Flashcards in Lecture 10: 1914, World War 1 Deck (12):
War as a fusion of 2 conflicts
- Balkan conflict between Austria-Hungary and Serbia
- Triple Alliance (A-H, Germany, Italy) vs Entente (France, Russia, Britain)
- Italy and Britain weren't that committed to their camps
Question --> why would local Balkan conflict escalate into world war with major powers?
Sequence of Events
June 28 --> Archduke Franz Ferdinand murdered; Austrian anger
June 23: stiff note to from Austria to Serbia (backed by Germans)
June 25: Serbs conciliatory reply; Austrians reject
July 28: Austria declares war on Serbia
July 30: Russia mobilization on German/Austrian borders
Aug 4: Germany invasion into Fr/Belg
Aug 6: Br. joins war
Aug 8: Italy joins entente (moves away from Triple Alliance)
Who was responsible?
Germany and Austria were the main aggressors
Russian response to protecting Serbia, acting offensively to Austria?
Br responsibility - less? less directly combattant
- German claim of encirclement (later invalidated)
France standing by Russia in allyship
Great Power Lineup
- geopolitics changed since 1815's end
2 powers: Russia/GB
- general stability of continent among them
- concert of great powers
- balance among all 6 powers
-1910, German industry overtaking Br
- Russian regime unstable
Transformation in 2 phases
If A-H didn't punish Serbia...
German risk + plan
1. Austria/Germany/Italy --> from Triple Alliance VERSUS France, Russia of Entente
- main conflicts between Br/Fr/Russia in Asian colonies plus some regional conflicts in Rhine /Balkans
2. Britain half joins entente, promising nothing
needed to punish Serbs b/c it was multinational state
Germans made calculated risk to take on Fr/Russia; thought French could be quickly defeated and pacify Br. with colonies; they were wrong.
Was war inevitable?
No, for 2 reasons
1) was war fought for material/ideological reasons (Weber)?
- material --> colonies not profitable, European territories alr. eaten up
- ideological --> no imposition of ideology on conquered peoples; powers claim defence
2) Br. vs Germany
- Britain matched by 2 powers; doesn't make sense that 1 would cause conflict whereas one doesn't
- war doesn't inevitably accompany geopolitical reordering
- German interests better secured with status quo; why would they risk war when they were already overtaking Br economically?
- statesmen (plurality explanation + statesmen in monarchies)
was it a prob. of irrational actors?
- plurality of actors with plural identities favoured diverse strategies
statesmen in monarchies -->
- foreign policy insulated; right of monarch to control (ex. Nicholas II vs Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany)
Insulated High Commands
- 2 threats
changes in military -->
- conscription + increased army size. infiltration of middle classes
1) military now had divided society's political tensions of bourgeoisie vs aristocracy
2) military action insulated from public due to industrialization, removal from its presence in aristocratic/everyday life
- diff. from monarchies
- less control
Br, Fr, US, Italy --> military decisions vetted by government
- by constitution, govt has final say; not always the best outcome
- Br/Fr military problems hidden from the statesmen tho
less control than monarchies had (monarch controlled by those close to him) lack of diplomatic competence/interest
- general info
- Russia & Germany
monarchies = aggressive; causes of war on their pt.
- more easily deployed military; insulation led to aggressive practices
- war exacerbated by monarchy strategy, segmental factions influencing them
RUSSIA --> partial and general mobilization didn't matter as much as they thought
- general concern with military efficiency > diplomatic repercussions of aggression
- Russian escalation due to incoherence of state + inability to calculate
Schlieffen Plan of 1905, offensive military tactics + violation of Belgian neutrality; not revealed to Chancellor until July 31st
- instability of monarch Kaiser Willhelm II (known for volatility) goaded on by Chief of Staff Von Moltke for erratic behaviour
- general info
- France & Britain
less aggressive than authoritarian regimes; in peace time, classes/parties indifferent to foreign affairs; in crisis, had to act with consent of suddenly interested majority
- why Br/Fr justified self-defence in war
- debates about conscription but general indifference publicly
- pm gained 1 man control on foreign policy
- urged Russia to stand by Serbia; Russian aggression not reported to the French public
- appearance of firm self-defence from PM
- ruled by 3 pacifists, 6 liberal cabinet members
- voted 15 vs 5 against backing Entente
- Lord Grey (Foreign secretary) --> kept self non-committal.
- waited until he knew public opinion would back up when Germans capture France and compromise English Channel --> then "self defence" narrative would be invoked
- also internal conflict with Ireland, Grey wanted to avoid so he did nothing