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100 years ago 1912


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#1 Will I Davies

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:35 AM

Hi All,

Happy New Year to you all in the Forum and welcome to 2012.

As we are edging ever closer to 100 years since the beginning of the great war, I was wondering what pre war significant effects occured in the preceding 2 years before the hostilities began.

This could include ships built, aeroplane designs, units formed, army decisions, officers appointed, parliamentary decisions, treaties etc etc.

Regards

Will

#2 THE SHINY SEVENTH

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 11:02 AM

1912 Mar 5th - Italian forces are the first to use airships for military purposes, using them for reconnaissance behind Turkish lines.
Apr 10th - RMS Titanic sets sail for its 1st & last voyage
Apr 13th - Royal Flying Corps forms (later RAF)
Jun 13th - Capt Albert Berry made the 1st parachute jump from an airplane
A few to start with, Sean. Edit:My apologies, Happy New Year to all.

#3 brucehubbard

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 02:19 PM

Wasn't there also a degree of unpleasantness in the Balkans?

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#4 kenf48

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 02:50 PM

I enjoyed reading this account 'The Vertigo Years' Philip Blom critically examines the period from 1900 - 1914; mainly a social and cultural history it discusses among many other topics the masculinity of European culture fuelled by machines and speed it's ascendancy reflected in the success of Kitchener's volunteers and the 'massacre' of the German students in 1914.

http://www.amazon.co...4/dp/0465011160

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#5 MichaelBully

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 03:12 PM

Happy New Year too Will and everyone else here !
Yes the Balkans were turbulent in 1912 as Bruce has mentioned. But relations between Britain, France and Germany broadly speaking, seemed better than in 1911 with the potential for hostilities occuring in regard to Morocco.
I think a lot depends on whether one views the Great War as being inevitable in the sense that the tension between the main European powers could not be resolved without armed conflict, and/or that there were enough 'war parties' in positions of influence to encourage participation in a new major European war.
Whoever holds the view that a European war was bound to break out in the second decade of the 20th century will probably find factors in the years leading to 1914 which draw them to this conclusion.
So far I lean more to the view that the Great War was not inevitable but am particularly interested to read other pals' views of the years immediately before 1914.
Regards, Michael Bully

#6 brucehubbard

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 03:46 PM

A couple of months ago, on the trip home with a coach of Year 9s, the lead teacher asked if I could pass him the microphone.
He announced that there would now be an "Ask Bruce" session, with Bruce deciding who asked the best WW1-related question, and get a prize.
"Whaaaaaaaaaaat???" Two seconds of notice might have been nice!
There then followed a number of very sensible questions, but I awarded the prize to the young lady who asked,
"Could the Great War have been avoided, and if so, how?"

Bruce

#7 centurion

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 04:02 PM

I think first you have to define Great War. There is a least one viable scenario (that came close to coming about) which would have seen Germany and the KuK hammering Russia and leaving France ( for later). So you could have had two wars The Eastern war in which Russia is subdued and some time later a Western one in which France (and very likely Britain) would have been involved. This would have been much to Germany's advantage.

#8 Tom Morgan

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 05:04 PM

In 1912, the engineering works to widen the Kiel Canal were well under way. The canal already linked the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, avoiding the need to sail around the Jutland Peninsula - a detour of over 400 km. The widening of the canal allowed Dreadnought-sized battleships to use the canal. These ships could therefore get from the Baltic to the North Sea without having to sail around Denmark. The German Navy would find this short route very useful in the event of a European war. The widening work was finished in 1914.........

Tom

#9 truthergw

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:37 PM

If the war were to be avoided it would have to be as a result of actions taken by the people who caused it, politicians. Remember Clausewitz's dictum, " War is a continuation of policy by other means". If that is so, then we need to look at political decisions taken in France and Germany in the year 1912.

#10 centurion

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 06:49 PM

If the war were to be avoided it would have to be as a result of actions taken by the people who caused it, politicians. Remember Clausewitz's dictum, " War is a continuation of policy by other means". If that is so, then we need to look at political decisions taken in France and Germany in the year 1912.


fortsetzung is usually translated as politics rather than policy

#11 Tom Morgan

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 07:12 PM

fortsetzung is usually translated as politics rather than policy


I think you've got the wong word. 'Fortsetzung'. translates as 'continuation'.

Tom

#12 Will I Davies

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 07:13 PM

In 1912, the engineering works to widen the Kiel Canal were well under way. The canal already linked the North Sea and the Baltic Sea, avoiding the need to sail around the Jutland Peninsula - a detour of over 400 km. The widening of the canal allowed Dreadnought-sized battleships to use the canal. These ships could therefore get from the Baltic to the North Sea without having to sail around Denmark. The German Navy would find this short route very useful in the event of a European war. The widening work was finished in 1914.........

Tom




Hi Tom,

Thats very interesting, I guess this meant that submarines would also have far easier access to the British waters and more importantly the Atlantic .

Will

#13 Tom Morgan

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 07:26 PM

Hi Tom,

Thats very interesting, I guess this meant that submarines would also have far easier access to the British waters and more importantly the Atlantic .

Will


I'm sure you're right, Will. It would have been a smooth and easy passage for them, compared to the alternative. There are some good photos of U-boats running through the canal.

Tom

#14 Will I Davies

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 07:27 PM

Happy New Year too Will and everyone else here !
Yes the Balkans were turbulent in 1912 as Bruce has mentioned. But relations between Britain, France and Germany broadly speaking, seemed better than in 1911 with the potential for hostilities occuring in regard to Morocco.
I think a lot depends on whether one views the Great War as being inevitable in the sense that the tension between the main European powers could not be resolved without armed conflict, and/or that there were enough 'war parties' in positions of influence to encourage participation in a new major European war.
Whoever holds the view that a European war was bound to break out in the second decade of the 20th century will probably find factors in the years leading to 1914 which draw them to this conclusion.
So far I lean more to the view that the Great War was not inevitable but am particularly interested to read other pals' views of the years immediately before 1914.
Regards, Michael Bully



Hi Michael,

What was the truth behind the spark that ignited the war....

Was it the really the Austro Hungarian Empire that wanted to rekindle its strategic importance that was the driving factor behind the war, by insisting on excessive concessions from Serbia that gave them no option or way out, or was it really the imperialism of all the European nations behind the scenes to this event and thought that war was simply inevitable so they just let it all escalate and then blame the Austrians as the original aggressors, win loose or draw.

Regards
Will

#15 Ken MacLean

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Posted 01 January 2012 - 10:02 PM

18th April 100th anniversary of my father's arrival in Canada. He was exempt from military service 1914-1918 due to employment in the copper mining industry but served with distinction during the 1939-1945 rerun with the Pacific Coast Rangers. :)

Ken

#16 MichaelBully

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 01:50 PM

Tom and Will, Yes, the widening of the Kiel Canal led to greater mobility on the part of the German Navy but can't think of any contemporary sources from 1912- 1914 to suggest that this was a concern to Britian at the time.

Hi Tom,

Thats very interesting, I guess this meant that submarines would also have far easier access to the British waters and more importantly the Atlantic .

Will



#17 MichaelBully

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Posted 02 January 2012 - 02:09 PM

Hi Will. Wish I knew the answer.

Broadly speaking the Great War could be presented as yet another Balkan conflict ,exaggerated by the alliances between the largest European nations then getting connected to a further Franco-Prussian war : The fact that there were powerful factions in favour of war in different European countries should not be overlooked.

1912 does not seem so significant as though there was a Balkan war, there seemed little chance of hostilities engulfing the whole of Europe and beyond.

'Imperialism of all the European nations' -do you mean outside of Europe in the sense of colonialism? A clash of interests between the colonial powers such as at Fashoda 1898 and Morocco 1911 was unlikely to have led to war in Europe. Again 1912 seemed a quieter year in this respect.

Hi Michael,

What was the truth behind the spark that ignited the war....

Was it the really the Austro Hungarian Empire that wanted to rekindle its strategic importance that was the driving factor behind the war, by insisting on excessive concessions from Serbia that gave them no option or way out, or was it really the imperialism of all the European nations behind the scenes to this event and thought that war was simply inevitable so they just let it all escalate and then blame the Austrians as the original aggressors, win loose or draw.

Regards
Will



#18 Jim_Grundy

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:22 AM

I've transcribed an editorial from my local newspaper dating from 1912. As you will see, there was little sympathy for Serbia and no support for our participation in a war starting there:

"At the beginning of the week it looked as if Europe might be headed in to the rapids because Servia wanted "a little window" in the Adriatic. The crisis is not quite weathered yet, but there is less all round bluster now than there was. It would seem that in the nick of time he nations have wakened up to the crime that was proposed in their names and with themselves as victims. The attempts to "ginger" the European people into a right attitude of explosive wrath because Austria bars the way to Servian ambitions have so far provoked nothing more cataclysmic than a yawn.

"Nobody has yet explained to the British working man why he should bother himself whether Servia gets her harbour or not. Tangible reasons, of course, there are none, so he is adjured to consider the intangible ones. Well, he has considered them, and, and he remains cold. The Servian episode, we are told, is important, not in itself, but as a touchstone of international relations. Russia is pledged to the Servian cause, and France is committed to the Russian. Italy and Germany are not less engaged with Austria. In other words, the two Alliances are ranged against each other. But England has a friendly understanding with one of the Alliances – the Russo-French. So that, however grotesque the occasion, we must be ready to give our partners in the Triple Entente the support of our army and navy. If we withhold our support, Russia may have to yield to Austrian claims, and the upshot would be a diplomatic victory of the Triple Alliance at the expense of the Triple Entente. The other partners in the Entente would see that to reply upon England was to lean on a broken reed. The Entente itself would collapse.

"Such is the argument by which it has been sought to convince Englishmen that the Servian demands are so close a concern of ours as to be worth Armageddon. The weakness of this chain of reasoning appear the instant it is examined. In the first place, even if we were allied to France and Russia, and we are not, we could hardly be committed to any and every quixotic enterprise embarked on by our partners. What would it profit Russia if Servia gets its Adriatic outlet? Taking the answer to be nothing, what right has any nation to embroil its allies in a war over a mere matter of racial sentiment?

"Those questions might well be asked, even if we were Russia’s ally. It is likely that they are already now being asked in France, which, in fact, is allied to Russia. But, again, England is allied to neither of them. Her relations are, of course, as cordial as an alliance could make them. Were France threatened we should have to fight with as little regard for the causes of [the] quarrel as if our own existence were menaced; which indirectly, it would be. Even if Russia were threatened her support of this country in the Agadir incident last year might bring us into the field to discharge a debt of honour. But Russia is not threatened. All that has happened is that Servia has earmarked for herself a slice of Albania which Austria denies her. If Russia gravely considers that situation to justify her in launching an ultimatum, that is her affair. Ours is to keep out of such a carnival of folly and bloodshed." [1]

As late as 1st August 1914, Hucknall’s MP, Leif Jones, made a speech arguing against British involvement in any war caused by "a half-civilised people in the centre of Europe who had made murder almost a part of their public policy" [2].

Then Germany invaded Belgium.....


Sources:

[1] ‘Hucknall Dispatch’, 28th November 1912.

[2] ‘Nottingham Daily Express’, 3rd August 1914.

#19 George Armstrong Custer

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:43 AM

And, of course, 2012 will see the 151st anniversary of Haig's birth - quite amazing that his son, who met so many of the characters associated with his father, lived until as recently as 2009.

And speaking of 2012 birthdays, I see the wife of a certain German Great War veteran celebrates a landmark birthday this year - yes, Eva Braun will turn 100 on February 6th. I'm sure hubby will be arranging early spring celebrations in their South American hideaway - altogether now:

Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Deutschland is happy and gay!
We're marching to a faster pace
Look out, here comes the master race!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
Rhineland's a fine land once more!
Springtime for Hitler and Germany
U-boats are sailing once more
Springtime for Hitler and Germany.....



George

#20 isadore

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 11:08 AM

In Ireland in 1912, Edward Carson's unionists signed the Ulster Covenant pledging to resist Home Rule - by force if necessary. Subsequently they formed the Ulster Volunteer Force. In response to this the Nationalists formed the Irish Volunteers, whose professed aim was to oppose the Ulster Volunteers and ensure the enactment of the Third Home Rule Bill. The Irish Volunteers and the Ulster Volunteers would feature prominently in the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division during the Great War.

#21 MichaelBully

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 08:17 PM

Yes indeed, a pressing issue for Britain in 1912 right up the end of July 1914 was a growing crisis over possible Home Rule in Ireland and interesting to note how the respective sides joined up in the Great War. Events in Europe seemed to have far less significance.

But one interesting development in 1912 were greater co-operation between French and Russian navies and the greater French fleet pressence in the Mediterrean.So perhaps whilst British attention was diverted elsewhere , European military manouvres had not ceased. Whether these really were going to lead to all out war is of course open to question.

In Ireland in 1912, Edward Carson's unionists signed the Ulster Covenant pledging to resist Home Rule - by force if necessary. Subsequently they formed the Ulster Volunteer Force. In response to this the Nationalists formed the Irish Volunteers, whose professed aim was to oppose the Ulster Volunteers and ensure the enactment of the Third Home Rule Bill. The Irish Volunteers and the Ulster Volunteers would feature prominently in the 36th (Ulster) Division and the 16th (Irish) Division during the Great War.



#22 jh51

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:01 PM

Our father Reg, was born 13 Mar 1912. His father Robert Ellis Jones died of his wounds at the Somme on 16 Jul 1916 .

So 1912, was significant event for our grandfather, for our father, & certainly very significant, for his two sons. R.I.P both.

Just a thought !!

JH

#23 kenf48

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:04 PM

And of course, in September 1912 in the last large scale Army Manoeuvres before 1914 Haig, who had been appointed to the Aldershot Command in March 1912, was defeated by Grierson.

One of the reasons given was Haig's lack of appreciation of the use of spotter aircraft. Significant, in that the Royal Flying Corps had been granted a Royal Warrant in April 1912, and formed the following month as noted above. Overall despite these shortcomings it was also accepted Haldane's reforms of 1908 had taken effect and the army had shown itself to be an effective force.

[Given Haig's ambition and Grierson's early death it's futile to speculate who would have been appointed C-in-C in 1915 had Grierson lived but it's usually acknowledged that the latter's performance in 1912 outclassed that of his opponent.]



Ken

#24 MichaelBully

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 09:43 PM

1912 was the year of Lord Haldane's official visit to Germany .

#25 Will I Davies

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Posted 04 January 2012 - 10:32 PM

The Royal Navy introduce the first fire control mechanism/computer in order to train all the guns from one central control point.

Will