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Sun Jun 16, 2019, 03:27 PM

Britain Should Not Have Fought in the First World War

The First World War is not called the Great War for nothing. It was the single most decisive event in modern history, as well as one of the bloodiest: by the time the war ended, some nine million soldiers had been killed. It was also a historical full stop, marking the definitive end of the Victorian era and the advent of a new age of uncertainty. By 1918, the old order had fallen: the Bolsheviks had seized power in Russia; the German, Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman empires had been destroyed; and even the victorious Allied powers had suffered devastating losses. It was supposed to be the war to end all wars. And yet barely two decades later, the world was again plunged into conflict. Little wonder then that historians still cannot agree whether Britain's engagement was worth it.

For some, the war was a vitally important crusade against Prussian militarism. Had we stayed out, they argue, the result would have been an oppressive German-dominated Europe, leaving the British Empire isolated and doomed to decline. And by fighting to save Belgium, Britain stood up for principle: the right of a small nation to resist its overbearing neighbours.

For others, the war was a catastrophic mistake, fought at a catastrophic human cost. It brought Communism to power in Russia, ripped up the map of Europe and left a festering sense of resentment that would fuel the rise of Nazism. We often forget that, even a few days before Britain entered the war, it seemed likely that we would stay out. H. H. Asquith's decision to intervene changed the course of history. But was it the right one?

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 03:49 PM

1. "Britain stood up for principle: the right of a small nation to resist its overbearing neighbors."

Not really. Britain didn't have principles in how it treated other nations. It still had an empire of slaves and populations in desperate poverty, ruled over by unelected governors who were only there by being born into privilege.

There was nothing virtuous in sending boys and men to their deaths to protect the British ruling elite.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 03:53 PM

2. +1

Just a lot of money to be made - and rival monarchies to be deposed.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 03:57 PM

3. That was the Debate topic, and it was a very interesting video. I think it comes down to whether the

Germans would have done a decent deal, but I believe they would have come back for more.

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Response to Doodley (Reply #1)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 04:18 PM

4. There were plenty of elites on the European continent.

Eventually the seeds were planted for the fall of imperialism for France, Germany, Italy, Turkey, as well as the United Kingdom. Also rabid Fascism was discredited by World War II part two of the First World War. Now if humanity can survive the new elites of industrial petrol capitalism and climate disaster who knows Homo Sapiens may continue to survive and evolve.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 04:34 PM

5. Britain had signed a promise to defend Belgium.

Germany hoped Britain would stay out of the war altogether. However, the Germans knew that Britain had promised to defend Belgium under the Treaty of London of 1839. The Germans wanted the British government to ignore the Treaty of London and let the German army pass through Belgium. The British government made much of their duty to protect Belgium. Belgium's ports were close to the British coast and German control of Belgium would have been seen as a serious threat to Britain. In the end, Britain refused to ignore the events of 4 August 1914, when Germany attacked France through Belgium. Within hours, Britain declared war on Germany. The Kaiser said how foolish he thought the British were. He said that Britain had gone to war for the sake of a "scrap of paper".

Within a few more days, Britain, France and Russia (the Allies) were all officially at war with Germany and Austria-Hungary (the Central Powers). What had started as a small, local problem in the Balkans was turning into the biggest and most brutal war the world had ever seen.

http://www.nationalarchives.gov.uk/education/greatwar/g2/backgroundcs1.htm

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #5)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 06:05 PM

6. Shows the importance of honoring treaties.

And now we have a president who doesn't and never will understand that.

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #6)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 06:36 PM

7. And it was in Britain's own interests, too, not to have an enemy....

in control of land right by Britain's ports. Britain is a port country. Its trade through its ports was everything.

So it not only had a treaty to honor, it was also in Britain's own interests in some ways, too. Although there were reasons not to.

We have alliances. That's why we got into WWII. Germany wasn't invading us. Germany was trying to take over our allies, and succeeding. AND it was in our own interests not to have Germany own Europe.

War is horrible, though. Women rulers wage war, too. But I think less. We need to have more women leaders. (OTOH, Queen Elizabeth presided over a huge imperialistic expansion, I think. Then there was Margaret Thatcher.)

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #7)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 06:43 PM

8. You are correct, of course,

but what you have outlined is there are not only reasons to honor treaties, but there are reasons they were signed to begin with. And of course Trump doesn't understand this either.

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Response to Mr.Bill (Reply #8)

Sun Jun 16, 2019, 06:50 PM

9. Yep. He's a moron. With loyalists who support him 110%. nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 17, 2019, 07:11 AM

10. Queen Elizabeth I oversaw an imperialistic expansion. QE2 oversaw shedding of empire.


You have it backwards. QE1 was in the 16th century.

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Response to Bernardo de La Paz (Reply #10)

Mon Jun 17, 2019, 08:10 AM

11. I know. I was referring to QE. The current monarchy is just for show. nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #7)

Mon Jun 17, 2019, 04:10 PM

13. On the simplest terms, we got into war with Germany

 

because Japan attacked us, we declared war on them, Germany declared war on us for declaring war on their ally, we reciprocated.

That leaves aside our offensive moves against Japan prior to their attack on us*, our support of the UK prior to our official entry into the war...etc

*our oil embargo of Japan, aimed at/in response to their "expansion" in the Pacific

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Response to shanny (Reply #13)

Mon Jun 17, 2019, 04:34 PM

14. My post was about WWI. nt

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Response to Honeycombe8 (Reply #14)

Mon Jun 17, 2019, 04:35 PM

15. oops

 

my apologies. BUT holds up for WWII as well. Honoring treaties! It's what we do, unless it is inconvenient.

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Jun 17, 2019, 10:50 AM

12. World War 1

Was a territorial dispute, fought between monastic cousins at the expense of millions. The start of the war was delayed so that members of the royal households could leave and return to their respective countries for the war to begin

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Response to OnDoutside (Original post)

Mon Jun 17, 2019, 05:55 PM

16. Whatever. Britain was very excited and hung ho about the opportunity to kick German butt.

As with so many wars, they thought it would be over by Christmas and could't wait to enlist.

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