WW I origin

Discussion in 'History' started by mathman, Jun 30, 2014.

  1. mathman Valued Senior Member

    A new book entitled "The War That Ended Peace" by Margaret MacMillan is an in depth look at what was going on in Europe in the years preceding WW I. It has come out at an appropriate time, since it has been 100 years since the assassination.

    Some highlights:

    There were a whole series of crises in the preceding period where Europe was on the verge of war, but at the end someone backed down. Dogger Bank 1904 (Russia vs. Great Britain - minor), Morocco 1905 (Germany vs. France), Bosnia annexation 1908 (Austria-Hungary vs. Russia), Morocco 1911 (Germany vs. France), Balkan wars 1912-13 (many players).

    In addition there continuing tension between Great Britain and Germany because Germany decided it needed a big navy and G. B. felt threatened.

    Serbian expansion dreams concerned Aust.-Hung. particularly after the Balkan wars. Russia at the time decided it was Serbia's protector.

    There is a lot more. Anyone interested in the subject should read it. One criticism - at times the author throws in too much detail.
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  3. mathman Valued Senior Member

    One important conclusion is that the blame for WW I cannot be pinned on any one of the big powers. Even Serbia, although responsible for the assassination, didn't anticipate a major war.
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  5. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Columnist Richard Cohen recently wrote in the Washington Post:

    World War I toppled 4 empires, precipitated the communist revolution, created by fiat the modern Middle East, recognized Zionism, made the U.S. a world power, and cost the lives of ten million fighting men.

    It was a war about confusion, complexity, trade, naval armaments, many other factors, and nationalism. It was about the prosaic: about what happened in miniature to the USA after 9/11, when we went looking for a fight. It was a war of unintended consequences, of one step leading to another and then a kind of mad lust rising up in the populace. Once it began, it became hard to end. If there was evil, it was in the souls of countless men who wanted to kill perfect strangers for reasons that are still obscure.

    The situation in today’s Middle East is a bit like WWI.
    • Iraq is breaking apart
    • Its border with Syria exists only on maps
    • A Kurdistan is in formation
    • Jordan and Lebanon are endangered
    • The Israeli-Palestine situation threatens to produce real violence
    • Egypt has returned to military rule
    • Libya teeters
    • Yemen is at war with itself
    • And the once-modest Syrian uprising is the butterfly that flapped its wings to produce a hurricane.
    Obama is faced with a situation that has been folded in on itself many times over: foreign policy as origami. This is not a crisis made by a man or men. It is made by movements. The challenge is not to make it worse.
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  7. mathman Valued Senior Member

    There is one major difference from the WW I situation. The major world powers (U.S., China, Russia, etc.) are all trying to stay away. It more closely resembles the Balkans just before WW I where the various Christian countries of the Balkans fought to get the Ottomans out and then fought among themselves about dividing up the spoils of war.
  8. Fraggle Rocker Staff Member

    Okay, sure. But how long will it be before the battles in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia, Nigeria, Israel, Palestine and Ukraine spill over into Turkey, Saudi Arabia, Iran, Jordan, Lebanon, Egypt, Libya, Tajikistan and its neighboring ex-Soviet Muslim republics?

    The USA has treaties with Turkey, Saudi Arabia and Israel. The Russians have their own treaties with several of the other nations. Civil war in Pakistan will surely draw the Indians in and Bangladesh will be caught in the crossfire. With war that close to China, and its own Muslim Uighurs in Xinjiang already restive, will the Chinese be able to sit still and just watch?

    Not to mention the Europeans, who are already pissed off at each other (once again).

    The Latin Americans, who "have no camel in this race," could end up being the new leaders of the world by default.

    Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of folks.

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