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Controversial POV 100 yrs after WWI - "Britain should have stayed out of The War."

Article about: Britain entering first world war was 'biggest error in modern history' Historian Niall Ferguson says Britain could have lived with German victory and should have stayed out of war. Britain c

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    Default Controversial POV 100 yrs after WWI - "Britain should have stayed out of The War."

    Britain entering first world war was 'biggest error in modern history'

    Historian Niall Ferguson says Britain could have lived with German victory and should have stayed out of war.

    Britain could have lived with a German victory in the first world war, and should have stayed out of the conflict in 1914, according to the historian Niall Ferguson, who described the intervention as "the biggest error in modern history".

    In an interview with BBC History Magazine, Ferguson said there had been no immediate threat to Britain, which could have faced a Germany-dominated Europe at a later date on its own terms, instead of rushing in unprepared, which led to catastrophic costs.

    "Britain could indeed have lived with a German victory. What's more, it would have been in Britain's interests to stay out in 1914," he said before a documentary based on his book The Pity of War, which will be screened by BBC2 as part of the broadcaster's centenary season.

    The Laurence A Tisch professor of history at Harvard University rejected the idea that Britain was forced to act in 1914 to secure its borders and the Channel ports. "This argument, which is very seductive, has one massive flaw in it, which is that Britain tolerated exactly that situation happening when Napoleon overran the European continent, and did not immediately send land forces to Europe. It wasn't until the peninsular war that Britain actually deployed ground forces against Napoleon. So strategically, if Britain had not gone to war in 1914, it would still have had the option to intervene later, just as it had the option to intervene after the revolutionary wars had been under way for some time."

    It was remarkable, he said, that Britain intervened on land so early in 1914, when quite unprepared.

    "Creating an army more or less from scratch and then sending it into combat against the Germans was a recipe for disastrous losses. And if one asks whether this was the best way for Britain to deal with the challenge posed by imperial Germany, my answer is no.

    "Even if Germany had defeated France and Russia, it would have had a pretty massive challenge on its hands trying to run the new German-dominated Europe and would have remained significantly weaker than the British empire in naval and financial terms. Given the resources that Britain had available in 1914, a better strategy would have been to wait and deal with the German challenge later when Britain could respond on its own terms, taking advantage of its much greater naval and financial capability."

    The comments are certain to fan the flames of the debate sparked by the education secretary, Michael Gove, about whether Britain's role in the war should be seen as heroic courage or monumental error.

    Gove, in an article in the Daily Mail, attacked "leftwing academics all too happy to feed those myths by attacking Britain's role in the conflict", and decried the Blackadder portrayal of the war as "a series of catastrophic mistakes perpetrated by an out-of-touch elite".

    Ferguson is unequivocal: "We should not think of this as some great victory or dreadful crime, but more as the biggest error in modern history."

    He continued: "The cost, let me emphasise, of the first world war to Britain was catastrophic, and it left the British empire at the end of it all in a much weakened state … It had accumulated a vast debt, the cost of which really limited Britain's military capability throughout the interwar period. Then there was the manpower loss – not just all those aristocratic officers, but the many, many, many skilled workers who died or were permanently incapacitated in the war.

    "We need of course to feel sympathy for the men like my grandfather who fought in the first world war, because their sufferings were scarcely imaginable. The death toll, which was greater than the second world war, was the most painful thing that Britain has ever experienced in war."

    But, he added, we should also feel dismay that the leaders, not just of Britain but of the European states, could have taken decisions that led to such an appalling slaughter.

    "Arguments about honour of course resonate today as they resonated in 1914, but you can pay too high a price for upholding the notion of honour, and I think in the end Britain did."

    He concedes that if Britain had stood back in 1914, it would have reneged on commitments to uphold Belgian neutrality. "But guess what? Realism in foreign policy has a long and distinguished tradition, not least in Britain – otherwise the French would never complain about 'perfidious Albion'. For Britain it would ultimately have been far better to have thought in terms of the national interest rather than in terms of a dated treaty."

    Ferguson, no stranger to controversy, is unlikely to worry about coming under fire for his views. Last year he managed to stir up a massive row over a long-dead economist when he suggested that John Maynard Keynes had no stake in the future because he was gay and childless – although he did later apologise, calling his remarks "stupid and tactless".

    Britain entering first world war was 'biggest error in modern history' | World news | The Guardian

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    Good thread,and regardless of whatever or whoever says or believes,there will always be a massive differance of opinion,like whats been written ,Germany in 1914 un-like in 1940 were not in a position to really threaten the UK and we never learned our lessons as we did exactly the same thing again in 1939,sending even more to the slaughter,for me the loss on such a large scale of an entire generation will always sway my opinion in this direction,this is only what i think..............
    With Regards Jake.

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    As a riposte, next Tuesday 25th February 21.00 hours on BBC 2, the ever reliable Max Hastings hosts this programme:

    The Necessary War.

    Quote:

    "BBC Two’s The Necessary War, presented by historian Sir Max Hastings, explains with piercing clarity why the British were right to enter World War One and oppose Germany’s war aims.

    Sir Max outlines the case for the British Empire’s declaration of war on 4 August 1914. He debates the common argument that the price of participation was so appalling that no purpose could have conceivably justified it. He also traces the complex origins of the war to show that it was not a ‘war by accident’ but a conflict which the Germans, even if they were not directly responsible for its outbreak, could have prevented if they chose. And the film paints a picture of a German empire, under Kaiser Wilhelm II, determined on primacy whether by peaceful means or, if necessary, by war.

    Max Hastings argues that for a great power such as Britain, which valued and guarded its freedom and independence above all, the conflict was neither avoidable nor futile."


    Worth a look i'd say for a more balanced view than that of the Grauniad's egregious Mr. Ferguson.
    'I do not think we can hope for any better thing now.
    We shall stick it out to the end, but we are getting weaker of course, and the end cannot be far.
    It seems a pity, but I do not think I can write more. R. SCOTT.
    Last Entry - For God's sake look after our people.'

    In memory of Capt. Robert Falcon Scott, Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates and Edgar Evans. South Pole Expedition, 30th March 1912.

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    the upper class brits do love a war,only this time it cost them dear whether right or wrong.your country needs you.that should have been coloneys the motherland needs you to.

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    I always thought it was the government protecting it's interests as it didn't want a powerful Germany to threaten the British empire.
    I also read someplace that a german minister or ambassador spoke to king George asking his stance and because he didn't get a answer he assumed they had no interest so told the kaiser the British would remain neutral.
    Im looking for an a case to an 1936 olympics medal and a case to entry to austria medal. pm me If you have any spare.

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    If anyone should have stayed out of the war, it would be the US.

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    I recently purchased this July 2013 book:

    image.jpg

    Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War
    Gerry Docherty , James MacGregor

    Publishers Synopsis
    "Hidden History uniquely exposes those responsible for the First World War. It reveals how accounts of the war’s origins have been deliberately falsified to conceal the guilt of the secret cabal of very rich and powerful men in London responsible for the most heinous crime perpetrated on humanity. For ten years, they plotted the destruction of Germany as the first stage of their plan to take control of the world. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was no chance happening. It lit a fuse that had been carefully set through a chain of command stretching from Sarajevo through Belgrade and St Petersburg to that cabal in London.

    Our understanding of these events has been firmly trapped in a web of falsehood and duplicity carefully constructed by the victors at Versailles in 1919 and maintained by compliant historians ever since. The official version is fatally flawed, warped by the volume of evidence they destroyed or concealed from public view."
    I collect, therefore I am.

    Nothing in science can explain how consciousness arose from matter.

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    This reminds me of the Lusitania sinking....
    William

    "Much that once was, is lost. For none now live who remember it."

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    Quote by StefanM View Post
    I recently purchased this July 2013 book:

    image.jpg

    Hidden History: The Secret Origins of the First World War
    Gerry Docherty , James MacGregor

    Publishers Synopsis
    "Hidden History uniquely exposes those responsible for the First World War. It reveals how accounts of the war’s origins have been deliberately falsified to conceal the guilt of the secret cabal of very rich and powerful men in London responsible for the most heinous crime perpetrated on humanity. For ten years, they plotted the destruction of Germany as the first stage of their plan to take control of the world. The assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand was no chance happening. It lit a fuse that had been carefully set through a chain of command stretching from Sarajevo through Belgrade and St Petersburg to that cabal in London.

    Our understanding of these events has been firmly trapped in a web of falsehood and duplicity carefully constructed by the victors at Versailles in 1919 and maintained by compliant historians ever since. The official version is fatally flawed, warped by the volume of evidence they destroyed or concealed from public view."
    I would take that book with a pinch of salt. It appears to have been written from the "paranoid" or conspiracy theory school of history . If and when you have read it, however, I would be interested to hear your opinion of it, especially if it is well referenced.

    I am of the opinion that in many ways, Britain's involvement was acting in a similar way as they had done for hundreds of years, to ensure a balance of power in Europe. It is all very well to say that we could have sat back and let events unfold, but given the climate of Europe in 1914, which had already seen German encroachments on British and French areas of influence (for example during the Fashoda crisis, 1898 and the Agadir crisis, 1911), I don't think this was very likely.

    Of course, then you have the agreement to come to the aid of Belgium signed in 1839, which personally I don't think was a very convincing reason to have gotten involved and other factors need to be taken into consideration.

    There is also a theory (see Robin Neillands: [I]The Old Contemtibles: The British Expeditionary Force, 1914)[I]) that Henry Wilson, while not signing any agreement with France, virtually committed the British Army to come to their assistance should they be attacked by Germany, (I need to look into this theory a little more).

    I just cannot see how it was realistically possible not to be drawn into the War all things considered.

    Just my opinion

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    I think Ferguson needs to read a bit more about the Great War with France, as Britain sent troops against them a number of times prior to the Peninsula war, Denmark and the Nederlands spring to mind and Egypt etc... He is manipulating when the Napoleonic wars started rather than using the whole series of coalitions & wars that commenced prior to Boney's reign as Emperor.

    I assume he is courting controversy because he has a new book coming out.

    The same situation that existed during the Great War with France was likely to occur if Germany had been allowed to conquer Europe and would have left Britain in a dangerous position and at risk of invasion which was a real fear during the earlier period and again during WWII and of course would have threatened Britains empire.

    In my opinion Britain had no choice other than to go to war during all three conflicts.

    A lot has been written about the great war and the generalisations and misinformation about it have led to many misconceptions to exist about it.
    Regards,

    Jerry

    Whatever its just an opinion.

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