Ch 16 Origins of the World War

CH.16-ORIGINS OF THE WORLD WAR

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CHAPTER XVI: ORIGINS OF THE WORLD WAR

SECTION 4: THE ROAD TO SARAJEVO

 

FOR MORE THAN A DECADE, EUROPE HAD BEEN DIVIDED INTO TWO RIVAL IMPERIALIST GROUPS, EACH HEAVILY ARMED AND SEEKING TO EXPAND AT THE EXPENSE OF THE OTHER.

IT MAY BE TRUE THAT NONE WANTED WAR IF THEY COULD ACHIEVE THEIR OBJECTIVES WITHOUT.

WHAT IS IMPORTANT IS THAT THEY WERE PURSUING POLICIES OF WHICH WAR WAS THE INEVITABLE OUTCOME.

THE IMPERIALIST MONOPOLY STAGE OF CAPITALIST DEVELOPMENT RESULTED IN RIVALRY BETWEEN GERMANY AND BRITAIN, WHICH LED TO ATTEMPTS BY GERMANY TO BREAK INTO THE SOUTH EAST THROUGH THE BALKANS AND TURKEY.

THEN THERE WAS THE FRANCO-GERMAN ECONOMIC STRUGGLE. THERE WERE LARGE DEPOSITS OF IRON ORE BUT LITTLE COAL IN FRANCE AND LOTS OF COAL BUT LITTLE IRON IN WEST GERMANY.

RUSSIA’S AMBITIONS TO CONTROL THE BLACK SEA DOWN TO THE BALKANS CONSTANTLY DISRUPTED THE AUSTRIAN EMPIRE FLOW OF SLAV’S AND ROMANIANS.

ARMIES EXPANDED: FRANCE AND RUSSIA TO 2.4 MILLION BY 1914, AUSTRIA AND GERMANY TO 1.4 MILLION.

ALL WERE RAISING CAPITAL FOR AN ARMS RACE, LEADING TO BANKRUPTCY.

THE BALKANS WERE NOT THE CAUSE OF THE WAR, BUT DIPLOMATIC AGITATION HELPED.

SERBIA BECAME THE FOCUS OF ATTENTION. THIS BARBAROUS LITTLE STATE ACQUIRED EUROPEAN EMINENCE WAY BEYOND ITS PROPORTION, POPULATION OR IMPORTANCE.

GERMANY WANTED A RAILWAY BETWEEN BERLIN AND BAGHDAD, AND SHE ALSO DEVELOPED THE RAIL LINK TO TURKEY, THREATENING RUSSIAN AND BRITISH POSITIONS IN PERSIA AND INDIA RESPECTIVELY.

IN 1908, AUSTRIA ANNEXED BOSNIA, AND ITALY SEIZED TRIPOLI IN LIBYA IN 1911. THE FRENCH GRABBED MOROCCO.

THE WEAKNESS OF TURKEY WAS EXPOSED, WHICH MADE IT EASY FOR RUSSIA TO MAKE ALLIANCES WITH THE BALKAN STATES OF ALBANIA, BULGARIA AND MACEDONIA.

SHORT CONFLICTS IN THESE AREAS ALL CONTRIBUTED TO GERMANY EMERGING AS THE ‘PROTECTOR’ OF ISLAM, ALL TO THE EXTREME EMBARRASSMENT OF BRITAIN, WITH HER MILLIONS OF MOSLEMS IN INDIA AND AFRICA.

IN 1913, THE TURKS WERE REARMED AND REORGANISED BY GERMANY’S MILITARY EXPERTS AND SERBIA WITH RUSSIAN HELP. SERBIA SEIZED BOSNIA AND EYED AUSTRIA AS THE NEXT TARGET.

THE MURDER OF ARCHDUKE FERDINAND (HEIR TO THE AUSTRIAN THRONE) IN 1914 AT SARAJEVO WAS NOT AN ISOLATED INCIDENT. IT WAS ORGANISED BY SERBIA AS A PRELUDE TO WAR.

GERMANY SIDED WITH AUSTRIA, BUT RUSSIA COULD NOT ALLOW SERBIA TO BE ATTACKED AND HAVE ITS HOLD ON EASTERN EUROPE THREATENED.

FRANCE COULD NOT ALLOW RUSSIA TO FIGHT ALONE AND BE ISOLATED, SO THE TRAIN RAN FROM POINT TO POINT UNTIL THE POWDER MAGAZINE SET THE EXPLOSIVE SITUATION ALIGHT AND INTO ONE VAST ROAR.

IN ENGLAND, THE SARAJEVO MURDER ATTRACTED LITTLE ATTENTION AT FIRST.

THE ENGLISH GOVERNMENT WAS TOO PREOCCUPIED WITH IRELAND TO APPRECIATE ITS FULL SIGNIFICANCE, BUT, AS THE DAYS PASSED, THE THREAT OF WAR IN EUROPE GREW LOUDER IN THE PRESS, WHILE THE BRITISH PEOPLE REMAINED INDIFFERENT.

SERBIA WAS NOT POPULAR IN ENGLAND, BUT THE BRITISH GOVERNMENT WAS ACTIVELY ENGAGED IN A NAVAL TREATY WITH FRANCE.

WITHOUT THE PEOPLE’S KNOWLEDGE, THE GOVERNMENT PLEDGED TO PROTECT THE NORTH COAST OF FRANCE FROM NAVAL ATTACK, MAKING THE OUTBREAK OF WAR CERTAIN TO INVOLVE BRITAIN.

FRANCE AND RUSSIA KNEW THAT BRITAIN WOULD INTERVENE. GERMANY WAS LED TO BELIEVE BRITAIN WOULD REMAIN NEUTRAL.

AUSTRIA AND RUSSIA WERE NOW SET ON WAR. IN BRITAIN, THE WORKING CLASS AND LIBERALS, DESPITE INTENSE WAR CAMPAIGNING IN THE PRESS, WERE OF THE OPINION THAT PEACE COULD PREVAIL.

HOWEVER, THE BRITISH NAVAL FLEET WOULD SAIL INTO WAR IF THE GERMAN NAVY PUT TO SEA THREATENING FRANCE.

THE INVASION OF BELGIUM WAS A GODSEND FOR DISGUISING A WAR OF IMPERIALIST ROBBERY. WAR COULD BE JUSTIFIED IN ORDER TO UPHOLD THE TREATY OF THE DEFENCE OF A SMALLER NATION.

BRITISH AND BELGIAN GENERAL STAFFS HAD ALREADY DRAWN UP PLANS FOR A BRITISH LANDING IN BELGIUM IN THE CERTAINTY THAT FRANCE AND BELGIUM WOULD BE THE BATTLEGROUND. IF THE GERMANS HAD NOT ENTERED BELGIAN TERRITORY, THE BRITISH WOULD HAVE.

ALL THIS WAS CLEVERLY HIDDEN FROM THE BRITISH PEOPLE.

AN ULTIMATUM SENT TO GERMANY DEMANDING THE WITHDRAWAL OF HER TROOPS WAS NOT REPLIED TO, AND ON AUGUST 4TH 1914 A STATE OF FORMAL WAR EXISTED.

NEXT- CHAPTER XVII: WORLD WAR: WORLD CRISIS

SECTION 1: THE WORLD WAR.

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