Who is to blame for the First World War?

Discussions on all aspects of the First World War not covered in the other sections. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
Gwynn Compton
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Post by Gwynn Compton » 10 Mar 2003 10:26

The French also had less manpower to draw on as the Germans, thus to try and compensate, they had their conscription for a longer period of time.


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Post by viriato » 10 Mar 2003 19:11

Hi dead-cat

The French navy although smaller than the German one wasn't that smaller. See the numbers I quoted.

You also wrote:
ecause not everybody is being drafted.

Niall Ferguson claims that this one good reason. But why this happened? One reason has to do with financing. Germans had a decentralised system of taxation which ensured the Reich had very few chances of collecting more. The Reichstag wouldn't allowed it. And the same happened to the constituent States. Moreover the Reich colected indirect taxes, but it was much more difficult to collect direct taxes. Not the French with a centralised tax collection and at the same time more independent of indirect collection. And yes the French collected percentually more money.

The other reason claimed by Niall Ferguson is a political one inside the military. If you have more conscripts you should also have more officials. But the aristocracy objected because this would have mean more people coming from the burgeoisie acceding to the high ranks of the military ensuing the loosing of influence by the aristocracy in of their influence in the armed forces.

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Post by dead-cat » 10 Mar 2003 22:32

I counted all ships larger than a destroyer completed before August 1st 1914.

All data taken from "Conway's All The World Fighting Ships, 1906-1921" (a great book, although a bit pricy, but oh well... i can't take the money to the grave, can i? :roll: )

Pre-Dreadnoughts: 17
Semi-Dreadnoughts: 6
Dreadnoughts: 4
Battlecruisers: 0
Armored Cruisers: 7
Protected Cruisers: 30

Pre-Dreadnoughts: 24
Semi-Dreadnoughts :0
Dreadnoughts: 13
Battlecruisers: 4
Armored Cruisers: 9
Protected Cruisers: 6
Light Cruisers (pre 1906):27
Light Cruisers (post 1906):18

German pre-dreadnoughts where larger on average than French ones.
French armored cruisers had on average 5000t disp (only 1 with 11092t) while German ACs had none under 9652t (Blücher, which i counted here even went up to 15590t)
German protected cruisers where heavier than most of their French counterparts while the situation with light german cruisers vs. french protected is mixed, some were lighter some heavier.

So Germany had an advantage of:
24:17 pre dreadnought (41% more)
4:6 (battle cruisers vs. semi dreadnoughts. here i compared dipslacements lacking a better criteria. the Franch have a 120 000:100 000 t advantage (rounded up). that translates into 20%)
13:4 dreadnoughts (325%)
9:7 armored cruisers (28%)
45:30 cruisers (50%)

i'm too lazy right now to count all the torpedo boats and destroyers and compare their sizes to each other

i assume that the price of steel in Germany and France was comparable (yes i am aware that Germany had a steel outup about 4 times that of France, but since both countries employed Manchester-style capitalism and didn't produce for the heck of it (like the commies did, only to sell it below production cost on the world market), i think one can safely assume that there was a reasonable demand for the entire production in question).

to conclude, it's hard for me to quantify what "wasn't that smaller" means for you, but looking at the ratio above i'd say it's quite alot. especially when it comes to dreadnoughts which consumed much more steel than say, armored cruisers. to that add the cost of building larger guns and keep a healthy reserve of barrels (they wear out after about 100 shots)

But the aristocracy objected because this would have mean more people coming from the burgeoisie acceding to the high ranks of the military ensuing the loosing of influence by the aristocracy in of their influence in the armed forces.
might be. but that increase would apply pretty much to NCOs and officers up to regimental level. you'll still find enough aristocrats for the general ranks even if you increase the army 3 fold. sadly they wern't all that scarce. somehow i doubt they'd keep the army smaller just for that (alot of them, and the higher ranking that is, owned verious businesses which made a fortune of delivering overpriced stuff to the army (and be it hay for the horses)) .

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RE: Post

Post by MVSNConsolegenerale » 13 Mar 2003 04:44

I'm glad my post is getting some good responses. Personally I stick to my proposition that France was the general aggressor.


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Post by Potyondi » 16 Mar 2003 09:33

I'm amazed no one has mentioned Fritz Fischer and the September Programme. I'll write about it in detail when I have some time. :)

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