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The Great War





HDirtwater
I'm curious if anyone here has done any reading research into WWI, and if so, how you feel it compares to WWII or any other global war in the history or the world.

IMHO, WWI was every bit as deadly and important in world history as WWII. It was because of the awful treaty of Versailles that the Germans got all whizzed and Hitler and the Nazis were born. Woodrow Wilson had some great ideas that were mostly shot down by Britain and France, that would have possibly prevented WWII.

The carnage and death toll of WWI was immense. Thousands died for yards of territory, and then there was also the gas (mustard gas - an awful biological weapon).

Any other thoughts on this (mostly) overlooked war and its impact on the world?
{name here}
WWI has got to be one of the biggest cases of human stupidity in any history book. The war was easily foreseeable due to the alliances, and when the war was over, the allies blamed a country that didn't start the war for starting the war and punished them. However, it was also quite interesting with the advances in technology and the terrors of trench warfare.
Moonspider
HDirtwater wrote:
I'm curious if anyone here has done any reading research into WWI, and if so, how you feel it compares to WWII or any other global war in the history or the world.

IMHO, WWI was every bit as deadly and important in world history as WWII. It was because of the awful treaty of Versailles that the Germans got all whizzed and Hitler and the Nazis were born. Woodrow Wilson had some great ideas that were mostly shot down by Britain and France, that would have possibly prevented WWII.

The carnage and death toll of WWI was immense. Thousands died for yards of territory, and then there was also the gas (mustard gas - an awful biological weapon).

Any other thoughts on this (mostly) overlooked war and its impact on the world?


I just wanted to make a quick correction. Mustard gas is a chemical weapon (classified as a blister agent), not a biological weapon. It comes either as sulfur mustard (HD) or nitrogen mustard (HN). (http://www.fas.org/cw/cwagents.htm#b03

Regarding the war, in short I believe like you that World War I was important as World War II. It seems to get second billing culturally, but its ramifications are still being felt throughout the world today and will be for generations to come.

Respectfully,
M
brucedes
I like to think of it as a war which slapped some sense into the World. War is not something to be embraced. You can't have those silly victorian ideals of war being a little skirmish between the honourable and the despicable rogues of the enemy side. War is vicious and brutal, WWI taught people that.

It also meant that people took World War 2 more seriously. Certainly more lives were lost, but not on useless idiotic assaults to gain a few miles of mud. These people died defending Europe from a TRUE German menace, unlike the concocted menace of the German Empire in World War 2.
Moonspider
brucedes wrote:
War is vicious and brutal, WWI taught people that.


I think people pretty much knew that before WWI.

brucedes wrote:
It also meant that people took World War 2 more seriously. Certainly more lives were lost, but not on useless idiotic assaults to gain a few miles of mud.


I beg to differ. In some cases yards of sand took some brutal, frontal assualts in WWII. Consider Normandy or any number of islands in the Pacific. Besides, the trench warfare of WWI (which dates back to the end of the American Civil War), was a function of the technology of the period. It certainly wasn't because leaders in WWI simply weren't as experienced or well trained as those in WWII! The truth is that the technology just did not exist at the beginning of the 20th Century for manuevre warfare, as it did by 1939.

brucedes wrote:
These people died defending Europe from a TRUE German menace, unlike the concocted menace of the German Empire in World War 2.


"Concocted??" Shocked What the heck are you talking about?

Respectfully,
M
brucedes
What I mean is that at the start of WWI, the German's were portrayed as evil menaces looking to destroy freedom, committing brutal crimes against humanity, when it was pretty much just another empire nation like Britain.

By idiotic assaults I mean things such as the Battle of Somme, where the generals just kept ordering men to go over again and again, even though they could see it wasn't working.

And at the time war was still seen as a gentlemanly tussle amongst two people, and all nice and honourable, especially due to censorship of previous wars.
Moonspider
brucedes wrote:
What I mean is that at the start of WWI, the German's were portrayed as evil menaces looking to destroy freedom, committing brutal crimes against humanity, when it was pretty much just another empire nation like Britain.


So please clarify, which was the concocted war? In your first statement you said World War II. Here you are saying World War I. I'm assuming you meant the latter and simply mis-typed your first comment.

brucedes wrote:
By idiotic assaults I mean things such as the Battle of Somme, where the generals just kept ordering men to go over again and again, even though they could see it wasn't working.


I see. Then you were not blaming trench warfare on incompetence, just stating that some of the decisions made amidst it were incompetent. Correct? One could throw in the Gallipoli Campaign as another example.

That being said though, trench warfare by its nature means great bloodshed because advancement can only be achieved by massive, human assaults against fixed, defensive positions. This is simply a function of the technology available.

Respectfully,
M
jameszog
every time,technology development only meant that people can execute slaughter more efficient.People learnt nothing from the bloodshed. when cupidity and greed,and especialy, ABSOLUTISM do not meet their doom,the war won't end.
There is no essential difference between WW1 and WWW2.

yours,

james
brucedes
Moonspider wrote:
So please clarify, which was the concocted war? In your first statement you said World War II. Here you are saying World War I. I'm assuming you meant the latter and simply mis-typed your first comment.


Ack, yeah, I mean World War I. I didn't notice the typo, sorry.
rshanthakumar
In either case, it was primarily the question of supremacy. While the rest of the Europe was making lots of money having colonies all across the world, Germans found that their role in every one of them is very limited. It was the German prestige that was at stake and that resulted in the war.

Do you think if there was no mass reason would any country go to war and sustain it for years?

There is no great deal difference in the root cause of the wars. The end of the WWI was not really a solution to the problem. It was a stop gap arrangement which had to explode. And it did. I would really saw, it was just one war, that ended after 1970s, when most of the British, French and Spanish colonies were given freedom.
Moonspider
rshanthakumar wrote:
In either case, it was primarily the question of supremacy. While the rest of the Europe was making lots of money having colonies all across the world, Germans found that their role in every one of them is very limited. It was the German prestige that was at stake and that resulted in the war.

Do you think if there was no mass reason would any country go to war and sustain it for years?

There is no great deal difference in the root cause of the wars. The end of the WWI was not really a solution to the problem. It was a stop gap arrangement which had to explode. And it did. I would really saw, it was just one war, that ended after 1970s, when most of the British, French and Spanish colonies were given freedom.


I agree that one can (and should) view World War I and World War II as two chapters in a single conflict. However I disagree with your belief of when it ended.

You see the end of the conflict as the end of the last colonial enclaves. This would be true if the two world wars were in fact wars of independence or wars of resistance against colonialism. This was not the case, though. The wars were between major world powers and empires. Colonies played only supporting roles. Independence for the colonies was simply a byproduct of the wars.

For example, the war in the Pacific pitted the allies against Japan. Vietnam was a front in the war and a French colony. The war had nothing to do with Vietnamese independence, however it was used by Vietnamese leaders to further their goals of gaining independence from France.

Respectfully,
M
medievalman26
{name here} wrote:
WWI has got to be one of the biggest cases of human stupidity in any history book. The war was easily foreseeable due to the alliances, and when the war was over, the allies blamed a country that didn't start the war for starting the war and punished them. However, it was also quite interesting with the advances in technology and the terrors of trench warfare.
Just out of curiosity which country are you talking about that they allies blamed for the start of the war? Indeed it was foreseeable I don't think most people believed it was going to happen that soon, but I agree, also WWI and WWII were the biggest cases of human stupidity.

In the words of one of "idols" "Wars not make one great, hmmm."

For those who don't recognize it that was an excerpt from one of Yoda's lines.
rshanthakumar
Moonspider wrote:
rshanthakumar wrote:
In either case, it was primarily the question of supremacy. While the rest of the Europe was making lots of money having colonies all across the world, Germans found that their role in every one of them is very limited. It was the German prestige that was at stake and that resulted in the war.

Do you think if there was no mass reason would any country go to war and sustain it for years?

There is no great deal difference in the root cause of the wars. The end of the WWI was not really a solution to the problem. It was a stop gap arrangement which had to explode. And it did. I would really saw, it was just one war, that ended after 1970s, when most of the British, French and Spanish colonies were given freedom.


I agree that one can (and should) view World War I and World War II as two chapters in a single conflict. However I disagree with your belief of when it ended.

You see the end of the conflict as the end of the last colonial enclaves. This would be true if the two world wars were in fact wars of independence or wars of resistance against colonialism. This was not the case, though. The wars were between major world powers and empires. Colonies played only supporting roles. Independence for the colonies was simply a byproduct of the wars.

For example, the war in the Pacific pitted the allies against Japan. Vietnam was a front in the war and a French colony. The war had nothing to do with Vietnamese independence, however it was used by Vietnamese leaders to further their goals of gaining independence from France.

Respectfully,
M


True, it was not a war for independence as far as Germans or for that matter Europe is concerned. It is question of supremacy for them. Who is better than the other. It is not about the rest of the world. Every major power or considered to be a power wanted to have its own share of the pie that made up the world. Only when the nation state achieved prominence and every nation had its own agenda did the world refrain from launching a full scale war.

Japan had ambitions of having its own colonies. It was not a question of colonies having any say in the matter. The powers wanted to have their own share of the colonies.

Still the issue of dominance over world affairs continues. Who has the upper hand? This was the basic psychology behind the cold war and whatever is left today with the unipolar world too. The US and the UK picking up a fight whenever there is an opportunity to show off muscle.
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