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- Highlights of P. J. Buchanan's Political History of the Prelude to Second World War

Highlights of P. J. Buchanan's Political History of the Origins of the First World War

Introduction - Divide and Rule - British Militarism - The Outbreak of First World War - The Schlieffen Plan - Great Britain Enters the War - The War - Treaty of Versailles - The Hunger Blocade - The Legacy of the First World War - Links og Litteratur -

Introduction

Europe is doomed. We have lost confidence in our own civilization. We have accepted the guilt for all the world's real and imagined sins. We have become a continent of self-inflicting tormenters and around the world, other peoples can see how this self-hatred leads to that Europeans lose other people's respect while we are slowly on our way to commit cultural - and ultimately physical suicide.
The West's self-hatred
The West's self-hatred. From left to right:
Transgender woman. Photo Gloucestershire Echo.
Demonstration at WTO Geneva. Photo: Follow the money - WordPress.
European punker. Photo Pinterest.

We whip ourselves as climate sinners, who cause bad weather all over the world. We beg the former colonial nations for forgiveness for the white men's historical racism and colonialism, even though the people there precisely because of the contact with the West - through colonialism and globalization - experienced an enormous technical, organizational and cultural boost, which they never would have been able to create, if they had been left to themselves. We blame ourselves for centuries, even millennia, of unfair oppression of women, even though the same Western women use their new distinctive position to largely reject to give birth to children so that not a single European nation has a birth rate that will enable it to survive the 21. century as an ethnic European nation.

What happened to us?

Buchanan writes: "At some point in the last century the western man suffered a catastrophic loss of confidence - to himself, his civilization and to the faith that gave birth to it."

Soldiers graves in Normandy
Soldiers graves in Normandy. Photo Stockfreeimages.

Han cites George F. Kennan: "All lines of inquiry lead back to World War I." and the historian Jacques Barzun, who called the war that begun in August 1914: "The blow that hurled the modern world on its course of self-destruction".

Unlike most other First World War and Second World War reports, Patrick J. Buchanan's 2008 book, "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War - How Britain lost its Empire and the West lost the World" describes the political events that led to the First and especially the Second World War. His main subject is Second World War, but he also has a comprehensive treatment of the First World War. This article will focus on the political events at the beginning and end of First World War, mainly based on Buchanan's book.

Divide and Rule

For many centuries, the principle of divide and rule was the deep current of British foreign policy regarding the rest of Europe, and it still was at the outbreak of First World War and Second World War. Britain would for any price avoid a single power becoming dominant on mainland Europe. This principle led the country to war against the French Monarchy, Napoleon, Russia and later twice against Germany.

The original Chinese nations in the period of the warring states
The original Chinese nations in the period of the warring states about 3-400 BC. As Europe today, China originally consisted of a number of rivaling and warring states. A situation we also recognize from classical Greece. However, the nation of Qin built early a strong economic base thanks to the construction of dams and irrigation facilities in their hinterland in the Wei valley and on Sichuan's Chengdu plain. This enabled them to conquer the other Chinese states one by one. Because of their rivalry, the smaller powers never managed to build a coalition that could withstand Qin. Therefore, unlike Europe, China became a united empire already 221 BC.
The appearance of the Union of the German states signaled the beginning of a similar development in Europe - not necessarily through conquests but because of the very existence of a great dominant nation - and Britain sacrificed everything to avoid this. Nor was the United States interested in any kind of united Europe, probably because it itself wanted to achieve a global dominant role.

In Europe, after the Napoleonic wars, the German Romantic Movement and the idea of a nation emerged, which should be common to all German-speaking peoples. "Deutchland uber Alles" was the motto. In 1871, the patchwork of smaller German states was unified as "The German Empire" under Emperor Wilhelm 1. with Otto von Bismarck as Chancellor. This disturbed the political equilibrium in Europe. The new Germany was a very strong economic and thus also military power that could match almost any coalition of smaller powers. The very existence of a united Germany notified a new Europe.

Buchanan cites the contemporary British prime minister Disraeli, who immediately recognized the earthquake-like significance of the unification of the German states under the Prussian king: "The war(?) represents the German revolution, a greater political event than the French revolution of the last century - There is not a diplomatic tradition, which has not been swept away. You have a new world - the balance of power has been entirely destroyed."
Englishmen and Russians in the Great Game
Left: British Elephant and Mule Battery in Second Afghan War. Photo John Burke Wikipedia.
Right: Russian soldiers in Central Asia.
The "Great Game" or "The War of Shadows" was a kind of cold war in Central Asia between Russia and Britain, which developed during the 1800's and was finished in 1907.

Then it became an important goal for British foreign policy to weave a network of alliances around the new Germany. In 1907, England and Russia ended their rivalry in Asia, the Great Game, as Zar Nicolas 2. accepted the British presence in southern Persia and Britain accepted the Russian presence in the northern part. Both sides agreed to stay out of central Persia, Tibet and Afghanistan. Britain allied with Japan. They supported - but did not themselves take part - an alliance between France and Russia and began a comprehensive political and secret military cooperation with their ancient arch-enemy, France.

David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill in 1907
David Lloyd George and Winston Churchill in 1907. Photo Wikimedia.

Already in 1911, Churchill confided to Lloyd George about the real reasons why he wanted to bring Britain into any French-German war: "It is not for Morocco, nor indeed for Belgium that I would take part in this terrible business. One cause alone should justify our participation - to prevent France from being trampled down and looted by the Prussian junkers - a disaster ruinous to the world and swiftly fatal to our country."

Buchanan cites historian John Laughland's description of how the British Lord Chancellor, Lord Haldane, explained the divide-and-rule principle to the German Ambassador in London in 1912: "Britain would not tolerate "A unified continental group under the leadership of one single power", the Kaiser on reading the report of the conversation, covered it with the most violent marginal comments. In a characteristic attack of anger, he declared the English principle of "the balance of power" to be an "idiocy", which would turn England into "eternally our enemy."

In 1938, Churchill was accused of being obsessed with anti-German feelings. He denied the charge and explained himself: "British policy for four hundred years has been to oppose the strongest power in Europe by weaving together a combination of other countries strong enough to face the bully. Sometimes it is Spain, sometimes the French Monarchy, sometimes the French Empire, sometimes Germany. I have no doubt about who it is now. But if France set up to claim the over-lordship of Europe, I should equally endeavour to oppose them. It is thus through the centuries we have kept our liberties and maintained our life and power."

British Militarism

Some historians insist that Britain fought the First World war to bring down the Prussian militarism that threatened to dominate Europe and the World. But looking back over the hundred years from 1815 to 1914, from Waterloo to the Great War, Germany seems to have been among the least militaristic among the European big powers.

European nations' war participation from 1815 to 1914
European nations' war participation from 1815 to 1914 from "Churchill, Hitler and the unnecessary War." Buchanan does not specify which wars he refers to. But Wikipedia's "List of Wars involving the United Kingdom" includes 57 military confrontations during the period, including the 1. and 2. Opium War, the Crimean War and the 1. and 2. Boer War. The remaining 52 confrontations are smaller wars against mainly Ashanti, Maratha, Xhosa, Burma, Maori, Afghanistan, Sikh, Qing dynasty, Zulu, Bhutan, the Mahdi of Sudan, Burma, Sikkim, the quelling of various revolts and rebellions, interference in various civil wars and the like.
The corresponding lists for Prussia and after 1871, the Empire of Germany contain only 15 military confrontations, of which 4 are European wars, namely the 1. and 2. Slesvig war against Denmark, the war on Austria and war on France. The rest is made up of quelling of unrest in Africa and Samoa.

Prussia fought four wars between 1815 and 1914. The first was against Denmark in 1848. Prussia and the German Confederation decided to help the Holstein rebels against the Danish government and sent an army of 32,000 men led by the Prussian General Wrangel. The war was ended as a draw by the great powers in the Peace of London. In 1864, Denmark broke the peace provisions, which allowed Prussia and Austria to send another army, which defeated the Danes in only six months. The third war against Austria in 1866, which was about the right to the conquered Danish duchies, was even shorter, namely only seven weeks. The fourth war in the period was, in its beginning, a war of defense, as Napoleon 3. of France in 1870 declared war against Prussia, mistakenly believing that he could repeat the success of his famous ancestor and march all the way to Berlin.
Boer republics and Boer family
Left: The original South African Boer settlement, The Great Trek and the Boer Republics Transvaal and the Orange Free State.
In 1648, a Dutch ship stranded at Table Bay in South Africa at present Cape Town and the crew had to survive in the country for several months. They became so captivated by the country's fertility and beauty that many returned with their families. A fort was built and the land was cultivated. However, due to a tyrannical leadership from Amsterdam, many left the colony and cultivated their own land further away and populated in this way the entire southern Cape province. In connection with the Napoleonic wars, the Netherlands came under France and thereby at war against England, which took over the colony in 1795. Gold was found and many English colonists flocked to the country. Around 1830, a very large part of the Boers decided to travel to the North and set up their own independent republics, Transvaal and the Orange Free State, where they could have their slaves and their religion in peace. This emigration is called "The Great Trek". However, gold and diamonds were found in their new territories, and the British therefore wanted to incorporate also these areas into the Empire, which started the Boer War, that the Boers lost. Photo Wikidata.
Right: Boer Family - the Boer language is called Afrikaan, it is a kind of medieval Dutch, which is closer to Danish than present-day Dutch. Photo Wikipedia.

In 1914 Churchill denounced Wilhelm 2. as a Prussian warlord out to take over the World. Yet the Kaiser had never fought a war in his twenty years in power and he had never seen a battle. In the two Morrocon crises in 1905 and 1911, it was he who had backed down. The German army had never fought the English and indeed had not fought a battle in nearly half a century.

Buchanan writes: "From 1871 to 1914 the Germans under Bismarck and the Kaiser did not fight a single war. The Kaiser had never gone to war in his twenty-five years on the throne" - "How can we call Germany - as Britsh statesmen did and British historians still do - the butcher birds of Europe?"
British voters celebrate the rescue of the city of Mafeking
War enthusiastic British voters rejoice at the rescue of the city of Mafeking on Piccadilly in London on a Friday night in May 1900. Drawing by W. Small and Frank Dadd.

Churchill, however, was already a war veteran, He had seen action on the Northwest frontier under sir Blindon Blood in the fighting around the Khyber Pass at India's border with Afghanistan. He had ridden with the Kitchener's cavalry in the massacre of the dervishes at Omdurman in Sudan. Along with a platoon of English soldiers, he attacked the Boers in the first days of the Boer war with an armored train. He was captured but escaped and marched with the English army to rescue of the city Ladysmith.

Britain had been engaged in many more wars than Germany in the century before Sarajevo and Churchill had himself seen more war than almost any soldier in the German camp.

The Outbreak of First World War

Illustration of the assassination in Sarajevo Illustration of the assassination in Sarajevo in the Italian newspaper La Domenica del Corriere, July 12. 1914.

28. June 1914 Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria, heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, and his wife, Sophie, were murdered during an official visit to Sarajevo. It soon turned out that the perpetrator, Gavrilo Princip, belonged to the terror group "Black Hand". He had spent long periods in Belgrade and only recently crossed the border from Serbia, carrying weapons and bombs of Serbian manufacturer.

6. July 1914 Germany gave its unconditional support to its ally, Austria-Hungary, in the dispute with Serbia - the so-called "blanco check". Vienna had prior consulted Berlin because they feared a possible war against Serbia's ally, Russia, if they progressed to military penal action against Serbia. Russia was a monarchy, like Germany and Austria-Hungary, and in Berlin and Vienna, they assessed that it would not go to war in support of King killers.

23. July 1914 Austria-Hungary sent a 10-point ultimatum to Serbia. The Serbs accepted all points except one. Everywhere in Europe, the Serbian response was considered satisfactory. For example, Germany's Emperor Wilhelm 2. commented that it was "a great moral victory for Vienna, and with that, every cause of war is removed"
Tsar Nicholas 2. holds an icon for the Russian troops who depart for the eastern front in 1914.
Tsar Nicholas 2. holds an icon for the Russian troops who depart for the eastern front in 1914. Photo Pinterest.

24.-25. July 1914 - some write July 30 - The Russian Council of Ministers agreed to a partial mobilization, only against Austria-Hungary to demonstrate support for Serbia. However, the generals pointed out that they then would be completely defenseless against Germany. Then Tsar Nicolai changed the decision to full mobilization.

In a subsequent exchange of telegrams with his cousin, the German Emperor Wilhelm, Tsar Nicholas wrote: "It is technically impossible to stop our military preparations that are mandatory because of Austria's mobilization. We are far from wishing war." But at that time the development against war had already gone too far: Emperor Franz Josef had rejected Emperor Wilhelm's mediation offer saying it came too late, as Russia had already mobilized, and Austrian troops already marched against Serbia.
New York Times 29. July 1914
New York Times 29. July 1914. Photo Wikimedia Commons.

28. July 1914 Austria-Hungary rejected Serbia's response to their 10-point ultimatum and declared war on Serbia, and the same night (shortly after midnight) Belgrad was bombarded by an Austro-Hungarian gunboat, which would be the first war action in the First World War.

An Austro-Hungarian gunboat bombard Belgrade
An Austro-Hungarian gunboat bombards Belgrade 29. July 1914 shortly after midnight. Drawing by Horace Davis. Wikimedia Commons.

31. July 1914 Germany sent an ultimatum to Russia, demanding that they canceled their mobilization and the same day an ultimatum to France, in which they called for France to promise neutrality in case of war between Russia and Germany.

1. August 1914 the Russian government refused to stop its mobilization, and France refused to declare neutrality, as the French Prime Minister answered the ultimatum by simply saying: "France will care for its own interests." In response, Germany declared war on Russia the same day.

2. August 1914 the German armies captured the Belgian Longwy fort near the Luxembourg border, opening the way to France for a massive German invasion. It was part of their carefully prepared Schlieffen plan, which said - in case of a two-front war - first to defeat France with a quick knockout and then with all available forces to turn against the more slowly mobilizing Russia. To avoid the possible delay in front of the strong French fortresses at the actual German-French border the plan prescribed that the German army should bypass the forts by pushing through Belgium and then surround and conquer Paris.

The Triple Alliance
By the end of the first decade of the 1900's, the great European powers were divided between the Triple Entente and the Triple Alliance. The Entente consisted of France, Britain and Russia, even Britain was not a formal member, but had a secret alliance with France. The Triple Alliance was originally composed of Germany, Austria-Hungary and Italy, which latter, however, remained neutral in 1914 as they put forward it was a defense alliance, and it was Austria-Hungary who attacked. Later on, the Italiens were tempted into the war on the side of the Entente. Nydas Wikimedia Commons.

3. August 1914 Germany declared war on France in response to the country's refusal to declare itself neutral.

4. August 1914, when Britain's ultimatum to Germany - concerning the violation of Belgian neutrality - expired, it declared war on Germany.

Then came several war declarations in rapid succession and the World War was then in full swing.

Was First World War a necessary war? Buchanan quotes British historian John Keegan: "the First World War was - an unnecessary conflict. Unnecessary because the train of events that led to its outbreak might have been broken at any point during the five weeks that preceded the first clash of arms, had prudence or common goodwill found a voice."

Serbian infantry at Ada Ciganlija during First World War
Serbian infantry at Ada Ciganlija during First World War. The war in Serbia did not become the walk-over that the Austrians might have imagined. The Serbs defended themselves fiercely. Throughout the war, the front waved back and forth from north to south. The Austrians executed civilians in return for partisan activity. Bulgaria attacked from the south and massacred thousands of Serbian men. Serbia lost over 29% of its inhabitants. Photo fra Wikipedia uploaded of Avala.

He continues: "Had the Austrians not sought to exploit the assassination of Ferdinand to crush Serbia, they would have taken Serbia's acceptance of nine of their ten demands as vindication. Had Tsar Nicholas 2. been more forceful in rescinding his order to full mobilization, Germany would not have mobilized, and the Schlieffen plan would not have begun automatically to unfold. Had the Kaiser and Bethmann realized the gravity of the crisis, just days earlier, they might have seized Grey's proposal to reconvene the six-power conference that resolved the 1913 Balkan crisis. The same six ambassadors were all in London, including Germany's Prince Lichnowsky, an Anglophile desperate to avoid war with Britain."

But one cannot explain away that Austria-Hungary had a great responsibility for the start of the fatal war. They underestimated the importance of Serbia's alliance with Russia, and they were too eager to get the actual war started so there was no time for negotiations.

Europe in 1914
Europe in 1914. It is seen that Serbia did not have a common border with Russia. Foto Facebook.

One can feel the suspicion that the whole affair was a German-Austrian diplomatic intrigue, which aimed to split the French-Russian alliance - As they speculated that France would not go to war for Serbia.

It can also be thought that it was unwise for Russia to enter into an actual alliance with a small nation with which they did not share their borders, but which was adjacent to a rival great power. It brought them a war that they had not wanted and which would eventually be fatal to the Russian Empire. Modern superpowers would to a higher degree have preferred to support such a small nation more non-committal with money, weapons and "volunteers". It can probably be just as effective, but far less explosive.

Mobilization is not the same as open war, and one might think that it should have been possible to continue the negotiations, even when the armies were facing each other on either side of the border. It has happened many times before in history.

James Dean in Rebel without a Cause
James Dean in the movie "Rebel Without a Cause" from 1955. In the film, the newly-motorized American teenagers fought a contest they called Chicken Race. It consisted of that two young men in each car drove directly against each other at full speed. The one who first turned off became a "chicken" and had thus lost the contest.
One might think that the diplomatic game in 1914 worked similarly. The parties had different demands and interests, and if they could not agree, that would, in the end, mean war, and in that no one was interested. But the one who first withdrew and called for compromise got a less advantageous bargaining position and thus lost the diplomatic game.
Russia rejected Germany's demand to stop the mobilization, and France rejected Germany's claim to declare itself neutral, but it did not necessarily mean that they had decided on war. They did not know the existence of the Schlieffen Plan, and may have thought that there was still time for negotiations; they just wanted to sharpen the situation to improve their final negotiating position. Foto Facebook.

But it was not possible for Germany, which, because of its geographically exposed position, sandwiched between two other great powers, faced the threat of a two-front war. Germany had drafted the offensive Schlieffen plan, which said that, with the speed of lightning, they should attack the strongest enemy first - which was France - and then turn to the more slowly mobilizing Russia. Therefore - if war seems inevitable - they could not waste time on negotiations that might prove fruitless and only give Russia more time for mobilization.

The Schlieffen Plan

Alsace og Lorraine Alsace and Lorraine marked in red. It is an area on the left bank of the Rhine which was incorporated into Germany after the war with France in 1871. After the peace in Versailles in 1919, it again became part of France. Drawing wikipedia.

Germany felt to some extent that they stood with their backs to the wall. The German Crown Prince Henry noted on his travels: "Our country is not much loved anywhere and indeed frequently hated."

Buchanan writes: "In France, she was especially hated. The Kaiser's grandfather, against the advice of Bismarck, had annexed Alsace and Lorraine after the 1870 war. The Prussian General Staff had persuaded the Kaiser that they must be annexed to keep France permanently on the defensive. But their loss had made of France a mortal enemy resolute on revenge."

"Russia was now France's ally. And given her size, resources, and population, Germans feared, Russia must soon assume leadership of all the Slavic peoples. The German General Staff - with an unreliable ally in Italy, a crumbling ally in Austria, and an immense Russian Empire growing in power as she laid railroad trucks into Poland, preferred that if war must come, it come sooner rather than later. Time was not on Germany's side. "The future belongs to Russia, which grows and grows and which hangs over us like an increasingly horrible incubus", said (chancellor) Bethmann-Hollweg. "In a few years, there will be no defense against it."

Count Alfred von Schlieffen
Count Alfred von Schlieffen was born in 1833. He was the head of the German General Staff from 1891 to 1906. He died 79 years old in 1913. In 1906 he introduced the Schlieffen Plan as the German plan in the event of war. The other European powers did not know the plan until it unfolded in 1914.

Initially, Germany had a defensive plan drawn up by the victor in the French-German War in 1871, Helmuth von Moltke, who received his military education at the Cadet school in Copenhagen and served at the Danish court. Later he went into Prussian service.

Moltke's plan included a defense at the Rhine and a limited offensive in Poland. He said the plan should allow the enemies to "Destroy their armies by throwing them against the (German) walls of fire and steel."

However, Count Alfred von Schlieffen became head of the German General Staff in 1891 and in 1906 he introduced the offensive Schlieffen Plan as Germany's plan in the case of a two-front war. The plan was to knock-out France first by pushing through Belgium and then turn against the slowly mobilizing Russia; Thus, the plan became a race with time. Therefore, if war was overwhelmingly probable, it did not allow Germany to spend precious time on negotiations so that Russia was allowed time for full mobilization, which would make the Schlieffen Plan useless.

Germany was an industrial nation that imported close to one-third of its food. It could hardly tolerate a long-drawn-out war that could destroy its markets and cut off its food supplies. It has certainly been an important reason to prefer an offensive plan that could end the war quickly.

Buchanan gives the floor to A.J.P. Taylor, who explains: "All the Powers except one could mobilize and yet go on with diplomacy, keeping the armies within their frontiers. Mobilization was a threat of high order, but still a threat. The Germans, however, had run mobilization and war into one. In this sense, Schlieffen, Chief of German General Staff from 1892 to 1906, though dead, was the real maker of the First World War. "Mobilization means war" was his idea. In 1914 his dead hand automatically pulled the trigger."

The Schlieffen Plan
The idea of the Schlieffen plan was first to attack the strongest enemy, France, through Belgium with overwhelming force, thereby bypassing the strong French fortresses at the actual German-French border, take Paris and thereby putting France out of the game, which would allow for a speedy transfer of the troops to the Eastern Front by railway early enough to meet the Eastern enemy, Russia, who was supposed to be slow to mobilize.

The Germans had forgotten Bismarck, who warned that preventive war is "like committing suicide for fear of death".

Schlieffen's plan unfolded as planned on August 3, 1914, but after about a month and a half it came to a standstill, the armies dug down and began the exhausting trench war, for which we especially remember the First World War.

An important reason why Schlieffen campaign faltered and eventually stalled was the arrival in Normandy by an English army of 120,000 men. The German violation of Belgian neutrality had created a reversal of the English public sentiment, which had made it possible for Winston Churchill, Grey, Lloyd George and other British politicians to get the majority in parliament for a declaration of war against Germany. The transfer of the 120,000 soldiers had been planned long in advance.

Great Britain Enters the War

Buchanan writes: "For Britain, the First World War was not a war of necessity but a war of choice. The Germans did not want war with Britain, nor did they seek to destroy the British Empire. They feared a two-front war against a rising Russian Empire and a France resolute upon revenge for 1871 because of the loss of Alsace-Lorraine. Berlin would have paid a high price for British neutrality."

Young men from London volunteer in August 1914
So big was the popular enthusiasm for the cause that as soon as the war was declared, thousands of young men reported as volunteer soldiers. In some days, more than 10,000 young men reported. Around July 1914, hundreds of thousands had volunteered, and it continued well into 1915. Men from all classes of society and all areas of Britain volunteered. Others who were abroad in August 1914 traveled thousands of miles to come home and sign up. Whole groups from companies, offices and universities joined together. There were far more volunteers than the government could arm and equip, and some trained for months wearing their civilian clothes without suitable weapons. Especially sportsmen took pride in signing up. It was the flower of Britain's youth that was sent to the battlefields of Flanders and Normandy.

The British Declaration of War to Germany was a full democratic decision, which was most likely supported by an overwhelming majority of British voters.

Buchanan writes: "Over that weekend (1-2 August) the mood of the British people underwent a sea change. A peace demonstration scheduled for Sunday in Trafalgar Square dissolved. Millions, who did not want to go to war for France were suddenly wildly enthusiastic about a war for Belgium. As Lloyd George observed a poll on August 1. would have shown 95% against - hostilities - a poll on the following Tuesday (4. August) would have resulted in a vote of 99% in favour."

The nation of Belgium was created in 1815 by the Vienna Congress, which arranged the political conditions in Europe after the Napoleonic wars. Further, in 1839, the United Kingdom, France and Prussia had concluded a treaty on Belgium. But this treaty gave the signatories the right, but not the duty, to intervene if Belgium was attacked. It was probably not the intention of the treaty that a signatory nation should act alone in the event of an attack on Belgium. The United Kingdom was thus quite free in relation to the continental war, which was declared in 1914.

An entire soccer team from the Heart of Midlothian Football Club in August 1914
An entire soccer team from the Heart of Midlothian Football Club signed up for the army in 1914. Most fought in the 16. (Service) Battalion of the Royal Scots, also known as the McCrae's Battalion. On the first day of the Battle of Somme in 1916, the British army lost nearly 20,000 men, including three of Hearts' football players. The war demanded the lives of seven of the Heart's players, and several survivors were so severely wounded that they never came to play football again. Photo Heart of Midlothian Football Club.

Winston Churchill did not have very warm feelings for little Belgium. Buchanan quotes Manchester: "Churchill did not care about the Belgians; he believed their behavior in the Congo was shameful". In addition, Churchill himself had planned to violate Belgium's neutrality "If war came, Churchill was determined to violate Belgian neutrality himself by ordering the Royal Navy to blockade Antwerp to prevent it becoming a port of entry for goods destined for Germany."

Buchanan quotes Niall Ferguson: "If Germany had not violated Belgian neutrality in 1914, Britain would have. this puts the British government's much-wanted moral superiority in fighting for "Belgian neutrality" in another light."

Volunteers join the army at Trafalgar Square and receive their payment
Volunteers join the army at Trafalgar Square and receive their payment. Photo: encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net.

Originally, the British ministers and parliament members were not in favour of war on the continent, but the dramatic shift in voters attitudes and in particular feelings in favor of Belgium had its effect: "By the end of the second cabinet meeting on Sunday (2. August) a majority had agreed: If Germany invaded Belgium, and the Belgians fought and called on Britain for aid, British honour and the 1839 treaty meant she must fight. Five cabinet members were about to join Burns and resign. Seeing no cause to justify a vast expenditure of British blood and treasure in a Franco-German war they pleaded with Lloyd George to lead them out. Had Lloyd George agreed, and had all six ministers resigned Monday, Asquith's Cabinet would have broken up, his government might have fallen, and history would have taken another course.

Buchanan cites Charmley: "The key figure was Lloyd George, and Churchill played a major role in winning his support for a declaration of war" and continues: "As Lloyd George vacillated, Churchill pressed him to take his stand on the issue of Belgium's neutrality. Churchill knew public opinion would swing around to war when the Germans invaded Belgium, as they must. He believed that Lloyd George would swing with it. Churchill knew his man"

David Lloyd George
David Lloyd George on photo from 1919. Born 1863 - dead 1945. Prime Minister of the United Kingdom 1916 to 1922. Leader of Liberal Party. Photo Wikipedia.

As late as July 27, Lloyd George had volunteered that he "knew of no minister in favour of it (war), adding "There could be no question of taking part in any war." But the Chancellor could see the Unionists uniting behind Grey and Churchill. Having opposed the Boer War, Lloyd George did not want to repeat the painful experience of "standing out against a war inflamed populace" , if the nation was going to fight, he would stand with the nation. For Lloyd George knew that if he did not, his position as heir apparent to the leadership of the Liberal Party, a position he had spent twenty-five years building, would be lost, probably to his young rival, the first Lord. Lloyd George might then end his brilliant career as a backbencher in a Liberal Party led by Winston Churchill.

Buchanan quotes Niall Ferguson: "It was a historic disaster - though not for his own career - that Lloyd George did not support the opponents of intervention at this crucial juncture."

His biographer Peter Rowland writes: "The truth of the matter was, quite simply, he did not want to resign - He was looking around, during those last days of July, for a face-saving formula which could enable him to stay put as Asquith's second-in-command."

A large crowd cheering over the English war declaration against Germany
A large crowd rejoices at the British declaration of war against Germany in Trafalgar Square 4. August, 1914. Photo Pinterest.

The English voters were immensely excited about the prospect of punishing the hated Germans for their brutal assault on little Belgium. Buchanan cites Rowland and the historian G.J.A. Meyer: "(Lloyd George) was sickened by the huge crowds jubilantly thronging Whitehall and Parliament Square and his face was white as he sat slumped in his seat in the Commons" listening to Grey make the case for war. Cheered on his way to Parliament, Lloyd George muttered: "This is not my crowd - I never want to be cheered by a war crowd."

As Churchill noticed: "Every British heart burned for little Belgium".

At 11 PM August 4, as the ultimatum expired and the moment came when Britain was at war, a tearful Margot Asquith left her husband to go to bed, and she began to ascend the stairs, "I saw Winston Churchill with a happy face striding towards the double doors of the Cabinet Room" (Emrys Hughes).

It is quite clear that Britain did not go into the war alone to save little Belgium. Buchanan states five reasons for Britain's war participation, which, however, can largely be attributed to the European divide-and-rule policy that the nation had practiced for centuries.
English soldiers heading towards the trenches
10. Batalion East Yorkshire Regiment heading towards the trenches near Doullens 28. Juni 2016. Photo Pinterest.

1. Preserve France as a great power, which can clearly be attributed to the divide-and-rule principle.

2. British honour, what brought the cabinet around behind Grey was not France or an abstraction like the balance of power. It was Belgium - "In his speech (Grey's) of 6. August", "What are we fighting for?" Asquith gave this answer: Britain had a duty "to uphold Belgian neutrality in the name of law and honour" and "to vindicate the principle - that small nations are not to be crushed". It is almost purely idealistic reasons and "In his memoirs, Grey, too does not give us as casus belli any imperiled British interest, but regard it as a matter of national honour", Buchanan writes. But precisely Grey had, along with Churchill, years in advance, secretly promised to support France and prepared the transfer of an army of 100,000 men, if it should become necessary - and it happened. Therefore, we must believe that the real deeper underlying reason was not Belgium, but the ancient British divide-and-rule principle.

3. Retention of power. "Why did the antiwar liberals in the cabinet not resign? Because Lloyd George begged them to wait. Because they feared a break up of the cabinet would bring about the fall of Asquith's government and new elections might bring to power the Unionists, who backed Grey, Churchill and war". Which tells us that the mood among British voters was predominantly in favour of war. Clearly, Lloyd George believed that any new government would be even more determined on war than his own Asquith government - there was no significant peace-loving opposition.

English mob plunder a German-owned shop in London in 1914
English mob plunders a German-owned shop and connected apartment in London in 1914. Photo The World University Ranking.

4. Germanophobia, "Britain resented the rise of Germany and feared that a defeat of France would mean German preeminence in Europe and the eclipse of Britain as an economic and world power," Buchanan writes. Britain was the birthplace of the industrial revolution, and it will serve to the Englishmen's eternal glory. But they did not feel well with the German industry's rapid growth. Germany already produced twice as much steel as Britain. In his efforts to sell his Versailles Peace to the Americans, President Wilson made a speech in St. Louis and St. Paul, in which he said: "This war, in its inception, was a commercial and industrial war - The German bankers and the German merchants and the German manufacturers did not want this war. They were making conquest of the World without it, and they knew it would spoil their plans"
German colonies
German colonies before the First World War. Foto Pinterest.

5. Imperial ambitions and opportunism Buchanan writes: "The British war party saw France and Russia as bearing the cost in blood of land battles in Europe, while the Royal Navy, supreme at sea, ravaged Germany's trade, seized her markets, and sank the German High Sea Fleet, as the empire gobbled up every German colony from Togoland to the Bismarck Archipelago." As Bismarck, the British were quite aware that Germany had many attractive colonies all over the world, but no navy that could protect them.
The British Empire around 1920
The British Empire around 1920 after it had engulfed the German colonies. It has not come out of the air when Buchanan writes that a probable motivation for Britain to take part in the continental war in 1914 was that they wanted to expand their empire - at the expense of Germany.
During history, the United Kingdom participated in a series of European wars, often on the supposed weakest powers' side. In the wake of these wars and as a result of these, the British won a very large part of their empire at the expense of other European powers.
As a result of the English-Dutch wars - with the first in 1652 - Britain won Jamacia from Spain and New Amsterdam from Holland (which was renamed New York) and in general secured all its positions in North America and India in relation to the Netherlands.
In the wake of the 1688 Nine Years War between France and a large alliance of other European states, several wars in North America were fought between British settlers and alliances between French forces and Indians.
In the 1701 Spanish Succession War - between France and a big alliance of other European states, including Austria, England and the Netherlands - England got Newfoundland, Acadia, Gibraltar and Mallorca.
During the Seven Years War in 1756, Great Britain became the dominant power in India by capturing the French regions and the Mughal Empire. The British took over colonies and trading stations of the other European powers in India. They took over Rupert's Land in present-day Canada, Florida and a very large part of other French territories in North America.
In connection with the Napoleonic Wars in 1804, Britain came into possession of the Ionian Islands, Malta, Mauritius, Saint Lucia, Tobago, Trinidad, Helgoland, Guyana and not least the Cape Colony. They got their possession of Ceylon confirmed.
Map: General History by Dean Swift.

The War

In particular, the British entry into the war made it a real world war. Together with them came troops from the dominions, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and India. France also mobilized their North African colonies.

British soldiers in the Battle of Somme
British soldiers in the Battle of Somme. Photo Pinterest.

Already August 5. the day after the British declaration of war troops from the British Uganda Protectorate attacked German outposts at the Lake Victoria in East Africa. Already on August 9. only a week after the Declaration of War, the German colony of Togoland was attacked by British and French forces, suggesting that they were well prepared and it was indeed an important British war goal to acquire the German colonies.

After about six weeks the Schlieffen Plan halted. The armies dug in and the grueling trench warfare began. The immediate cause was that the Germans encountered unexpectedly fierce resistance because of the arrival of a British army of 120,000 men, the first English army on the continent for a hundred years.

The Schlieffen plan was not very unique, many nations general staffs had offensive plans. There was great confidence in offensive strategies. But they quickly became disappointed. It turned out to be almost impossible to penetrate a trench line, the defensive was completely superior. If, exceptionally, a belligerent managed to penetrate the enemy defenses, they faced the challenge of getting enough soldiers through the hole, which was difficult because it was a riotous mess of mud, barbed wire, trenches, and grenade holes. The defenders, on the other hand, had good roads behind the trenches and were usually able to close the hole quickly.

Military losses in the First and Second World War.
Military losses in the First and Second World War. From Buchanan's "Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War".

The losses were monstrous, never had one experienced a European war with such enormous losses. Only on the first day of the battle of Somme in 1916, 20,000 English soldiers fell.

The Russians moved into East Prussia - Britain's faithful ally, Japan, declared war on Germany in August and a week later they conquered the German colony of Qindao in China - The Turkish Ottoman Empire attacked Russia in October - In February 1916, the battle of Verdun began, which lasted for 9 months and cost France 167,000 fallen soldiers and the Germans 150,000 - In May 1916 the German High Fleet sailed out from Wilhelmshafen and fought the Battle of Jutland, which was a draw - In July 1916, the battle of Somme started and lasted 4 Months costing the Allies 420,000 killed soldiers - At the end of 1916, British diplomats succeeded in enticing Romania and Italy into the war on their side by promising them gains on Austria Hungary's expense - In April 1917, the United States declared war on Germany - In November 1917 the Bolsheviks came to power in Russia, and they concluded the Treaty of Brest-Litovsk with Germany in December 1917 - In January 1918, the German troops at the Eastern Front were transferred to the western front - American troops arrived at the Western Front during the spring and summer of 1918.
English soldiers heading back from the trenches
English soldiers heading back from the trenches. Photo Flandres Today.

29. September 1918 The German commander-in-chief, General Erich Ludendorff, told Emperor Wilhelm 2. that the military situation faced by Germany was hopeless and they should request immediate ceasefire based on US President Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points.

11. November 1918 representatives of Germany and the Allies signed an armistice in a railway wagon in a forest at Compiegne about 80 km north-east of Paris.

The armistice conditions were largely written down by the Allied Commander-in-Chief Marshal Ferdinand Foch, and they were distinctly in favor of the Allies. The conditions included the cessation of hostilities, the withdrawal of German forces behind the Rhine, Allied occupation of the Rhineland and bridgeheads further east, the preservation of infrastructure, surrender of aircraft, warships and military equipment, the release of Allied prisoners of war and interned civilians, but no release of German war prisoners and no stop of the Allied blockade of German ports before a final peace had been agreed.

The final peace conditions between the Allies and Germany were agreed in 1919 by the Paris Peace Conference and written down in the Treaty of Versailles.

The Treaty of Versailles

When Germany signed the armistice document on November 11, 1918, its leaders thought they accepted a "peace without victory", as outlined by US President Woodrow Wilson in his famous fourteen points. But as the Allies leaders arrived at the Paris Peace Conference in early 1919, it became increasingly clear that post-war political reality would deviate significantly from Wilson's idealistic visions.

Hang the Kaiser
Typical 1918 election poster for the Lloyd George coalition. Foto First World War Hidden History.

Buchanan writes: The day after the ceasefire, Lloyd George launched his election campaign with a statesmanlike call for a magnanimous peace: "we must not allow any sense of revenge, any spirit of greed, any grasping desire to over-rule the fundamental principles of righteousness."

But he soon realized his mistake, Buchanan explains: "Lloyd George had misread the mood of his country and of press baron Alfred Lord Northcliffe, the Napoleon of Fleet Street, whom he had denied a place on the delegation to the peace conference. Whipped up by Northcliffe's papers, the public rejected such noble sentiments and took up the cry "Hang the Kaiser". Ever attentive to popular opinion, Lloyd George was soon pledging to bring home a peace in which Germany would be made to pay "full cost of the war". They will pay to the utmost farthing, he roared to one crowd, "we will search their pockets for it"

Maybe someone had informed him that during the last years of the war the British had got a huge dollar debt, which now has to be paid back with interest - and the money could only be found one place, namely in Germany.

The Peace Conference after the First World War opened in Paris on January 18. 1919. The date was carefully chosen as it was precisely January 18. the united Germany was proclaimed in Versailles in 1871.

"Arriving in Paris with a mandate for no mercy, Lloyd George found his resolve to impose a harsh peace more than matched by Georges Clemenceau, "The Tiger of France" whose ravaged nation had lost 1,3 million of its sons."

Territories lost for Germany following the Versailles peace.
Territories lost for Germany following the Versailles peace. Eupen-Malmedy to Belgium, Alsace-Lorraine to France, northern Schleswig to Denmark after a referendum, West Prussia, Posen and Upper Silesia to Poland, Memel to Lithuania and the Saar area and the city of Danzig to administration under the League of Nations. Photo Pinterest.

Buchanan lets Thomas A. Baily describe Clemenceau: "The Tiger had one great love - France; and one great hate - Germany. As a young man of twenty-nine, he had seen Paris under the heel of the German invaders, and the smoke billowing up from the brutal burning of the Palace of St. Cloud." - "As an old man of seventy-two, he had seen the grey German hosts pour into his beloved France." His fear and hatred were caught in a remark attributed to him: "There are twenty million Germans too many."

Contrary to the vast majority of peace talks that history can tell, the Germans, the defeated, did not have a place at the negotiating table. Buchanan says: "At the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Napoleon's foreign minister Talleyrand had sat with Castlereagh of England, Metternich of Austria, Alexander I of Russia and Frederick William III of Prussia, the coalition that had destroyed Napoleon's empire, to create a new structure of peace. At Brest-Litovsk in 1918 Germans and Russians had negotiated the terms. But though Germany's fate was to be decided (at Versailles) no Germans had been invited, for the Allies had come to Paris to punish them as the guilty nation responsible for destroying the peace."
Europe after the Versailles Peace
Europe after the Versailles Peace. Germany, after all, was allowed to continue to exist as one nation and was not broken up into the original German states from before 1871, but Austria-Hungary was completely disintegrated. The congress constructed two completely new states that had never existed before, namely Czechoslovakia and Yugoslavia. Poland, Hungary and Lithuania were revived as independent nations. Finland was already created as an independent nation for the first time at the Brest-Litovsk peace between Germany and the new Soviet Union in 1918 together with Estonia and Latvia. Romania was rewarded with Transylvania, which was taken from Hungary. Bulgaria lost access to the Aegean Sea to Greece. Serbia and Montenegro were incorporated into Yugoslavia together with Croatia, Bosnia and Slovenia. Italy got Trieste and South Tyrol, and the new Poland got Galicia with the cities of Krakow and Lemberg.

"Versailles stripped Germany one-tenth of her peoples and one-eighth of her territory. Germany's overseas empire, the third largest on Earth, was wholly confiscated. All private property of German citizens (in the colonies) was declared forfeit." - "Germany's rivers were internationalized and she was forced to open her home market to Allied import, but denied equal access to Allied markets".

American political satire of the German reparations
Contemporary American political satire of the German reparations from 1921. Photo Wikipedia.

"Territories cut away, colonies gone, Germany was to have her limbs broken so she could never fight again," Buchanan writes. "Germany was forbidden ever again to build armored cars, tanks, heavy artillery, submarines or an air force. The High Sea Fleet was seized as war booty, as was the German merchant fleet. Her navy was to consist of six small battleships, six light cruisers, twelve destroyers and twelve torpedo boats. The general staff was abolished and the army restricted to one hundred thousand men."

"Goaded on by Lord Northcliffe's newspapers, Lloyd George made good on his pledge that Germany is made to bear the full cost of the war - to include the pensions of Allied soldiers."

President Wilson allowed himself to be carried away by the vengeful mood and forgot most of its idealistic Fourteen Points Buchanan says: "An outraged U.S. delegation implored to veto the reparation bill arguing that it did not follow logically from any of his fourteen points. "Logic, logic, I do not give a damn about logic", Wilson snarled, "I am going to include pensions".

The "Big Four" leaders of the victorious Allied nations (Woodrow Wilson of the United States, David Lloyd George of Great Britain, Georges Clemenceau of France and, to a lesser extent, Vittorio Orlando of Italy) dominated the peace negotiations. None of the defeated nations were invited to weigh in, and even the smaller Allied powers had only little to say.

the big four
The Big Four in Versailles. From left to right: David Lloyd George, Vittorio Emanuele Orlando, Georges Clemenceau and Woodrow Wilson. Photo Edward N. Jackson (US Army Signal Corps) Wikipedia.

During the last war years, the Allies had borrowed many billions of dollars in the United States for the continued warfare. It is easy to imagine that it was the back payment of these astronomical sums that worried the governments of France and Great Britain. Necessarily, the money had to be squeezed out of Germany. It may also be the reason why they allowed Germany to continue to exist as one state, as it is easier to have one large debtor than several small ones who push responsibility to one another.

Most importantly, Article 231 of the treaty the "war guilt clause", placed the blame for inciting war exclusively on Germany and therefore forced it to pay about $63 billion in compensation, later reduced to $33 billion (about $490 billion in $2018) to the Allied nations.

Buchanan writes: "In 1920, the Allies would set the final bill for reparations at thirty-two billion gold marks, an impossible sum".

Under Article 227, the Kaiser was declared a war criminal to be arrested and prosecuted.
Trainset loaded with dismantled machines for France
Trainsets loaded with dismantled German machines to be sent to France as repayment of war damage-compensation provided for in the Treaty of Versailles. Photo Bundesarchiv Bild Deutsche Reparationslieferungen.

The later famous economist John Maynard Keynes was present in Versailles as the official representative of the British Treasury. He interrupted his participation in the conference as he did not want to be responsible for the political and especially economic consequences of the conference's decisions, and went home and wrote the book "The Economic Consequences of the Peace", which was a bestseller.

In the book, he called the Versailles Treaty a "Carthagic peace", an unsuccessful attempt to destroy Germany on behalf of the French revanchism. He wrote that one should rather have followed the more fair principles of a lasting peace that was reflected in President Woodrow Wilson's fourteen points that Germany had accepted at the ceasefire. He said: "I believe that the campaign to make Germany pay for the general costs of the war, was one of the most serious actions led by political unwisdom that our statesmen have ever been responsible." He believed that the amount that Germany was asked to pay in compensation was many times greater than it was possible for Germany to pay and that these demands would create dramatic instability. As we know, he was sadly right.

The Hunger Blocade

The purpose of the British naval blockade of the German ports preventing food imports was to force Germany to sign the Treaty of Versailles without any concessions in its harsh conditions. It is estimated that the victims of the famine in Germany numbered more than Germany's military losses. Today, only a few remember the hunger disaster in Germany during and immediately after the First World War because the blockade was largely not leaked to Allied countries' press, or more likely, the press chose not to write about it, as the common position among readers and voters probably was that the Germans simply deserved it.
German housewives queuing during the blockade
German housewives queuing during the blockade. Most likely in 1914. Photo Bundesarchiv

When Herbert Hoover as head of the American food supply arrived in England, he was asked not to mention the blockade publicly. Hoover wrote:: "Sir John Beale of the British Food Ministry called on me the day after I arrived and urged that I did not discuss the food blockade on Germany publicly any more as they were opposed to relaxing it "until" the Germans learn a few things".

"Why did the Germans sign?" Buchanan asks rhetorically.

"Germany faced invasion and death by starvation if she refused", he answers. With her merchant ships and even Baltic fishing boats sequestered and the blockade still in force, Germany could not feed her people. When Berlin asked for permission to buy 2,5 million ton of food, the request was denied.
Soup Kitchen in Berlin during the blockade
Soup Kitchen in Berlin during the blockade. Foto Bundesarchiv.

Buchanan appoints Winston Churchill as the chief responsible for the blockade: "The blockade was responsible for the deaths of thousands of men, women and children after the Germans laid down their weapons and surrendered their warships. Its architect and chief advocate had been the first Lord of Admiralty. His aim, said Churchill, was to (citing Ralph Raico) "starve the whole population - men, women and children, old and young, wounded and sound - into submission". On March 3, 1919, four months after Germany accepted an armistice and laid down their arms, Churchill rose exultant in the Commons to declare: "We are enforcing the blockade with rigour, and Germany is very near starvation"

Five days later the Daily News wrote, "The birthrate in the great towns (of Germany) has changed places with the death rate. It is tolerably certain that more people have died among the civil population from the direct effect of the war than have died on the battlefield"

"So severe was the suffering that on March 10 the British Commander on the Rhine publicly urged that food be sent to the population as the specter of starving children was damaging the morale of his troops" - "His troops, said General Plumer, could no longer stand the sight of "hordes of skinny and bloated children pawing over the offal from British cantonments."

Orphan Home in Central Europe 1919-20
Orphan Home in Central Europe 1919-20. Photo Europas Infos.

The American representant at Versailles, Thomas Lamont, noted indignantly: "The Germans were made to deliver cattle, horses, sheep, goats, etc. - A strong protest came from Germany when dairy cows were taken to France and Belgium, thus depriving German children of milk."

The coming American President, Herbert Hoover, led the American Relief Administration, which sent food supplies to Europe from 1917 to 1920, first to the US Army and later to distressed people in Central and Eastern Europe. John Maynard Keynes quoted an observer following Herbert Hoover's mission to help the starving: "You think (this) is a kindergarten for the little ones. No, these are children of seven and eight years. Tiny faces, with large, dull eyes, overshadowed by huge puffed, rickety foreheads, their small arms just skin and bones, and above the crooked legs with their dislocated joints the swollen, pointed stomachs of the hunger edema - "You see this child here," the physician in charge explained, "it consumed an incredible amount of bread, and yet it did not get any stronger. I found out that it hid all the bread it received underneath its straw mattress. The fear of hunger was so deeply rooted in the child that it collected the stores instead of eating the food: a misguided animal instinct made the dread of hunger worse than the actual pangs."

Pope Benedict XV's plea for an end to the blockade was ignored. - Not until 12. July 1919, did the Allies fully lift the starvation blockade.
Berlin women are searching the waste to find something edible
Berlin women are searching the waste to find something edible - 1918. Photo Bundesarchiv

Buchanan describes how Clemenceau, Wilson beside him, on May 7. 1919 in Trianon Palace Hotel handed the Germans the terms of peace: "The hour has struck for the weighty settlement of your account," said Clemenceau. "You have asked for peace. We are ready to give you peace."

As the German foreign minister Ulrich von Brockdorff-Rantzau read his reply to Clemenceau, he refused to stand: "We can feel all the power of hate we must encounter in this assembly - it is demanded of us that we admit ourselves to be the only ones guilty of this war. Such a confession in my mouth would be a lie. We are far from declining any responsibility for this great World War - but we deny that Germany and its people were alone quilty. The hundreds of thousands of non-combatants, who had perished since 11. November by reason of the blockade were killed with cold blood after our adversaries had conquered and victory had been assured to them. Think of that when you speak of guilt and punishment."

George Clemenceau and Lloyd George leave Trianon Palace Hotel
George Clemenceau and Lloyd George leave the Trianon Palace Hotel in Versailles during the 1919 Peace Conference. Contemporary newspaper photo.

Buchanan lets Thomas Fleming describe the scene: When he heard this bristling German defiance, "Clemenceau's face turned magenta" Lloyd George snapped the ivory paper knife he was holding and said, " it is hard to have won the war and to have to listen to that".

Wilson exploded. "What abominable manners - the Germans are a stupid people" - "Isn't it just like them," he whispered to Lloyd George. Said Balfour, "Beasts they were, and beasts they are".

Still, the Germans refused to sign: "What hand would not wither that binds itself and us in these fetters?" said Chancellor Philip Scheidemann. He resigned his office soon after.

The final Versailles treaty was signed June 28, 1919 in the Mirror Hall of the Versailles Palace, which was the same hall in which King William 1. of Prussia was crowned Emperor over the whole of Germany in 1871.
Horses are delivered as war damage compensation
The Berliners deliver their horses, which must be sent to France as an installment of the reparation decided by the Versailles Treaty. It was largely paid in kind. Photo originally from Bundesarchiv.

"But with families starving, Bolshevik uprisings in Munich, Cologne, Berlin and Budapest, Trotsky's Red Army driving into Europe, Czechs and Poles ready to strike from the east, Foch preparing to march on Berlin at the head of an American-British-French Army, Germany capitulated." Buchanan writes.

Even the German representatives had not signed, one might think that the Germans, in any case, would have been able to beat down the revolutions, and Trotsky's Red Army was first stopped by the Poles under General Pilsudsky at Warsaw the following year. One can believe that an American-British-French army would not achieve much by advancing into a Germany, where they would not meet actual military resistance. After all, as they could not spread death and destruction around themselves as a Genghis Khan, they could only have just marched aimlessly around and possibly blow up some national symbols.

A public soup kitchen in Munich in the winter of 1916-17
A public soup kitchen in Munich in the winter of 1916-17. Foto Bundesarchiv.

But Germany was an industrial nation that imported close to one-third of its food. It needed to be an integrated and accepted part of Europe and the international community, otherwise, it would not be able to export and make money to import the necessary food. More than other nations, it could not endure being an isolated pariah nation, a kind of that time North Korea. With its factories and steelworks unused and neglected, its technical and mercantile talents would fade away.

"From the hour of signature the Germans never felt bound," Buchanan concludes. "Vorvartz the unofficial voice of Berlin said, "We must never forget it is only a scrap of paper. Treaties based on violence can keep their validity only as long as force exists. Do not lose hope. The resurrection day comes".

The Legacy of the First World War

Buchanan writes: "Every European war is a civil war, Napoleon said. Historians will look back on 1914-1918 and 1939-1945 as two phases of the great civil war of the West, where the once Christian nations of Europe fell on each one another with such savage abandon they brought down all their empires, brought an end to centuries of Western rule and advanced the death of their civilization."

Soldiers in the First World War
Soldiers in the First World War. Photo New Statesman.

"These two world wars were fratricidal self-inflicted wounds of a civilization seemingly hell-bent on suicide. Eight million soldiers perished in First World War. Twenty million more were wounded diseased, mutilated or spitting blood from gas-attacks. Twenty-two million civilians had been killed or wounded." - "That war would give birth to the fanatic and murderous ideologies of Leninism, Stalinism, Nazism and Facism, and usher in the Second World War that would bring death to tens of millions more"

Buchanan cites Charles Mee, whose grandfather lost all ten brothers in the war, he wrote in his book on Versailles that not only had there been a collaps in political order in Europe, but: "the war had discredited much of the rhetoric of national pride, honour and sacrifice as well as faith in the notions of reason, progress, humanism. Nor did the notions of God, representational art, or newtons physics appear to be in so good repair."

"A generation had been decimated" Mee continues, "No one had seen the likes of such slaughter before."

Algierske soldater i Europa
Algerian soldiers in Europe in World War I. Foto Library of congress.

"Then there was the loss of moral authority. How could British and Europeans, who had just concluded four years of butchering one another with abandon, assert a moral authority that gave them the right to rule other people? With the Turks defeat of the British at Gallipoli, word had gone out to Asia and the Arab World" - "Europeans were not invincible".

France mobilized North African Muslims in the hundreds of thousands and the English as many Indians and tasked them with killing Germans. They returned to their colonies with the certain knowledge that Europeans could be killed as easily as everyone else. They had probably also heard of Wilson's principle of the peoples self-determination.

The two murderous world wars made Western men doubt their values, their culture and, not least, their leaders. How could such a madness continue year after year?

Roughly speaking, today there are two kinds of political positions.

The first and original is the conservative attitude. We base on nations, organizations and people, as they emerge from history. If and when there are problems, we will solve them with marginal corrections.

Utopia by Thomas Moore
Utopia by Thomas Moore. Foto Altmarius.

The second position is social constructivism. In our dreams and imaginations, we think out the optimal society and the perfect human. We want to eradicate everything old and handed down from the past with necessary means of power, justified by the noble purpose, build the new society from scratch and transform people into the perfect ideal.

There are many variants of social constructivism, but the most important are socialism and communism, which are family with one another.

There have always been utopian social-constructivist ideas such as Thomas Moore's Utopia, Robert Owen's New Harmony, Charles Fourier's Phalansteres and many others. Before the world wars, they did not have many followers, except artists, writers, and others with strong imagination ability, who have always felt attracted to such daring thoughts.

But the World Wars' devastation, suffering and waste of millions of lives made individuals doubt their traditional values, their culture, civilization and especially their leaders, who had brought them out into all this. This opened the door to the underworld, and with notions of future perfect societies came Lenin, Stalin, Hitler and Mao into our world.
"Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War - How Britain lost its empire and the West lost the World" by Patrick J. Buchanan. - Three River Press New York.
Churchill, Hitler and the Unnecessary War. Wikipedia.
Concentration Camps Herman Labuschagne
List of wars involving the United Kingdom. Wikipedia.
List of wars involving Prussia Wikipedia
List of wars involving Germany Wikipedia
AJP Taylor's Railroad Timetable Theory History - European History
July Crisis Wikipedia
Timeline of World War I Wikipedia
"Your country needs you": why did so many volunteer in 1914? The Conversation
David Lloyd George Wikipedia
British Empire Wikipedia
Armistice of 11 November 1918 Wikipedia
Wilsons 14 punkter (forkortet) Wikipedia
Wilson's 14 punkter History Watch
How the Treaty of Versailles and German Guilt Led to World War II History
War Without End 3: Let Germany Starve First World War Hidden History.
The Starving of Germany in 1919 Gingko.
The Allied Attempt to Starve Germany in 1919 Hidden Historical Fact.

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