German "East First" Plan in 1914?

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TheMarcksPlan
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 08 Jul 2020 19:53

Peter89 wrote:The A-H Empire was not capable of a large-scale, strategic military operation.
They don't need a big successful offensive though, they just need not to be crushed in Galicia as in OTL. (A-H did, btw, have some success attacking with their 1st and 4th armies in August '14).

If Germany launches a big offensive on its front in August, there's no way Russia can concentrate against A-H the forces that won the Galicia battle.

That means A-H doesn't lose tens of thousands of trained soldiers and officers in 1914, meaning it's stronger in 1915.

It also means that it doesn't have to transfer 2nd Army away from the Serbian front, which could mean Serbia's defeat in 1914. At the very least the Austrians gain ground and don't take the morale hit of an obviously-failed Serbian offensive, plus the Galician disasters.
Peter89 wrote:the Empire was too weak internally to engage in a war with more or less equal adversaries.
Austria held it together for 4 years; 3 years will suffice in this ATL if the British stay out or are late-comers.

The Empire's eventual disintegration came only after years of military humiliation and food shortages. In this ATL it could easily begin with military success - at least not failure - and with adequate food supplies due to the absence of a continental blockade. Victory and bread do wonders for political fortunes.
The same goes for the Italian and Russian fronts
But there is likely no Italian front in this ATL - Italy doesn't join if Britain doesn't and if the CP are clearly winning.
History Learner wrote:60% of the French Army in August of 1914 was walking into a trap
I doubt it goes quite this well for Germany in the West.

The great flaw of German generalship is strategic blindness, especially to economic factors. Here, allowing the French army to cross significantly into Alsace-Lorraine endangers the ore fields, loss of which dooms Germany within a year or so. IMO an "elastic" defense is out of the question.

I would expect the Germans to hold in the West and to stop any French offensive decisively. The French just didn't have the heavy artillery early in the war to storm prepared defenses. It wouldn't be your "Western Tannenberg" scenario but it wouldn't be good for France either.
History Learner wrote:Likely, the French seek peace in late 1914,
Oh come on, give them some credit. The French sacrificed an entire generation of men in WW1, they're not throwing in the towel easily even under your Western Tannenberg scenario. They didn't quit easy the first time the Germans destroyed their armies at Sedan in 1870 and captured their "Emperor" - it took another year even with Paris under siege.

------------------------------------------------------------

IMO a war of Germany + A-H vs. France + Russia plainly favors the CP.

The Germans use 1914 to shore up the East, pushing Russia out of Poland/Lithuania, allowing A-H to take out Serbia, and precluding Italian opportunism against perceived Hapsburg weakness. The CP will have established sufficient strategic depth in the East to afford a weakening German forces there, as even significant Russian territorial gain in summer 1915 wouldn't threaten much of strategic import. With Serbia and Italy quiescent, the Russians won't get too far against an undistracted A-H, plus a few Germans.

With that done, Germany turns West in 1915. Their offensive against France could take the form of Falkenhayn's mincing machine if the Germans aren't able to force a breakthrough. The French can't withstand Verdun-style attrition much longer than OTL 1916 absent something like the British Somme Offensive to relieve pressure. With only ~60% of Germany's population and slightly lower average combat effectiveness, it's only a matter of time for France. The war probably lasts into 1916 but the CP win.

Maybe A-H falls apart immediately her great victory though.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Peter89 » 09 Jul 2020 11:45

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Jul 2020 19:53
Peter89 wrote:The A-H Empire was not capable of a large-scale, strategic military operation.
They don't need a big successful offensive though, they just need not to be crushed in Galicia as in OTL. (A-H did, btw, have some success attacking with their 1st and 4th armies in August '14).

If Germany launches a big offensive on its front in August, there's no way Russia can concentrate against A-H the forces that won the Galicia battle.

That means A-H doesn't lose tens of thousands of trained soldiers and officers in 1914, meaning it's stronger in 1915.

It also means that it doesn't have to transfer 2nd Army away from the Serbian front, which could mean Serbia's defeat in 1914. At the very least the Austrians gain ground and don't take the morale hit of an obviously-failed Serbian offensive, plus the Galician disasters.
Peter89 wrote:the Empire was too weak internally to engage in a war with more or less equal adversaries.
Austria held it together for 4 years; 3 years will suffice in this ATL if the British stay out or are late-comers.

The Empire's eventual disintegration came only after years of military humiliation and food shortages. In this ATL it could easily begin with military success - at least not failure - and with adequate food supplies due to the absence of a continental blockade. Victory and bread do wonders for political fortunes.
The same goes for the Italian and Russian fronts
But there is likely no Italian front in this ATL - Italy doesn't join if Britain doesn't and if the CP are clearly winning.
History Learner wrote:60% of the French Army in August of 1914 was walking into a trap
I doubt it goes quite this well for Germany in the West.

The great flaw of German generalship is strategic blindness, especially to economic factors. Here, allowing the French army to cross significantly into Alsace-Lorraine endangers the ore fields, loss of which dooms Germany within a year or so. IMO an "elastic" defense is out of the question.

I would expect the Germans to hold in the West and to stop any French offensive decisively. The French just didn't have the heavy artillery early in the war to storm prepared defenses. It wouldn't be your "Western Tannenberg" scenario but it wouldn't be good for France either.
History Learner wrote:Likely, the French seek peace in late 1914,
Oh come on, give them some credit. The French sacrificed an entire generation of men in WW1, they're not throwing in the towel easily even under your Western Tannenberg scenario. They didn't quit easy the first time the Germans destroyed their armies at Sedan in 1870 and captured their "Emperor" - it took another year even with Paris under siege.

------------------------------------------------------------

IMO a war of Germany + A-H vs. France + Russia plainly favors the CP.

The Germans use 1914 to shore up the East, pushing Russia out of Poland/Lithuania, allowing A-H to take out Serbia, and precluding Italian opportunism against perceived Hapsburg weakness. The CP will have established sufficient strategic depth in the East to afford a weakening German forces there, as even significant Russian territorial gain in summer 1915 wouldn't threaten much of strategic import. With Serbia and Italy quiescent, the Russians won't get too far against an undistracted A-H, plus a few Germans.

With that done, Germany turns West in 1915. Their offensive against France could take the form of Falkenhayn's mincing machine if the Germans aren't able to force a breakthrough. The French can't withstand Verdun-style attrition much longer than OTL 1916 absent something like the British Somme Offensive to relieve pressure. With only ~60% of Germany's population and slightly lower average combat effectiveness, it's only a matter of time for France. The war probably lasts into 1916 but the CP win.

Maybe A-H falls apart immediately her great victory though.
Conserving the military strength of the A-H Empire could have been a nice idea, the problem was that the A-H had no interest in any kind of war. So the Empire's forces were focusing on protecting the country. There was a huge debate in the decision making circles whether the Empire should consolidate first, or go to war. I really like your scenario, but I guess you rely on the A-H forces too much. It was just a little bit more than a defensive force. Yes, it performed well in a number of situations, but it turned out that they could deploy any soldiers on any fronts, so the ethnic Italians had to fight against the Russians, the ethinc Slavs against the Italians and stuff like that.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2020 12:04

Peter89 wrote:the problem was that the A-H had no interest in any kind of war.
I don't understand this response. Interested or not, A-H did go to war. If it was sufficiently interested in a war that required bearing the brunt of Russia's army; it therefore seems obvious that it would have been interested in this ATL war, which demands less of it.

Your comments are perhaps the mirror image of my comments on British internal politics. You seem well-versed in A-H politics (at least much better than me), and argue that A-H had no "national interest," public sentiment, or rational reason for war. But similar to (I argue) the British case, the theoretical articulation of national interest and appetite for war doesn't necessarily cash out in the actual political decisions made. Here A-H's rulers got dragged into war against their better judgment, just as the British public might have refused to go to war against their rulers' better judgments of national interest - had the Germans not violated Belgium.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Peter89 » 09 Jul 2020 16:28

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Jul 2020 12:04

Your comments are perhaps the mirror image of my comments on British internal politics.
Hahaha yes. I noticed that too.

I think the East first plan could have worked more or less. But wasn't time relevant? I mean the time that the Russians spent in a bloody war that led nowhere. I guess we need an expert on Imperial Russian politics on that :)

Especially if Germany and the A-H Empire did not spend a coin on their useless navies.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 09 Jul 2020 19:56

Peter89 wrote:I guess we need an expert on Imperial Russian politics on that
I'm listening to Mike Duncan's podcast Revolutions, this season is Russia (highly recommended for driving time or whatever). So I'll tell you what he's told me to think when he finishes in a year or so.
But wasn't time relevant? I mean the time that the Russians spent in a bloody war that led nowhere. I guess we need an expert on Imperial Russian politics on that
Guessing you mean we have to wait until 1917 for the revolution? Possibly. But if France loses in '15/'16 what's the point for Russia to keep fighting? Maybe in that world the Czar makes peace after France falls, hangs on to power a bit longer, and there's an orderly transition to modernity in Russia. Arguably still waiting on that 100 years later though...
Especially if Germany and the A-H Empire did not spend a coin on their useless navies.
Another fascinating what if...

Turn the Hochseeflotte into howitzers and sailors into riflemen and maybe that tips the balance in 1914.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Peter89 » 10 Jul 2020 12:16

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
09 Jul 2020 19:56
But wasn't time relevant? I mean the time that the Russians spent in a bloody war that led nowhere. I guess we need an expert on Imperial Russian politics on that
Guessing you mean we have to wait until 1917 for the revolution? Possibly. But if France loses in '15/'16 what's the point for Russia to keep fighting? Maybe in that world the Czar makes peace after France falls, hangs on to power a bit longer, and there's an orderly transition to modernity in Russia. Arguably still waiting on that 100 years later though...
As far as I know, the Russian domestic affairs were in a very sorry state, especially after the defeat by Japan. But it would take at least some time until the casualties rise and the people start to deplete their bag of hope and turn to revolt.
Especially if Germany and the A-H Empire did not spend a coin on their useless navies.
Another fascinating what if...

Turn the Hochseeflotte into howitzers and sailors into riflemen and maybe that tips the balance in 1914.
[/quote]

Actually it happened in 1911 (Rüstungswende), and contributed a lot to the quality of the German Army. In 1914, Germany was in the middle of the transition from being number 1 naval power from being a number 1 army power.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by History Learner » 12 Jul 2020 20:02

Futurist wrote:
08 Jul 2020 06:24
Looks like the French would have walked into a big fat trap here! Just how much larger would French casualties and especially French deaths at this alternate Battle of the Frontiers have been in this scenario, though?
The German operational goal was to encircle and destroy the attacking force if at all possible, so possibly the whole force sans those lucky few that escape.
Can the French subsequently rebuild their army, though?
If the Germans really do achieve a "Super Sedan", then no because in one blow France would take as many casualties as she did historically from 1914 to 1918.
Source about the severe munitions shortages nearly forcing Serbia to surrender?
Here.
Also, AFAIK, what really helped in the CP conquest of Serbia in 1915 in real life was the fact that the Germans began doing military planning on behalf of the Austro-Hungarians. Is this accurate?
In my estimation, no. The Austrians gained experience and got rid of deadwood, as everyone else did after the first year of the war.
But would the CPs actually settle for such measly peace terms? Surely, the CPs could demand iron ore-rich Briey and Longwy from France, no? As for Russia, if France would genuinely make peace, then the real fun for Germany can began in the East. Ostkrieg! So, theoretically, Germany could try advancing much deeper into Russia if it would like to, and if it was smart it would avoid Napoleon's mistake and refrain from doing this in just one military campaign. This could be a golden moment for Germany to make its Mitteleuropa dreams a reality if it wants to.
Oh that was not meant to be taken as terms, rather where the lines would be when the Entente seeks peace.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by History Learner » 12 Jul 2020 20:04

Peter89 wrote:
08 Jul 2020 10:20
History Learner wrote:
08 Jul 2020 04:40

In short, 60% of the French Army in August of 1914 was walking into a trap, which they only escaped thanks to the French re-orienting themselves to respond to the German advance through Belgium and into France itself. It would've been a war winning blow from which the French never would've recovered from. An Eastern Front-first strategy will also allow the Germans to build up four armies-42 Divisions-in the East which will force the Russians onto a defensive stance and thus allow Austro-Hungary to avoid the Galicia disaster that so battered their Army IOTL 1914. Serbia thus is likely destroyed by 2nd Army in October, as OTL their severe munition shortages nearly forced the Serbs to surrender anyway.

Likely, the French seek peace in late 1914, with the Russians to follow suit soon after with the Central Powers probably holding Poland up to the Bug river and half of Lithuania, while Serbia has been crushed and occupied.
I think you misunderstand something here. The A-H Empire was not capable of a large-scale, strategic military operation. Franz Ferdinand and his circles were the main protagonists for peace, because they understood that the Empire was too weak internally to engage in a war with more or less equal adversaries. So basically he understood that if the Empire attacks Serbia, an ethnic Serbian or Croatian might desert, or sabotage the logistics in the immediate vicinity of the frontline.

The same goes for the Italian and Russian fronts, the other fronts where von Hötzendorf (btw a protegeé of Franz Ferdinand) had prepared war plans. (Which were btw compromised and well-known for the Russians and Serbians, and it contributed a lot to the initial catastrophy for the A-H armies.)

Well before the war it was decided already that A-H armies will have an abysmal performance in 1914.
  • The A-H Empire spent a disproportionately low amount of money on the military than her future adversaries.
  • It also did not have a proper system for either a sustained war effort (especially when it came to the food production) or the command + control on every level of command. What do I mean by that? The whole Empire military efforts were compromised from the level of a squad to the level of the grand strategy. Just keep in mind that the commanding languages were not spoken by a lot of the recruits, and that Alfred Redl shared the grand strategy of the Empire with her most fearsome opponent, the Russian Empire.
  • Also please keep in mind that in 1918-1919 the Empire was torn apart mostly by their own citizens. It was a civil war of the most disgusting kind, with the full consent and acknowledgement of the Western Powers (most notably the French).
The Empire's enemies were counting on her internal weakness, and history showed us that they were right to do so.
My post was about Germany, so I'm confused as to what you're arguing?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by History Learner » 12 Jul 2020 20:09

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Jul 2020 19:53
I doubt it goes quite this well for Germany in the West.

The great flaw of German generalship is strategic blindness, especially to economic factors. Here, allowing the French army to cross significantly into Alsace-Lorraine endangers the ore fields, loss of which dooms Germany within a year or so. IMO an "elastic" defense is out of the question.
This misses the point that the Germans did not intend to let them stay there, but instead deliberately use their own ore fields as bait. A temporary French occupation of that is worth destroying 60% of the French Army. As it were, by August 4th the Germans had already occupied the French Briey-Longwy fields unopposed, so the balance even in iron ore holdings here favors Germany.
I would expect the Germans to hold in the West and to stop any French offensive decisively. The French just didn't have the heavy artillery early in the war to storm prepared defenses. It wouldn't be your "Western Tannenberg" scenario but it wouldn't be good for France either.
Holmes, the Germans and ironically the French leadership themselves realized the prospects of the German plan were good, albeit indirectly in the case of the French.
Oh come on, give them some credit. The French sacrificed an entire generation of men in WW1, they're not throwing in the towel easily even under your Western Tannenberg scenario. They didn't quit easy the first time the Germans destroyed their armies at Sedan in 1870 and captured their "Emperor" - it took another year even with Paris under siege.
French casualties here are equal to exactly that same generation of men; total dead and wounded over the course of 1914-1918 is almost the same size of the French Army marching into the trap. After such a blow, assuming French morale doesn't collapse and they seek such a peace right then and there, whats left of the French could not stop the Germans marching to occupy Paris.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Futurist » 12 Jul 2020 20:50

Futurist wrote:
08 Jul 2020 18:30
Peter89 wrote:
08 Jul 2020 10:20
History Learner wrote:
08 Jul 2020 04:40

In short, 60% of the French Army in August of 1914 was walking into a trap, which they only escaped thanks to the French re-orienting themselves to respond to the German advance through Belgium and into France itself. It would've been a war winning blow from which the French never would've recovered from. An Eastern Front-first strategy will also allow the Germans to build up four armies-42 Divisions-in the East which will force the Russians onto a defensive stance and thus allow Austro-Hungary to avoid the Galicia disaster that so battered their Army IOTL 1914. Serbia thus is likely destroyed by 2nd Army in October, as OTL their severe munition shortages nearly forced the Serbs to surrender anyway.

Likely, the French seek peace in late 1914, with the Russians to follow suit soon after with the Central Powers probably holding Poland up to the Bug river and half of Lithuania, while Serbia has been crushed and occupied.
I think you misunderstand something here. The A-H Empire was not capable of a large-scale, strategic military operation. Franz Ferdinand and his circles were the main protagonists for peace, because they understood that the Empire was too weak internally to engage in a war with more or less equal adversaries. So basically he understood that if the Empire attacks Serbia, an ethnic Serbian or Croatian might desert, or sabotage the logistics in the immediate vicinity of the frontline.

The same goes for the Italian and Russian fronts, the other fronts where von Hötzendorf (btw a protegeé of Franz Ferdinand) had prepared war plans. (Which were btw compromised and well-known for the Russians and Serbians, and it contributed a lot to the initial catastrophy for the A-H armies.)

Well before the war it was decided already that A-H armies will have an abysmal performance in 1914.
  • The A-H Empire spent a disproportionately low amount of money on the military than her future adversaries.
  • It also did not have a proper system for either a sustained war effort (especially when it came to the food production) or the command + control on every level of command. What do I mean by that? The whole Empire military efforts were compromised from the level of a squad to the level of the grand strategy. Just keep in mind that the commanding languages were not spoken by a lot of the recruits, and that Alfred Redl shared the grand strategy of the Empire with her most fearsome opponent, the Russian Empire.
  • Also please keep in mind that in 1918-1919 the Empire was torn apart mostly by their own citizens. It was a civil war of the most disgusting kind, with the full consent and acknowledgement of the Western Powers (most notably the French).
The Empire's enemies were counting on her internal weakness, and history showed us that they were right to do so.
Excellent points, Peter! Anyway, was the future Kaiser Karl (Franz Ferdinand's nephew) as much of a dove in 1914 as Franz Ferdinand himself was?
@Peter89, could you please respond to my question here? Thank you.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Futurist » 12 Jul 2020 20:51

History Learner wrote:
12 Jul 2020 20:04
Peter89 wrote:
08 Jul 2020 10:20
History Learner wrote:
08 Jul 2020 04:40

In short, 60% of the French Army in August of 1914 was walking into a trap, which they only escaped thanks to the French re-orienting themselves to respond to the German advance through Belgium and into France itself. It would've been a war winning blow from which the French never would've recovered from. An Eastern Front-first strategy will also allow the Germans to build up four armies-42 Divisions-in the East which will force the Russians onto a defensive stance and thus allow Austro-Hungary to avoid the Galicia disaster that so battered their Army IOTL 1914. Serbia thus is likely destroyed by 2nd Army in October, as OTL their severe munition shortages nearly forced the Serbs to surrender anyway.

Likely, the French seek peace in late 1914, with the Russians to follow suit soon after with the Central Powers probably holding Poland up to the Bug river and half of Lithuania, while Serbia has been crushed and occupied.
I think you misunderstand something here. The A-H Empire was not capable of a large-scale, strategic military operation. Franz Ferdinand and his circles were the main protagonists for peace, because they understood that the Empire was too weak internally to engage in a war with more or less equal adversaries. So basically he understood that if the Empire attacks Serbia, an ethnic Serbian or Croatian might desert, or sabotage the logistics in the immediate vicinity of the frontline.

The same goes for the Italian and Russian fronts, the other fronts where von Hötzendorf (btw a protegeé of Franz Ferdinand) had prepared war plans. (Which were btw compromised and well-known for the Russians and Serbians, and it contributed a lot to the initial catastrophy for the A-H armies.)

Well before the war it was decided already that A-H armies will have an abysmal performance in 1914.
  • The A-H Empire spent a disproportionately low amount of money on the military than her future adversaries.
  • It also did not have a proper system for either a sustained war effort (especially when it came to the food production) or the command + control on every level of command. What do I mean by that? The whole Empire military efforts were compromised from the level of a squad to the level of the grand strategy. Just keep in mind that the commanding languages were not spoken by a lot of the recruits, and that Alfred Redl shared the grand strategy of the Empire with her most fearsome opponent, the Russian Empire.
  • Also please keep in mind that in 1918-1919 the Empire was torn apart mostly by their own citizens. It was a civil war of the most disgusting kind, with the full consent and acknowledgement of the Western Powers (most notably the French).
The Empire's enemies were counting on her internal weakness, and history showed us that they were right to do so.
My post was about Germany, so I'm confused as to what you're arguing?
Yeah, if Germany decisively wins in the West in 1914, it won't matter just how weak Austria-Hungary will be since Germany will certainly be propping it up.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Futurist » 12 Jul 2020 20:52

History Learner wrote:
12 Jul 2020 20:09
TheMarcksPlan wrote:
08 Jul 2020 19:53
I doubt it goes quite this well for Germany in the West.

The great flaw of German generalship is strategic blindness, especially to economic factors. Here, allowing the French army to cross significantly into Alsace-Lorraine endangers the ore fields, loss of which dooms Germany within a year or so. IMO an "elastic" defense is out of the question.
This misses the point that the Germans did not intend to let them stay there, but instead deliberately use their own ore fields as bait. A temporary French occupation of that is worth destroying 60% of the French Army. As it were, by August 4th the Germans had already occupied the French Briey-Longwy fields unopposed, so the balance even in iron ore holdings here favors Germany.
I would expect the Germans to hold in the West and to stop any French offensive decisively. The French just didn't have the heavy artillery early in the war to storm prepared defenses. It wouldn't be your "Western Tannenberg" scenario but it wouldn't be good for France either.
Holmes, the Germans and ironically the French leadership themselves realized the prospects of the German plan were good, albeit indirectly in the case of the French.
Oh come on, give them some credit. The French sacrificed an entire generation of men in WW1, they're not throwing in the towel easily even under your Western Tannenberg scenario. They didn't quit easy the first time the Germans destroyed their armies at Sedan in 1870 and captured their "Emperor" - it took another year even with Paris under siege.
French casualties here are equal to exactly that same generation of men; total dead and wounded over the course of 1914-1918 is almost the same size of the French Army marching into the trap. After such a blow, assuming French morale doesn't collapse and they seek such a peace right then and there, whats left of the French could not stop the Germans marching to occupy Paris.
Good points!

Anyway, what do you expect the final peace terms on all fronts for this World War I to be?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Peter89 » 13 Jul 2020 00:54

History Learner wrote:
12 Jul 2020 20:04
Peter89 wrote:
08 Jul 2020 10:20
History Learner wrote:
08 Jul 2020 04:40

In short, 60% of the French Army in August of 1914 was walking into a trap, which they only escaped thanks to the French re-orienting themselves to respond to the German advance through Belgium and into France itself. It would've been a war winning blow from which the French never would've recovered from. An Eastern Front-first strategy will also allow the Germans to build up four armies-42 Divisions-in the East which will force the Russians onto a defensive stance and thus allow Austro-Hungary to avoid the Galicia disaster that so battered their Army IOTL 1914. Serbia thus is likely destroyed by 2nd Army in October, as OTL their severe munition shortages nearly forced the Serbs to surrender anyway.

Likely, the French seek peace in late 1914, with the Russians to follow suit soon after with the Central Powers probably holding Poland up to the Bug river and half of Lithuania, while Serbia has been crushed and occupied.
I think you misunderstand something here. The A-H Empire was not capable of a large-scale, strategic military operation. Franz Ferdinand and his circles were the main protagonists for peace, because they understood that the Empire was too weak internally to engage in a war with more or less equal adversaries. So basically he understood that if the Empire attacks Serbia, an ethnic Serbian or Croatian might desert, or sabotage the logistics in the immediate vicinity of the frontline.

The same goes for the Italian and Russian fronts, the other fronts where von Hötzendorf (btw a protegeé of Franz Ferdinand) had prepared war plans. (Which were btw compromised and well-known for the Russians and Serbians, and it contributed a lot to the initial catastrophy for the A-H armies.)

Well before the war it was decided already that A-H armies will have an abysmal performance in 1914.
  • The A-H Empire spent a disproportionately low amount of money on the military than her future adversaries.
  • It also did not have a proper system for either a sustained war effort (especially when it came to the food production) or the command + control on every level of command. What do I mean by that? The whole Empire military efforts were compromised from the level of a squad to the level of the grand strategy. Just keep in mind that the commanding languages were not spoken by a lot of the recruits, and that Alfred Redl shared the grand strategy of the Empire with her most fearsome opponent, the Russian Empire.
  • Also please keep in mind that in 1918-1919 the Empire was torn apart mostly by their own citizens. It was a civil war of the most disgusting kind, with the full consent and acknowledgement of the Western Powers (most notably the French).
The Empire's enemies were counting on her internal weakness, and history showed us that they were right to do so.
My post was about Germany, so I'm confused as to what you're arguing?
Because you said that the Galicia disaster and the Serbian fiasco were avoidable. No, they were not. Disproportionate losses were granted even before the war started.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Peter89 » 13 Jul 2020 01:53

Futurist wrote:
12 Jul 2020 20:50
Futurist wrote:
08 Jul 2020 18:30
Peter89 wrote:
08 Jul 2020 10:20
History Learner wrote:
08 Jul 2020 04:40

In short, 60% of the French Army in August of 1914 was walking into a trap, which they only escaped thanks to the French re-orienting themselves to respond to the German advance through Belgium and into France itself. It would've been a war winning blow from which the French never would've recovered from. An Eastern Front-first strategy will also allow the Germans to build up four armies-42 Divisions-in the East which will force the Russians onto a defensive stance and thus allow Austro-Hungary to avoid the Galicia disaster that so battered their Army IOTL 1914. Serbia thus is likely destroyed by 2nd Army in October, as OTL their severe munition shortages nearly forced the Serbs to surrender anyway.

Likely, the French seek peace in late 1914, with the Russians to follow suit soon after with the Central Powers probably holding Poland up to the Bug river and half of Lithuania, while Serbia has been crushed and occupied.
I think you misunderstand something here. The A-H Empire was not capable of a large-scale, strategic military operation. Franz Ferdinand and his circles were the main protagonists for peace, because they understood that the Empire was too weak internally to engage in a war with more or less equal adversaries. So basically he understood that if the Empire attacks Serbia, an ethnic Serbian or Croatian might desert, or sabotage the logistics in the immediate vicinity of the frontline.

The same goes for the Italian and Russian fronts, the other fronts where von Hötzendorf (btw a protegeé of Franz Ferdinand) had prepared war plans. (Which were btw compromised and well-known for the Russians and Serbians, and it contributed a lot to the initial catastrophy for the A-H armies.)

Well before the war it was decided already that A-H armies will have an abysmal performance in 1914.
  • The A-H Empire spent a disproportionately low amount of money on the military than her future adversaries.
  • It also did not have a proper system for either a sustained war effort (especially when it came to the food production) or the command + control on every level of command. What do I mean by that? The whole Empire military efforts were compromised from the level of a squad to the level of the grand strategy. Just keep in mind that the commanding languages were not spoken by a lot of the recruits, and that Alfred Redl shared the grand strategy of the Empire with her most fearsome opponent, the Russian Empire.
  • Also please keep in mind that in 1918-1919 the Empire was torn apart mostly by their own citizens. It was a civil war of the most disgusting kind, with the full consent and acknowledgement of the Western Powers (most notably the French).
The Empire's enemies were counting on her internal weakness, and history showed us that they were right to do so.
Excellent points, Peter! Anyway, was the future Kaiser Karl (Franz Ferdinand's nephew) as much of a dove in 1914 as Franz Ferdinand himself was?
@Peter89, could you please respond to my question here? Thank you.
It is an extremely complex subject, and it requires the introduction of dozens of characters, ideas, etc. You can start to read here: https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.10 ... 37359018_2

To summarize: Karl was an unlikely heir to the thrones and his views were briefly shaped by Ferdinand. By 1910 it was obvious that the Hungarians will be the ruin of the Empire, and it was little known what Karl wanted to do about it. Given the nature of the foreign policymaking process in the A-H Empire, he had little to no influence on it; his views were not expressed, he did not build up a network of politicians, businessmen and military personnel to support his views. So we will never know whether he was a dove or not before the war. Most likely he was contempt with the status quo, and wanted to live the life of a prince. He was highly educated, well-married, served his time at the Army properly.

When he came to the thrones, he wanted peace, but again, without any confindence or skill, so the Sixtus Affair - the last real chance to keep the Empire together - was thwarted.

Futurist
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Futurist » 13 Jul 2020 02:15

Thanks for this link! Anyway, you mean "content" rather than "contempt", correct? I'm talking about this sentence: "Most likely he was contempt with the status quo, and wanted to live the life of a prince. He was highly educated, well-married, served his time at the Army properly."

Also, for what it's worth, even if Franz Ferdinand would have lived, Karl would have still become the heir to the Austro-Hungarian thrones once FF would have become King and Emperor of Austria and Hungary, respectively. After all, Franz Ferdinand's own children were excluded from the succession due to FF's morganatic marriage, and FF explicitly stated in one of his letters that he did NOT intend to change this after he would have come to the throne:

https://archive.org/details/sarajevothe ... p?q=thorns

Maybe this was just FF being humble and/or dishonest, but still, I'm inclined to take FF at his word in regards to this. So, with or without FF's assassination, if Karl will manage to outlive FF in this scenario, Karl should still eventually become the ruler of Austria-Hungary--specifically after FF's death.

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