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Minutes before the assassination
The ongoing political and humanitarian disaster that is the modern Middle East was born from the aftermath of what we now call World War I. The victorious Western allies picked apart the remnants of the finally fallen Ottoman Empire, carving up and creating nations, and creating or moving ruling regimes, with no regard or respect for local histories, cultures or concerns. A century of hell was the result.

What we now call World War I also saw the fall of the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire, which was successor to the ridiculously inaptly named Holy Roman Empire, and the Russian Empire. Germany was held responsible for what was then known as the Great War, and although the brutality of the German sweep through Belgium and northeastern France at the beginning of the war was unconscionably horrific, the diplomatic gamesmanship and at times flat out dishonesty of Russian, French, and English political leaders had been every bit as responsible for the war's having expanded from regional conflict to continental conflagration. But to the victors go the spoils and the writing of the histories, and Germany was humiliated and economically destroyed, opening the door to the rise of extremism, and ultimately the Nazis.

It all started with the assassination of the accidental heir to the Austro-Hungarian Empire. This was not but a symbolic excuse, for without the assassination, the war might never have happened. Franz Ferdinand had become next in line to the throne when his first cousin, the Crown Prince Rudolf, had committed suicide. His marriage to a commoner had shocked and angered the royal court, and his gruff personality had not endeared him to the Austrian people. But while there had been an overt effort to convince the aging Emperor Franz Joseph I to be more militarily aggressive toward Serbia and the Empire's large Slavic subpopulation, Franz Ferdinand had consistently opposed such action, and had, in fact, supported increasing the autonomy and rights of the Slavs. It was one of the awful ironies of history that the Serb assassins chose for their target the one man who likely would have defused the simmering political tensions, had he only lived the two and a half more years until his uncle died, at age eighty-six.

World War I almost certainly wouldn't have happened had Franz Ferdinand lived to become emperor. The astonishing diplomatic ineptitude and cynical political machinations that followed the assassination wouldn't have become possible. The cruel European global imperialism and churning industrial arms race would have continued, but alliances would have continued their decades-long alignments and realignments, and rising peace and labor movements would have continued to undermine and remake old political orders.

There had been plenty of opportunities for the European powers to start wars on each other, but for four decades none had been taken. After Sedan, France and Germany didn't seem to have the belly for another fight. England had become isolationist, and had enough problems at home. Russia had been defeated by tiny Japan and also had its own problems. The Hungarian half of the dual empire no more wanted war with the Slavs than did the heir. The newly imperial United States was focused on its southern neighbors and across the ocean to its west. The Sarajevo assassination could not have happened at a worse moment, and its victims could not have been worse targets. Likely it alone could have led to war, and the century of horror that followed.

The assassins were poised on the riverbank roads, but their first attempt was off target. Members of the royal retinue were injured, but the royal couple almost shrugged it off, continuing with their official schedule, on what was supposed to be their last day in the Balkans. Having seemingly failed, the assassins themselves at that point had little hope. But the royal couple decided to go to the hospital to see the injured. The route led back along the river, where the assassins were no longer prepared. The driver hadn't been told of the change of plans, and when it was discovered that the motorcade was headed in the wrong direction, it turned down a side street, to back up and turn around. In a nearby cafe sat one of the assassins, Gavrilo Princip. To his great surprise, by yet another awful accident of history, his target suddenly was right before him, the car all but stopped. He calmly walked outside, and from point blank range took aim. A single event rarely so changed the course of history itself.

Originally posted to Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:08 PM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

    •  Bad history analysis (0+ / 0-)

      Scores of invading tribes and empires have swept across Mesopotamia in the last two thousand odd years.  Iraq was so fragmented by the time of the British mandate that no number of created countries could possibly have created sufficiently unified countries to avoid internal conflict.

      Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

      by BenFranklin99 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:34:01 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Ineptitude and inflexibility of a decadent regime (20+ / 0-)

    Europe 1914 was full of fossilized societies, struggling to deal with the changes of the Industrial Revolution and the burdens of global empires.  It could not deviate from the elaborate rules it had written for itself, even when those rules dictated catastrophe.

    There are more uncomfortable parallels to today's "advanced societies" in the history of 1914 than we'd like to think about.

    I stand with triv33. Shame on her attackers.

    by Dallasdoc on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:28:55 PM PDT

    •  Add to that the economic inequality that brought (14+ / 0-)

      about the Depression--the final tipping point which brought about the rise of fascism in Europe and a liberalism in the US

      "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

      by zenbassoon on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:32:51 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  a depression made so much worse in germany (10+ / 0-)

        by the sanctions and reparations forced on it by the victorious allies.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:41:07 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Yes, the last of the WWI German bonds were paid... (8+ / 0-)

          Yes, the last of the WWI German bonds were paid off a few years back.

          It took all these years, a second WW and German post war industrial boom to pay them off. They couldn't have paid them off with the post WWI economy we left them.

        •  Pure BS (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          After the Franco-Prussian War the victorious and exultant Germans imposed reparations far more onerous than those the Allies imposed on defeated Germany following WW1.  The French paid off those reparations in under ten years and went on with life.  That was during the period of the late 1800s when the world was watching a global deflation until the mineral resources in South Africa started to come on stream to fund the global gold standard.  

          The Germans had expected to impose even more onerous reparations following WW1 if they had won than they had following the Franco-Prussian War.  So any claims that Germany's financial woes were due to the reparations is just so much bunk.  The Germans could have made do, but chose poorly.

          What hurt the average German was that they believed their government and put their savings in German war bonds, expecting to get paid out of those juicy war reparations they expected to receive.  They saw what happened in the 1870s and anticipated a rerun of the show.  Of course, German lost and no reparations came and the average German Burgher lost all their savings.  They chose poorly.  

          That would have happened even if Germany wasn't required to pay reparations.  Because, to get rid of their internal war debt the Reichsbank inflated the currency to the moon, beggaring those Burghers in the process.  That was their own government doing it, not the Allies.  

          "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

          by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:39:02 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  was 5 billion gold francs (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            really worth more than 132 billion gold marks?

            The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

            by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:40:10 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  Lots of Differences (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            limpidglass, PrahaPartizan

            The Franco-Prussian War went really badly for France, yes, but France's economy was no where nearly as bad off in the aftermath as Germany's was.  World War I was a war unlike any seen before it in scale and devastation.  Germany was utterly wrecked economically, psychically, and politically.  The onerous reparation and disarmament demands really added insult to injury.  Hitler was able to build on the disillusionment in Germany.

            France's position after the Franco-Prussian war just not that bad.  German militarism may have also played a role in the different reactions to defeat.

          •  That's more like the history I learned when I (7+ / 0-)

            was in school in France.

            The bonds were payable in marks. The same quantity would be paid but the devalued currency would be worth much less after it was converted by the French and Belgians into their own money.

            How it backfired isn't so hard to understand. Think of the Republicans playing games with capping the debt limit for politics. They could bring on an economic catastrophe and blame it on the banks just like they did in Germany,

            They teach history a little different in the US.

        •  That is the conventional analysis, but (0+ / 0-)

          I would suggest that the aggressive, narcissistic, and authoritarian temperament of the German people is really responsible for German imperialism within Europe.

          Warren/Grayson 2016! Yes We Can!

          by BenFranklin99 on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 02:36:31 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

    •  from arms races, (10+ / 0-)

      shifting ephemeral alliances, and inept and dishonest diplomacy. not to mention a continuing arrogant imperialistic presumption. but if franz ferdinand hadn't been assassinated, the war almost certainly wouldn't have happened. had the motorcade not had to turn around, franz ferdinand would have returned to vienna, and a couple years later he'd have been emperor.

      of such slight historic accidents is the entire history of the world sometimes made. better to remove the risks that make such accidents so potentially catastrophic.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:36:46 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  That war wouldn't have (6+ / 0-)

        ... but Germany's expansionist ambitions, British and French habitual power-politics jockeying, and the Ottoman Empire's and Russia's decadence would almost certainly have guaranteed some other explosion at some other time.  A stable, adaptable international order would not have allowed such an accident of history to start such a conflagration.

        I stand with triv33. Shame on her attackers.

        by Dallasdoc on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:40:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the british were isolationist (7+ / 0-)

          and focused on ireland. france and germany were toying with becoming allies. the balkan wars, the moroccan crisis, fashoda- none had triggered a war. there were so many times it could have happened, with so many different alliances, but it hadn't. but the assassination of his foil finally gave conrad the upper hand in austria against the slavs and serbia, the loss of one of his few true friends gave wilhelm the impetus to approve the military action he'd previously shied away from, and sazonov finally has an excuse to prove he wasn't the wimp everyone said he was. it all revolved around ferdinand's death.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:48:17 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Britain's isolationism ended with the Boer War (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            and shortly thereafter is entered into the Entente Cordiale with France, which not only ended almost 80 years of Go It Alone but also ended almost a millenia of hostility to France.

            •  not really (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              the boer war was considered largely a domestic matter, but even so it was hotly debated. salisbury was adamant about remaining isolationist. and there, too, a wider war was averted. the english believed the germans were going to get involved, but wilhelm wasn't the crazed warmonger he later was made out to be.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:34:14 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  the smallest variables have the largest effects. (8+ / 0-)

        One mistake of driving directions, one madman driven by a few micrograms of his own bad brain chemistry, the nail in the shoe of the horse in the battle, the random particles emitted by uranium or plutonium.

        It takes much effort to push a boulder up a hill, and but little effort to start it rolling down.  

        One vote on the Supreme Court changed the history of the 21st century much for the worse thus far.  For which reason I refer to the day Bush was "selected" as "12/12," in the manner of the name we apply to the Al Qaeda attack in the following year, which most likely would not have occurred had Gore taken office and continued the Clinton policies of vigilance against Al Qaeda.

        We got the future back. Uh-oh.

        by G2geek on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:17:15 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Princeps tho was hardly a madman (0+ / 0-)

          he was a bright student who saw no future and lived in a time when the commoners could not express opinions at the ballot box. He himself was not really a nationalist and worked with all ethnic groups in an attempt to bring about revolution. In prison he was shocked that his actions had led to a world war, which was not the aim of his group. Unintended consequences, indeed.

          •  when the purpose of the existence of the... (0+ / 0-)

            .... commoners is only to serve as food for the ruling class, the justifiable response in lieu of any other means of recourse, is revolution.  

            But assassinations and other terrorist acts are not revolution; they are ultimately doomed to futility, and the fact that consequences are unintended does not lift the moral responsibility for causing them.

            We got the future back. Uh-oh.

            by G2geek on Mon Jun 30, 2014 at 12:41:58 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  True, but he wasn't a madman. He saw himself (0+ / 0-)

              and his group as revolutionaries. The assassinations had been plotted for awhile. Would he have been an assassin had he grown up in a different world? Don't know. Probably not, is my guess.

          •  A bit more complicated (0+ / 0-)

            Bosnia had been occupied for 30 years by the Hapsburg Empire and it had not participated in any of the elections in Austria or Hungary as it was still de jure part of the Ottoman Empire. It wasn't just commoners, NOBODY had a vote. And in Serbia itself, there were elections but real power alternated between the Obrenović and Karađorđević families, with the alternations often coming as the result of assassinations.

    •  Like this? (4+ / 0-)
      Europe 1914 was full of fossilized societies, struggling to deal with the changes of the Industrial Revolution and the burdens of global empires.  It could not deviate from the elaborate rules it had written for itself, even when those rules dictated catastrophe.

      There are more uncomfortable parallels to today's "advanced societies" in the history of 1914 than we'd like to think about.

      Global economics of 2014 were full of fossilized  philosophies, struggling to deal with the changes of the Informational E-Revolution and the burdens of one global super power  dominating many smaller economic centers. It could not deviate from the elaborate rules it had written for itself, even when those rules dictated catastrophe.

      We've nearly duplicated the conditions of 1914-1929 already, in their modern form. The 2008 crash was the WWI that nobody listened to. "2029" is coming. We were given a chance to fix the antiquated and decadent financial system in 2009, but those who controlled the levers of power were unable to look past their own short-term pocketsl/interests, much like the aristocracy of 1914.

      100 years, on the mark.

      "The law is meant to be my servant and not my master, still less my torturer and my murderer." -- James Baldwin. July 11, 1966.

      by YucatanMan on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:59:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  except the world moves so much faster now (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        our economic, transport, and communications systems are highly integrated and far more complex. Things happen at the speed of information propagation, which these days is mere seconds with the Internet. Events will occur far, far faster than in the sleepy old days of 1914-29. What took two years to happen in 1929 could happen in two months today.

        We have supercomputers that have automated the work of human traders, performing thousands of trades in a fraction of a second, amounting to billions and billions of dollars. If something goes wrong, it could spread very quickly throughout the whole economic system in a form of contagion.

        A few years ago, the Dow dropped 1000 points and then rose about as much, all in one day. This was the so-called "Flash Crash", ascribed to high-frequency trading algorithms all acting in concert to produce a kind of constructive interference. No one is really sure that it won't happen again, or how to prevent it--and the next one could be far, far worse.

        Our rotten fossil-fuel-dependent economy is another huge vulnerability. Because everything runs on oil and the price of so many goods is tied to oil, even a small price shock could precipitate an all-encompassing economic crisis, quickly disrupting supply chains and increasing transport costs and causing damage in nearly every economic sector.

        I think when all this hits, it'll make the Depression look like an afternoon at the park.

        "In America, the law is king." --Thomas Paine

        by limpidglass on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 05:07:53 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I disagree (5+ / 0-)

      France, Germany, and the UK were adapting well -- in different ways -- to these struggles. In France, the conservatives had been totally, utterly defeated in the 1906 election, permanently (with exception of its collaboration with the Nazis and Vichy) ending the major role that its then-reactionary Catholic Church played in society. Thanks to Bismarck, Germany had created a generous social welfare system that protected all citizens and stimulated the economy -- and the Socialists were the largest party in the Reichstag at the outbreak of the war. The UK had finally ended the veto power of the House of Lords and had enacted most of the Lloyd-George/Churchill "People's Budget", and immediately after the War began a Home Rule bill for Ireland was finally  enacted.

  •  It's always tempting to play the "what if" game (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    HoundDog, jayden, thanatokephaloides

    and alter history with some outcome that is totally different.  And perhaps things may have unfolded into a peaceful disintegration of the empire. Then again the prince could have fallen under the spell of ministers and decided to take a hard line and not be the one to let a hundreds of year old empire collapse under his watch.  Or the treaty could have been along the lines of Wilson's points and Hitler would have never emerged.  Who knows.  Maybe history did unfolded better than some alternative.  Hard to imagine that but with the repercussions felt even today there is no telling how things may have played out.

    "The whole problem with the world is that fools and fanatics are always so certain of themselves, but wiser people so full of doubt." Bertrand Russell I'm very certain that is true. 10−122

    by thestructureguy on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:49:22 PM PDT

  •  Middle East and Ottomans Were About Oil No? (8+ / 0-)

    UK was shifting from coal to oil somewhere around this time for example.

    I have to think there was going to be a clusterfuck around the Mediterranean even if 50 million people weren't slaughtered in Europe.

    Now; would Russia have gone Soviet?

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 07:56:33 PM PDT

    •  the romanovs were going to fall (7+ / 0-)

      but perhaps not so dramatically. oil was not yet such a huge deal, and until then the british had effectively ruled egypt and parts of arabia, anyway. the ottoman empire itself was kept alive because it was a convenient buffer. but moving the hashemites out of arabia and into iraq and the newly created jordan? not likely.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 08:41:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  No, it wasn't (0+ / 0-)

      On the eve of WW1, Oil had only just been discovered in Iran and it wasn't at all clear yet what big reserves it had.  Definitely of strong interest to Britain since it was the first oil producing area where they had primary influence, but tangential at best to them getting into WW1.

      Oil wasn't discovered at all on the other side of the Persian Gulf (i.e., Saudi Arabia) until the 1930s.

      By far the biggest producers at the time were the US and Russia.  Other players were Romania, some other western hemisphere nations (CAN, MEX, Venezuela), and Indonesia (Dutch colony at the time).

      •  WW2 (0+ / 0-)

        Just to follow up, oil plays a much bigger role in WW2 -- no resource was more important for Japan to capture than the Indonesian oil fields, the Germans depended on the Ploesti oil fields in Romania and capturing Russia's Caspian fields was a top priority in invading Russia (and should have been even higher; Baku probably mattered more than Moscow); and by WW2, control of the Persian Gulf was seen as an important war aim by the Brits, Germans, Russians.  

    •  No (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      As of WW1 no oil had yet been discovered in the Ottoman Empire. Iran yes, Ottoman Empire no.

  •  The Treaty Of Versailles (15+ / 0-)
    "This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty years."
    -French Marshal Ferdinand Foch, on the Treaty of Versailles
    It has to be one of the worst agreements in human history. Let alone one of the worst peace treaties ever.

    It allowed the worst of both worlds. Not only did the Germans get to feel burdened and bitter about their circumstances, but the treaty was so feckless that it left Germany in a position to actually seek vengeance.

    • A Vietnamese waiter came up to President Wilson and wanted to talk to him about French Indochina and the possibility of its independence from France. Wilson brushed him off. The waiter's name? Nguyễn Ái Quốc, who later changed his name to Ho Chi Minh.
    • The Battle of the Somme was one of the largest battles of World War I, with over a million casualties on both sides. Allied forces attempted to break through the German lines along a 25-mile (40 km) front north and south of the River Somme in northern France. On the first day, the Brits suffered over 50,000 casualties, which included over 19,000 dead. To this day, it's still the bloodiest day in the history of the British Army. British and French forces would only advance a fraction what they believed was possible. When it was over, the British had suffered over 400,000 casualties for about 2 miles of blood soaked earth. And during the same year just to the east, the French made their stand at the Battle of Verdun, where the whole strategy was to feed the French Army through a meat grinder and force France to capitulate. Of course it bled the Germans as dry as the French.
    • Before the 25th Amendment and the Presidential Succession Act of 1947, there was no way to remove a President who was incapacitated medically, since inability to perform the duties of the office is not a "high crime or misdemeanor" deserving of impeachment. That led to situations like Woodrow Wilson's second wife, Edith Bolling Galt Wilson, claiming "stewardship" of Wilson's Presidency. Wilson encountered a firestorm of opposition to his support for the League of Nations, and attempted to launch a nationwide campaign to rally support for the League. He overexerted himself campaigning and suffered a debilitating stroke that left the nation devoid of any real executive power.
  •  That assassination (8+ / 0-)

    has always been a point of fascination for me. Did the average person know or have a hint of what was to follow when they heard about it? The earth kept rotating but everything changed for most of the rest of the century.

    That war had a direct impact on me. First, the house I grew up in had an addition that was basically a barracks from WWI.

     My grandfather did not go to war but stayed home and ended up helping our only town doctor with people who had the pandemic flu, because of that whenever I got sick they would give me watered wine because that is what that doctor did for his patients.

    I heard the exploding of bombs every day of my life growing up because the Army Depot just outside of town was tasked with destroying old WWI and WWII armements.

    Later another military installation south of us spent years burning Sarin and mustard gas from our military adventures.

    Funny. That war has been on my mind a lot lately...

    Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. They lie through their teeth with their head up their behind. You open up their hearts and here's what you'll find - Some humans ain't human some people ain't kind. John Prine

    by high uintas on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:09:07 PM PDT

  •  Are you a historian Laurence? Thanks for this (7+ / 0-)

    interesting lesson.

    I wasn't aware of this.

    What an amazing idea to image if the driver had taken a different turn history may have turned out so differently.

    Then there are other times when single events seem not to matter as much as the accumulations of millions of individual choices into larger social forces that seem to shape history without regard to random events.

    Tolstoy has some interesting pages in War and Peace where he contrast the view of history too often told as the stories of great men - he uses the example of Napoleon, as if this one man's will shapes the history of the times and causes hundreds of thousands of individual soldiers to march across a continent into Russia.

    RJ's comments about the Treaty Of Versailles may be a better illustration of the idea I"m having trouble articulating. What was a more causal factor in creating WWII? Adolph Hitler or the burdens of this treaty on this German people?

    Is it possible that had this treaty not left the German people impoverished, angry, perhaps, even desperate that Hitler may have been dismissed as a drunken lunatic?

    I don't know, I'm not a historian, I just find it interesting to  wonder how much of the behavior of social systems comes from deep structural forces that might be approximately predictable in the style of Asimov's Psychohistory described in The Foundation Trilogy which was one of my favorite sci-fi series.

    I read that as a teenager after reading Abraham Maslow's Motivation and Personality where he described the hierarchy of need satisfaction, and also Herman Hesse's Glass Bead Game, which I took as an ideal to achieve, totally missing that apparently Hesse intended this as a satire of German academic over-intellectualism.

    My father, who was a computer scientist, and a former professor of Latin and Greek, as well as Navy Aviator, had a vast library of things like symbolic logic, mathematics, set theory, so I took it upon myself at the time to work out the actual mathematics of the glass bead game.

    I got sidetracked.  

    Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

    by HoundDog on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:31:00 PM PDT

    •  heh (3+ / 0-)

      i found much of the glass bead game to be tedious- much prefer hesse's other novels. but "the indian life," at the end, is one of the greatest short stories, ever. it succinctly makes the point that the book overall takes so much time to impress.

      history does turn on such seemingly random moments. events coalesce to create the conditions that give those moments such potential, but even so, ff the moments pass differently, the coalescence itself can dissolve as other events and other moments take their own places. as a fan of alice miller, i would also cite the prussian standards of child-rearing- the literal definition of "poisonous pedagogy"- as perhaps the key underlying factor that made germany ripe for fascism and nazism, brought to a boil by wwi and versailles. again- no wwi, no trigger, and perhaps germany organically evolves out of the poisonous pedagogy.

      i'm not a historian by trade, but it's certainly a hobby...

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:40:22 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  In retrospect I could see the tedious thing but (3+ / 0-)

        was an avid reader growing up so at about 14 or 15 Hesse's books were a whole new world for me and I think some part of my mind was awakening at that time as well, so that concept of the a Glass Bead Game as a real system of abstract-mathematical-symbolic representation was tantalizing.

        What if Hitler had been hit by a car as a youth. Would the German people have found some other leader and shaped him into the same kind of dictator?

        To what extent is the phenomenon we are seeing as the Tea Party a product of demagogue leaders like Ted Cruz, or vice a versa?

        Humor Alert! No statement from this UID is intended to be true, including this one. Intended for recreational purposes only. Unauthorized interpretations may lead to unexpected results. This waiver void where prohibited. Artistic License - 420420

        by HoundDog on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:50:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the economy is primarily responsible (3+ / 0-)

          for the rise of the tea party (as relatively small as it is), while cruz is just the most convenient semi-charismatic leader, for now. but i do think the alice miller effect is in play, there, too, as it was for hitler and many germans of his era. but when i saw the academy of fine arts in vienna, i couldn't help wondering how history might have changed, had hitler been accepted there.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:54:39 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  My personal theory on the Tea Party (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MHB, TKO333

          is lead poisoning [which includes myself]. The recent research on lead poisoning and it's direct relationship to the crime wave got me to thinking about what happens to those people after their past the age in which they're most likely to commit violent crime... That entire swath of folks from the age group of roughly 40-65, who experienced the most extreme lead poisoning is the heart and soul of the Tea Party. And they are still violent and lacking in the capacity of higher reasoning.

  •  "All Quiet on the Western Front" by Erich Maria (7+ / 0-)

    Remarque made me a pacifist. I read it first at age 18, and up til then I'd thought war was like a John Wayne movie, all glory but no guts. I'm reading "The Sleepwalkers" now, but "The Guns of August" is one I'd like to re-read sometime. It's horribly fascinating, all those European armies mobilizing and moving slowly, tragically, towards apocalypse.

    "Let's stay together"--Rev. Al Green and President Obama

    by collardgreens on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:32:55 PM PDT

  •  Let's Not Forget the Serbs (3+ / 0-)

    The Serb government was totally complicit in that murder of an imperial dynast and lied to the Russian imperial court about their complicity.  Would the Russians have committed to defending the Serbs if they had know just how deeply involved the Serbs had been?  Could the Romanovs endorse assassination of the heir to the Habsburg throne when they had seen their own Czar assassinated just forty years earlier?  The Bosnian Serb decision to honor Prinzip just rubs salt in the wound of the Serbs' responsibility for triggering WW1, the Russian Revolution and the Russian Civil War, the horrors of Stalin Soviet Union, and WW2.  It's no wonder that even Bismarck didn't want to get involved in any Balkan fun'n'games.  I suspect he'd feel the same way about the Middle East today.

    "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

    by PrahaPartizan on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 09:51:41 PM PDT

    •  serbia had been a mess (2+ / 0-)

      since its own royal assassination, and apis had his hand in that as well as sarajevo. but there was plenty of duplicity on all sides, after the assassination, and plenty of just flat out diplomatic bungling. a lot of key leaders really didn't want the wider war, but they kept misreading and misleading each other, which enabled those who did want war, and for many it was as if they arrived at august by surprise.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:05:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What If Serbia Had 'Fessed Up (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Laurence Lewis

        Serbia never stated explicitly before the Russians mobilized that it was definitively responsible for the killings.  Would Russia have gone to war if it had?  Could the Romanovs endorse the assassination of another government's dynastic heirs?  What would happen to the Romanov's given the czarevitch's frail health and susceptibility to any personal injury?  

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:42:31 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  i don't think it would have mattered (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          keep in mind that austria's ultimatum was overwhelmingly invasive, and serbia agreed to all of it but for the conditions that would have effectively ceded its sovereignty. the serbian government was not exactly happy about apis, who would eventually be executed.

          berchtold had been supportive of franz ferdinand's opposition to conrad's militancy, but with ferdinand out of the way, and the court wanting revenge, he felt a need to prove himself- just as sazonov did in russia. germany approved austria's hard line because wilhelm and bethmann-holweg assumed austria would act quickly and decisively, making it a fait accompli before russia would have time to respond, thus containing the war to the balkan region. but austria couldn't act quickly, because its military was on its annual summer furlough, for the many farm families, and it also needed to convince tisza, which was no easy task. and then russia mobilized more quickly and more fully than seemed necessary, with russia, france, and england all being dishonest about it, even at times with each other. the germans felt backed into a corner, the austrians plodded but wouldn't back down, and there really was nothing short of allowing itself to be occupied that serbia could have done at that point. it was a multifaceted clusterfuck.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:08:00 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Tragedy is that there were many contingent (0+ / 0-)

            events, and had any gone the other way, all out war could have been avoided. The Kaiser thoughtlessly signed off on pretty much any action Austria-Hungary wanted to take against Serbia (what historians often call the "blank check"). Russia chose to back Serbia, and subsequently not only mobilized against Germany as well as A-H, but lied to the Germans about it. Germany mobilized against France as well as Russia, because the system of mobilization was so complex (literally hundreds of trains scheduled to get millions of soldiers to their starting points) that the Germans didn't think they could change it. Wilhelm actually told his Chief of Staff, Von Moltke, to mobilize against Russia only, but Von Moltke said it was impossible (and had a nervous breakdown at the thought). So the system overrode the decision makers, and France was attacked. The attack on France went through Belgium, because the Schlieffen Plan couldn't be changed, which brought Britain into the war.

            So what could have been only a limited war between Serbia and A-H became an international nightmare. Think about it--no WWI, no Communist Russia. The Kerensky government took power in February, 1917. It was only because Germany sent Lenin back to St. Petersburg from Switzerland in the famous "sealed train" that the Bolsheviks were able to hijack the Revolution in October, 1917. No WWI, no Hitler, and so no WWII and no Holocaust.

    •  That's an oversimplification (0+ / 0-)

      First of all, there is absolutely no way you can hold the assassins of the Archduke responsible for whatever happened in the Soviet Union.
       Secondly, the assassination wasn't even directly about Serbia. It was about the Austrian annexation of Bosnia.
        Thirdly, we are talking about the assassination of a corrupt ruler of a decadent empire. Not something that will make many weep over.

      "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

      by gjohnsit on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 11:36:19 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  What Started the Snow Ball Rolling (0+ / 0-)

        I'd mostly agree with you, but for the fact that the Serb action started the snow ball rolling.  Without Russia's involvement in the war in support of Serbia, the Bolshevik take over of Russia likely doesn't happen and the Soviet atrocities never happen.  The Serb-inspired assassination were all about Serbia, since they desired to take out the person who likely would have defused the Slav discontent in the AH Empire.  That was precisely why they had targeted Franz Ferdinand when they had the chance.  Lastly, I've yet to see any evidence in the historical record that Franz Ferdinand was considered a corrupt ruler by the standards of the day.  He was a Habsburg and the AH Empire likely could have been considered corrupt (it was certainly inept), but assassination of government rulers was considered anathema by most by the early 20th century standards.  Would we not approve of assassinating any ruler of any government today under those standards you propose?

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 09:33:12 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Actually, Franz Ferdinand was not a ruler, and not (0+ / 0-)

        particularly corrupt as these things go. As the diary makes clear, he actually supported greater Serbian rights.

    •  The Russians probably would. (0+ / 0-)

      They wanted control of the Bosphorous Strait that separates Asian Turkey from European Turkey.  Going to war against the Ottoman Empire on behalf of the Serbs would be a fine way to place troops on the Balkan Peninsula, practically at the gates of Istanbul.

      "Politics should be the part-time profession of every citizen who would protect the rights and privileges of free people and who would preserve what is good and fruitful in our national heritage." -- Lucille Ball

      by Yamaneko2 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:42:08 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Ottoman Empire Not Part of the Triple Alliance (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Russia had historically supported the Bulgarians, who in the First Balkan War had driven to within thirty miles of Istanbul.  Russia then turned around and supported Serbia who had double-crossed Bulgaria in their war with the Turks which had just concluded.  Russia's actions essentially drove Bulgaria into the arms of the Triple Alliance.  Russia didn't want other Slav armies in Istanbul, because they all had claims as viable to Constantinople as the Russians did, probably better.  The Ottomans only joined the Triple Alliance after the war had started, although the Russians never lacked a reason for going to war against the Turk anyway.

        "Love the Truth, defend the Truth, speak the Truth, and hear the Truth" - Jan Hus, d.1415 CE

        by PrahaPartizan on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:06:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  There were plenty of wars in the preceding (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, a2nite

    40 years, all of which were about empire and some of which led to or had a strong effect on the outcome of WWI:

    Balkan Wars
    Boer War
    Spanish-American War
    Russo-Japanese War
    Mexican Revolution
    Belgian conquest of the Congo

    What am I missing? A lot, I'm sure. Point is that major wars didn't stop after Sedan, and that there wasn't a clear discontinuity between the Prussian wars and WWI. The Prussian wars launched an intense period of arms buildup and empire expansion that directly led to WWI, of which the above wars were symptomatic. Had the Archduke not been killed, some other huge war would have been inevitable. Arms buildup and empire expansion always does that.

    "Reagan's dead, and he was a lousy president" -- Keith Olbermann 4/22/09

    by kovie on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:08:37 PM PDT

    •  and none of those (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      led to wars between the major powers, although several risked it. that's the point. there were so many that could have, but until sarajevo, none did.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:37:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  'Belgian' 'conquest' of the Congo: (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, kovie, Skippah

      Was what formalized and provided the paradigm for the colonization of (almost) all of Africa. The major European powers agreed to divvy up Africa. King Leopold II was 'given' the 'rights' to Congo to keep British and French territories separate, and so avoid potential conflicts. That created the Congo Free State that was explicitly not a colony of Belgium, but a personal fiefdom of King Leopold II.

      Oh, and tge evil bastard Leopold pretended his motivation was preventing Arab slave traders from preying on black Africans. A blatant lie. His regime is most infamous for being the only time in history that hunan hands were used as a currency. The evil, evil 'man. (BB spits).

      I ride the wild horse .

      by BelgianBastard on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:49:20 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Archduke Ferdinand took a wrong turn... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    thanatokephaloides, Greyhound, a2nite

    ...after the hospital visit and for this reason the motorcade went on a side street and passed by a cafe.  His assassin was eating a sandwich there and grabbed the opportunity.  So it was pure synchronicity.  

    Daily Kos an oasis of truth. Truth that leads to action.

    by Shockwave on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 10:34:50 PM PDT

    •  That's where this piece falls apart. Claiming that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Shockwave, gjohnsit, a2nite

      the war would not have otherwise happened is naive at best and ignores the reasons that the war was inevitable, even though it talks about the reasons for it's inevitability immediately following that statement.

      The parasites were in a feeding frenzy over the spoils of several collapses. That's all there was to it. They were going to fight over the loot and we were going to do the dieing in their never ending quest for more.

      And lest we forget, that war was the direct cause of the next war and that war opened the door for our fascists to rule the world.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities." - Voltaire

      by Greyhound on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 11:17:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Re: (0+ / 0-)
     World War I almost certainly wouldn't have happened had Franz Ferdinand lived to become emperor.
    That probably isn't true. There were all sorts of forces lined up to push for war.

    "The oppressors most powerful weapon is the mind of the oppressed." - Stephen Biko

    by gjohnsit on Sat Jun 28, 2014 at 11:16:50 PM PDT

  •  Ferdinand was targeted specifically (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    because he was a reformer.  Under the worse, the better theory.

    "When dealing with terrorism, civil and human rights are not applicable." Egyptian military spokesman.

    by Paleo on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 03:49:59 AM PDT

  •  You can see the car in Vienna (0+ / 0-)

    The car the the Archduke was riding in is on display in the Military History Museum in Vienna.  It's quite something to see if you know the history.  

  •  Bill Moyers had a segment on Iraq (0+ / 0-)

         and the wisdom of T. E. Lawrence. ☛ Bill Moyers Essay

    The free market is not the solution, the free market is the problem.

    by Azazello on Sun Jun 29, 2014 at 10:05:43 AM PDT

  •  I would love to talk about WWI and it's antecedant (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, duhban

    and consequences, I'm a bit tired.

    But I will say the part of Flanders  where I live still has fields, still has poppies and still has crosses, row on row. In fact, not far from where I live, if you throw a dart at the map, it will probably land closer to a War Cemetary than a village (with the former containing more persons).

    War is a BFD, and jingoism and "we'll be home by xmas" and "they will greet us with flowers" should be taken with a bucket of salt.

    One other point: The Ottoman Empire was just as foreign and 'wrong' as what the British or French did in the Middle East and  North Africa, or the American's their back yard or the Philippines. Maybe not as bad as what the Belgians did and let happen in Congo, but that's not something to boast about.

    I ride the wild horse .

    by BelgianBastard on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:46:57 PM PDT

    •  Disagree about Ottoman Empire (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      By 1908 it was brutal and corrupt, but it was definitely not foreign. It was the leading Muslim state in the world and the overwhelming majority of its subjects were quite happy about that fact.  The concept of a nation state did not exist in the Muslim world prior to the 20th century.

      •  Sorry, but OE was definitely not a nation state. (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PrahaPartizan, duhban, Skippah, vcmvo2

        Look up the definition of a nation state. The Ottomans ruled Armenians, Arabs, Kurds, North Africans etc  etc. by means of arms. That by definition is not a natiin state.

        And if the Ottoman's were so popular, why was it so easy (but hard, too) for Sir Lawrebce of Arabia to foment a widespread revolt of 'the Arabs' that lead to major defeats for the Empire? The Turks were colonizers no different tgan the French an British who came after them.

        I ride the wild horse .

        by BelgianBastard on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:01:04 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That was my point (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          PrahaPartizan, Skippah

          The concept of a nation state did not exist in the Muslim world until the 20th century.

          Regarding the "Arab Revolt" -- there was not even a hint of problems until the Young Turks Revolution of 1908. That was the beginning of nationalism in the Muslim world. As the Ottoman Empire became self-consciously Turkish, it unwittingly reminded Arabs (almost as numerous as Turks in the Empire) of the distinction.   And the "Revolt" army was numbered in the thousands, nowhere near the size of the Ottoman Army. However even there it probably had more to do with the Hashemite ruler of the Hejaz wanting out from under his Ottoman overlords. (It didn't do him much good; ibn Saud would throw the Hashemite family out a few years after WW1 ended.)

          One should not apply western European concepts to places where they don't apply.

    •  as much as anything (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      PrahaPartizan, Skippah, vcmvo2

      the german brutality in belgium in the war's first month galvanized international opinion. it was the determining factor in england's swift entry into the war. the germans had actually hoped england would stay neutral.

      as for the ottomans, it had been centuries since they had remade the middle east, and they at least also were muslim. to this day, syrian hardliners claim right to lebanon, israel, and jordan because damascus was the capital of the ottoman eyalet that contained them all.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:44:31 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  It's not as if OE rule was static... (0+ / 0-)

        long before WWI, or even European interference, the Turks had lost control of Egypt and the rest of North Africa. And Turkish culture was almost as foreign to the Arabs as that of the Europeans.

        As for your point about Syria: so? Syrians pick a moment in history that is convenient for them... what a surprise. It the same reason Iraq should supposably [sic] be a country, because of Ottoman bureaucracy... well, newsflash, Ottoman administration reflected what the Ottomans wanted and needed, just like European colonial administration did also. Sometimes they were completely arbitray (say French West Africa), sometimes they weren't (say Malagasy).

        I ride the wild horse .

        by BelgianBastard on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 06:26:10 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  the ottoman empire was kept alive (0+ / 0-)

          because the british needed it as a sort of buffer against the british. but it was still a muslim empire, which, as foreign as it was to the arabs, was still paradigmatically different than a western creation. and modern iraq also was a western creation, post wwi.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 09:18:30 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  No. If one goes back to the Crimean War (0+ / 0-)

            ... the French were just as responsible for the OE as a buffer state.

            As for the OE being paradigmatically different from the European powers who replaced it, yes, that's true. But that is almost a truusm. The fact that the Ottomans were an Islamic power didn't amount to a hill of beans. The French and British expeditions into Egypt in the very early eighteen hundreds,  the intervention of the rather extraordinary T. E. Lawrence, and the relativeky open arms and enthousiasm they were received with, while perhaps mistaken, clearly points to a deep dissatisfaction with OE rule. I would also point out that there are exactly zero movements to return to Turkish rule.

            But perhaps I misunderstand; The OE as a British buffer against itself?

            I ride the wild horse .

            by BelgianBastard on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 10:06:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  WTF? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    duhban, Skippah
    "But to the victors go the spoils and the writing of the histories, and Germany was humiliated and economically destroyed, opening the door to the rise of extremism, and ultimately the Nazis."
    So if I read this right, it really wasn't just Germany that started World War One, but the blame on Germany after World War One by the "victors" led to enough humiliation that opened the door to the Nazis.

    In other words, if we hadn't humiliated Germany with a distortion of history, there'd be no Nazis.

    That's some serious shit history right there.

    Like the Protocols of The Learned Elders of Zion wasn't circulating in the 1870s.  Like anti-Semitic pogroms hadn't taken hold in Russia decades before Hitler.  Like the Dreyfus Affair hadn't split France along modernist and anti-Semitic nativist lines.  

    As if Hitler just magically appeared.

    Not born out of centuries of radical anti-Semitism that fueled so much rage as Europe went through the technological transformation of the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries.

    To blame Hitler and the Nazis on anything other than the raging cauldron of anti-Semitism and victimization sensibilities of Nordic fantasies that had bred in Germany for centuries (see Wagner's operas for God's sake) is to abuse history like a lame mule.

    Otherwise, I enjoyed the piece.

    •  The point is that Britain and especially France, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Laurence Lewis, Skippah, leftneckgirl

      demanded unrealistic reparations from post-WWI Germany, and tge US acquiesced, despite Wilsons Fourteen Points.

      This lead to economic disaster there, and in tough times, extremists often gain in popularity. Just look at Greece right now.

      I ride the wild horse .

      by BelgianBastard on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:10:00 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  more than that (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        look at what Hitler did when he beat France into surrendering and then forced the French government to do so in the very same car.

        Verisalles was an open wound and one in which a charmastic sociopath could exploit. And so Hitler did.

        Der Weg ist das Ziel

        by duhban on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:20:46 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Ludicrous (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Hitler's rise to power had everything to do with rampant anti-Semitism that had been ingrained in the German collective imagination for centuries.

          Claiming "unrealistic reparations" for WW1 in any way "caused" Hitler is like blaming a rape victim for saying something provocative to her rapist earlier in the evening.  I'm sure the rapist thought that was the reason for his actions.  But that wasn't the reasons for his actions.  The reasons for his actions were endemic to his violent nature and would have happened to someone, regardless.

          •  I don't entirely disagree with you (0+ / 0-)

            but at the same time the reparations and the implosion of the Dutch Mark had far more to do with the rise of Hitler than antisemitism. Proof of that is Hitler's use of the Jews only really came after he rose to power and came fairly gradually over almost a decade.

            Der Weg ist das Ziel

            by duhban on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:35:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  completely false (0+ / 0-)

              Hitler wrote and published Mein Kampf in the 1920s, years before he was elected (1933). Every member of the Nazi party was expected to read Mein Kampf and given a free copy.  Before Hitler had won a single election.

              Hitler did not come late to antisemitism.  It was the foundational principle of his entire political philosophy and of his success.

              •  Mein Kampf only became truly popular (0+ / 0-)

                over a decade after it was written after Hitler came to power. More over the book blamed not only Jews but the  Weimar Republic, Social Democrats and Marxists.

                My point though isn't about Hitler it's about the German people as a whole and how that charismatic sociopath appealed to them. Go read Hitler's first campaign material there's little mention of the Jews there. Mostly Hitler appealed to giving them work and rebuilding the military. The very 2 things 'reparations' ruined.

                Der Weg ist das Ziel

                by duhban on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:35:24 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

    •  I understand your point (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      but antisemitism had a 1,000 year history to it even at that point. There is however a clear line between the 'Treaty' of Versaillies and the rise of Hitler and the Nazis. I doubt one would ever be able to prove they would not come to power without WW1 and that 'treaty' but the argument is as strong as there can be without omniscience.

      Der Weg ist das Ziel

      by duhban on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:18:54 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  There is a clear line (0+ / 0-)

        But it has nothing to do with the Treaty of Versaillies and everything to do with the rising anti-Semitism in Europe that begins in the nineteenth century.  The Dreyfus Affair, the Protocols of Zion forgery, the backlash against Disraeli in England in the 1880s, and the increasingly powerful mass media and technology of modernity.  Germany, with its Wagnerian operatic Nordic fantasies and bastardization of Nietzschean philosophy, was primed as a violent, sociopathic war machine long before Hitler.  Just look at Germany's actions in WW1. Blaming the "Victors" of WW1 is just an excuse.  An attempt to look beyond Germany for Hitler's origins.  What a disgrace to what actually happened.

        •  There is no denying (0+ / 0-)

          that the victors of WW1 used reparations as a way of 'punishing' the Germans. Nor is there any denying that those 'reparations' ruined Germany financially not to mention emotionally. There also is no denying that these 'reparations' were pushed primarily by the UK and France to be vindictive.

          My point though still stands. If this was simply antisemitism then what changed even from 100 years prior? It's not like Jews and Jewish Culture suddenly went from well liked to hated.

          This part of European is complicated like a tangle of yarn but a definite strand of that is the 'reparations' and what they did to the German economy.

          Der Weg ist das Ziel

          by duhban on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 07:42:37 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  what changed was modernism (0+ / 0-)

            New technology (cars, phones, movies), biology (genetics), science (Darwin, Einstein), psychoanalysis (Freud), multiculturalism, the rise of the United States, and a more cosmopolitan, geoglobal sensibility that threatened the Nativist purists in Germany.

            The massive recession in Germany opened the door for Hitler but that's not why he was elected.

            •  well I am sorry but we're just not going to agree (0+ / 0-)

              on that.

              Since we have reached a fundamental disagreement I'll simply wish you a good day.

              Der Weg ist das Ziel

              by duhban on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 08:37:08 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Good day to you (0+ / 0-)

                I suggest you read Mein Kampf at some point, since you seem confused on the foundational principle of Hitler's political career.

                •  I've read Mein Kampf (0+ / 0-)

                  in the original German. I'm not disputing Hitler's antisemitism however you seem confused as to what else is in the book or how Hitler's primarily appealed to German nationalization and pride at first which most Germans thought was unfairly and unjustly attacked by the Treaty of Versallies. You can disagree with that if you want but as I understand it you're disagreeing with the majority of historians.

                  enjoy your day

                  Der Weg ist das Ziel

                  by duhban on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:26:17 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  there's no way you read it (0+ / 0-)

                    The battle between Jew and Aryan is Hitler's central epiphany.  It pervades nearly the entire book.  It is the core of his entire political philosophy.  

                    Every member of the Nazi Party was given a gift copy of Mein Kampf.  You gotta be kidding me to pretend Germany didn't know what Hitler was about or that Hitler came late to anti-Semitism.  Are you serious?

                    Downplaying Hitler's anti-Semitism because you want to excuse Germany or make it somehow understandable that they turned to fascism is a disgrace to history.

                    •  I'm responding for one reason only (0+ / 0-)

                      I'm defending nor excusing nothing. I'm disagreeing with you about your attempt to sweep the role WW1 and the Treaty of Verisalles had in laying the foundation for Hitler and the Nazis. Hitler almost certainly does not come to power if the allies decide to not lay the sole 'blame' on Germany and levy their absurd punishments.

                      Der Weg ist das Ziel

                      by duhban on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 09:59:09 AM PDT

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Hitler also does not come to power (1+ / 0-)

                        If their isn't a cauldron of raging anti-Semitism permeating throughout Germany (and most of Europe) after centuries of demonization by the Catholic Church, Passion Play performances, Wagnerian fantasy, and conspiracy theories and forgeries like the Protocols of Zion.

                        Hitler merely tapped into something deeply endemic to Germany and a rage that long predated both Hitler and the events of WW1.

    •  The diarist is absolutely right! (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      The Nazis would have never come to power without the the treaty of Versailles. The terrible conditions of the treaty caused the German military commanders to blame the surrender of the German Army on the "betrayal" by democratic politicians on the home front, who overthrew the monarchy. This "Stab-in-the-back myth" was a central image in propaganda produced by the right-wing parties that sprang up in the early days of the Weimar Republic. They denounced the German government leaders, who signed the Armistice on November 11, 1918, as the "November Criminals". This infamous lie layed the ground for the hatred of democracy in broad levels of the German population and is directly responsible for the rise of the Nazis.

      The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who never viewed the world - Alexander von Humboldt

      by germanliberal on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 12:59:44 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  The Nazis were not magically conjured up (0+ / 0-)

        The Nazis were the final step in centuries of building anti-Semitism and Nordic fantasies bred in German folklore and myth.  Claiming the events after WW1 led to Hitler is like claiming Obama led to the Tea Party.  It is bullshit.  The seeds of racism that infuse the Tea Party in America go back a hundred years.  Obama may have been the catalyst, but the catalyst is merely the excuse to release what was already there.  In Germany's case, long before the 1920s.

        •  This is ridiculous (0+ / 0-)

          There were sveral reasons why the Nazis came to power. Off course antisemitism played a role. But to claim the main reason was antisemitism is outright ridiculous.

          The most dangerous worldview is the worldview of those who never viewed the world - Alexander von Humboldt

          by germanliberal on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 06:17:10 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Wow (0+ / 0-)

            I'm not even sure the idiocy of this post is worth responding to.  Have you read Mein Kampf?  Written in the 1922?  Given to every new member of the Nazi Party?

            Mein Kampf was nearly entirely about the Jews ruining Germany from within.  It is about Hitler's epiphany about the real threat to the purity of the Aryan bloodline.

            It was the book on which his political career was launched and the most popular book in Germany at the time of his election.

            So yes.  I claim the main reason Hitler won election was anti-Semitism.  Anti-Semitism completely ingrained in Germany that long predated the events of the 1910s and 1920s.

    •  I think he said that distortion of history was (0+ / 0-)

      only one of several factors. Also, you underestimate the power of the "stab in the back" meme in the rise of Hitler. The false history that Germans told themselves, that they were not defeated in the field but were undermined by Jews and Communists was crucial to Hitler's attraction.

      And as for anti-Semitism in Germany, one historian said that if he'd been told in the 1920's that a nation had tried to kill its Jewish population, he'd have said it was typical of those French. There was an awful lot of anti-semitism in France, and in Europe as a whole (Russian pogroms...). What you're saying is basically what Daniel Goldhagen said in "Hitler's Willing Executioners." Other historians of the Holocaust, such as Christopher Browning, Raul Hilberg, et al., have taken issue with the notion that Germany "eliminationist" anti-Semitism was dramatically different and worse than that of other nations.

      Hitler himself is the wild card. He and the Nazis were able to turn what we could almost, grotesquely, call "normal" or "routine"  European anti-Semitism into the ultimate horror that was the Holocaust.

  •  An additional angle to the fallout from this (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Naniboujou, Laurence Lewis, mkor7

    event (which btw, I did not know was so happenstance/fateful, my gosh...) is that it pretty much was the birth and whelping box for corporate and state propaganda.

    In 1916 Wilson was elected in a landslide. "He Kept Us Out of War" was the campaign's slogan. Then a bit more than a year later everybody, and I mean everybody, wanted to kill the Kaiser.

    It was an absolutely stunning turnaround.

    Here's a great piece of historical dissidence from the time:

    The War and the Intellectuals: Randolph Bourne Vents His Animus Against War

    Pro-war statements and speeches—as well as more coercive measures—gradually captured American public discourse in 1917. Fairly quickly, those who rejected the rationales for United States participation in the war found themselves increasingly isolated. Liberals, intellectuals, and even many socialists soon supported American intervention. A youthful critic in his twenties, Randolph Bourne wrote a bitter essay in the intellectual magazine Seven Arts, lambasting his fellow intellectuals for lining up so readily behind the war effort.

    In a year we went from a peace loving country to arresting dissidents for sedition for opposing war intended to "deliver Democracy" to the Continent. Propaganda, and the first Minister of Propaganda, Edward Bernays, were born from this assassination as well.

    Here's a fascinating documentary about the 100 years of propaganda:

    Democracy - 1 person 1 vote. Free Markets - More dollars more power.

    by k9disc on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 07:53:34 PM PDT

  •  The victors write the histories (4+ / 0-)

    Heard a BBC piece  today from a reporter who went to Sarajevo to look at how local residents view  the assassination. It wasn't surprising that the way this event is portrayed has changed repeatedly over 100 years.

    What was most interesting is that even today people have very different versions of history.

  •  Sorry, but I can't accept the notion... (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Yamaneko2, PrahaPartizan, duhban, Skippah

    Sorry, but I can't accept the notion that WWI wouldn't have happened if Franz Ferdinand hadn't been assassinated.  It might have started a year or two later, but Europe was also 'lucky' (if you will) that it hadn't started a year or two earlier.  WWI was essentially made inevitable by Germany's unification and the resultant shift in the relative distribution of power among the Great Powers.  And that same power distribution question is, again essentially, what led to WWII in Europe -- in fact, I'm largely persuaded by those who see the two WWs in Europe as essentially one extended war with a 20-year ceasefire.  The question of Germany's place in Europe is what drove much of the Cold War and continues to drive Russia's insecurity.  But turning back to 1914, we know the German high command believed that war was inevitable and that Russia's military would be much stronger by 1917/1918.  The Germans were looking for a reason to start the war before that, and Sarajevo provided the hook they needed.  

  •  Lawrence, I'm sure we have (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    different philosophies of history.  And philosophy really is the key word here.  Would World War I have happened without the assassination of Franz Ferdinand?  We don't really know.  We can only speculate that what would have happened would have been different in some way.

    I tend to think there would have been a World War I, just a different World War I.  Maybe not even a very different one.  My reasons, like yours, are philosophical, i.e., that the seemingly important micro-events that we think of as necessary triggers aren't usually as necessary on an individual basis.  

    If the comet that wiped out the dinosaurs, had missed, now that would have been a drastically different history.  But if the bullet had missed Franz Ferdinand, or the assassins had slept late, I think something else would have happened, somewhere else, and the house of cards would still have fallen down, because that's the nature of houses of cards.

    •  i disagree (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, Skippah, vcmvo2

      there had been so many potential flash points for four decades, and none had exploded. despite militancy on many sides, there also were so many who really didn't want war. even as it was, the british government almost fell while debating the war, and the famous "nicky and willy" letters show how reluctant russia and germany were to fight each other. and again- ferdinand's accession almost certainly would have led to a cooling off with the serbs and slavs.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 08:51:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  An alternative view might put it this way. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        That World War I had little or nothing to do with the Serbs and Slavs and Austrians.  That half of the world didn't go to war because of what happened to one Archduke.  After a long period of "relative" peace and prosperity, and of technological growth, the idle forces of the military had grown more eager for a war.  Much of this militancy came from a fat and happy aristocracy that made up most of the military officer class in European countries.

        They were gasoline.  The Archduke was just a match of convenience.

        Again, we're battling with competing narratives, so there's no clear answer possible here.  

        It's like friends that have been married for years, but they tell you they got divorced because he said something awful about her sister and that was the last straw.  But you know that's not really why they got divorced.  The last straw is always trivial bullshit.

        •  not at all (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          duhban, Skippah, vcmvo2, Dumbo

          the militant aristocrats were a minority. berchtold and sazanov were considered weak, because of their opposition to previous warmongering efforts- but they had been prevailing, on policy. wilhelm had shied away from war over the balkans, the boers, and morocco. asquith's coalition was almost torn apart over the war debate even after the assassination, and salisbury and the old line tories wanted nothing to do with international conflicts. this wasn't a last straw, it was a trigger. the wrong person in the wrong place at the wrong time.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:57:56 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  One small correction (4+ / 0-)

    British, not English.

    Lloyd George (Welsh), Balfour (Scottish), Campbell-Bannerman (Scottish) and others had a hand.  The UK wasn't France or Russia -- it wasn't viable as an imperial superpower without all of the home nations, something even James I/VI grasped more than 400 years ago when he started pushing for the creation of a "British identity."  Backlash against this legacy is, I believe, part of why the Scottish independence referendum is so close when there's a laundry list of factors that point to keeping the UK together; the most emotionally compelling case for independence is the case for independence from imperialism, or the dregs thereof, and for independence serving as sort of a catharsis for both Scotland and England.  But the story of some of the other First World War belligerents, notably Austria and Turkey, demonstrates the limits of nationalism as an antidote to imperialism.  

    World War I was truly the war when the lights went out on Europe and the neighboring parts of the Middle East and Asia.  They have never really come all the way back on.

    •  I agree except for your last sentence. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      duhban, Skippah

      The lights are more on here in Europe than anywhere else.

      If you are poor or sick, a refugee or LGBT, you are better off here than anywhere else. Is it perfect here? Fuck no! But the powerless are better off here.

      I ride the wild horse .

      by BelgianBastard on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 09:05:59 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  yes and no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Europe does a lot of things right and does a lot of things I admire. Most of the nations though are very insular almost to the point of xenophobia. That's one aspect of Europe that really hasn't changed in the last 100+ years.

        Der Weg ist das Ziel

        by duhban on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 11:25:14 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Hasn't changed in the last hundred years??? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Oh come on.

          And insular? Europeans are more likely to be multilingual (especially native born ones), more likely to have a passport, more likely to have lived or worked in a foreign country.... sure there's way too much xenophobia here, and especially too much anti-immigrant sentiment (which is worse than in the US), but  hasn't changed in the last 100 years? Sorry, that's just not correct.

          I ride the wild horse .

          by BelgianBastard on Thu Jul 03, 2014 at 06:16:45 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  How much history occured because of a wrong turn. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Think about all the modern history that occured as a result of World War I.  We had the Bolshevik revolution and the Versailles treaty which fueled World War II.  This in turn fueled the Cold War which was the catalyst for technological developments such as the space program, computing and telecommunication.  We also saw the rise of the military industrial complex and the neo-imperialism of the United States, the Soviet Union and now China.  How much of this would not have happened if it wasn't for a bumbling assanation attempt and a wrong turn?

  •  It may be a good thing that Hitler was in charge (0+ / 0-)

    Imagine if Germany had a leader who wasn't insane with syphilis, wasn't addicted to meth and wasn't an amateur general?  They might have kept Western Europe, worked out a detente' with Great Britain where she could keep her far-flung Empire, and not attacked the USSR.  

    You reap what you sow. The Republicans sowed the Tea Party. It's harvest time.

    by MarcKyle64 on Tue Jul 01, 2014 at 10:52:45 PM PDT

  •  Damn. (0+ / 0-)

    I clicked on "read more" hoping for more.
    Good read. More please.

    When lots of people show up to vote, Democrats tend to win.

    by Audri on Wed Jul 02, 2014 at 05:31:47 AM PDT

  •  That Would be "British" Political Leaders (0+ / 0-)

    England is a subset of that.

  •  FYI the Archduke's family (0+ / 0-)

    With his dying breath, Franz Ferdinand futilely begged his wife, Sophie, to stay alive for the sake of their children.

    Franz Ferdinand and Sophie had a morganatic marriage because she, coming from a family that had never seen one of its members occupy a throne, was deemed not good enough for a Hapsburg.  Their children were thus not eligible for the Hapsburg throne.

    History ignores what happened to the children, Sophie, Maximilian, and Ernst.  Not welcome in the Hapsburg family, they were raised by Franz Ferdinand's friend and hunting partner.  The brothers grew up to be such ardent anti-Nazis that they were arrested and spent World War II in Dachau.  They survived the war but died relatively young, Maximilian in 1962 and Ernst in 1954.  Both married; Maximilian had six sons, Ernst two.

    Their sister Sophie married and had three sons and one daughter.  She outlived three of her children and died in 1990.

    Such was the Hapsburgs' grudge against Franz Ferdinand and his wife that they were buried on the grounds of one of the Hapsburgs' summer palaces instead of in the imperial crypt.  Her bier was lower than his.

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