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I've never un derstood- what was the Great War all about?

(64 Posts)
jura2 Sun 10-Nov-19 11:06:18

Can anyone explain to me.

Pantglas2 Sun 10-Nov-19 11:17:17

From what I remember of history lessons there were so many different treaties with different countries in alliance against each other it almost guaranteed a war!

Scribbles Sun 10-Nov-19 11:35:40

The Struggle for Mastery in Europe, 1848 - 1918 by A J P Taylor is a pretty comprehensive and well written account of European politics in the late 19th century and explains a lot.

I've no idea if it's still in print but, if not, your local library may be able to obtain a copy.

lemongrove Sun 10-Nov-19 11:39:10

In the end it just became too complicated not to have a war!
No end of books about it jura2 if you’re really interested.

PamelaJ1 Sun 10-Nov-19 12:10:17

The German attack on Belgium violated the 1839 treaty of London.

stella1949 Sun 10-Nov-19 12:12:28

Awful to think that so many people lost their lives, and all for something which we can barely understand today.

pinkquartz Sun 10-Nov-19 12:20:01

I remember there were treaties that men had signed up to.
A lot of it was for the landlocked European countries who kept pinching back land each had fought over for Alsace -Lorraine was one of those as known in the famous song "Don't hang your washing on the Siegfrid Line" ( I forget the rest).

I can only recall it was a complicated mess of who will support each others back in case of . Fo rthis we were dragged in and millions of innocents died.

The assassain who shot the ArchDuke Franz Ferdinand is usually as he accept final straw.....he was shot over a problem in his country in the Balkans and millions die all over Europe.

How Stupid Was That !!

pinkquartz Sun 10-Nov-19 12:21:26

I still can't remember why the IK was signed up in it though.

Such a bloody waste [sad and angry]

pinkquartz Sun 10-Nov-19 12:22:09

sorry should be UK

and [sad+angry]

pinkquartz Sun 10-Nov-19 12:22:39

I give up on the emoitcons :-(

Welshwife Sun 10-Nov-19 12:24:39

The actual incident was of course the assassination of Archduke Frank Ferdinand but it was a tad of a simmering pot going on in Europe and countries had their own agenda. It was mainly two groups - Britain, France and Russia and Italy, Germany and Prussia. Interestingly apart from France they were all Constitutional Monarchies.
Different loyalties then as relationships came into play - for instance Tzar of Russia - Nicholas - a cousin of British King George v.
That whole period of British and European history of the period from 1832 is very interesting and set the scene for much of today’s set up - Parliament, Police etc etc.

MaizieD Sun 10-Nov-19 13:43:41

Have to do each one separately I think, pinkquartz sad angry Like I just did grin

I think that it was all territorial and vying for power in Europe, the middle East and India. The French and the Prussians had been at each other's throats for years, exacerbated by Bismark 'unifying' Germany by taking control of independent German states. Britain had made various defensive alliances with other European nations, including Belgium, to fend off Prussian aggression and expansionist ambitions. When Prussia invaded countries the British were allied to we were obliged to send troops to their defence.

I think it was a bit of family rivalry, too. Kaiser William greatly disliked his cousin, Edward VII...

How it got to be 'World War' is confusing..

Russia got involved to curb Prussian expansion in the East... (The Russian revolution caused the disintegration of the Russian army so that kind of petered out in 1917 - 18)

Then there were tensions over India, and rival Imperial influences in the middle East..

'British Empire' countries sent troops to help the British..

The USA came to the aid of the Brits...

When you look at it now it seems inconceivable that European countries should be trying to grab land from their neighbours, or control other countries in order to exploit their resources. (though now we go to war for different reasons)

A good history is what you really need, jura grin

Labaik Sun 10-Nov-19 14:18:39

I saw a programme that showed that Franz Ferdinand was actually wearing bullet proof clothing and, had the bullet been a fraction lower he wouldn't have been killed. Wonder what would have happened, historically if he hadn't died.

Jabberwok Sun 10-Nov-19 14:34:10

Or Google!!! It was a case of one incident exacerbating another, bit like dominoes going down! Austria demanded impossible reparation from Serbia for the murder of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, this bought Russia, a long standing ally of Serbia into conflict with Austria, which bought Germany, Austria's ally into the fray. Germany requested passage through neutral Belgium to attack France who was Russia's ally, this was refused, backed by Britain, so Germany attacked the Belgians who fought them very bravely. This brought Britain into the war as we had a defense treaty with Belgium! The rest is ......

Luckygirl Sun 10-Nov-19 14:35:31

I am always puzzled why countries or, to be more specific, their male leaders) were/are fired up with the desire to seize territory.

Why do they not just do their best for the country they have? Bonkers in my book.

growstuff Sun 10-Nov-19 14:36:41

There would almost certainly have been a different "casus belli" (cause of war) Labaik. Britain and Germany were gearing up for it (literally).

growstuff Sun 10-Nov-19 14:38:19

It's not a silly questions. Historians have been debating the causes of WW1 for over a century.

growstuff Sun 10-Nov-19 14:44:23

Luckygirl That's what they'd been doing for thousands of years. In some ways, WW1 was the last "traditional" European war. Others countries joined in because by then we'd gone global. Don't forget it took place just over a century after the Napoleonic Wars and less than half a century after the Anglo-Prussian and the Franco-Prussian Wars.

Jabberwok Sun 10-Nov-19 15:01:58

Anglo Prussian War?!!

growstuff Sun 10-Nov-19 15:09:24

Yes, in 1866.

growstuff Sun 10-Nov-19 15:11:04

Ooops! Sorry! I meant Austro-Prussian. Serves me right for posting when I'm in between doing other things.

Fiachna50 Sun 10-Nov-19 15:16:39

On this Remembrance Sunday we remember all those who made the ultimate sacrifice. This thread has been interesting and sad also.

pinkquartz Sun 10-Nov-19 15:33:56

As we live on an island we have been protected from the easy land grab many countries in Europe have gone through.
Bitter resentments still linger.
This is probably where the EU has been most positive. And perhaps why we as a nation just don't feel the same way.
When there was talk of Turkey being part of the EU I had Bulgarian friends who hit the roof. They have not forgiven the Turks for their invasion of Bulgaria.......and so .

pinkquartz Sun 10-Nov-19 15:37:04

Thanks MaizieD

Now I know [smile}

pinkquartz Sun 10-Nov-19 15:37:34


my eyesight must be getting worse