, he didn't and almost overnight the "natural ally" became "the Jew among Aryan peoples" and "perfidious Albion". Where Nazi propaganda had praised the ruthlessness of the UK in conquering its Empire, it turned to denouncing those "few hundred plutocrats" lording it over the entire world. British imperialism was a good example to be emulated, and a terrible example of profit-driven usurpation to be condemned. All at the same time, or in rapid sequence.

Hitler (and Nazis in general) said and believed in a ton of contradictory, otherwise mutually exclusive things, all according to the opportunism of the present minute. Which is par for the course for a movement that ultimately had very little coherent (or sincere) ideology to drive it besides arbitrary hatred(s) ; and whose primary goal was evermore power for power's sake.
Modern neonazis aren't any different, tbh - "the Holocaust didn't happen, that's a Jewish plot to make nazis look bad ; but it should happen exactly as it never happened, because Jews still plot the plots that Hitler used to justify the Holocaust which he didn't do !" *brain discreetly leaking out of ears*
You can keep saying it, but it doesn't make it correct. Suffice it to say, that you are not in concert with most historians on this point. Most believe both Hitler's priorities, and his actions were tied to the East, and he had always hoped and believed that Germany was a natural ally of Germany.

Your argument is a bit unstructured, so I'm not going to attempt to refute it point by point, but you should consider being more open to similar arguments different posters are making.

Last edited by spifflog; 11-13-2019 at 12:07 PM.
  #103  
Old 11-13-2019, 12:12 PM
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and he had always hoped and believed that Germany was a natural ally of Germany.
Hmmm....
  #104  
Old 11-13-2019, 12:17 PM
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Hmmm....
Yeah, pretty sure he meant Britain there, not Germany. Though, it's pretty clear Germany WAS the natural ally of Germany.
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  #105  
Old 11-13-2019, 03:02 PM
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Oh yes, they all did it. No doubt, as I said "Not that the rest are in any way blameless.". It's just that maybe France gets 10% more blame than the others- and in no way is Germany 100% to blame as Versailles held them to be. You are correct in that Clark doesnt assign national blame- but he does blame the blindness and stupidity of various leaders and bureaucrats. In general, France was more lusting after a war than the other Powers, but the blindness and stupidity of other Power's leaders and bureaucrats led to the war also.
I still disagree. I feel that Germany was more to blame than France or any other power.

The political leaders in France, Russia, Britain, and even Austria-Hungary were all trying to prevent a general war from happening in the summer of 1914. Germany was the one major power that wanted a general war to happen. So when a general war happened, I feel it's reasonable to assign Germany a large amount of the responsibility.

It is true that other nations had contributed to the situation that made a general war possible. But Germany deserves a share of that responsibility as well. France wouldn't have been obsessed with getting Alsace and Lorraine back if Germany hadn't taken them away. Germany took other regions from neighbouring countries, supported uprisings in other country's empires, and built up its military in ways that threatened other powers. Germany seemed to feel it could provoke other countries and then blame them for getting provoked.
  #106  
Old 11-13-2019, 06:36 PM
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I still disagree. I feel that Germany was more to blame than France or any other power.

The political leaders in France, Russia, Britain, and even Austria-Hungary were all trying to prevent a general war from happening in the summer of 1914. Germany was the one major power that wanted a general war to happen. So when a general war happened, I feel it's reasonable to assign Germany a large amount of the responsibility.

It is true that other nations had contributed to the situation that made a general war possible. But Germany deserves a share of that responsibility as well. France wouldn't have been obsessed with getting Alsace and Lorraine back if Germany hadn't taken them away....
No, not at all, If you read The Sleepwalkers it is shown that France was wanting a general war vs Germany and had colluded with Russia, and sent millions of francs to have them build a Railroad system to mobilize Russian troops vs Germany. The French were the only nation wanting to start a war. The others blundered into it.

Well, yes, but Alsace and Lorraine had been part of the old HRE, and were taken over by France. Most of Alsace were german speakers. It's disputed territory.
  #107  
Old 11-13-2019, 07:03 PM
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Food and coal were the two biggest problems.
What effects did the shortage of coal have on the war? I can imagine what some of them might be but I don't know which effects were critical enough to get Germany to surrender.
  #108  
Old 11-13-2019, 07:49 PM
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What effects did the shortage of coal have on the war? I can imagine what some of them might be but I don't know which effects were critical enough to get Germany to surrender.
Most of industry was coal powered either directly, or via electricity. Mines were still dependant on steam (for air pumps, elevators, water pumps etc...), in 1917 some coal mines in Belgium even had to shut down due to lack of coal (specific grades of coal to be precise) to power them ! And naturally any steel or cast iron production is also reliant on coal as a raw material on top of as a power source, which means the production of tanks, artillery guns, train tracks etc... also required coal (and high quality coal at that, which Germany didn't produce a lot of). All boats (be they cargo freighters or battleships) were coal powered. Coal shortages also affected civilian life, as it was needed for heating, illumination, cooking - the lack or scarcity of which increased the death rate of vulnerable persons (like children & the old) by 55%+. Without heat, factories and schools had to start up later and close shop earlier in the cold months.

Trains were also coal powered, which means that even if a given factory had a coal supply or electricity supply to run the machines they could nevertheless be deprived of their requisite raw materials because the number of trains running freight to and fro was limited - including transportation of coal itself for a dark irony. Lack of trains also worsened the effect of food shortages as, even when there was enough food produced somewhere in Germany to respond to a local issue somewhere else, there were fewer trains to ferry it from here to there. Similarly, troop & war mat. movements were reliant on trains, which meant coal scarcity also had a direct impact on strategic flexibility and the prosecution of the "war itself" part of the war.

Basically every aspect of modern life was directly or indirectly coal-reliant, and towards the end of the war the output-per-worker of German industry across the board had dropped by around 30-40%. Which is pretty massive, especially if you compound that by the diminution of the total workforce caused by conscription & casualties on one hand and civilian deaths on the other.
In total, the number of civilian deaths directly attributable to coal shortages and their consequences alone has been estimated, conservatively, somewhere around ~750,000 (which other estimates rising far higher)

Last edited by Kobal2; 11-13-2019 at 07:50 PM.
  #109  
Old 11-14-2019, 01:45 AM
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No, not at all, If you read The Sleepwalkers it is shown that France was wanting a general war vs Germany and had colluded with Russia, and sent millions of francs to have them build a Railroad system to mobilize Russian troops vs Germany. The French were the only nation wanting to start a war. The others blundered into it.
I still disagree for the reasons I've already given. It seems unlikely to me that France would make arrangements to start a war at a time when they were at a really low state of military readiness.
  #110  
Old 11-14-2019, 01:57 AM
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I still disagree for the reasons I've already given. It seems unlikely to me that France would make arrangements to start a war at a time when they were at a really low state of military readiness.
They thought they were prepared, but like I said they had conned Russia into taking the brunt of the German offensive... or so they thought.
  #111  
Old 11-14-2019, 08:31 AM
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The French were the only nation wanting to start a war. The others blundered into it.
Well that's not strictly true, at least. According to Fischer, Wilhelm and (some of) his cabinet had set a course for war as early as 1912 and even if you agree with his detractors on this point, the way Germany handled the July Crisis was indubitably a direct setup for *some* hostilities to begin.
  #112  
Old 11-14-2019, 09:54 AM
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Basically every aspect of modern life was directly or indirectly coal-reliant, and towards the end of the war the output-per-worker of German industry across the board had dropped by around 30-40%. Which is pretty massive, especially if you compound that by the diminution of the total workforce caused by conscription & casualties on one hand and civilian deaths on the other.
Thanks for the informative answer.

Were there specific items or activities which pretty much stopped being available as opposed to lowered production figures? As in: "Our howitzers are usually out of ammo when we fight now" or did the German government surrender before it got to that point?
  #113  
Old 11-14-2019, 10:05 AM
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Thanks for the informative answer.

Were there specific items or activities which pretty much stopped being available as opposed to lowered production figures? As in: "Our howitzers are usually out of ammo when we fight now" or did the German government surrender before it got to that point?
I haven't run across any "flat ran out" items, at least not at the national level ; and direct war production/deliveries were naturally prioritized. Of course punctual, localized "we're entirely out of shells for the next few days, hang tight" situations may have actually happened in direct relation with freight disruptions.
  #114  
Old 11-15-2019, 11:37 AM
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Well that's not strictly true, at least. According to Fischer, Wilhelm and (some of) his cabinet had set a course for war as early as 1912 and even if you agree with his detractors on this point, the way Germany handled the July Crisis was indubitably a direct setup for *some* hostilities to begin.
Yes, everyone expected AH to hit Serbia, and since Serbia committed a act of war by assassinating the Archduke, why shouldnt they? However, again going back to The Sleepwalks, all the notes etc point to the fact that when German said they'd support AH, everyone in Germany thought it would be a localized war, no Russian involvement. And in fact the Kaiser signaled to Ferdinand that after Serbia agrees to all but one part of the ultimatum, that that was enough.

AH had every right to attack Serbia. The point is, Russia had to, by it's deal with France, (who had given huge loans to Russia) now attack AH, even tho AH had a good reason. This was part of the French plan to crush Germany.
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