Talk:Causes of World War I/Archive 3

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Archive 2 Archive 3 Archive 4

This Article Moribund?

This article was rated military history "Start Class" for not meeting Referencing, citation, coverage and accuracy criteria. Almost no action has been taken by the authors to make the required improvements. Is this article on death's doorstep? I put in 11 of the 16 footnotes with actual page references. Many sections therefore are completely devoid of such page references, but perhaps that is not the core of the problem....

It seems to me that with the exception of the July Crisis, and a few other short passages, the article is rather devoid of facts, focused instead on unproven or unprovable generalities, opinions and a word: fluff, and how does one meaningfully footnote fluff? In jumping all the way back to the Crimean War (and even a passing reference to Napoleon I) in searching for the causes of World War I, the article has stretched itself too far; it has become a Western Civ. article from 1854-WWII, and this can explain the articles lack of sufficient supporting facts. I believe a focused effort on recent events, alliances, contentions, policies, decision makers and crises will make a better and more concrete article. We might want to limit ourselves to 1908-August 1914. This will allow us to capture some of the recent crises between the Great Powers such as the Buchlau Bargain/Bosnian Annexation Crisis and the Liman Von Sanders Affair and the last two wars in Europe before WWI. Are there other interested authors still out there? What are your opinions?

Werchovsky 18:23, 31 October 2007 (UTC)

I agree. The article seems to have missed most of the actual specific events leading up to the war and speaks only in generalities or themes (whilst missing out on one of the most important themes, Russian interests at the Straights). As for scope I don't think there is much point going into detail with events before the unification of Germany (Sadova and Sedan), and detail is most important only really from the First Moroccan crisis, the Bosnian Crisis and when Serbia started to be seen as the Piedmont of the South Slavs at around the same time.

There needs to be a direct chronology or timetable of the long term events that lead to general war. The Crimean War I don't think bears much as a cause of WW1, it contributed to the historical setting, but not to the outbreak of war in 1914. The war in sight crisis is obscure, and again did not contribute as a cause of WW1, what was a newspaper article to affect Franco-German relations to the war and the annexations two years earlier?

My rough chronology would be:

Piedmont and the Unification of Italy

Relevance: Created the bogey in the Austrian Psyche that would later resurface in Serbia as Piedmont of the South Slavs (Plus relevant role in unification of Germany, role in Austro-Prussian war and wedge issue between Austria and France)

Austro-Prussian War: Battle of Sadova

Relevance: Established Prussia as supreme German power. Destroyed Austria as a great power, became dependent ally of Prussia/Germany to preserve Bismarks Europe. Destroyed the balance of power in Europe between France, Prussia and Austria.

Franco-Prussian War: Battle of Sedan

Relevance: Created Germany as the greatest continental power in Europe. Forever destroys the myth of the La Grande Nation and a French (Napoleonic) Europe. Creates permanent grievance between France and Germany because of the annexation of Alsace and Lorraine that make a Franco-German alliance impossible.

The Bulgarian Crisis:

Relevance: Only in showing that their existed a balance of power at the time and that despite a Balkan crisis not dissimilar to the Assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Europe stayed at peace.

The Breakdown of the Re-Insurance Treaty, The German New Course, The Franco-Russian Alliance & The Schlieffen Plan

Relevance: Everything... Strategic shift in German policy, creation of two front war for Germany. (Also isolates Britain from its future allies and pushes a never consummated prospect of an Anglo-German alliance, but this is a bit of a sideshow?)

Failure of a Continental Alliance: Pendjeh to the Boer War to Dogger Bank

Relevance: Threat of Anglo-Russian Conflict plus the Boer War almost leads to Germany forming a Continental league against Britain involving Germany, Russia, France and Austria. Always dysfunctional and a failure. Interesting as to what could have been?

Entente Cordiale

Relevance: After Egypt tension and Fashoda it paves the way for the restoration of the Liberal Alliance that would see action in WW1. Notable more that it ends Anglo-French hostility at a time when Anglo-German hostility is on the rise.

Coup in Serbia:

Relevance: Serbia is no longer an Austrian puppet. Begins to be seen as a threat to the Austo-Hungarian Empire as Piedmont had been to Austrian Lombardy and Venice a half century ago. The Piedmont of the South Slavs, to which Austria would try the same reckless policy against Serbia that had failed against Piedmont.

First Moroccan Crisis:

Relevance: Complex. Germany begins to assert itself as a Great Power in an obstinate way.

Anglo-Russian Entente:

Relevance: Helps kill off the threat of an Anglo-Russian colonial war that would force Russia and France into alliance with Germany. Again reduces tension between Britain and Russia (it would still simmer) at a time when hostility with Germany was rising.

Bosnian Crisis:

Relevance: Reopens Russian interests in the Balkans (that conflict with Austria-Hungry). Germany able to dictate terms to Russia in her post Russo-Japanese war weakness thanks its agent-provocateur Austria. Aggravates (creates) the South Slave issue, anachronistic empire building in Europe in an age of nationalism and nation-states. Humiliates Russia and Serbia. Beginning of Russian revival. Outgoing Chancellor Bulow ominously warns the Kaiser "Do not repeat the Bosnian Affair".

Second Moroccan Crisis: Panther at Agadier

Relevance: Belligerent gunboat diplomacy from Germany. Russia fails to support France. Mansion House Speech raises the popular call for war throughout Europe as a matter of Nationalist prestige, the 'pre-war spirit' that raised tensions.

The Balkan Wars:

Relevance: Ottoman empire dying, Russia worried that control of the Straights, upon which the economy of the Ukraine depends, may fall into the hands of a foreign power (i.e. Germany or her lackey Austria). Austria-Hungry powerless as Serbia and the national states in the Balkans reign triumphant over a decaying multi-national empire. Serbia expands into Maecedonia. Austrian decline as a Great Power, manages to create Albania and deny it to Serbia. Germany initially vetoes war against Serbia, then offers strong support when Serbia invades Albania, Serbs backdown, but the impression is made upon Austrian policy makers that Germany will follow their lead in future action against Serbia. All battles are swift and decisive - misleading lesson for war makers.

Germany introduces new army bill in March 1913, France extends national service from two years to three:

Relevance: German preparations for war would now be at their height in mid 1914. With three year service the standing French Army would be as large as Germany's by 1916. Tempting window of opportunity for German policy makers. (Also Russian Army improvements by 1917 - will add when I find details)

Liman Von Sanders and the German Protectorate of Constantinople:

Relevance: Germany begins to take control of the heart of the Ottoman empire. Russia's worst nightmare, loosing control over the straits to a great power seems to be coming true. "Russo-Prussian relations are dead once and for all! We have become enemies!" - Kaiser 25th Feb 1914.

Austrian Desire to Assert itself as a great power to overcome its internal dysfunction:

Relevance: Assured of German backing Austria looks, as it did against Piedmont, to assert itself as a great power against Serbia. It soon gets the chance.

Assassination of Franz Ferdinand & the July Crisis:

Relevance: It started it all. Make the point that the alliance system was not as rigid as has been made out in the existing article. States acted according to their interests and ambitions. Ultimately it was the Schlieffen Plan and not any alliance (apart from the Austro-German one) that started the war. Germany declared war on Russia and France, neither had to enact their alliance. Britain declared war not in support of either of its entente partners, but for an 80 year old guarantee of the neutrality of Belgium originally given to thwart French ambitions.

1. John K would disagree that Britain went to war solely in support of Belgium. To a degree I would agree with him. 2. The very fact that Italy refused to enter into the conflict on the side of Triple Alliance points to its 'flexible' nature as far as interpretation of obligations. The same could be said for Romania staying out of the conflict when it was assumed that she was pro-central powers. And of course there was the fact that the Germans felt that Japan's allegiance to the Triple Entente was fragile enough to allow the Zimmermann telegram to be put forward to Mexico. 3. Before Germany's declaration of war on Russia, this assassination did not really involve the Triple Entente. Serbia was not a member of the Triple Entente. Since Russia had a legal right to mobilize, Germany's declaration of war was interpreted(correctly) as wholly aggressive. Therefore the triple Entente definately required France to come to the aid of Russia. (talk) 07:39, 22 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 07:39, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Let me correct you on a few points. 1) After the June 14th Royal Summit Meeting at Constanza, no one expected Rumania to remain in or execute any obligations to the Triplice. Rumania had promised Russia it would let the treaty lapse. Austria-Hungary and Germany had a correct assessment of the situation. The best that Germany and Austria-Hungary could hope for was Rumania to remain neutral. 2) Evidence of Russian involvement in the assassination and her obstruction of any thorough investigation into the assassination, and France's failure to investigate the initial planning meeting (that evolved into the assassination) and failure to report what it knew to Austria-Hungary mean the "Entente" was already involved. And let's face it, Serbia could be considered a virtual client kingdom of Russia, Russia having just forced the King to pick Pasic as caretaker Prime Minister and call new elections. The bottom line here was that Serbia, Russia, and France could treat the bombing and shootings of June 28th as either an act of war by an ally, or as an international police matter requiring international cooperation. Serbia, Russia, and France chose to treat it as a friendly act of war. You may feel France had little responsibility, but it had definite knowledge that the assassination plot originated on its soil and there was neither an immediate investigation, nor was there any interrogation by France of the conspirators while they were jailed in French controlled territory (The Salonika Front and North Africa).
 The Austrian Ultimatum to Serbia contained NO ALLEGATIONS of Russian involvement in the assasination. And the allegations of Serbian Government involvement were not substantiated at the time with evidence. This was one of the reasons why the Entente wanted an extension of the 48 hour time that any allegations in the Austrian ultimatum could be independently investigated and corroborated by witness statements, police investigations, forensic investigations, money trails, laundering,  etc. (talk) 01:54, 19 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 01:54, 19 February 2009 (UTC)

3) The Secret Treaty of 1892 between Russia and France is not as you describe it. Mobilization by any member of the Triplice called for Russia and France to immediately mobilize and commense military action as soon as possible. Every two years these two powers had a summit meeting and updated the method by which this treaty would be implemented. Traditionally, the PM of France would take minutes at each summit meeting (by Poincare for example when he was PM), but for the July 1914, with Viviani's and Poincare's roles reversed, France claims no minutes were taken by Viviani or anyone else. So, no one knows whether the current understanding was for Russia to attack Germany and Austri-Hungary as soon as mobilization was complete or not; but we should assume so until the claimed-to-be-non-existent minutes are published. 4)Russian mobilization was an aggressive act. Mobilization could be one of two things, an "expensive signal" to Germany and Austria-Hungary that it intended to support Serbia and therefore Germany and Austria-Hungary should back down, or an actual effort to militarily invade and defeat Austria-Hungary and Germany. "Expensive signals" are intentionally made visible to the enemy. Take your example of the Cuban Missile Crisis. The DEFCON 2 order was sent out unencrypted so that the Soviet Union would know to back down. But, in 1914, Russia instead mobilized with as much stealth as it could to take Germany and Austria-Hungary by surprise. The intent was to make war. When Germany got wind of the mobilization, Nicholas II wrote to William II that the mobilization was to prevent an invasion of Russia by Austria-Hungary, an idiotic transparent lie which made Russia's true intent quite clear, Russia meant to go to war with as much power and stealth as it could muster (Nicholas II may have vacilated, but his generals and cabinet were committed), not negotiate.Werchovsky (talk) 19:32, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

You state that 'mobilization by any member of the triplice called for Russia and France to immediately mobilize AND commence military action as soon as possible'. Austria mobilized in 1908, 1909 and 1913 and yet France and Russia never 'commenced military action'. At most(not always) they simply counter mobilized. Mobilization does not mean war. As Beck said in 'Evidence in the Case'(1915), the answer to mobilization is mobilization. The answer is NOT TO DECLARE WAR. Mr. Loje counter-argued that Russia and France interpreted PARTIAL MOBILIZATION as a 'sort of grey area' that did not require them to mobilize but also did not prohibit them from mobilizing. So I went to Wikepedia's article titled the 'Franco-Russian Alliance'. And low and behold there is NO DISTINCTION BETWEEN PARTIAL MOBILIZATION AND MOBILIZATION. Are you guys making stuff up as you go? (talk) 04:17, 9 February 2009 (UTC)Edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 04:17, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Also note that during the July 1914 crisis, even though Germany and Russia were clearly mobilizing, France did not 'transport them as far as possible to their frontiers'. France, wishing to avoid border clashes, kept its troops back 10 kilometers. Germany did not keep its troops back 10 kilometers. (talk) 04:51, 9 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 04:51, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

France and Russia, being animated by a common desire to preserve peace, and having no other object than to meet the necessities of a defensive war, provoked by an attack of the forces of the Triple Alliance against either of them, have agreed upon the following provisions:

1. If France is attacked by Germany, or by Italy supported by Germany, Russia shall employ all her available forces to attack Germany.

If Russia is attacked by Germany, or by Austria supported by Germany, France shall employ all her available forces to attack Germany.

2. In case the forces of the Triple Alliance, or of any one of the Powers belonging to it, should be mobilized, France and Russia, at the first news of this event and without previous agreement being necessary, shall mobilize immediately and simultaneously the whole of their forces, and shall transport them as far as possible to their frontiers.

3. The available forces to be employed against Germany shall be, on the part of France, 1,300,000 men, on the part of Russia, 700,000 or 800,000 men.

These forces shall engage to the full with such speed that Germany will have to fight simultaneously on the East and on the West.

4. The General Staffs of the Armies of the two countries shall cooperate with each other at all times in the preparation and facilitation of the execution of the measures mentioned above.

They shall communicate with each other, while there is still peace, all information relative to the armies of the Triple Alliance which is already in their possession or shall come into their possession.

Ways and means of corresponding in time of war shall be studied and worked out in advance.

5. France and Russia shall not conclude peace separately.

6. The present Convention shall have the same duration as the Triple Alliance.

7. All the clauses enumerated above shall be kept absolutely secret.

The potential of surprise is with the country capable of rapid mobilization, not with the lumbering country slow to mobilize. Germany clearly could have simply counter-mobilized and allowed negotiations to continue(just as the Austrians were starting to be more conciliatory) but instead acted with panic. (talk) 02:54, 9 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 02:54, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

Another good example of the fickle nature of treaties was the Turco-Italian war of 1911. Germany had been courting Turkey and yet Italy made war on Turkey for the posession of Libya and Germany and Austria stood by and watched. Why? Because Germany was aware of the fact that Britain and France were trying to pull Italy away from the Triple Alliance with promises of African colonies. Italy indicated how loosely she was bound to the triple alliance and how free she still felt to direct her foreign policy in patent opposition of Germany's wishes. This really should have been a clear warning to Germany and Austria that Italy cound not be depended upon. (talk) 02:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 02:42, 9 February 2009 (UTC)


Ottoman Reasons For War:

Had already fallen into the German Orbit and saw its opportunity to strike against its two tormentors of the past few centuries. Had nothing to gain and everything to lose.


Had alliance with Britain, not that it placed any obligations(?) upon Japan. Enabled Japan to conquer German possessions in China, knocking it out of the balance of power in the far east, and adding to Japan's growing empire on the mainland.

Also I would add the themes:

The Straits:

Their importance to Russia, the entire economy of southern Russia/Ukraine depended upon wheat exports by merchant ships travelling through the straights (The Russian railway system was inadequate). Fought many wars for its control/neutrality, primary policy concern. Germany's late play for them.

The Baghdad Railway:

Involves the Straights and the stability of the Ottoman empire which eased Germany into the position it found itself in in the Liman Von Sanders Affair.

The section on Austria's dysfunction needs to be placed in the context of its decline as a great power, its dependence on Germany and its historical experience with Piedmont that was to inform its policy towards Serbia.

Also the Naval tension between Germany and Britain needs to get a mention, but unlike the Army Bills immediately before the war, I don't think it had a direct chronological affect and belongs in a separate section as a theme.

Please add to the list or comment on it. I'd like to write and contribute, I can offer detailed sources, unfortunately mostly from the one author (A. J. P. Taylor), but I'd be interested in reading others thoughts before I started.

Sonnybillyboys (talk) 17:28, 6 December 2007 (UTC)

I am glad to see your interest in the article. You've touched on a lot of the issues that led to the war. I hope to pursuade you that to keep the article to encyclopedic length and also keep it specific that we limit the article to 1908-1914. There are important matters that occurred before 1908, for example the Franco-Russian Secret Treaty of 1892, but my suggestion is that we not go through the history of such matters, but simply describe their current state and their effect on the events of 1914. If we can agree on 1908-1914 then we can next work out an outline.Werchovsky (talk) 02:00, 7 December 2007 (UTC)

I think it would be fair to list somewhere those who did NOT contribute to the crisis that led to the war. Jaures desserved a mention for his action (and his sacrifice) but there is not even a word about Italy! Could anybody comment? Jsoufron (talk) 13:54, 29 December 2007 (UTC)

Jean Jaures and the French political crisis over the mandatory three-year military service obligation and Italy's playing of both hands against the middle are peripheral matters but probably deserve a mention. If we can limit the article to the period 1908-1914 there will be more space available, but it seems there is no consensus to limit the time period this article deals with.Werchovsky (talk) 18:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

In this chronology one must stress as a meaningful event the accession of Wilhelm II (1888) and the fall of Bismarck (1890) that led - I think - to a much more "adventurous" german political behaviour. Jsoufron (talk) 08:28, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

Since Germany under William II prior to World War I engaged in no wars (except international police actions such as the Boxer Rebellion and Venezuelan debt collection), while France, Britain, Russia and Serbia were busy fighting wars, it might be easier, though less popular, to cite the leaders of France, Britain, Russia and Serbia as "adventurous", as "adventurous foreign policy" is a code word for war.Werchovsky (talk) 18:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

I agree, but Bismark's politic is generaly seen as more "careful" and his followers are seen as more agressive, but perhaps is it a late consequence of the bellicist propaganda in France and in the UK during that period. Nevertheless, I belive that you can be very "adventurous" without taking the risk of an open conflict...Jsoufron (talk) 13:41, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

I agree that the article needs rewriting. I like the chronology of events or factors above, but would like to see things classified as to underlying and systemic causes, versus specific events and triggers. It would be a pleasure to see references from non-anglo perspectives. Bcameron54 (talk) 17:16, 30 December 2007 (UTC)
I think Albertini (Italian, tending to place blame on Germany but dying before writing a conclusion) and Fay (American, tending to diffuse blame) should be the main sources for this article. Let's shy away from authors from the original belligerant countries (Britain, France, Germany (including Fischer), Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Montenegro, Belgium, Luxemburg, Ottoman Empire), and also not use authors who don't extensively footnote like Tuchman. We can then supplement with quotes from documents that were released or corrected after Fay and Albertini wrote their works. Every statement which will tend to assign war guilt needs to be traceable to a primary source document and these documents need to be checked to make sure they are the original version, not the intentionally falsified documents of the Russian Orange Book and the French Yellow Book. Werchovsky (talk) 18:59, 30 December 2007 (UTC)

I felt James Joll book, "the origins of the first world war", second edition, 1992, very informative and balanced, even if Joll is a british historian.Jsoufron (talk) 13:48, 1 January 2008 (UTC) On the same subject, it is difficult to belive, but being French I can attest that there is NO recent source in French on the problem, the only recent book published ten years ago at the Presses Unviersitaires de France being out of print and nowhere to be found; which could mean that teaching and research in France did not change much since the Yellow Book!Jsoufron (talk) 14:12, 1 January 2008 (UTC)

Before you go too far down this path, you care to read WP:PSTS and WP:SYN. The reason for Wikipedia's insistence on up-to-date reliable secondary sources is that they expertly put the primary sources into context. --ROGER DAVIES talk 18:10, 31 December 2007 (UTC)

In this chronology one must stress as a meaningful event the accession of Wilhelm II (1888) and the fall of Bismarck (1890) that led - I think - to a much more "adventurous" german political behaviour

A much more "meaningful" events were the treaty of San Stefano and Congress of Berlin in 1878. This seperated Russia from Germany and Austria and created the balkan states whose territorial ambitions (which overlapped preposterously with established countries and eachother) were the main cause of instability in Europe afterwards. I find the mention of the fall of Bismark as a sign of a more adventursome policy amusing when the article is claiming he attempted to launch a pre-emptive war against France.

The fist point is not very clear (the fact that the Congress of Berlin should be cited does not mean that the accession of Wilhelm II should be omittted). Regarding the second point, it is generally accepted that Wilhelm II's politic was more adventurous - see the naval race - and, if the idea is not too far-fetched, one can be very adventurous without taking to the arms, and conversely the decision to launch a war can sometimes be a careful one...Jsoufron (talk) 15:56, 3 January 2008 (UTC) ...Describing William II as an occassional involved in brinkmanship and a man who often said too much would be closer to the truth than adventurer. Let's not fall into Entente propaganda lines even if they are popular.Werchovsky (talk) 19:19, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Alberti actually diffuses blame considerably amongst countries, especially because of his tendency to focus on individuals, but even apart from that he in various places makes statements that seem to put the bulk of blame on Germany, Austria, Russia, or even England and are misleading if only an isolated section his series is read.--Loje (talk) 23:09, 1 January 2008 (UTC)
Albertini, with 2200 pages, manages to find foolish action or inaction by all participants, I agree, but I've seen him listed amongst authors who place primary responsibility on Germany for the Great War, and I get that same sense from reading his work myself; take a look at Vol. III, Chapter III, Section 12 with Abertini working hard to repair the damage done by the French and Russian falsifications to the timeline and placing blame on Germany for the disasterous sequence of events during the July crisis, in effect, making a better argument for France's cause than France herself had made.Werchovsky (talk) 05:36, 2 January 2008 (UTC)

I'm glad there's been some activity on this page - I've long thought it needed a complete rewrite, but been too lazy to do it. Sonnybillyboy's outline has a lot of good in it, although there's a few things missing that I'd put in (the Austro-Russian Balkan Entente from 1897 to 1908 is, I think, of tremendous importance). In terms of sources, while Albertini is indispensable for the nitty gritty of the narrative, I think we ought to try to use more recent sources - both Fay and Albertini were written ages ago, and there's a lot of new work that's been done that they would have had no access to. I don't think that there's any good reason to exclude books simply because the author was from a belligerent country. Joll's book is an excellent introduction to the subject, especially the third edition (which has been revised by somebody else - can't recall the name). There've been a number of studies of individual countries that are worthwhile - Annika Mombauer's book on Moltke the Younger, and Sam Williamson's book on Austria-Hungary and the origins of the war are particularly good. In addition, Mombauer has written a review of the historiography surrounding the origins of the war - given that historiography is as important as the actual narrative here, I think that would be a useful source. And whether we use Fischer as a basis for our basic narrative (I agree that we should not), some discussion of his thesis and the effects it had on historiographical debates is absolutely necessary, although the article should obviously focus on describing the events themselves, rather than on the historiography. Anyway, I'm just happy to see people taking an interest here. john k (talk) 17:02, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

What about David Fromkin's thesis (german war guilt?)Jsoufron (talk) 21:25, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

Fromkin's account, so far as I can tell, is largely based on Mombauer's book on Moltke. While probably a good popular history, I don't think it's considered very important by scholars - among other things, Fromkin is not a WWI specialist, and the book isn't considered to have brought much new to the table. It's a perfectly acceptable source, though. john k (talk) 00:01, 5 January 2008 (UTC)

Boer War

I think that the Boer Wars should definitely be mentioned as potential causes since they showed the decline in power of the British Empire as the British lost to effectively, a bunch of farmers. TheTrojanHought (talk) 22:10, 28 December 2007 (UTC)

My sense was that the British beat a bunch of farmers with more difficulty than expected. john k (talk) 17:19, 3 January 2008 (UTC)

If the Boer War were to be included it would be under the heading of Anglo-German antagonism as the German public supported the Boers in their "just" war aganst Britian. I beleive, though may likely be wrong, that Germany supplied the Boers arms. This along with alot of other examples such as the Baghdad railroad project (or how it fell apart) and Germany's protectionism laws regarding grain could (should in my view) come under a new sub-heading of Anglo-German antagonism. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:10, 2 June 2008 (UTC)

Page title

I have moved the page from Causes of World War I to Origins of World War I. I think this is pretty uncontroversially the most common phrasing used in books on the subject - Albertini, Joll, and many others use "Origins" rather than "Causes." I figured the move would not be controversial. If it is, please move it back and we can do a formal RM, but I don't see why it should be. john k (talk) 00:47, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I disagree with the move, as it now makes TWO pages with reference to Origins of World War II, as inevitably the WWII article (see Origins of World War II, currently a board game) must be moved to keep the format. Using Causes has no such problem... Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs

04:56, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

This is a terrible reason. Firstly, parallel construction is not required. Secondly, Origins of World War II should obviously be or redirect to the article about the origins of the war - the origins of the actual World War II are the primary topic for Origins of World War II, not some obscure board game. Note also that we have Origins of the American Civil War. john k (talk) 05:28, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
Keegan, Craig, and Gilbert have not actually written books about the origins of the war. They have written more general books. Practically all books that are actually about the origins of the war use "Origins," not "Causes." Albertini is still the standard detailed narrative, and Joll's book is the standard textbook on the subject. They ought to outweigh the titles of chapters in general histories of World War I. And, again, the title of an obscure board game which is not even about this war cannot possibly constitute a disambiguation problem wrt the name of this article. john k (talk) 05:35, 7 January 2008 (UTC)
I would like to strongly endorse the name change to "Origins of World War I" and I echo John (Aehrenthal) Kenney's reasons. (BTW, Avalon Hill's "Origins" was a good game.) The subtleties of the word "Origins" are much more reflective of how past disputes and conflicting political agendas evolved into the world war. If we stick with the word "causes" we really ought not look much beyond the July crisis, and I think that runs counter to the original authors' intents as the July crisis was actually imported recently into this article.Werchovsky (talk) 06:40, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Your reasoning is of the same mindset- X, Y, and Z use it, and therefore it is absolutely correct. There is no absolute "right" selection and some absolute "wrong" selection. Wikipedia uses a standardization, and "Causes" greatly outweighs "Origins" by a wide margin. If you fix this one, then you must fix:

I'm not fixing them- it is up to you to standardize all of them and fix all of the redirects if you do this. I think it is silly and unwarranted based upon plain semantics, creating more work for people where no changes are needed.

To add, I would think that the shape this article is in warrants much more attention than a name change. Why does someone come along and change the name and then leave an article the way it is? This article is in bad shape, and yet here we sit quibbling over the name of it. This is what frustrates me about Wikipedia sometimes- instead of working to improve what is important- i.e. the information and its sourcing- arguments abound over tags and titles and such. Unbelieveable! Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs 13:07, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I changed it back- I have spoken my peace, and now I'm back to 1870. Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs 13:12, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I think it's a stupid idea to use "Causes" at all - historians much more frequently say "Origins", if only because the issue of causation is really tricking. But with WWI, there's a huge literature on the subject, and an enormous percentage of it, including the most influential books, all use "Origins". john k (talk) 16:22, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

That's not the point- the title is merely what it is- a title, something that is minor as compared to the content of the article, which needs a lot more attention. Historians will also tell you almost 100% of the time that the content of a work is more important that what it is called, particularly with such a minute difference between causes and origins. I'm not going to get into a debate over this- I have more important things to do, like improve articles. I am very dissapointed that people who are supposedly here to benefit Wikipedia are correcting titles and letting huge amounts of bad material go uncorrected. A shame, indeed. Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs

16:36, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Nobody wants to let bad material go uncorrected. What does that have to do with anything? If you don't care about the title, then don't care about the title. I care about the title, and the title is much more easily fixed than the content. I'd love to rewrite this article from scratch, but I don't really have time to do that - if I'm going to be spending that long writing substantive material, there's much more important things I should be working on (my dissertation, for one). With little time, though, I can correct the title, and I don't see why that's to be sneered at. I also hope that I can contribute to the article by discussing disagreements on the talk page, or by making minor corrections, or editing others' contributions for clarity and correctness. Obviously, this is a lot more limited than what I could be doing, if I had unlimited time, since this is a subject I know well and have a lot of books on, and I'm sorry I don't have time to do more, but I don't get all this animus. john k (talk) 01:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

The word "cause" is used in scientific fields to describe a bijective relation (if and only if A, there B and if B, there and only there A) in the physical world, but it can rarely (if ever!) be demonstrated in history. Or perhaps could we use the word "cause" for the July crisis, and the word "origins" for the systemic causes that led to the war.Jsoufron (talk) 19:39, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

I don't understand why the July Crisis encompasses "causes" as opposed to more long range factors comprising "origins." If anything, the objection would be that while the event which precipitated the war was the July Crisis, to describe the July Crisis as the "cause" of the war is too limited. At any rate, an article entirely about the July Crisis ought to be called July Crisis. john k (talk) 01:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)
I'm supporting the Origins change because it to me is a cause that is not worth fighting for- my whole beef, as expressed above, is about the importance of a title as compared to what is after it. In addition, being told my reasoning is utterly bad because it is not used in the title of academic sources rather than a chapter in academic sources is unacceptable to me. Are general works on a subject by well respected, contemporary historians not as worthy as specific works by well respected, contemporary historians? Of course not! Keep whatever title you wish, but to take it to that extreme...? Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs

20:51, 7 January 2008 (UTC)

Your argument is bad because the main argument you made was that it would conflict with the name of a board game about World War II. That Keegan and Gilbert use "causes" is not a bad argument in itself, but when compared to the weight of sources that use "origins," it is unconvincing. But, anyway, let's move on. john k (talk) 01:03, 8 January 2008 (UTC)

OK for "origins", now who will have the guts - and the knowledge - to re-write the whole stuff? I am certainly not able to do that, but I have the feeling that several contributors of this discussion could "do it". Please, come on!Jsoufron (talk) 14:23, 10 January 2008 (UTC)

I have the ability to do it, but I really should be doing other, non-wikipedia things - i.e. I don't have the time to. If someone else gives it a go, I'd be happy to review it and make corrections. I can also point to books that would be useful - I'd particularly suggest James Joll's book as a good general guide, although I don't think this article should replicate his topical organization. john k (talk) 16:16, 10 January 2008 (UTC).
It is probably too big an undertaking for one person. Let us approach it in small sections. The article is most in need of a section for the series of diplomatic and military crises that preceeded the July Crisis. I think I am better qualified to deal with Balkan issues, so let me begin with Buchlau and the annexation crisis. I'll use Fay and Albertini and will rely on John to catch any new facts that may have come to light since 1940. Perhaps someone can volunteer to work on the Liman von Sanders Affair and someone else volunteer to write up the Balkans Wars, or perhaps split the two wars up. Then at least we will have covered the last 4 crises. Someone ought to start editing the sections on "isms" now. We had a recent edit branding Darwin "inherently racist" for example, and I don't think we want this article to be forum for such an issue.Werchovsky (talk) 18:48, 10 January 2008 (UTC)
If you have the opportunity to acquire additional books, I strongly recommend Samuel Williamson's Austria-Hungary and the Origins of the First World War for Balkan issues. And I would say generally take Albertini over Fay - Albertini is frequently said to still be the go to source for a detailed narrative. Fay, not so much. Anyway, all, drop me a line on my talk page if you want me to look over work that's been done. john k (talk) 01:05, 11 January 2008 (UTC)

Treaty of Berlin

Since a reference to this keeps being put in the section detailing the events immediately preceding the war I would like to invite this person to defend their reason for doing so. Both the placement (1878 is not in period between the assassination and declaration of war) and the content (arguing about the legality of the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina hardly seems relevent). It's also rather misleading, as it gives the impression that Austria annexed the territory in defiance of the other powers, when in fact the treaty didn't explicitly permit or forbit such action and Austria only did it after gaining the permission of Russia, the only great power whose interests were significantly tied up in the question. If this is going to be discussed in the article, it belongs in the "specific events" section, not the brief overview of the events immediately preceeding the war and proximal, rather than remote causes created expressly to be free of such references to distant events.--Loje (talk) 00:04, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

This whole long series of edits is very troubling.Werchovsky (talk) 09:12, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

His edits continue and continue including myth as fact and unfootnoted outrageous statements. He recommends a book written [based on the Orange and Yellow books (and therefore blaming Germany)] before the intentional falsifications of the Orange and Yellow books became public. We need to roll back all the changes wholesale until he is ready to discuss on the discussion page.Werchovsky (talk) 17:10, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

...and I see he thinks the Germans could shell London from Belgium.Werchovsky (talk) 18:14, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

The general tone of this article about the origins of the first world war is amazingly pro German. It makes very little emphasis upon Britain's Grey to mediate the crisis and there is no mention of the proposal to send the matter to the Hague Tribunal. This was suggested by Serbia and Russia, and yet it is not mentioned in the article. Also there is no mention of the fact that the Triple Alliance was purely defensive and did not bind Germany to enter into the conflict. It just in whole seems flagrantly one sided. Not well written at all. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 22:22, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

It seems like you would consider the Article too pro-German unless it maintained the war to have been a German plot to achieve world domination prepared far in advance. I think have been relying overly on books "written at the time in question" even the books of documents that have fewer fabrications than the Yellow and Orange books are entirely prepared to serve as war propaganda, and all books during and many soon after are based on those. You have to look at things written by those who could look at a much wider variety of source documents (and memoirs) rather than small selections censored to present a particular view. I think nothing until at least the twenties, maybe even later, is credible as a secondary source.
That said, nothing in your above comment has addressed the issue of the paragraph in question in its content or placement and attempted to justify it.--Loje (talk) 23:56, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

The annexation was a major cause of the war. It is very relevant to this discussion and yet certain people apparently want it completely left out. This topic needs to be fully discussed and not swept under the carpet. The annexation was illegal and it did nearly precipitate a European war. That is fact. It also created enormous animosity against Austria and probably gave people the impression at the time that Austria could not be trusted and would break treaties like Germany subsequently did by invading Belgium. For this reason there was very real fear in Russia that Austria would annex Serbia and treat it as a fait accompli. Of course this would have been good for Baghdad to Berlin RR. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Who wants the Bosnian crisis "entirely left out"? It also did not "nearly precipitate a European war," because there was no way, under any circumstances, that the Russians could have gone to war over it. It was important in paving the way for 1914, but there was no real danger of war in 1908. And any discussion of the Bosnian crisis ought to highlight Izvolsky's foolishness as much as Aehrenthal's deviousness. john k (talk) 00:41, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
We are drafting a section on the annexation crisis. I have put it up for comment. You don't need to worry that it will be swept under the rug. Annexation by conquest of Serbia, as you make reference to, was toyed with but never in the cards. Internal complications within Austria-Hungary, within the Triplice and amongst the Great Powers, made such a move impractical. Even in 1914, Austria-Hungary publicly committed to territorial disinterestment. War with and dismemberment of Serbia was, however, possible, if Serbia gave Austria-Hungary sufficient provocation. You are aware of the stated intention of Austria-Hungary to run its railway to the east through the Sanjak of Novibazar. From there it could connect to Kosovo and on to Salonika and Adrianople? The rail-line could be connected without going through Serbia or Montenegro. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Werchovsky (talkcontribs) 04:12, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I am rereading here on Serbian dismemberment. Apparently, that was off the table too. On February 18 Franz-Joseph told William II that Austria-Hungary would only go to war if Serbia violated Austria-Hungary's borders or openly insulted Austria-Hungary and in the event of war would take no territory. On March 19 Aehrenthal told Tschirschky that even should war occur between Serbia and Austria-Hungary, Serbia would not be partitioned, the only penalty for Serbia would be a war indemnity and temporary occupation of Belgrade.Werchovsky (talk) 04:30, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

According to Prince lichnowsky's 'Heading for the abyss'(1928), on page 402 he refers to a conversation with the Austrian ambassador to London named Count Mensdorff. He discussed this conversation in his dispatch to Bethmann-Hollweg immediately. The dispatch is dated July 28th, 1914 and it says "Count Mensdorff told me only yesterday IN CONFIDENCE that in Vienna they were absolutely determined to have war, as Serbia was to be 'flattened out'. He also told me that Austria intended to present PARTS OF SERBIA TO BULGARIA AND PRESUMABLY ALSO TO ALBANIA."

Bethmann Hollweg upon reading this dispatch wrote in the margins "This duplicity of Austria is intolerable. They refuse to give us information as to their programme, state expressly that Count Hoyos' statements , which discussed a PARTITION OF SERBIA, were a purely personal expression."

Doesn't sound it was 'off the table' Mr. Werchovsky. Now you know why Russia had to mobilize. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 03:40, 17 December 2008 (UTC)

Good Grief! The annexation crisis we were discussing took place in 1908-9, and you cite an idea floated in 1914. Keep your crises straight Mr. Lovette!Werchovsky (talk) 22:28, 23 December 2008 (UTC)

Touche! Mr. Werchovsky. But What is the old saying? 'A leopard can't change its spots'. if Austria was aggressive in 1914 most likely they were also aggressive in 1909. This article is really concerned with 1914 not 1909 but since the title of the article is "Origins" showing some sort of a "prior history" seems very relevant to this article. Some sort of a 'pattern of force'. Annexation was clearly viewed as an aggressive interpretation of the treaty of Berlin, considering the interests of Serbia, Russia, and the Ottoman Empire.

I am reading an interesting book called 'The Kaiser and his Court'(1965) by Admiral Georg Von Muller. On page 38 he says "His Majesty drove to visit the sector of v. Strantz near metz. The Court Marshal v. Gontard, who accompanied him, told me WITH HORROR of a speech that the Kaiser had made to the officers of the division--spiced with all manner of histrionics...with the injunction to TAKE NO PRISONERS. What is the state of mind of this man who 'loathes war'?

To what extent has the Kaiser damaged the German nation?"

Do you see a pattern Mr. Werchovsky?...Boxer rebellion 'Hun' speech, Belgian atrocities, Metz speech by the Kaiser?

I was surprised when I read this. I thought the Boxer rebellion speech was a fluke. A misstep. Well, I don't think so now. I clearly see a pattern. Find me a speech with George V, Nicholas II, Poincare, or Wilson saying such an outlandish thing as TAKE NO PRISONERS! (talk) 09:05, 25 December 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 09:05, 25 December 2008 (UTC)

This is all rather off the topice of origins of the war, but let me respond. Poincare said things, that taking them literally, as you seem to be taking William II's comments, are just as outlandish. You can see two such statements in the article under French Domestic Politics. I don't know if the other figures you mention did so as well or not. You are trying to impugn Emperor William II's character to prove war guilt of some kind, but, as you are rather fond of taking the legal approach, you must be aware that under U.S. rule 404B: "Evidence of other crimes, wrongs, or acts is not admissible to prove the character of a person in order to show action in conformity therewith." There is good reason for this rule. (talk) 21:27, 29 December 2008 (UTC)

Within the Wikepedia article titled 'Origins of WW1' is a subtitle called 'French Domestic Politics'. There is, however, no statement like William II's 'Take no Prisoners'. Nothing even remotely similar. William II's war guilt was accepted by Bethmann Hollweg when he stated before the world on August 4, 1914 "that is a breach of International law". The German Govt. plead 'guilty' as charged on Aug. 4th, 1914. And so the Supreme Court of the World properly adjudicated. (talk) 13:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 13:20, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Yes, that is the subsection I was pointing you too. So, do you acknowledge that you were wrong when you said Poincare had said nothing "outlandish" ("I have not been able to see any reason for my generation living, except the hope of recovering our lost provinces?", "It would be a great pity (if war is avoided). We should never again find conditions better.")? These are quotes from the French President speaking to his strong preference for war under the favorable conditions that were present in July-August 1914, this was the French policy, is on point for the "Origins of WW1" and would be admissable as evidence. The "No prisoners" comment did not become policy, does not speak to the "Origins of WW1", and is not admissable under 404B. (404B of course was developed after intensive study by our legal system and the U.S. Supreme court. It is based on studies that showed that other bad acts were a poor indicator of guilt.) That is why the French President's comments are in and the German Emperor's comments are not. I assume you are once again referring to the Reichtag speech, in which, as we discussed before, Germany was acknowledging and appologizing for the wrong that it was about to do to Belgium but was claiming necessity as a defense under common law as we discussed before. Claiming necessity is pleading "not guilty". That is the meaning of "Necessity knows no law." When faced with dismemberment a nation or person is in a state of necessity. That person has a legal defense against charges of what would otherwise be crimes if they were not in a state of necessity.Werchovsky (talk) 18:56, 2 January 2009 (UTC)

Poincare was from Lorraine. It was widely acknowledged at the time that he did not speak for the average citizen of France as to 'revanche' or recovery of the lost provinces. If France had wanted war she would not have encouraged Serbia and Russia to take a conciliatory stand towards the Austrian ultimatum. She would have told Serbia to just reject the whole 10 demands. Not accept 8 and suggest that the 2 remaining demands be referred to the Hague Tribunal or the four power conference. ALL the mediation proposals came from the Entente. NONE were suggested by the Central Powers. Even a mere extension of the 48 hour time limit was adamantly rejected. The Law bye the way does not recognize 'necessity' as a mitigating factor. You can not rob someone and say 'I had to do it because my starvation necessitated it'. That is not a defense. LAW (talk) 10:31, 7 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 10:31, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

...and yet, President Poincare was the person you cited as having said nothing so outlandish. With the exception of the first sentence, the rest of the sentences you just wrote contain factual errors or are misleading.Werchovsky (talk) 17:37, 7 January 2009 (UTC)

One interesting point I read in one of the books at was that Austria was rather late in releasing the "Redbook" in which its diplomatic correspondence was revealed. And even then I believe it was not complete. Why the delay when the other countries released theirs fairly quickly. Perhaps Austria had something to hide? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:17, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Of course it did. All of the powers had stuff to hide, and released self-serving and incomplete documents. This is completely irrelevant in 2008. Not only were huge amounts of the documents published in the interwar period, but more importantly, the Austrian archives are completely open to scholars. It doesn't matter if the Austrians wanted to hide something in 1914. It's all there in the documents for historians to look at, and several historians have written studies of Austrian policy in this period based on archival research. john k (talk) 16:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Amen to what John is saying. Once the Treaty of Versailles was signed including its assignment of all war guilt to the Central Powers, the Austrians and Germans, having nothing to lose and with the new democratic governments not adverse to embarrassing the old autocrats, threw the doors to their archives wide open, and they kept good records. I am guessing, though, that the attack on the Austrian Red Book, is an attempt to create equivolency between it and the Yellow and Orange Books. The deliberately falsified timeline relating to Russian and Austrian mobilization in the Yellow and Orange Books is a case that went beyond the norm and so gets special attention.Werchovsky (talk) 18:57, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Werchovsky - there have been some criticisms of the post-war document collections, especially the German Grosse Politik for being somewhat self-serving and selective, although obviously the problems are not nearly so great as those relating to the documents released during the war. But all of this is totally irrelevant to a discussion of the situation now, because the archives have been open for some time, and particularly since Fischer, scholars have not relied on the public collections but on doing their own archival research. john k (talk) 19:36, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

I do have to disagree with loje on the relevance of reading older books. I have learned a lot more about WWI from reading books written at the time than from reading some history published recently when the passions and feeling of the moment is gone. I have also learned a lot about WWI from reading old Ny times articles at their archive. For instance I do not remember ever reading as good an analysis as "Evidence in the case", perhaps because the author James Beck was also a highly skilled attorney from a neutral country. He really goes into great detail regarding the aspects of international law. For instance in the book he says that the answer to mobilization is mobilization not declaring war. He also discusses the fact that Germany was unjustly complaining about the U.S. selling ammunition to the Allies when Germany herself sold weapons and ammunition to Russia during the Russo-Japanese war and Germany sold weapons and ammunition to the Boers during the Boer war and yet Germany never felt like she was violating neutrality by selling these weapons and ammunition. I read James Gerard's book(he was American ambassador to Germany during WWI and a skilled former NY state Supreme court Justice). He pointed this out to the Kaiser and the Kaiser's response was to an aide "is that true. Well you a good point Mr.Gerard". You can't have your cake and eat it to. Regarding German atrocities in Belgium, the British had the Bryce Commission investigate these claims and they confirmed that atrocities did indeed occur such as the burning of Luvain. Why were homes burned. To hide the fact that the Germans had stolen the furniture. No house left, one can assume the furniture was burned up in the house fire. Also another interesting fact is that the Bryce Commission said it was able to verify certain other atrocities such as raping women, shooting hostages including women and childeren by of all things reading diaries removed from German dead, German wounded or German POW's. And these diaries were examined by forensic specialists who verified that the handwriting in the diaries was indeed that of the soldier that owned the diary. I thought this fact was very illuminating. Because it was a practice in the German Army to encourage soldiers to keep diaries. I never read anything about that practice in any history of WWI currently for sale. These are little jewels available for free at —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Your purpose here seems to be to attack the Central Powers rather than to promote understanding. This is irritating. The reason to use newer sources is because stuff in older sources has often been debunked, or new information has been found which puts things in a new light. And our no original research policy means that we are supposed to use good, and preferably recent, secondary sources for articles, rather than primary sources. It's up to the professional historians to go through the primary sources and construct narratives. Our task as wikipedia editors is to convey what scholars in the field think, not to give our own personal impressions based on reading old New York Times articles, or ambassadors' memoirs. And what on earth do German atrocities in Belgium have to do with this article? john k (talk) 16:58, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Amen, again to everything John is saying. Let me add that the New York times articles of 1914 are, while interesting, filled with apocrypha. I think I may differ from John just slightly in that I think it is a good idea to check the footnotes in the secondary sources and trace back to the primary sources both to check the accuracy of the secondary source and to get a fuller understanding. Here and there I have found problems where the secondary source gets a place or a date wrong, or made a just slightly imprecise translation. When paraphrasing or summarizing the secondary source, we inevitably change the secondary source's meaning just slightly or alter the context, so having a fuller understanding is helpful to prevent this paraphrasing process from creating a falsehood or being misleading. Falsehoods are not strictly banned on Wikipedia, but I do not think they are desirable.Werchovsky (talk) 18:57, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
Yes, I've actually done a paper on American newspaper reporting of the outbreak of WWI (including the Times), and there's a lot that isn't right. I agree with you that it's good, when feasible, to go back to primary sources (this isn't always feasible, but the extent to which WWI documents have been published makes it a lot easier to do this than for most other topics), but the important thing is to be sure we're not coming up with our own glosses or interpretations of primary sources. john k (talk) 19:36, 15 January 2008 (UTC)

Annexation Crisis

Below I put a first draft of the annexation crisis. Your polite and helpful comments are solicited.

The Bosnian Annexation Crisis (July 1908-April 1909)

The Buchlau Bargain

An exchange of letters

On July 2, 1908, Russian Foreign Minister Alexander Izvolsky wrote to Austro-Hungarian Foreign Minister Alois Aehrenthal and proposed a discussion of reciprocal changes to the 1878 Treaty of Berlin in favor of the Russian interest in the Straits of Constantinople and Austro-Hungarian interests in the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Sanjak of Novibazar, both of which were currently under the official sovereignty of the Ottoman Empire. On July 14 Aehrenthal responded with guarded acceptance of the proposed discussion. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 195-6] After long and complex discussions within Austria-Hungary, Aehrenthal on September 10 outlined a slightly different bargain to Izvolsky. In exchange for a friendly Russian attitude in the event Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina, Austria-Hungary would then withdraw its troops from the Sanjak. The letter then went on to, as a separate matter, offer to discuss the Straits question on a friendly basis. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 201-2]

The meeting at Buchlau

On September 16, Izvolsky and Aehrenthal met face-to-face at Buchlau. No minutes were taken during these private meetings which lasted a total of six hours. Izvolsky accepted the responsibility to write up the conclusions of the meeting and forward them to Aehrenthal. On September 21 Aehrenthal wrote to Izvolsky asking for this document to which Izvolsky replied two days later that the document had been sent to the Czar for approval. This document, if it ever existed, has never been produced. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 201-2]

Aehrenthal’s version of the agreement

By Aehrenthal’s account given by Albertini, Izvolsky agreed that Russia would maintain “a friendly and benevolent attitude” if Austria-Hungary were to annex Bosnia-Herzegovina. Reciprocally, Austria-Hungary, should Russia move to open “the Straits to single ships of war” would maintain a benevolent attitude. The two agreed that a likely consequence of the annexation was Bulgaria would declare its independence from the Ottoman Empire. Austria-Hungary would offer no territorial concessions to Serbia or Montenegro, but if they supported the annexation then Austria-Hungary would not oppose Serbian expansion in the Balkans, and support the Russian demand to revise Article 29 of the Treaty of Berlin which restricted Montenegrin sovereignty. The parties agreed “these changes could receive sanction after negotiation with the Porte and the Powers.”, but “there would be not more talk of Bosnia-Herzegovina.” Annexation would probably take place at the beginning of October. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 206-7] The original of Aehrenthal’s account has not been found and on this basis historians cast doubt on the copy’s accuracy. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 208]

Izvolsky’s version

On September 30, Austria-Hungary informed Izvolsky, who was in Paris at the time, that the annexation would take place on October 7. On October 4, Izvolsky prepared a report at the request of the British Ambassador to France, Bertie. Izvolsky stated that his position was that annexation was a matter to be settled between the signatories to the Treaty of Berlin. With the compensation of Austro-Hungarian withdrawal from the Sanjak of Novibazar, Russia would not consider the annexation as reason to go to war, but Russia and other governments would insist on changes to the Treaty favorable to themselves, including opening the Straights, Bulgarian independence, territorial concessions to Serbia, and abolition of restrictions on Montenegrin sovereignty under article 29. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 207-8] Bertie told British Foreign Minister Grey that he felt Izvolsky was not being completely honest.

The annexation

On October 5, Bulgaria declared its independence from the Ottoman Empire. On October 6, Emperor Franz Joseph announced to the people of Bosnia-Herzegovina his intention to give them an autonomous and constitutional regime and the provinces were annexed.[Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 218-9] On October 7, Austria-Hungary announced its withdrawal from the Sanjak of Novibazar. Bulgarian independence and the Bosnian annexation were in violation of the Treaty of Berlin and set off a flurry of diplomatic protests and discussions.

Hello, I do agree with you that the Bosnian annexation was illegal. Here is what Herr Loje had to say about the annexation in this article to my horror.

'gives the impression that Austria annexed the territory in defiance of the other powers, when in fact the treaty didn't explicitly permit or forbit such action and Austria only did it after gaining the permission of Russia, the only great power whose interests were significantly tied up in the question. If this is going to be discussed in the article, it belongs in the "specific events" section, not the brief overview of the events immediately preceeding the war and proximal, rather than remote causes created expressly to be free of such references to distant events' Loje.

Obviously I need to further investigate this 'Treaty of Berlin' to do battle with Herr Loje. He has a selective view of history. (talk) 08:00, 18 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 08:00, 18 January 2009 (UTC)

The Treaty of Berlin was critical to maintaining peace in the Balkans. It is worth reading. Before the 1909 amendment, annexation was not contenanced by the treaty. Austro-Hungarian annexation was precipitous. Nevertheless, there is some merit in what Loje is saying too. The treaty was amended and the annexation thereby made legal and internationally recognized. Russia's agreement was received in advance and Ottoman agreement later for a sum. Serbia, the chief protester, had no standing. Of course Serbia coveted Bosnia, but Serbia was not sovereign there and had no special rights there in any legal sense.Werchovsky (talk) 16:54, 19 January 2009 (UTC)

John K has said in the past that the Bosnian annexation did not 'nearly lead to a European conflagration' as I asserted. Here is what Wikepedia says on the 'Treaty of Berlin' article, "Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia in 1908, sparking a MAJOR EUROPEAN CRISIS" Huh?

Bye the way Mr.W I did find a book on which covers the treaty of Berlin written in 1879 called 'The Eastern Question'. I will read this Treaty of Berlin. The question is was the treaty 'collective' like the treaty relating to Luxembourg's neutrality or was the treaty 'joint and several' like the treaty relating to Belgium? If the treaty was collective than any action taken against a violator of the treaty would have to be unanimous. But if the treaty was joint and several then any violation of the treaty would trigger a response wether that response by the signatories was unanimous or not. The signatories to the treaty were the U.K., Austria-Hungary, France, Germany, Italy, Russia and the Ottoman Empire. So let's say that a foolish Russia had 'signed' away its rights regarding this treaty. Would that affect the other signatorie's rights? Not if it was joint and several! My understanding is that the U.K., France, and Italy were not happy with the annexation. And of course the Ottomans would not have been happy with the annexation. Exactly how do you legally ammend a treaty without agreement from all the original signatories? (talk) 09:07, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 09:07, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Oh, I forgot to mention one thing. Didn't the annexation actually occur in 1908 not 1909(see Wikepedia aritcle on annexation). You mention a 1909 amendment. But that is AFTER the annexation, right? (talk) 09:14, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 09:14, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

I think the Annexation Article is perfectly clear. The annexation occurred first, then the Ottomans agreed to the transfer of sovereignty, then the Treaty of Berlin was amended with the consent of all the signatories to delete article 25 which made the matter no longer a European concern but a bilateral issue between the Ottomans and Austria-Hungary. I think the traditional response to an annexation that is illegal is not to recognize it, as after all, not recognizing it denies annexation its purpose. At least in the texts I have seen, it is somewhat debatable whether the annexation was legal after the Ottomans acquiesced or only after the Treaty of Berlin was ammended.Werchovsky (talk) 09:30, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Russia protested against this violation of the 25th article of the Treaty of Berlin and declared that the question of Bosnia and Herzgovina interested all of Europe and could not be settled without the assent of all the signatories to the treaty. Sir Edward Grey supported Russia and pointed out that Austria was also violating the Treaty of London of 1871, the terms of which declare it to be 'an essential principle of the law of nations that no power can liberate itself from the engagements of a treaty or modify the stipulations thereof unless with the consent of the contracting powers by means of an amicable arrangement'.

Diplomatic wrangling was ended when on March 22, 1909, Germany announced that unless Russia consented to the abrogation of article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin, Austria would invade Serbia, to put an end to her preparations for an attack on Austria. Russia was unprepared for war and had to submit, especially since England and France were not ready to be dragged into a war over a balkan question.

If England and France had been in quest of an opportunity to strike Germany and Austria, they could not have found a better; but both were animated by peaceful intentions and Russia was still reeling from the loss of war with Japan. (talk) 23:57, 8 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 23:57, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Protests and compensations


Serbia mobilized its army and on October 7 the Serbian Crown Council demanded that the annexation be reversed or, failing that, Serbia should receive compensation, which it defined on October 25 as a strip of land across the northern most portion of the Sanjak of Novibazar.[Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 222-3] In the end these demands were rejected, although Serbia later conquered the Sanjak.

Ottoman Empire

The Ottoman Empire protested Bulgaria’s declaration of independence with more vigor than the annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina which it had no practical prospects of governing. A boycott of Austro-Hungarian goods however did occur, inflicting commercial losses on Austria-Hungary. On February 20, Austria-Hungary settled the matter and received Ottoman acquiescence to the annexation in return for ₤2.2 million. [Albertini, Vol. 1, p 277] Bulgarian independence could not be reversed.

France, Britain, Russia and Italy

The annexation and Bulgarian declaration were viewed as violations of the Treaty of Berlin. France, Britain, Russia and Italy therefore were in favor of a conference to consider the matter. German opposition and complex diplomatic maneuvering as to the location, nature and preconditions of the conference delayed and ultimately scuttled it. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 225-285] Instead, the Powers reached agreement on amendments to the Treaty through consultations between capitals.

Russia and Serbia back down

British opposition to amending the Treaty of Berlin with respects to the Straights left Russia with empty hands and therefore Izvolsky and the Czar regarded the annexation and Aehrenthal’s maneuvers as made in bad faith. To bring Izvolsky to heal, Austria-Hungary threatened to release and then ultimately began leaking documents in which over the course of the last 30 years, Russia had agreed that Austria-Hungary had a free hand to do as it liked with Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Sanjak of Novibazar. These documents were an embarrassment to Russia especially with regards to its relations with Serbia. The Czar wrote to Franz-Joseph and accused him of betraying a confidence and relations between the two countries were permanently damaged. Under Germany’s advice, Austria-Hungary kept in confidence the July 2 and September 23rd correspondence from Izvolsky to Aehrenthal and these were a continued threat to Izvolsky’s position if Russia did not firmly and publicly accept amendment of Article 25 of the Treaty of Berlin to accept the annexation. On March 22, Germany put Russia on the spot, demanding that Russia give a clear and unequivocal “yes” or “no” as to whether it committed to accept this amendment. Failure to give a positive reply would cause Germany to withdraw from the diplomatic discussions “and let things take their course”. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 285-6] Under such pressure, Izvolsky caved and advised the cabinet to accept the amendment of article 25 for fear that otherwise Austria would be free to act against Serbia and the cabinet agreed. On March 23 the Czar accepted the decision and communicated the decision to German Ambassador to Russia Portales. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 287] Britain however was not quite ready to acquiesce and stated they would do so only once “the Serbian question had been settled in a pacific manner, and France fell in line behind her.

For Germany and Austria to use this kind of heavy handed intimidation really was a shameful violation of the Treaty of London of 1871, the terms of which declare it to be 'an essential principle of the law of nations that NO POWER can liberate itself from the engagements of a treaty or modify the stipulations thereof unless with the consent of the contracting powers by means of an AMICABLE arrangement'. (talk) 00:18, 9 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 00:18, 9 February 2009 (UTC)

On March 26, Austria-Hungary provided Britain with the negotiated text of Serbia’s March declaration committing Serbia to accept the annexation. The next day asked for Britain’s firm assurance that once the negotiations with Serbia were complete, Britain would accept the amendment of Article 25. Without such assurance Austria-Hungary stated it would break off negotiations with Serbia.[Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 289] Later that day Austria-Hungary decided to partially mobilize its armed forces. On March 28 Britain committed as requested. On March 31 Serbia made its formal declaration of acceptance to Austria-Hungary representing a complete Serbian climb down. The crisis was over. [Albertini, Vol. 1, pp 291-2]The Great Powers signed the amendments to the Treaty of Berlin in the various capitals from April 7 to April 19.

Under the Treaty of Berlin, what was Austria-Hungary allowed to do? Administer the territory? Annex the territory? Just what did the Treaty of Berlin say? And if the treaty did say that Austria-Hungary could annex the territory, why did she not do it sooner? (talk) 06:34, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 06:34, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Austria-Hungary received the right to occupy and administer Bosnia-Herzegovina and occupy Novi Pazar. The implication was sovereignty was not transferred and that is how it was perceived. In 1909 Article 25 was abolished to resolve the crisis making sovereignty a bilateral issue between the Ottomans and Austria-Hungary and since the Ottomans already had sold sovereignty to Austria-Hungary the matter was settled. The text to the treaty used to be on-line but I cannot find it any more.Werchovsky (talk) 08:31, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Thoughts on Draft

Werchovsky, a few thoughts. The main thing is that I think this is a bit too detailed for an overview article on the origins of World War I broadly - this level of detail would be more appropriate, I think, in Bosnian Crisis. I'd add that we ought to look at more recent sources than Albertini - Williamson would be a good start, in particular. This is especially true for issues where you do things like cite the "doubts" of historians. Who doubts Aehrenthal's account, for instance? Every account I've ever read of Buchlau essentially accepts Aehrenthal's version as accurate, and indicates that Izvolsky's comments to the French and British were post facto excuses and prevarications to protect himself from the consequences of his screw up. Anyway, I think the main issue is to summarize - if we use this level of detail for the whole article it'll be far too long. Especially for pre-July crisis narration, this article ought to serve as an overview of material which ought to have its own articles - e.g. First Moroccan Crisis, Bosnian Crisis, Agadir Crisis, Balkan Wars, Entente Cordiale, and so forth. Only the outline of events should be presented here. The details should go elsewhere. The same is not true, I think, for the July Crisis, which ought to be dealt with in more detail here, although that doesn't preclude the creation of a July Crisis article. john k (talk) 21:06, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

As an example, note that James Joll's 300 page account of the origins of World War I devotes 1.5 pages to the Bosnian Crisis. Your version is probably longer than Joll's, in what will have to be a much shorter overall piece. john k (talk) 21:10, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Probably this is all good advice, let me play devil's advocate a bit though. Albertini's "Origins of the War" gave the crisis 100 pages. TheBosnian Crisis Wikipedia article has no page citations(!) and only one book, written in 1918, in its bibliography. There are editors out there, presently one very active, spinning everything that is not firmly nailed down in this article. Should I start by editing the Bosnian Crisis article and then come back to this one? Ich sehe ein sehr langsames drang.

With regards to Aehrenthal's version Albertini spent pages undermining it and cited authors who cast doubt on it, but his analysis relied principally on two factors, that the original Aehrenthal document could not be found, only an undated office copy, and that if Aehrenthal's version was correct, then Izvolsky had stupidly made an agreement counter to his own interests where he could end up with empty hands. Personally, I felt Aehrenthal's version lined up well with telegrams, letters and discussions with third parties, and I was not pursuaded by Albertini's reasoning; I felt it more likely than Izvolsky was simply vain and inattentative to detail.

I need to get to a major university library to look into Williamson. I am not sure when I will have a chance.Werchovsky (talk) 22:28, 14 January 2008 (UTC)

Looking at things more closely, the whole Buchlau thing is somewhat murky. It seems fairly clear that Izvolsky's version isn't right. Whether Aehrenthal's is exactly right seems open to question. But, as I said before, this isn't really the place to get into all that. I'd suggest overhauling Bosnian Crisis with the proposed edits you've done here, and then paraphrasing that don't to a couple of paragraphs for inclusion in this article. In terms of overall length, I'll just say that Albertini's account is entirely focused on providing a narrative of events leading up to the crisis. My edition of Albertini is about 1500 pages long, with the chapter on the Bosnian crisis at 67 pages. That's about, what, 1/25 of the book? And Albertini, as noted, is not talking about everything that our article should talk about - there's little on economics, or on the "mood of 1914," and not too much on domestic politics. It also doesn't get into much detail about historiography - it certainly can't talk about the vast amount which has been written since 1941. So the Bosnian crisis should occupy a substantially smaller percentage of our article than it does of Albertini's book. john k (talk) 00:26, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
BTW, shouldn't we mention Izvolsky's colorful anti-semitic rantings about Aehrenthal after his "betrayal"? Colorful details make articles more interesting, and in this case it's a fairly good window into Izvolsky, I think. john k (talk) 00:42, 15 January 2008 (UTC)
I feel I read those anti-semitc remarks long ago, but I cannot find them now, although I have searched Albertini and Williamson. Can you poit me in the right direction or give me a direct quote?Werchovsky (talk) 05:41, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
"The dirty Jew has deceived me. He lied to me, he bamboozled me, that frightful Jew." It's quoted in Joll and Martel, The Origins of the First World War, 3rd ed. (London: Pearson/Longman, 2007), p. 69. There's no citation given, though, for the original source. john k (talk) 16:31, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks. I went ahead and replaced the Bosnian Crisis article.Werchovsky (talk) 17:33, 20 January 2008 (UTC)
I went ahead and summarize the Bosnian Crisis article and put it into this article a few minutes ago. Inevitably, much was lost in the process of summarization. I whittled it down from Albertini's 110 pages to about half a page. I hope that is short enough, and I hope I got the main points. I look forward to friendly corrections.Werchovsky (talk) 23:32, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I've made some changes, mostly organizational or stylistic, but one substantive - I removed the discussion of the write-up of Buchlau, which is, I think, not of sufficient importance to go into this article, but can be covered in the Bosnian crisis article. Beyond that, I'll just say that it's a good summary of what happened, but that it is rather dry, and someone who isn't familiar with the issues at stake might have trouble determining the significance. More background, in particular, on why the annexations were opposed by Serbia needs to go in, I think, and how Izvolsky was rather cut short in his plans by the wave of sympathy for Serbia that swept through Russian elite circles, which he wasn't prepared for. john k (talk) 02:35, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Thanks for making the changes. I will give some thought to your suggestions for further improvement. Shall we add in the map of Bosnia-Herzegovina and the Sanjak of Novibazar that I put into the Bosnia Crisis article? Some color may help overcome part of the dryness. Isvolski's downfall can be another way to overcome the dry prose. I have a quote here I would like to run by you to see if it might be used as we discuss the reaction of "elite Russian circles" and his subsequent downfall: "In the Salons of Petrograd he was given the Sobriquet 'Prince of the Bosphorous'. In his conceit Iswolsky could not see he was being mocked." (Recollections of a Russian Diplomat by de Schelking pg. 183); I thought the "frightful jew" quote might elicit too much controversy in the present environment.Werchovsky (talk) 06:55, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Mediation Proposals

Considering our recently prolific IP friend's edits these need to be discussed. I've a couple things I'd like to run by everyone else on the matter or bring up.

1. Wasn't Russia unwilling to suspend its mobilization during a Hague adjudication or four-power conference? In this case Germany's only significant strategic advantage (the gap between completion of German and Russian mobilization) would have to be sacrificed simply to allow such a process in the first place and would mean that if it broke down Germany would face war at a great disadvantage (and thus a proposal not including a halt of mobilization appeared as a tactic to gain time for military preparations, in line with Sazonov's July 29th directive “ All we can do is speed up our armaments and reckon with the probable unavoidable ness of war”) [538 Albertini Vol.III] and

Russia had no 'duty' to suspend its mobilization. It was the right of any sovereign state to mobilize. You need to learn something about international law. The U.S. fully mobilized in 1962 during the Cuban Missile Crisis and also during the Yom Kippur war of 1973 but Russia never declared war or fired its nuclear missiles. It simply in turn fully mobilized. (talk) 06:44, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 06:44, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Russia had no 'duty' to suspend its mobilization in the same sense that Austria-Hungary had no duty not to invade Serbia. Making war is the right of every sovereign government. By the way, full mobilization means the calling up of all reserves and national guard troops. Please cite your source for the U.S. full mobilization or retract the comment.Werchovsky (talk) 09:17, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Yeah Mr. W. Maybe you are right! Iraq was big enough and bad enough to invade Kuwait. But not big enough and bad enough to hold it. And the U.S. was big enough and bad enough to invade Iraq. Maybe might is right really is the law of the jungle. Germany was big enough and bad enough to invade Belgium and France. But Germany was not big enough and bad enough to hold it. (talk) 09:00, 22 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 09:00, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Its not just the big and the bad, every sovereign state had the right to make war.Werchovsky (talk) 20:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Here you go Mr. W. I'll leave it to your eminence to interpret. This is from Wikepedia's article on 'Defcon'.

DEFCON 2 This refers to a further increase in force readiness just below maximum readiness. The most notable time it was declared was during the Cuban Missile Crisis, although the declaration was limited to Strategic Air Command. It is not certain how many times this level of readiness has been reached. DEFCON 1 This refers to maximum readiness. It is not certain whether this has ever been used, but it is reserved for imminent or ongoing attack on US military forces or US territory by a foreign military power. (talk) 06:42, 22 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 06:42, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Defcon and mobilization are different things although there may be some mobilization at Defcon 2, it is not full mobilization.Werchovsky (talk) 20:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)
It isn't a matter of having a duty (I didn't use that word) its matter of making the proposal reasonable. The Russians demanded that they be given an overwhelming military advantage as the price for engaging in negotiation, the advantage to greater the longer such negotiations lasted. Attaching such terms as occupation of territory as security, military disarmament, et al were unproductive to say the least, and attaching them was not supportive of mediations proposals.--Loje (talk) 03:35, 21 January 2009 (UTC)

The general custom of Europe was that when a diplomatic question arose which affected Europe as a whole, and in particular when there was one in which there was a conflict of interests between two great powers, neither shall proceed to military action or take an IRREVOCABLE step without first consulting the other powers, and shall certainly not proceed to military action until every effort had been made by negotiation and CONFERENCE to find a friendly settlement. The whole diplomatic history since 1815 had illustrated this truth. In this case Germany and Austria deliberately violated this rule. They laid down the proposition that if Austria went to war with Serbia, it was a local matter in which the rest of Europe was not concerned. They knew that for more than a hundred years it had been understood that if either Russia or Austria took a step forward in the Balkans, they would at once meet the opposition of the other power, and they knew that just because of this, either state, whenever it proposed to take action, had always consulted the other beforehand. (talk) 05:43, 22 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 05:43, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Your math is wrong. 1914-1815<100 years, not more. You are making the rest up too. Austria-Hungary and Germany initially approached the other concerned power, Russia, and asked Russia to use its extensive influence on Serbia to pursuade Serbia to investigate the crime. Russia refused to discuss the matter. There are many, many examples of Great Powers using Fete Acomplis in Europe and the Mediterranean to the disadvantage of the other Great Powers. Conferences were often useful, but there was no "rule" requiring a conference.
An interesting note on the Russian attitude towards conferences, in the series British Documents on Foreign Affairs the report of the English ambassador to Russia for 1912 in describing the views of Sazonov (still Foreign minister in 1914) during the crises relating to the Balkan wars (incidentally not derived from a crisis between its participants) that:
"M. Sazonof, however, refused to allow the question of Djakova to be referred to an international commission unless the decision of that commission was to be a foregone conclusion. ... he therefore insisted that it must be so composed, and its members so furnished with such instructions as would ensure the settlement of the Djakova question in a sense favorable to Russia."
Also later on a Conference of Ambassadors in London ordered Serbia's withdrawal from Albania, which it refused to do until it received an ultimatum from Austria and Russia refused back Serbia in refusing it. This on top of the successful use of an ultimatum in 1908 should help explain the relative effectiveness of ultimatums and conferences as perceived at the time.--Loje (talk) 23:46, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

2.Didn't Russia always insist upon the elimination of unspecified points from the Austrian ultimatum and refuse to accept it integrally under any circumstances? The simple question of whether the crisis would be settled by some form of application of the ultimatum (Austria's position) or whether it should be edited to exclude points Russia found objectionably (Russian position) involved a great deal of the prestige of both countries. --Loje (talk) 02:43, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Russia suggested that the items that were 'incompatible with Serbia's sovereignty'(articles 5 and 6) be referred to the Hague Tribunal or a four power conference. Russia agreed to 'stand aside' as to the final adjudication. (talk) 06:44, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 06:44, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

You keep saying the same thing over and over again so I'll keep giving you the same answer. Every international agreement includes some loss of sovereignty to the signatories with obligations. The Hague, at the time, as I have told you before, had no authority over matters of national honor. One necessary component of any fair settlement would be the trial and punishment of all the Sarajevo conspirators including the direct conspirators, the people who protected the conspirators and conspiracy, and the government officials who knew about the conspiracy but took no effective action to stop it. The Hague at the time did not conduct criminal trials, it just handled issues like deciding who Venezuela should pay first in repaying its debt, and there it never enforced its ruling and everyone got stiffed. How do you expect the Hague could have tried Serbian Prime Minister Pasic, Serbian Interior Minister Stephan Protic, the Chief of the Belgrade Police, Chief of the Serbian General Staff Marshall Putnik, Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence Dragutin Dimitrievic, and a long list of other Serbian officers and officials. The French Ambassador reported a rumor that Regent Aleksandar was involved too. Could the Hague call a Crown Prince as a witness or defendant? There is no meat on the bones of this Hague proposal, it is just a stall for time to complete the Russian mobilization and the invasion of Germany.Werchovsky (talk) 09:17, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

And yet Germany vociferously resisted any attmempt to try German military personnel for any alleged war crimes committed during WW1(primarily in Belgium). They claimed it was a matter for the German courts to adjudicate. They demanded from Serbia what they were not themselves willing to undergoe five years later! (talk) 05:56, 22 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 05:56, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

I take it you regard the Sarajevo bombing and murders as a Sebian act of war and therefore a war crime as the soldiers were not in uniform, there was no declaration of war, and the attack was made on a symbolic rather than military target with wonton disregard for civilian casualties. Bravo.Werchovsky (talk) 20:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Is killing a person of nobility any worse than killing civilians by using them as shields? Is killing the heir to a throne worse than using 'collective punishment' against civilians? bye the way the Hague Conventions outlawed these practices. But what did the hague Conventions say about assasinations? And what can one really do about assasinations? If the U.S. could not prevent Kennedy's assasination in 1963 in his own country, what could they do to prevent the Archduke's assasination in a recently annexed foreign country fifty years earlier? (talk) 08:30, 29 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 08:30, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

You are right, the U.S. of 1963 could not prevent an assassination in 1914. But why are we discussing whether traveling back in time is possible? Let's focus on the assassination at Sarajevo. How could that be prevented at the time? Serbia could have arrested and punished the May Conspirators and banned them from the military any time from 1903 to 1914. Serbia could have arrested the Sarajevo conspirators as soon as the government was informed. Serbia could have given the Austro-Hungarian Government specific information on the assassination, such as information on one of their names, their weapons, the route they took, their contacts on the route, and so on. It was well within Serbia's ability to stop this particular assassination and thereby honor a portion of its international duties that it had committed to 4 years earlier. Russia could have refused to fund intelligence operations against Austria-Hungary through a man famously known for organizing mass assassinations. I have some additional ideas, but I think you get the point.Werchovsky (talk) 17:26, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I wasn't discussing 'time travel'. I was merely comparing state of the art security precautions circa 1914 compared to security precautions circa 1963. One would assume that knowledge, technology, behavioral science would have advanced during that 50 year period. And yet assasinations still to this day occur. But generally assasinations are not considered grounds for war. Was not the Austrian Empress Elizabeth stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist in Switzerland? I believe American President McKinley was also killed by an Italian anarchist? Assasinations are a part of life. Even Hitler said that only pure luck could really thwart a determined assasin. That's why he always kept an irregular schedule and that's why he often drove around standing up in his car because he figured they can just as easily kill him sitting down in his car. (talk) 08:13, 6 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 08:13, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

If Austria had withdrawn its troops from Serbia, and halted its mobilization, Russia would have rescinded its order for mobilization. Russia only mobilized AFTER Austria first mobilized and attacked Serbia. Before Austria's mobilization, this was all just diplomatic correspondence to and fro. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 04:08, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Bunkum. As we already discussed, the yellow and orange books and French and Russian conversations with Britain included a false timeline. Russian general mobilization actually preceeded Austria-Hungary's by 20hrs. Austrian troops weren't in Serbia yet, although Serbian troops had briefly and accidentally crossed onto the Austro-Hungarian half of the Danube. The day of the ultimatum, Russia began taking formal steps prepratory to war. This included selling assets in enemy territory and a kind of pre-mobilization, amongst other things. Russia's position was that it required a "thoroughly satisfactory response" from Austria-Hungary to suspend, not cancel, mobilization. "Thoroughly satisfactory response" is diplomatic jargon for "no response will be good enough."Werchovsky (talk) 07:33, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

of course, there also are allegations that Germany was mobilizing earlier than she admitted to. She had declared a "Krieg-something", basically a pre-mobilization action. And there were documented instances of German troops crossing into France before Germany declared war on France. Not to mention crazy allegations the Germans made about Nuremburg being bombed by French aeroplanes. They also claimed that French troops were in Belgium when they never were in Belgium until after the Germans entered Belgium first. So these are mere allegations. You have no proof. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Austria mobilized against Serbia after Serbian mobilization had already begun (though they may have done so anyways), but did not mobilize against Russia, at the time of Russian partial mobilization against Austria no forces were being mobilized by Austria against Russia, this had not changed by the time Russian mobilization was made general (which extended it to include mobilization against Germany) nor was Germany then mobilizing. Austrian mobilization was made general (extending it to Russia) almost a full day afterwards as Werchovsky mentioned. Kriegsgefahrzustand, or state of danger of war was ordered on the 31st, and was equivalent the Russian mobilization measures ordered on the 25th, in response to Russian general mobilization. I haven’t noticed any edits in the article claiming the claims of French zeppelin raids or violations of Belgian neutrality made by the Germans to justify violation of Belgian neutrality have a basis in fact. For a decent source on the web for a basic timeline of the July Crisis one might look at this site[1]--Loje (talk) 13:48, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

(outdent) As a general observation, in an article as poorly referenced as this one, I don't think anyone is in a position to complain about other editors' unsourced edits. Can we start by providing references for some of the contentious material so that this article complies in at least some respects with Wikipedia policy? --ROGER DAVIES talk 14:24, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

This discussion is totally weird to me. None of the stuff you guys are discussing plays any role in recent historical discussions of the origins of the war. As far as the Russian mobilization goes, I think most people would agree that the Russians were fairly clear that war would be the result of a general mobilization - the Germans had more or less warned them of this, and the extreme reluctance of Nicholas II to actually take the step testifies to the fact that this was generally understood - the general idea of the Schlieffen Plan was known in Russia. We're getting too lost in all these provoking incidents and missing the big picture here. What any discussion of the July Crisis should get out is that the Austrians, with strong German backing, decided to make war on Serbia. They both hoped such a war could be localized, and to some extent deceived themselves that it would be, but knew that if Russia backed Serbia, it would not be. The Russians then backed Serbia, and war came about. There's obviously more to it than that (and obviously British action, in particular, can't be explained under that rubrik), but that's the basic gist of it. All this about territorial violations and mobilization schedules really obfuscates the basic points. john k (talk) 14:55, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I am currently reading a book from my favorite website,, called "with the Russian army 1914-1917" written in 1922 by Alfred Know. He was british military attache to Russia. On page 39 he says "I arrived in Petrograd on the morning Friday , July 31st. Germany declared war on Russia at 6 P.M. the following day, Saturday August 1st.

He further states, "the mobilization went smoothly and the number of men called in comparison with the PARTIAL mobilization of 1904 caused general astonishment." What is he referring to when he says "partial mobilization" and can you tell me what your references(book name and page if you can) are for the article's saying that "but in fact general mobilization was executed as Russia had no plans for partial mobilization."EdwardLovette (talk) 05:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)LovetteEdwardLovette (talk) 05:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Albertini, "Origins of the War"; I believe you promised to read it. The article is a condensation of a very confused series of events. I guess what you are implying was that the 1904 partial mobilization plan could have been dusted off and reused. You need to think about how much the force structure and rail lines of Russia changed from 1904 to 1914.Werchovsky (talk) 20:16, 22 January 2009 (UTC)

Thank You Mr. W. I can see we are making progress. You apparently are acknowleging(or trying to) that Russia was capable of 'partial mobilization' in 1904. But I sense that you are still reluctant to acknowlege that Russia was capable of 'partial mobilization' in 1914. I plan on investigating this further. I am currently reading Headlam's 'history of twelve days'(1915). This is a rather difficult book to find. Not available at I found one copy at The reason I bought it was Richard Grelling in 'the Crime' states that his two favorite books for assessing war guilt were Beck's 'The Evidence in the Case' and Headlam's 'The History of twelve days'. Albertini's is a top priority for me to read next. I noticed that you did not provide a page number regarding Albertini and russian partial mobilization. Why? Does he not discuss such an important topic? (talk) 07:56, 29 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 07:56, 29 January 2009 (UTC)

I have not made any study of partial mobilization in 1904 and have no intention of doing so. I am only saying that in 1914 the Russian Military had no partial-mobilization plan to just mobilize against Austria-Hungary and not Germany.
I wrote that Albertini was a source for the fact that Russia in 1914 had no partial mobilization plan, then you wrote back: "Does he (Albertini) not discuss such an important topic?" You promised to read the book many many months ago. If you had done so, you would not be asking such questions.Werchovsky (talk) 17:26, 29 January 2009 (UTC)


I'm concerned about the huge amount of reverting that's going on. If this continues, I shall ask for the page to be protected and individual editors to be blocked from editing. I ask all editors to:

--ROGER DAVIES talk 08:19, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Thanks for stepping in. Werchovsky (talk) 09:07, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I guess we should all follow the three revert rule and consensus. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:32, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I think everyone should revert only when strictly necessary. This probably means following the one revert rule until a degree of harmony and cooperative editing is established. The reversions that have taken place are content disputes, and in some instances misplaced content. Material should not automatically be reverted because it's unsourced: instead initially add the {{fact}} or {{cn}} template to the queried material and wait a reasonable amount of time for a source to be provided. Material should not automatically be reverted because it's misplaced: instead it should be moved to the appropriate section and incorporated, with good faith.

May I take this opportunity to remind editors that Wikipedia is not about reporting the truth: it's about building up a snapshot of events that accurately reports the views of various experts. The opinions of these may vary: to comply with Wikipedia's neutral point of view policy the article needs to reflect majority opinions and, in most cases, report opposing minority opinions (unless they're utterly fringe, or widely discredited).

Can I also remind editors to familiarise themselves with policy on original research. The reason for Wikipedia's insistence on up-to-date reliable secondary sources is that they expertly put the primary sources into context.

Thanks, --ROGER DAVIES talk 10:37, 16 January 2008 (UTC)


This "origins of WWI" is probably one of the most important articles in Wikepedia considering its influence on the Great Depression, WWII, the Holocaust, the Cold war, post-cold war Europe and everything related to these.

When I first saw this article, I was astonished at how biased it is. And any attempt I have made to insert minor changes have been ruthlessly deleted. Here are some examples;

The article made a one line reference to Britain's attempts to promote a peace conference. No information on who the parties would have been. Neutral countries?, members of the alliances? Are wikepedia readers expected to be WWI historians. Kindly explain it a little.

A reference is made to the Belgian neutrality treaty of 1839, but no explanation of wether it was a unilateral treaty or a bilateral treaty. Please explain why Belgium had to resist the German invasion. Explain that they would have equally resisted a French invasion as would Britain.

A reference is made to a German attempt to secure France's neutrality, but not even the briefest mention of its requirements. When I tried to put in one line that France would have to give up its two most important fortresses, it was promptly deleted. It's almost as if someone(warchowsky perhaps) doesn't want Wikepedia readers to know some important facts. Or maybe he feels that point is completely irrelevant. It's completely irrelevant that Germany's most powerful enemy on her west would have been "required" to yield to a foreign occupation.

Let me suggest that: "Note: French Prime Minister Rene Viviani merely replied to the German ultimatum that 'France will act in accordance with her interests'[30]" be modified with addition that "Had the French agreed to remain neutral the German Ambassador was authorized to ask the French to temporarily surrender the Foretresses of Toul and Verdun as a guarantee of their neutrality." Will that meet your need?Werchovsky (talk) 18:10, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

A reference is made to the German declaration of war on Russia, but no explanation of International Law and when a declaration of war is justified or when it is NOT. Do you expect the Wikepedia readers to be lawyers? Internation law experts?

A reference is made to Britain being "evasive" when that is clearly a biased term. A better word would be impartial.

A reference was made to the Triple Alliance, but no mention of wether it was a defensive treaty or not. Begrudgingly this has been rectified.

A reference is made to the British expecting a "limited war". This is total nonsense. Sir Edward Grey was often in tears regarding this whole outbreak of war and did make the statement "the lights of europe have gone out". Is that the statement of a country's foreign minister who expects a "limited war". I think not. And if some of these "talk page" commenters did read "old books written at the time" they would know that many people in Europe expected a total bloodbath. Even the Kaiser referred to WWI at this stage as a "Calamity" or "catastrophe". There were even rather large protests throughout Europe as this crisis was heating up, especially by socialists, against this crisis devolving into war. There were large protests throughout Germany by Social Democrats, protesting against this war even before it began. There were even newspaper articles in Germany condemning the German and Austrian governments for the harshness of the Austrian Ultimatum. This was a "limited war" that was expected. I think not. And the wikepedia readers have a right to know the truth.

Many references are made to Serbia, some in unkind terminology or clearly biased terminology. Fine so be it. Many people at the time did not like Serbia. But why no reference to the fact that Serbia AND Russia wanted the disputed ultimatum items referred to some other "disinterested " body to adjudicate. And with the final decision left up to whichever body was chosen, wether a four power conference or the Hague Tribunal or perhaps some other institution. There is no mention in the article of the Hague Tribunal. NONE. Don't you think Wikepedia readers have a right to know about the mediation efforts.

In the most general terms you are correct, the article should do a little better on the mediation proposals. This needs careful thought, though, and we need to keep in mind that these proposals had no real chance of success so its really kriegschuld, a very divisive issues, that we are talking about not origins.Werchovsky (talk) 18:10, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I am currently reading Richard Grelling's 'The Crime'(1917). On page 59 under the heading of 'Probable Success', he says "The view that the London Conference of Ambassadors would also have preserved peace on this occasion, as it had done in the INFINATELY MORE DIFFICULT Balkan crisis, cannot be seriously contested by anyone. The points in dispute between Austria and Serbia(articles 5 and 6) were ten thousand times more easy of solution than the Balkan questions which had been submitted for decision at the earlier London Conference. Doesn't sound like these proposals 'had no real chance of success'. (talk) 00:28, 20 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 00:28, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

As I trust you are aware, Richard Grelling is a point of view pusher. He was not an historian, but rather Vice President of the German Peace Society who left Germany in 1900 to live in Italy and then Switzerland there to write J'accuse by "A German". It is hard to say in what sense he was still a German as ethnically he was Jewish and he had been living outside Germany for a decade and a half." He misleads the reader as to his identity.Werchovsky (talk) 07:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Mr. W I am surprised you would mention 'Jewish'. He considered himself German first, jewish second. As did many Jewish Germans. My understanding is that Jews were proportionately represented in the German armed forces. Also keep in mind that without the Jewish chemist, Haber, there would have been a serious ammunition shortage. Also Ballin, friend of the kaiser, was Jewish, as was Rathenau, the organizer of the German war economy during WW1. Read 'Men around the kaiser'(1913) at In that book 23% of the men are jewish even though Jews only made up 1% of the population. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 08:24, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
There are two points here, honesty and the author's credentials. By writing under the name "A German" he takes on the mantle of a typical German. If he had used his own name, readers would have known that the book was written by a failed old German-Jewish-Christian leftist politician and lawyer who had left Germany 15 years earlier and who therefore had no special access to facts or to the German experience. It is so dishonest to write of the British economic blockade against Germany as being a positive thing when he had no experience of the deprivations, hunger and disease that the Germans were suffering as a result. When one hears "A German" one expects the writer to be ethnically German, residing in Germany (sharing the German war experience) and a German citizen. In two of those senses he was not. As for the third sense: do you know his immigration status at the time he wrote these two books? Was he still German? Self identification is not a proper standard when honesty is in question. Grelling lacking the German war experience eliminate his only implied credential for taking his work seriously. J'accuse is just Jane Fonda writing that fighting in Vietnam, or Iraq or Afghanistan is wrong, these wars may be right or wrong, but her opinions and writings and statements aren't particularly useful to arriving at a logical conclusion on the matters because she comes in with a predisposition and she has no special skills or access to information. She lacks credentials.Werchovsky (talk) 17:57, 27 January 2009 (UTC)
A clear sign that he [Grelling] is a point of view pusher is his hyperbole and math, which you quote: "...ten thousand times more easy." ...and "infinitely more difficult." Which is it, a factor of 10,000 or an infinite difference? Well, neither obviously or 4 hampsters sitting at a table with little flags placed next to them could have settled the matter. ...but, in reality, settling the differences over how Serbia would come back into compliance with its international commitment to change the entire direction of its policy toward Austria-Hungary to one of "good neighborliness" was an extremely thorny issue. Grelling quotes from the Austro-Hungarian response to the Serbian response to the ultimatum, but only mentions enumerated demands 5 and 6 as being in dispute. This is Entente propaganda. Serbia said "Yes." only to demands 8 and 10. Austria-Hungary pointed out problems with the response to enumerated demands 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 9 and the demands in the preamble. In addition Austria-Hungary complained about the preamble of Serbia's response which shifted the basis for Serbia's proper conduct. This might seem to leave us with Serbia giving a completely honest and positive response to items 8 and 10, but in fact, the answer to these items was deceptive but Austria-Hungary only captured proof of the deception after the outbreak of hostilities. Still, Grelling in 1917 should have been aware of this deception, but he skipped over it, as he did the rest of the shortcomings of Serbia's response as he was a POV pusher.Werchovsky (talk) 07:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)Werchovsky (talk) 07:47, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
A hint as to how thorny the issues to be settled is the fact that Serbia did not just say "Yes." to most of the demands but instead wrote out longer answers which opened up room to circumvent the intent of the demands such as when Serbia refused to commit to prevent the reforming of the Anti-Austro-Hungarian societies under new names and destroying their means of propaganda.Werchovsky (talk) 07:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Why did the Serbian Caretaker Government not accede to the substance of the Austro-Hungarian demands? it was politically untenable for the Government to root out the Serbian movement aimed at the destruction of Austria-Hungary. A thorough investigation would bring down the Serbia Government for four reasons. First, it would be so politically unpopular that the Pasic's radical party, already in the minority, would lose the election and Pasic was not a man to fall on his own sword. Second, the cabinet was kept informed as to the progress of the plot and yet took no firm measures to stop it (only a series of half-measures which I guess were designed for plausible deniability but if fully exposed would hang them). Third, according to court testimony, the orders to send Malobabic across the border were signed by Marshal Putnik; the weak Serbian civilian government could not even get its border guards to answer its questions regarding arms and munitions trafficking, if it were to fire the military hierarchy from the top officer on down there would likely be a coup by the military or an auto-coup by the King or Regent.) Finally, the military conspirators were not beyond using assassination on their own government if push came to shove; many were of course "May Conspirators".Werchovsky (talk) 07:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Now, while I may fault what you have written, Grelling can be forgiven to an extent. He didn't have access to some of the documents we have today. He fell victim to the Anti-German propanda machine of the time; many of the key documents were suppressed or altered at the time he was writing. He seems to have had no idea that the Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence was behind the plot and that the Serbian Government new about the plot. Of course, more astute people at the time had already reached these kinds of conclusions such as the French Ambassador to Serbia in June 1914 and Governor Potiorek, but Grelling was committed to the German Peace Movement and so could not be expected to draw conclusions contrary to his predisposition without absolutely incontrevertible evidence, which at the time was lacking due to the bad acts of Serbia and its allies. Of course he could have accessed Major Tankosic's confession to Magrini and that journalist from the Cleveland Plains Dealer, he could have looked at the contradictory statements put out by the Serbian Embassies and Pasic, put it together with Magrini's interview of Colonel Lesanin and smelled a rat, he could have read the official report on the progress of the assassins on their way to Sarajevo and the Serbian Prime Minister's hand written notes from the briefing (the briefing also included a description of other illegal infiltration of munitions and agents into Austria-Hungary by Masterspy Rade Malobabic), and the (too late) orders to the Serbian Border Guards to halt the flow of weapons and agents across the border and to come in for questioning (which they ignored as the Serbian Military by-n-large did not recognize civilian authority over it). But, these documents were captured and published by the Austrians and so either Grelling did not read them or wrote them off as lies because they conflicted with his already frozen point of view. So, Grelling was an ex-German politician with an anti-German Government bias, he was not an historian, he lacked access to key documents, he ignored the key documents he could have accessed which contradicted his theories and he heaped hyperbole on top of hyperbole. Please stop writing as though the opinions he writes in J'accuse and The Crime have any validity in this kind of Kriegschuld discussion.Werchovsky (talk) 07:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)
Back to the Conference. Beyond the apparent impossibility of getting Serbia to take the firm measures necessary to root out anti-Austrianism on a long term basis, there is the problem of having the right preconditions for the conference, as no conference can be successful with bad preconditions. If you want to follow the Balkan Crisis of 1912-13, you must consider that war was raging as the negotiations went on most notably with Montenegro laying siege to Skutari. The Italian response to Britain's 4-party conference proposal in 1914 was simple: Yes, but without the insistence of no war between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. But this was not the British proposal. The British proposal was that mobilizations could continue but war could not commense. These were preconditions unfavorable to Austria-Hungary and Germany who midway through the conference would be confronted with Russian and French armies drawn from throughout their vast empires including Africa and Asia. As the war played out, the German invasion of France failed in part due to the diversion of German troops from the invasion of France to defend Germany against Russia's premature (before mobilization was complete) invasion in the east. The result was a kind of Russian suicide, with their best two armies completely destroyed and the beginning of the destruction of the Russian Empire. So, from the central power perspective, if they forced the Serbian issue quickly without a long drawn-out conference, the Russian Empire would be faced with a choice between potential suicide and standing on the side-lines, where as a long drawn-out conference would guarantee a Franco-Russian victory. So, assuming the Czar acted in his own interest, the best course for the Central Powers was to force the issue quickly and thereby keep the dispute a local one between Serbia and Austria-Hungary. That is the reason for Austria's (failed) effort to make the Ultimatum a surprise, impose a short time limit, and avoid a conference in which weeks of enemy mobilizations were allowed to proceed while Austro-Hungarian and German troops stood idle. But the Czar followed a suicidal course instead. Die Drei Kaisern all lost their gambles. The fair set of preconditions for a conference would have to include a complete and verifiable freeze on military preparations, and, given that each day delay in agreeing on this precondition was a day closer to the point at which Russia would be ready to invade Germany, extremely fast British diplomacy was necessary; really the proposal needed to be balanced from the outset, but it was not. Beyond that, Britain needed to give private assurances to Germany and Austria-Hungary, that on the items in the preamble of the ultimatum and items 1, 2, 3, 4, 7, and 9 it would firmly and publicly support modification to complete Serbian acceptance and also Britain needed to offer its compromised and fair position on terms 5 and 6. This would guarantee a thorough and impartial investigation, but I estimate Grey sensed his allies would contenance no such terms and so he never offered them.Werchovsky (talk) 07:42, 20 January 2009 (UTC)

Sazonof's formula dictated to Pourtales at 2 A.M. on July 30th; Russia will STOP ALL MILITARY PREPARATIONS if Austria will 'eliminate from Ultimatum clauses damaging to sovereignty of Serbia(The Thirteen Days, Page 205). Jagow does not even pass it on to Vienna, but simply 'declares it impossible for Austria to accept it' Sounds like a 'fair set of preconditions for a conference' were there, Mr. W. (talk) 07:33, 6 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 07:33, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

I think you mean 2 P.M., 1 hour later Sazonov met with the Czar and was shown a new note from the Kaiser warning of the dangers of Russian mobilization and successfully pushed the Czar to order General Mobilization saying "We shall not escape war now! ". He doesn't seem have cared much about waiting to see if there was action on this point.
According to Paleologue at the same meeting he told the Czar that stopping mobilization would disconcert their allies and war would break out anyway.
The next day the Czar wrote to the Kaiser that "It is technically impossible to discontinue our military preparations which have been made necessary by the Austrian mobilization." and at most Russian troops could avoid taking "provocative action". Clearly if such an offer was ever genuinely offered it was almost immediately retracted.--Loje (talk) 23:51, 8 February 2009 (UTC)

Maybe declaring war on Russia when you are facing the prospect of fighting Russia, France, Britain, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Canada, Serbia, Belgium, India, Montenegro, Greece, Romania, and possibly the U.S.A. was a 'kind of German suicide'. As John K has said they had a diplomatic victory in the making. No more Hohenzollerns in Germany was the price for such foolishness. (talk) 08:02, 27 January 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 08:02, 27 January 2009 (UTC)

Many references are made to the Kaiser. But no reference is made to the fact that he was a staunch believer in "divine right of kings" as was his granfather. So the royal heir to a powerful ally of his is murdered, and you don't think his beliefs in this doctrine did not have some influence on his decisions. And considered he was the power behind Austria, you don't think this is slightly important?

There is some reference to the British wanting to limit the war to their naval involvement. But there is no explanation of why their navy would need to be involved at all. No mention of the fact that the French Navy was tied up in the Mediterranean at Britain's service.

Regarding the assasination. there is no mention of the fact that the Archduke's visit was on a major Serbian holiday, or that his protection was poor, or that his route was pre-announced. This is not relevant to his assasination. It was relevent to Kennedy's assasination. His route was pre-announced also.

This article is linked to the assassination article. That article makes clear the assassination took place on St. Vitus day, and details some security foul ups and though its not explicitly stated that the route was pre-announced (it might be good to add this, but first I need to check how it was preannounced, where to insert the information, and how to footnote it), it can be inferred that the assassins knew the route because they were placed by their coordinator along the route. Lax security at Sarajevo, however, since it is already dealt with in the assassination article, is too peripheral for this article, in my opinion.Werchovsky (talk) 18:10, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
I just went ahead and added the phrase "on the preannounced program" to the assassination article. It was worthwhile explicitly mentioning there.Werchovsky (talk) 19:15, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, just all in all a poorly written, very incomplete, very biased article on a very important subject. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:47, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Unapologetically inserting text into this article regarding the Germans being able to shell London from Belgium and war being decided at the Potsdam Crown Council among other apocrypha is not helpful. Inserting apocrypha degrades the article and wastes people's time debunking rather than working on improving the article, and once you insert a few apocrypha people inevitably begin doubting the accuracy of all your edits.Werchovsky (talk) 18:10, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Please explain why Belgium had to resist the German invasion. Explain that they would have equally resisted a French invasion as would Britain.

Are you actually suggesting that, in 1914, Britain would have entered the war on the German side if France had violated Belgium's neutrality first? There is absolutely no evidence to suggest such a thing. France violating Belgium's neutrality might have prevented British intervention (for a time at least) on the French side, but there's absolutely no way the British would have joined Germany. I agree that the Anglo-French naval agreements need to be brought in. Beyond that, this is a lot of ill-conceived ranting - some genuine problems are outlined, but in other aspects you are faulting the article for not falling into line behind your idiosyncratic ideas. The article isn't good, but your involvement seems likely only to make it worse - more idiosyncratic, more focused on trivia, more unfocused. john k (talk) 17:13, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

The article is bad. As some talk page people have suggested it needs a major rewrite. To not go into detail on the mediation efforts is simply unforgiveable. A crime against humanity. There are impressionable minds that read Wikepedia and for this part of the story not to be told, even just slightly glossed over would be sufficient, is absolutely mind boggling. I suspect some of you are revisionist minded and would like to whitewash Germany, and that is unfortunate. That puts in the camp of David Irving and his absolutely preposterous assertion that Hitler did not know about the Holocaust. Total Bunk. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:27, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

I forgot to mention one thing. Warchovsky says "these mediation proposals had no real chance of success so its really kriegshuld". Why would these mediation proposals have no "real chance of success?" What is the alternate to dispute resolution? Why do we even have a court system? Precisely for dispute resolution. Why do we have the United Nations? for dispute resolution. So why would warchovsky say "no real chance of success?" Other disputes at this time in the world had been resolved peacefully. Why do we have the World Trade Organization? for dispute resolution. Why did they have the Hague Tribunal? for dispute resolution. Wasn't the Venezuelan debt crisis resolved peacefully at about this time. Didn't Roosevelt mediate the Russo-Japanese war not too far before this time. Weren't other balkan disputes somehow peacefully settled. No, this problem clearly could have and would have been peacefully resolved. But in the final analysis perhaps war was inevitable because the Austro-Hungarian Empire was unsustainable. Look at a map of Europe today. How many countries make up the former Austro-hungarian Empire. I count about 8 to 10 countries(parts of the empire like tyrol were given to pre-existing countries). And how many languages did it comprise. a lot. I don't think any empire will ever peacefully dissolve itself. So in that sense war was inevitable at some time in the future. I do think more liberal minded or progressive minded people could have prevented this by for example look at the very peaceful breakup of Chechoslavakia. They simply went their separate ways. You can have a messy mean divorce or you can have a nice and peaceful divorce. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:41, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

More countries make up the former Russian empire than the former Austrian one, the same probably goes for languages. It can be credibly argued that trialism might have have restored some stability to the empire, but the issue is moot since the war was the result of external conditions (I.E. if the assassination happened but there was no Serbia it may have caused a crackdown but not a war). Remember that Austria-Hungary didn't lose it's cohesion until very late in the war under intense strain.--Loje (talk) 20:30, 16 January 2008 (UTC)
Well, this is a dubious argument, as far as Russia goes (of Russia's various nationality issues, only the Poles really measured up to the level of problems Austria-Hungary had with most of its ethnic groups), but certainly claims that Austria-Hungary was inevitably doomed to collapse should be resisted. As far as mediation, I'm not sure what mediation proposals the anon is talking about. Grey's proposals for four power mediation and "stop in Belgrade," which were important in the course of the crisis, ought to be discussed, as should the too-little, too-late eventual German support for them. But the Hague tribunal is essentially irrelevant - in books about the crisis that I've read, the Hague tribunal is mentioned, if at all, only to note that it was powerless and played no role in the crisis. john k (talk) 20:52, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

John K seems to think the idea of the Belgian Neutrality Treaty requiring Belgium to resist violation of its territory as kind of laughable. This is not laughable. If you read that treaty it imposed strict guidelines on all the signatories. Britain, france, Prussia(later German Empire), Russia, Austria, all had obligations under the treaty as did Belgium. Belgium was strictly forbidden to allow free passage of foreign powers on her land. So when belgium declined to accept the German governments proposal, it was simply performing its duty to the treaty which it had signed. What do you expect them to do, say "oh, come on in. We won't stand in your way". I used to think this is what I would have done if I was little Belgium threatened with some 42 CM. Krupp guns. But you know what? they could not do that under the treaty. So I think John K definately needs to get ahold of a copy of that treaty. I believe you can download it into PDF file via website.

And from what I have read and ascertained from reading older books written at the time, Belgium was very ready to fight a French invasion. they would have fought fiercely because in the past France(Napoleon III) I believe did want not only Belgium but also Luxembourg and maybe the Saar. don't forget that Belgium broke away from Holland and Holland broke away from the Spanish Habsburgs. So they have a strong history of fiercely fighting ANY AND ALL invaders.

You are acting as though treaty obligations are the only relevant factor here. Notice how all the Belgian fortresses were along the German border rather than the French? Yes, Belgium was acting as the treaty said it should, and probably would have done the same in the alternate situation. So what? What does this have to do with anything?

John K's other assertion is that Britain however, would never have gone to war with France over Belgium. this is pure conjecture on his part. He does not know that. Many people thought Britain would never go to war over the Falkland Islands and they did though. They went to war in the Crimean. Their relations with France had in the past been rocky over the Sudan and some other colonial areas. So John K does not "know" what Britain would or would not have done. They almost took the side of the Confederacy. France was not stupid thogh. They knew the Germans had failed in the Franco Prussian War to break through at Belfort and the Vosges mountains are unpassable(very steep on the side facing Germany, less steep gradiant on the side facing France). So naturally they had fortified the border area north of the Vosges(Verdun, Briey, Toul). Bye the way there is a great book I downloaded recently at called "Topography and Strategy in the war" written in 1917. It has wonderful black and white pictures and one of the things it discusses is exactly why the Germans could not simply cross over the Vosges mountains. They are not that tall a mountain range, but steep. So the French simply said to themselves "well, they will have to go through Belgium. And the French knew that would probably bring the British in. But they may had doubts about the British because they wanted Edward Grey to make it clear to the Germans and Austrians that Britain would indeed come in on the side of the Triple Entente. I do not believe the French had serious doubts about the British coming in on a German invasion of Belgium. I think the French wanted to "scare" the Germans into a peaceful resolution via the Hague Tribunal or Four Power conference by saying "hey, if you push this matter too far, you have to fight Russia, France AND britain." —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:26, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Now this is just stupid. It is not "pure conjecture." Look at the actual records of discussion by the British cabinet and within the foreign office. There was no discussion of the possibility of intervening on the German side, or of what should be done if France violated Belgian neutrality. The only two options considered were neutrality and fighting alongside the French. Furthermore, the basic tenor of your comments is basically saying that the British went to war because of the 1839 treaty. This just isn't true. The British went to war to support France, the 1839 treaty was just a convenient pretext which helped keep the Liberal cabinet together. You need to sit back and read what recent historians say about this stuff, not just your own idiosyncratic interpretations of primary sources. john k (talk) 23:16, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Any british cabinet discussion never got to the point where they would have had to seriously consider a French violation of Belgian neutrality because unlike the Germans, the French were not stupid. The French knew there was no reward and lots of risk to invading Belgium. The Germans, on the other hand, apparently never heard of risk and reward analysis. If you took the time to read the Crown Prince of Germany's memoirs, available for free at you would know that the Germans took a horrible gamble where they were outnumbered from the beginning. The Crown prince clearly states in his memoirs that Germany lost the war at the battle of the marne, interestingly enough, he implies that it was a major error to ever enter into the war to begin with because population wise, economically, and morally they never had a chance. When you added up all the forces (including the great British Empire), they never had a chance of winning. At best it would have been a stalemate. They banked on India, Egypt, South Africa and Ireland revolting against Britain. This did not happen of course. They banked on a slow Russian mobilization. This did not happen. They banked on world indifference to violation of treaties. This did not happen. They banked on a policy of "frightfulness" in warfare being productive. This did not happen(it was counter-productive). As someone once told the Kaiser, sinking that Lusitainia was worth two corps." Their calculations were all wrong. Treaties do actually mean something to most people. They're not just scraps of paper. Besides, if the British went to war to support the French, why did they indicate to the Germans that if the German Navy did not come into the channel or harass French shipping, and that if Belgian neutrality was not violated that they could remain neutral? They were like their close cousins the U.S. they were trying to stay out of the nightmare if possible. (talk) 00:12, 17 January 2008 (UTC)lovette75.84.230.67 (talk) 00:12, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

This is getting rather far afield. Grey was talking about intervention on the French side long before it was clear that the Germans would violate Belgian neutrality, and long before it was clear that the French wouldn't. And indeed, the French plan did involve an advance into Belgium, although it was expected that this would occur after the Germans had already violated French neutrality. Beyond that, you are reversing things. The Germans said that they would avoid naval operations against the French in the North Sea and Channel if the British would remain neutral. The British would not accept that. Grey would have stayed out of an Austro-Serbian war in the Balkans, or even an Austro-Russian war in Galicia. He was not prepared to stay out of a Franco-German war. The British had made moral commitments to the French, and Grey was prepared to resign if Britain didn't assist the French. A lot of work has been done on this - see Zara Steiner's Britain and the Origins of the First World War, or Keith Wilson's The Policy of the Entente. As to the Crown Prince's memoirs, Jesus Christ, the Crown Prince? Are you serious? Do you really think you can take anything the Crown Prince says as being a dispassionate analysis of what was really going on? Obviously the Germans gambled on the Schlieffen Plan and lost - although it's far from clear that the war was irredeemably lost for the Germans in September 1914 - but what does that have to do with anything. The Schlieffen Plan made war inevitable from the moment the Russians mobilized, and it was a stupid plan for this reason, because if not for that, a diplomatic victory for the Central Powers was clearly in the offing. I'm not being an apologist for the Germans here - they had a foolish, high risk strategy which precluded the possibility of a diplomatic settlement. But reading memoirs by the Kaiser's son is not sufficient to have any knowledge of the subject which would improve this article. We need people who are familiar with the recent scholarly literature, not autodidacts who've read a bunch of participant memoirs and New York Times articles, and who have an axe to grind. john k (talk) 00:23, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

It was clear to everybody at the time that the ONLY way into France for Germany was through Belgium. If you don't understand European geography and topography, I have a book for you to read at It was a "Given" that they would go through Belgium. War between Germany and France equals Belgian neutrality violation. CASE CLOSED! Everybody knew it then, everybody but you knows it now. Everybody then knew of the Schlieffen Plan and its very strict timetable. So you do not need to be a rocket scientist to figure out that the Germans are coming through Belgium. Of course the French had a plan to advance into Belgium. During the cold war, the U.S. had a plan to fire all of its thermonuclear missiles at Russia. It was a "response" to German aggression. I believe you have indicated that the Russians knew of the Schlieffen Plan. One can assume that the French also knew of the schlieffen Plan. Would the French want their cities destroyed by howitzers unnecessarily? Would the French want their people brutally occupied unnecesarily? Would the French want to lose access to vital war materials like iron ore mines in Lorraine unnecessarily? Would the French want their people exported to Germany for forced labor in the fields unnecessarily? You said the Germans made promises to France. But the bottom line is they never made any promises to Belgium. You are missing the whole point. Endlessly discussing what Britain's stance was towards France is completely irrelevant as the only way into France was through Belgium. So it is academic what Britain thought of a Franco-German war. They knew it would involve Belgium's neutrality being violated. That's all that really mattered. The Germans were well aware of Belgium's neutrality and they knew the risks of war. They gambled. They lost. Besides, the Germans only made promises regarding European france, not France's colonies. It was unlikely the British would welcome further German colonization next to their colonies after seeing all the Morrocco problems the French had with the Germans in 1905 and 1911. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:12, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

What if Germany had stayed on the defensive in the west and attacked Russia? There was certainly a sense of the Schlieffen Plan, but nobody knew the details, and certainly nobody knew that it was the only German plan. The Russians knew that, for the Germans, mobilization by Russia against them meant war. They didn't know the precise details, although an attack on France through Belgium was thought to be likely. That Germany would be the first to violate Belgian neutrality was not at all certain. And, no, "all that really mattered" was not that the Germans were going through Belgium, because Grey didn't care about Belgium. Asquith also didn't care about Belgium. Haldane, Churchill, and Lloyd George didn't care about Belgium. Nicolson and Crowe didn't care about Belgium. Bonar Law and Balfour and Lansdowne didn't care about Belgium. Morley and Burns also didn't care about Belgium. (Possibly Harcourt and the rest of the cabinet cared about Belgium, but they were virtually alone in this) The vast majority of the important opinion makers in Britain felt that the key issue was not whether Germany violated Belgian neutrality, but that Britain had a) made moral commitments to France; and b) could not allow Germany to destroy France. Belgium was a nice bonus, because it helped rally public opinion, and got the Liberal waverers like Harcourt behind the war, but it was not why Britain went to war. Any decent book you will ever read about Britain and the beginning of World War I will say that for the British, Belgium was a pretext, and not a cause. john k (talk) 01:30, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Everybody knew, John, that the "Russian Steamroller " was very slow. That's why a lot of the french loans to Russia were "earmarked" for railroads so that Russia could mobilize more quickly. the Germans of course were well aware of these large French loans and seem to have been rather concerned of "encirclement" and of time "running out for Germany" So the general feeling was that France would be quickly dispatched before the Russian Juggernaut got up to speed. so in that sense I believe the Schlieffen Plan was well known. Do you really need to know the details if you know where someone is coming through. The original Schlieffen Plan included invading Holland and actually(as Hitler found out) would have worked much better because going only through the luxembourg and belgian border cause big bottlenecks and involved having to deal with Liege. I am not sure of the Dutch border fortresses. No one ever discusses that much. I recently read a book and I can't remember the book. But some famous German said they should have done that. Sat pat in the west and attacked Russia. How do you know Grey did not care about Belgium. His country had signed a treaty with them. He was obviously a Pacifist. I think most people would agree he was a pacifist. Asquith didn't care about Belgium? I recently read a great book at published in 1915 to 1918. it's called "great speeches of the world war", you should read it. Prime Minister Asquith being a liberal cared very much about "women and children" like any good bleeding heart liberal. If Britain didn't care about Belgium, then why the Viscount Bryce investigation into german atrocities in Belgium? Propaganda purposes? maybe but maybe not. Why the massive "food for Belgium" program. I think you have a slightly cynical view of the Belgian Neutrality Treaty. Did you know, John, that Belgian neutrality was an issue in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870. And that at that time Britain also supported Belgian neutrality because Bismark actually considered violating Belgian neutrality but was warned off by the British. yet the British allowed France to be kind of "crushed" if you consider the loss of Alsace Lorraine and a fine(huge at the time) of one billion francs that took 3 or 4 years to pay off and they had to subject themselves to German occupation until the loan was completely paid off. Did Britain change that much between 1871 and 1914? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 02:20, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

John is a 19th century European historian. He knows whereof he speaks. Since you seem to be interested in some of the whatifs, you might try the Avalon Hill game "1914". You can get an assessment of Dutch fortresses and troop strength, rail-lines, terrain, etc. from it.Werchovsky (talk) 04:08, 17 January 2008 (UTC)
Grey was not a pacifist, nor was Asquith. They were both in the hawkish wing of the Liberal Party. That the British allowed the Germans to defeat France in 1870 says nothing about their intentions in 1914 - in the years leading up to 1914, the Germans had consistently antagonized the British, especially through their naval build-up. I was perhaps speaking too strongly in saying that nobody in Britain cared about Belgium. There was certainly a lot of popular sentiment in favor of Belgium, and nobody in Britain wanted the Germans to invade and occupy Belgium. But it was not the primary concern for anybody - it was distinctly secondary to their fear of growing German strength, and of the consequences of a German victory over France for the British Empire. Again, you might help yourself by reading some recent books on these subjects - the issue is dealt with in some depth in a number of places. john k (talk) 05:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Kudos to John, Herr Werchovsky, Herr Loje. Even if I might disagree with some opinions, I have to admit, you guys know your stuff. (talk) 04:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)Lovette75.84.230.67 (talk) 04:36, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I ran into a woman at a bar in Southern California a couple of years ago. She was a redhead, beautiful, with a strong Irish "brogue" I believe is the term. We got on some topic and I casually remarked that I had "a certain amount of respect for the British because they are tough people, etc.". She gave me quite a verbal lashing. She was no fan of Britain. But you know, John, you kind of have to have "some respect " for them. They stood up to Napoleon. They stood up to the Kaiser. They stood up to Hitler. Did they stand to benefit territorial in any of these encounters? Didn't they bankrupt themselves in WWI and WWII? Wasn't their colonial empire shortly independent? They are not perfect. Look how they treated the Irish. Remember the Beatle's song about how miserable an Irishman's life is? But in the final analysis I think even Hitler had respect for them. He said "they will always oppose anyone who tries to dominate Europe". (talk)Lovette75.84.230.67 (talk) 06:15, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

Just a side note here anyone interested in some "time capsule books" available for free at these are books I have read and some short reviews for you. Some people have said they do not like "older" books but if you look at them as a "time machine" or a "time capsule" they really do have great value. Some of the titles might be slightly off because I am going by memory. I recommend searches under "world war", "the great war", "Germany","Germans" they are really a blast to read, this list is not complete, there a lot of other books at this website that I have read and that I have not read;

1. THE KAISER AS I KNOW HIM (1918) by Arthur Davis, this was published in America by the kaiser's personal dentist who lived in Berlin from 1904 to 1918. He describes in interesting detail going to the kaiser's HQ and the Kaiser always speaking to him in English(even though english language use was frowned upon in general society during the war. The kaiser would refer to him by his last name, "Hello Davis, how are you today", or while in the dentist chair refusing to take novacaine while having a tooth drilled(who says the kaiser was a coward for fleeing to holland,sounds brave to me), juicy detail on the German "diet" during the war and food availability at restaurants. I have the hard copy at(amazingly not falling apart, purhased on before I learned of beautiful for free library. I gave it to a German American friend of mine, he was amazed at the "food problem in Germany"

2. MY FOUR YEARS IN GERMANY(1917) BY James Gerard, American ambassador to Germany 1913 to 1917. Very good detail in this book on diplomatic problems like getting American checks cashed in Germany, getting Americans out of Germany, many viits to the Kaiser. This guy was a former NY state Supreme Court Justice so some interesting discussion here on international law.

3. FACE TO FACE WITH KAISERISM(1918) BY James Gerard, written after the U.S. got into the war. Kind of a continuation of the first book he wrote. Very good read.

4. SOCIAL DEMOCRACY IN GERMANY DURING THE WAR(1918), This is where I learned some good details on the protests in Europe leading up to the war and the controversy over "voting for war credits" in the Reichstag and in the french legislature.

5. PUNCH'S HISTORY OF THE GREAT WAR(1918), this is pretty fun reading. Many good cartoons of the kaiser. good art work.

6. THE KAISER'S MEMOIRS(1922) interesting reading. Denies crown council of potsdam in July 5th, 1914 ever occurred. I still don't know if it happend or not.

7. GERMANY AND THE NEXT WAR(1912), BY bernardi, controversial book. I have not read it yet.

8. GERMANY'S HOUR OF DESTINY(1914), BY Frobenius, I haven't read this yet, but it was pretty famous at the time.

9. GERMANY AS IT IS TODAY(1918), by Cyril Brown, very interesting read, talks a lot about the food problem and shortages of copper, lead, fertilizer.

10. EVIDENCE IN THE CASE(1914) BY James Beck, a very good read. book was promoted by T. Roosevelt and James Gerard. interesting analysis of internation law by former U.S. Assistant Attorney General.

11. J'accuse(1915) by A. German(actually some Geman guy wrote this but wanted to protect his identity. book was banned in germany during the war. Guy fled to Switzerland.

12. THE VANDAL OF EUROPE(1918) by Muhlon, former director of Krupp. very interesting read. good analysis of the war. (talk) 13:49, 17 January 2008 (UTC)Lovette75.84.230.67 (talk) 13:49, 17 January 2008 (UTC)

I went through Evidence in the Case. Here are some noteworthy items:
P.27 "The Official defenses of England, Russia, and Belgium do not apparently show any failure on the part of either to submit any essential diplomatic document in their possession."
He further notes in the book that he has no access to Austrian documents (even the red book) or Austro-German correspondence and
P.30 “Until Germany and Austria are willing to put the most important documents in their possession in evidence they must not be surprised that the world….will be incredulous as to the sincerity of their pacific protestations.”
P. 102 Says on the subject of the Kaiser’s responsibility for war “our information is still too meager to justify a satisfactory answer at this time”
~P.106 But speculates uncertainly as to Germany’s having planned on making the war years in advance (at least as far back as the morrocan crisis)
P.199 the best example of the false information at the time, writes off any possible escalation on the part of Russia by claiming that Austrian mobilization against Russia preceded ANY Russian mobilization. (this fallacy is present throughout the work)
P.121 he also that claims that Germany and Austria were completely unwilling to halt their mobilizations even if Russia (and France in the former case after a certain point) halted theirs (a key claim on his part).
P.32-33 He note’s Pasic’s absence from Belgrade at the time of the ultimatum as sinister, not knowing that he decided to leave anyway after being told by the Austrians when to expect such a message to arrive. He also assumes good faith on the part of Serbia in ways that have since be disproven.
My understanding is just very slightly different, Pasić was already on the hustings at the time when the Austrians informed Serbia he should stand by for an important message. He did however receive timely notice and had enough time to get back to receive the note and chose not to do so. To be absolutely clear, the timing of the delivery of the demarche was dictated by Vienna to correspond with the conclusion of the Franco-Russian summit; it had nothing to do with Pasić's electioneering schedule.Werchovsky (talk) 16:52, 18 January 2008 (UTC)
So there you have it, reasons not to rely upon this book other than the publication date.--Loje (talk) 16:20, 18 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, I am curious to hear your rebuttal to Beck's claim(page. 199) that "the response to molization is mobilization. He explicitly states that "such act of mobilization was the right of any sovereign State, and as long as the Russian armies did not cross the border or take any aggressive action, no other nation had any just right to complain, each having the same right to make similar preparations. If you disagree with this rather important statement, on what legal basis do you disagree with it? and can you cite case law to back this up? (talk) 02:17, 19 January 2008 (UTC)Lovette75.84.230.67 (talk) 02:17, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I accept your challenge;
The 1892 Franco-Russian Entente Military Convention states that "In case the forces of the Triple Alliance, or of any one of the Powers belonging to it, should be mobilized, France and Russia, at the first news of this event and without previous agreement being necessary, shall mobilize immediately and simultaneously the whole of their forces, and shall transport them as far as possible to their frontiers." Also, in the preliminary discussions between the French and Russian general staffs in 1892, General Boisdeffre de- clared: 'Mobilization is the declaration of war', and Tsar Alexander II replied, 'That is exactly the way I understand it'.
Therefore the Franco-Russian entente was founded on the agreement that the response to mobilization would be war. There was never an international consensus that the only justified response to mobilization was ever mobilization, Beck can be excused of course for his ignorance of such then secret information, your ignorance on the other hand is willful.--Loje (talk) 01:32, 7 September 2008 (UTC)

Well Mr. Loje, it only took you 8 months to respond. Why the long delay? If the Franco-Russian entente was founded on the agreement that the response to mobilization would be war...why was war not declared in 1908, 1909, or 1913 after Austria mobilized? You have no real answer...because you are morally bankrupt!! —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 05:25, 10 September 2008 (UTC)

Russia and France interpreted partial mobilization as a sort of gray area as far as their treaty obligations were concerned (they eventually decided that Austrian and Italian actions should not produce mobilization without consultation). Austria mobilizing partially against Serbia alongside a Serbian mobilization was not considered grounds for Russia to even order mobilization, rather it was satisfied to extend the term of military service by 6 months (temporarily boosting the army by 25%), to which Austria's counter was limited to a single corps being moved to Galicia, which Russian leaders deemed defensive. This was eventually followed by a negotiated mutual removal of forces.
I don't know where you're getting "moral bankruptcy" from, generally It's called objectivity.--Loje (talk) 21:53, 11 September 2008 (UTC)

And yet Russia did order mobilization upon Austria's supposedly 'partial mobilization' in 1914. You have just said that Russia would not mobilized upon an Italian or Austrian 'partial mobilizaiton'. You and Mr. W have asserted in the past that Russia had no such thing as a 'partial mobilization' and yet the British Military attache to Russia in his book directly referred to the Russian 'partial mobilzation' of 1905. So what is the truth? Was Russia capable of 'partial mobilization' or was she not? (talk) 02:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 02:06, 12 September 2008 (UTC)

I said that it was not obligated by its treaty with France to mobilize under such conditions, that does not mean it was prohibited from doing so (although France would not be obligated to do likewise in such an event). The Russian measure of partial mobilization in 1914 was not intented to be military, but rather a method of intimidation which Sazonov gambled would force Austria to make humiliating concessions. For that purpose, it was irrelevant whether there were plans in place to execute such an action (since if successful there would be no war). I'm not sure what you're referring to in 1905, perhaps you could clarify.--Loje (talk) 17:54, 12 September 2008 (UTC)
To be productive, we need a discussion on specific edits to the article. Its clear we can't use this book as a source for conclusions, even of law, because this book is unreliable and since the author's errors all seem to be in favor of the Entente, the book is most likely biased. In my opinion, this isn't a proper forum to hold a trial of the Central Powers or the Entente. We should just accurately describe events.Werchovsky (talk) 07:05, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Herr Werchovsky, I am sure Wikepedia readers are not focused on Beck's book but the legal assertion that "the response to mobilization is mobilization. The response is NOT to declare war" transcends Beck's book. In other words "don't shoot the messenger". Please allow us the chance to discuss this important international doctrine because clearly it pertains to the "orgins of world war one". If you refuse to discuss this topic I shall appeal the case to Roger Davies and or Wikepedia management. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EdwardLovette (talkcontribs) 07:34, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, Mr. Lovette, I am glad to see you got an ID. By the way, I am not German or Austrian, so there is no need for the "Herr". My advice, where I said "In my opinion, this isn't a proper forum to hold a trial of the Central Powers or the Entente.", was just that, advice, and nothing more. Personally, that kind of discussion and format is very interesting (the local high school here tries the Kaiser annually), I just think it won't work on Wikipedia. If there is consensus that its a good idea to conduct a trial here, I'll happily join in; you'll have trouble keeping me quiet.Werchovsky (talk) 08:54, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I thought you might refer to me as Monsieur Lovette, an undercover operative for the Triple Entente. I would never want to keep a great mind quiet. Wikepedia is the perfect place for John K to work his magic. I hope he doesn't hurt me too badly. Please let's do this. It will be so much fun and the Wikepedia readers will get quite a show. EdwardLovette (talk) 09:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)lovetteEdwardLovette (talk) 09:27, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

I have recently reread Prince Karl Lichnowsky's memorandum(1918), which caused quite a scandal when published in 1917 against his wishes by a family member. I believe he suffered some type of punishment in Imperial Germany(i.e. banishment from the upper Prussian Diet, etc). John K dismissed Sir Edward Grey and Asquith as not being "pacifists". But here is what Lichnowsky says on the matter. Regarding Sir Edward Grey, on page .54 he says "he joined the left wing of his party and sympathized with the Socialists and PACIFISTS." Regarding Prime Minister Asquith, Lichnowsky says on page 56, "Later he was known as a Minister under Gladstone, a PACIFIST,like his friend Grey, and friendly to an understanding with Germany". Now keep in mind this a German aristocrat speaking. Who would know Sir Edward Grey and Prime Minister Asquith better? A man who moved in their circles at the time or some quasi didactic historian from 90 some years later? I do find these discrepancies most disturbingEdwardLovette (talk) 03:44, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

This is the same Lichnowsky who on August 1 telegraphed the absurd proposal from Grey offering to guarantee French neutrality which William II immediately accepted (and put the invasion of Luxemburg on hold) only to be told later by George V that it was all a misunderstanding? Lichnowsky had poor judgment.Werchovsky (talk) 06:14, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

If Lichnowsky had poor judgment, why was he selected to be Ambassador to such an important position, Ambassador to Great Britain, especially considering the Anglo-German Naval race? He had a long diplomatic record for everyone to examine. What was said or not said in any "telegram" was completely irrelevant. Treaties trump everything. Treaties are between countries, not individuals. England being a democracy could not disregard its treaty obligations. Germany was fully aware of all this. The Kaiser took a very "personal" approach to government,borders,treaties,diplomacy. The Germans were fully aware of the constitutional limitations of the British Monarchy. The kaiser himself referred to the British Monarchy as "Those who reign, but do not rule" Everyone, other than the Germans, was grasping at straws in a doomed effort to avert total catastrophe.EdwardLovette (talk) 06:57, 10 February 2008 (UTC)

I am now reading Lichnowsky's followup book 'Heading for the Abyss' published in 1918. This book greatly expands on what Lichowsky original memorandum had to say. It also includes a chapter titled 'My London Dispatches'. On pages 188-190 is a dispatch dated December 20th, 1912 that he sent directly to Bethmann-Hollweg. He says "To guard her security and influence in the rest of Europe, England will therefore continue to insist on a certain 'balance of power', a counterpoise to this or that powerful group, and UNDER ALL CIRCUMSTANCES WILL HOLD A PROTECTING HAND OVER FRANCE." He further states "A war with us would therefore not be popular, but in spite of all this THE ENGLISH WOULD WAGE SUCH A WAR IF FRANCE WERE THREATENED by us, for the opinion is general here that France would not be able to stand up against the superior might of Germany without British help." So it would appear to me that Lichnowsky did not have poor judgement. On the contrary, he forewarned Bethmann-Hollweg of certain British involvement in any war involving France a full year and a half before the July 1914 crisis. This along with the fact that the Germans were fully aware of an Anglo-French naval agreement(they had spies plus they could physically see that the French Navy was no longer operating in the North Sea, English Channel, or along the French atlantic seaboard), were aware of the Belgian Nuetrality Treaty, the Germans had verbal warnings from Sir Edward Grey to not be 'deceived by his friendly conversation as to Britains involvement'. How can anyone say the Germans 'stumbled' into WW1? They knew that war with Russia meant war with France. They knew that war with France meant war with Britain AND the British Empire. They knew that Italy was unreliable as an ally and economically ill-prepared for war. Well, I guess there should be consequences for stupidity in life and the German Empire definately had some stupid diplomats. But Lichnowsky was not one of them. Even if he 'misunderstood' a conversation on August 1, it in no way negates his numerous dispatches warning of a catastrophe76.94.18.217 (talk) 13:24, 15 December 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 13:24, 15 December 2008 (UTC)

Well, Mr. Werchovsky, you have been very quiet on the question I submitted to you nearly one month ago regarding International Law and Beck's claim that the "response to mobilization is mobilization". I fully understand that you may not be an attorney or especially an International Law attorney. But I do hope, for the sake of Wikepedia readers, that any International Law attorneys will weigh in on this most important discussion. Personally, I believe any in depth discussion will fully back up Beck's claims. But I am willing to accept whatever the truth reveals. I would sincerely like to know. so please do not dismiss this weighty question. Allow us the chance to resolve the matter! —Preceding unsigned comment added by EdwardLovette (talkcontribs) 04:11, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

No response is possible. The International Law of 1914 is not capable of answering the question you ask. In cases where the parties agreed to submit their case to the Hague, the Hague could rule on simple matters. The example you pointed out, Venezuelan debt collection, was a financial dispute between two groups of creditors, one that captured the Venezuelan navy (with only a few shots) and blockaded the country until it received favorable terms of repayment, and the other group composed of the peaceful creditors (who therefore were left waiting indefinitely to get their money back). The court of course ruled in favor of the blockading creditor nations and they received preferential treatment. This is what the Hague was capable of ruling on, and this was a great leap forward. When the Venezuelan's took steps to further reduce payments to creditors, the Hague did nothing.

Beck's book is not useful for determining war guilt. You ought to read Albertini as you said you would.Werchovsky (talk) 07:17, 12 February 2008 (UTC)

Thank You, Mr Warchovsky, for your time and consideration. I would encourage Roger Davies and Wikepedia to direct me as to how to resolve this question of mine relating to International Law. You said "The International Law of 1914 is not capable of answering the question you ask". I did a google search under "International Law" and was briefly very hopeful to see that Wikepedia indeed has a page regarding International Law, but sadly there is NO DISCUSSION. There may be other Wikepedia pages relating to "Law" that may also apply. Of course I can do my own research. I will report back to this discussion page with my results. I do plan reading Albertini. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EdwardLovette (talkcontribs) 02:33, 13 February 2008 (UTC)

I found a wonderful Wikepedia article called "Laws of War". The main "discussion contributor" is someone named Philip Baird Shearer. With his help I plan on giving John Kenney a massive ship of the line 72 gun double barreled broadside on this "declaration of war" issue. I have presented the question of Russian mobilization to him. Interestingly enough, many of his "discussions" center upon German actions in WWII.EdwardLovette (talk) 08:05, 14 February 2008 (UTC)

The Guns of August Edit

I vote against discussing reasons for the U.S. entry into this article even in the guise of historiography, and therefore I would like to see the recently added paragraph on Tuchman modified and footnoted. Tuchman's work is really more about the early days of the war, than about the origins of the war, so frankly, I am not sure it belongs in the historiography section for this article. How about adding it to the World War I article instead?Werchovsky (talk) 00:21, 19 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Very good suggestion. Tuchman's book really does not tell us anything about the origins of the war, but is rather about the early days of the war. Unless somebody provides us with what was her take on the war's origins, I'll strongly second your suggestion to move that paragraph.--A.S. Brown (talk) 00:32, 10 February 2009 (UTC)

Getting this article into shape

Now that we're all talking, perhaps it would be good to channel some effort into improving the article? It has great potential to be interesting and comprehensive but falls far short. As a minimum, it needs many more citations. What do others think would improve it? --ROGER DAVIES talk 06:05, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I think that the entire section on the assasination should be edited by a third party not emotionally attached to the events- that would eliminate the huge mess that has been created and that is reflected in the history.
Secondly, the format is a jumbled mess- the events of 1914 should be AFTER everything else, as it occurred before the 'Guns of August'. The end of the Franco-Prussian War flamed French enmity, German power was augmented through colonialism, Wilhelm II and Tirpitz greatly increase militarily, then the idea behind Austria and Serbian relations with regards to the collapse of the Ottoman Empire in Europe, and finally the 1914 crisis. Grouping them together such as 'Rise of the German Empire', 'Imperialism and Colonialism', 'Schlieffen Plan', 'Slavic Troubles', and finally '1914'.
And to add, the obvious- inline sources. The list of references is impressive, but they don't really mean much here if inline citations and possibly page numbers aren't included.
I have stayed far away from trying to help out here because frankly it is like a minefield here, and any edit that I might make could possibly explode in my face despite very solid sources and grounded ideas. :( Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs  12:37, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Okay, so the first move is to put events into chronological order. And the second to reduce the undue weight of the Sarajevo events. I suppose the third is to make the atmosphere conduicive to collaborative editing: that'll need cooperation all round. Does anyone here disagree with these first three steps? --ROGER DAVIES talk 13:36, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
I like your optimism, but I don't think it is possible from what I have observed from afar. I felt like my input was needed because it seemed like someone was taking a level-headed approach as to what this article needs, and I thank you for that effort. Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs

17:29, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Undue weight is surely the wrong term to apply to the July Crisis discussion (if that's what your doing - the section on the assassination itself is relatively short.) That implies POV problems, whereas the problem is just that the rest of the article is poorly developed. BTW, I agree that the organization is poor, but I don't particularly like Monsieurdl's proposed reorganization, either. Among other things, the rise of Germany, the creation of the Triple Alliance and Franco-Russian Alliance, and imperialist rivalries up to 1900 or so or basically background information, and ought to dwelt on briefly. For stuff occurring before 1904 or so, the alliances are clearly the most important. What we need then is a fairly detailed account of the ten years immediately preceding the war - the Anglo-German naval rivalry, the Ententes, the Moroccan Crises, the Bosnian Crisis, and the Balkan Wars. Most of these specific issues should have their own articles, but they need to be explained here in some depth. john k (talk) 16:02, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

  • Maybe undue relative weight would express it better (which is a WP:UNDUE criterion). The July Crisis has about 2,500 words out of a total "readable prose" wordage of 9,000 words, i.e. nearly a third. Something can be disproportionately long without being deliberately POV :) For article-length reasons, it is impossible to bring the other sections you identify as requiring major treatment up to the same length as Sarajevo. See my further comments on this below.--ROGER DAVIES talk 07:53, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
As mentioned before, down below, Albertini devoted two-thirds of "Origins of the War of 1914" to the July Crisis. Are you sure the conclusion that the current 28% devoted to the July Crisis is undue relative weight was objectively arrived at? What number do you have in mind? I can shorten up the Balkan portions of the July Crisis section, but I would not know how to handle the rest.Werchovsky (talk) 09:28, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
I have absolutely no personal opinion on this. I am picking up on remarks made by other editors, one of whom, john k remarked that "the rest of the article is poorly developed". From this discussion, it is clear that the current article does not have broad consensus. What I am doing here is trying to be utterly non-partisan and move actual constructive consentual editing higher up the agenda.--ROGER DAVIES talk 10:43, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
28% seems about right for the July Crisis, I think, especially as there is no July Crisis article (although there possibly should be). There's a lot of wispy nothing in this article. That's where our attention should be directed, not at a not especially long discussion of the July Crisis. The other events leading up to the war don't need to be discussed in the same detail as the July Crisis, because there are other articles that ought to discuss them in more depth. john k (talk) 17:11, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

John Kenney has it exactly right. Werchovsky (talk) 17:06, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The above comment was made directly after and used to be placed directly below John Kenney's comment on undue weight and article organization dated 16:02, 21 January 2008 and was seperated by refactoring.Werchovsky (talk)
!?!? Standard Wikipedian commenting practice. Date stamping indicates chronology. No refactoring took place. --ROGER DAVIES talk 10:43, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Starting off the article after the lead with 1914 and making a large section on it just does not make sense- it makes the origins of the war the end and not the beginning. When writing a novel, that would be perfectly legitimate, as it acts as a flashback effect. Here, all the sections are jumbled as I said, and I never mentioned anything about making large sections within each part. I merely said the order is a major problem. You cannot have an article about the Origins of World War I that neglects the role of France and Russia... it is not background information. A mere shot fired in Sarajevo, a build up of arms and Austrian/Serbian relations are but some of the mentionables, and to shrug off the rest as background wipes away 1870, the Dreyfus Affair, the defense of Belgium and why the Schlieffen Plan was faulty from the start, Russian relations with Germany, and so on.
This is why I should have never spoken up- in the end, there is no room for compromise or consensus, which to me is very sad. It shoudln't be this way, ever... Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs

17:29, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Albertini devoted two of his three volumes to the period from the assassination conspiracy to the outbreak of the war. A reasonable case can be made to devote roughly half the article to these events. For organization, I would suggest a longer introduction, a background section, and then a series of sections with detailed accounts of the various crises and events of the last 5-10 years leading up to the war, with dramatically increasing emphasis on events as they approach the outbreak. Old alliances and the "ism"s like pan-slavism and imperialism can be generally described in the background section and then in some cases be developed in the detailed account section in the context of those events.Werchovsky (talk) 18:00, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I think most reasonable people would agree that Pan Slavism and Pan Germanism both were equally to blame for fanning the flames, except that one could make the argument that more Slavs were ruled by Germans(i.e. Poles,chechs,slovaks,slovenians,ruthenians,bosnians,serbians,croatians,) than were Germans ruled by Slavs(who? some in Lithuania perhaps?) I am still hoping we can have a debate of some sort regarding International Law and just when a declaration and when it is not? Mr. Werchovsky, do you know if the Russians ever crossed the German or Austrian border before war was declared? I know that the Czar had in telegrams to the Kaiser indicated he was being very careful to avoid this type of thing. Or as Beck puts it any "aggressive action". —Preceding unsigned comment added by EdwardLovette (talkcontribs) 18:22, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

According to Wikipedia, pan-Germanism is a 19th century phenomenon related to the unification of Germany.Werchovsky (talk) 19:35, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Pan Germanism was very much "alive and well" in the twentieth century and did influence people like the famously rabidly anti-semitic mayor of Vienna Karl Luegar and also greatly influenced Hitler. Don't forget there was a political party in Germany leading up to WWI that was described as "pan germanic".EdwardLovette (talk) 20:33, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

I think Roger Davies is correct in not focusing in on the assasination per se. It was often described as the "spark that lit the powderkeg". So perhaps it is better to focus on the powderkeg. I think much of the origins of WWI can be actually almost reduced to a legal argument. That is much of my focus. What does internation law say now and more importantly what did International Law say at that time about duty of treaties, duty of alliances, what is considered "resonable force" or what is considered "unreasonable force".

For instance Beck in his book somewhere comments that even in peacetime minor border clashes are normal. Does anybody remember when the U.S. soldier was hacked(not minor for him) to death with a chainsaw by a North Korean back in 1978. Notice the "restraint" the U.S. exercised because we realized due to its close relationship with Nuclear armed Red China that we too were sitting on a powderkeg. We just didn't want to risk a world war over one life. And no war was declared. Or when during the Cuban missile crisis the U.S. went up to its second highest military alert,defcon 2, yet no war resulted or was even declared. What is the proper response to an assasination per International law? How much time is considered reasonable to give someone for an ultimatum? Take the Kennedy assasination for instance. Some people would say,considering Lee Harvey Oswald's history(lived in Russia, married a Russian woman, believed in Marxism fervently,supporter of Castro) that the assasination could easily have led to a clash with the Soviet Union. But here again level heads prevailed. The investigation into the assasination was rather lenghthy(Warren report) and thorough. EdwardLovette (talk) 18:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)LovetteEdwardLovette (talk) 18:50, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The nature and character of an attack plays a role in determining the countermeasures to be taken. To understand the Austro-Hungarian demarche we must understand Sarajevo and related events. This is the reason for including certain details regarding Sarajevo.Werchovsky (talk) 19:35, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
To view the origin of any war as largely a legal argument is a mistake of the first order. What does international law have to do with anything? None of the powers went to war because of maxims of international law, because that is not how states act. International law could provide justification for actions undertaken for other reasons (as the 1839 treaty did for the British, for instance), but that's the extent of it. To say "in starting World War I, the Central Powers violated international law" does not go very far at all towards explaining anything. The questions, even limiting ourselves just to the July Crisis, are why did Austria-Hungary wish to start a war with Serbia over the Sarajevo assassination; why did their German allies decide to back them up at the risk of bringing about a general war, and why were they so careless and cavalier about it; why was Russia willing to go to war with them over those issues (and there is no doubt about the fact that the Russians had a pretty good idea that their general mobilization would trigger general war); why did Germany carry out a war plan which they knew was bound to make enemies of not only France, but Britain as well, and which would probably preclude Italian aid; why did the British decide to go to war with Germany, despite a considerable element of the cabinet which was unfriendly, at best, to the French? The war guilt debate was sterile and uninteresting in the 1920s and 30s, and it's all the more sterile and uninteresting now. It's a sideshow, and it moves us away from any real understanding of what was going on. john k (talk) 20:56, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

"The war guilt debate was sterile and uninteresting in the 1920s and 30s". Well it wasn't uninteresting to Hitler. His major complaint against the Versailles treaty was that "the war was forced on Germany" and therefore its guilt clause was not fair,along with all of its other punitive measures. This arguement of his enabled him to come to power. And we all know what happened then. So it was never irrelevant or even just uninteresting as to who started the war. People wanted to know. This wikepedia article should try to help people with some sort of "unbiased" explanation of exactly who did start it and why. What does Internation Law have to do with anything?". Well, if you believe in the doctrine of "might makes right" you are correct. As Hitler said, "At the bar of history, only success matters". But if that is true, why did our founding fathers try to justify their break away from the motherland with a document detailing and enumerating their various grievances against the King of England. This,of course, was known as the Declaration of Independence. If it was valid concern in 1776 to justify legally ones actions, then surely it was justified in 1914 and more so now in 2008. It deserves intense discussion and thorough analysis.EdwardLovette (talk) 21:42, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

The war guilt debate obscures, rather than illuminates, an explanation of the origins of the war. Of course, arguments with respect to international law made by the contestants at the time are important, and we should explain them. The war guilt debate was important in the interwar period, and we should discuss it. What we should not do is engage in it. The basic point is that this is sterile. Yes, Germany violated international law by invading Belgium. I don't think anybody would deny this, at this point. But, again, so what? We already say that Germany was violating the 1839 treaty. Nobody disputes that Germany violated the 1839 treaty (although Germany had some bogus justifications at the time). But that Germany violated the 1839 treaty does not explain the war. It's not a question of whether might makes right. That's simply beside the point. The interesting question is why the Germans found themselves in a situation where they felt they had to violate the 1839 treaty. And international law really has very little to do with explaining that. Obviously, the fact that the Germans blatantly violated international law is important to understanding what happened next, especially the revulsion of neutral states like the U.S. against Germany. But it doesn't really do anything to explain why the war happened. Hell, let's even ignore for the moment the falseness of your belief that the British entered the war in order to defend the 1839 treaty. Even giving you the British for the moment, the British were peripheral to the outbreak of war. It is Austrian, Russian, and German decisions which need to be explained, and Belgium really has nothing to do with any of it. john k (talk) 22:01, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Well, john, I am glad that you brought up the fact that the British were "peripheral" to the outbreak of war. My precise feelings also. Clearly any blame lies not in the West(France,Belgium, Britain) but only in the East. Perhaps you are right about not wanting to "engage" in the war guilt debate. But clearly the Wikepedia article should reference both sides as to respecting International Law or not. But who exactly should receive the "preponderance of guilt" as in a civil trial they say the "preponderance of evidence". You have admitted that the "violation" of "Belgium's nuetrality" may have given some people justification for declaring war on Germany and surmised that the real epicenter of this earthquake was in the East. So what if I could make a strong argument that the German declaration of war on Russia was a violation of International Law. That legally Russia was fully within her rights to make a general mobilization as long as she did not violate Germany or Austria's borders or make any agressive actions.Would that belong in an article on the "Origins of WWI". I feel it is very relevant and very important but if I am getting stiff resistance here at Wikepedia and assuming Wikepedia is a unbiased institution, I guess I will have to drop the subject entirely. You have said that we should be more focused on motives of the various participants. Well, in any prosecution of a criminal(is starting a world war killing 10 million men a crime or a super crime?), prosecutors will be the first to tell you that they DO NOT NEED TO PROVE MOTIVE. why did that kid go into that mall in Omaha,Nebraska and blow away 10 people. who cares why he did that. for Fame? some evidence of that. Because he was depressed? some evidence of that. Because he was bored? Because his girlfriend had just dumped him? They just need to prove who did it. That's all. Motive is irrelevant. You have pointed to numerous different motives on ALL participants parts. But motive here is irrelevant. We should find who is criminally responsible for starting this war and killing all these people. Why did the Allies want to try German war criminals like the kaiser? Then we can write a good article explaining how one participant more than the others has the "preponderance of guilt". Just my opinion but I won't push the issue. I will content myself with investigating the matter for my own benefit. I just thought young "impressionable" minds should know who has the larger part of the guilt. —Preceding unsigned comment added by EdwardLovette (talkcontribs) 22:42, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

Man EdwardLovette, you really love those analogies, don't you? So do I, actually...
I totally disagree with you on one thing- it is NOT our job to find out who is criminally responsible- it is our job to present every part of the origins of the World War. I personally do not give a darn who has what percentage of war guilt, etc... I DO care about the validity of sources and material presented, how it is ordered, throwing out POV material that inflames nationalistic editing, sourcing things properly with inline citations, and ensuring that all facets of the war are covered. Monsieurdl mon talk-mon contribs

00:15, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

"So what if I could make a strong argument that the German declaration of war on Russia was a violation of International Law. That legally Russia was fully within her rights to make a general mobilization as long as she did not violate Germany or Austria's borders or make any agressive actions.Would that belong in an article on the "Origins of WWI"."

The following isn’t stuff I’m planning to put in the article, but I’m mentioning it to prove a point about the length and quantity of original research required to cover such issues (please pardon typos etc.). Questions of guilt are very complicated, including “is mobilization war?” “why did Russia mobilize?” “can mobilization constitute aggression to the extent of justifying pre-emption?” and of course "had countries ever before fully mobilized and not attacked?"

Germany’s action was based on the idea that mobilization means war, the case for Russia is that they disagreed and were very surprised by the German response.

In 1892, the French military asked Alexander III if Mobilize meant war and he responded that this was how he understood it. More strikingly in 1912, the Russian government order for mobilization was considered to be the command to open hostilities, and this was only countermanded in Nov. 1912 to require a separate order. That means that until less than two years before the war the Russian government considered the two equivalent. In 1913 the final version of the Franco-Russian military protocol moreover acknowledged that Germany in a war would focus on France and that Russia must move against it quickly. The alliance with France was also understood to require consultation before mobilizing. Reference.(The Russian Mobilization in 1914,L. C. F. Turner ,Journal of Contemporary History, Vol. 3, No. 1. (Jan., 1968), pp. 65-88. )

During the actual crisis, Sazonov (Russian foreign minister) was periodically told by German or other officials that Germany considered mobilization war. On July 25th the British ambassador (Buchanan) records speaking to Sazonov where and having: “expressed the earnest hope that Russia would give His Majesty's Government time to use their influence as peacemaker and that she would not precipitate matters by mobilizing. Were she to do so Germany would, I warned him, not be content with a counter-mobilization, but would at once declare war on her.” During the crisis, Sazonov deciding rather early on that war was inevitable and informed his ambassadors that Russian policy now revolved around "speeding up" their "armaments".

The Russian decisions to mobilize were themselves complicated, being made amidst rumors (whose source I am unsure of) that claimed there to be Austrian and German mobilizations that never existed. And these were handed to the Czar by Sazonov, Janushkevic, and Sukhimolinov (pardon my spelling) when he hesitated to sign orders for general mobilization. There is the further question of why these authorities proposed unprovoked a partial (general was proposed at the same time but was countermanded by the Czar) mobilization that they would then start arguing had to be changed to general mobilization and completed or else the country would be defenseless (the same group of advisors were oddly enough responsible for both policies).

Obviously any in-depth discussion of this in the article would entail what could be called original research, I only mean to show why Albertini made so many volumes, because he would spend dozens of pages analyzing one minor dispute, we cannot even attempt to settle the war guilt issue without creating an incredibly long, disorganized, and inevitably opinionated article that would obscure the rest of it.

On a side note, I thing that the problem with the Assassination and July crisis section was that it was conceived of as an overview initially, but ceased to serve that function effectively as it was added to. We need an overview AND a July crisis section of appropriate lengths.--Loje (talk) 00:43, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Good discussion of issues with regard to Russian mobilization. I'd only add that this wouldn't constitute original research - there's a ton of work that's been done on Russian policy which we can draw on. It should, though, be short. In terms of the broader issues, personally, I think what really needs to be done is to rewrite the article largely from scratch, as the organization we've inherited is awful. This doesn't preclude using the material we already have here, but it's in such a state that it needs to be cut out and done in an entirely different organizational framework. john k (talk) 02:41, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

Article length

WP:LENGTH determines the generally acceptable maximum length of a Wikipedia article. This article is already at this limit: ie just under 10,000 words and 60K of "readable prose" and a great deal more ground most be covered to make this article comprehensive. The two longest sections are July Crisis (2500 words) and Historiography (1500 words). Both of these could be broken out into sub-articles and summarised in say 800 words and 500 words here. --ROGER DAVIES talk 07:53, 22 January 2008 (UTC)

The limit is just a general guidline, and is mainly for articles which describe a specific concept, person, event, or organization. Articles which describe major historical events or eras usually take a bit more space. For guidance, we don't necessarily have to go by general limits, but rather we can go by examples of other similar articles or similar topics. Such as for example, the articles on World War 2, World War I itself, Napoleon I, etc. --Steve, Sm8900 (talk) 17:34, 22 January 2008 (UTC)
Title of the Archduke

In the article Ferdinand is alternatingly titled the Archduke of "Austria-Este", "Austria-Hungary", and "Austria" sometimes with and sometimes without "and heir to the throne". The latter two are descriptive (one emphasizing that he was basically Austrian and the other that he was heir to both empire of Austria and kingdom of Hungary), which the first is apparently his actual title (although not well known) [Internal Source]. Clearly some standardization is in order, but which should be the standard? —Preceding unsigned comment added by Loje (talkcontribs) 20:10, 23 January 2008 (UTC)

I notice that but I thought for reasons of style it might be alright to use various titles.Werchovsky (talk) 00:22, 24 January 2008 (UTC)
His formal title was "Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria-Este," but I think it's fine to eliminate "-Este" in pretty much every article except his own, since it's essentially a technicality - he was also a Prince of Hungary and Modena, but we don't mention that here. "Archduke of Austria-Hungary" is simply wrong, although we can say he was the heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary. john k (talk) 15:48, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Important item missing?

Am I missing something, or has a relevant and important point been omitted? Going through this and related articles and their talk pages (not in exhaustive detail), I don't find it, and if it's there at all, it's buried and lost in a mountain of words, when (perhaps) it should be mentioned more prominently.

Vidovdan is a day of some significance to Serbs (and others). And if one wants to start a fight by (metaphorically) rubbing dirt into a Serb's face, then one might choose that day to do something that is highly visible and overtly demeaning towards Serbian interests (or something that a Serb might reasonably regard as such). For example, given the background of Serbian/Austro-Hungarian relations, choose Vidovdan to have Franz Ferdinand make a tour through Sarajevo, with all of the concomitant publicity.

It strains credulity to think that this occurrance on this day is pure coincidence. Is it even possible that the Austrian government did not conciously consider the likely effect (upon Serbs) of Franz Ferdinand's tour on that day, in a region where tensions were high and emotions were heated, and where national governments were actively promoting their own interests?

I'm not as familiar with the primary and secondary sources as are historians (including article editors), but surely this merits a mention, not least to note that the timing of the tour was unintended coincidence, if that is the case. It is mentioned in Assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand, but only in passing and without comment, as a human-interests item that "also happened on this day".

However, I'm left to read the date of the tour and asssassination as a point in time on the Gregorian calendar, in an article where the actions and motives of Serbs are analyzed and described, and with discussions of why Serbs and the Serbian government chose a particular course of action. Yet the Austrian choice of Vidovdan for the tour is not relevant? It strains credulity. (talk) 17:59, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Indeed, this should be discussed. Certainly it particularly inflamed the conspirators. My sense is that the Austrians were mostly just thoughtless when they decided to have Franz Ferdinand's entry on that day - it fit his schedule with the army maneuvers, and such. john k (talk) 21:27, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

Unless the assassins selected the Archduke or killed him because of this journey (as opposed to killing him on account of his reputed political views), this seems irrelevant to the origins of WWI. It is noteworthy for the article on the assassination itself, which currently reads "The day of the assassination, June 28, is June 15 in the Julian calendar, the feast of St. Vitus. In Serbia, it is called Vidovdan and commemorates the 1389 Battle of Kosovo against the Ottomans at which the Sultan was assassinated in his tent by a Serb; it is an occasion for Serbian patriotic observances." I don't know if the brief version given in the origins article needs the mention.--Loje (talk) 23:24, 28 January 2008 (UTC)

I think a brief mention would be acceptable, and that probably more detail should be given on the assassination page. john k (talk) 01:41, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
Understood, thanks for the clarification. From what you are saying, perhaps add something along the lines that evidence does not suggest that the Archduke's visit was timed to coincide with Vidovdan, a significant date to Serbs. That would preempt future questions along this same line. An explanation of its significance seems superfluous, as readers can follow the link. (talk) 02:05, 29 January 2008 (UTC)
This issue has been discussed a few times including recently I think. The assassins didn't know the exact date of Franz-Ferdinand's visit to Sarajevo until after they dropped off their weapons in Tusla and got on the train (a police officer on the train was kind enough to tell Cabrinovic the visit schedule was June 28). They committed to the assassination, therefore, well before knowing that it would be on June 28. Likewise, I could not find any internal conversations within Austria-Hungary regarding the visit date being Vidovdan until the schedule was already inalterable. So, I couldn't figure out what more to safely write about this date except what is already in the assassination article.Werchovsky (talk) 06:24, 30 January 2008 (UTC)
I think that you are prudent (and helpful towards readers) to find the right place and add the line that I suggested, just my 2 cents worth. It would obviate my original question, which seems reasonable to ask (it seems reasonable to me, anyway). Anyone reading the article for its content doesn't rummage around for previous internal discussions. The question addresses Austrian intentions only, so independent actions by Serbs are irrelevant. Had the timing been deliberate, blame for the consequences lies heavily on Austria, and any Austrian outrage would have been completely disingenuous. The significance of the date to Serbs could not have been unknown to Austria (especially to Austrians in Sarajevo), and since knowing how to avoid enflaming an already-tense situation is an assumed diplomatic skill, Austrian behavior was either coldly crass or completely incompetent. (talk) 03:31, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
When active duty members of a foreign military arm, instruct, finance and transport assassins to kill a country's future leader, it is unfair to call the citizenry's outrage over the assassination "completely disingenuous" even if the assassination was performed in New Mexico on Cinco de Mayo.Werchovsky (talk) 19:13, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
Hello Werchovsky, I think you misread me ... disingenuous applies if and only if Austrian timing was deliberate, and it would apply to Austrian government actions, not "citizenry" outrage. Your Cinco de Mayo analogy is excellent. (also, people were "subjects", not "citizens", though I take your point; and I assume that you mean German primarily, to the exclusion of others ... but that's a different issue, and let's not go there). Best Regards, (talk) 20:24, 6 February 2008 (UTC)
No I did not misread you. Even if the Austro-Hungarian Government had decided to send Franz-Ferdinand to Sarajevo fully cognizant that it was a Serbian Holiday to show Austria-Hungary's commitment to the territorial integrity of Austria-Hungary and the people of Sarajevo, labeling the outrage by the citizenry of Sarajevo (Moslems, Croatians, Austrian-Germans, Magyars, Serbs, Gypsies, Jews, and whoever else ...I include Serbs, for after all many Serbs were loyal to Austria-Hungary including the bomb thrower's father, although I doubt many Serbs joined in the anti-Serb rioting) and of Austria-Hungary in general as "completely disingenuous" is unfair. The people and government of Austria-Hungary had the right to be indignant over the killing of the royals and wounding of 20 or so others orchestrated by foreign military officers on the active duty rolls of a government that just 5 years before signed an international obligation to change the entire direction of its policy and live henceforth on a basis of good neighborliness. (Yes, there was a measure of pressure brought on Serbia to sign this obligation, but the Hague in 1904 ruled emphatically, and rightly so, that duress was not a defense for breaking an international obligation as to hold otherwise would collapse the entire treaty system, and even if there was no such special obligation, the obligation of every power that expects to maintain diplomatic relations with a neighbor is to prevent its armed forces from sponsoring attacks on its neighbor.) Then in the days following the assassination Austria-Hungary had a right to be angry that Russia and Serbia rejected out of hand all private diplomatic requests to open an inquiry into the assassinations and provide a measure of justice without creating an international crisis.Werchovsky (talk) 01:40, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

I don't think the average citizen in Austria-Hungary was all that indignant over the assasination. In the years leading up to this event, there had been numerous incidents of internal agitation in Austria-Hungary for greater autonomy. I think any serious indignation was mainly limited to the German and Hungarian parts of the empire. The Slavic portion of the population was probably supportive in spirit of the "freedom fighters". One man's freedom fighter is another man's terrorist. So it is really a matter of perspective. And since there were protestations in Germany and Austria against the harshness of the ultimatum, I think we should we consider any "indignation" as no more than an acknowledgement that murder is not the civilized way to achieve autonomy or independence. But I certainly don't think there was much support for German and Hungarian domination of the empire in the Slavic parts of Austria-Hungary.EdwardLovette (talk) 10:40, 7 February 2008 (UTC)

Just a reminder that following the bombing and assassinations rioting by the Croatian and Bosniac populations of Bosnia against ethnic Serbs overwhelmed the local constabulary and the German/Magyar dominated military had to step in to protect ethnic serb property and lives from their fellow Slavs. And another reminder that Sophie Chotek was a Slav. No doubt, at least the three orphans had a proper basis to be outraged Slavs.Werchovsky (talk) 18:56, 7 February 2008 (UTC)
The extent to which Slavic inhabitants of Austria-Hungary desired the break-up of the Habsburg monarchy in the years before 1914 has been greatly exaggerated. It was only the experience of the war itself which really led the ethnicities to start demanding independence, rather than merely hoping for increased power within the framework of the monarchy. john k (talk) 14:23, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Mobilization Sequence Falsification

Loje stated: "The Russian decisions to mobilize were themselves complicated, being made amidst rumors (whose source I am unsure of) that claimed there to be Austrian and German mobilizations that never existed. And these were handed to the Czar by Sazonov, Janushkevic, and Sukhimolinov (pardon my spelling) when he hesitated to sign orders for general mobilization." Albertini makes a convincing case, that on the French side, although Poincare blamed Viviani, Poincare himself made up the false story of Austro-Hungarian general mobilization precedeeding Russian General Mobilization and gave this story to the British. On the Russian side of this falsified time line, things are more murky. The telegram from the Russian embassy in Berlin saying that the rumor of German mobilization was false, by happenstance; arrived just slightly before the earlier sent report of the rumor itself. The telegrams on Austro-Hungarian mobilization all made it quite clear that the Austro-Hungarian mobilization was only partial involving 8 corps for the Serbian frontier. Yet, we have Nicholas II writing seperately to William II and George V saying that Russian Mobilization was a defensive counter measure to Austro-Hungarian mobilization, in the case of the letter to Emperor/King George, buying into the same false time line Poincare had created. Was the synchronization of false stories made at the dinner betweene Sazonov and the French and British Ambassadors where they plotted what response Nicholas II should make to George V's request that Russia halt General Mobilization, or were they synchronized earlier? Are there more recent works than Albertini's that make clear how the lie in Russia came to match the lie in France and where the lie in Russia originated?Werchovsky (talk) 18:50, 1 February 2008 (UTC)

Mr Werchovsky, I doubt if you will ever get to the bottom of this incessant mobilization and counter-mobilization disputes. That is precisely why I for one prefer to focus on the purely legal aspects. I do NOT care who mobilized first or who mobilized second or who mobilized third. I only care about what the LAW says on the matter. If, as I strongly suspect, the law said at the time that any and all parties had an "inhereent and inalienable right" to mobilize, case closed.EdwardLovette (talk) 07:10, 15 February 2008 (UTC)

What the "LAW" says on the matter remains entirely useless for writing this article. john k (talk) 14:21, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

Mr. Werchovsky, I noticed the changes you have made to this article. I am going to appeal my case to Wikepedia management. This article was bad before. Now it is outright biased and I can make a very strong case against you to Wikepedia management. See you in court. (talk) 09:59, 10 March 2008 (UTC)Lovette75.84.230.67 (talk) 09:59, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

Problems with edits by

This new series of edits shows basically equal fleet strengths between Britain and Germany and is unsourced, while the old text showed roughly a 2:1 ratio and was sourced. Also, the knew series of edits replaced "Hungarian" with "German" while "Hungarian" is very definitely correct, German approval already having been given for coercive diplomacy backed by war if necessary. Isn't anyone bothered by this?Werchovsky (talk) 06:05, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

I believe British naval strength in 1914 was 2.3:1 or 2.1:1. So the German Navy was catching up but was not an immediate threat.EdwardLovette (talk) 07:55, 17 February 2008 (UTC)

The new paragraph "MAIN causes"

Although it would be nice to mention the main CAUSES of WW1 in a separate section, the present one does not follow its subject. The section confounds the concept of "cause" with that of "prerequisite": for instance, the fact that "many European countries increased the strength of their armed forces" was NOT A CAUSE of the war, but a PREREQUISITE that made it possible to start war. The same can be said about the alliances of European powers: these were just one of the preconditions for the war to come, not a cause.

The list of CAUSES could rather be compiled by cathegories such as for example Territorial controversies: three powers - Russian, Austro-Hungarian, and the Ottoman Empire - could not reach an agreement about the predominance of the Balkans; France had the wish to regain the province of Alsace-Lorraine, etc. Then Political causes: the German Empire wanted to fulfil its Weltpolitik, and Britain was not interested in such a policy by Germany, etc.

All in all, the current section MAIN causes does not correspond to the quality standards of Wikipedia, because it does not match its subject. (talk) 16:15, 20 February 2008 (UTC)

Indeed the MAIN part sounds very amateuristic (and possibly American-centered?). I mean how can just "Alliances" be a cause of war? Alliances have always existed in Europe, only the fact that alliances had come to a deadlock was special to WW1. And Imperialism had almost nothing to do with WW1 as the biggest three colonial rivals (Russia, Great Britain and France) were allied during WW1. Colonial rivalry also does not necessarily lead to rivalry in European matters. I never heard of MAIN and because there is no reference I'll remove it. Wiki1609 (talk) 22:04, 10 March 2008 (UTC)

I am currently reading an excellent analysis of the causes of WWI. the book is called "How the War Came" by Earl Robert Loreburn written in 1919. I discovered this book because I was reading some German mini-book or pamphlet called "responsibility for the war". And the German writer referred to How the War Came. He commented that the Earl was not an admirer of either Haldane,Asquith, or Grey. He seemed to fell that this Britisher was fairly unbiased. So I have read about 25% of it. It is available for free at If you can't download the PDF, try downloading it into TXT(text form). Then you can read it with MS notepad. It is an excellent and impartial analysis of the causes of WWI, although written by a British Earl. He explains in good detail Sir Edward Grey's diplomatic style and history. Interesting discussion of the Morrocco crisis, dogger bank, Agadir, Algeciris, and the July 1914 behind the scenes diplomatic maneuvering. (talk) 21:17, 3 June 2008 (UTC)edwardLovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 21:17, 3 June 2008 (UTC)

Slight change

Within a few short years, France gained diplomatic control in Europe, attaining alliances with both England and Russia.""

Changed to :

Within a few short years, France gained diplomatic control in Europe, attaining alliances with both the United Kingdom and Russia.

England being a constituent country of the UK and unable to receive treaties in its name. Kaenei (talk) 16:25, 25 February 2008 (UTC)

Disputed part

Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is assassinated by Serbian irredentists.

First of all, the organization is Young Bosnia, Austro-Hungarian, rather than Serbian. Second of all, if this was implying their ethnicity - however, there were also Croats and Bosnian Muslims in the group, next to ethnic Serbs. --PaxEquilibrium (talk) 15:27, 9 June 2008 (UTC)

The assassins were all of Serb nationality, and while you can say that they were not "Serbian" it would be a stretch to claim they were not "Serbs". None were Croats or Bosnian Muslims.
While I agree with Loje's tenor hear, Mehmedbasic was definitely a Herzegovinan Muslim. There were other leaders in the irredentist movement who were Muslims or Croats, but the bulk of the movement was certainly Serbian.Werchovsky (talk) 21:41, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
They were members of Young Bosnia, but as an organization it was not involved in the assassination like Narodna Odbrana and The Black Hand. Of course, those organizations were for the cause of Serbian irredentism as were the assassins (though whether as individuals they preferred a Yugoslav or Greater Serbian idea is another matter).
Young Bosnia did not have an organization or members, it was a movement that became recognized after the war.Werchovsky (talk) 21:41, 6 August 2008 (UTC)
perhaps you should change it from "Serbian irredentists" to "Serb irredentists" or better yet "irredentist Serbs" and leave it at that.
--Loje (talk) 14:06, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I believe that Gavrilo Princip did actually come from a village in Bosnia. obljaj, bosnia hercegovina,(see wikepedia article on Princip) not Serbia. And technically he was Austro-Hungarian as Austria-Hungary had illegally annexed Bosnia Hercegovina six years prior. So the Archduke was actually killed by one of his 'loyal subjects' on a Serbian holiday. And for this the world was plunged into armageddon. MADNESS!! (talk) 04:29, 17 July 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 04:29, 17 July 2008 (UTC) (talk) 05:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 05:30, 17 July 2008 (UTC)

He was still Serb, if not Serbian, and identified as such as his nationality. If what you're really interested in is whether Serbia is innocent of the assassination you should probably be looking less at an assassin's place of birth and more at where they were given their weapons and trained to use them. Not to mention the fact that the Serbian government had detailed foreknowledge of the assassination which they chose not to share and that it was an accessory after the fact in concealing from Austrian authorities those involved in the plot, although the latter were only suspected, and not known by those in Austria in July 1914. In truth, "armageddon" required that Serbia be willing to go to war to protect those inolved in the assassination and that Russia be willing to go to war in support of Serbia's doing so. Absent the former there would have been no war and absent the latter there would have been a localized one.--Loje (talk) 13:36, 17 July 2008 (UTC)
Right, the Great War is too great an evil to be heaped on the 20-year-olds who held the bombs and guns. The grey haired men who stood behind them have that odium.Werchovsky (talk) 21:41, 6 August 2008 (UTC)

Mr. Werchovsky, I found a great book available for free at called 'Sarajevo The story of a political murder' written in 1959 by Joachim Remak. It is interesting to me that part of the defense of Princip and others on the charges of Treason, is that the Austrian and Hungarian parliament NEVER ratified the annexation. So in the book, it indicates they had to be tried under 'Bosnian' law instead of Austrian or Hungarian law. All these annoying 'legalities' seem to drive Kenney crazy!!. But now you know, the law is important. (talk) 06:40, 12 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 06:40, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

This is the first book I recall you referencing that is a relatively scholarly work. You are partly correct regarding ratification. There was already precidence regarding treason by Bosnians so the defense argument was rejected. The defense was basically grasping for straws.Werchovsky (talk) 16:01, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

If Great Britain had desired war, Sir Edward Grey would not have laboured day and night to secure a peaceful settlement of the Serbian dispute. If Russia had desired war, she would not have advised Serbia to accept all but the most humiliating of the Austrian Demands. That France was responsible for the outbreak of war, not even her enemies asserted. Not one of the Entente powers was prepared for an offensive war. (talk) 04:40, 23 July 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 04:40, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Lee Harvey Oswald received his training at Perris Island, South Carolina,USA. He was rated highly at marksmanship on the rifle. He was married to a Russian woman. he defected to Russia and lived in Russia. He supported the Communist party and supported Fidel Castro. But the U.S. Govt. never mobilized and threatened either Cuba or Russia. (talk) 06:34, 23 July 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 06:34, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Britain didn't want a war, which was the problem since it would neither jepordize improving relations with Germany by immediately and unconditionally supporting Russia (like France) nor pointedly refuse to support it (and jepordizing its alliances), the Brits hoped the crisis would be resolved without them having to offend anyone, only fairly late began more earnestly trying to push its proposals on less than willing participants. Buchanan, the English ambassador to St. Petersburg helpfully told Sazonov early on about his "hope that Russia would not precipitate war by mobilising" before diplomacy could be used to effect, but Sazonov ignored him.
As for Russia's advice, Aleksander said that he was willing to accept those compatible with Serbian honor and any that they might suggest! But far from advising that the ultimatum be accepted, the Russians wrote back a note which not only did not advise against but assumed the Serbian government would reject some points of the ultimatum and by advising serbia to accept those points compatible with its dignity gave carte blanche to reject any part the Serbs wanted without having to worry about jepordizing Russian support. Whereas all the previous ultimatums to Serbia were accepted because Russia would not support Serbia if it refused, this time it was advised it would be supported not only if Austria invaded despite acceptance of the ultimatum, but that it would also be supported if it rejected much or all of it.
Concurrently, Russia began its period preparatory to war and decided to mobilize the bulk of its army against the Austrian frontier (on which no mobilization was taking place) before Serbia had even answered the ultimatum. And further moved to General Mobilization (I.E. fully mobilizing against Germany too which was also not mobilizing). This despite Sazonov being told daily from almost every quarter that Germany would not wait for Russia to complete its mobilization. Ostensibly in the hope that Austria could be intimidated into submission (at no time entertaining the notion that the ultimatum could be accepted without modification).
Lee Harvey Oswald didn't commit his crime using Russian military equipment obtained in and trained with in Russia, nor did he identify himself as ethnically Russian nor did Russia recognize him as such. I'm not aware of any evidence that Russia knew a month beforehand that he was going to make the attempt either, nor was it sheltering people invovein the plot.
It's a poor comparison, 9-11 is a somewhat better one, terrorist group identifying with an ideology and a leadership in Afghanistan, launched an attack despite not being Afghans, the Afghan government, though not identical with that ordering the attack was tied to it and chose to go to war rather than turn over the guilty when demanded. Not a perfect comparison either, but slightly more so. --Loje (talk) 19:58, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

You are correct. It is a poor comparison. Especially in the sense that the U.S. was not occupying any foreign territory. Though the hawaaians and Puerto Ricans may beg to differ. In this sense WWI did ultimately correct a lot of ethnic and political problems. There are 3 major race groups in Europe; Germanic, Latin and Slav, with two notable minorities, the Fins and the Hungarians. In 1914 the germanic group had an ideal position. They were either independent(like Holland, Denmark,etc.) or they were border composite countries such as Belgium(germanic part is Flanders, latin part is Walloon) or Switzerland(part French, German, and Italian with a Romanish minority). Really ethnically the Germans had no reason to complain. Whereas the Slavs could make an argument that they were occupied by the Austro-Hungarians in Bohemia, Moravia, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia-Hercegovina, Ruthenia, galicia, and poland. Atleast the Russians were fellow slavs and ethnically and linguistically much more similar.

So having said this, the Germans probably should have recognized that and they should have said to themselves 'quit while you are ahead'. (talk) 01:33, 27 July 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 01:33, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

Your racial ideology is nonsensical. The supposedly ethnically homogenous areas have had more genocides and ethnic cleansings than anywhere else on earth. Croats against Serbs, Serbs against Albanians, Croats and Serbs against Bosnians, and yet no Germanic or Latin to be seen. Are you saying that the Serbian dynasty had some right to rule the entirety of the balkans, eastern europe, and Russia?--Loje (talk) 04:33, 27 July 2008 (UTC)

It is interesting to me that when religion was removed from the equation(Yugoslavia) the area was fairly peaceful. I was in Yugloslavia in 1987 and it was very peaceful and quiet. Moslems co-habitated with catholics who co-habitated with eastern orthodox. Chech and Slovakians separated peacefully. As far as Slavs fighting amongst themselves, this is normal. Did not the English speaking Americans rebel against the English speaking British? Did not the English speaking Irish rebel against the English speaking British? (talk) 00:47, 30 July 2008 (UTC)EdwardLovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 00:47, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Tha facts as shown by the record show that;

1.) Germany and Austria made war almost inevitable by a.)issuing an ultimatum that was grossly unreasonable and disproportionate to any grievance that Austria had and b.) in giving Serbia and Europe insufficient time to consider the rights and obligations of all interested nations.

2.) That Germany had at all times the power to compel Austria to preserve a reasonable and conciliatory course, but at no time exerted that influence. On the contrary, she abetted and possibly instigated, Austria in its unreasonable course.

3.) That England, France, Italy, and Russia at all times sincerely worked for peace, and for this purpose not only overlooked the original misconduct of Austria but made every reasonable concession in the hope of preserving peace.

4.) That Austria, having mobilized its arymy, Russia was reasonably justified in mobilizing its forces. Such act of mobilization was the right of any sovereign state, and as long as the Russian armies did not cross the border or take any aggressive action no other nation had any just right to complain, each having the same right to make similar preparations.

5.) That Germany in abruptly declaring war against Russia for failure to demobilize when the other powers had offered to make any reasonable concession and peace parleys were still in progress, PRECIPITATED THE WAR. (talk) 02:37, 30 July 2008 (UTC)Edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 02:37, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

1. Nothing you have to say seems remotely related to the article, go find a discussion board
2. Simply statements of "fact" are not persuasive in isolation--Loje (talk) 19:25, 30 July 2008 (UTC)

Those 5 points are from one of James M Beck's books regarding the 'Origins of WWI' and considering the fact that the title of this article is also 'Origins of WWI', I think the points are very related. He was 'Solicitor General of the United States'(see Wikepedia article on James M Beck) whose job it is to represent the U.S. government in the U.S. Supreme Court. I am sure he is far more qualified to discuss International Law than you are, Mr.Loje, which probably explains the reason for this article's total lack of discussion of international law. Considering the fact that his books were best sellers and highly respected by learned and eminant people, I am sure you pale in comparison, whatever your qualifications to discuss this topic may or may not be. (talk) 21:27, 3 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 21:27, 3 August 2008 (UTC)

Bye the way, Mr. James M Beck's books are available for free at as are many other wonderful books pertaining to WWI. However, Mr Loje does not approve of giving any weight to 'old books'. I seriously doubt if he has actually ever read any of them. I certainly doubt if he ever bothered to take the time to read any of Beck's books. I recommend searches under 'Germany', 'Germans', 'World war', 'Great war' (talk) 00:24, 4 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 00:24, 4 August 2008 (UTC)

Social Darwinism?

The section on social darwinism seems disposable. Blaming countries worrying about their relative strengths, which they have done since antiquity on a 19th century ideology is absurd, and colonialist policy manifested darwinism towards the natives, not the other colonial powers.

In my view, the entire section should be eliminated. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Loje (talkcontribs) 01:10, 24 July 2008 (UTC)

Too much anti-Austrian, anti-German bias and silliness added over past 5 months

I note a gradually degrading trend in this article over the past 5 months or so. --1. Someone again changed "Obtaining Hungarian support" to "obtaining German support" in the July Ultimatum section. Since German support was already obtained in the paragraph just above, this is really silly. The Hungarian Prime Minister was the one resisting stern measures against Serbia. --2. "Unnerved" referring to Serbia was changed to "conciliatory", despite testimonial evidence that Serbian Cabinet members drafting the response were unnerved. --3. "Abandonment" was changed to "weakness", despite the fact that Russia abandoned Serbia in 1909 for more reasons than just her weakness as is made clear in the Bosnian Annexation Crisis. --4. "It was a step prepratory to war." was deleted referring to Britain's decision to keep its fleet concentrated and not to dismiss its reservists as was originally planned. --5. "Russia exercising its legal right to fully mobilize under international law at the time". It will be quite a long and silly article if each time a government takes a legal action we describe it in such a manner. --6. "In contrast to #4 and #5, when Germany demands the mobilization be stopped, this demand is now called a tragic "escalation". --7. The added passage regarding "Toul, Briey, and Verdun" is made up to make the German response seem unreasonable. Britain was to guarantee French neutrality not the surrender of fortresses. --8. "And the German Navy's right to make port in Belgium". This is simply nowhere to be found in Germany's letter to Belgium. .....and the list goes on. And of course, none of these biased and silly passages are footnoted. What gives?Werchovsky (talk) 23:52, 8 August 2008 (UTC)

Regarding Germany's letter to Belgium, on Page 10 of "The Violation of the Neutrality of Belgium"(1915)by Paul Hymans,(available at "It is sufficient answer to them to state the words of the ultimatum itself, which does not impute any fault to Belgium, which makes no complaint against her, and which confines itself to attributing to French troops the "intention" of passing through Belgian territory. Germany's Chancellor himself, Bethmann Hollwegg, admitted Germany's violation of International law when he said "our troops have entered Luxembourg and perhaps have already entered Belgian territory. THAT IS A BREACH OF INTERNATIONAL LAW..."

So, Mr. Werchovsky many things were missing from Germany's letter to Belgium, such as French aeroplanes dropping bombs on Nuremberg, French troops motoring through Belgium into Germany, French troops entering Belgium to coordinate strategy, French troops crossing into Alsace, etc, etc. ...and the list goes on. (talk) 07:13, 14 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 07:13, 14 August 2008 (UTC)

So Junker Werchovsky, you have finally revealed yourself. And I was thinking some of the improvements were your doing. Wrong!!. You actually truly are the culprit that I originally suspected for this article's blatant pro-German stance. Wikepedia really needs to focus more on this article and correct the problems. The reason the article has been slightly amended is that before it was horribly incomplete. Apparently you do not care much about the whole truth coming out. Now who was responsible for the amendments? Loje? Kenney? Wikepedia people? (talk) 01:06, 10 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 01:06, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Anon user was the one responsible for almost all of the inaccurate, biased and unfootnoted changes. Its hard to believe no one bothered to fix the blatant factual errors such as #7.Werchovsky (talk) 05:22, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

The number 7 error refers to my comments on the German demand for French neutrality; A reference is made to a German attempt to secure France's neutrality, but not even the briefest mention of its requirements. When I tried to put in one line that France would have to give up its two most important fortresses, it was promptly deleted.

It's almost as if someone(warchowsky perhaps) doesn't want Wikepedia readers to know some important facts. Or maybe he feels that point is completely irrelevant. It's completely irrelevant that Germany's most powerful enemy on her west would have been "required" to yield to a foreign occupation.

Let me suggest that: "Note: French Prime Minister Rene Viviani merely replied to the German ultimatum that 'France will act in accordance with her interests'[30]" be modified with addition that "Had the French agreed to remain neutral the German Ambassador was authorized to ask the French to temporarily surrender the Foretresses of Toul and Verdun as a guarantee of their neutrality." Will that meet your need?Werchovsky (talk) 18:10, 16 January 2008 (UTC)

Note that Junker Werchovsky himself suggested that item 7 needed amendment. (talk) 05:57, 10 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 05:57, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

I am afraid you have two different diplomatic maneuvers mixed up Mr. Lovette. The passage we negotiated in January 2008 regarding Toul and Verdun is still in the article and I have no objection to it. The passage written by regarding the British planned proposal to keep France neutral was in conflict with the sources available to me when it said Germany had accepted the British planned proposal conditioned on France surrendering the three (3) fortresses. (And, of course, it was unfootnoted.) These are entirely different discussions with different terms and conditions, different diplomatic channels, and so on, although they both fell on August 1.

Here in the U.S., it is somewhat derogatory to call someone a junker. Did you intend to deride me these last two postings?Werchovsky (talk) 07:41, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Mr. Werchovsky, my apologies if I offended you. I was merely playing with you on the 'Junker', see Wikepedia article on 'Junker', it's not as bad as you think. besides they made great planes in WWII.

Remember how I asked who was responsible for the edits to the article? The reason I asked you that is that I only mentioned the line 'two most important fortresses'. I think other people may have done some of the editing that you attribute to moi. Although from what I have read I do believe a third fortresse was involved, Briey? but that is really kind of 'quibbling' isn't it? Two fortresses or three fortresses? Really isn't the demand essentially the same?

I really want to avoid confusing other readers. Here, Mr. Lovette keeps talking about the German demand to France that France declare whether or not it intended to remain neutral (and if France had said yes, then the German Ambassador was authorized to request the surrender of 2 fortresses as a guarantee; this request never was made). The actual edit that I challenged was a completely different demarche in which Britain floated the idea that Britain would guarantee French neutrality if Germany did not attack in the west. Germany accepted this immediately without any requirement that France surrender fortresses, but Britain backed out. I went aheaded and corrected the material I challenged.Werchovsky (talk) 18:54, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Six or half a dozen. Whatever Britain's response would have been, Germany would still have REQUIRED a guarantee of French neutrality. That guarantee was surrender of strategic fortresses.

It is not O.K. for you (or anyone else) to just make stuff up and stick it in the article. This is the problem with #7 and #8. I thought perhaps you had just gotten the two August 1 neutrality proposals confused with each other, but apparently not.Werchovsky (talk) 18:44, 14 August 2008 (UTC)
 And the Germans had to know this was an impossibility.  Any French government that would have even 'considered' such a thing would have promptly thrown out of office if not immediately taken to the guillotine.  This type of amateurish German diplomacy was a pattern.  Very similar to their unrealistic 10 demands in the ultimatum to Serbia. Any Serbian government that would have yielded to those 'harsh' demands that were unheard in Europe since the 1600's would have likewise been promptly overthrown.  This can also be said of Czarist Russia.  If Nicholas II had caved into these 10 unreasonable demands, he too would have suffered the fate of Alexander of Serbia in 1903 for being 'too conciliatory to Austria'.  So either way Nicholas II were doomed.  They were damned if they did, and damned if they didn't. And Germany and Austria's diplomats completely failed to underestand.  I encourage all to read Prince Von Bulow's memoirs from 1930 available at (talk) 03:45, 14 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 03:45, 14 August 2008 (UTC)  

One thing that my recent research has highlighted is the British naval agreement with France. I think I mentioned before that this should be explained in the article better. Why the British Navy would need to be involved in WWI even if the Germans had not invaded Belgium. Here is my interpretation. The British AND the French both had strong fleets. And at some point they realized "This is silly. Why should we both patrol the North Sea, English Channel, AND the Mediteraneon. With all the accompanying support costs such as fueling stations, barracks, right of way treaties, navigational expertise. Why don't we logically split up the area? Well, this is what the British and the French did. I encourage you, Mr. Werchovsky, to read Sir Edward Grey's speech to Parliament on August 3rd, 1914 in which he explained the problem for Britain and France. If the German fleet steamed into the channel and bombarded Calais, Bordeaux, etc,(and you know they would have, as in Hartlepool, Scarbourough in Dec. 1914) well France could never risk that. So France, if no British assurance of support was forthcoming, would have surely sent their fleet post haste to the channel for protection. So Sir Edward Grey pointed out to the MP's that Britain's sea route to the Suez Cannal would have been entirely vulnerable to a joint Italian(keep in mind that Italy at this point was an unknown factor) and Austrian Naval attack. Now these are complications that I am sure you are aware of Mr. Werchovsky, however, the article on the Origins of WWI does not really even touch on this. Now Mr. Werchovsky, if you were Sir Edward Grey and you were aware of these risks and these possible duties or obligations, in a democratic country such as Britain, you would have to explain these intracacies to the average member of parliament. And that is what essentially happenend. So Kenney is correct in the sense that Britain did not enter into the conflict just because of the Belgian Treaty.

You make it sound as if this was a real problem for Britain. In actual fact, when Germany inquired whether if it refrained from the invasion of Belgium and attacking the French with its navy, would Britain commit to remaining neutral, Britain said "No." There were no terms under which Britain would commit to neutrality. The inability of Britain to articulate a bright-line position before the guns started firing is a contributing factor to the war.Werchovsky (talk) 18:54, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Wrong Mr. W! There were terms under which Britain would commit to neutrality. Sir Edward Grey stated the condition of British neutrality--that Germany should make some proposal for conciliation so reasonable that Russia and France would put themselves in the wrong if they refused it. Germany never made any such reasonable proposals. This offer by Sir Edward Grey was risky for him because had Germany taken him at his word, had he found her proposals reasonable, and had Russia and France dissented, it would have meant the breakup of the Triple Entente, and very likely the breakup of the liberal Government; for there would assuredly have been a strong party in England which would have denounced Sir Edward Grey's conduct as a base betrayal. He no doubt felt that he could rely on Sazonof's acquiescence in any reasonable proposal; but in view of the exasperated state of public feeling, was it certain that Sazonof would be able to carry Russia with him? He took the risk for the sake of peace. What Minister could have done more? You should read Archer's 'The Thirteen Days'(1915). I also recommend highly that you read Stowell's 'The Diplomacy of the war of 1914'(1915) at (talk) 19:11, 5 February 2009 (UTC)edwardlovette76.94.18.217 (talk) 19:11, 5 February 2009 (UTC)

 Bright-line as defined by Wikepedia is a 'term generally used in law which describes a clearly defined rule or standard, composed of objective factors, which leaves little or no room for varying interpretation. The purpose of a bright-line rule is to produce consistent and predictable results in its application.' I like it Mr. Werchovsky that you have brought law into this discussion. Kudos to you!! (talk) 06:17, 13 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 06:17, 13 August 2008 (UTC)

Bye the way Mr. Werchovsky I am interested in your opinion on this matter. My understanding is that the treaty of 1839 obligated signatories to 'not violate Belgian neutrality' but I have read that it did not necessarily require the signatories to come to Belgium's defense against a invading third party. I would really like to clarify this issue. There are some really good good books available for free at on the Belgian Neutrality Treaty of 1839 and the treaty of 1871. I believe the treaty of 1871 merely said that 'at the conclusion of the Franco-Prussian' War of 1870 that the treaty would 'revert' back to the rights and obligations of the treaty of 1839. (talk) 03:04, 12 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 03:04, 12 August 2008 (UTC)

Well, the debate regarding Belgian Neutrality was much fiercer and controversial than I had realized. I assumed it to be simply a legal argument but there is nothing simple about the law of nations. I am relying on a book called 'England's guarantee to Belgium and luxembourg' (1915) by Spanger(Lincoln's Inn Barrister) and Norton. Written during WW1 it is surprisingly neutral on the subject with really no clear conclusion although it does make the following comments;

1. The general understanding was that the Treaty regarding Luxembourg was 'collective' whereas the treaty regarding Belgium was 'joint and several'. Collective meaning that any decision made by the various signatories had to be 'unanimous'. Germany could have vetoed any resolution to come to the aid of Luxembourg. This may explain the reason that England did not use Germany's invasion of Luxembourg on August 2nd. as a 'casus belli', but rather waited until Germany invaded Belgium on August 4th. I assume that declaring war on August 2nd as opposed to August 4th would have only been to Britain, France and Belgium's benefit as far as putting troops in the field and coordinating defensive measures.

2. The date when the treaties were written, Belgium 1839, Luxembourg 1867, had some bearing because the general consensus in 1839 was that nuetral countries could allow 'free passage' through their territory if they so granted it. But that by 1867 the general consensus was that they could not allow free passage through their territory. In any case, Belgium had refused this free passage to Germany. The Hague Conventions of 1899 and 1907 did not alter the construction of a treaty which already existed.

3. Luxembourg's treaty forbade both the existence of fortresses and of an army, therefore Luxembourg had no duty to resist invasion of its territory(and merely lodged a formal protest) whereas Belgium had both fortresses and an army and did have a duty to resist any invader.

My major surprise reading this book is the author's contention that technically Belgium could have if she so desired have given Germany permission to make free passage through her territory, although I don't know if the benefits would have outweighed the negatives. (talk) 02:34, 16 August 2008 (UTC)edwardlovette75.84.227.196 (talk) 02:34, 16 August 2008 (UTC)