German "East First" Plan in 1914?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 25 Sep 2019 20:59

JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 20:31
Because you keep ignoring the lack of popular support which is what matters, cant go to war against the people... even the Germans had to put great care into how their actions were perceived.
Grey was selling the war with Britain as making primarily a naval contribution. A naval war was an easer public sell than The Battle of the Somme. Now, moving the BEF to the continent was more controversial, but also, of secondary importance; getting into the war on the basis of a naval alliance was the first priority, getting the BEF to the continent was the secondary consideration that could be achieved after the first step, if necessary.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 25 Sep 2019 21:01

Takao wrote:
25 Sep 2019 12:24
Terry Duncan wrote:
25 Sep 2019 09:27
JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 01:56
I seem to recall the US govt was VERY MUCH looking to get into the war, hence the constant meddling and incidents...
Strange that having its men killed and even its ships sunk did not lead directly to a declaration of war then? Mind you, the US was so very much looking forward to getting into the war that it needed Hitler to declare war on it even after his ally attacked them!
Not strange at all. FDR and the interventionists were looking to get into the war, the military wanted to wait until they had built up a credible fighting force, and the isolationists did not want to fight at all. With the military telling you we can go in, but we won't be much help, and the majority of the public not supporting the war, it makes little sense to get into a war.
Yep, you have to mind the people's opinion, you cant just ask people to march to their deaths on a whim.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 25 Sep 2019 21:06

glenn239 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 20:59
JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 20:31
Because you keep ignoring the lack of popular support which is what matters, cant go to war against the people... even the Germans had to put great care into how their actions were perceived.
Grey was selling the war with Britain as making primarily a naval contribution. A naval war was an easer public sell than The Battle of the Somme. Now, moving the BEF to the continent was more controversial, but also, of secondary importance; getting into the war on the basis of a naval alliance was the first priority, getting the BEF to the continent was the secondary consideration that could be achieved after the first step, if necessary.
And it still was a hard sell and only successful because of Belgium and the German DoW, missing that you hace no lever to move public opinion, what would be the cry, lets save the French from themselves? Poor little Serbia? Lets help the authoritarian and retrograde Czar take over Europe?

For the naval thing you would need the Germans to bite, and is such and obvious ploy that I cant see them falling for it. Willy would be worried about his ships...

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 25 Sep 2019 21:19

Just to illustrate how much the Russians had already pushed Grey to the brink:
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 25 Sep 2019 21:37

JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 20:38
They would destroy the MN, then you brought the RN into play, at which point the HSF would not allow itself to be tricked into a war.

Put the MN in sight and the KM will crush them... until the RN shows up.
No, it was not I, but rather the British that brought the RN into play by stating that if the HSF entered the North Sea to the purpose of attacking French shipping or coasts, the HSF would be brought to battle. Nowhere was it suggested the French would be barred from entering the North Sea or Channel.
These are completely different circumstances demanding completely different RoEs, the very few Uboats available must be SURE they are firing at a French ship, luckily the lovely French ships were quite distinctive...
Now U-boats don't attack at night or in bad weather? As I said, only a matter of time before U-boats would start sinking British ships by accident, just like they sank American ships.
So did the British, as you know by Ferguson but, it is still useful as PR, so the Germans can make a show of it, specially since the British are still an issue.
If Germany defeats France with Britain neutral then Germany is going to recast all of Western Europe to its liking, and neither Belgium nor Britain is going to have much say about it.
Why would they bother staying? What possibly could they have to gain from it? They have created good will and pulled the Belgians closer to them, they had no designs over Belgium and there was plenty to take from the French themselves.
So what Germany gains from drawing Belgium and Netherlands into its orbit is twofold. Militarily about another 20 divisions and the mobilization of the German army using the Belgian rail net. Navally, basing rights in the Dutch Empire and the HSF gaining access to Antwerp and as a major fleet base. Economically, the expansion of the German trading bloc on the continent. All of this it was possible for Britain to live with, in much the same way that Korea can get along with China today.
Because even Willy knew the Dutch couldnt be forced into anything, he envisioned drawing them closer but was specific about the need to be careful with Dutch sentiment, making forceful measures a non-starter.
Actually, I recall in 1917 the Germans considered forcing the Dutch to let them move German troops across Dutch territory on their way to France for the 1918 offensive. And that was with the British and Americans and French in the war!
Put your own ships in an enemy port risking sabotage and espionage?
The British in 1940 were terrified as France collapsed that the naval situation would spin out of control. And that was with a KM that was only a fraction as strong as Germany's in 1914. The U-boats were barely contained in 1917 just based in Belgium and Germany. German basing in France is a real nightmare even assuming the French fleet is not now allied to Germany.
I meant with a neutral France as Grey proposed, remember? No fighting in the west... so France has only the entente to rely on, the Germans would certainly not trust them, not after the hostility and dumping Russia, but since they are not a threat without the Russians
little action is needed.
Assuming France were to remain neutral altogether and Germany does not attack France? Then Germany will resolve its dispute with Russia in isolation, meaning anywhere from Russia joining the Central Powers to the Russian empire being broken up. Afterwards, Germany would be free to swing around on the French and crush them.
So? Belgium had no value, the sole rationale for its existence was to spite the French and Dutch... Grey himself recognized that the UK would do nothing if France invaded Belgium, making the point of its value moot, it was a German invasion what would demand an action, but not because of Belgium itself.
Step 1. France invades Belgium.
Step 2. Germany counterinvades Belgium.
Step 3. Grey orders both countries to leave.
Step 4. Neither do.
Step 5. German troops commit massacres in Belgium, causing outrage in Britain.
Step 6 Grey makes a speech in the House outlining that under the current situation, Belgium must be swallowed by Germany, and this cannot be allowed to occurred.
Step 7. Britain declares war on Germany.


Step 1.5 Belgium denounces the aggression and requires the treaty signatories to assist, Germany immediately and publicly accepts, the UK?
Step 5, No, no reason for it to happen.

Germany is helping Belgium and Grey must answer to parliament as to why they arent as well...
Well, let's modify it then to accommodate your observations.

Step 1. France invades Belgium.
Step 2. Germany counter-invades Belgium.
Step 3. Belgium requests both Britain and Germany to come to its assistance.
Step 4. Britain declines Belgium's request.
Step 5. Germany accepts the Belgian request on condition that the Belgian armed forces and rail network are placed under German command.
Step 6. Belgium accepts or refuses the German conditions - the Germans care not which.
Step 7. Grey orders both France and Germany to leave Belgium.
Step 8. Neither do.
Step 9. Grey is asked why Britain is not helping Belgium. He replies that France has invaded Belgium so it is impossible to go to her assistance, while Britain will not assist Germany against France.
Step 10. German troops commit massacres in Belgium, sparking outrage in Britain, (there are 5,000 historical reasons why your assertion this will not occur is not correct)
Step 11. Britain is outraged by reports of German atrocities in Belgium.
Step 12. Grey makes a speech in the House outlining that under the current situation, Belgium must be swallowed by Germany, and this cannot be allowed to occurred.
Step 13. Britain declares war on Germany.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 25 Sep 2019 23:07

glenn239 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 21:37
JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 20:38
They would destroy the MN, then you brought the RN into play, at which point the HSF would not allow itself to be tricked into a war.

Put the MN in sight and the KM will crush them... until the RN shows up.
No, it was not I, but rather the British that brought the RN into play by stating that if the HSF entered the North Sea to the purpose of attacking French shipping or coasts, the HSF would be brought to battle. Nowhere was it suggested the French would be barred from entering the North Sea or Channel.
In message 23 you mentioned the MN going into the NS, and then in 32 the RN going too, with the RN in the situation changes.

In any case, the KM will stay away from the RN to avoid complications.
These are completely different circumstances demanding completely different RoEs, the very few Uboats available must be SURE they are firing at a French ship, luckily the lovely French ships were quite distinctive...
Now U-boats don't attack at night or in bad weather? As I said, only a matter of time before U-boats would start sinking British ships by accident, just like they sank American ships.
Nope, you need positive identification of the warship, otherwise you risk an incident right on the Uks doorstep. No blockade no trade war.
So did the British, as you know by Ferguson but, it is still useful as PR, so the Germans can make a show of it, specially since the British are still an issue.
If Germany defeats France with Britain neutral then Germany is going to recast all of Western Europe to its liking, and neither Belgium nor Britain is going to have much say about it.
Will recast France, not WE, they declared war and would pay the bill as any defeated nation.
Why would they bother staying? What possibly could they have to gain from it? They have created good will and pulled the Belgians closer to them, they had no designs over Belgium and there was plenty to take from the French themselves.
So what Germany gains from drawing Belgium and Netherlands into its orbit is twofold. Militarily about another 20 divisions and the mobilization of the German army using the Belgian rail net. Navally, basing rights in the Dutch Empire and the HSF gaining access to Antwerp and as a major fleet base. Economically, the expansion of the German trading bloc on the continent. All of this it was possible for Britain to live with, in much the same way that Korea can get along with China today.
Antwerp, a base that led to the channel and a bunch of minefields in time of war... the Germans never used anything bigger than a DD there IIRC.

IF the Dutch are generous enough to give them such rights, which is unlikely given how much they distrusted the Germans and Willy.

With France defeated and crippled Belgium has no value for Germany, much less its army.
Because even Willy knew the Dutch couldnt be forced into anything, he envisioned drawing them closer but was specific about the need to be careful with Dutch sentiment, making forceful measures a non-starter.
Actually, I recall in 1917 the Germans considered forcing the Dutch to let them move German troops across Dutch territory on their way to France for the 1918 offensive. And that was with the British and Americans and French in the war!
Yeah, they were desperate and had already thrown all caution to the wind, it was make or break for them.

And even then, still didnt.
Put your own ships in an enemy port risking sabotage and espionage?
The British in 1940 were terrified as France collapsed that the naval situation would spin out of control. And that was with a KM that was only a fraction as strong as Germany's in 1914. The U-boats were barely contained in 1917 just based in Belgium and Germany. German basing in France is a real nightmare even assuming the French fleet is not now allied to Germany.
They had no army and there was the LW, completely different situation.

Given that the convoy beat the Uboat, French bases would have made no difference.
I meant with a neutral France as Grey proposed, remember? No fighting in the west... so France has only the entente to rely on, the Germans would certainly not trust them, not after the hostility and dumping Russia, but since they are not a threat without the Russians
little action is needed.
Assuming France were to remain neutral altogether and Germany does not attack France? Then Germany will resolve its dispute with Russia in isolation, meaning anywhere from Russia joining the Central Powers to the Russian empire being broken up. Afterwards, Germany would be free to swing around on the French and crush them.
Which was Bertie's objection to Grey but, again, without the Russians the French are no threat by themselves, not even with the UK on tow. Germany did not want war, they knew the price to be paid in both blood and post-war social concessions that undermined the monarchy.

One war was enough, and there was no chance in hell of convincing the German people of attacking a France that had remained neutral during the war... they would have to be content with Brest-Litovks and no Versailles II.
So? Belgium had no value, the sole rationale for its existence was to spite the French and Dutch... Grey himself recognized that the UK would do nothing if France invaded Belgium, making the point of its value moot, it was a German invasion what would demand an action, but not because of Belgium itself.
Step 1. France invades Belgium.
Step 2. Germany counterinvades Belgium.
Step 3. Grey orders both countries to leave.
Step 4. Neither do.
Step 5. German troops commit massacres in Belgium, causing outrage in Britain.
Step 6 Grey makes a speech in the House outlining that under the current situation, Belgium must be swallowed by Germany, and this cannot be allowed to occurred.
Step 7. Britain declares war on Germany.


Step 1.5 Belgium denounces the aggression and requires the treaty signatories to assist, Germany immediately and publicly accepts, the UK?
Step 5, No, no reason for it to happen.

Germany is helping Belgium and Grey must answer to parliament as to why they arent as well...
Well, let's modify it then to accommodate your observations.

Step 1. France invades Belgium.
Step 2. Germany counter-invades Belgium.
Step 3. Belgium requests both Britain and Germany to come to its assistance.
Step 4. Britain declines Belgium's request.
Step 5. Germany accepts the Belgian request on condition that the Belgian armed forces and rail network are placed under German command.
Step 6. Belgium accepts or refuses the German conditions - the Germans care not which.
Step 7. Grey orders both France and Germany to leave Belgium.
Step 8. Neither do.
Step 9. Grey is asked why Britain is not helping Belgium. He replies that France has invaded Belgium so it is impossible to go to her assistance, while Britain will not assist Germany against France.
Step 10. German troops commit massacres in Belgium, sparking outrage in Britain, (there are 5,000 historical reasons why your assertion this will not occur is not correct)
Step 11. Britain is outraged by reports of German atrocities in Belgium.
Step 12. Grey makes a speech in the House outlining that under the current situation, Belgium must be swallowed by Germany, and this cannot be allowed to occurred.
Step 13. Britain declares war on Germany.
Why would Belgium delay its request for assistance? It would come before any German move.

Germany is there at Belgium's request, on what legal grounds could the UK ask for that? On top of FAILING to uphold a treaty it signed?

Yeah, and those were committed as Germany INVADED Belgium, in this case they were HELPING! SO the Belgian NAG would not be firing on THEM!

So, no war.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by MarkN » 25 Sep 2019 23:17

Step 1. France invades Belgium.
Step 2. Belgium calls upon all signatories of the Guarantee to assist
Step 3. Germany immediatly responds by invading Belgium too.
Step 4. Austria-Hungary responds by asking how it may assist and demands right of free passage through Germany to get at the French.
Step 5. Russia responds by asking how it may assist and demands right of free passage through Germany to get to the scene.
Step 6. Britain responds by asking how it may assist and says it will start mobilizing right away - but don't expect any real land support for 6 months or so. On the otherhand, they offer to blockade any ports nominated by the Belgians.

This is fun....

:roll:

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Terry Duncan » 26 Sep 2019 12:57

JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 20:31
Race card?

National prejudice?

Ok... just I am not the one calling the Germans "stupid".
I posted;
No, in 1914 they were stupid, if anyone were the 'baddies' it was Austria as they caused the war. I have no problem with Germany or Germans (I have some very close German friends of many years standing) but in 1914 they took some stupid decisions.
viewtopic.php?p=2224616#p2224616

Taking stupid decisions, as in being stupid, does not label a race or ethnic group as low intelligence.


I suggest that you concentrate on the discussion at hand. This is not a matter open for any further discussion. If you cannot stick to discussing the topic with other posters I am sure we can allow you some spare time to reflect upon your attitude.

T. Duncan.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 26 Sep 2019 17:18

JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 21:06
And it still was a hard sell and only successful because of Belgium and the German DoW, missing that you hace no lever to move public opinion, what would be the cry, lets save the French from themselves? Poor little Serbia? Lets help the authoritarian and retrograde Czar take over Europe?
The crisis hit Britain by surprise around August 1st. The public was a little surprised and baffled, and this mood of confusion would have lasted some days no matter what the facts were on the continent.
For the naval thing you would need the Germans to bite, and is such and obvious ploy that I cant see them falling for it. Willy would be worried about his ships...
If the British remain neutral the best German bet would be to put their entire HSF in the Baltic and lay up or scuttle all of their overseas warships before some British station admiral could protect some French shipping.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 26 Sep 2019 17:29

JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 21:19
Just to illustrate how much the Russians had already pushed Grey to the brink:
I found it very useful to understanding the British in the 1904-1914 period to go further back and read on British behaviour in major crises and wars since 1815. The general pattern was that the British had a 'wait and see' attitude about their alliances and continental policies that required things to happen first and decisions to be made second. For a hundred years foreign diplomats had been running to London in great alarm over this problem or that, and most of the time, the problems were resolved best by not getting ahead of the game.

So, when you say that the Russians had, "pushed Grey to the brink", my reaction is that this fundamentally is out of sync with the way Grey saw things. Until Russia and Germany actually did something, (ie, mobilize), Grey was in "show me the money" mode and would not respond to Russian pressure. And, when Germany did mobilize, it was up to France, not Britain, to make the next move. IMO, that's just the way the British thought about continental issues in most cases.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 26 Sep 2019 18:17

JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 23:07
In any case, the KM will stay away from the RN to avoid complications.
The easiest way for the KM to avoid complications is to move the entire fleet, including the submarines, into the Baltic and keep it there. Even if the French navy attacks the German North Sea coasts. However, there is a serious downside to this procedure, and that is that the French navy can run down the German merchant marine and force it to seek shelter in neutral ports. The Germans would, of course, blame the British for this state of affairs. The other issue is, of course, Souchon and Spee, and the far seas cruisers; these cannot hide in the Baltic.
Nope, you need positive identification of the warship, otherwise you risk an incident right on the Uks doorstep. No blockade no trade war.
Right, it is precisely because the U-boats were pretty bad at identification that if they were used in the Channel or Atlantic, they'd invariably start to sink British merchant and warships by accident. The British public, you would agree, would respond poorly to this? In terms of no blockade, how could a German navy couped up in the Baltic Sea prevents the French navy from doing that? Also, you seem to be assuming that the British will relieve Germany of its supply problems by direct trade. What if they don't?
Antwerp, a base that led to the channel and a bunch of minefields in time of war... the Germans never used anything bigger than a DD there IIRC.
The difficulty with Antwerp as a major HSF fleet base was that the approaches to it were by way of neutral Netherlands. But, if both Belgium and Netherlands were CP allies, then this area would make a fine fleet base. Add some heavy coastal batteries in the Pas de Calais area...
With France defeated and crippled Belgium has no value for Germany, much less its army.
During the war Belgium was very valuable as a U-boat base against Britain, and its rail net was indispensable for operations in France, whether these be aimed at France or Britain.
Yeah, they were desperate and had already thrown all caution to the wind, it was make or break for them.
So the stronger Germany gets the more respectful of Dutch neutrality they become? I would have guessed the opposite, actually.
Given that the convoy beat the Uboat, French bases would have made no difference.
Actually the U-boats sank 2.6 million tons of shipping in 8 months in 1918- they were not defeated, they were neutralized long enough for the Allies to win the 100 Days. Wolfpack tactics, (ie, massed submarine attacks on the surface at night) were inevitable, and the eventual anti-dote to these - radar - was not available for decades. The biggest operational hurdle by 1918 was the mined passage at Dover forcing very long trips around Scotland to patrol areas - a bit closer to reach these from Brest!
Which was Bertie's objection to Grey but, again, without the Russians the French are no threat by themselves, not even with the UK on tow. Germany did not want war, they knew the price to be paid in both blood and post-war social concessions that undermined the monarchy.
So when the Kaiser said to Moltke on 1 August when he thought France was out, that after dealing with Russia he'd 'take the measure' of the French, what are you suggesting he meant?
One war was enough, and there was no chance in hell of convincing the German people of attacking a France that had remained neutral during the war... they would have to be content with Brest-Litovks and no Versailles II.
That's what the Prussians thought in 1805 with Napoleon!
Why would Belgium delay its request for assistance? It would come before any German move.
The Germans are not waiting for any request before moving. And what of Liege? The Germans will want to garrison it and will need the Belgians out. They will not risk operations in the direction of Brussels or Antwerp without their LOC being German controlled and garrisoned.
Germany is there at Belgium's request, on what legal grounds could the UK ask for that? On top of FAILING to uphold a treaty it signed?
The Germans would be in Belgium because the French were there. Whether Belgium had or had not requested anything was immaterial. They are not helping Belgium. Further, if the Belgians did not agree to surrender Liege to the Germans, they would bring up the Krupps and Skodas and that would be that, right?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 28 Sep 2019 15:48

MarkN wrote:
25 Sep 2019 23:17
Step 1. France invades Belgium.
Step 2. Belgium calls upon all signatories of the Guarantee to assist
Step 3. Germany immediatly responds by invading Belgium too.
Step 4. Austria-Hungary responds by asking how it may assist and demands right of free passage through Germany to get at the French.
Step 5. Russia responds by asking how it may assist and demands right of free passage through Germany to get to the scene.
Step 6. Britain responds by asking how it may assist and says it will start mobilizing right away - but don't expect any real land support for 6 months or so. On the otherhand, they offer to blockade any ports nominated by the Belgians.

This is fun....

:roll:
Step 2 looks wrong - Belgium did not call upon Austria historically when invaded, so would not call on either Russia (ally of France) or Austria (not called upon historically).

The order between Step 2 and 3. Belgium might call for assistance from Britain before Germany invaded, but whatever communications between Belgium and Germany that occurred would not be settled before Germany entered the Ardennes. The friction between Belgium and Germany in the event of a France invasion is that the French incursion would be south of the Meuse, whereas the desired area of German operations in Belgium was north of the Meuse.

Step 4 - The Austrians would make no request, first because they would not be contacted by Belgium, second because none of their troops were in the West so required no passage, third because Austria had no intention to declare war on France and did not do so - it was the French that declared war on Austria on a false accusation involving the Innsbruck Corps.

Step 5 - the Russians would not respond this way, as the idea that Russian troops could march across Germany to invade France is absurd. Generally, statesmen do not tend to make absurd requests for fear of the embarrassment to their honesty or intelligence caused by them.

Step 6 the idea that the British would take 6 months to mobilize their BEF to Belgium stands in contradiction to historical fact on the timeframe to mobilizing the BEF and sending it to France. The British would not offer to blockade any port nominated by Belgium, as the idea that the British would take orders from Belgium WRT France or Germany is not feasible by any measure.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by MarkN » 28 Sep 2019 18:58

glenn239 wrote:
28 Sep 2019 15:48
.... looks wrong ... Yadda yadda yadda
Of course it looks wrong. This is a what if thread where posters are making up various fantasy alternatives.

My intent was not to suggest a realistic alternative inviting others to knock it down but to highlight some of the inherent weaknesses of the London Treaty and how it is a dreadful start point for any serious debate about alternative narratives - especially ones desperate to paint Britain in a bad light.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 29 Sep 2019 19:41

glenn239 wrote:
26 Sep 2019 17:18
JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 21:06
And it still was a hard sell and only successful because of Belgium and the German DoW, missing that you hace no lever to move public opinion, what would be the cry, lets save the French from themselves? Poor little Serbia? Lets help the authoritarian and retrograde Czar take over Europe?
The crisis hit Britain by surprise around August 1st. The public was a little surprised and baffled, and this mood of confusion would have lasted some days no matter what the facts were on the continent.
And yet the politicians were clearly aware of the fact that they could do nothing without popular support.
For the naval thing you would need the Germans to bite, and is such and obvious ploy that I cant see them falling for it. Willy would be worried about his ships...
If the British remain neutral the best German bet would be to put their entire HSF in the Baltic and lay up or scuttle all of their overseas warships before some British station admiral could protect some French shipping.
Why? They are free to operate anywhere but the Channel, those nice GKs would have had a lot of fun...

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 29 Sep 2019 19:46

glenn239 wrote:
26 Sep 2019 17:29
JAG13 wrote:
25 Sep 2019 21:19
Just to illustrate how much the Russians had already pushed Grey to the brink:
I found it very useful to understanding the British in the 1904-1914 period to go further back and read on British behaviour in major crises and wars since 1815. The general pattern was that the British had a 'wait and see' attitude about their alliances and continental policies that required things to happen first and decisions to be made second. For a hundred years foreign diplomats had been running to London in great alarm over this problem or that, and most of the time, the problems were resolved best by not getting ahead of the game.

So, when you say that the Russians had, "pushed Grey to the brink", my reaction is that this fundamentally is out of sync with the way Grey saw things. Until Russia and Germany actually did something, (ie, mobilize), Grey was in "show me the money" mode and would not respond to Russian pressure. And, when Germany did mobilize, it was up to France, not Britain, to make the next move. IMO, that's just the way the British thought about continental issues in most cases.
Well, he was the one thinking about resigning, wasnt he?

Of course they would wait, but Grey had abandoned balance of power policies for appeasement, that meant he HELPED usher a war instead of preventing it, the Franco-Russians were far ahead militarily which made a war attractive to them, Grey missed that, failed to reassess and adjust and ended up stumbling into war for fear of being left alone afterwards.

Incompetence.

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