German "East First" Plan in 1914?

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ljadw
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by ljadw » 21 Sep 2019 15:05

Russia would not join the Central Powers,as Russia would collaps : the regime of the Tsar would not survive a second defeat in 10 years . About France betraying the alliance : France did it on August 1 1914, but also several times before . Russia did the same .
Germany would also refuse that Russia would join the Central Powers and for Russia there was no need to join the Central Powers, as there were no problems between Russia and Germany.
Germany's aim was to crush France, not to crush Russia .War with Russia happened only because of domestic reality : the Reichstag would give money only for war with Russia, not for a war with France only .The SPD was francophile and hostile to Russia .The SFIO was Germanophile and hostile to Russia .Haase would not give money for an attack against France only and Jaures was totally opposed to the alliance with Russia .
And guess who won the German elections in 1912 and the French elections in 1914 ?

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JAG13
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 21 Sep 2019 21:49

glenn239 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 14:42

Cabinet? Cabinet is not on the bridge of the Iron Duke. Cabinet is sitting in London, far away monitoring events as reports are received. Jellicoe is in the North Sea, with the fleet upon which the fate of the British Empire rides, and would have absolute power to open fire or not. That is why the French would think to meddle in the North Sea in the first place. And, if a naval battle came about, Jellicoe would smash the German fleet and the British nation would erupt in triumph.
Admirals dont fire without orders to start a war, they would need cabinet-approved orders, that is how it works.

As you know, Britain didnt care about Belgium, they cared about the Germans invading it, didnt care if the French did.
The British people and government most certainly did care about the independence and neutrality of Belgium, and they did not care for the German Kaiser, his fleet, or his militaristic Prussian army.
Right, and wouldnt give a damn if the French did it as Grey himself and others said...
Now, if France invades Belgium, the BELGIANS are going to scream bloody murder and demand assistance... from the other signatories of the treaty, Germany and Britain, Britain might abstain, they cant really pull an 1984 and join the side publicly in the wrong, not with the Belgians talking.
The French invade Belgium and then the Germans counter attack. Belgium is a war zone and Britain has to make a choice; either enter the war against Germany, or see the Benelux go CP after France surrenders. The idea of Britain going to war with France would be absurd - the French would immediately seek an armistice in Berlin and Germany would come away with all of the Benelux in its orbit, and be free to resolve matters in the east to its liking.
The cabinet wanted no war, good luck trying to convince them of the need of a war on Germany based on a French attack on Belgium.
So, the logic is as cold and hard as iron; if France invades Belgium, Britain either must accept German hegemony in Europe, or go to war with Germany. Think of it this way. Hitler did not want to go to war with Greece in 1940. But, the Italian invasion of Greece forced him to. Britain would be in the same position. You are underestimating the power of the weak (France) to force the hand of the strong (Britain) by way of the ultimate threat the weak have always had; to collapse if not supported.
Let me put it this way:

Without Belgium as an excuse, Grey would go plan B and try to neutralize the western front, which is what he did IRL when he was at a loss for a means to get the UK into the war, if the French still went to war it was THEIR business as he put it and the UK would take no part, that was GREY...

So, if the French do not heed this warning and STILL go to war they are on their own, after all if the franco-russians lose too bad for the UK's main colonial rivals... but what if the Germans get all those colonies!

The RN would still be between Germany and its colonies if it came to that...

Since Grey himself was already bailing out of the whole entente thing, why would he or the cabinet want in once the full scope of the carnage became known? There was no naval race, no colonial disagreement as the negotiations over the Portuguese ones show... Germany was not the UK's problem, Russia was...

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Terry Duncan
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Terry Duncan » 21 Sep 2019 22:04

JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
Admirals dont fire without orders to start a war, they would need cabinet-approved orders, that is how it works.
There is absolutely no need for Cabinet approval. The power to declare war is vested entirely in the person of the PM. Funding a war needs to be voted on in the House, so it would be unwise to go to war when unsure of support (but Asquith knew by this point he could rely on Conservative votes purely to go to war in support of France) but it could be done. Also, when at sea, who is to say the admiral reporting he has come under enemy fire and returned it did not actually fire first? It is perfectly possible to claim the other side started the shooting and is thus responsible.
JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
The cabinet wanted no war, good luck trying to convince them of the need of a war on Germany based on a French attack on Belgium.
The only thing that was important about the Cabinet in the July Crisis was to try and maintain the Liberal government, Asquith could legitimately turn to the Conservatives at any time he wished and form a new government (yes, that is also a power the PM has) which would not need anything to happen to Belgium as the Conservatives and Unionists were totally for supporting France from the outset. Grey was trying to maintain government unity, but could have forced his policy at any time from when the Conservatives advised they intended to support the government.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 22 Sep 2019 00:53

Terry Duncan wrote:
21 Sep 2019 22:04
JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
Admirals dont fire without orders to start a war, they would need cabinet-approved orders, that is how it works.
There is absolutely no need for Cabinet approval. The power to declare war is vested entirely in the person of the PM. Funding a war needs to be voted on in the House, so it would be unwise to go to war when unsure of support (but Asquith knew by this point he could rely on Conservative votes purely to go to war in support of France) but it could be done. Also, when at sea, who is to say the admiral reporting he has come under enemy fire and returned it did not actually fire first? It is perfectly possible to claim the other side started the shooting and is thus responsible.
Asquith was a liberal PM, he would have to sacrifice is own party to support a policy his own FS was already scuttling as I noted.

Thousands of people in a fleet, kinda hard to shut them all up on te fact of who fired first, specially if the HSF cuts and run since it would not like to be annihilated.
JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
The cabinet wanted no war, good luck trying to convince them of the need of a war on Germany based on a French attack on Belgium.
The only thing that was important about the Cabinet in the July Crisis was to try and maintain the Liberal government, Asquith could legitimately turn to the Conservatives at any time he wished and form a new government (yes, that is also a power the PM has) which would not need anything to happen to Belgium as the Conservatives and Unionists were totally for supporting France from the outset. Grey was trying to maintain government unity, but could have forced his policy at any time from when the Conservatives advised they intended to support the government.
He could, again, he would have to sacrifice his own party when Grey was already trying to implement plan B and leaving the French to their own means since they would be the ones declaring war on Germany and attacking them instead of what happened IRL.

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Takao
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Takao » 22 Sep 2019 01:37

Terry Duncan wrote:
21 Sep 2019 22:04

There is absolutely no need for Cabinet approval. The power to declare war is vested entirely in the person of the PM. Funding a war needs to be voted on in the House, so it would be unwise to go to war when unsure of support (but Asquith knew by this point he could rely on Conservative votes purely to go to war in support of France) but it could be done. Also, when at sea, who is to say the admiral reporting he has come under enemy fire and returned it did not actually fire first? It is perfectly possible to claim the other side started the shooting and is thus responsible.
The British pursuit of Goeben and Breslau indicate otherwise.

British admirals tend to follow orders from those on high.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Terry Duncan » 22 Sep 2019 11:27

JAG13 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 00:53
Asquith was a liberal PM, he would have to sacrifice is own party to support a policy his own FS was already scuttling as I noted.
Asquith was a Liberal PM in 1915 when a coalition government was formed with him as PM still. I am far from sure when you believe Grey was 'scuttling' the Entente policy, the longer the crisis went on the closer he adhered to the Entente policy as he advised Lichnowsky at the outset. I am sure Glenn would have noticed if such a thing happened, but he seems to have missed such a policy too...curiously as did Peterhof.
JAG13 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 00:53
Thousands of people in a fleet, kinda hard to shut them all up on te fact of who fired first, specially if the HSF cuts and run since it would not like to be annihilated.
How many do you imagine would even know in the first place? At Jutland, over 100,000 sailors were present, yet fewer than a thousand would have even had any clue who fired first. Most of the crews would be sealed inside the ships at their battle stations not being aware if other ships had opened fire or not. You do not need an entire fleet action, just for one ship to open fire at another.

There was also that wonderful corpse factory story, thousands believed it at the time, didnt turn out to be true did it.
JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
He could, again, he would have to sacrifice his own party when Grey was already trying to implement plan B and leaving the French to their own means since they would be the ones declaring war on Germany and attacking them instead of what happened IRL.
Grey was simply trying to make sure Britain entered the war under the best possible circumstances by the end of the crisis, he was not trying some 'plan b' let alone leaving the French to fight alone, indeed he and Asquith made it clear they would resign unless they were supported.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by Terry Duncan » 22 Sep 2019 11:39

Takao wrote:
22 Sep 2019 01:37
The British pursuit of Goeben and Breslau indicate otherwise.

British admirals tend to follow orders from those on high.
Well, it indicates something certainly. Nobody has every really given a satisfactory answer for why Britain made sure they could coal at one point, or failed to keep them under the observation of the British battlecruisers.

Admirals do tend to follow orders, but if needed it would be quite possible for Asquith to hand him a second sealed envelope only to be opened if German forces entered the North Sea telling him to create an incident. Lets face it, incidents at sea have been staged in the past to cause a war when needed. I dont even think it would be needed, the support of the Conservatives ensures Britain joins France inside a week or two at most, but such things are far from impossible if there is enough need.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 22 Sep 2019 19:26

Terry Duncan wrote:
22 Sep 2019 11:27
JAG13 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 00:53
Asquith was a liberal PM, he would have to sacrifice is own party to support a policy his own FS was already scuttling as I noted.
Asquith was a Liberal PM in 1915 when a coalition government was formed with him as PM still. I am far from sure when you believe Grey was 'scuttling' the Entente policy, the longer the crisis went on the closer he adhered to the Entente policy as he advised Lichnowsky at the outset. I am sure Glenn would have noticed if such a thing happened, but he seems to have missed such a policy too...curiously as did Peterhof.
JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
He could, again, he would have to sacrifice his own party when Grey was already trying to implement plan B and leaving the French to their own means since they would be the ones declaring war on Germany and attacking them instead of what happened IRL.
Grey was simply trying to make sure Britain entered the war under the best possible circumstances by the end of the crisis, he was not trying some 'plan b' let alone leaving the French to fight alone, indeed he and Asquith made it clear they would resign unless they were supported.

From McMillan:
McM.png
Grey was getting ready to dump the French because he thought war a hard sell, without Belgium this path he ACTUALLY started to take is what he had, stand back and watch the French suicide against Metz.
JAG13 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 00:53
Thousands of people in a fleet, kinda hard to shut them all up on te fact of who fired first, specially if the HSF cuts and run since it would not like to be annihilated.
How many do you imagine would even know in the first place? At Jutland, over 100,000 sailors were present, yet fewer than a thousand would have even had any clue who fired first. Most of the crews would be sealed inside the ships at their battle stations not being aware if other ships had opened fire or not. You do not need an entire fleet action, just for one ship to open fire at another.

There was also that wonderful corpse factory story, thousands believed it at the time, didnt turn out to be true did it.
Heh, the first question would be what was the whole GF doing by getting itself in the middle of a battle?

The Germans would turn away, to save their fleet and prevent adding an enemy, it would be a transparent maneuver...
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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 23 Sep 2019 17:15

JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
Admirals dont fire without orders to start a war, they would need cabinet-approved orders, that is how it works.
An admiral does not require cabinet approval to open fire. If he orders it the fleet engages. Later, the admiral might come under scrutiny for his decision, perhaps even a court marshall. But that really won't help the destroyed German High Seas Fleet much will it? And courtmarshalling Jellicoe for saving the French fleet and winning the biggest naval victory since Trafalgar, a victory that sent the entire British Empire into apoplectic fits of joy, well that's not very realistic either, is it?

The cabinet wanted no war, good luck trying to convince them of the need of a war on Germany based on a French attack on Belgium.
If France invades Belgium the British either must enter the war or will have Germany swallow the Benelux countries into its orbit at the end of the war. Those were the choices, and there were no others.
So, if the French do not heed this warning and STILL go to war they are on their own, after all if the franco-russians lose too bad for the UK's main colonial rivals... but what if the Germans get all those colonies!
If the French are left to their own then either France will be crushed or the Dual Alliance (Russia, France) will emerge on the side of the Central Powers.
The RN would still be between Germany and its colonies if it came to that...
In World War Two the collapse of France gave the German navy the French bases on the Channel and Atlantic for its navy. Why wouldn't that be the case here too?

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 23 Sep 2019 17:20

Takao wrote:
22 Sep 2019 01:37

The British pursuit of Goeben and Breslau indicate otherwise.

British admirals tend to follow orders from those on high.
The scenario in question is the German pursuit of a French squadron across the North Sea in a running fight. As the British approach, the two engaged fleets (French, German) are already exchanging heavy fire. It would be a miracle if the all the Germans didn't shoot at the British in confusion.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 23 Sep 2019 17:25

JAG13 wrote:
22 Sep 2019 19:26
Grey was getting ready to dump the French because he thought war a hard sell, without Belgium this path he ACTUALLY started to take is what he had, stand back and watch the French suicide against Metz.
Grey stated in his memoires that under no circumstances would he have remained in cabinet had Britain remained neutral. Therefore, Grey was not getting ready to dump the French, he was getting ready for a major showdown to decide policy, in which if he failed, he and Asquith would resign from the Liberals and presumably cross the floor to the Conservatives, with maybe about half the Liberal party.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by glenn239 » 23 Sep 2019 17:28

ljadw wrote:
21 Sep 2019 15:05
Russia would not join the Central Powers,as Russia would collaps : the regime of the Tsar would not survive a second defeat in 10 years . About France betraying the alliance : France did it on August 1 1914, but also several times before . Russia did the same .
You are absolutely correct that Russia would collapse if it decided to fight the entire Central Powers and associate alliances in isolation after France and Britain betrayed her. What you haven't explained, (indeed, cannot explain) is why Russia would choose to do that? They would send peace feelers which the Germans might or might not entertain.

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by ljadw » 23 Sep 2019 18:29

Peace feelers means defeat,capitulation and revolution .
It is also not so that Britain betrayed Russia : Britain had no alliance with Russia .
Germany OTOH would only accept peace feelers after Russia was defeated .Germany could do nothing with Russia as ally .
Not Russia would send peace feelers but Germany,as war with Russia would ruin Germany .
The fact is that a war between Russia and Germany only had no sense and would never happen.It would be the end of the rule of the Junkers, financially Germany would be broken and militarily a victorious war against Russia would weaken Germany that much that it would cease to be a threat to France .
The only way to defeat Russia was to defeat France . France could survive as a great power without Russia, Russia could not survive as a great power without France .
But defeat of Russia would not benefit Germany, defeat of France OTOH would benefit Germany : in 1871 France paid 5 billions to Germany, something Russia could never do ,but the Germans had the intention to force France,after it was defeated in 1914, not to pay 5 billions, but a multiple of it . Someone had to pay for the war,and as Russia could not and Germany would not , it was on France to pay ,but first Germany needed an excuse for attacking France .
France was the number two on the continent and blocked German aspirations for domination . Russia was only an underdevelopped country, a threat to no one .

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by ljadw » 23 Sep 2019 18:41

We know that France did nothing in the OTL = Germany attacking Russia first, hoping that France would intervene .
What would Russia have done if Germany attacked France only ? Would it remain neutral ?One can say that,as Russia needed France, it would intervene, but OTOH,with hindsight,we know that even defeat of France would weaken Germany,resulting in the fact that Germany could nor attack Russia, besides, WHY should Germany attack Russia after a defeat of France ?
If in 1941 Britain had given up and was occupied by the Germans, there would be no longer a reason for Barbarossa. It was the same in 1914 : defeat of France would take away any reason for Aufmarsch Anweisung Ost .

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Re: German "East First" Plan in 1914?

Post by JAG13 » 23 Sep 2019 21:19

glenn239 wrote:
23 Sep 2019 17:15
JAG13 wrote:
21 Sep 2019 21:49
Admirals dont fire without orders to start a war, they would need cabinet-approved orders, that is how it works.
An admiral does not require cabinet approval to open fire. If he orders it the fleet engages. Later, the admiral might come under scrutiny for his decision, perhaps even a court marshall. But that really won't help the destroyed German High Seas Fleet much will it? And courtmarshalling Jellicoe for saving the French fleet and winning the biggest naval victory since Trafalgar, a victory that sent the entire British Empire into apoplectic fits of joy, well that's not very realistic either, is it?
No, but as someone else pointed out, RN admirals were taught to follow orders, wont do it without them.

The cabinet wanted no war, good luck trying to convince them of the need of a war on Germany based on a French attack on Belgium.
If France invades Belgium the British either must enter the war or will have Germany swallow the Benelux countries into its orbit at the end of the war. Those were the choices, and there were no others.
Swallow? Or simply align with the one that DID HONOR the treaty that protected them? There is a huge difference...

And even so, how does that affect the UK in the 20th century?
So, if the French do not heed this warning and STILL go to war they are on their own, after all if the franco-russians lose too bad for the UK's main colonial rivals... but what if the Germans get all those colonies!
If the French are left to their own then either France will be crushed or the Dual Alliance (Russia, France) will emerge on the side of the Central Powers.
No, the defeated tend to be resentful as history teaches us, they wont be siding with the Germans anytime soon... not after the Russians get Brest-Litovsked and the French stripped of colonies and crushed under reparations.
The RN would still be between Germany and its colonies if it came to that...
In World War Two the collapse of France gave the German navy the French bases on the Channel and Atlantic for its navy. Why wouldn't that be the case here too?
Temporarily, until a definite peace treaty was signed, and just because the guy on the other side of the channel was still at war...

And again, Grey was jettisoning the French on Aug 1st, it was their war, there was no alliance... in this case is worse, the French would have to declare war on Germany instead of being the attacked as IRL, so good luck selling a Russian war to the UK public...

Belgium WAS an excuse, but it was used because it was NEEDED, here the French are not even being attacked, they are embarking willingly and on their own into a war over Serbia.

There is no treaty to hide behind, no "poor little Belgium"...

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