When Diplomacy Fails

By Zack Twamley

On Going since May 2012 • Updated weekly

A weekly podcast covering the build up to, breakout of and consequences of various conflicts in history.

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  Direct Link   Download 41 Minutes 13 Nov 2018

Another introduction episode - this one giving us a brief(ish) rundown on the origins of the Great War, for the benefit of those that have not listened to the July Crisis Anniversary Project of old. The world went to war in 1914, and the circumstances which surround that event are often held against Germany in the subsequent peace negotiations. Germany, it is said, started the whole wretched thing, so she should be punished once her gamble failed, and she clearly lost. In my view though, it isn't that simple.Historians tend to take one side or the other when it comes to examining the July Crisis and Treaty of Versailles. By that I mean, either Germany started the war and deserved the Treaty, or she didn't start it or deserve it. I won't be this clear cut, because the situation and the debate aren't this clear cut. In my mind, Germany alone did not start the war - even though technically she did declare war on Russia first and begin the countdown - but she did deserve some kind of punishment for LOSING it.Germany, as my thesis for this project will argue, was punished for losing the Great War, not for starting it.Any statesman worth their salt in 1918-19 knew full well that there was more to the story than the straightforward tale of the belligerent Hun. Germany had to be punished and kept low so that she could not threaten the peace again, and because of her military loss, this meant that she was liable to be punished - just as Berlin had punished her enemies in Russia and Romania, and developed grand plans for punishing Britain and France before her war plans collapsed. The issue with Versailles wasn't so much the injustice of it, as we will learn, but the problem of making Germany accept its terms, when Germans came to believe that they hadn't been truly beaten, hadn't truly started the war, and had been unfairly blamed.Yet, an important point to remember is that war guilt - another issue we will deal with in time - did not have to exist in Germany in order for the judgement of Germany's contemporaries to follow. It did not matter, in other words, who started the war, as much as it mattered who lost it, and what was to be done next. This episode will help us refocus our gaze on that critical issue, and also ensure that we're all on the same page when it comes to my thesis and ideas about the origins of the First World War. As always, I'd ask you guys keep an open mind - we'll be sticking together for the next eight months, so you better get used to my outside the box way of thinking!*****************The Versailles Anniversary Project is possible because of your support and interest - make sure to spread the word, engage with the debate, and look at the different ways you can help this project succeed!Visit the homeland for this new project:http://www.wdfpodcast.com/vap/Support the podcast financially:https://www.patreon.com/WhenDiplomacyFailsFollow WDF on Twitter!https://twitter.com/wdfpodcast 
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