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Who were the baddies in WWI?

 
Old 03-19-2019, 06:10 AM
  #1  
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Default Who were the baddies in WWI?

Was it the Central Powers (and mainly the Germans?) Or were they just the losers so they were viewed as the bad guys?
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:21 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by 020 View Post
Edit: these were alliances. Germany was allied with AH who Russia attacked
IMHO, this starts the narrative in the wrong place.

There was no way for the King of Serbia to accept the kind of ultimatum delivered by the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

It was tantamount to a surrender of sovereignty to Austria.

Take another step back, and you could and probably should charge that the Serbian government could have done more to undermine the Black Hand.

But take *another* step back, and you'll find that most of the Black Hand was from Serbian Bosnia, a part of Austria-Hungary, not Serbia.
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:43 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

What I was saying in the other thread is that when we are talking about the lead up to the Great War, we have to face the fact that Wilhelm II had some issues.

Remember that Wilhelm's mother was the Princess Royal, Princess Victoria, daughter of Queen Victoria. His father was Frederick of the Hundred Days, Kaiser Frederick III. In the terms of their days, both Frederick and Victoria were liberals, looking to not just "modernize" Germany, but to democratize it.

But Wilhelm's grandfather on his father's side was an autocrat. Although Wilhelm especially loved his grandmother Queen Victoria and began to love most things British, he never forgot the autocratic examples of Wilhelm I, and in seeking to break away from his father he focused on becoming anti-liberal and anti-democratic, perhaps more in rebellion than anything else.

An example of the troubles ahead for Germany might be found in accounts of Prince Wilhelm's behavior at the marriage of his uncle, the future Edward VII. Dressed as a highlander in kilt and dirk, Prince Wilhelm at one point drew his dirk and threatened to kill the man responsible for attending Wilhelm at the wedding. The man assigned to chaperone the young Prince Wilhelm was Alfred, a Duke of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, so there was a bit of a royal row at a royal wedding, and Queen Victoria had to get involved personally.

Anyway...the man had problems.

He had a passive/aggressive relationship with everything British. He was jealous of the world domination of the United Kingdom and he wanted to make Germany every bit as good, but at the same time he loved Queen Victoria dearly and as well respected and loved his uncle who became Edward VII. The Kaiser Wilhelm II was present at the death of Queen Victoria and continued to hold her hand, refusing to let anyone near her after she was dead.

He accepted Queen Victoria's headship of his family and obeyed her peace keeping dictates. To a great extent he also accepted his uncle Edward VII's insistence on peace. But from the accession of his cousin George V, almost everyone believes that war was inevitable, never mind Russia, Serbia and Austria. It had more to do with a Kaiser's determination to make Germany as great as the United Kingdom, and to establish a German empire that could rival the British Empire.

He never understood that he could not duplicate the affection that the people had for the British royal family without developing the same standoffish attitude toward political parties. He never understood that they were essentially allied with the lower classes against the rich, and that this was the source of their influence. He never understood that a constitution and democracy was a part of what allowed them to stand off and become popular, while only monitoring and influencing, not actually ruling in public.
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Old 03-19-2019, 06:57 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by Caoboy View Post
Was it the Central Powers (and mainly the Germans?) Or were they just the losers so they were viewed as the bad guys?
Again, there were no ďbad guysĒ. A number of books and many historians accept this. Most recently Sleepwalkers.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:03 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by 020 View Post
Again, there were no ďbad guysĒ. A number of books and many historians accept this. Most recently Sleepwalkers.
But you said yourself elsewhere that Sleepwalkers was revisionist. 0_o

Austria's ultimatum to Serbia makes them bad guys.

Wilhelm's unwise competition with the United Kingdom and the British royal family was so unwise that it probably makes him a bad guy. Getting rid of Bismarck makes him a bad guy, too, IMHO. I'm not a great fan of Bismarck, but getting rid of him how and when the Kaiser got rid of him was profoundly unwise.

Perhaps the clearly more brutal way that Germany handled its overseas territories makes Germany more of a bad guy. Anybody who was worse than the British has to be a bad guy. Nobody should be worse than the normal British imperial system.

I dunno.

We're just talking. :-)
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:05 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

This is a good thread.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:09 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

i was gonna say, ask GK, he was there, but it looks like he already responded.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:11 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by George Knighton View Post
But you said yourself elsewhere that Sleepwalkers was revisionist. 0_o

Austria's ultimatum to Serbia makes them bad guys.

Wilhelm's unwise competition with the United Kingdom and the British royal family was so unwise that it probably makes him a bad guy. Getting rid of Bismarck makes him a bad guy, too, IMHO. I'm not a great fan of Bismarck, but getting rid of him how and when the Kaiser got rid of him was profoundly unwise.

Perhaps the clearly more brutal way that Germany handled its overseas territories makes Germany more of a bad guy. Anybody who was worse than the British has to be a bad guy. Nobody should be worse than the normal British imperial system.

I dunno.

We're just talking. :-)
I never said it was revisionist. I stated that most modern historians accept that there were no bad guys. British elites pushed for war to prove themselves within the empire. Wilhelm wanted to prove himself etc. how are Austriaís ultimatums any worse than Englandís? Or Russiaís advance? Iím not sure how you measure territory governance as worse, but it was universal among nations to be awful. Britain continued to be awful through WWII. Even Belgium was horrible.

Regardless the war war was inevitable through alliances and egos. No one stands above the others.
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:13 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Is the goal to establish good guys and bad guys? Seems likely this one was more bad guys, badder guys, and even badderer guys.

Japan's involvement was largely opportunistic, was it not? Does that make them bad guys? Sure doesn't seem "good."
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Old 03-19-2019, 07:28 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

We're not even going to bring up the Ottoman Empire's role?
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:13 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by 020 View Post

I never said it was revisionist. I stated that most modern historians accept that there were no bad guys. British elites pushed for war to prove themselves within the empire. Wilhelm wanted to prove himself etc. how are Austriaís ultimatums any worse than Englandís? Or Russiaís advance? Iím not sure how you measure territory governance as worse, but it was universal among nations to be awful. Britain continued to be awful through WWII. Even Belgium was horrible.

Regardless the war war was inevitable through alliances and egos. No one stands above the others.
I do not believe your perspective on history is correct, and my eyes were drawn straight to, "Even Belgium was horrible." BELGIUM WAS THE ABSOLUTE, TOTAL WORST AND GUILTY OF GREAT CRIMES ALL THE WAY THROUGH!! I hope you're not going to make me go back to my college undergraduate work to drag out German atrocities in Cameroon and Tanganyika.

I have not forgot who you are, but I believe you are perhaps quite innocently not completely in touch with some parts of history.

What does "British elites" mean? The royal family were very anti-war and repeatedly attempted to intervene with both Nicholas II and Wilhelm II.

When the Austrian ultimatum essentially eliminated the dominion of the King of Serbia, I don't see how you do not see that that is the worst one, the one that started the calamity.

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Old 03-19-2019, 08:16 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by Knightsport View Post
We're not even going to bring up the Ottoman Empire's role?
Armenian Genocide?
​​​​​
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:20 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

It's sad I really have no good knowledge about WW1.

I should read some books.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:36 AM
  #14  
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by George Knighton View Post
I do not believe your perspective on history is correct, and my eyes were drawn straight to, "Even Belgium was horrible." BELGIUM WAS THE ABSOLUTE, TOTAL WORST AND GUILTY OF GREAT CRIMES ALL THE WAY THROUGH!! I hope you're not going to make me go back to my college undergraduate work to drag out German atrocities in Cameroon and Tanganyika.

I have not forgot who you are, but I believe you are perhaps quite innocently not completely in touch with some parts of history.

What does "British elites" mean? The royal family were very anti-war and repeatedly attempted to intervene with both Nicholas II and Wilhelm II.

When the Austrian ultimatum essentially eliminated the dominion of the King of Serbia, I don't see how you do not see that that is the worst one, the one that started the calamity.
1: British elites being the Aristocracy. Iím not saying it was negative, just that many supported the war and volunteered.
2: Again, the July crisis had many factors. AH doesnít issue a memo without German support.
3: Britain enters under similar pretenses of allies. Some historians argue Britain should never have entered.

Again, Iím not aware of any historians that simply blame Germany, AH, etc.


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Old 03-19-2019, 08:36 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by rino924 View Post
It's sad I really have no good knowledge about WW1.

I should read some books.
Sleepwalkers is probably the only book you really need unless you delve into Paris.
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by rino924 View Post
It's sad I really have no good knowledge about WW1.

I should read some books.
If you have like 20 hours to kill Dan Carlin's 'blueprint for Armageddon' is a good 5 part series in his hardcore history podcast
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Old 03-19-2019, 08:41 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by 020 View Post

Sleepwalkers is probably the only book you really need unless you delve into Paris.
Screw that.

50 hours of reading to be in the 99.99 percentile of ww1 knoledge vs 15 minutes of youtube to get you in the 99th percentile.

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Old 03-19-2019, 08:45 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by Caoboy View Post
If you have like 20 hours to kill Dan Carlin's 'blueprint for Armageddon' is a good 5 part series in his hardcore history podcast
Itís a great podcast and narrative. It does have inaccuracies though.
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:17 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by 020 View Post

Itís a great podcast and narrative. It does have inaccuracies though.
Oh do tell!
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Old 03-19-2019, 09:48 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by Caoboy View Post
Oh do tell!
Iím no historian, just little things Iíve read about. The narrative and story is great though. You can find criticisms if it, but also know that some of those criticisms have agendas too.
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Old 03-19-2019, 10:06 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

My grandpa drove an ammo truck (might have been a horse/wagon for all I know) in WWI, mostly in France. Found a bunch of documents about him on Ancestry.com. Died years before I was born. My dad said that he took a shrapnel hit to the dome once that would have killed him had he not been wearing his helmet.

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Old 03-20-2019, 04:46 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by 020 View Post
1: British elites being the Aristocracy. I’m not saying it was negative, just that many supported the war and volunteered.
You're just a-way off base with that.

I don't know what you mean or how you define aristocracy, but the people at the top of society definitely did not want war. Sure, they volunteered and shouted patriotic slogans. That was their duty as peers of the realm. In those days people still maintained regiments as colonels in chief and contributed their wealth to the maintenance and livery of these regiments.

So very many people even today are citizens of both Germany and the United Kingdom and maintain close family ties in both countries.

The Princes of Hanover (even Kings of Hanover) still had to ask Queen Victoria, Edward VII, George V, George VI and Elizabeth II if it was okay to get married. This is also true of the Dukes of Oldenburg and the Grand Dukes of Oldenburg, and many other German families.

The Duke of Albany's title was taken away because when war came he had to pick a side and he picked where he lived, Germany. To this day there is a "Duke of Albany" in Germany whose title continues to be denied by the government of the United Kingdom.

Prince Louis of Battenberg, and ancestor of Prince Philip's, had to pick a side and he picked the United Kingdom, the place he loved the most. He was already an admiral in the Royal Navy, in fact. He was summoned by the King and told he had to stop calling himself prince of anything, but he could start being the Marquess of Milford Haven if he wanted.

Now, there were lunatics everywhere. If you consider Churchill a member of the aristocracy, then, yes, he is an example of that cadre of idiots. Churchill experienced the Boer Wars and believed that this was what war was supposed to be about. Churchill was a great man but he was also an idiot about so many issues. The scene in Darkest Hour where the King complains that Churchill was responsible for the Gallipoli disaster is true. That same King had to tell Churchill to shut up about trying to keep India, that he was just wrong about India.

So there were idiots.

But to say that the "aristocracy" (whatever that means) supported war is just patently revisionist.

I have seen the letters and diaries from the majority who predicted a huge dark time for the world if they let it happen.

Even during Hitler's rise, you had a minority who looked forward to Hitler and applauded what he was doing. But these people were an idiotic minority. There was no such support from the highest of the high.
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Old 03-20-2019, 04:55 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by 020 View Post
2: Again, the July crisis had many factors. AH doesn’t issue a memo without German support
But you alleged that the UK bore responsibility. That's just ridiculous.

You can blame them for entering an alliance with their ancient enemy, France, in order to try to check Wilhelm II's aspirations. France was, after all, still on the back foot after the Franco-Prussian War and the defeat of that ridiculous man, Napoleon III.

I guess I'm betraying some prejudices here, but Napoleon III was a stupid experiment for France and they should never have done that.

Sure, Vienna would not have issued such a challenge to Serbia without Wilhelm II's support.

But...have you seen the ultimatum? How could the King of Serbia ever have countenanced such a thing? He would have to have basically surrender his sovereignty to a Catholic Emperor in Vienna, and that was just not something that he could do.

I'm telling you...it was Wilhelm. It always was.

That's what was pushing it.

Sure, you can get mad at a famous banking family for helping to finance both sides of it.

Sure, you can blame the UK for living up to its treaty with France.

Sure, you can blame the Tsar for saying that he was not going to let a Catholic emperor take over an Orthodox country.

But it was always Wilhelm's drive to try to equal and then pass the United Kingdom that was the over riding factor, and it was always something personal. As soon as his older uncle died, war was inevitable. The Kaiser was going to find a way to push and push until he got his way or there was a war.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:03 AM
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Default Re: Who were the baddies in WWI?

Originally Posted by George Knighton View Post
But you alleged that the UK bore responsibility. That's just ridiculous.

You can blame them for entering an alliance with their ancient enemy, France, in order to try to check Wilhelm II's aspirations. France was, after all, still on the back foot after the Franco-Prussian War and the defeat of that ridiculous man, Napoleon III.

I guess I'm betraying some prejudices here, but Napoleon III was a stupid experiment for France and they should never have done that.

Sure, Vienna would not have issued such a challenge to Serbia without Wilhelm II's support.

But...have you seen the ultimatum? How could the King of Serbia ever have countenanced such a thing? He would have to have basically surrender his sovereignty to a Catholic Emperor in Vienna, and that was just not something that he could do.

I'm telling you...it was Wilhelm. It always was.

That's what was pushing it.

Sure, you can get mad at a famous banking family for helping to finance both sides of it.

Sure, you can blame the UK for living up to its treaty with France.

Sure, you can blame the Tsar for saying that he was not going to let a Catholic emperor take over an Orthodox country.

But it was always Wilhelm's drive to try to equal and then pass the United Kingdom that was the over riding factor, and it was always something personal. As soon as his older uncle died, war was inevitable. The Kaiser was going to find a way to push and push until he got his way or there was a war.
1: Im not sure where you are reading that I blame the UK. Again, modern historians accept that no one nation is to blame.
2: You absolve the UK for its treaties but not Germany?
3: Blaming Wilhelm for a conspiracy to coagulate power is revisionist. It was born out of post-war propaganda and used until modern scholarly times. I have no doubt from reading Wilhelmina words that he wanted power (As did Churchill and every other nation including the US and itís White Fleet). However that is not what started the war.
4: Iím certainly not mad at the bankers. Iím impressed.

I font think we are we are going to agree here. You are pre-modern area scholarship on this. There is just no way we are going to agree, and it really does not matter. I completely respect your opinion.
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Old 03-20-2019, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by 020 View Post
I font think we are we are going to agree here. You are pre-modern area scholarship on this.
0_o

The only way to reach the conclusions that your "modern" scholars (you say) are reaching is to completely ignore the diaries of the sovereigns themselves, to ignore the very words and actions of the Kaiser himself.

The only way I can effectively counter you is to ask you to read the words themselves of George V, the Marquess of Milford Haven, the Kaiser, the Grand Duke of Oldenburg....

Even Queen Victoria, who loved the Kaiser, wrote that she knew that he was a war monger and would cause trouble.
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