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Poll: Causes of Great War

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  • Poll: Causes of Great War

    This poll is intended to show what people maintain as the factors which brought about the Great War.

    There is however a difference between the Great War and general European/potentially global war occurring in the same era. In other words, the difference between how things did occur, and how they may have done without following the script of the summer of 1914 as the world did witness it. If not one excuse for conflict, another may have become apparent later on, or not. They are not mutually exclusive or inclusive concepts but distinguishing those parts is not the true aim of this poll, which is shallow; to take a census of beliefs amongst us on why the war did come about, either in its immediate details of a Summer 1914 time-line, or in longer established factors, which may include the German Question or developments of societies into certain patterns of beliefs, thought and action, or what have you.

    As there are a number of points to tick, and they are intentionally broad and ask you to 'specify', this isn't a simple poll, but it should help gauge opinions on the 'general' or 'chief' causes of the conflict and of course, encourage more discussion on those and their merits.

    I hope it will indicate ideas about the extent of individual influence in this kind of decision making and how people see the movement of strategic history.

    [I am uncertain if I can set the polling options so that you may select numerous poll points, but have included a 'multiple or all of the above' point]

    Selous
    37
    Too much Nationalism in society
    8.11%
    3
    Colonial/Economic/Military/Naval rivalries amongst peoples (please specify)
    2.70%
    1
    An arms race
    0.00%
    0
    Capitalism
    0.00%
    0
    A Bourgeoisie plot to destroy the working classes
    0.00%
    0
    The personality traits or actions of an individual or group of individuals
    5.41%
    2
    The development of rival alliances from a complex and entangling set of treaties
    18.92%
    7
    Railway timetables or some other form of automated mobilisation
    0.00%
    0
    A German desire to proactively act before a less comfortable position arrived
    16.22%
    6
    Inflexible military plans leading to a rapid escalation and expansion of conflict
    5.41%
    2
    The balance of power destabilised by the German Question
    0.00%
    0
    The decline of the Ottoman Empire
    2.70%
    1
    Russian assertiveness in the Balkans/Belligerency
    8.11%
    3
    participants eagerness to engage in a Short War
    0.00%
    0
    An Entente ‘plot’ (or plot by an Entente member)
    2.70%
    1
    Specifically German aggression inspired by... ( Please specify)
    2.70%
    1
    Perfidious Albion
    0.00%
    0
    French decision-makers eager for a gain (please specify)
    0.00%
    0
    Too much hate, not enough love
    0.00%
    0
    Archy Duke shot an ostrich.
    10.81%
    4
    multiple of above, (please specify)
    10.81%
    4
    Other (please specify)
    5.41%
    2

    The poll is expired.

    Last edited by Selous; 23 Sep 12, 14:38.
    ------
    'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

    If you have questions about the forum please check the FAQ/Rules

  • #2
    As you carefully pointed out Selous, monocausality indeed goes against my instincts as a historian
    however I'll follow your intention
    and vote 'inflexible military planing' as it turned a localized conflict in eastern Europe into a European war.
    BoRG

    You may not be interested in War, but War is interested in You - Leon Trotski, June 1919.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Major Sennef View Post
      As you carefully pointed out Selous, monocausality indeed goes against my instincts as a historian
      however I'll follow your intention
      and vote 'inflexible military planing' as it turned a localized conflict in eastern Europe into a European war.
      Hallo major,

      I wasn't aware when I was planning the poll with the kind assistance of Phillip (BELGRAVE) that there could be multiple choices (I didn't remember from making my last poll!) so included a 'multiple of the above choice' and tried to keep the 'causes' as broad as I could so there is potential to overlap. This may be a formula for a decisively weak poll perhaps?:/

      I try to take a hollistic approach also, nevertheless even then I think there's one or two I'd promote above others (certain others, anyway). With this question too, I had recently seen expressed here a few different approaches and it's one which has had a lot of 'leading theories' over the years, so lends itself more easily to a poll.
      ------
      'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

      If you have questions about the forum please check the FAQ/Rules

      Comment


      • #4
        As much as i was tempted to vote that 'Archie duke shot the Ostrich' I would blame Nationalism.
        Cymru am Byth

        Comment


        • #5
          ...'cos he was hungry.
          Indyref2 - still, "Yes."

          Comment


          • #6
            I believe the war was based entirely on the casus belli that Gavrilo Princip assassinated Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria and his wife Sophie, Duchess of Hohenberg. There was no other thought than revenge.

            Casus belli http://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/casus%20belli
            The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. Thomas Jefferson.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by Kevinmeath View Post
              As much as i was tempted to vote that 'Archie duke shot the Ostrich' I would blame Nationalism.
              I did, in fact, vote that, as while almost all the others may have been contributing factors, to a greater or lesser extent, it was the shooting of the Archie Duke in Sarajevo that was the trigger. (so to speak). Had Archduke Franz Ferdinand, a known liberal, succeeded to the Habsburg throne the Austrian- Slavic antagonism may well have cooled. His policy was to reconcile the South Slav Provinces via a total reconstruction of the Dual Monarchy to became a Triple Crown, in which the Slavs within the Empire would share power with the Austrians and the Hungarians.

              But, in the end, Baldrick was correct: "the poor old ostrich died for nothing ".
              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
              Samuel Johnson.

              Comment


              • #8
                I would have to go with "Archy Duke shot an Ostrich" and "Too much hate, not enough love".

                Comment


                • #9
                  The development of rival alliances from a complex and entangling set of treaties

                  jmo

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    I think you have to see the Great War in the context of the Franco-Prussian struggle for supremacy in Europe that extended well before and after the early 20th century.

                    Germany was still in its upward surge from Bismark's unification and was totally committed to testing the limits of its growth and power. Example being their strategically rather pointless ambition to challenge the Royal Navy in what was then the greatest arms race in history when they had no real overseas empire to defend and were firmly committed to the concept of short wars of decisive engagement based on their war with France forty years prior.

                    Competing nation states struggle for hegemonny and the mad Kaiser was looking for a fight.

                    Had the ostrich missed, the war might have been delayed for a bit but the kettle was boiling.

                    I see that the leading option is currently thenone about having a complex series of treaties and alliances. I would note that this sort of thing had existed right through the 19th century and war had largely been avoided then. Treaties do not alone make wars, it takes a loony Prussian with a military fetish to ligut the touch paper.
                    What would Occam say?

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No one still in the 60s and going for AJP Taylor's railway timetable theory yet?
                      Matter of time.

                      I may continue this campaign with further polls and questioning if people aren't yet sick of the issue!
                      Interesting responses. I did included a note in the OP seeking to point out the difference between causes of war, and the casus belli apparent, but for the purpose of this, that's not essential. It's interesting to see where people draw the lines of causality in time and import

                      Regards
                      ------
                      'I would rather be exposed to the inconveniencies attending too much liberty than those attending too small a degree of it.' - Thomas Jefferson

                      If you have questions about the forum please check the FAQ/Rules

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Selous View Post
                        No one still in the 60s and going for AJP Taylor's railway timetable theory yet?
                        Matter of time.
                        The German Army was not catching the 5:31 to Bournemouth, Bruges and Brussels. They took over the entire German rail system.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Kaiser Bill painted Germany into a corner by changing Bismarck's policies. Alexander III detested Wilhelm II thinking of him as a shallow-minded footsoldier. This from George Kennan's Fatefull Alliance. Alexander III thought of the French as a procession of mountebanks parading on stage. For a number of years he refused to have a French ambassador, ibid.

                          The French were bent on war since they also saw that they were losing in industry and population to Germany. This is from AJP Taylor in his statistics on Europe between 1848 and 1914.
                          The PanSlavs were bent on conquering Istanbul and gaining acces to Mediterranean Sea. The Austrians under Aerenthal were interested in carving up the Balkans at their pleasure, hence the landgrab of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. This triggered the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Which had acted as a buffer for Austria-Hungary against the Balkan Slavs during the 19th century. This from 'The decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire'.

                          It was the folly of 1908 which triggered the inevitable path to WWI, IMHO. In Germany Count Holstein promoted acts of diplomatic violence, and Kaiser Bill and Alfred von Tirpitz were all for it. From 'The Great Deterent' a history of the pre-war German Navy.

                          BTW Belgrave = Phillip from Melbourne, please stop making personal insults to people you disagree with. You call me stupid, and you you state that my opinions and research are at high school level. This war is one I have researched for many years. I am not the only the only who you have insulted because they differ from your opiions, current case of peterhof who is new here. We will lose contributers if you keep up this attitude.
                          When looking for the reason why things go wrong, never rule out stupidity, Murphy's Law Nº 8
                          Those who do not remember history are doomed to repeat it. George Santayana
                          "Ach du schwein" a German parrot captured at Bukoba GEA the only prisoner taken

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Nickuru View Post
                            I am not the only the only who you have insulted because they differ from your opiions, current case of peterhof who is new here. We will lose contributers if you keep up this attitude.
                            peterhof is a refugee from another board, where he has been posting EXACTLY the same threads (and posts) and has been continually corrected by other posters, and frequently warned by moderators. Simple repetition does not make his arguments stronger.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Nickuru View Post
                              Kaiser Bill painted Germany into a corner by changing Bismarck's policies. Alexander III detested Wilhelm II thinking of him as a shallow-minded footsoldier. This from George Kennan's Fatefull Alliance. Alexander III thought of the French as a procession of mountebanks parading on stage. For a number of years he refused to have a French ambassador, ibid.

                              The French were bent on war since they also saw that they were losing in industry and population to Germany. This is from AJP Taylor in his statistics on Europe between 1848 and 1914.
                              The PanSlavs were bent on conquering Istanbul and gaining acces to Mediterranean Sea. The Austrians under Aerenthal were interested in carving up the Balkans at their pleasure, hence the landgrab of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1908. This triggered the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Which had acted as a buffer for Austria-Hungary against the Balkan Slavs during the 19th century. This from 'The decline and fall of the Ottoman Empire'.

                              It was the folly of 1908 which triggered the inevitable path to WWI, IMHO. In Germany Count Holstein promoted acts of diplomatic violence, and Kaiser Bill and Alfred von Tirpitz were all for it. From 'The Great Deterent' a history of the pre-war German Navy.

                              BTW Belgrave = Phillip from Melbourne, please stop making personal insults to people you disagree with. You call me stupid, and you you state that my opinions and research are at high school level. This war is one I have researched for many years. I am not the only the only who you have insulted because they differ from your opiions, current case of peterhof who is new here. We will lose contributers if you keep up this attitude.
                              Hang on ,please indicate where I have called you or anybody else "Stupid" ?

                              Where have I demeaned your and anybody else's educational standard ?

                              When and where have I deliberately insulted anybody ?

                              If you cannot then I suggest you start apologizing !
                              "I dogmatise and am contradicted, and in this conflict of opinions and sentiments I find delight".
                              Samuel Johnson.

                              Comment

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