Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby Terry Duncan » 12 Feb 2018 16:38

The problem with English not being the first language applies even more so when we have two people who neither have English as a first language and possibly not a first language in common either. The rules are likely to be applied much more harshly by senior staff if they find posters insulting each other, so it is best to follow them. It is possible to discuss a point without them, and if someone is offering absurd points it is permissible to say so about the point, not the poster personally.

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby ljadw » 12 Feb 2018 21:22

A country is not going to war because of a piece of paper, a treaty : Britain had a treaty/guarantee with Poland, but that was not the reason why it declared war on Germany.Australia was fighting in Vietnam, but Britain not : this was not because Australia had a treaty and Britain not .

USA did intervene in the Libyan civil war against khadaffi, but not because of a treaty .

Etc,etc...

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby Terry Duncan » 12 Feb 2018 21:40

ljadw wrote:A country is not going to war because of a piece of paper, a treaty


Sometimes this is true, at other times the treaty may well provide the deciding factor in a nation going to war, it is hard to dismiss the value of a treaty entirely. In 1914 the treaty with Belgium did indeed send Britain to war, but only just before her other vital interests would have done likewise. The treaty did, however, provide a unifying factor for public opinion, and the German decision to violate the treaty had detrimental long-term effects on other nations.

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby MarkN » 12 Feb 2018 22:09

ljadw wrote:A country is not going to war because of a piece of paper, a treaty : Britain had a treaty/guarantee with Poland, but that was not the reason why it declared war on Germany.Australia was fighting in Vietnam, but Britain not : this was not because Australia had a treaty and Britain not .

USA did intervene in the Libyan civil war against khadaffi, but not because of a treaty .

Etc,etc...

Absurd ideas and absurd presentation.

1) Who has claimed that a State does go to war "because of a piece of paper"? Who are you arguing against?

States do not go to war "because of a piece of paper" but they have been to war, if they so choose, because of what was written on the paper. In otherwords, they go to war because of the reason behind why the threaty came into existence in the first place. Britain didn't go to war in 1914 "because of a piece of paper" in itself, but because they wished to adhere to what the Treaty detailed. Sometimes States go to war because of what they think a treaty means (Britain in 1914) and this looks strange to others because they have interpreted it differently. Also, and I believe this had a big part to play in 1914, States go to war because of the implications and consequences if they don't honour their Treaty obligations.

2) Irrespective of point (1), none of the examples you quote above deny your first claim.

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby ljadw » 13 Feb 2018 09:10

Terry Duncan wrote:
ljadw wrote:A country is not going to war because of a piece of paper, a treaty


Sometimes this is true, at other times the treaty may well provide the deciding factor in a nation going to war, it is hard to dismiss the value of a treaty entirely. In 1914 the treaty with Belgium did indeed send Britain to war, but only just before her other vital interests would have done likewise. The treaty did, however, provide a unifying factor for public opinion, and the German decision to violate the treaty had detrimental long-term effects on other nations.


1) A treaty is not binding a state, because a state is sovereign

2) There was nothing in the treaty obliging Britain to declare war

3) The treaty became important only after the DoW, and this for propaganda aims

4 ) If there was no treaty , would Britain have remained neutral ?

5) Of course not : there was in 1831 (before the treaty ) almost a war between Britain and France, when French forces invaded Belgium, "to help " the Belgian government in its war against King William of the Netherlands who invaded Belgium to reconquer her . The French were only leaving Belgium in december 1832.

6) Before the British DoW on Germany,there were several wars in Europe, and Britain remained neutral :AH declared war on Serbia and attacked her: would Britain have intervened if there was a treaty about Serbia ? When Japan attacked Wladivostok, Britain applauded,when Germany attacked Luxemburg, Britain did not move .

7 ) If in 1913 Belgian had sold /rent the harbour of Antwerp to Germany, Britain would have intervened, but if Belgium had sold/rent to Germany the town of Verviers, Britain would not have intervened, although lawyers would argue that both cases were a violation of the treaties of 1831/1839.

8) In 1911 Lloyd George threatened Germany with war about Morocco, although there was no treaty obliging Britain to help France in this question , and when France occupied Morocco, which was an invasion of a sovereign state, Britain looked on the other side .

9 ) The treaty was only an excuse ,as was the blahblah about British honour .

10) The meaning of treaties is to use them if needed, or not to use them if possible .

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby pugsville » 13 Feb 2018 10:54

ljadw wrote:
Terry Duncan wrote:
ljadw wrote:A country is not going to war because of a piece of paper, a treaty


Sometimes this is true, at other times the treaty may well provide the deciding factor in a nation going to war, it is hard to dismiss the value of a treaty entirely. In 1914 the treaty with Belgium did indeed send Britain to war, but only just before her other vital interests would have done likewise. The treaty did, however, provide a unifying factor for public opinion, and the German decision to violate the treaty had detrimental long-term effects on other nations.


1) A treaty is not binding a state, because a state is sovereign

2) There was nothing in the treaty obliging Britain to declare war

3) The treaty became important only after the DoW, and this for propaganda aims

4 ) If there was no treaty , would Britain have remained neutral ?

5) Of course not : there was in 1831 (before the treaty ) almost a war between Britain and France, when French forces invaded Belgium, "to help " the Belgian government in its war against King William of the Netherlands who invaded Belgium to reconquer her . The French were only leaving Belgium in december 1832.

6) Before the British DoW on Germany,there were several wars in Europe, and Britain remained neutral :AH declared war on Serbia and attacked her: would Britain have intervened if there was a treaty about Serbia ? When Japan attacked Wladivostok, Britain applauded,when Germany attacked Luxemburg, Britain did not move .

7 ) If in 1913 Belgian had sold /rent the harbour of Antwerp to Germany, Britain would have intervened, but if Belgium had sold/rent to Germany the town of Verviers, Britain would not have intervened, although lawyers would argue that both cases were a violation of the treaties of 1831/1839.

8) In 1911 Lloyd George threatened Germany with war about Morocco, although there was no treaty obliging Britain to help France in this question , and when France occupied Morocco, which was an invasion of a sovereign state, Britain looked on the other side .

9 ) The treaty was only an excuse ,as was the blahblah about British honour .

10) The meaning of treaties is to use them if needed, or not to use them if possible .


The Treaty was a huge factor but it certainly made the decision easier for the Government. Four main factors in the DOW, (1) Balnce of Power, not wanting one power to dominate Europe (2) Preventing a Major power from controlling the low countries (3) sense of Obligation to France (4) the Treaty. The British cabinet was not monolithic, different ministers would have been swayed differently on individual points (3) was much more important to Gray. But (1) and (2) are the big ones, (3) and (4) more minor.

(2) and (4) are related, the Treaty was matter of long standing British policy, the treaty represented a manifestation of perceived long term British interests.

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby Terry Duncan » 13 Feb 2018 12:01

ljadw wrote:8) In 1911 Lloyd George threatened Germany with war about Morocco, although there was no treaty obliging Britain to help France in this question , and when France occupied Morocco, which was an invasion of a sovereign state, Britain looked on the other side ..


Further to this point, in the case of Germany trying to use a crisis with France to obtain a port on the African coast of Morocco, the Admiralty and Foreign office agreed this would be a cause for war. There was no treaty with either France or Morocco that would support this, only the need to prevent Germany operating a naval port on key British trade routes. The best that could be cited is the agreement between Britain and France giving France the prime interest in Morocco, though even that did not require Britain to go to war if France somehow threw that position away.

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby ljadw » 13 Feb 2018 12:29

Those who argue that the violation of the 1831/1839 treaties was the reason for the British Declaration of War on Germany, should explain why Britain remained neutral in 1923 when France occupied the Ruhr,arguing that Germany violated Versailles .If this was so, the British occupation forces should have joined the French, if it was not so, they should have opposed the French .

And, when Hitler violated Versailles in 1935, 1936 and occupied Czechia in 1939, Britain did not move .It seems that there were treaties and treaties, violations and violations, or in other words subterfuges :if British interests were threatened, Britain would move, treaty or no treaty, if they were not threatened, it would not move, treaty or no treaty .

Something recent : when Saddam Hussein attacked Iran, Britain looked the other way, when he attacked Kuweit, Britain fought .

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby ljadw » 13 Feb 2018 12:31

pugsville wrote:
ljadw wrote:
Terry Duncan wrote:
ljadw wrote:A country is not going to war because of a piece of paper, a treaty


Sometimes this is true, at other times the treaty may well provide the deciding factor in a nation going to war, it is hard to dismiss the value of a treaty entirely. In 1914 the treaty with Belgium did indeed send Britain to war, but only just before her other vital interests would have done likewise. The treaty did, however, provide a unifying factor for public opinion, and the German decision to violate the treaty had detrimental long-term effects on other nations.


1) A treaty is not binding a state, because a state is sovereign

2) There was nothing in the treaty obliging Britain to declare war

3) The treaty became important only after the DoW, and this for propaganda aims

4 ) If there was no treaty , would Britain have remained neutral ?

5) Of course not : there was in 1831 (before the treaty ) almost a war between Britain and France, when French forces invaded Belgium, "to help " the Belgian government in its war against King William of the Netherlands who invaded Belgium to reconquer her . The French were only leaving Belgium in december 1832.

6) Before the British DoW on Germany,there were several wars in Europe, and Britain remained neutral :AH declared war on Serbia and attacked her: would Britain have intervened if there was a treaty about Serbia ? When Japan attacked Wladivostok, Britain applauded,when Germany attacked Luxemburg, Britain did not move .

7 ) If in 1913 Belgian had sold /rent the harbour of Antwerp to Germany, Britain would have intervened, but if Belgium had sold/rent to Germany the town of Verviers, Britain would not have intervened, although lawyers would argue that both cases were a violation of the treaties of 1831/1839.

8) In 1911 Lloyd George threatened Germany with war about Morocco, although there was no treaty obliging Britain to help France in this question , and when France occupied Morocco, which was an invasion of a sovereign state, Britain looked on the other side .

9 ) The treaty was only an excuse ,as was the blahblah about British honour .

10) The meaning of treaties is to use them if needed, or not to use them if possible .


The Treaty was a huge factor but it certainly made the decision easier for the Government. Four main factors in the DOW, (1) Balnce of Power, not wanting one power to dominate Europe (2) Preventing a Major power from controlling the low countries (3) sense of Obligation to France (4) the Treaty. The British cabinet was not monolithic, different ministers would have been swayed differently on individual points (3) was much more important to Gray. But (1) and (2) are the big ones, (3) and (4) more minor.

(2) and (4) are related, the Treaty was matter of long standing British policy, the treaty represented a manifestation of perceived long term British interests.

In my opinion (3) and (4) were subtezrfuges .

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby MarkN » 13 Feb 2018 13:49

ljadw wrote:In my opinion (3) and (4) were subtezrfuges .

An opinion which runs counter to historical evidence.

Probably because of the absurd logic and absurd reasoning used to formulate a ridiculous understanding of the events, intent and motivation.

ljadw wrote: 1) A treaty is not binding a state, because a state is sovereign

In debating clubs, perhaps. In the real world (of international relations), utter nonsense.

ljadw wrote:2) There was nothing in the treaty obliging Britain to declare war

This is my opinion to. But our opinion is irrelevant. The only opinions that matter were those of the decsion-makers in London in 1914 and they thought that Britian did have an obligation to "make good" any breach of the 1939 Treaty by another party.

ljadw wrote:3) The treaty became important only after the DoW, and this for propaganda aims

Absurd nonsense!

ljadw wrote:4 ) If there was no treaty , would Britain have remained neutral ?

Perhaps. Indeed, highly likely. It is impossible to know for sure as it is a ljadw 2018 WHAT IF.

ljadw wrote:5) Of course not : there was in 1831 (before the treaty ) almost a war between Britain and France, when French forces invaded Belgium, "to help " the Belgian government in its war against King William of the Netherlands who invaded Belgium to reconquer her . The French were only leaving Belgium in december 1832.

This is irrelevant to 1914 decision-making and only serves to clutter the discussion. The use of this absurd reasoning and logic only serves to deliver ridiculous opinion.

ljadw wrote:6) Before the British DoW on Germany,there were several wars in Europe, and Britain remained neutral :AH declared war on Serbia and attacked her: would Britain have intervened if there was a treaty about Serbia ? When Japan attacked Wladivostok, Britain applauded,when Germany attacked Luxemburg, Britain did not move .

More irrelevancies to 1914 decision-making cluttering the discussion. Also, a contradiction to the absurd reasoning and logic in points (4) and (5). The use of this absurd reasoning and logic, especially where it contradicts the early absurd reasoning and logic only serves to deliver ever more ridiculous opinion.

ljadw wrote:7 ) If in 1913 Belgian had sold /rent the harbour of Antwerp to Germany, Britain would have intervened, but if Belgium had sold/rent to Germany the town of Verviers, Britain would not have intervened, although lawyers would argue that both cases were a violation of the treaties of 1831/1839.

The use of this absurd reasoning and logic through the introduction of yet another ljadw 2018 WHAT IF only serves to deliver ridiculous opinion. Clutter.

ljadw wrote:8) In 1911 Lloyd George threatened Germany with war about Morocco, although there was no treaty obliging Britain to help France in this question , and when France occupied Morocco, which was an invasion of a sovereign state, Britain looked on the other side .

More irrelevancies to 1914 decision-making. The use of yet more absurd reasoning and logic only serves to deliver ever more ridiculous opinion. Clutter.

ljadw wrote:9 ) The treaty was only an excuse ,as was the blahblah about British honour .

And here's the ridiculous opinion brought about by the prior self-contradictions, irrelevancies, absurd reasoning and logic,

ljadw wrote:10) The meaning of treaties is to use them if needed, or not to use them if possible .

No. That is NOT the meaning of treaties. :roll:

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby ljadw » 13 Feb 2018 15:28

I see : as I expected, no serious answer has been given .

Britain declared war on Germany when Germany invaded Belgium, but not when Germany invaded Luxemburg . Reason is that Antwerp is situated in Belgium . Or would the reason be that no DoW because of Luxemburg was not incompatible with British honour ? :P
Britain, as all other countries, was using the treaty argument when it fit them .

France, also a signatory of the treaty, did not declare war on Germany when this invaded Belgium /. This is an other proof that the treaty was only an excuse : nations do not fight because of pacts, treaties and other such meaningless things .

4 years after the end of the war Germany (or France ) was violating the treaty of Versailles, and Britain did not move .Thus, those who are saying that Britain declared war because Germany had violated a treaty as old as 83/75 years, are using a very feeble argument .

Besides, even a mediocre lawyer would argue that Germany was not a signatory of the treaty, but Prussia . :P

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby Terry Duncan » 13 Feb 2018 16:20

ljadw wrote:I see : as I expected, no serious answer has been given .

Britain declared war on Germany when Germany invaded Belgium, but not when Germany invaded Luxemburg. Reason is that Antwerp is situated in Belgium . Or would the reason be that no DoW because of Luxemburg was not incompatible with British honour ? :P
Britain, as all other countries, was using the treaty argument when it fit them .


Luxembourg was also a perpetual neutral, guaranteed by the same powers that guaranteed the treaty with Belgium and The Netherlands and a case could be made that Britain should intervene because of this, though Luxembourg had been seen as a special case as the railways there were apparently German and therefore a direct interest was seen where Germany had legitimate reason to take control to protect them from a similar French attempt to seize them.

ljadw wrote:Besides, even a mediocre lawyer would argue that Germany was not a signatory of the treaty, but Prussia . :P


They would lose really badly as when Germany was founded it took on the treaties Prussia was signatory to. Bethmann-Holweg was a lawyer by trade, yet never made such a claim even though he did advance a lot of the rubbish excusing Germany for violating the treaty.

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby MarkN » 13 Feb 2018 17:06

ljadw wrote:I see : as I expected, no serious answer has been given .

It is to be expected. It is impossible to have a serious discussion against absurd reasoning and logic.

Here are some more examples.

ljadw wrote: Britain declared war on Germany when Germany invaded Belgium, but not when Germany invaded Luxemburg . Reason is that Antwerp is situated in Belgium . Or would the reason be that no DoW because of Luxemburg was not incompatible with British honour ? :P
Britain, as all other countries, was using the treaty argument when it fit them .

The case of Luxembourg is a good one to put forward as an example to demonstrate that the 1839 Treaty with Belgium was a key - if not the key - factor in Britain's decision to go to war. And yet you have, with your absurd reasoning and absurd logic, decided to use it as an example of the complete opposite. :roll:

The 'guarantee' of neutrality for Luxembourg was different to the 'guarantee' of neutrality for Belgium. Britain was not obliged to do anything when Germany breached the 1867 Treaty. Nobody in London seems to have argued otherwise. On the otherhand, the decsion-makers believed they were obliged to "make good" a breach of the 1839 Treaty regarding Belgium.

If you understand the subject at hand, then you will understand the relevance of this paragraph from the 1867 Treaty.
Ce principe est et demeure placé sous la sanction de la garantie collective des Puissances signataires du présent Traité, a l'exception de la Belgique, qui est elle-même un État neutre.

I've underlined the key words to help the non-French speakers when they play with goodle translate.

The 'guarantee' to Luxembourg was explicit and collective. The 'guarantee' to Belgium that Britain believed to exist was individual.

ljadw wrote:France, also a signatory of the treaty, did not declare war on Germany when this invaded Belgium /. This is an other proof that the treaty was only an excuse : nations do not fight because of pacts, treaties and other such meaningless things .

More absurdity not even worth further comment.

ljadw wrote:4 years after the end of the war Germany (or France ) was violating the treaty of Versailles, and Britain did not move .Thus, those who are saying that Britain declared war because Germany had violated a treaty as old as 83/75 years, are using a very feeble argument .

Ditto

ljadw wrote:Besides, even a mediocre lawyer would argue that Germany was not a signatory of the treaty, but Prussia . :P

:roll:
With reasoning such as this, I suspect you are just trolling.

Instead of wasting everybody's time and bandwith with all of this irrelevant and absurd examples, why not just provide a bit of evidence that the British decision-makers in 1914 discussed Antwerp and how it affected their decisions.

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby ljadw » 13 Feb 2018 17:53

I like to see the proof that the "decision -makers" ( :lol: ) in London (who would be these distinguished gentlemen ?) thought that Britain was obliged ( :lol: ) to make good any breach of the treaty . And the breach was not made by Germany, as there was no German army invading Belgium : a German army did not exist .

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Re: Why didn't Britain stay neutral?

Postby ljadw » 13 Feb 2018 18:05

Terry Duncan wrote:
ljadw wrote:I see : as I expected, no serious answer has been given .

Britain declared war on Germany when Germany invaded Belgium, but not when Germany invaded Luxemburg. Reason is that Antwerp is situated in Belgium . Or would the reason be that no DoW because of Luxemburg was not incompatible with British honour ? :P
Britain, as all other countries, was using the treaty argument when it fit them .


Luxembourg was also a perpetual neutral, guaranteed by the same powers that guaranteed the treaty with Belgium and The Netherlands and a case could be made that Britain should intervene because of this, though Luxembourg had been seen as a special case as the railways there were apparently German and therefore a direct interest was seen where Germany had legitimate reason to take control to protect them from a similar French attempt to seize them.

ljadw wrote:Besides, even a mediocre lawyer would argue that Germany was not a signatory of the treaty, but Prussia . :P


They would lose really badly as when Germany was founded it took on the treaties Prussia was signatory to. Bethmann-Holweg was a lawyer by trade, yet never made such a claim even though he did advance a lot of the rubbish excusing Germany for violating the treaty.


I doubt that they would lose badly,or not : The German Empire was not the successor of Prussia :it was a confederation of 25 independent states,of which 24 never has signed the treaty,each with their own head of state, their own government, their own parliament, while,OTOH, the confederation had no head of state (William was not the emperor of Germany) and no army, it had a parliament (Reichstag) but this was subordinate to the states (Reichsrat) who could block every decision of the confederation . If the confederation took on the treaties Prussia was signatory to, that does not mean that this obliged the other states .

Constitutionally, the German confederation had even less powers than the US confederation .

About Luxemburg : one can argue that Britain should intervene, but the reality is that Britain did not intervene . It remained silent when Germany invaded Luxemburg (TWICE ) .


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