Controversial but with an element of truth to itNovember 16, 2013November 16, 2013 Tim WorstallMilitary24 Comments* previousOn ObamacarenextTimmy elsewhere 24 thoughts on “Controversial but with an element of truth to it” SimonFa November 16, 2013 at 10:51 am I don’t see anything controversial; its a good point well made. So Much for Subtlety November 16, 2013 at 11:05 am I did not see the Truth. Where is it? Flying Rodent lies by claiming Blair, Brown and Cameron lied. I mean they probably did, but he cannot and does not know it. Second the Cenotaph exists because Germany made a bid for domination of Europe. Which involved the invasion of a small, peaceful nation. Now I object to the invasion of Belgium and the German atrocities therein, but not enough to have done anything about it. And in retrospect I think Germany’s defeat in that war was a disaster for Europe. But there is no denying that our democratically (more or less) elected representatives decided that there was a national interest involved and so sent soldiers to fight. As was wildly popular at the time. I defy anyone to suggest any other sane government would have chosen otherwise. Likewise our democratically elected buffoon Blair made a decision that a vital national interest was at stake and so he too sent soldiers to Iraq. Presumably because the alliance with America is vital for the national defense. He went to the voters later and was returned to office. Every single soldier volunteered. So who the f**k is FR to sit in judgement? To paraphrase the late Andrew Breitbart, we know who FR is – another Leftist who uses his smug assumption of righteousness to pass judgement on others based on his own unwarranted assumptions about his completely unearned moral authority. If FR doesn’t like it, let him stand for office. Take the responsibility for defending this Realm. Have the lives of the sixty million residents in these Bless’d isles in his hands. And then lecture us about how he could do it so much better. John Barrett November 16, 2013 at 12:10 pm Blah blah… lions led by donkeys… ultimate expression of capitalist imperialism… wasted generation…inevitable result of treaties… sacrifice of simple duped workers… and so on and so on. It is no truer today than when it was first uttered by Lenin and his admirers in the twenties. What’s the term ? Blovation ? Ironman November 16, 2013 at 12:33 pm So Much For Subtlety We have had our disagreements. I agree with every single word here; I wish I could have expressed it as well. Tim Newman November 16, 2013 at 1:14 pm I knew a lot of soldiers who fought in Iraq, sent them letters when they were out there. While one or two, or perhaps all of them, might have disagreed with the war, not a single one thought the politicians had no right to send them there: this was their job, they signed up for it voluntarily. I don’t think even the soliders who have lost limbs feel any great anger at the government for sending them to war. Again, this is what they signed up for, voluntarily, so they can hardly piss and moan when they’re sent into action. I doubt many soldiers would share FR’s sentiments. NiV November 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm Remembrance day is about remembering the lesson of the past – that freedom has to be constantly defended, that tyrants and dictators (even abroad) are a permanent danger, and if we listen to the friends-of-tyrants and the enemies-of-liberty and we neglect our duty, we will eventually pay the price for it in blood. They fought and died for freedom – both ours and others’. We should honor not only the men but their cause. We should remember not only that they fought, but *why* they fought; why it was worth it. john b November 16, 2013 at 2:34 pm WWI had absolutely jack to do with freedom, don’t be bloody ridiculous. (WWII, yes.) NiV November 16, 2013 at 2:47 pm From the tomb of the unknown warrior: “Thus are commemorated the many multitudes who during the great war of 1914-1918 gave the most that man can give – life itself For God For King and Country For loved ones home and empire For the sacred cause of justice and the freedom of the world.” Ian B November 16, 2013 at 3:19 pm Whatever WWI was about, it sure as shit was nothing to do with “justice and freedom”. Getting involved was a mistake, and the government should have been hung at Tyburn for not getting Britain out after the first decimation of the BEF. Particularly that nasty little shit Lloyd George. It was millions of deaths for precisely nothing of benefit whatsoever. An utterly shameful moment in our history. Martin Davies November 16, 2013 at 5:42 pm Alliances. You declare war on them, we will declare war on you. You harrass our people we will declare war on you regardless of your alliances. Justice and freedom were nothing to do with it. People may have signed up to fight based on their own ideals or the propaganda of the day, it was not however the reason we went to war as a nation. Neither the great war nor its sequel. NiV November 16, 2013 at 6:14 pm Germany invaded the rest of Europe. Because they wanted it, and they figured nobody had the strength or will to stop them. And yes, there were a bunch of people back then too who thought we should have let them, who are the source of a lot of the myths about it. Ian B November 16, 2013 at 7:07 pm Britain had no meaningful war aims, and gained nothing from the Great War but the decimation of a generation of Englishmen and the loss of much liberty. The neutrality of Belgium was a poor excuse for such losses. Surreptitious Evil November 16, 2013 at 7:56 pm Yes, keeping your promises is an evil thing. NiV November 16, 2013 at 7:58 pm The neutrality of Belgium was just the ‘line in the sand’. Germany wanted to take over Europe, and had to go through Belgium to get round the end of the French defensive lines. Governments get criticised if they go to war for national advantage/profit, and they get criticised if they go to war and get none. Some people are never happy. Ed Snack November 16, 2013 at 8:23 pm And The Kaiser’s Germany was not you fuzzy liberal modern German state either, they were set on European domination by means of war. Britain’s policy over hundreds of years was to attempt to deny the domination of Europe by a single nation, be it France, Spain, Germany, or whoever, the there was no change of policy in 1914. Without Britain, France would have lost, if not in 1914, by 1916 at the very latest. Then, with a victorious Germany dominating the whole of Europe, wanting more colonies to add to the French ones they now had, how does Britain oppose them ? Once Germany was determined on war, there were no “good” options left. Opposing them was, IMHO, the best option available. And once you’re in, you’re in, there was no opportunity for a limited participation. And the British military leadership was probably as good as anyone else’s. All the generals struggled with the changes in technology and the scale, in particular with the absolute loss of communications once the battle commenced at any point. But in the end, Haig fashioned an army that one the battles that mattered, the last 100 days. In that time, everyone advanced, but the British army was the undoubted spearhead. It was a disaster, but I’m happy to attribute 95% of the blame to German militarism. Ian B November 16, 2013 at 8:26 pm Yes, keeping your promises is an evil thing. It might be when the promise is just a treaty (commonly broken in international affairs) and the price of doing so is millions of deaths. Britain alone lost nearly a million soldiers, with another 1.6M injured. OTOH, we could have left France and Germany to slug it out, and maybe sold them both some munitions, bit of profit and all that. There would probably have been a fairly rapid armistice, some loss of territory from France, and even Belgium would probably have got their sovereignty back, for whatever that was worth, since Belgium seems to consist of two ethnogroups who don’t want to be one country anyway. The whole thing was a fucking disgrace. There was no national benefit in being involved for Britain at all. bloke in spain November 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm Ian. Please! Three ethnogroups for Belgium , not two. You’re underselling them. But to be fair. The Kaiser’s war aims included getting a port for his fleet on the North Sea. If he’d have succeeded he’d have threatened total domination of British sea routes connecting it with the Empire. Britain could never have accepted that & would have been obliged to go to war anyway. And likely lost. Malmesbury November 16, 2013 at 8:53 pm The German plan was to dismember Belgium, and take more French territory. In preparation for the *next* war. Yes, their plan for WWI was to be in a better position for WWII. In addition they would be building up the navy to surpass the British Navy using an indemnity imposed on the French and Belgians….. WWII would have happened anyway. Could you imagine the Germany of “Blood and Iron” going “You know, this peace lark seems like a good idea?” For laughs, given the absence of the Nazis, many of the key scientists in the Manhattan project would still have been in Germany and the Austrian Empire…. Without the economic problems of WWI, progress might have been much faster….. Imagine 1940 with Willy III (bigger nut job than his father) in charge. With the Bomb…. Martin Davies November 16, 2013 at 9:32 pm So our very small local army was chucked into the deep end in 1914 – taking considerable losses while generals learnt lessons they should have learnt years earlier. Interestingly we produced a document about German atrocities in Belgium, the source material of which was later lost and the witnesses unable to be found….. trying to justify a war? So Much for Subtlety November 17, 2013 at 4:44 am NiV – “The neutrality of Belgium was just the ‘line in the sand’.” Well everyone had different lines in the sand. I tend to think the most justifiable was the Austro-Hungarians. When your neighbour funds and arms terrorists who murder your heir apparent, I think you’re entitled to be a little miffed. If anyone had justice on their side, they did. I don’t think the Belgians would have suffered much under the Germans. Much less than Eastern Europe did under the Soviets. Less than anyone did under the Soviets. We were happy enough to end WW2 with Poland under Soviet control. Not that we could do much about it. Ed Snack – “And The Kaiser’s Germany was not you fuzzy liberal modern German state either£ Yeah but by modern standards, they were pikers in the lack of liberty stakes. Who knows how they might have evolved but compared to what followed, they were preferable in every way. “Britain’s policy over hundreds of years was to attempt to deny the domination of Europe by a single nation, be it France, Spain, Germany, or whoever, the there was no change of policy in 1914.” But there was in 1945. When Britain went along with the domination of Western Europe by the Americans and the Eastern Europeans by the Russians. Which worked out very nicely for us and for the Western Europeans, I think we would all agree. But this policy had run its course. It was no longer viable. Would a German dominated Europe have been so bad? Perhaps it would have been. But 1. it is impossible to fight the reality that a united Germany was a superpower when compared to France and Britain and 2. the only way to redress that was to bring in people from outside Europe – the Americans and the Russians. “Once Germany was determined on war, there were no “good” options left.” Staying out of the ground war and arming the Russians? Could Germany have ever defeated a Russia armed with British guns? They decided they couldn’t and hence they let Lenin off the leash. “And once you’re in, you’re in, there was no opportunity for a limited participation.” Why not? It is not as if anyone could force us to do otherwise. What would the French have done if we refused to send the BEF? Surrendered? “And the British military leadership was probably as good as anyone else’s.” Alas that is not true. The Germans so outstripped everyone it is embarrassing. In infantry and artillery tactics, everyone has been playing the same German game ever since. So Much for Subtlety November 17, 2013 at 4:46 am Martin Davies – “Interestingly we produced a document about German atrocities in Belgium, the source material of which was later lost and the witnesses unable to be found….. trying to justify a war?” Some modern scholars seem to take the atrocities fairly seriously. I do not know if they are competent or not, but they do. Mind you some of them take Haig seriously too. Ed snack November 17, 2013 at 6:55 am SMFS, I believe that you are misguided. Under the Germans during WW1, a chunk of the Belgium population was shipped to Germany and forced under not far short of concentration camp conditions, to labour for the German munitions industry. The Austrians indeed set very harsh terms on the Serbians at the start, unfortunately for your thesis, they basically agreed to all the terms. However the Austrians rejected that on technicalities and refused to negotiate. The Russians were defeated before Lenin, their casualties had been horrendous and they lacked the capability to defeat german troops although they did at times do tolerably well against the Austrians. British guns would have made no difference, until 1916-17 the British could hardly make enough even for their small army let alone one Russia’s size. If Britain stays, the French are defeated, no question about it. The Germans take Belgium, Northern France and a strip down the coast, that was their published settlement terms as late as 1917. With those holdings, no France or Italy to restrain them, Britain would be forced to fight and lose, or to surrender if the Germans challenged them. As for the command, until 1914 the British army did not consider command issues for a force larger than 6 divisions even in principle. And thanks to the incumbent administration they were woefully short of guns and ammunition. Their leadership, like everyones, had to learn lessons, but by 1918 the British high command was definitely superior to the French and the German. DBC Reed November 17, 2013 at 7:42 pm @BiS The Kaiser already had a North Sea port at Bremerhaven. Ian B is right :WWI was ruling-class bollox. We did n’t interfere in the Franco Prussian War. We had a massive fleet to protect us 1914-18 and the German ships stayed in harbour after Kiel and Jutland. Chances of invasion zero.(Much the same as WW2.How did Churchill protect England from Nazi invasion? Sent a massive army to North Africa) cuffleyburgers November 18, 2013 at 1:20 pm Ed Snack – what you said. SMFS – The Germans and Austrians bear full responsibility for starting it although elements of the Russian foreign service were up for it as well as they Hated the Austrians (who doesn’t?) Ian B – Afraid you’re wrong on this one. It was obviously an enormously difficult decision to take but they took it with courage and for the right reasons, unlike scum like Blair whose main concern was to write a page of history with his name on it Leave a Reply Cancel replyYour email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *Comment Name * Email * Website Save my name, email, and website in this browser for the next time I comment.