davesnoke
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More accurate modelling of British entry into the Great War

Wed Feb 04, 2015 12:05 am

If I have one significant complaint regarding EAW, it's the modelling of Britain's entry into the war. If the Germans choose either the Moltke or KronPrinz plans, honor Belgian neutrality, and do NOT invade French territory, I believe it is almost inconceivable that the UK would have entered the war. In fact, the government in London might have seen it as the opportunity to prevent the war from becoming a general European conflagration, and counselled France to let the Germans and Austrians settle things with Serbs and Romanovs.

My recollection is that London issued an ultimatum to Germany to withdraw from Belgian territory, else Britain would enter the war. If EAW hopes to accurately model the possible paths which the events of August 1914 might have followed, a thorough reboot is needed to define the circumstances which will cause Britain to enter the war -- it was by no means a sure thing.

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fred zeppelin
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Wed Feb 04, 2015 5:46 am

When I first got the game, I assumed that the campaign with the early start date would include a diplomacy round where nations could try to influence the diplomatic situation before the shooting started. Very disappointed to find, instead, that the early campaign is nothing more than a means to pick ahistorical war plans. Seems to me they missed a perfect opportunity to add a bit of strategy to the game.

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Durk
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Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:02 am

I am not sure I can agree with either of you. While Britain did gain some significant support from its home front after the invasion of Belgium, there is almost no documentation that Britain wish to avoid the coming war. To have the scenario play out as you wish, the game would need to back up at least to 1905. By 1914, Britain's involvement was inevitable.
A 'what if' series of scenarios would, indeed, be interesting, the historical reality is that by 1914 Britain would intervene no matter which course Germany followed.

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fred zeppelin
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Wed Feb 04, 2015 6:19 am

Durk wrote:I am not sure I can agree with either of you. While Britain did gain some significant support from its home front after the invasion of Belgium, there is almost no documentation that Britain wish to avoid the coming war. To have the scenario play out as you wish, the game would need to back up at least to 1905. By 1914, Britain's involvement was inevitable.
A 'what if' series of scenarios would, indeed, be interesting, the historical reality is that by 1914 Britain would intervene no matter which course Germany followed.


And I'm not sure I can agree with you. I just finished reading Churchill's The World Crisis, and he makes clear that there was no consensus in the British cabinet toward war until it became clear that Germany was intent on invading Belgium. In fact, even after German intentions were known, the British waited to see how Belgium planned to respond - i.e., whether Belgium would resist the German invasion or grant them passage and remain neutral - before the decision was made to declare war.

Certainly, Britain had developed the rudiments of a joint pre-war strategy with France, but it was by no means inevitable that Britain would have joined the war immediately had Germany directed its principal effort toward Russia rather than France - particularly so long as Germany honored Belgian neutrality. Indeed, had Germany remained absolutely on the defensive in the West, and had France been the only one doing any invading of enemy territory on that front, Britain might have felt no need to join the fighting immediately and might have preferred to remain neutral to try to broker a negotiated peace.

The historical situation was never so cut and dried as you suggest.

Merlin
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Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:34 am

GB has to enter for the simple fact that the WE can't ever win without it. Nothing more or less, and people seem to forget the Triple Entente (for which the entire damn Entente is named, no less) is still an actual thing.

davesnoke
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Wed Feb 04, 2015 1:54 pm

Durk wrote:I am not sure I can agree with either of you. While Britain did gain some significant support from its home front after the invasion of Belgium, there is almost no documentation that Britain wish to avoid the coming war. To have the scenario play out as you wish, the game would need to back up at least to 1905. By 1914, Britain's involvement was inevitable.
A 'what if' series of scenarios would, indeed, be interesting, the historical reality is that by 1914 Britain would intervene no matter which course Germany followed.


You've made an astonishing assertion, and offered no source documentation. Another contributor has offered Churchill's memoirs; I would suggest you consult Tuchman, Fleming, Elting or, most prominently Keegan. Where on earth did you first encounter the position you've taken?

Had Germany stayed within its western borders, honored Belgian neutrality, and made no effort to attack France, there is every reason to believe that Britain would NOT have entered the war, but rather acted to restrain the French from attacking Germany. That the Germans did NOT pursue this course is one of the tragedies of the Great War. It might well have been contained to a short, sharp rebuke of Serbia and Russia.

Your sources, please. And, noting your domicile, I would much appreciate the UK members of this forum weighing-in on the subject.

davesnoke
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Wed Feb 04, 2015 2:07 pm

Not an compelling recommendation for a simulation intended as means to understand history and its potential alternatives. This game requires a large investment of time to play, and I can't believe the designers intended it as a 'beer and pretzels' treatment of the subject. As long as the game offers multiple scenarios covering the outbreak of the war, who cares if one of them results in an un-balanced scenario resulting in a short, decisive outcome.

In point of fact, one might well argue convincingly that both Britain and France win overwhelmingly in such a scenario: they have avoided the Great War itself, the loss of a generation of men, and perhaps the conditions which produced fascism and Adolph Hitler.

A well-designed historical simulation will allow one to explore these alternatives.

davesnoke
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Wed Feb 04, 2015 8:21 pm

fred zeppelin wrote:When I first got the game, I assumed that the campaign with the early start date would include a diplomacy round where nations could try to influence the diplomatic situation before the shooting started. Very disappointed to find, instead, that the early campaign is nothing more than a means to pick ahistorical war plans. Seems to me they missed a perfect opportunity to add a bit of strategy to the game.


I very much agree. But it should be a relatively simple fix, if they'll invest a bit of time on the front-end of the simulation. Do you know if they've asked for ideas on such modifications?

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Sun Feb 08, 2015 8:50 pm

I understand the stances taken of possibly keeping Britain out of the war. However, doing so presents certain problems well illustrated in this post. Without British support, the French are pretty much incapable of putting serious pressure on the Germans by themselves, which would lead to the Central Powers being able to maul Russia pretty much at will. If Russia was beaten and broken, the Germans could then easily make short work of the French (even if the British decided to become involved at this point).

If France stays out of the war completely, then it's not much of a WW1 game then, and becomes fairly lop-sided in favor of the Central Powers.

I also personally don't think the British would've ever sat back for any real length of time and let Germany becomes masters of the continent. There would just be too much risk, with the German High Seas fleet having become as powerful as it was, to Britain's safety. Had Germany not embarked on it's naval expansion, then I could see the British maintaining their historical neutrality to continental events, but by 1914 that shipped had sailed, so to speak. Yes, it may have taken longer to bring the British national mood around to war, but I think it would've happened by early 1915 at the latest.

Merlin
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Tue Feb 10, 2015 3:30 am

Also, don't forget the treaties which formed the Triple Entente in the first place were still in effect, and if it's one thing GB has always taken seriously, it's treaties.

davesnoke
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Gaming v Historical Simulation

Fri Feb 13, 2015 12:10 am

Altaris wrote:I understand the stances taken of possibly keeping Britain out of the war. However, doing so presents certain problems well illustrated in this post. Without British support, the French are pretty much incapable of putting serious pressure on the Germans by themselves, which would lead to the Central Powers being able to maul Russia pretty much at will. If Russia was beaten and broken, the Germans could then easily make short work of the French (even if the British decided to become involved at this point).

If France stays out of the war completely, then it's not much of a WW1 game then, and becomes fairly lop-sided in favor of the Central Powers.

I also personally don't think the British would've ever sat back for any real length of time and let Germany becomes masters of the continent. There would just be too much risk, with the German High Seas fleet having become as powerful as it was, to Britain's safety. Had Germany not embarked on it's naval expansion, then I could see the British maintaining their historical neutrality to continental events, but by 1914 that shipped had sailed, so to speak. Yes, it may have taken longer to bring the British national mood around to war, but I think it would've happened by early 1915 at the latest.


I think you may have missed my point. EAW requires a fairly large investment of time to play. I suspect I'm not the only person who enjoys using simulations of this sort to explore different outcomes of historical events, rather than just having a 'well-balanced game'.

I think it would be relatively easy to address issues like the one I've raised with very simple options given to the player before the game begins. You could start the UK with an alignment of 45% WE, and warn CP players that any violation of Belgian territory would immediately move Britain 50 percentage points toward WE, with an additional 5 points added if CP fails to respond to Britain's withdrawal ultimatum. In essence, violation of Belgium brings Britain into the war immediately.

If the CP does not invade Belgium, but nevertheless attacks French soil, you could trigger similar alignment movements by the UK. Certain activities by the German surface fleet, or its submarines, could also trigger a sharp alignment penalty. This would tend to promote strictly defensive behavior by Germany in the west, to avoid UK entry. Certainly at least until a decision has been reached with Russia and Serbia, which may actually end the simulation with a CP victory, and perhaps a big win for Europe overall.

Having said that, you could also give the player(s) the option of setting UK alignment to a much higher level at the outset, virtually assuring that Britain will enter the war within a very short period, regardless of what war plan the CP may choose. This will probably result in something closer to the original course of events, a much higher butcher's bill, and a losing side which will be all too ready to listen to someone like the National Socialists.

Was there really a chance for western civilization to avoid the tragedies of the 20th century? Also, does the WE ever elect NOT to land at the Dardanelles, even when it's well-garrisoned by Turkish troops?

davesnoke
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Entente Treaty

Fri Feb 13, 2015 4:42 pm

Merlin wrote:Also, don't forget the treaties which formed the Triple Entente in the first place were still in effect, and if it's one thing GB has always taken seriously, it's treaties.


Britain is very much a nation(s) of laws.

I believe its agreement with France in 1914 concerned a guarantee of French territorial integrity, and a mutual obligation to come to the other's aid in the event either nation was attacked by a 3rd party. I do not believe either party was obligated to become involved in a war of aggression (either of the signatories declares war on, and attacks, another country), nor do I believe the Anglo-French agreement concerned Russia. I think it was somewhat analogous to the Axis Treaty of WW2, when the Japanese studiously avoided any involvement in Germany's war of aggression against the USSR.

A new book on the subject was recently released: 'The Sleepwalkers'. It's worth a look.

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Shri
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Fri Mar 06, 2015 7:38 pm

SleepWalker is a good read. Agreed.
And yes, the UK will be in the War, only case is when?

Schlieffen- immediate.
Any plan + Fleet Sorties towards the Atlantic?- Immediate
Moltke Plan + No Fleet Sortie- Maybe the delay can last till Jan-March 1915.
Rupprecht Plan - Immediate (Swiss were being invaded).
KronPrinz Plan- maybe by November- December 1914.
Rascals, would you live forever? - Frederick the Great.

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Byrd
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Sun Mar 08, 2015 7:56 pm

Whoever believes, that Great Britain could or would have tolerated a continental Hegemon hasn't been paying attention.

Fortunately, there is quite a lot of recent scolarship on the matter; 'A world undone', 'The Sleepwalkers' or 'The Pity of War' (Which makes the argument that Britain is amongst the nations to blame for the war). Looking at Churchill as a viable source of British motivation can't be taken seriously.

The Lev
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Wed Mar 18, 2015 12:44 am

While the point could be debated either way as to whether the UK would have stayed out under any circumstances-to simulate the UK staying out of the war one could either modify the game to have a different CEN/ENT ratio in the diplomacy box, or programme a series of events which a cautious Austro-German player would have to follow. The first would seem to be straightforward, but I've been unable to find said files where the 70-30 balance is noted

From a gameplay perspective, British Neutrality/Arbitration/Indecision would either have to be massively compensated for balance's sake-or simulate the historical possibility of a war between France/Russia/Serbia and Germany/Austria. I'm not opposed to either, more options the better I'd say, even if it is to indulge in counterfactuals-which any historical game would be doing.

Would be interesting to see a Neutral Britain, and with regards to Continental Hegemony Britain did stand aside during the Austro-Prussian and Franco-Prussian wars, although Moltke was rather concerned that British involvement may become assured if the war went on for any longer. The Entente agreements are a powerful argument, yet Italy was rather closely aligned to the Central Powers up to 1914.

Ultimately Britain couldn't stand idly by if France was at risk of falling, so either NM is around 50 (Getting a boost of 50 with British entry) in the Western Entente, or have a 2% increase in pro-Entente sentiment for each German controlled French region, as well as a 10% boost for every country that joins the CP. In short-anything that looked like German dominance in Western Europe would bring Britain into the war-Germany possibly having some decisions to clearly offset this balance (Colonial non-aggression, locking the High Seas Fleet etc) Making a Clear-cut CP victory, with Prussians marching past the Eiffel tower and full blown Russian Revolution, Impossible without coming face to face with the British Empire

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Shri
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Wed Mar 18, 2015 3:36 am

@davesnoke and others

People quoting a 2-timing, narcotic smoking, half-drunk Churchill should see the actions of the English in last 500 years before commenting on others nationalities, i mean support for DURK and others who are being targeted here.

Let me quote the most English of all Fictions (Churchill was the greatest fiction writer in the 20th century, but unfortunately television did not exist then)
Sir Humphrey: Minister, Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years: to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now, when it's worked so well?

England will and will and will enter any war whatsoever when the opponent is threatening the English Position.
If you have any more doubts please consult- Prof. Paul Kennedy's MAGNUM OPUS of Europe (500 years of history) or AJP Taylor or even Keegan (people quoting Keegan forget that Keegan always says the English will enter the war and also repeatedly berates the English and French for following duplicity, having colonies and then crying foul over German colonies, crying wolf over Belgian neutrality and then breaking Greek neutrality etc).

In realpolitik, there is no good or bad, Imperial Germany was perhaps the Best Government the Germans have had in 500 years since pre- 30 year war and British Propaganda made it look like Dr. Frankenstein Govt, the English were busy butchering Africa and Asia and building concentration camps worldwide in that time period.
But, whenever a NAVAL power has emerged England Fights - that is the only English Law which they adhere to.

Let me quote a really great English PM - Young Mr. Pitt (Stopped & reversed runaway Inflation - the true reason for the French and Russian Revolutions, Formed the basis for the absolute imposition of Gold Standard, Made Britain the universal Hegemon for a century, Abolished Slavery- died before the bill passed, Was the most Honest of men in an age of Dis Honesty et all, is mostly forgotten today as he did not write propaganda but instead did real work), when asked in Parliament what does England have to do with the nonsensical European War breaking out again (by the opposition, who as usual had no clue about guillotines and Napoleon); and further, he was asked to explain in a single sentence.
He replied- i will give the answer in one word- SECURITY.

So, England has to go to War, only when is the concern of the game.
I had written this 'approx. time value earlier', do so again-
Schlieffen- immediate.
Any plan + Fleet Sorties towards the Atlantic/North Sea- Immediate
Moltke Plan + No Fleet Sortie- Maybe the delay can last till Jan-March 1915.
Rupprecht Plan - Immediate (Swiss were being invaded).
KronPrinz Plan- maybe by November- December 1914.
Rascals, would you live forever? - Frederick the Great.

Merlin
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Wed Mar 18, 2015 4:44 am

Shri wrote:England will and will and will enter any war whatsoever when the opponent is threatening the English Position.
If you have any more doubts please consult- Prof. Paul Kennedy's MAGNUM OPUS of Europe (500 years of history) or AJP Taylor or even Keegan (people quoting Keegan forget that Keegan always says the English will enter the war and also repeatedly berates the English and French for following duplicity, having colonies and then crying foul over German colonies, crying wolf over Belgian neutrality and then breaking Greek neutrality etc).

In realpolitik, there is no good or bad, Imperial Germany was perhaps the Best Government the Germans have had in 500 years since pre- 30 year war and British Propaganda made it look like Dr. Frankenstein Govt, the English were busy butchering Africa and Asia and building concentration camps worldwide in that time period.
But, whenever a NAVAL power has emerged England Fights - that is the only English Law which they adhere to.

Let me quote a really great English PM - Young Mr. Pitt (Stopped & reversed runaway Inflation - the true reason for the French and Russian Revolutions, Formed the basis for the absolute imposition of Gold Standard, Made Britain the universal Hegemon for a century, Abolished Slavery- died before the bill passed, Was the most Honest of men in an age of Dis Honesty et all, is mostly forgotten today as he did not write propaganda but instead did real work), when asked in Parliament what does England have to do with the nonsensical European War breaking out again (by the opposition, who as usual had no clue about guillotines and Napoleon); and further, he was asked to explain in a single sentence.
He replied- i will give the answer in one word- SECURITY.


Agreed, though Mr. Pitt wasn't quite the White Hat you think. His policy had that effect, but I really think you'd like his correspondence and should read what is available outside legitimate historical scholarship. He's kind of the prototype for Wilson and every US President since, though they all managed to misunderstand him. :)

So, England has to go to War, only when is the concern of the game.
I had written this 'approx. time value earlier', do so again-
Schlieffen- immediate.
Any plan + Fleet Sorties towards the Atlantic/North Sea- Immediate
Moltke Plan + No Fleet Sortie- Maybe the delay can last till Jan-March 1915.
Rupprecht Plan - Immediate (Swiss were being invaded).
KronPrinz Plan- maybe by November- December 1914.


Again, so very much agreed. I'm okay with the current setup except Rupprecht. Invading Switzerland is a massive taboo in BoP politics and would draw an appropriate (DoW on Germany and instant mobilization efforts) response from GB.

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Wed Mar 18, 2015 5:12 am

Shri wrote:@davesnoke and others

People quoting a 2-timing, narcotic smoking, half-drunk Churchill should see the actions of the English in last 500 years before commenting on others nationalities, i mean support for DURK and others who are being targeted here.

Let me quote the most English of all Fictions (Churchill was the greatest fiction writer in the 20th century, but unfortunately television did not exist then)
Sir Humphrey: Minister, Britain has had the same foreign policy objective for at least the last five hundred years: to create a disunited Europe. In that cause we have fought with the Dutch against the Spanish, with the Germans against the French, with the French and Italians against the Germans, and with the French against the Germans and Italians. Divide and rule, you see. Why should we change now, when it's worked so well?

England will and will and will enter any war whatsoever when the opponent is threatening the English Position.
If you have any more doubts please consult- Prof. Paul Kennedy's MAGNUM OPUS of Europe (500 years of history) or AJP Taylor or even Keegan (people quoting Keegan forget that Keegan always says the English will enter the war and also repeatedly berates the English and French for following duplicity, having colonies and then crying foul over German colonies, crying wolf over Belgian neutrality and then breaking Greek neutrality etc).

In realpolitik, there is no good or bad, Imperial Germany was perhaps the Best Government the Germans have had in 500 years since pre- 30 year war and British Propaganda made it look like Dr. Frankenstein Govt, the English were busy butchering Africa and Asia and building concentration camps worldwide in that time period.
But, whenever a NAVAL power has emerged England Fights - that is the only English Law which they adhere to.

Let me quote a really great English PM - Young Mr. Pitt (Stopped & reversed runaway Inflation - the true reason for the French and Russian Revolutions, Formed the basis for the absolute imposition of Gold Standard, Made Britain the universal Hegemon for a century, Abolished Slavery- died before the bill passed, Was the most Honest of men in an age of Dis Honesty et all, is mostly forgotten today as he did not write propaganda but instead did real work), when asked in Parliament what does England have to do with the nonsensical European War breaking out again (by the opposition, who as usual had no clue about guillotines and Napoleon); and further, he was asked to explain in a single sentence.
He replied- i will give the answer in one word- SECURITY.

So, England has to go to War, only when is the concern of the game.
I had written this 'approx. time value earlier', do so again-
Schlieffen- immediate.
Any plan + Fleet Sorties towards the Atlantic/North Sea- Immediate
Moltke Plan + No Fleet Sortie- Maybe the delay can last till Jan-March 1915.
Rupprecht Plan - Immediate (Swiss were being invaded).
KronPrinz Plan- maybe by November- December 1914.


Shri, I'd think we have a problem here, as many times when I'm thinking about replying in a post here I stop and read the comments and then I come across your commentary that has already said everything that I was thinking about writting down and I realise that I don't really need to add much haha... ;) .

As it is I couldn't agree more with your commentary on the british stance towards Europe (and unfortunately even nowadays we can see that the british posture hasn't changed all that much...), I completelly agree with yours and Altaris' argument that the british would surely join the war sooner or later, I'd just think that the player could hope to delay it a little bit more than what we have at the moment with a different war plan, but even so I think that your solution looks great when it comes to the aprox time they would intervene. I sincerely don't see how Germany could hope to keep "The Perfidious Albion" neutral during The Great War, but by failling completelly on the field (a VERY unlikely scenario though), so I'd think that most arguments on this issue (and there were MANY since the beta) aren't going to lead anywhere.

Cheers.
"Das Glück hilft dem Kühnen."

German Empire PON 1880 AAR:http://www.ageod-forum.com/showthread.php?35152-German-Empire-not-quite-an-AAR

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Ebbingford
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Wed Mar 18, 2015 9:41 am

HerrDan wrote:As it is I couldn't agree more with your commentary on the british stance towards Europe (and unfortunately even nowadays we can see that the british posture hasn't changed all that much...),



:mdr:

As an Englishman looking across to Europe I always can't help but think about the last two countries who have tried to take the whole of Europe by force.
I then look at the EU and see the same two countries as the prime movers here as well......
Is it any wonder that we resist.
If we have to join some superstate perhaps we would be better off with the USA :cool:
"Umbrellas will not be opened in the presence of the enemy." Duke of Wellington before the Battle of Waterloo, 1815.

"Top hats will not be worn in the Eighth Army" Field-Marshal Viscount Montgomery of Alamein K.G.


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Shri
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Wed Mar 18, 2015 7:22 pm

@Herrdan
:thumbsup:

@Ebbinford
Good one :wacko: , joining with your old colony as a colony of the ex-colony, interesting!

@Merlin
Can you explain that angle a bit more?Interesting.
I like PITT mainly as he controlled inflation, increased monetary supply and kept the Gold Standard.
France lost its way in the late 1700's as it did not do these things properly. The whole John Law type episode or Robespierre or Lenin did not happen in England is i think due to Pitt's policies.
Rascals, would you live forever? - Frederick the Great.

Merlin
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Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:45 am

Shri wrote:@Merlin
Can you explain that angle a bit more?Interesting.
I like PITT mainly as he controlled inflation, increased monetary supply and kept the Gold Standard.
France lost its way in the late 1700's as it did not do these things properly. The whole John Law type episode or Robespierre or Lenin did not happen in England is i think due to Pitt's policies.


I have a few good books, but my apartment is tiny and they're buried in gods know what boxes. It should suffice to note that Pitt was an excellent orator and used both speech and charisma in public to create his image of earnest good idealism, but was quite the schemer and backroom dealer when he needed to be in private. His general embrace of liberalism almost certainly inspired Wilson, who had plenty of access to Pitt's writing and general history, though Wilson turned out to be a terrible politician. Interestingly, every American President since has tried to emulate Wilson's ideals (corporatism, progressive social programs, "good neighbor" foreign policy, and lasting solutions to persistent world problems), and ironically, have all failed nearly as badly. This is going badly off topic, but if you look at the comparisons between President Obama and Wilson, the similarities are almost surreal. After that, it's easy to pick out the emulation in previous US Presidents, and then to compare to Pitt. FDR was the most successful imitator by far.

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Papa Thomas
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Thu Mar 19, 2015 2:30 pm

Shri wrote:SleepWalker is a good read. Agreed.
And yes, the UK will be in the War, only case is when?

Schlieffen- immediate.
Any plan + Fleet Sorties towards the Atlantic?- Immediate
Moltke Plan + No Fleet Sortie- Maybe the delay can last till Jan-March 1915.
Rupprecht Plan - Immediate (Swiss were being invaded).
KronPrinz Plan- maybe by November- December 1914.


There is a wonderful website which has all of Sir Edward Grey’s (British Foreign Secretary) telegraph correspondences.
http://net.lib.byu.edu/estu/wwi/1914m/gooch/goochidx.htm#346-360

Another very good book that discusses this issue is the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Guns of August by Barbara Tuchman.
She discusses the Factors of what it would take for the British to enter the war "It is clear to Grey that only a Violation of Belgium's neutrality would convince the peace party of the German menace and the need to go to war in the national interest." On Sunday August 2nd the British cabinet gave Grey a written memo that said "If the German Fleet comes into the Channel of through the North Sea to undertake hostile operations against the French coasts or shipping, the British Fleet will give all protection in its Power." In regards to the triple entente agreement on August 3rd Grey addressed the house and said that “no secret engagement bound the house or restricted Britain’s freedom to decide her own course of action.” Even the British ultimatum for the Germans to exit Belgium by midnight, even though it was clear to see the scale of the invasion, shows how far the British were attempting to avoid war. By waiting till midnight the British missed an opportunity to catch and destroy the Goeben in the Mediterranean.

The British were attempting to avoid war, but they would have never allowed any country to dominate the continent. So I agree that it should be possible to delay the entry of the British into the war

Schlieffen- immediate.
Any plan + Fleet Sorties towards the North Sea, or English Channel- Immediate
Moltke Plan + No Fleet Sortie – Neutral until W.E. or E.E. or below a certain Morale level like 70, or CP morale is above a certain mark like 120. (Basically when one side is clearly winning, and drastic action is needed to prevent the a CP victory)
Rupprecht Plan - Immediate (Swiss were being invaded).
KronPrinz Plan + No Fleet Sortie - Neutral until W.E. or E.E. or below a certain Morale level like 70, or CP morale is above a certain mark like 120. (Basically when one side is clearly winning, and drastic action is needed to prevent the a CP victory)

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