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PostPosted: Sat Sep 02, 2017 1:06 pm 
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David Newton wrote:
Johnnie Lyle wrote:
Pre 16th Amendment, Senators were elected by the State Legislators. Congresscritters are only electrd by their district.

The President is the only member of the US Government the whole country votes for. Everyone else is responsible to just a segment of the nation.

But the real reason Wilson - and all Progressives to this day - hate checks and balances are because they believe that the power of government should be used to make you good. And they get to define what is good. That is why Wilson is the worst president, bar none. He was explicitly a foe of the Constitution, because it kept him from autocratic rule 'for our benefit.' Direct autocratic power in the hands of Woodrow Wilson would have submerged the nation in a tide of tyranny and blood worse than what Prohibition wrought.


Nope he has a modern rival for worst president: Obama. Obama is a modern rival of Wilson's for worst president for precisely the same reasons. They share the same set of beliefs and their presidencies had much the same results. It's just that in Wilson's day the US wasn't a global power yet and his impact was actually less bad than that of Obama.

Obama didn't lay the foundation for the massive ethnic strife that still wracks the world. The only world conflicts we can't lay at Wilson's feet are the Communist insurgencies, and even some of those came about where "communism" was a flag for existing ethnic, nationalist strife. Everything else flows right from his incredibly stupid idea of "self-determination," because that shot dead any chance of multi-ethnic societies figuring out how to peacefully live together. Nor did Obama preside over the massive Communist takeover of Europe that FDR did.

Obama's awfulness is mostly due to inaction and fecklessness, not a deliberate policy designed to shatter nations and forment wars. Both Wilson and FDR specifically intended to destroy the major powers of Europe, and almost all the blood shed between 1918 and today lies at their feet.

Similarly, Obama's ability to be a domestic harridan flows directly from his Progressive ancestors and their treasonous failure to learn the singular lesson of Prohibition - using the power of the government to make people good failed, miserably. It's the same as the trite lines about Communism that still warms the hearts of traitors everywhere "well, it wasn't true whateverism, so it doesn't show the idea can't work." The Left still clings bitterly to the idea they can use the government to make people be "good," despite all the bodies stacked like cordwood that show what a damn failure the idea is.

Obama, Pelosi and Reid didn't sweep in massive new and overreaching Federal powers the way Wilson, FDR and JFK/LBJ/Nixon did. The 16th and 17th Amendments were enabling acts for the major goal of the Wilson Administration and the Progressives: Prohibition. Similarly, we saw a massive explosion of government power under FDR, which prolonged the Great Depression. Nor did we get the massive twofold military disaster brought by JFK, MacNamara and Maxwell Taylor, or the equally massive power expansions of the Great Society and environmental laws of LBJ and Nixon. Obama, Pelosi and Reid had the most overwhelming power since FDR, and they did Obamacare with it.

You want frightening/bad, look at what the Left is screeching for now, and imagine that trifecta back in power and giving it all to them. That's Wilson and FDR level bad.

Nor was Obama anywhere as effective a dictator as Wilson and FDR were. The country threw in a giant "hell no!" that they didn't with Wilson or FDR. FDR used the Depression to build and enduring Democrat majority that lasted until the Clinton Administration. The Progressives were a bipartisan powerhouse that couldn't be thwarted until Prohibition showed how disastrous the idea was, and FDR was still able to separate "government makes people good" from Prohibition. What enduring political legacy does Obama have? if anything, Obama's support was poison - he had no coattails and no ability to persuade, and the policies of his Presidency pretty much exterminated the Democratic Party anywhere not fifteen miles from a coast or megalopolis.

Obama was bad, but he's not caused anywhere near the global and domestic damage that the "successful" Democrat presidents of the Twentieth Century did. He's Carter level - a legacy of ineptitude, fecklessness and squandered potential that gave their opponents massive opportunities.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 8:30 pm 
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edgeplay_cgo wrote:
DaveAAA wrote:
David Newton wrote:
Nope he has a modern rival for worst president: Obama. Obama is a modern rival of Wilson's for worst president for precisely the same reasons. They share the same set of beliefs and their presidencies had much the same results. It's just that in Wilson's day the US wasn't a global power yet and his impact was actually less bad than that of Obama.

Obama, for all his faults, probably hasn't set the scene for another world war. Unlike Wilson, Obama, another Nobel Peace Prize winner, mostly voted present in international affairs.


The treasonous Criminal Zerobama, through his Iran deals, has all but guaranteed a nuclear war in our lifetime. His inaction on Korea has raised the risk on the Korean peninsula. His destabilization of the Middle East has supercharged the colonist crisis in Europe.


Obama didn't have an original thought in his head, Wilson did and had no desire to test them out before trying to make them universal.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:02 pm 
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Can capable people even still become president?

FDR and Wilson, as well summarised by Johnnie Lyle, overthrew the entire Western civilisation as understood in 1914: its governing structures, its nations, its system of international and its various systems of domestic law, including that of the United States. They set up a new system to a scheme without a name, but that would probably be called "communism" had the USSR not come along and associated "communism" with national enemies, which was intended to run itself, and it now runs itself. Obama was an actor and his presidency was about letting the bureaucracy rule. If Wilson was Caesar and FDR was Augustus, you are now living in Byzantium. The government is no longer liberal and strong, as it was in the golden age, nor even despotic and strong, as it was in the early collapse, but the worst of all combinations, despotic and weak.

And is it really true that communists can't be laid at Wilson's feet? Why didn't the Entente throttle the USSR in the cradle? Clearly anyone with sense would have turned Imperial Germany on the Russians in 1919, letting it keep Poland in exchange for surrendering the left bank of the Rhine. This scheme would have had the added advantage of creating a European order that would not have been frighteningly unstable without unrealistically constant and aggressive enforcement by the League of Nations: World Police. But in the new Wilsonian world you can't do things like that. You can only do crazy things.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 9:37 pm 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
And is it really true that communists can't be laid at Wilson's feet? Why didn't the Entente throttle the USSR in the cradle? Clearly anyone with sense would have turned Imperial Germany on the Russians in 1919, letting it keep Poland in exchange for surrendering the left bank of the Rhine.


Transition from one war into another? Would France and Britain be willing to do so if the US had someone pushing for it?

About the nation interested was Japan and that was if they could get bits of Eastern Russia in return for doing so.

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 05, 2017 10:28 pm 
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Let the Germans do the fighting. It is that or Versailles. Will they refuse?

But let us not go that far, because we forget that the Germans had already done much of the job. In 1918 the Germans had occupied the whole of Ukraine and European Russia almost as far as the gates of Petrograd:

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Finland, a new creation, was also backed by German troops.

All this land, over which the Second World War would be fought, was in the effective possession of the Entente powers in November 1918. They chose to give it away to minor states, while tying the hands of the Germans, which in reality meant giving it to the Soviet Union.

More than anything it was this decision, behind which Wilson was the driving force, that caused the second war. The correct decision was to push the borders of the three European great powers (France, Germany, Russia) eastward, to strengthen France against Germany and weaken Russia against the others, according to a scheme determined only by the preservation of the balance of power. Any moral argument against this must answer for the immorality of war that is all but guaranteed when weak states are pitted against strong states without reliable guarantors.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 5:37 pm 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
Let the Germans do the fighting. It is that or Versailles. Will they refuse?


Just lifting the blockade might be enough enticement.

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PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 7:11 pm 
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Germany was close to a Communist revolution in 1919. Indeed, there were Communist uprisings. Nor were the German people any keener to continue the war than anyone else. Probably not a good choice to force them to fight the Reds again. I also don;t see a very positive response by Poles at being handed over to Germany, especially as they seized independence in the collapse of the empires.

Note too that Austria Hungary had fallen apart in October 1918. A lot of Versailles was trying to catch up to the new realities on the ground as just about everyone started fighting their neighbours.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 5:54 am 
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DaveAAA wrote:
I also don;t see a very positive response by Poles at being handed over to Germany, especially as they seized independence in the collapse of the empires.


Yugoslavia also formed out of fear of being picked apart, which is what would have happened had Italy seem more room with which to push for more than Dalmatia.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:34 am 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
Let the Germans do the fighting. It is that or Versailles. Will they refuse?


Absolutely they will refuse. Germany was days or a week or two at most from unconditional surrender in WW1. They were collapsing internally, the country was on the brink of civil war and had been for months. Only the peace treaty with Russia had kept the lid on the situation as long as it did. Any effort to continue hostilities would have resulted in a complete breakdown. You really need to read Tooze's Deluge to get a handle on how bad Germany's situation was in 1918.

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Just lifting the blockade might be enough enticement.

No way. Why should Germany go to war with Russia again for no very good reason? The Brest-Litovsk peace treaty was as close to an unconditional surrender by Russia as had been seen in Europe for a long, long time. The Germans had been given everything they needed from Russia, the fact that they were unable to take it was a mark of how hopeless their position was. The real problem with this idea is that it assumes Germany was capable of continuing to fight in 1918. It wasn't; the country was collapsing internally, there were multiple uprising across Germany, its allies had collapsed, the fleet had mutinied, the German Army was doing the same with desertion rates soaring. In fact, Germany's position in late 1918 was worse than it would be in early 1945. Germany faced two possibilities, one was a negotiated armistice in November 1918, the other was unconditional surrender in December 1918. With hindsight, the correct response would have been for the allies to push for Germany's unconditional surrender and they would have probably got it. Woodrow Wilson screwed that up (against French and British advice by the way) seeing an armistice in November as the last-gasp chance for his "peace without victors" policy. Again, see Tooze's Deluge.

The idea that Germany was capable of fighting anybody after November 1918 is adorable.

DaveAAA wrote:
Germany was close to a Communist revolution in 1919. Indeed, there were Communist uprisings. Nor were the German people any keener to continue the war than anyone else. Probably not a good choice to force them to fight the Reds again. I also don;t see a very positive response by Poles at being handed over to Germany, especially as they seized independence in the collapse of the empires. Note too that Austria Hungary had fallen apart in October 1918. A lot of Versailles was trying to catch up to the new realities on the ground as just about everyone started fighting their neighbours.


That's a pretty good summary although I would dispute the phraseology that "nor were the German people any keener to continue the war than anyone else." They were actually a lot less keen than anybody else and it wasn't just the civilian population. The fleet had already disintegrated and the Army was doing the same. There was a last hard crust of troops who were fighting a rearguard action but that was it; essentially they were buying time for their comrades to desert. The rest of the army was packing up and going home. Germany was done and its army was finished.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 8:13 am 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
And is it really true that communists can't be laid at Wilson's feet? Why didn't the Entente throttle the USSR in the cradle? Clearly anyone with sense would have turned Imperial Germany on the Russians in 1919, letting it keep Poland in exchange for surrendering the left bank of the Rhine.


And there it falls apart. The Rhineland had been German for a millenium. The western bits of Poland had been for little more than 100 years and look what a mess their return to Poland created.

If you need someone to fight the Commies the Germans would have been willing to hold Finnland and the Baltic States but for a counter offensive in Russia the Whites might be better suited. Give them more support, maybe via Germany and pressure them into political concessions towards their newly independant ex-provinces, particularly Poland.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 9:09 am 
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M.Becker wrote:
If you need someone to fight the Commies the Germans would have been willing to hold Finnland and the Baltic States but for a counter offensive in Russia the Whites might be better suited. Give them more support, maybe via Germany and pressure them into political concessions towards their newly independant ex-provinces, particularly Poland.


Actually, I doubt that Germany had the residual military capacity and public willpower to do even that. They were in "just get it over with" mode.

Probably, the greatest mistake in Russia wasn't not intervening strongly enough but intervening at all. One comparison of the 1919/23 civil war was it was like a "domestic disturbance" where a husband and wife are going at each other with clubs, knives and any other implement that comes to hand. Only, if somebody tries to interfere they forget their differences and turn on the intruder. That's more or less what happened in Russia. Various factions in Russia may hate each other like poison but they hate uninvited intruders even more (and that hatred takes a long time to go away). What the intervention did was consolidate most Russians into an anti-outsider mode and to throw the Whites into disrepute for being the cause of the intruders coming. If Russia had been left alone, the effects may have been much more desirable from our point of view at least.

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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 11:55 am 
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Politically there isn't a chance in hell the western allies are going to reward Germany at the expense of one of their allies in the war (Russia). It just isn't going to happen.

This counterfactual also assumes the allies already know that the communist are going to win in Russian and seeks to prevent it.


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PostPosted: Thu Sep 07, 2017 7:49 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
HMS Warspite wrote:
Let the Germans do the fighting. It is that or Versailles. Will they refuse?


Absolutely they will refuse. Germany was days or a week or two at most from unconditional surrender in WW1. They were collapsing internally, the country was on the brink of civil war and had been for months. Only the peace treaty with Russia had kept the lid on the situation as long as it did. Any effort to continue hostilities would have resulted in a complete breakdown. You really need to read Tooze's Deluge to get a handle on how bad Germany's situation was in 1918.

The Germans were in a bad way against the Entente, but would not have been in a bad way against the Russians with Entente backing.

The Russians were weak as hell even before they surrendered to Germany, losing a third of their population, and most of their industry, adopting an extremist political ideology with very little popular support, and implementing a crazy economic system that briefly caused starvation even in the interior regions.

A German army of 500,000 men could have knocked over the Bolsheviks. There are 500,000 committed anti-Bolsheviks in the German army of 1919. Materiel doesn't matter because it can come from the Entente. Uprisings don't matter that much because without the Entente and disarmament to worry about the government can disarm unreliable army units and use the rest to suppress uprisings. Which is pretty much what the Weimar Republic did. (Suppressing the Weimar Republic and restoring the Hohenzollerns under Wilhelm III isn't a bad idea though.)

Historically, the vast majority of the "white army", which was never really some kind of equal force in a war but just a rag-tag group of disconnected mutineers, came from the areas that had been under German control. There was at the very least no good reason for the Entente to give this land - which in effect belonged to them - to a state that had betrayed them in war and which they refused to diplomatically recognise. This is for sure Wilson's craziness.

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Just lifting the blockade might be enough enticement.

No way. Why should Germany go to war with Russia again for no very good reason? The Brest-Litovsk peace treaty was as close to an unconditional surrender by Russia as had been seen in Europe for a long, long time. The Germans had been given everything they needed from Russia, the fact that they were unable to take it was a mark of how hopeless their position was. The real problem with this idea is that it assumes Germany was capable of continuing to fight in 1918. It wasn't; the country was collapsing internally, there were multiple uprising across Germany, its allies had collapsed, the fleet had mutinied, the German Army was doing the same with desertion rates soaring. In fact, Germany's position in late 1918 was worse than it would be in early 1945. Germany faced two possibilities, one was a negotiated armistice in November 1918, the other was unconditional surrender in December 1918. With hindsight, the correct response would have been for the allies to push for Germany's unconditional surrender and they would have probably got it. Woodrow Wilson screwed that up (against French and British advice by the way) seeing an armistice in November as the last-gasp chance for his "peace without victors" policy. Again, see Tooze's Deluge.

Germany did surrender unconditionally, by agreeing to terms that would make it entirely incapable of defending itself in the face of continued hostilities. There is no practical difference between what Germany agreed to and an unconditional surrender in the strict sense of a single term enabling the victors to impose any future terms at will.

The real difference between 1919 and 1945 is that in 1919 it was determined that the whole of Central Europe should be made into a power vacuum, whereas in 1945 it was determined that Germany would be occupied by Allied troops up to the border with the next great power (really the US had no choice in this regard and I suspect they would have done something even dumber the second time had circumstances permitted it, like the Morgenthau Plan followed by complete demobilisation - policy that in fact was notionally adopted but never really implemented; the result would have been a Soviet conquest of the whole of continental Europe).

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 12:19 pm 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
The Germans were in a bad way against the Entente, but would not have been in a bad way against the Russians with Entente backing.

Even if that were true, its irrelevant. They were absolutely in a bad way against everybody and there is no way in hell they were getting entente backing.

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The Russians were weak as hell even before they surrendered to Germany, losing a third of their population, and most of their industry, adopting an extremist political ideology with very little popular support, and implementing a crazy economic system that briefly caused starvation even in the interior regions.

None of which was apparent at the time and the basic political impetus from Lenin was towards an alliance with Germany. And the Germans knew it.

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A German army of 500,000 men could have knocked over the Bolsheviks.

No, it wouldn't because there was no such Army. It had gone and there was no political or popular support for any kind of continued war. Even mentioning the idea would have pitched what was left of Germany into a very real civil war - which the German government would have lost.

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There are 500,000 committed anti-Bolsheviks in the German army of 1919.

No, there were not. What was left of the German army just wanted to go home. They were beaten and they knew it.

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Materiel doesn't matter because it can come from the Entente.

Which is fanciful bordering on the irrational. After spending five years grinding down the German Army and spraying arterial blood while doing so, there is absolutely no way that the Entente is going to build the German Army up again. To suggest that they might shows a profound lack of comprehension of the political situation at the time.

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Uprisings don't matter that much because without the Entente and disarmament to worry about the government can disarm unreliable army units and use the rest to suppress uprisings. Which is pretty much what the Weimar Republic did. (Suppressing the Weimar Republic and restoring the Hohenzollerns under Wilhelm III isn't a bad idea though.)

That also shows a complete lack of understanding of what was happening in 1918/19

Quote:
Historically, the vast majority of the "white army", which was never really some kind of equal force in a war but just a rag-tag group of disconnected mutineers, came from the areas that had been under German control. There was at the very least no good reason for the Entente to give this land - which in effect belonged to them - to a state that had betrayed them in war and which they refused to diplomatically recognise. This is for sure Wilson's craziness.

No, it wasn't. And the problem they had was the Entente support, not the lack of it.

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Germany did surrender unconditionally, by agreeing to terms that would make it entirely incapable of defending itself in the face of continued hostilities.

That is self-contradictory.

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There is no practical difference between what Germany agreed to and an unconditional surrender in the strict sense of a single term enabling the victors to impose any future terms at will.

Yes, there is. There is a huge fundamental difference and if you had studied what happened in the days before the 1918 Armistice not to mention the drivers that led to the Armistice you would realize that.

Quote:
The real difference between 1919 and 1945 is that in 1919 it was determined that the whole of Central Europe should be made into a power vacuum, whereas in 1945 it was determined that Germany would be occupied by Allied troops up to the border with the next great power (really the US had no choice in this regard and I suspect they would have done something even dumber the second time had circumstances permitted it, like the Morgenthau Plan followed by complete demobilisation - policy that in fact was notionally adopted but never really implemented; the result would have been a Soviet conquest of the whole of continental Europe).

Woodrow Wilson screwed things up incredibly with the last remnants of his "peace without victors" philosophy and his determination not to enable any increase in power by France and Great Britain. Certainly, the Allies in 1945 were determined not to make the same mistakes in 1945 as they had in 1919 but that's a different issue. Trying to suggest that the Entente could have used the German Army against Russia in 1918/19 shows such a profound lack of understanding of what was happening in Germany and the Allies that I have to wonder where your basis for this position comes from. Again, read Tooze's "Deluge". It's hard work but it's essential reading iof you want to understand what happened in 1918/19 and why. It'll show you just how far removed from reality the course of action you suggest is.

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PostPosted: Sat Sep 09, 2017 3:45 pm 
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Oddly enough I'm reading 'Achtung Panzer's at the moment - Guderian feels very strongly that the German army was completely wiped out by November 1918. He should know, he was part of it.

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RLBH wrote:
Oddly enough I'm reading 'Achtung Panzer's at the moment - Guderian feels very strongly that the German army was completely wiped out by November 1918. He should know, he was part of it.

That's pretty much the general consensus. The desertion rate had hit the roof, large portions of the Army were openly mutinying - the fleet already had. The key thing that happened in the last month of the war was that everybody knew that once the armies stopped fighting, it was going to be impossible to get them fighting again. That meant that the negotiations that produced the armistice had to be very precise and very definitive. Even the British Army was unlikely to recommence operations once the armistice was in place. Add into that the fact there would have been a pan-European civil war if the governments tried to restart operations; the intervention that did take place in Russia was just about the maximum that was politically possible and it proved only sustainable for a very limited period.

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Francis Urquhart wrote:
HMS Warspite wrote:
The Germans were in a bad way against the Entente, but would not have been in a bad way against the Russians with Entente backing.

Even if that were true, its irrelevant. They were absolutely in a bad way against everybody and there is no way in hell they were getting entente backing.

Entirely incredible. The position of the Russians was much worse. You are repeatedly pointing out, entirely correctly, that Germany was truly done against the Entente, and therefore it was truly done against anyone and everyone. But the Entente was the most powerful array of forces in the world, so that hardly follows.

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The Russians were weak as hell even before they surrendered to Germany, losing a third of their population, and most of their industry, adopting an extremist political ideology with very little popular support, and implementing a crazy economic system that briefly caused starvation even in the interior regions.

None of which was apparent at the time and the basic political impetus from Lenin was towards an alliance with Germany. And the Germans knew it.

It was apparent at the time that Russia had been in a bad enough way to sign an extremely unfavourable peace agreement, and that that peace agreement had stripped Russia of significantly more military potential than had been lost in actual fighting at the time of that peace agreement.

It was clear to the Entente powers that they could invade the periphery of Russia with small forces, generally no more than a division and often less, without being faced with any overwhelming response in the near term.

I think it was quite clear to the Entente powers that they could have destroyed the USSR in 1919 and 1920 with limited commitment of forces.

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A German army of 500,000 men could have knocked over the Bolsheviks.

No, it wouldn't because there was no such Army. It had gone and there was no political or popular support for any kind of continued war. Even mentioning the idea would have pitched what was left of Germany into a very real civil war - which the German government would have lost.

In what sense was there no such army? The Vorläufige Reichswehr was about that size. There literally was such an army. That is without the money and backing of the Entente.

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Materiel doesn't matter because it can come from the Entente.

Which is fanciful bordering on the irrational. After spending five years grinding down the German Army and spraying arterial blood while doing so, there is absolutely no way that the Entente is going to build the German Army up again. To suggest that they might shows a profound lack of comprehension of the political situation at the time.

I don't necessarily disagree. I am merely pointing out that this worldview - which was not for instance shared in our treatment of France in 1814 - was an historic mistake of catastrophic proportions, that it was always fanciful if not insane to suppose that a country with the potential to produce world leading military power should be entirely disarmed indefinitely, that the true threat to Europe was ignored and even enabled, and that in the end the obvious happened with a Russian border almost at the North Sea.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:37 am 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
The position of the Russians was much worse. You are repeatedly pointing out, entirely correctly, that Germany was truly done against the Entente, and therefore it was truly done against anyone and everyone. But the Entente was the most powerful array of forces in the world, so that hardly follows.

The point is that the German Army was done against everybody. Apart from a thin and rapidly-depleting crust that was essentially buying time for the rest of the Army to desert, the German Army was bereft of combat capability. They couldn't even defend themselves let alone attack anybody else. You're making the presumption that the defeat in late 1918 had reduced German military capability while the point is that it had eliminated it completely.

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It was apparent at the time that Russia had been in a bad enough way to sign an extremely unfavourable peace agreement, and that that peace agreement had stripped Russia of significantly more military potential than had been lost in actual fighting at the time of that peace agreement.

Most of which was political gamesmanship within Russia. Again, you need to read Tooze's Deluge for an accurate picture of what was going on.

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It was clear to the Entente powers that they could invade the periphery of Russia with small forces, generally no more than a division and often less, without being faced with any overwhelming response in the near term.

Operations that were ineffective and were terminated because their potential losses did not indicate any proportionate gains. It was also causing major political issues in the home countries that were done with the war. Again, read Deluge. It'll correct the fundamental mistakes you are making.

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I think it was quite clear to the Entente powers that they could have destroyed the USSR in 1919 and 1920 with limited commitment of forces.

Wrong. Completely and totally wrong. It was that doing so was impossible without a politically impossible commitment of forces (And in the face of massive popular dissent) that resulted in the end of the effort. Only the Japanese were prepared to commit major forces and they found the job was impossible.

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A German army of 500,000 men could have knocked over the Bolsheviks.
In what sense was there no such army? The Vorläufige Reichswehr was about that size. There literally was such an army. That is without the money and backing of the Entente.


Wrong again. The Reichswehr nowhere even close to that size. It was limited to 121,000 men equipped and structured as a defensive force only, a force level that it did not reach until 1921. Your assertion that there was a 500,000 man army is contrary to fact. Suggesting it might get Entente backing is ridiculous.

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I am merely pointing out that this worldview - which was not for instance shared in our treatment of France in 1814 - was an historic mistake of catastrophic proportions, that it was always fanciful if not insane to suppose that a country with the potential to produce world leading military power should be entirely disarmed indefinitely, that the true threat to Europe was ignored and even enabled, and that in the end the obvious happened with a Russian border almost at the North Sea.


The problem with Versailles was that it was fell between two stools, one stool being represented by France that wanted a harsh, 1945-style treaty and Wilson who wanted a "Peace without Victors" agreement that also hobbled Britain and France. Britain was uneasily between the two but tended more towards France. eventually the Versailles peace treaty , like most compromises, fell short of its objectives. Looking back on that situation, its apparent now that the Versailles Treaty was not harsh enough; it should have included total German disarmament,, the occupation of Germany itself and the division of Germany into four successor states.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 7:43 pm 
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Francis Urquhart wrote:
HMS Warspite wrote:
The position of the Russians was much worse. You are repeatedly pointing out, entirely correctly, that Germany was truly done against the Entente, and therefore it was truly done against anyone and everyone. But the Entente was the most powerful array of forces in the world, so that hardly follows.

The point is that the German Army was done against everybody. Apart from a thin and rapidly-depleting crust that was essentially buying time for the rest of the Army to desert, the German Army was bereft of combat capability. They couldn't even defend themselves let alone attack anybody else. You're making the presumption that the defeat in late 1918 had reduced German military capability while the point is that it had eliminated it completely.

Again, the argument that because people were deserting an unwinnable war means that they would not fight a winnable, and indeed highly profitable, war is not credible. It's hard to see where the forces that fought Germany's civil wars, up to and including the Nazi coup, came from in this case.

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It was clear to the Entente powers that they could invade the periphery of Russia with small forces, generally no more than a division and often less, without being faced with any overwhelming response in the near term.

Operations that were ineffective and were terminated because their potential losses did not indicate any proportionate gains.

No arguments here. The whole thing was never very serious.

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It was also causing major political issues in the home countries that were done with the war. Again, read Deluge. It'll correct the fundamental mistakes you are making.

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I think it was quite clear to the Entente powers that they could have destroyed the USSR in 1919 and 1920 with limited commitment of forces.

Wrong. Completely and totally wrong. It was that doing so was impossible without a politically impossible commitment of forces (And in the face of massive popular dissent) that resulted in the end of the effort. Only the Japanese were prepared to commit major forces and they found the job was impossible.

Rot. It was causing problems with communist agitators and their "mainstream" apologists, who, while more important than the Bolshevik army, were not actually all that important. The idea that Britain couldn't find 6,000 men who actually wanted to fight communism in the whole Empire is obvious bunk. The dirty truth is that communism was quite popular in the allied elite, in a similar way Islam is today.

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I am merely pointing out that this worldview - which was not for instance shared in our treatment of France in 1814 - was an historic mistake of catastrophic proportions, that it was always fanciful if not insane to suppose that a country with the potential to produce world leading military power should be entirely disarmed indefinitely, that the true threat to Europe was ignored and even enabled, and that in the end the obvious happened with a Russian border almost at the North Sea.


The problem with Versailles was that it was fell between two stools, one stool being represented by France that wanted a harsh, 1945-style treaty and Wilson who wanted a "Peace without Victors" agreement that also hobbled Britain and France. Britain was uneasily between the two but tended more towards France. eventually the Versailles peace treaty , like most compromises, fell short of its objectives. Looking back on that situation, its apparent now that the Versailles Treaty was not harsh enough; it should have included total German disarmament,, the occupation of Germany itself and the division of Germany into four successor states.

The harshness of the treaty is really irrelevant. It would have been fine to have signed a white peace with Germany, and fine to have sold the population into slavery in the Bahamas with the land to be repopulated by French and British colonists. The key mistake was to suppose that Germany could be disarmed without being occupied, to become a non-aligned country and simply stay safe and non-aligned forever, while sandwiched between two great powers. The decision to make a peace agreement without taking any account of its effect on the strategic situation was the intent and fault of Wilson. And just to prove I am not advancing a polemical theory (however justified it would in any case be), here are the man's own words on the subject:

"First, that each part of the final settlement must be based upon the essential justice of that particular case and upon such adjustments as are most likely to bring a peace that will be permanent;
"Second, that peoples and provinces are not to be bartered about from sovereignty to sovereignty as if they were mere chattels and pawns in a game, even the great game, now forever discredited, of the balance of power; but that
"Third, every territorial settlement involved in this war must be made in the interest and for the benefit of the populations concerned, and not as a part of any mere adjustment or compromise of claims amongst rival states; and
"Fourth, that all well defined national aspirations shall be accorded the utmost satisfaction that can be accorded them without introducing new or perpetuating old elements of discord and antagonism that would be likely in time to breaks the peace of Europe and consequently of the world."

Wilson concluded a peace that was essentially religious in nature and not strategic or diplomatic. No other allied statesman was saying anything like this.

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PostPosted: Mon Sep 11, 2017 8:13 pm 
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HMS Warspite wrote:
Again, the argument that because people were deserting an unwinnable war means that they would not fight a winnable, and indeed highly profitable, war is not credible. It's hard to see where the forces that fought Germany's civil wars, up to and including the Nazi coup, came from in this case.


On the contrary it is entirely credible, indeed inevitable. An army that has lost the will to fight won't win anything and in November 1918 the German Army had indeed lost the will to fight. When you try and deny that simple fact, I have to conclude that you are trolling.

As to the civil unrest in Germany, it was mainly the work of relatively small groups of street thugs much closer in concept to street gangs than armies.

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Rot. It was causing problems with communist agitators and their "mainstream" apologists, who, while more important than the Bolshevik army, were not actually all that important. The idea that Britain couldn't find 6,000 men who actually wanted to fight communism in the whole Empire is obvious bunk. The dirty truth is that communism was quite popular in the allied elite, in a similar way Islam is today.

Once again, you are completely wrong. The opposition to any further extension of the war was very widespread and spread across class and political barriers. Once again, read Tooze. It was a combination of war-weariness, casualties and the effects of realizing what the war in the trenches was really like. It wasn't communism that was popular in the allied elites, it was pacifism muddied up with the knowledge of what the next time around would be like.

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The harshness of the treaty is really irrelevant. It would have been fine to have signed a white peace with Germany, and fine to have sold the population into slavery in the Bahamas with the land to be repopulated by French and British colonists. The key mistake was to suppose that Germany could be disarmed without being occupied, to become a non-aligned country and simply stay safe and non-aligned forever, while sandwiched between two great powers.

At last, you have said something accurate )Assuming we ignore the first two sentences). WW2 proved that Germany had to be occupied and subdivided if its menace to Europe was to be ended. In that, the Allies learned from WW1.

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Wilson concluded a peace that was essentially religious in nature and not strategic or diplomatic.


No, it was worse. It was liberal. And Wilson had very precise strategic aims. Again, read Tooze.

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