Give Peace a Chance

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Kullman
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Give Peace a Chance

Post by Kullman » 04 Feb 2003 17:44

What would have happened if, instead of declaring war with Germany after the invasion of Poland, the League of Nations had sent in inspectors to see if Germany was building weapons that it wasn't supposed to build by treaty. France would cry, "Give sanctions a chance," and Chamberlin would lead his nation in song: "All we are saying, give peace a chance". Hitler would have understood, right. I mean, he would have disarmed with world opinion against him.

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Mike K.
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Post by Mike K. » 04 Feb 2003 21:50

Not a chance. ;)

jesse23464
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Reply to Kullman.

Post by jesse23464 » 04 Feb 2003 23:03

What the heck are you talking about? Hitler announced openly what kind of weapons he had and showed them off in military parades. Furthermore weapons and an army had become a non issue by 1939 those problems had already been resolved and put out in the open. Here a few examples:
1. In 1935 Germany announced conscription and the western powers grudgingly accepted it.
2. In the same year he announced that Germany had reached equality with Britain in airplanes.
3. The British signed a treaty with Hitler again in 1935 giving him a navy and submarine fleet.
4. In 1937 Hitler in 1937 announced the Versailles treaty was dead.

By 1939 the question of armaments was a dead issue as everyone had accepted that Hitler had an army what the issue was was German expansion. After the invasion of Poland the British said they would only make peace if Hitler withdrew from Poland. Hitler refused and so there was war.

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peter_suciu
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Post by peter_suciu » 05 Feb 2003 03:53

I think you guys are missing the irony of the post. I have to agree with Kullman, too many of the people behind the "give peace a chance" movement might as well be saying, "give peace a chance in our time."

I'm not rattling the sabers yet but I am not saying, "let's have peace at all costs." Hitler was a classic example of a war being necessary.

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Mike K.
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Post by Mike K. » 05 Feb 2003 04:07

Except not. There's no comparision between Germany and Iraq.

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peter_suciu
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Post by peter_suciu » 05 Feb 2003 04:50

Except not. There's no comparision between Germany and Iraq.
I agree...and I don't mean to start a political discussion...but I will say that the situation could turn out the same. If Iraq does have weapons that could destroy a city like Tel Aviv it could be very bad.[/quote]

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R-Bob The Great!
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Post by R-Bob The Great! » 05 Feb 2003 05:21

iraq attacked kuwait
i suppose yo could compare that to rhineland occupation and czechoslovakia.
on the other hand there is oil that the idiot president wants.
chamberlain didnt want oil from germany or whatever

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R-Bob The Great!
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Post by R-Bob The Great! » 05 Feb 2003 05:22

iraq attacked kuwait
i suppose yo could compare that to rhineland occupation and czechoslovakia.
on the other hand there is oil that the idiot president wants.
chamberlain didnt want oil from germany or whatever.

as far as i can see iraq has done nothing wrong. why doesnt bush just give up and leave them alone i mean every nation has the soverign right to govern itself.

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Mike K.
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Post by Mike K. » 05 Feb 2003 05:47

The Rhineland wasn't "attacked", it was a part of Germany occupied by foreigners for some time, an imposed demilitarized zone by the Versailles Treaty.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 05 Feb 2003 11:49

Kullmann - The League of Nations was not the present UN, Germany was not Iraq, Adolf Hitler was not Saddam Hussein, 1939 Europe was not 2003 Mid-East, Hitler's weapons were not Saddam's weapons and your analogy is not relevant :)

cheers

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Tim Smith
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Post by Tim Smith » 05 Feb 2003 12:17

Qvist - just because the times, places, people and organisations aren't the same is not a reason to say that the analogy is not relevant. We know that all these things are different, that's what an analogy is.

Please explain exactly WHY you think the analogy is not relevant.

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 05 Feb 2003 13:05

With pleasure.

For a historical analogy to be of value, the two situations must possess some basic similarity at some level, and the analogy is valid to the extent that is the case. I fail to see where that is the case here.

If France and Britain had been looking for an excuse to avoid war with Germany in 1939 they would have found one, and certainly a better one than a notion as hare-brained, obviously doomed and utterly implausible as trying to dispatch LON weapons inspectors to Germany to investigate a matter that was not the one at stake during the Polish crisis.

The nature of the weapons issue is not at all similar. The situation with Saddam Hussein is that he is obstructing a UN-sanctioned ban on a specific and particularly threatening catergory of weapons. The situation with Germany was that they had openly and expressly repudiated a treaty limiting military forces in general. The existence or numbers of German weapons was not in itself a point of contention, whereas it is the core of the present situation with Iraq. Why anyone would conceive of the idea of sending weapons inspectors to Germany in 1939, or for what purpose, or on whose authority, are all questions with no apparent positive answers. Thus there is no analogy. Not to mention the fact that the nature of the Polish crisis was not about armaments at all, but rather about territorial claims.

Then there is the nature of international structures. In 1939, Germany was not even a member of the League of Nations. There was nothing similar to the multilateral system in place today. The League of Nations had long since lost any meaningful influence on events, and did not even function as an international debating platform. It proved completely irrelevant in every European crisis triggered by Hitler, and it would have been an eccentric idea indeed to suggest it be employed to solve the Polish crisis in 1939. The UN by contrast, for all of it's shortcomings, is universally accepted as a key part of the equation in all international crisis, to the extent that even the US, whose relative power is far stronger than GErmany's was in 1939, would have to pay a heavy political price to proceed without UN backing. There is no analogy between the role, functionality or scope for action of the two organisations.

Nor is the nature of the players comparable. You have Iraq, a second- or third rate global power, and you have Germany, likely the most powerful state in the world, militarily speaking, at this particular time. Iraq is not a threat of a scope comparable to 1939 Germany, nor is there much reason to assume they have similar aims, nor are their positions with regard to likely adversaries in any way comparable.

Then there is the analogy between British and French leaders today and in 1939. Beyond the obvious and fundamental differences in the British/Franco global position in 1939 and today, and the differences in the amount of responsibility they were saddled with in the two different situations, there is of course the problem that they were facing two entirely different adversaries with entirely different capabilities in entirely different situations and with entirely different levels of support.

I could go on I suppose, but it is dawning on me that the question is rather, where is the basis of the analogy? Where and on what levelare the similarities that would make this analogy valid or meaningful?


cheers

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Johannes
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Post by Johannes » 05 Feb 2003 13:26

Hi,

If I suppose that instead of declaring war, France refused to trade with Germany, what harm would it actually do? Didn't Germany then was able to supply itself most things, in such case, what harm? No perfumes for Germans or no more wine?

I honestly what sort of things would Germany import from France. If there is something, please reply.

-Johannes[/list]

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Qvist
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Post by Qvist » 05 Feb 2003 13:37

Some general observations.

Firstly, I believe the lessons of history are general, not specific. History can teach us much about how the world fundamentally works, but it is unlikely to provide any direct guidance to future action because of the enormous multiplicity of factors in any given situation, and the resulting strong unlikelihood that similar actions will produce similar results in both situations.

Secondly, historical analogy is in most cases a sorry substitute for analysis. It is, epistemologically speaking, inherently unreliable and unhelpful. Any given event or phenomenon is composed of an almost infinite number of factors. No two are entirely similar, or usually even very similar. If you compare two of them, you must by neccessity base your comparison on just some of those factors. In such extremely rare cases where the factors you have chosen are in fact essentially similar, you can't be sure you've chosen to concentrate on the factors that are relevant. The only way in which you can gauge the validity of an analogy is to have a very strong and clear understanding about both the historical case and the present situation. If you have the latter, you don't really need any historical analogy to guide your actions.

cheers

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Andy
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Post by Andy » 05 Feb 2003 16:37

You are trying to relate this to the peace movement against the war in Iraq. Well the situation in '39 and today were completely different. Hitler was launching Wars of aggression. Saddam has not done so since 1991.

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