Antipundit Rides Forth

Thursday, June 05, 2003:

World War One

Why do you think WW1 started in the first place?

Here's a hint. It wasn't because that jobber prince got himself assassinated.

Germany's military and political elite brought on the war. They embarked on a massive military buildup and tried to build enough ships to challenge the Royal Navy.

Their agenda was the same as Hitler's in WW2: Conquer as much of Western Europe and White Russia as they could in order to build a German land empire, one which could serve as the base for global supremacy. They definitely WERE to blame for WW1.

Britain, Russia and France already had big empires. The Germans didn't have much in the way of colonies which is why they wanted war since having a substantial empire was the geopolitical equivalent of having a big wang.

And given how much actual control was in the hands of the Kaiser (he wasn't a constitutional monarch)it's very hard to believe he'd have supported the war only because his elite told him to.

Britain and France would have probably preferred to avoid war with the Ottoman Empire given that it had been their prop against Russian expansion into the West for centuries. And fighting the Turks would have given them a big headache in managing their own Muslim populations.

There was a general feeling that war was probably inevitable given Germany's aggressive militarism and the fact their High Command had been working on a plan (the Schlieffen Plan) to win a European War for decades.

And the Versailles agreement didn't cripple Germany at all. The allies progressively forgave more and more German debt as the years went on.

The damage it did do was breed resentment among Germans who didn't think they should be paying anything at all and thought they hadn't been fairly beaten in the war.

What crippled Germany was the hyperinflation crisis in 1923 resulting from some pretty idiotic economic decisions they made.

Ali Choudhury // 7:20 PM


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