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Why did America intervene in WW1?

Discussions on all aspects of the First World War not covered in the other sections.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby peterhof on 31 Oct 2011 18:47

Hmmmm, was this poster you? If not, could you provide, say, two examples?
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby Terry Duncan on 31 Oct 2011 21:07

There is a search function. Try looking for the quoted passage and then searching for other posts by the same user. You will then see the fanciful claims, refusal to support any of them, and maybe even some of the edited or invented details posted by that individual over the years.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby David Thompson on 01 Nov 2011 01:22

The post in question can be seen at viewtopic.php?p=1406065#p1406065. It provides a quote, adding this sentence: "If they come out we shall behave as though we are at war." The unaltered quote, which does not contain the sentence, can be seen at Official Diplomatic Documents Relating to the Outbreak of the European War at p. 415
http://books.google.com/books?id=28tmAA ... 22&f=false
and elsewhere.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby peterhof on 22 Nov 2011 04:31

So the "doctored" quote was apparently supplied by chronos20th, but did he actually "doctor" it? I'm awaiting his response to David Thompson's post.

There was also a quote by another poster allegedly from Jagow who is supposed to have said something about "letting the cannons do the talking." I have never been able to find this quote which is quite uncharacteristic of the mild-mannered Gottlieb von Jagow.

The conscious altering or "doctoring" of quotes to produce a different meaning is serious indeed and I have never known anyone who was guilty of this. Such accusations should be accompanied by incontrovertible evidence.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby Terry Duncan on 22 Nov 2011 15:06

Given you have been shown the quote at least six times to my knowledge, and claim to own Albertini's work where it is included in Vol 2, this latest claim that you have never been able to find it is rubbish.

Here follows an account of the further conversation with Jagow according to the version given by Sverbeev in a later report, substantially identical with that telegraphed by him to St. Petersburg on the evening of the 29th:

It was the news of our mobilization against Austria-Hungary with which I had orders to acquaint him. In confirming this news I emphasized—as I had orders to do—that this measure had no point of hostility directed against Germany and I added that the mobilization on the Austrian frontier had all the more foundation as the Hapsburg Monarchy, according to trustworthy information reaching me, was itself making extensive military preparations in Galicia.

Herr von Jagow denied the alleged preparations and declared that since we had mobilized against Austria-Hungary, Germany was likewise obliged to mobilize; there was therefore nothing else left to be done and the diplomatists must now leave the talking to the cannon.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby favedave on 22 Nov 2011 18:39

So, the question "Why did America intervene in WWI" has been successfully convertered into a discussion of the events in Europe from July 25th to August 4, 1914, almost without discussing the topic at all. 8O
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby ljadw on 22 Nov 2011 19:22

why are you shocked ?IMHO,this was to be expected.You know why .
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby Terry Duncan on 22 Nov 2011 20:57

So, the question "Why did America intervene in WWI" has been successfully convertered into a discussion of the events in Europe from July 25th to August 4, 1914, almost without discussing the topic at all. 8O


To be fair this is an entirely reasonable comment. Past misdeeds of certain posters do not need to be discussed further and and off topic posts about that or other non-connected matters will be removed.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby David Thompson on 23 Nov 2011 05:10

Just so that there is no mistake about our rules, posters who wish to elide clauses in quoted sentences do so with an elipsis (. . .) to give our readers fair notice of what has been done. Rendering a quotation which reads
I would not let Berlin know, of course, of any understanding had with the Allies, but would rather lead them to think our proposal would be rejected by the Allies.
as
I would not let Berlin know, of course, of any understanding had with the Allies.
as though the quote had been given in full, is not acceptable practice here. We also require a citation to go along with the quotation, to allow our readers to verify the quotes within the context of the original passage. That way there's no confusion about what the readers are getting when they come here.

Now let's get back on topic.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby peterhof on 23 Nov 2011 07:02

This thread appears to have gone off-track with a Sept. 14, 2011 post by Jon Clarke in which he disputed my quote of E.M. House. To wit:

My quote: "I would not let Berlin know, of course, of any understanding had with the Allies. This might induce Berlin to accept the proposal, but, if they did not do so, it would nevertheless be the purpose to intervene. If the Central Powers were still obdurate, it would be necessary for us to join the Allies and force the issue."


Jon's correction: "I would not let Berlin know, of course, of any understanding had with the Allies, but would rather lead them to think our proposal would be rejected by the Allies. This might induce Berlin to accept the proposal, but, if they did not do so, it would nevertheless be the purpose to intervene. if the Central Powers were still obdurate, it would probably be necessary for us to join the Allies and force the issue."

In both versions, it was obviously House's purpose to intervene on the side of the Triple Entente while preserving the illusion of impartiality. I will leave to others to judge and evaluate the difference in meaning between the two quotes and what determined Jon to bring it up at all.



Then there was the controversy about von Jagow and his supposed statement about "let the cannons do the talking."

"Herr von Jagow denied the alleged preparations and declared that since we had mobilized against Austria-Hungary, Germany was likewise obliged to mobilize; there was therefore nothing else left to be done and the diplomatists must now leave the talking to the cannon."

But this conversation, "was an account of the further conversation with Jagow according to the version given by Sverbeev in a later report, substantially identical with that telegraphed by him to St. Petersburg on the evening of the 29th."

In other words: this was Sverbeev's account of Jagow's words. There is no source which directly quotes Jagow as having spoken these words. If this had been clear from the start, there would have been no controversy.

The best professional historians - no less than we - make mistakes, but - it goes without saying - the altering of quotes for the express purpose of changing their meaning cannot be tolerated. let's be more careful about distinguishing between the two.

(P.S. Good news. While the discussion boards on the History Channel have been discontinued, these were never deleted from the HC servers and therefore continue to be "found" by the various search engines.)
Last edited by peterhof on 23 Nov 2011 08:51, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby Jon Clarke on 23 Nov 2011 08:40

I will leave to others to judge and evaluate the difference in meaning between the two quotes and what determined Jon to bring it up at all.


I'm sue that they will Peter - just like the moderators did.

In other words: this was Sverbeev's account of Jagow's words. There is no source which directly quotes Jagow as having spoken these words. If this had been clear from the start, there would have been no controversy.


It has obviously escaped your attention that Sverbeev's account is a direct quote from the person that Jagow said the words to. It is therefore perfectly acceptable to as 'evidence'. The source for the quote is the collection of Russian documents published (with German assistance) from 1931 onwards so it will not appear in any of your normal sources which were published in the 1920s but that hardly renders it invalid. Of course it would be easier to check its veracity if we had Jagow's account of the meeting but unfortunately Die Grosse Politik does not include telegrams from Jagow (or Bethmann) detailing their talks with other Powers' ambassadors. It is not clear whether this exclusion was deliberate or simply that no such reports were sent even though this was standard diplomatic practice.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby peterhof on 23 Nov 2011 08:57

Gottlieb's memoirs, Ursachen und Ausbruch des Weltkrieg ('The World War's Causes and Outbreak') appeared in 1919. There is, AFAIK, no English translation.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby David Thompson on 23 Nov 2011 17:27

For interested readers -- Ursachen und Ausbruch des Weltkrieg (1919) is available on line, at:
http://www.archive.org/details/Jagow-Go ... eltkrieges
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby YM on 08 Jan 2012 11:00

I recall I was in High School and my International Relations class teacher asked this question. Naturally, many students
piped up "German unrestricted submarine warfare". The teacher said "no, no, no". He said by the beginning of the 20th century, the US had developed a foreign policy similar to that of Britain.....balance of power on the European continent and opposing the development of any autocratic Eurasian superpower. The US would have a natural tendency to support Britain and France, both democracies, against the German authoritarians. But, up until 1917 this would have meant an alliance with Czarist Russia. There was much public opinion in the US that was anti-Czarist and this would have made joining the war as an ally of the Czar very problematic for President Wilson. It was the overthrow of the Czar in the so-called "February Revolution" and the institution of a presumably democratic regime in Russia that enabled President Wilson to finally convince the American people that they should enter the war on the side of the democratic countries: Britain, France and post-Czarist and pre-Bolshevik Russia. All the economic interests which didn't have any "idealistic" roots in the US could not have gotten the US into the war along side Czarist Russia, so the fact that the US did wait until the Czar was gone proves to me that my teacher was correct.
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Re: Why did America intervene in WW1?

Postby peterhof on 08 Jan 2012 18:04

Well, perhaps. But I do not recall any discussion by House or Wilson about Czarism. House specifically blamed unrestricted submarine warfare and said that without it, Wilson would not have sought a Congressional declaration of war. It is true that Wilson insisted upon the abdication of Wilhelm II.
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