PDA

View Full Version : The great war


Miraculix
15th May 2014, 07:11
I often wondered about the term "The great war". As english is not my first language, I have a feeling that I'm missing some fine point. I know great can mean large in size, but isn't it more used as a positive word like, great president, great pilot, great landing and so on?

Thinking about the millions killed in the most atrocious of conditions, there is really nothing great about the war...

baggersup
15th May 2014, 07:21
It simply was what it was called at the time in newspapers and also in period literature.

I've read a very great deal of period literature from 1914 through 1939, all the greats who wrote about the war, both fictionally and non-fiction. And it's nearly always referred to as The Great War in their writings.

Naturally, it only became World War 1, after there was a World War 2. Until then............

PLovett
15th May 2014, 07:24
It was called "The Great War" due to the number of nations involved; the number of fronts where it was fought and the number of people involved. At its conclusion it was also known as "The War To End All Wars".

Unfortunately, the subsequent war of 1939 - 1945 made a mockery of that last title. It also saw an end to "The Great War" which now became "World War 1". There was nothing positive about the war, just something on a much larger scale than ever seen before.

Yamagata ken
15th May 2014, 08:57
Great has two meanings. The normal definition is good, but it also means large or big. Great Britain isn't called that because the residents think that its really good. It is Great because it refers to the entirety (big) of the British Isles. WWI was the Great War because of the numbers involved.

funfly
15th May 2014, 09:03
The British entered the war not in order to stop the Germans entering France but to honour a treaty made with Belgium many years before. There was a great deal of debate as to whether we should enter the conflict at the time.
One has to wonder what would have happened had we not entered the conflict. Yes Germany would have invaded France but millions of lives would have been saved on all sides, the European economy would not have been devastated, our relationship with the USA would have been different, Hitler would not have come to power and WW2 would not have happened.
Interesting to contemplate what may have happened, it was a close decision at the time and some members of parliament resigned over the decision to honour the old treaty and thus declare war on Germany.

pvmw
15th May 2014, 09:33
There was a programme on television recently by an historian that put forward a very compelling argument that it was necessary for Britain to become involved.

Had it not, the Germans would have over-run France in very short order and taken control of the European Continent. Germany was a highly militaristic society controlled by a Kaiser why was, to all intents and purposes, a psychopath who gloried in war and the military. They were also extremely brutal (as was demonstrated by their treatment of the population when they over-ran Belguim - tho' not as brutal as the next lot) so the treatment of the subdued nations would have been pretty appalling.

Had he won, it wouldn't have stopped there, as his ambition was to create a German Empire, so at some point later he would have wanted to take on the British who, having not stopped him in France, would have been in a much weaker position militarily and might actually have lost. I was convinced by his argument.

Mac the Knife
15th May 2014, 11:02
"The British entered the war not in order to stop the Germans entering France but to honour a treaty made with Belgium many years before. There was a great deal of debate as to whether we should enter the conflict at the time."

Indeed there was, but realistically Britain could never have tolerated German control of the Continental coast from Königsberg to Biarritz.

Secondly, The Naval Laws of 1898, 1900, 1906, 1908, and 1912, constructed by Wilhelm II and Grand Admiral Tirpitz, committed Germany to building up a navy capable of competing, in home waters at least, with the Grand Fleet. This was a challenge that could not be allowed.

Thirdly, the Entente Cordiale (which became part of the Triple Entente) meant that Britain simply could not permit a destabilising re-run of 1870.

German expansionism, bizarrely coupled with an einkreisung (encirclement) paranoia, led to an increasingly unstable situation. Germany's nod of approval to the contrived Austro-Hungarian declaration of war on Serbia was just another event that set the wheels in motion.

"One has to wonder what would have happened had we not entered the conflict. Yes Germany would have invaded France but millions of lives would have been saved on all sides, the European economy would not have been devastated, our relationship with the USA would have been different, Hitler would not have come to power and WW2 would not have happened. Interesting to contemplate what may have happened, it was a close decision at the time and some members of parliament resigned over the decision to honour the old treaty and thus declare war on Germany."

A German "conquest" of France would never have been stable, the Italo-Austrian War would have happened anyway, the Balkan chaos would not have changed, the Ottoman and Austro-Hungarian Empires would still have collapsed, and the Bolsheviks would still have seized power in Russia.

There would have been a Great War, just a bit later and a bit different. If it had ended with the unconditional surrender and devastation of Germany (unlikely) then possibly the Second World War could have been avoided, but I doubt it - Japan was already preparing the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere to engulf China, Indo-China and Australia.

Mac

The SSK
15th May 2014, 11:21
Great Britain isn't called that because the residents think that its really good. It is Great because it refers to the entirety (big) of the British Isles.

Not quite so, Ken, It's called Great Britain because it (England+Scotland+Wales) is the largest of the British Isles.

The one next to it is called Lesser Britain.

perthsaint
15th May 2014, 12:03
Brittany is lesser Britain.

cavortingcheetah
15th May 2014, 12:15
"One has to wonder what would have happened had we not entered the conflict."
Another dastardly example of British neocolonial aggression subsumed to the family politics of the ruling German family in Britain and internecine strife with its Prussian relatives in Germany. Millions of lives lost in a hopeless conflict which Britain was totally inadequate to complete having to be, as was to happen in future instances and after many importunate pleas, bailed out by their American and Commonwealth allies.

tony draper
15th May 2014, 12:18
There were two complimentary documentaries Mr pvmw,one giving the case for us entering the war and another about how things could have developed had we stayed out,I recorded them both,I'm afraid the case for was the most convincing, for me anyway because it dealt in real data.
:uhoh:
Also a excellent drama called 27 days,about the lead up to war and those involved in the decision

The SSK
15th May 2014, 12:22
Before The Great War you had The Great Game (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Great_Game) which was neither great (as in good) nor a game.

tony draper
15th May 2014, 12:26
Ah! A Red Red Bull in Green Field.:E

cavortingcheetah
15th May 2014, 12:32
In the Great Game Afghanistan proved a very cruel and inhospitable place to be for an invading force and its accoutrements.

Yamagata ken
15th May 2014, 13:56
Correction noted and accepted The SSK. My point stands. Great in this context refers to size, not value.

Haraka
15th May 2014, 16:43
The "Great War" (1914-1919) was also referred to in some contemporary literature as :

" The Great War for Civilisation"

being , of course "The War to End all Wars"

Sobering.

Fox3WheresMyBanana
15th May 2014, 16:48
"A party of men passing up to the front line found a man bogged to above the knees. The united efforts of four of them with rifles under his armpits made not the slightest impression, and to dig, even if shovels had been available, was impossible for there was no foothold. Duty compelled them to move on up to the line, and when two days later they passed down that way the wretched man was still there; but only his head was visible and he was raving mad."

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/7/79/Chateau_Wood_Ypres_1917.jpg/300px-Chateau_Wood_Ypres_1917.jpg

Effluent Man
15th May 2014, 17:13
Anyone see the debate between Max Hastings and Niall Ferguson on the necessity of WW1? Hastings contended that it was necessary,Ferguson that it wasn't.

Of course there can never be any resolution of the question.It's interesting to speculate though.In the case of WW2 I do wonder if a victorious Germany would have had a visit from Enola Gay.

con-pilot
15th May 2014, 17:36
I do wonder if a victorious Germany would have had a visit from Enola Gay.

The first atomic bomb was being built with Germany (most likely Berlin) as the target, but the war in Europe ended before the bomb was perfected and therefore was used on Japan, along with the second.

tony draper
15th May 2014, 17:38
Berlin was the original target for Fat Boy or was it the other one,they don't like to talk about it now though.
:)

Mac the Knife
15th May 2014, 18:01
You have to go further back.

Bismarck needed an event to finalise German unification and realistically this could only mean a war with France. Under the pretext of a German candidate to the Spanish succession he fudged the Ems Telegram and the idiot French public demanded war, despite Napoleon III's misgivings, and got it.

German organisation and French disorganisation determined the result. Bismarck got his united Germany, though he warned against annexation of Alsace-Lorraine since he "...did not want to make a permanent enemy of France".

Alas, the bellicose Wilhelm II dismissed Bismarck in 1890 and set Germany on the road to the Great War, whose inconclusive ending with an Armistice and the vindictive Versailles treaty set the stage for WW2.

Could Alsace/Lorraine be seen as the Schwerpunkt for the whole business? But Germany was on the road to a war with France after 1908 and Alsace-Lorraine was not a factor.

Hitler was determined on an expansionist European war and after his appointment as Chancellor in 1933 this became more or less inevitable.

Only resolute responses to the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, the ignoring of Naval treaties, the annexation of the Sudetenland and the Austrian anschluss could have stopped WW2 and as we know, such resolution just was not there.

Mac

:8

con-pilot
15th May 2014, 18:27
Only resolute responses to the remilitarisation of the Rhineland, the ignoring of Naval treaties, the annexation of the Sudetenland and the Austrian anschluss could have stopped WW2 and as we know, such resolution just was not there.


Very true. World War Two should have never happened, if.....

But "if" didn't happen and instead, we got World War Two.

North Shore
15th May 2014, 19:26
The first atomic bomb was being built with Germany (most likely Berlin) as the target
I don't think that would have stopped it though, as Berlin was largely in ruins towards the end of the war. Corporal Schickelgruber would have survived, 70 ft below the surface in his bunker. The only thing that convinced him to off himself was the sounds of Russian being spoken in the streets of Berlin

PLovett
16th May 2014, 03:13
T'was a very interesting thread running on another forum, more militarily orientated about whether the allies would have used a couple of buckets of instant sunshine on Germany or not. The consensus of opinion is that they would not for a variety of reasons but mostly that Germany was a beaten nation without the need for a coup-de-main.

As for the first great nastiness, some interesting opinions doing the rounds as to whether Great Britain could have prevented WW1 by being a bit more robust with Germany, given that the Kaiser was Queen Vic's grandson. One historian I listened to was saying that for the majority of the time, the people in government had no idea that war was imminent. He quoted an excerpt from the diaries of Sir Charles Grey, Foreign Secretary prior to the war who was quite clear about the absence of any possibility of conflict.

It should also be noted that by 1913 Germany was not going to match Great Britain in naval strength and in fact Great Britain had exceeded the total of the next two nations in naval strength. It must be remembered that it was the naval blockade of Germany that eventually did for the German will in 1918 despite Corporal Schicklgruber's attempt to deflect that cause.

10Watt
16th May 2014, 03:33
By 1918 the said corporal had already been shot in the testicles, l would shy

away from further blame at that point.

As to building an atom bomb destined for Berlin ?

lt was only the German prisoners of war taken to the USA that made it

possible to have that bomb, as was the work to put the first man on the

moon.

History is a precious thing.

Blacksheep
16th May 2014, 08:51
The German prisoners of war had nothing whatsoever to do with the making the USA's nuclear weapons possible. They were imprisoned in UK and interrogated, but the Germans were nowhere near producing a weapon. Slightly advanced on Britain's original Tube Alloys project, but well behind the United States.

What made the USA able to produce the first nuclear weapons was the will to do it and the budgeting priority to release the money for building the massive research and production facilities.

My grandfather worked on the "Tube Alloys" project at the ICI plant at Billingham. He was a a boilermaker by trade and was employed on erecting pressure vessels used in the extraction of plutonium - though he and the rest of the people had no idea what it was they working on. They thought it was for making a new alloy to be used in building gun barrels.

. . . but we digress. This thread is about Ye Great War of 1914-1918.

Lon More
16th May 2014, 10:05
The Final Sequence (Oh What a Lovely War) - YouTube

Mac the Knife
16th May 2014, 10:57
"The German prisoners of war had nothing whatsoever to do with the making the USA's nuclear weapons possible. They were imprisoned in UK and interrogated, but the Germans were nowhere near producing a weapon."

Agree, but what did make the Gadget possible were the pre-war European scientists who fled Germany to the US (often via the UK).

[With the expulsion/deportation/internment/elimination of it's Jewish population Nazi Germany can truly have been said to have blown it's brains out. And thank goodness it did!]

The disparate atomic groups in Germany never even managed to produce sustained fission, let alone a usable weapon.

"What made the USA able to produce the first nuclear weapons was the will to do it and the budgeting priority to release the money for building the massive research and production facilities."

Yes - a quite extraordinary leap of faith to dedicate such huge sums to something that was only sort of hypothetically known to work on paper.

"The electromagnetic separation process represented a major technical accomplishment. It also represented the kind of carefully concealed bureaucratic sleight-of-hand that was the hallmark of the Manhattan Project. With copper in short supply, designers of the plant's giant magnets descended on a Treasury official in Washington one day and calmly proposed to borrow several thousand tons of silver from the U.S. mint--which they planned to melt down into wires. The flabbergasted official replied that the proper way to discuss silver was in troy ounces, not tons. Yet so great was the project's clout that it got the silver, virtually no questions asked."

All 14,000 tons of it.

Mac

:cool:

Fox3WheresMyBanana
16th May 2014, 16:46
Silver is the best material for high frequency ac power, and is effective as a surface coating for conductors; however for the Manhattan project it was a simple shortage, and a large amount of silver sitting around doing nothing, which prompted the request. Think building Mossies out of wood.

They gave it all back after...honest :ok:


Not that I've ever asked for the entire contents of a Government safe....OK, I have, and I got it.

I gave it all back after....checked!