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Tuesday 27 July 2010


In the July Crisis of 1914 - the events which could have prevented WW1 - it's interesting that 2 of the 3 supposedly major players were away. Kaiser Wilhelm was shoved aside, against his better judgement, to continue his plans for his holiday touring the Norwegian fjords; Emperor Franz Josef was at his summer residence, Bad Ischl...and Tsar Nicholas was working day and night to find a peaceful solution through an international agreement (he contacted the British Foreign Secretary, Grey) and suggesting presenting the whole matter to a fair council in The Hague. Nicholas comes out of the war as a weakling (for some utterly bizarre reason!); Wilhelm as a monster, and Franz Josef is virtually forgotten in the popular imagination. Everything was created behind the scenes by ministers when their kings were out of the way...and afterwards they blamed their kings for the horror of it.

"If only..." is such a pointless thing, but it seemed to me that if, during the German successes in the early part of 1918, the Central Powers had succeeded in driving the Allies home, it might have been a better long term outcome. If Germany had won WW1, I dare say that Belgium would eventually have regained her borders; France would have still lost Alsace and Lorraine but would have survived; Britain would have still been Britain; the defeated Tsar would have been shipped off to somewhere safe (perhaps Denmark); Kaiser Wilhelm would have retained his throne and, above all, WW2 would never have happened. Germany, at the time, was one of the most progressive countries in terms of care of the workers, the unemployed, the elderly and the 'needy' and also at the forefront of literature and music. Kaiser Wilhelm's Germany was probably one of the best places to live in Europe at that time. The travesty of the Treaty of Versailles utterly destroyed a nation which, until then, had been one of the most enlightened in the world...and so gave rise to the darkness of Hitler.

As an English person, I love my country...and, apart from seeing the pointlessness of that horrendeous war, think it would have been better for all of us, if Germany had not been defeated.

1 comment:

May said...

I don't think I would have wanted Germany to win, exactly, but I'm sure much future evil could have been avoided if there had been some sort of "no victors, no vanquished" negotiated peace. But moderation seemed to be lacking in many quarters at that time.