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WWI: Germany attacks Russia 1st

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  • #61
    Originally posted by Wolery View Post
    Well Ibis, you've got the facts right but grossly misinterpret them. Everything can lie; especially statistics. Not sure what the technical term is but I call being able to see the secondary reactions of the counterfactual thinking fourth dimensionally. It's not hard to learn, but it takes applied analysis to do.

    First, there's the evidence that does not support the case. Chief among them is the desertion rate of the German Army. There was no collapse, the German Army marched home and was demobilized, all the paperwork in order. The best case for your argument is the German Army was badly frayed. If the French sought terms after Verdun, you and Purist would be same argument about the inevitability of the French collapse based on the desertion rates, defeat and war weariness. And it would be a very good argument too, except we know from our world the French recovered. Fact is, find me any European belligerent still enthusiastic about the war past August of 1916, and I will show you propagandic tripe. As for the Revolutions: all of them were put down before the signing of Versailles, and well before the lifting of the British blockade. That is the Wiemar Republic was fully capable of putting down the mutiny and the revolutions without an end to hostilities, including the food shortage. I was saving that point in particular for the other thread I've brought this up in, but here it is.

    I'm not here to debate the niceness of German terms real or theoretical. The Germans were *******s in that regard, and would have brought WWII on their heads just like the French did theirs. But two wrongs don't make a right. Versailles was a patently unjust treaty, and not at all what the German political leadership expected. Signing an Armistice was a prudent move at the time. However, there is ample evidence that the Germans could continue to fight, especially given that most of their food problems would be alleviated by their occupation of the Ukraine. The notion of the Stab in the Back has some truth in it; the German Army was capable of conducting defensive war and holding out for better terms, especially once the Allies started to press into Germany. If there's one constant in Human history it is that people fight harder when their nation is invaded than they do when they invade others. The presence of the American Expeditionary Force precludes the notion of German victory. It does not exclude the possibility of grinding the Allies down in brutal trench warfare inside the Reich itself. Could it have worked? Stranger things certainly have happened, it's certainly possible. In practical terms, the Germans couldn't have gone much worse. The Wiemar coalition were not traitors, but they were cowards. The people had every reason to expect a white peace given the situation in the field. The armistice was not about the condition of the army, because the army was nowhere near inevitable collapse, nor that Reds were popping up all over Germany because right wing paramilitaries and the supposedly collapsing Imperial Army crushed them with ease by early 1918, and it wasn't that the people were not willing to fight on, for they wanted a white peace based on the 14 Points, it was that the Wiemar coalition took their first shot at peace, never anticipating they would come to the peace table as a defeated scapegoat.

    What we have here is a contest of wills. Who will REALLY collapse first? The Germans, fighting for their lives and territory, or the Entente, who seek to impose a vicious victor's peace, a position they must sell to their war weary soldiers and populations. The US would be rip roaring to get in the fight, Britain France and Belgium were utterly exhausted and with the end of offensive operations by the German army to conquer France, moral right shifts definitively to the German camp. Who breaks first wins the war, and the Germans have their backs against the wall. Historically, the mutiny was put down, the Sparticans was killed, and up to 1924 there were roving bands of German boys, just reaching manhood after the Armistice roaming eastern Europe massacring communists from Riga to Budapest, to general acclaim. All the Wiemar coalition need do is tell the German people what the Allies planned to do to them, their price of peace, and the Germans would fight into the 20s. A Just Peace is a peace worth fighting for.
    Wolery, to me your post simply doesn't add up. First, there is no truth to the stab in the back. The military knew it couldn't win the war and wanted an armistice. They abandoned the negotiations to the civilians in the government. You can read about Hindenburg's attitude in Hindenburg: Icon of German Militarism by Dennis Showalter and William Astore, or any number of other works. He wanted peace at any price. Heck, you can read about it in the NY Times before the Germans signed.

    If you choose to believe the German army could carry on the war, despite the statements of the commanders of that very army, not to mention that army's most recent performance, that's up to you. I wouldn't go putting too much stock in the fact the army marched home in order though. Suppose there's a German soldier in November 1918. Call him X. He's tired. He's hungry. He's managed to survive a long spell at the front (or even a short one). He had been led to believe not more than a few months before that Germany was going to win the war, but over the past several months, he has been pushed back across Belgium or France. His buddies are dying, being wounded or captured, or deserting or simply refusing to stand and fight. He joins the vast swath of "shirkers" who refuse to fight or deserts.

    Then he runs into an officer. Call him Y. Y tells X "The war is over. Report to location 1 so you can get home." So X goes to location 1. And signs his papers. And marches home in great spirits since he survived and he won't have to face the Tommies or the Poilus or Monash's Diggers or Currie's Canadians or LeJeune's Devil Dogs ever again. And his head is held high as he, along with hundreds of thousands just like him, crosses the frontier.

    This just proves X is happy to be home, not that he'd continue to fight the Allies. Whether he'd join a free corps unit or not isn't the point. Thats later. We're talking about November 1918. X isn't fighting any more.

    As far as the Germans recovering like the French did, I'd ask you how? The French weren't starving. Its probably safe to say the average Poilu wasn't receiving a great food ration, but one of the first thing Petain did was to increase the food ration. The Germans were starving, and Hindenburg didn't have that option. You point to the Ukraine, but I'd ask you - just how long could the Germans hold it? I'd venture to say not very long. Those million men (many of whom were exposed to Bolshevik propaganda) would be needed for the front. And in any case, we're talking about November. When would the Ukrainian harvest be coming in? Not for many months. Who would be harvesting the crop? How would the crops be shipped home? The starvation would continue.

    We can go further if you'd like and discuss the fact that German artillery tubes were completely worn out. And there were few replacements. Ammunition stocks were running low. There was little fuel for tractors and trucks or for the air force. There was no cotton for bandages (the Germans were making do with paper). And so on. The French didn't have these problems. They kept increasing production, and then there was British and US industrial, agricultural and financial support.

    Finally, I've never seen the expression "the secondary reactions of the counterfactual thinking fourth dimensionally" before. I think I know what you're driving at. But in this case, IMO, the facts are clear and the conclusions flow logically and nearly inescapably from them. Is it "possible" Germans carried on? Well lots of things are possible. Is it likely? Absolutely not. But IMO we don't need to engage in that counterfactual since we know what happened. The Germans, including their top generals, said they couldn't win the war. The concluded the army wouldn't fight anymore. The high command acquiesced in (or even encouraged) the abdication of the Emperor. The high command supported (or dumped on) the politicians the responsibility for the armistice. And then the Germans went to meet with Foch in a railway car in the Compiegne forest.
    Last edited by The Ibis; 30 Sep 10, 00:15.

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    • #62
      Very late, will rebutt sometime tomorrow. But one point, I never claimed Germany could win WWI at this point. If the front moves it moves east. And what the generals did was underhanded and cowardly. But in light of Purist's way of rudeness, I want to thank you for civility, I will return it as best I can. Night!
      How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
      275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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      • #63
        Originally posted by The Ibis View Post
        Absolutely. We can what-if in another direction as well. How about instead of pushing on to Berlin, the Russians leave one army in place to hold the Germans, and send the other to assist against the Austrians. Who knows, maybe another 250,000 men, coming from a new direction against an already battered and demoralized foe might lead to the Austrians crumbling right from the start?

        Or maybe a Russian victory at Tannenberg keeps the Turks out of the war?

        Or maybe induces the Italians to jump in sooner?

        And so on.
        One thing that a Russian victory at Tannenburg/wherever is that it would open the road to Koenigsburg. Having the Russians threaten this city would cause a large number of refugees inside Germany. This would choke the roads and, to a certain extent, the rail. This would cause more internal disruption than you might imagine.

        From my readings so far, the Russians only partially mobilised, as opposed to going fully over to a war footing and thundering at the enemy. A-H, considered the primary belligerent because it was attacking the "little brother", Serbia, would have received a terrific shock if Russia had really gone at it from day one.

        The Turks in part entered the war because the two German cruisers(?), transferred to the Turkish navy when they sheltered in Constantinople, were still crewed by Germans and they attacked the Russians. If Britain has not yet decided to enter the war, then the German ships have a few more options.

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