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Ensign_Cthulhu

Interesting presentation on the start of WW1 and what could have been.

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Relates to grand strategy on land, but I think it's worth sharing here:

 

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And to think, it really started with one wrong turn down the wrong street.

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30 minutes ago, Ace_04 said:

And to think, it really started with one wrong turn down the wrong street.

I got the impression, listening to this, that the intention had been there for a long time and that the wrong turn down the wrong street was merely a convenient trigger. That war, like Thanos, was inevitable - the only question was what form it took. 

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1 hour ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

I got the impression, listening to this, that the intention had been there for a long time and that the wrong turn down the wrong street was merely a convenient trigger. That war, like Thanos, was inevitable - the only question was what form it took. 

If Germany had told Austria that they started this they own it instead of WWI it would have been a minor war in the Balkans, but the Germans wanted it.

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23 hours ago, BrushWolf said:

If Germany had told Austria that they started this they own it instead of WWI it would have been a minor war in the Balkans, but the Germans wanted it.

The Russians, Austro-Hungarians and French also wanted it, for differing reasons, though having seen what it would result in, I think they might have changed their minds...

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19 minutes ago, mr3awsome said:

The Russians, Austro-Hungarians and French also wanted it, for differing reasons

The French very definitely, not so sure about the others. The French wanted Alsace-Lorraine back, the Austro-Hungarians wanted Serbia suppressed once and for all, but the Russians?

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3 minutes ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

The French very definitely, not so sure about the others. The French wanted Alsace-Lorraine back, the Austro-Hungarians wanted Serbia suppressed once and for all, but the Russians?

Yeah, the Russians didn't want it but Serbia was an ally so they went in to protect them. Germany was the one that could have prevented what became WWI.

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34 minutes ago, BrushWolf said:

Germany was the one that could have prevented what became WWI.

By standing aside and letting the Austro-Hungarians take the consequences of pissing off Russia? That could be seen as unwise.

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On 8/11/2020 at 2:09 PM, BrushWolf said:

If Germany had told Austria that they started this they own it instead of WWI it would have been a minor war in the Balkans, but the Germans wanted it.

Hardly. Russia would have joined in to protect Serbia and called in its Triple Alliance buddies in France and Britain to help them, to which Germany's hand would have been forced because losing Austro-Hungary would have left them completely surrounded by adversarial nations. No matter just what spark lit the fuse, the powder-keg of Europe was going to get set off.

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1 minute ago, 1Sherman said:

Hardly. Russia would have joined in to protect Serbia and called in its Triple Alliance buddies in France and Britain to help them, to which Germany's hand would have been forced because losing Austro-Hungary would have left them completely surrounded by adversarial nations. No matter just what spark lit the fuse, the powder-keg of Europe was going to get set off.

That didn't happen. I think, YMMV, that if Germany had told Austria early on that they would not help them if they started something and that they would be on their own that the Balkan War of 1914 would have ended up as a minor war with neither side coming out ahead and Serbia still being independent.

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12 hours ago, BrushWolf said:

That didn't happen. I think, YMMV, that if Germany had told Austria early on that they would not help them if they started something and that they would be on their own that the Balkan War of 1914 would have ended up as a minor war with neither side coming out ahead and Serbia still being independent.

I know what you think, and I think you're incorrect. By the time Gavrilo Princip put his gun to Franz Ferdinand's head and pulled the trigger, Europe had become the world's biggest Jenga game. Everyone was teetering on the brink, begging for a reason to cry havoc and let slip the digs of war. Britain and Germany were in the midst of a naval arms race, France was bitter over getting spanked by Bismarck and losing Alsace-Lorraine 40 years prior, both of them didn't like Germany intruding on their colonial empires, and Russia and Germany have just plain hated each other since the beginning. Austro-Hungary and Serbia were simply the one block out of many possible options that got pulled to make everything come crashing down.

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5 hours ago, 1Sherman said:

By the time Gavrilo Princip put his gun to Franz Ferdinand's head and pulled the trigger, Europe had become the world's biggest Jenga game.

:Smile_veryhappy:

You're right, though. 

It would have been very, VERY difficult not to make it a general war. Probably impossible. 

But just for a minute, let's play with the limited-war option, at least at first. Germany tells Austria-Hungary that it's on its own. Austria-Hungary, as we know, tried to invade Serbia at the start and got spanked for it at first. BY SERBIA. Then it cranks things up quite a few notches and starts spanking Serbia back. So Russia comes in against Austria-Hungary. At that point the war is strategically between the two of them, with the Serbian army being essentially irrelevant compared to the major players.

What happens after that depends on whether the Russians limit themselves to ensuring the freedom of Serbia as an independent nation or start trying to nibble at the edges of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. If they settle for tossing the AHE out of Serbia and giving its army a spanking, maybe things can be contained. If they go all-in on conquering Austria-Hungary, then Germany has little choice but to go in against Russia and it becomes a general war (albeit maybe with a defensive stance in the West, so it will not be the same war as was actually fought).

But that's assuming that something regarding cool heads prevail. Given the personalities and the motivations of the people who were actually in charge, what actually happened was probably what was always going to happen. 

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19 hours ago, Ensign_Cthulhu said:

The French very definitely, not so sure about the others. The French wanted Alsace-Lorraine back, the Austro-Hungarians wanted Serbia suppressed once and for all, but the Russians?

Russia's motivation is complex, but two prime movers were the chance at redemption following the loss against Japan, and the furthering of Slavism in the region, something that Alexander III and Nicholas II had both been fairly for (along with powerful court factions). This is seen in their use of the title 'Tsar' rather than the previously used 'Emperor'.   

Also, along with Austria-Hungary, it was a way to take thought away from internal problems, although that didn't work out too well in either case in the long run. 

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