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View Diary: The war that (almost) never was: why World War I was NOT inevitable (26 comments)

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  •  Griff nach der Weltmacht (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    MrLiberal, palantir, rmabelis, Mayfly

    von Fritz Fischer

    if you can get it, read it. It isnt state of the art anymore, but has held up well. ah ja, its in german, which, as people still knew in 1914, was the language of learning, so you can be expected to deal with it :)

    •  Are you referring to Fischer's thesis (3+ / 0-)

      on Germany being primarily responsible for the outbreak of World War I? If so I'm familiar with it and tend to agree that the evidence supports his conclusion, although I would make the distinction between the German military and the civilian government in assessing who did what and why.

      "We are the leaders we've been waiting for." - Paul Wellstone

      by MrLiberal on Sun Aug 10, 2014 at 12:50:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes (3+ / 0-)

        you can imagine that that created a stir in Germany when it came out (it entered consciousness in the times of the cultural awakening of the 60s). my own uncle, who had written a standard book on the Weimar republic, opposed it to the end of his life. well, yes he did win over most of the internal debate eventually - the more poignant criticism came from outside germany in saying that other countriesd had their own war-profiteering cabals and germany was no specialty in that respect. Where, the counter-counter-argument was obviously that Germany´s position was unique in at the same time having industrially outflanked the old empires, and yet seeing the coming dominance of Russia and the US written on the wall - with no way to macth their weights.  Well and then the discussion goes into simple geopolitical and historical circumstances as backgrounds for decisions, and it ceases to be much of a "guilt" question.

        (for germans, this will always remain a hot issue. Germany was destroyed first mentally and then physically in a way that is unimaginable to most Americans, and the happenings of 1914, 1933, 1944 can not be discussed without an undertone of reckoning. There is no neutrality in the face of that history). Maybe in a hundred years when the starved remains of human tribes seek to survive on a ressource plundered, scorched earth, and things like "Europe" are just a memory, then this can become neutral history.

        no one here is allowed to forget that the people who said they were making policy for the "German interest"  very nearly managed to annihilate Germany wholly and completely, something that a thousand years of ups and downs had never brought close. This did change popular reaction to the term "national interest".

    •  In English, the title is "Germany's Aims in the (0+ / 0-)

      First World War," so it is available in our language as well.

      I never bought the idea of Germany being the ONLY, or even the primary, country responsible for World War One, as Russia, too, offered Serbia a "blank cheque" a while before Germany offered Austria-Hungary one (see my larger comments below). All the great powers of Europe, as well as the smaller Balkan powers contesting for the remains of the Ottoman Empire, share some responsibility, in my opinion, to a greater or lesser degree.

      Any one of the powers that had said "right, I'll do nothing but make peace" would certainly have changed things, perhaps in large measure, but there would still have been wars in the Balkans. Unless Britain, Russia, Germany, France, and Austria-Hungary had all agreed together on going hands-off on the Balkans, a wider war was always unavoidable (and good luck getting Russia, who coveted the Straits, to be completely hands-off in influencing the Balkan Wars).

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