8 Bi Weekly Feedback 5th Question 1st Period

Was WWI a necessary war in order to stop German aggressiveness or was it an avoidable and unnecessary tragedy?

Well, I do not have a major opinion on this question because we have yet to cover much of the details in class. Nevertheless, in life sometimes just a big slap in the face is just what a snob needs to cool their jets. I think this is also true in Germany's case. Some historians claim that war is always avoidable and always detrimental to society, and most disagree with this notion. But, Germany, under Wilhelm II, was being ruled by an inexperienced hot head whose reckless comments made Germany seem to be a threat to the rest of Europe. People were scared and started to believe that Germany would just pop like a balloon and go crazy. The 1911 Morocco Crisis, when Wilhelm send a gun boat demanding compensation from the French, gave the whole world insight on the irrational and aggressive German State. Thus, things could have exponentially gotten worse had other European Nations not allied and defeated Germany in WWI. The magnitude of the war was tragic, nevertheless I believe that some sort of conflict was necessary to put Germany back in its place. (Ellie Sheild).

I agree with Ellie. Although German aggression is the only topic we have covered in class that demonstrates the causes of World War I, it is safe to say that Germany’s aggression under Wilhelm II was one of the major events that triggered war. In my opinion it is not the German’s as a whole that appeared aggressive, but it was their ruler Wilhelm II who was overbearing and eager to prove the power of Germany. Through Wilhelm’s actions, previously stated above with the Morocco crisis, and his incessant bragging of the strength of the German military, it is safe to say that other European countries would have felt threatened by Germany’s sudden and overbearing display of power. Yes, I believe that something needed to be done to put a stop to Germany (mainly Wilhelm’s naïve and reckless attitude), but nothing to the scale of the destruction and chaos demonstrated in World War I. (Lauren Burton)

In contrast to the propaganda that Mr. Edwards attempts to pass off as history, I think that WWI was avoidable, as are most wars. I'd attribute the main causes to complicated, secret alliances that forced nations to become involved in a minor conflict that should have stayed between Serbia and Hungary. If the alliances had been out in the open and if there had been a forum to address grievances such as the modern UN, diplomacy could have acted to soothe over tensions or too at least defuse the situation. What occurred, in my opinion, was countries acting rashly and immediately rallying to war when, if they had civilly discussed the matter, they could have realized that war shouldn't be a means to solve problems. When turning to the question of the necessity of war to "put germany it its place" as Ellie and Lauren argued, I don't believe that war is the only means to influence a countries politics. Sanctions and trade embargos could have acted to cut off Germany from the rest of the world as a means of punishment prior to involvement in war. Further, if there were open discussion through international organizations, countries could have discussed means to maintain the balance of power in Europe through civil means such as strengthening trade relations with countries besides Germany. In the end, I feel that this mindset that war was the only way to prevent German aggression affirms a militarist way of dealing with our problems, problems which could be more aptly address through economic power, soft power, or diplomacy. The mindset of rash militarism set a precedence for violence to be used as a means of rebalancing power and correcting each others behavior. I think this precedence is a cancerous tumor on the human race as, when we see war as an option, we can fall back of us vs. them mentalities. Suddenly, whole countries become "the enemy" and we forget the fact that those same countries are composed of people just like us. When we commit violence against others, we further segment and separate the human race, preventing the ability for us to work together to find advances in medecine, technology, science, or thought in general. I'd rather explore space, then have young men armed with guns exploring foreign lands for the sake of political gain. And I don't mean to sound like a "make love, not war" hippie, but I believe that in this country we romanticize the notion of war and forget the harms we cause other people. In the 21st century especially, we should be looking to spreading influence (gain soft power) through culture, the media, and NGO's rather than rashly attacking other countries. So, in conclusion, war was bad, war is bad, war will always be bad./rant -David Farrow

Posting your painfully short post under David Farrow's novel of a post…#awk. Anyways, I think we’re incapable (or at least I am) of determining that; however, for now I’ll say that the war was necessary to quell German aggression. The U.S.’s relationship with North Korea seems to bear a lot of similarity to the situation; we’ve allowed them to harp on and on about their superiority while being cautious and realistic about their capabilities, but I could definitely see us contemplating war if they pose a serious threat (successfully launching nuclear weapons pointed in our direction)—I’m assuming Europe’s situation with Germany was similar. —-TB

Although, like Ellie and Lauren said, we have not finished covering the material, as of now I do not think the WWI was necessary to stop German aggression because I do not think Germany was overly aggressive. Germany only sought to expand its influence in places like the Balkans and Morocco, just as other Europeans sought to expand their influence through imperialism in Africa. How is Germany sending a warship to Morocco to demand compensation different than the Fashoda Affair, in which France sent troops toward the British in the Sudan for trading rights? Thus, I think Europe sort of overreacted to Germany joining in on the imperialist game (although not in Africa). If a war was necessary, it certainly did not need to be of the magnitude of WWI. (Meaghan)

As with all other forms of propaganda, I believe everything I’m told, so I’m siding with Mr. Edwards and Ellie and Lauren specifically on the points about the inevitability of war and its necessity. David, you assume that multilateral organizations like the UN can calm all political tussles and perhaps this would’ve helped cool tensions created by African imperialism but I contend that WWI was chiefly a product of intense nationalism and love of military conquests mirroring the Roman spirit, thus making the problem internal rather than international. The technological innovations and rapid increase in living standards, paired with a tremendous sense of wonder and admiration for such achievements, essentially inflated the egos of every nation beyond the point of sustainability. These nations were too prideful and consumed by the prospect of national glory to stop and think practically and this nationalism fueled not only an obliviousness to the horrors of war but a desire for all out gun on gun combat as each nation thought they could single-handedly destroy the other. Nationalism is not something that could have been diffused with a multilateral organization because it makes each nation into an irrational player and all of Europe became a playing field for nations unhealthily prideful in their military accomplishments. Thus war was inevitable and necessary so as to bring to the home front the horrors of war and destroy any national pride in one’s military. This war was not the product of rational nations run by dumb leaders but irrational nations composed of excessively prideful people who couldn’t help but fight to defend their honor. Europe basically became the Jersey Shore: a bunch of ripped air heads looking to show off their muscles and defend their pride at all costs, especially through fighting.
-Richmond

I think we were supposed to respond to the earlier ones, but as richmond believes what he's told, I choose to subject my decisions to me fellow subjects and proceed to answer a question answered already today: WWI, as viewed before and during the treaty of Versailles, was a war caused by German aggression. Only after people realized that the peace agreement was too extreme did citizens of different nations view the Germans as exploited. And then WWII happened - was Europe harsh enough. Popular in the 20's and 30's, WWI was inevitable, but I only partially agree with that statement. As Mr. Edwards advocated, WWI did not have to occur, only a small Balkan war. What the Germans did was flex their military muscle and transform a small petty war into a global conflict. Therefore, the Germans were responsible, through their aggression, for transforming a small war into the Great War. Louis Stephens

Was World War I avoidable? Well, I guess that depends on how loosely one wants to define avoidable. In hindsight, might it have been possible to avoid? Why yes, I believe it would have been. But hindsight is 20/20 and looking back everything seems easier than it was at the time. If people had known how devastating the war would have been, more attempts would have been made at diplomacy. On the other hand, if people had known that WWII would follow perhaps European leaders would have continued WWI until Germany was crushed into oblivion. Of course, nobody can see the future or change the past, so pretending otherwise is purely hypothetical. A more reasonable consideration is whether different leaders at the time could have prevented WWI. In general, I believe most wars are avoidable. I also believe that individuals can shape the course of history. Therefore, I believe it likely that with different individuals in charge, WWI could have been avoided. If you’ll forgive me a rather contrite example, if I was the leader of one country and my best friend the leader of another, it seems rather unlikely that we would go to war with each other. I realize that this avoids a lot of the nuances of WWI, but my point is merely that in an ideal world where my friends and I rule the world there wouldn’t have been WWI. (Connor Haines)

Knowing what people know now, of course no leader in a right mind would provoke World War I with another country. I am not totally sure about what went down just yet, but from what I know, and this could be totally incorrect, the war could have been contained to a Germany, Austria, and Serbia type thing. No way should the United States and Britain have to be brought into a war like that. Agression from the German side is what I feel played a large part in starting the war, but that is the way the Germans had operated with their army long before the time period, so it could have been seen in advance. The war was avoidable for countries that did not have a real reason to join the war other than alliances. With that said, somebody inevitably had to restore the European balance of power, since Germany's army was getting too strong. (Robert Jessell)

With so many dominos falling to bring about the beginning of World War I, it is hard to say that German aggression was the overarching issue that precipitated the conflict. Economic and imperial competitiveness plagued Europe, creating tension amongst the major powers. The secret alliance system, however, is what truly thrust the entirety of Europe into the conflict after Russia’s entrance into the war (WHICH WOULD NEVER HAVE HAPPENED WITHOUT THE STUPIDITY OF THE FALTERING AND BELLICOSE NICOLAS II, WHO WANTED A WAR). Then, the subsequent ineptitude of the French and British governments only exacerbated the problem, and when they willingly jumped into the melee to protect their alliance with Russia, the only way out would be through a bloodbath. A war originally about Serbian nationalism in Austria thus became a global conflict. If Germany had not been so aggressive, would the war still have happened? Probably not. But any major power could have stopped the ball from rolling, but all failed to do so. But, when the war began, the French and British (and American) propagandists surely tried to make out Germany to be brutish and warlike. But all major powers had been building up their respective militaries. When the war began, it was hard to say what any one country was really fighting for, per se, besides a spot at the European Table of Greatness (I just came up with that). While Woodrow Wilson tried to add a dash of idealism to the carnage and gore, we all know how successful he was, and the results of the Treaty of Versailles really speak for themselves: this war was all about European power politics. -DavisHeniford