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Who was responsible

Discussion in 'World War One Forum' started by krrish, Apr 29, 2008.

  1. krrish

    krrish New Member

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    On June 28 1914,Archduke Franz Ferdinand,heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne was assassinated by a Bosnian Serb citizen.History tells that this is the cause of the first world war.The war spreaded quickly from Europe to entire part of the world & it became the first global war.And the result was 20 million deaths & 20 millions injuries.Who were responsible for this huge loss ?Can we say that only Austria-Hungary was responsible ?
     
  2. jasmor58

    jasmor58 New Member

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    An inponderable question. There are all sorts of implications to be considerd here, Britain declaring war on Germany, the incompetence of the the War Cabinet led by Asqith , poor military leadership and lack of understanding of a war of attrition. Haig's belief in the "Big Push" to break the German lines and take large territorial gains and lack of adequate fire-power There is no one factor which is entirely responsible for the huge losses of men. As late as the third battle of Ypres (Passchendaele) it was Haig's belief that the big push was the way to win the battle and he consistantly refuted the idea of smaller "Bite and Hold" operations. However, the full blame can not be placed on the shoulders of Haig as there are so many other factors to be considered.
    Jasmor58
     
  3. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    During the first half of 1939, an atmosphere of foreboding hovered over Europe. There was the sense of an approaching storm. A revered British figure, Winston S. Churchill, who had held a number of cabinet posts but was now out of politics, warned that “ferocious passions” were “rife in Europe.” He was referring to Adolf Hitler and his Nazi cohorts in Berlin. The preparations for war were everywhere in England, and in London, the high-pitched moans of air-raid sirens were heard for the first time as defence officials tested the nation’s early warning system against attack by the powerful Luftwaffe. At the same time, another force was at work, this one invisible to the eye. For many months, Admiral Wilhelm Canaris, chief of the Abwehr, Germany’s intelligence agency, had been feeding a stream of accurate reports on the military and political situation in the Third Reich to MI-6, Great Britain’s secret service for foreign operations. Canaris was a leader of the Schwarze Kapelle (Black Orchestra), the conspiracy of prominent Germans pledged to curb or halt Hitler’s dream of conquest. Soon after the führer sent his booted legions to gobble up defenceless Czechoslovakia in March 1939, Canaris implemented a new strategy in an effort to prod Great Britain into taking action against the Reich. Now he ceased sending factual reports and planted false information on MI-6. On April 3, Canaris, a small, nervous man, stated that Hitler might send his Luftwaffe to attack the Royal Navy, Great Britain’s first line of defence. A second haunting report “disclosed” that German U-boats were prowling in the English Channel and even penetrating far up the Thames Estuary, the water passage to London. This time, the crafty German master spy got action, minimal as it may have been. Lord Stanhope, the first lord of the Admiralty, swallowed the bait. That same day, he gave orders for the fleet to “man the antiaircraft guns” and “be ready for anything that might happen.”

    Yet another false report planted by Canaris stated that Hitler planned to launch a war against Great Britain by a sneak bombing raid on London. This time, the wily admiral overplayed his hand. When none of his concocted scenarios developed, he lost credibility with MI-6 and other British leaders. Many in London believed, wrongly, that the admiral was hatching these fanciful tales as part of a devious Hitler deception scheme to mask the führer’s true intentions. Meanwhile in early 1939, Hitler was preparing to launch Fall Weiss (Case White), the code name for a massive invasion of neighbouring Poland. Army ranks were swelled by new men called up for “summer training.” The great German armament works were humming, turning out guns, tanks, airplanes, and ships.
    The führer’s highly capable general staff had put together an invasion plan which could be spearheaded by the infiltration of a large number of Germans behind Polish lines to create confusion, sabotage key facilities, and protect bridges needed for the advancing panzers. Earlier, notice had gone out from the Heer (army) that volunteers were being accepted for a special commando-type unit. It was headed by Oberst (Colonel) Theodor von Hippel, head of Section II, the intelligence branch responsible for clandestine operations. Within a few weeks, Hippel organized a force of picked men, who were chosen not only for their combat skills, but also for their resourcefulness and fluency in at least one foreign language. This project was designated top secret. To mask the true function of this crack outfit, it was designated Lehr und Bau Kompagnie (Special Duty Training and Construction Company). Its headquarters was in the old Prussian city of Brandenburg, giving the organization the name it would carry during the war, the Brandenburgers. Specific missions for the outfit would be decided by the high command, Oberkommando der Wehrmacht. On a large country estate outside Brandenburg, the future commandos were taught the techniques of stealth and individual sufficiency, how to move silently through woods, live off the land, and navigate by the stars. They learned to handle parachutes, kayaks, and skis, and how to create explosives from potash, flour, and sugar. The first real test of the Brandenburgers came in mid-1939 when small parties of these men, disguised as coal miners and labourers, began stealing into Poland and infiltrating the mines, factories, and electric power stations. Hitler, in essence, had a large covert sabotage force deep behind Polish lines along the frontier.
    X-Day for Case White was set for September 1, 1939, but the conflict that would become known as World War II erupted a half hour ahead of the scheduled kickoff. Curiously, participants on both sides in this opening round would be wearing civilian clothes, not military uniforms. On the evening of August 31, a group of Brandenburgers in civilian disguise prepared to go into action in the Baltic port of Danzig, which the victors of the First World War had awarded to Poland to prevent that country from being landlocked.

    At 4:17 A.M. on X-Day, the Brandenburgers surrounded the Danzig post office and demanded its surrender. The Polish postal workers were armed, and a shoot-out erupted that would rage all day. While the gunfire was in progress at the post office, the German battleship Schleswig-Hohlstein, supposedly in the harbor on a goodwill visit, began blasting targets in Danzig at point-blank range. It may have been the only instance in history where a warship, in essence, got behind enemy lines on a combat mission. By nightfall, Danzig and its post office were in German hands. At the same time, Brandenburgers who had been working as civilians inside Poland collected the explosives smuggled in from Germany in recent weeks and blew up the key facilities where they had been employed. Elsewhere, other Brandenburgers slipped across the frontier from Germany, got behind Polish defensive positions, and seized the crucial Vistula River bridges. At five o’clock in the morning, five German armies plunged across the border with the panzer spearheads charging over the Vistula spans secured by the Brandenburgers.
    It was a brutal, overwhelming assault. The Polish army and air force were antiquated and greatly outnumbered; those of Germany were the most modern that history had known. Adolf Hitler had introduced the term blitzkrieg (lightning war) to the languages of many nations. The Poles fought with desperate courage, but their valor was largely futile. On one occasion, a contingent of horse cavalry armed with lances attacked a group of German panzers. Aided by his infiltrators masquerading as Polish civilians, Adolf Hitler’s legions conquered a nation of thirty-three million people in only twenty-seven days. In the Third Reich, the führer reached a new pinnacle of popular admiration.
     
  4. jasmor58

    jasmor58 New Member

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    Not sure how this post by Stalin relates to the original question posted by Krrish? Or am I missing something?
    Jasmor58
     
  5. Cabel1960

    Cabel1960 recruit

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    Understandable as i left out the title which may of helped.

    Post Office Shoot-Out Launches a War

    Just to say that this part of history was the start of WW2.
     
  6. jasmor58

    jasmor58 New Member

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    Stil do not see how it related to the original question ?
    Jasmor58
     
  7. brianw

    brianw Member

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    I can see what you mean Jasmor58 regarding the original question by Krrish.

    I my opinion, the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand would seem to have been the trigger; the vital spark in an already volatile situation.
    Numerous treaties and promises existed at the time; Austria and Germany, Hungary and Russia, Turkey, France, and so the list goes on. At that point, I think war was almost inevitable. The Sarajevo incident just tipped it over the edge.
    There was already some “squabbling” going on in the Balkans, tensions were high across most of Europe, and there was also the issue of the perceived jealousy of the Kaiser over the size and equipment of the Royal Navy, which seemed to create a kind of mini arms race.
     
  8. jasmor58

    jasmor58 New Member

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    Glad that i am not alone on this one. I would guess that there are so many different factors involved that it is virtually impossible to answer kirrsh's original question. "Who was responsible for the huge loss ?
     
  9. brianw

    brianw Member

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    So far as the appalling losses on all sides of servicemen, civilians, property and material, much of the blame must lie with the military “high-ups”.

    The men on the ground and in the trenches were fighting with ever evolving weaponry with ever increasing and devastating capabilities while the generals seem to have been still locked into the ways of the cavalry charge and the fighting of “wars gone by”.

    Nobody is blessed with the ability to see the future, but it is the duty of all military leaders to be familiar with current trends and to modify their plans accordingly to take advantage or guard against the latest destructive capabilities.

    The leaders who are unable or unwilling to adapt will always lose; and it was only in the final two years of the Great War that such a philosophy was realised.

    Even in WW2, up until the BEF was evacuated from Dunkirk, the generals were still fighting a WW1 kind of static trench based “stop-line” sort of war against a highly mechanised and mobile foe; the result was plain to see.
     
  10. magnummedals

    magnummedals New Member

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    Hello

    The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was only small reason to war. But for the big World War there were many reasons which led to World War. The factors like increased armed race, the desire to dominant more nations in Asia and Africa, the enmity among nations, the desire of most countries to become stronger in Europe are the reasons which led to the huge losses.
     
  11. Mecklenburger

    Mecklenburger New Member

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    In his recent book "Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914", the Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University, Sir Christopher Clark, lays his reputation on the line by clearly showing that Great Britain and France deliberately manoeuvred Germany into war. Britain in particular was determined to destroy Germany as a commercial power and colonial rival. Once the gigantic clockwork was rolling, nothing could stop it. The war guilt lay with Britain and to a lesser extent France, as also responsibilitry for the millions of deaths in the Great War and subsequently.
     
  12. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Now we wait for the counter battery fire.
     
  13. Mecklenburger

    Mecklenburger New Member

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    Opana Pointer.

    I shelter behind the opinion of the Regius Professor of History at Cambridge University. I have no opinion of my own on the matter.

    One thing I never understood about the Great War was the offer of the Kaiser in 1916 to call it all off provided he was given Flanders as reparations. Now it seems much clearer what he was saying.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Interesting as I've seen some suggest that Britain would have avoided the war if Germany hadn't invaded Belgium.
     
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  15. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Who were responsible for this huge loss ?

    As a quick answer from me I'd say three factors caused the massive losses.

    1. Defence pacts...these, as in WW2 brought countries from all over the world (like Australia) who had little or nothing to do with the conflict.
    2. Old war doctrine VS machine guns. The Dopey sods with the pips didnt seem to understand that charging a machine gun was suicide...ill accept an early blunder but it took far too long to learn this lesson despite the massive evidence (mountains of dead men - Australia lost 12 000 in just one day!)
    3. Massive use of artillery with high explosives (thanks to Mr Nobel).

    Remove even one of these factors and thousands, maybe millions would not have died.

    IMO
     
  16. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    A new book hasn't had its feet held to the fire yet. I let them age some before investing in them. Learned the hard way myself back in the '70s.
     
  17. harolds

    harolds Member

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    Personally, I feel there was plenty of blame to tarnish each nation involved. If Russia, Germany, France, England or the A-H Empire had opted out of war, it wouldn't have happened. It was sort of a domino effect except each domino fell over on it's own volition.
     
  18. Mecklenburger

    Mecklenburger New Member

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    Opana Pointer. We are on the same page. This book needs careful consideration before holding forth.
     
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  19. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    The underlying cause was Russia's desire to extend its influence into the Balkans, an area where she had no historic role or claim. This led them to support Serbia as their client state in the region (a relationship which continues to the present day). They were aware and tacitly supportive of anti-Austrian activities by Serbian intelligence, but I do not believe they knew of the assassination plan. However when it happened, they felt they had to support their client, putting the Tsar - who had witnessed the assassination of his own grandfather - in the ironic position of protecting the murderers of the Austrian "Tsarevich".

    However Germany was responsible for turning a Balkan crisis into a general European war. Serbia was just about the last cause anybody wanted to go to war for; the current regime had come to power by brutally murdering its predecessors (carried out by intelligence officer Dragutin Dimitrijevic aka Apis who also facilitated the assassination of Franz Ferdinand).

    Germany had been preparing for a war against France and Russia for twenty years, ever since they signed a nominally defensive alliance in 1894. Competent general staffs normally have a shelfful of plans for various contingencies, but Germany had only one, the famous Schlieffen Plan for an invasion of France via Belgium. For twenty years, all they did was refine this one plan, and when the crisis came, the General Staff insisted that it was impossible to do anything but carry it out. Moreover, the Schlieffen plan was linked to their mobilization schedule. All the continental powers had elaborate plans for mobilizing their armies, and their great fear was that an opponent might beat them to the punch by mobilizing more rapidly (the best analogy is the Cold War fear of the United States and the USSR of the other getting off a nuclear first strike). In most countries mobilization meant calling up reservists and moving troops to the frontier, but in Germany the mobilization plan and war plan were one and the same. They had made themselves incapable of simply mobilizing and awaiting events.

    In sum, Germany's only response to a crisis in the Balkans was to launch the invasion of France via Belgium, whose neutrality both Germany and Britain were pledged to protect.

    Britain and Prussia/Germany were longtime friends and allies; the few times they had found themselves on opposite sides were due to alliances with other powers rather than any animosity between themselves. The break came with Germany's construction of what their own Admiral Tirpitz described as "a fleet against England". By 1912 Germany was spending 1/3 of her military budget on the navy and had made it the second largest in the world, an impressive achievement, but far in excess of any need for a continental war.

    It was also known that German war plans envisioned invading Belgium and northern France, potentially seizing ports on the Channel coast, which made the naval threat doubly serious.

    German apologists often point out that the British government considered itself to have "an obligation of honour" to support France in case of war, but they overlook the key question of what exactly that obligation was. In fact it was to support France in the event of German attack and particularly the anticipated attack through Belgium. There is no basis for assuming that Britain would join in an attack by France on Germany.

    p.s. Ironically, the German insistence that their only option was to launch the attack in the west appears to have been mistaken. As the crisis in the east escalated, Kaiser Wilhelm suggested to General Staff Chief von Moltke (the younger) that they could deploy only on that front. von Moltke insisted that "it cannot be done" and "the movement of millions of men cannot be improvised". As Barbara Tuchman wrote in The Guns of August:

    "When Moltke's "It cannot be done" was revealed after the war in his memoirs, General von Staab [what a name for a German staff officer], Chief of the Railway Division, was so incensed by what he considered a reproach upon his bureau that he wrote a book to prove it could have been done. In pages of charts and graphs he demonstrated how, given notice on August 1, he could have deployed four out of the seven armies to the Eastern Front by August 15, leaving three to defend the West."

    and:

    Moltke himself acknowledged "within six months of the event....that the assault on France at the beginning was a mistake and instead "the larger part of our army ought first to have been sent East to smash the Russian steam roller, limiting operations in the West to beating off the enemy's attack on our frontier."

    In my opinion the Germans were more foolish than deliberately evil. They had legitimate concerns. While the Franco-Russian alliance was nominally defensive, many in France hoped for an opportunity regain both the pride and the provinces lost in 1871. Germany's faults were locking herself into a single strategy - the most morally reprehensible one possible - and the pointless antagonizing of Britain.
     
  20. Mecklenburger

    Mecklenburger New Member

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    As I said before, Sir Christopher Clark's book needs very careful study before launching into a reply to the standard version of events which you recount here.
    However I notice that no mention is made of Britain's activities in the South Atlantic in the years prior to war, always "overlooked", but not by the Germans. Read again your fifth paragraph.
     

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