The planet hadn't seen a major war between all the Great Powers since the downfall of Napoleon at Waterloo in 1815. But 99 years later the dam breaks and a Pandora's Box of violence engulfs the planet.
This is an unofficial transcript meant for reference. Accuracy is not guaranteed.
December, seventh, nineteen, forty one, it's history, a date which will live in in for me, one thanks for the more, in the words the in the in the complete this time, because I am a nation because people don't know whether or not their president's. We dig deep in our history and our doctor and remember. We are not descended from three or four men. It's hard core history.
I remember a conversation I had quite a long. Time ago now, with an author of a book, the author had in a book about how John F Kennedy was assassinated by Lee Harvey Oswald. Just like the government always said it happened, and I asking a bunch of questions about conspiracies and this or that aspect of the Kennedy assassination and only one of his answers. You know stands out in my mind now, because it seems in a I've done so many different fronts and one of the answers on why, was so hard for some people to accept what this guy was purporting. As the truth, he said was because Bull are inherently very uncomfortable with the idea single. Nobody can have. Such an effect on all of our lives. It's more comforting, he said to believe That powerful groups of people
Or conspiracies are actually running things, even if you think those Powerful groups are nefarious it somehow comforting to think that some in charge It's not all just random the plane couldn't just drop from the sky and land on your house tomorrow, I thought about this when I was thinking about yeah. Someone if somebody had asked you a question who was the most important fig, in the past one hundred years in terms of by the world has gone the way it did. You know think of all these famous people, whose names almost anyone who's a halfway educated, would recognize. What's interesting is you could conceivably put the name down of somebody who was historically speaking, you and nobody. Lee Harvey Oswald on the pages of the hill books. Besides the Kennedy assassination is a nobody. It didn't do.
Anything else of importance but that event was huge right if he actually killed John F Kennedy. The way the narrative says, Lee Harvey Oswald change the world. Change the president instantly right, I mean how many of us have the potential to Do the president of the United States is lone gunman did if he was indeed the lone gunman, the who may be most responsible for the modern world, this entire world, including the nine slash eleven attacks, that you know, many commentators does a shape the modern world right. We live in an era of terrorism or the age of terrorism. You'll hear them say we with seem to really understand that the age of terrorism, supposedly sparked by the nine slash eleven attacks in the very very, very early 21st century, or themselves man. Stations of an act of terrorism, It launched us into the 20th century if, I actually live in an age of terrorism, as some of these people like to say, we've been living
for more than a hundred years, I think you could make the case that the important individual in the last century is Gavrilo Princip and Gavrilo. Princip is a name very few of you will recognize how can a person of so little achievement in on the world stage? Who is credited with creating the entire world around us? I mean, if, if Gov, prince of doesn't live, is there a nine hundred eleven attack ever and if that was all he did wouldn't be important. He a lot more than that The principle is the reason there was a second world war, because Gavrilo Princip is the reason there was a first. And to be fair to Princip, if you have gone to him and shown him the ramifications of that one day would the world, I think, he'd, be horrified. He wasn't trying.
To unleash a glow world war. He it became the lady example of someone pull trigger in giant historical game of russian roulette a trigger that have been several times already with nothing. You know happening. Who would have thought that the time that principled it? That would be the time that the in a metaphorical revolver pointed at the skull of the old world shot a bullet into its brain. Perhaps Princep in his compatriots would have thought that you know. Sometimes, when you're trying to create a new world, you have to other draw the old one and the people in old world we're not naive the potential for someone like a princess, what they did. I mean Otto VON Bismarck one of the greatest diplomat
19th century Europe, perhaps the greatest diplomat, Germany ever produced famously said that if there was going to be some giant global, I'm I was going to probably break out because of some damn fool event in the Balkans, covering the Princip shot. Two people in the city of Sarajevo. Smack dab in the Balkans place that auto VON Bismarck, it famously said, was not worth the bones of a single pomeranian grenadier. It would cost a hell of a lot more than that. And Principe comes yet another example in history proving to us that sometimes when it comes to something like terrorism in this by the way when we tried desperately to keep weapons of mass, stretching out of the terrorist hands because we're afraid they'll be able to kill more people with such weapons. We forget that sometimes it's not about people you kill sometimes it's about who they are, and often
It's not the terrorist act that changes the world. It's the response of the victims. You know that does Gavrilo Princip two people and he did so in a way that almost makes you believe in fate. And truthfully I'm not much of a fade believer but the things I like about history is how it forces me to challenge some of my own preconceptions and certainly make me think about other possibilities. I've always thought, for example, that three unfolds for chaotic reasons somewhat random, that millions of people going about their lives in their own ways with trend forces, acting upon them and people in important positions, making decisions and all this together creates a dynamic. That's completely unpredictable, as I said, somewhat chaotic and random, and folds into the future. I think my
logical side of the brain appreciates that sort of viewpoint. The problem is, is that sometimes history confronts us with events where the logical part of at least my brain wants to flip sides and still logically defend what I consider to be the more illogical point of view in this case the logic part of my brain will sometimes shift and try to defend something like fate or destiny, or pre determination. Those the two ends of the scale: chaos on one side and randomness on one side and fate destination on the other and there's weird Twilight Zone where the two sort of intersect and Event that happened in late June. One thousand nine hundred and fourteen is one of the examples you'll find from history where you know the logical side of your brain stands a pretty good chance of flipping and trying to defend the illogical position, this is somehow predestined. I mean
the challenge you with the Sim kind of analogy, take John F Kennedy assassination, for example, And imagine that, in addition to Lee Harvey Oswald up at the Texas School Book Depository, you have a another assassin on the grassy knoll is has sometimes been suggested and that in this JFK assassination attempt. Oswald misses and the bullet breaks the ground maybe injured some passers by and everybody realizes. An assassination attempt is happening and the secret just get on the car and they speed away past the grassy knoll past the other assassin who never gets a shot at friends Kennedy and in Kennedy's gone. And no one knows what to do. No one's quite sure what happens, and then you know later on all while the assassin on the grassy knoll is probably trying to just figure out. Ok, maybe what do I do now? The car with the is it his wife show up
right down the road again past the Texas School book, Deposit Ori Right to the grassy knoll, where it proceeds to stall and stop. What are the odds of that kind of kooky Han history can be. That way, on June 28th, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen Gavrilo Princip and, from six to some sources, say twenty assassins you believe some of the people who claim taking part in these assassination attempts. In Sarajevo with murder on their minds. They want to kill The the governing figure in Sarajevo the person Was sort of the Prince Charles plays the same role Prince Charles plays in the british key right now in the monarchy of the tree that are the overlords in Serie country that doesn't exist anymore called Austria, Hungary,
Austria, Hungary is led by really old very well loved guy named France. Joseph who's going to die soon because he's very old and the person who take over when France Joseph dies is this I coming on a visit to Sarajevo the. Charles of his country, although, unlike Prince Charles, whose role is the ceremonial. I will actually have some real power when he gets the throne and for some You know now when you look back on. It looks like a stupid reason. Guy, whose name is Archduke Franz Ferdinand- decided to go to Sarajevo and watch military maneuvers, which happened to Cohen. With the anniversary of the most emotionally important heart wrenching, field lost in all serb history. The battle of Kosovo way back from hundred, hundreds of years before this time period. Serb nationalists and the Serbs are very, very patriotic, even today, even more so back in nineteen. Fourteen. Look at this as a slap in the face.
To them. Sarajevo is slavic and should be part of at least a pan slavic country or me part of Serbia there been, balkan wars for the last decade. You know concern with many of these nationalistic questions, who should only these areas and it's been in the hands of the Ottoman Turks who the Slavs death mentally feel shouldn't have been running the place and it was transferred to the hands of the Austro hungarian Empire, which the serb Nationalists still don't feel should be running the place. And now the arch do was coming on the anniversary of this historic defeat, from the serb nationalist viewpoint to their nose in the fact that Sarajevo is still held by a big non slavic empire and they're going to make France Ferdinand pay for that And in the remarkably similar situation to the Kennedy assassination Ferdinand's Route for his motorcade is published ahead of time
going to be arriving and going down the main boulevards in an open car with his wife sitting next to him. These multiple assassins line themselves up at very intervals along the parade route and plan to kill the Duke as soon as they can the archdukes. Are either going too fast or too many other Serbs in the crowd nearby, the first few assassins, so the first few assassins don't try to make a run at him, eventually passes one guy who runs from the crowd with a bomb really more of a hand. Grenade would be a good way to describe it today, and he flings this hand grenade the archdukes open car. In a very lettich maneuver, the archduke sees it ducks behind the the car the hand, thing bounces off the car hits the concrete on the street and the news doesn't detonate until the next car. In the motorcade has passed over, it. It explodes some twenty.
Well or badly hurt in the blood on the street. The whole thing chaos the crowd scatters, I mean obviously The parade is over the would be assassin shoves a cyanide pill into his mouth and runs down into the side of the jumps in the river, It was defective and only makes him vomit and the rivers only about six inches deep. So they capture him very quickly and run him off to be interrogated and it looks like the whole days been a failure. The other assassins, at least some of them are supposed to have seen the archdukes car. Speeding off, I mean there you go. There goes the day. The motorcade goes in a cup different direction. Some people are taken to the hospital the arch You and his wife, you know The town hall to lodge a complaint they were going speech anyway, but now they have any full to give the local officials we come to and this is the reception we get that kind of thing, and it looks at least from this point-
like you, know the heir to the throne of Austria hungry just dodged a bullet literally the, talk amongst the local officials about maybe figuring out a way to provide some increased security but it doesn't seem to get very far because, within an hour after the first check the Archduke and his wife and their small motorcade is off to the hospital, supposedly following an unplanned route for security reasons, There doesn't seem to be a lot of extra in a police protection we're told that a an aristocrat counts, Franceville in her, was on the running board of the arch car. So maybe a little extra protection turn out, though, that the driver in one of his you know little screw. Ups that affect the entire history of the world, turns out the driver of the archdukes car did not realize they were not taking the original parade route and makes a wrong turn and ends up near street corner
where one of the assassins Gavrilo real, maybe the guy on the grassy knoll with JFK stationed himself in the hopes that he might get a chance. You know maybe just be in the right place when the archduke come by again, perhaps on his way out of town. The Archduke driver makes a wrong turn. He by somebody in the motorcade that he's made a wrong turn and he has to back up. He stops the in preparation for backing up right I wear Gavrilo Princip is print ship is on that street corner, where the motorcade Car takes a wrong turn and then stops while backing up when he sees his target from within an hour before mere feet from him immobile and slightly below him in an open car and
He whips out his pistol and shoots him and his wife. What are the odds of that happening?. It's considered to be one of the most wild coincidences in all of human history,. How many times do assassins in a failed assassination attempt getting second chance to go after their target, and we sometimes for, because it's such a monumental historical moment that this is terrorist attack, and it was quite upsetting to your witness or live through part of what x. These things seems so unreal is that we only have grainy black and white footage even the events before that you can go see movies where you can see the Archduke and his wife. Getting
you go into the motorcade and you get an idea of what they look like and it's all kind of moving a little too fast. The way those old fashioned movies were in everything and it just doesn't look real, but you can go and you can see pictures because they have saved the tunic. That the duke was wearing that day. You can see in living? Color that this was a bright light blue tunic and the there is on the helmet he was wearing were bright green, I mean it must have been the most colorful site imaginable, but after principle, here the the most colorful site imaginable became a lot more gory because a tear in the tunic, where the bullet exited the Archduke's neck. The tunic is covered in what is unmistakably even one hundred years later, blood. And blood has always been one of those things where, when see it in living. Color, there's nothing like it tend to believe human beings are programmed to react to that specific color. You know always, and the diff
between seeing blood in black and white and blood and colors. There's nothing quite like that. The person who was closest to the whole thing was count VON, who, who was on the running board not do great of a job, apparently at security and he as as soon as the shots were fired they first, the car- and he later testified- this quote As the car quickly reversed, a thin stream of blood spurted from his highness's mouth onto my right, cheek pulling out my handkerchief to wipe the blood away from his mouth. The duchess cried out to him, For God's sake, what has happened to you that she slid off the seat and lay on the floor of the car with her face between his knees. I had no idea that she too was hit and thought that she had simply fainted with fright. Then I heard Imperial Highness say so. So we don't die stay alive for the children,
that I see is the archduke by the color of his uniform to stop his head drooping forward and Timothy was in great pain. He answered me quite distinctly. It is nothing is for Began to twist somewhat, but he went on repeating six or seven times ever more faintly as he gradually lost consciousness. It's nothing. Then came a brief pause, followed. Convulsive rattle in his throat caused by the loss of blood this EAST, on arrival at the governor's residence, the two one bodies were carried into the building where their death was soon established. End quote. And as a way to sort of prove that the old ad is that one man's terrorist is another, man's freedom fighter is true, you have only to note that a young Serbs. Today me, Will consider Gavrilo Princip a heroic figure. Someone who unify the first shots that started a chain of events that, while
will be horrible in both world wars. For the serbian people, eventually lead to well now, a time those countries exist without you know having to be just simply- province in some other major superpowers territories to Serbs This guy was a hero and to his compatriots, who all realized that they were like death Baratos at the time, they all realized that they be immortalized to. And the actual circumstances, by the way where this plot was hatched. Are worthy of a spy novel it's hard to believe it hasn't been romanticized to some degree, but nevertheless, if you ever do the definitive screen dramatization of world war, one the whole story, I think you start movie off with that scene, inside that Belgrade CAFE Obscur nice kind of run down lit only by candlelight, with the
of nineteen and twenty year old, guys at a table just remind myself how young these people are not old enough. To legally drink alcohol in the United States is how all these people are, and then we're told by people who were there that what happened. Is one of their number comes in the door, sits down at the table with them and has a package with him, and he opens up the package, and inside is only one thing. A newspaper clipping no note you're not signed it by anybody- know directions. Just a newspaper clipping in the clipping announces the imminent visit of the Archduke Franz Ferdinand to Sarajevo, one of people who was at that table and lived to grow older and write about his experiences after he'd had time to go from terrorist to create a guy named Borgio, Jeff Cheech and if I missed that by the way, let's just get used to that. This is going to be perhaps the most
linguistically an accentual willy challenging, show I've ever done and I'm sure to mangle many beautiful language is first and foremost french So my apologies to all of you in advance- I'm sorry, I limitations and you're going to hear them all board shelf Jeff? wrote years later this that moment in history that will turn out to be so very important in a way that you can't imagine anyone at the table, then, would have known they didn't know they were pulling the trigger again and that russian roulette Game, and they certainly didn't know that if they were, that was the time there was going to be a bullet in the chamber. Jeff Teach wrote after the fact quote, A tiny clipping from a newspaper mailed without comment from a secret band of terrorists in Zagreb, a cap Croatia to their comrades in Belgrade was the torch which set the world afire with war in nineteen. Fourteen that bit of paper wrecked old,
proud empires it gave birth to new free nations. I was one of the members of the terrorist band in Belgrade, which received it In those days I and my companions were regarded as desperate criminals. A price was on our heads today. My little band is seen in a different light as pioneer patriots. It is recognize that are secret plans. Hatched in an obscure cafe in the capital of Old Serbia have led to the independence of the New Yugoslavia. The United Nations set free from austrian domination and quote. Now ever since that time, people I've been wondering how can did that group was to outside entities a bunch of in a small little, organize terror groups put together by a bunch of young kids. Are they working for a larger entity today we would ask whether or not they were an example of state sponsored terrorism. The power behind this.
A rival power, I mean in to understand how big of a deal this could be in a year That was already kind of unsteady and stressed in terms of stability imagine the United States president. You know a president from now. We don't want to be controversial down. The road is assassinated,. And we have all the shock and anger desire for retribution that comes with that and then, very shortly after an assassin is captured. We figure the assassin is working with the intelligence service for most agonistic enemy, I mean think second, how like I would have reacted. Lee Harvey Oswald had been a hit and for Moscow and. Came to light which, by the way is now that outrageous, a thing to consider when you Oswald's ties to the Soviet Union and Cuba.
Think about how the american people would have reacted, regardless of what the facts were if they thought that was the case and it's interesting to note that it's only a year after the cuban missile crisis a year after World WAR, three is potentially dodged. What do you I think the leaders of the United States after Kennedy is assassinated, are worried about in terms of worst case scenarios. Do you, It might have occured to them men who, by the early 1960s, had grown up during and in the immediate years after the first World war. Do you think they might have been seeing in their minds? I history, repeating itself, a world leader killed. A gunman in a note. In car, with his wife sitting next to him in public by. A young person may be working for a foreign government.
And then having the world spiral out of control, despite what the major players may have wanted. Do you think people around Kennedy might have worried a little about how that might have turned out, because Those guys in that cafe very well may have been working for the serbian intelligence service. There's been a lot written about this. No one knows for sure. They certainly have ties to the United, the United States today? If we were ranking groups from nineteen fourteen would probably call terrorist groups like young, Bosnia and and uh called the black hand, and these groups had ties sometimes to the serbian intelligence service. So you can believe the historian with the investigator. You want to believe it's a hot button issue, none the less. It isn't so important. What really happened just like it isn't so important whether or not Oswald was working for the Soviet Union. What's important is what is the People on the ground affected by this think was happening. The USA
I thought as well was a hit man from Moscow. What happens, then? The Austrians thought the kill, there are thrown? Was an active state, sponsored terrorism And if it wasn't They were going to make the case that it was anyway. There's really no doubt that the Austro hungarian Empire one deal with the serbian problem that I've been bedeviling it for sometime once and for all and Honest it's hard to blame them. I mean the Serbians and the Slavs will count with the idea that the Austro Hungarian did not possess this territory for very long. Bosnia, Herzegovina and places like Sarajevo had not been Austro hungarian. For a long time. Nevertheless, you tried think of what nation state on the planet could put with the nation over their border, fermenting revolution in their country and events, killing their public figures I mean. Imagine if you're in am Can this
and in the United States. Imagine Shea Mexico creating instability and unrest? fomenting subversion and revolution in places like Southern Texas and Southern New Mexico and Southern Arizona, Southern California and then eventually these in a revolutionary that have been egged on by the mexican intelligence service, kill a major. U S, public figure! How long do you United States to put up with something like that. The using it becomes so important, though, is because all the many controversies in this story. One of the most enduring and important is whose fault everything that's about to happen is This is a civil lawsuit. Trying to figure out who's responsible for damages is a key. Part of this story and Austro hungarian Empire is
A position to decide to go or not to go to war that seems to put them in the driver's seat. Responsibility wise there are Austrians, though, living the time who Please say what did they have take this Austrian writing after the war, is a perfect example. He talks about art France Ferdinand, is one of the best friends the Slavs ever had, and in effect, Ferdinand actually was counseling his government to treat the serbian problem more lightly because he was worried about it sparking a general war when he is killed It was seen as an extra perfidious act because the slavic folks had killed a person had been in a one there better friends in the austrian government, the Austrian that I telling you about a second ago after the First World WAR wrote this quote.
When the news of the murder of Archduke Francis Ferdinand arrived in Munich, going to be sitting at home and heard of it only vaguely, I was at seized with worry that the bullets may have been shot from the pistols of german students who want of indignation at the heirs apparent, continuous work of slav ization want. Free the german people from this internal enemy, what the sequence of this would have been was easy to imagine a new wave of persecutions, which now would have been justified and explained in the eyes of the whole world. But when afterward. I heard the name of the supposed assassins and, moreover, read that they had been identified as Serbs. A light shutter began to run through me at this vengeance of inscrutable destiny. The great friend of the Slavs, had fallen beneath the bullets of slavic fanatics. Anyone he says with con occasion in the last years to observe the relation of Austria to Serbia. Could for a moment to be in doubt that a stone had been set rolling who's.
Which could no longer be arrested. Those who, today he writes shower the viennese government with reproaches on the form and content of this ultimatum. It issued do it in injustice, no power in the world could have acted differently in the same situation and the same position at her cell. Eastern border, Austria possessed in an ox horrible and mortal enemy. Shorter and shorter intervals, kept challenging the monarchy and would never have left off until the moment favorable for the shattering of the empire had arrived. End quote. I actually agree with that and it makes me uncomfortable because the tree and writing that statement after the first World WAR Is the man most responsible for beginning the? Second? I don't. The one line that I think Hitler aired, though, was his line that this stone had been set rolling that nothing could arrest, because.
Nothing could have arrested it because something had been arresting. It there's a reason that the Austro Hungarians hadn't attacked the Serbs already and the reason was that the Serbs had a very powerful friend, the Russians who considered themselves the traditional protect years of the slots and the Serbs were not alone, most The powers of Europe had at least one and usually more power friends and allies. This The error in european history and it's often used as an of one of the main reasons. This whole story unfolds the way it does. This is the era of a very complex web of alliances. Find european countries to each other. It's perhaps the most. In during work. Auto VON Bismarck, who we mentioned earlier, the 19th century german diplomat, biz, a very large role in the foundation of Modern Germany, but he also huge role in creating a system of alliances that both expanded germanys possibilities, while at the
time preserving a general peace in Europe. There were wars between Napoleon in the first World war. There's no doubt about that, and some of them were direct. Default to Bismarck there wasn't a general european conflict involving all the major powers and, let's not forget This is an era that we would A call a multi polar world which is for us to understand, and an era of two superpowers Europe this time period had at least five first, power states. Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and the Austro hungarian Empire. Many will throw in Turkey in ITALY too, which would make seven these all were bound to each other with com alliance systems and complex is the way Bismarck wanted it Marquette, set it up so that We no matter what happened. He was in the driver's seat and this work
unbelievably well, especially for german interest, but for european interest is as a whole for a long time, time, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen rolls around genius who create this system, that's so complex only he knew how to run it. I take taken hold which is on busy Kian diplomacy from professor who spent their whole life studying it, and they don't know why he did some of the things he did. While he was running it, fantastic Time, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen rolls around he hasn't been running it for some time, he'd been fired by the leader of Germany and now complex machine that the genius of Bismarck had created and run was being run by people who couldn't Kerry. His jockstrap is what we used to say. It was inevitable that something like that would break down the and that the Austro Hungarians didn't just which, in the Serbia, you know them in
They found out that the service will responsible for killing their heir to the throne is they knew that would mean war with Russia. And then something that the Austro Hungarians were not prepared for at least without checking with their main friend on the world stage and finding You know what they would do in that situation their main friend on the world stage. Was the german empire. Now the german empire's attitude is very interesting. The first thing to keep reminding myself about the german empire during this era. Is that it's relatively young, it's a new country. Almost there founded in eighteen, seventy one forty years before this era, and it just a new country, the minute it Proclaimed and that's how it happened, you didn't proclaim English. You didn't reclaim. France with Germany is a modern nation. There was like a day. People signed papers and ok the next day as of tomorrow. Germany exists and the minute it existed. It was the most powerful land power in Europe.
With a larger Elation in France, traditionally, the greatest land power in Europe until this time period A larger, faster birth rate and more ST and how destabilizing. Would it be in our world today, if couple of different nations of moderate power signed a piece of paper tomorrow that united them into one country and that one now combined country was the most powerful country in the world. Even if it the most powerful land power for the most powerful see power. You can see how a bunch of nations that really didn't deserve a lot of the perks that great nations, claim for themselves might all of a sudden do that once they turn themselves into a super nation. Seventy one with the creation of Germany, the Kaiser right you have an instant great power on the world stage. Russia on. Steroids with a
elation like eight times as much and the rest of Germany, with the militarised on the russian model. With the prussian king, the very destabilizing thing and country begins to demand some of the perks that the other great powers have. You know of their own France, Great Britain. They got all these colonies. All these other things little HOLLAND to them looks like they've. Places all over the world what's going on sort of a factor of just been there for a while. You were around during the age of exploration, and you had a bunch of ships out that you were getting colonies. Germany didn't come around until most of the good stuff was taken was a of instability Germany worried about being encircled. Then powers all around them. That didn't wish them well his Neil Ferguson and the thing that I really thought was was quite wonderful because here in the west, those of us who fought the germ Empire famously
that they had this sort of paranoia about being encircled. They were always worried about being encircled will look at them on a map. They're, born in circle. There in Central Europe, they've got powers. All around the Neil Ferguson said they weren't, Paranoid about being encircled, they were being encircled. They were worried about an upcoming war and up until Auto VON Bismarck goes away. He neutralized Russia. That was like one of the main things in his diplomatic alliance system. Keep the Russians happy. He said in a five superpower world make sure your countries, one of three right It's always three against two and Russia was always to be kept on your good side when he is sacked an basically the policy begins to be heavily influenced by the german Kaiser the emperor. Kaiser means Caesar by the way. So imagine you calling your emperor Caesar in nineteen fourteen in any the Kaiser What a strange guy he sax
mark, because Bismarcks kind of talking down to him in this kind of running the show and he's an old guy by then and he's much revered. And you know how do you grow into your own man with that guy hanging over your shoulder? So he fired him. And he allows that machine to make vital mistakes. Bismarck never would have made with that diplomatic machine. Vital mistake number one here: the Russians. He intentionally drove them away. Basically,. Right into the hands of the French. The Hist German enemy They had beaten in the Franco Prussian WAR in eighteen, seventy eighteen, seventy one that allowed them to proclaim the german empire, which they did the french Palace of Versailles, which is sort of a rub, your nose in it kind of thing the in the French, assumed they'd fight each other again. Someday now French, or lied with the Russians. And now the german fears of encirclement had become a reality. The Germans had been trying to plan for what they're going to do with the war. You know again,
an enemy to their west and another enemy to their reached at the same time right, how do you do that. And now the situation in Austria boils over and the stream say to the Germans. We get into a war with Serbia. Russia is going to attack us if Russia taxes. Where do you stand. In the Kaiser this is controversial, but traditionally the Kaiser was supposed to have told the Austrians to go for it. Get Serbia done now, and historians again. This is all very controverse, Everybody has a different opinion, but basically the idea seems to be that the Kaiser believed that if it was done quickly enough the Serbians could be crushed before the situation spiraled out of control in Europe, because even as mom Ridley intelligent will put will give him some credit that the Kaiser was. He knew that Europe was a powder keg and the key and had to be avoided was the Process on a machine, the crank
top of the doomsday device that anybody who'd actually been present when the thinkers who dealt with the doomsday device explained, what the doomsday device did understood that, the trigger on this thing was pulled. It was going to really hard to turn it off. So if the things to conquer the Serbians before the Russians. In a flip, the doomsday device switch were I'll be okay again, Lot controversy on this, because this is again another one of those places where the war guilt question hinges. Did tell Austria to crush Serbia and who cares if the Russians attack everybody, but the problem, wasn't that it would just involve the Russians attacking everybody because of that Plex web of alliances. We talked about earlier other countries were going to get dragged into the conflict. This was some that was well understood by the intelligent heads of Europe. Take for example,
the british Prime minister during this time period, Herbert Asquith ask with wrote a lead a private letter. That's come down to the history books, right after Serbia receives the ultimatum from Austria. That's so important and ask with writes, quote Austria has sent a bullying and humiliating ultimatum to Serbia, who possibly comply with it and then demanded an answer within forty eight hours, failing which she will march this means almost inevitably that Russia will come to the scene in defense of Serbia and science of Austria, and if so, it's difficult for In France to refrain from lending a hand to one side or the other so that we are in measurable or imaginable distance of a real armageddon. Happily seems to be no reason why we should be anything more than spectators and quote well that turned out obviously to be wishful thinking on the british Prime Minister's part
but historians like Neil Ferguson, who write revisionist works, like the pity of war, have suggested that if the British had stayed out, we have a better world today for all reason: he knocks off Many of the biggest events of the 20th century, the most horrible saying this- never happens that never happens. That never happens if Britain stays out of the war Britain and stay out of the work as they don't have a heart alliance with anyone. They not. All up in that web of alliances will not. Much. They have an understanding with France standing with enough wiggle room, there was a lot of talk in Britain about do we or don't we get involved in this whole thing. This whole The thing was something that hadn't happened in a hundred years in Europe, general european WAR. It It happens since Napoleon since Waterloo.
And that war was so terrable, not just that were the entire napoleonic wars in the wars of the french revolution. That era, from like one thousand seven hundred and eighty nine to one thousand, eight hundred and fifteen, so awful in terms of military destruction, that lesson had been talked to the Crown crowned heads of Europe in the lesson was war is not as much of a game anymore. It's no longer. You know these private armies that we move around our European Chess Board and oh ilost to you. So you can have this province and then on next time, I'll beat you and I'll take that province back you know, nobody was true, in the top of the regimes. It was if anything Gentlemanly warfare, if there's ever been such a thing, been called in the history books, limited warfare or restricted warfare, It was an italian historian named Ferraro, nine thirty three, who taught about how you know Error of warfare was the kind of warfare where you know the lead,
countries, could actually have fun going to war war or something you just sort of did like pheasant hunting, at least in the minds of some of these guys. For our rights quote, restricted warfare was one of the loftiest achievements of the 18th century. It belongs. Class of hot house plants, which can only thrive in an aristocratic and qualitative civilization. We are no longer capable of it. It's one of the fine things we have lossed as a result of the french revolution. End quote. The french Revolution was when warfare got at least in the minds of the Europeans of this era. In a serious you want a war, then we're going to go to war Crown crowned heads of Europe attacked France after France went all revolutionary and you have understand how much of a shock that was historian. Gwynn Dyer has a great way describing it he's just to understand the shock of the crowned heads of Europe when the
royal of european countries. The French were overthrown by leftist revolutionaries. He says you have to imagine if Maoists toppled, the US government today malice, of course, being a very high CORE Communist group. Imagine them toppling today's US government and beginning to govern. He goes the crowned heads of Europe, felt about the french Revolution and how destabilizing it was seen. So inevitably, The royalty of Europe, which is almost all of Europe, clashes with this new republic in France and coalesces into an alliance and everybody attacks, France, and they do so with their private, mercenary armies, and they run into the entire french population, a people in arms. We
France started by losing. You have to imagine a state where the entire underpinnings of the state of been broken down, including especially the army, and then all of me, Russia, Russia, Austria, Great Britain. All these powers in Europe Attack France at the same time and you're stuck with I mean like, a bit of your army leftover, the artillery stayed with the people, so the old french artillery was good, but you've got this mishmash of an army with officers. You don't have any authority, it's crazy and France not to be defeated, and then, as only you know, totalitarian type regimes can do. They base we tell the people of France that the war is now everything our entire focus. The entire society exists only to win war, the decree, the French National Convention in one thousand. Seven hundred and ninety three said quote, from this moment until that in which our enemies shall have been driven from the territory of the republic, all French,
permanently requisition for service in the army's the young men shall fight the married men shall forge weapons and transport supplies. The women will make tents and clothes and serving hospitals. The pub building shall be turned into barracks. The pub squares into munition factories. All firearms of suitable caliber should be turned over to the troops. The interior will be policed, with shotguns and cold steel. All saddle horses Shelby seat for the cavalry all of course, is not employed in cultivation, will draw the artillery and supply wagons. End quote, in other words, the entire society was mobilized for the war effort. This was not something that the other countries did. In fact, to the royal leaders of Europe could think of nothing more scary. Arming and training your population often times they used their professional militaries too
down rebellions by their population. The last thing they wanted to do was give them guns and train them how to use it right, training how to be better street fighters. Wasn't going to happen the French had a different kind of society, one that was supposed to be run by the very you know: low born people. Everybody was in this together and to combine the willingness to throw human life you know they're on the battlefield in almost endless numbers you didn't have to pay these people either. You can just say I'm sorry, you're out of work right now, you're going to the front and steal some chickens from some farmer on the way this, crazy and all of a sudden, the French were, able to expand light on a scale that was unprecedented and to create armies that were enormous, mean looking Alexander, the great probably the greatest conqueror in all world history, Alex enter conquers, a very large chunk of the known world and a decent sized chunk of the unknown world. At the time we army that numbered anywhere from forty to
eighty thousand men, okay and he was obviously a genius in the way he did it but imagine if Alex you could have used a historical xerox machine to duplicate that world conquering army, so that now he's got to for ten. Ninety thousand man Army is roughly comparable to each other now imagine he does it again and then duplicated again, again and again you Enough times to where you got one point two one point three point five million men. Maybe then closer to three million men and now given Alexander the great 20th century army. A 20th century army is many. Many armies from the past. The french revolution is when that really starts. When you start putting how many troops into the field
It doesn't matter that they're practically incompetent that their lives are wasted, that they're turned into cannon fodder as Napoleon who will inherit this. You know people's army, that Wilkinson Every man they want to conscript as long as they need them will say, troops are born to be killed, it is Napoleon famously said to the austrian diplomat count Metternich, you cannot stop me. Spend thirty thousand lives a month. If any of the major powers, except maybe Russia, in but this time lost thirty thousand men in a month. That would be considered quite a blow. Napoleon lost thirty thousand men a month as a matter of course,. Because he had a new kind of army, he had a pull in arms. And in order to beat him the Countries of Europe had to do the same thing as
german field, Marshal blue shirt, told the Prussian. You know government The Russians had been defeated by Napoleon. Give me a national army Give me what he has and when he got it, you know which the russian aristocracy didn't want to do, for the same reason that the european leaders everywhere didn't want to do it. I don't wanna put the people in arms, but when they did, they were able to triple the size of blue shoes Army and he took that army and fought Napoleon with it. The creation of a nation in arms was the first in creating the modern war machine because now all of a sudden life was cheap. Not only was life cheap, the modern nation state was now. Deep enough to be able truly take a punch and this what sets the modern militaries off in the modern states off from the ones in ancient times, ancient times very few states could take
punch to use a boxing term. Many of them could dish it out it. You take a state like the Achaemenid Persians, you're, the one who fought the Spartans at Thermopylae and all that the Persians Dish out really good blows, but they couldn't take very many good blows, most nations in the past could match that's? Why? If you look at a book, you know the battles in history. If beyond you know about one hundred and fifty years ago. Some The great battle is the only battle wars are won or lost on one big battle: 'cause the nation states couldn't take too many punches. They couldn't re raise armies. The state just couldn't support it once France turns the entire nation into the war effort can take punches better. The in the past I mean the Mongols in the Chinese could take some punches. The roman empire, could take punches. That's what set those name! states in the past, apart from most of their enemies right. They they had more staying power. They had modern staying power. French Revolution teaches all these states to have modern staying power. The only problem with modern staying power is
killing, can go on longer. In boxing they always feel like an early knockout is more merciful than a long that's because in a long match you take a lot more punishment well in a funny way, if everything could be decided at one big, horrific battle, you know at the start of a war that is a lot costly overtime than A4 or A5 year long conflict, where both sides grind each other down to the nub in a sonic. Wars created multiple states in Europe capable of fighting until they were ground down to the nub, which metal more damage and destruction before these wars came to a halt. The modern nation state provided the support that the militaries that involved entire peoples in arms needed to keep the straw going in for Long periods of time, one half of the equation necessary to create the modern war machines as Miller
his during Gwynn Dyer Rights right after he talks about the human cost of these long holy on wars- he says quote almost as important is the that European society did not break down under the strain there was hardship but starvation and the war powers were able to keep at it and keep their people at it year after year. With no end in sight. The European dates had developed the wealth, the organizational techniques and the methods of motivation needed to fight mass wars with a degree popular participation that no other civilized society had ever even approached. All that was lacking. He writes to transform mass warfare into total war, was the technology, the industrial revolution was already almost a generation old in one thousand, eight hundred and fourteen and soon it would begin to fill the last remaining gap. End quote. What was missing to this new deadly machine that the napoleonic wars in the french revolution created was the
technology to increase, the deadliness by exponential amounts and that was already something that was happening- the 1800s- are in error in military history, with uh, power of machines, skyrockets. And machines have been an important part of battlefields, since or there were cities in human societies to field mass armies at all. Think the bow and arrow That's a neolithic weapon! That's a stone age machine that made man a more efficient killer, both in hunting but on the battlefield as well by the time one hundred roll around the machines killing power skyrockets, but because there is no major war involving all the great powers between Napoleon in the first World war. The action we'll demonstration of how this stuff can be used is lacking,
and the military powers of the world. Try to examine the conflicts that do happen to see they can learn any lessons about what the next war is likely to be like. There were european observers, for example at the American civil war. To try to see you know what you could learn from that. The Crimean WAR breaks out in the 1850s between Russia and Britain and France. There's a war, obviously between the United States and Spain, that of Cuba and the Philippines in a writer, the turn of the century going into the nineteen. Probably Most importantly, there's a war between Japan and Russia in one thousand, nine hundred and five, where of the use of these you know new weapons that, when fused together create the modern war machine where some of that was observable, the something that seems to be key element as far as european planners can figure it out, though, is something that harkens
back to a phrase from a config, general in the? U S: civil war, who said that the key to warfare was to get there first, just with the mostest. And the idea now of these mass armies that your pet created was that you need, to be able to raise them and get them to the battlefield, for the other side, beat you to it. The M table for mobilization becomes comes up, that none of the major european powers seem to be. Anything, but a slave to the assassin's bullet in Sarajevo, cuts down austrian Archduke when the Archduke is killed by Prinsep. He does the equivalent of, pulling a pin on a hand grenade. Imagine trying to hold negotiations to ward off an explosion with a guy who's already pulled the pin on the grenade right. You have a limited amount of time to
the of anything Winston virtual during his life had famously said. Jaw jaw was better than war war, meaning negotiations always better than war, but the person he pulled the pin on the hand grenade. You have a very short window of opportunity to avoid the inevitable and that's where Europe finds itself after the Duke is murdered. Everybody's worried about the same thing too. There's an old phrase, the peace used to use in the late one thousand nine 1970s seventies, they would say if they gave a war and nobody came military planners in Europe at this time period or worried about something a little bit different War breaks out and days that hostilities commence. Only one side's got their army. There. And if it takes you thirty days to get your reservists in uniform to the mustering point to the battlefield before they're ready to fight how
the deal. Is it if it only takes your opponent fifteen days to do the same thing this puts a huge crunch time wise on everybody in this story and strange the ability to negotiate your way out of this situation? Everybody feels like okay, the first person flips the mobilization switch. We all go because nobody to fall behind the Germans have constrained themselves even more time wise by the way that they have found, a solution to terrible dilemma of how do you fight a two front war. You know once you violate Bismarck's dictum of you- know, keep the Russians on your side and then the Russians and the french ally with each other and war breaks out, you're going to be fighting the French in the west and the Russians in the east. At the same time and in the intervening decades. The german general staff had figured out a way to not just survive that situation, but to win WAR but
involved exquisite timing, which further constrained the amount of negotiation room you had before the grenade went off The timing involved, taking advantage of the fact that everyone thought the Russians were going to take forever to mobilize the ins were seen as a giant somewhat clumsy colossus, less organized than the Germans and the french and people like that, and so the time the Russians could get their act together and get their monstrous armies in the field ready to fight Germany, already would have defeated France. Their entire plan for action, involve throwing almost all their weight against the French immediately and then turning after french forces were he did and throwing those forces against the now ready to fight Russians, but this did two things to the Germans: one it meant the russians- could have no advance time, mobilizing you couldn't let them mobilize for
four days. While you waited to negotiate putting the pin back in the grenade, you have that kind of time. You were going to screw up your entire plan for winning the war. If you did that the other thing that men- is that if you went to war with Russia, you had to attack France. You had to assume that the French would come in at some time, and the only thing you had a plan to deal with was to attack the french first. So if you go into war with Russia, you get to attack France as part of the bar again. It was even more of a concern than that. It involved in countries. Besides, It's countries, you had no disagree, With it all neutral countries, they just and to be in the way the Germans had come up with a plan. To deal with their encirclement problem. But it involving launching, essentially a world war in their defense. The other thing that Prinsep did was
find, an opportunity for a lot of these leaders who thought war was coming anyway to decide that now was better than later and this is another interesting side of the conflict. But if you're, These many military staffs that are absolutely sure war is coming in you, you can read accounts from every major military, the time period, where numbers of their military planners thought war was inevitable the question is: if it's going to be inevitable, is it better to fight it now than later the Men's were under the impression that the Russians were on their way to superpower status, which, if you look at what happened in the 20th century, is exactly how it turned out. The Germans felt that one thousand nine hundred and seventeen that was To be a reality, the Russians were completing major military reforms, major transportation reforms. They were taking advantage of huge french bank loans. To do this if the Germans figured. If war comes in three years, we're going to be in a much worse situation than we are now
it's here. We might as well do it now. We have an advantage now we won't have later in the friend felt. Similarly about the Germans, as the Germans felt about the Russians, they were looking at the german birth rate and just going we're going to be swamped? They were looking. Growth in industry I mean the Germans were chair, so if we came in fiber six or seven years. The french it's going to be worse off. So they figured the same thing if war going to come, let it come now n, amidst these interesting conflicts of interest in worries about timing and all this stuff, the, world sees where it's heading and tries to pull back from the brink instead of having the greatest statesman Europe can produce during this time period. Some of these countries are saddled with people Who are like mills
around the neck of peace, people like Kaiser Wilhelm, the second, the of Germany leadership is such an interesting side of this conflict because I firmly believe, have you had a guy of Auto VON Bismarck's caliber in his authority in Germany when the first World WAR is on the verge of happening that they could put the pan back in the grenade. You know the governor low princess metaphor: we pulled in Sarajevo. I think it could have been done and all it would required in some real diplomatic quality brilliance would have been great, but I don't even think you needed that just some some high quality workmanship, which the Germans had reduced time and again problem was in this time period. There back with a ruler who could not have gotten the job if men, it had been one of the requirements.
You know of having it handed to you Kaiser Wilhelm, the second, was not a great leader. Represents the wonderful example: you can easily think of of what a roll of the dice hereditary monarchy is and how? Sometimes you get a great role and you end up with a gifted ruler and then it almost seems wonderful that they've got so much power in their hands right? Because if someone really knows what to do with it and does good things with it, you kind of say to yourself on the other the power to do as good things, but a bit of a roll of the dice, isn't it as often as you get one of those people you get somebody who's, evil or cruel or insane some people history of rolled very badly on the dice far too many times, but it creates good hardcore history work. You know. For when the ancient elamites used to roll whatever the number is that comes up. That means you get yet another in the same ruler in your dynasty's made for fun reading, but I wouldn't have wanted to live under it in Germany.
Current leader, this current Kaiser Kaiser, just like czar in Russia, where they have an art, autocratic, Kane, I both of stem from the word Caesar which right the 20th century, sounds anachronistic, doesn't it part of this old world that had existed forever. Reverend king and emperor doesn't sound anachronistic at any time in history before one thousand nine hundred and fourteen going back to like Mesopotamia. Does it just sounds weird in the twentieth century shows you. Old this world is that is marching into the twentieth century. Three of the major powers in this conflict are ruled by emperors, kings or czars. They don't have total power. Well, those are almost does really Kaiser's had his chipped away over generations. You have to share some power with the german legislature, which has political parties and they handle budget Taxation, but the Kaiser still has a ton of power over war and foreign policy and political appointments, and all that and he's just below average guy the funny,
about the Kaiser is that the thing that ever happened to his reputation was Adolf Hitler, because when you look propaganda, and you read the stuff written the Kaiser before Hitler comes along Kaiser is treated as this evil character malevolent Militaristic, want to take over the world blood falling off of the bayonet. You see in the political cartoons and now the attitude that people, towards him. Is that he's almost silly or that he's full You know he just racked with inferiority complex he's almost to be pitied, he's a little mentally all, but there isn't that malevolent, evil sort of thing, and I think part of the reason. Why is when you have Hitler to compare someone to all of a sudden. You see that the Kaiser was just sort of a you know, marginally bad role on the monarchy, dice for what it's worth He was tied into all the other great monarchies in Europe, one of the funny twists in the story and it
Provides you know something? importance because it in your this time the royal families had relatives of other we'll families in Europe, in their families and family still communicated with each other, which provides like a diplomatic back channel where these rulers can actually you know, sidestep traditional diplomacy and just write the family member that rules the other country, for example, Queen Victoria, maybe the most famous queen in british history, maybe the most important ruled forever. Presided over Britain during the height of Britain's power when she's controlling most of the world and the sun proverbially never set on the british Empire queen. Tory grandchildren are in well, Kaiser, Wilhelm's, one of 'em he's Queen Victoria's grandchild he's the first cousin of the king of England, King George, right, not just that but the czar of Russia is married to another
Victoria's grandchildren, so bizarre as her son in law, it's also Wilhelm's cousin, and then, when you know he gets upset, we want to talk to the Russians about something he will often sit down and pen. A quick note to cousin Nikki be Czar Nicholas the second now does are in Russia. Is another av you to low average roll on the monarchy dice. It's who's telling and some historians have made it out to be that you end up such mediocre leadership in such powerful countries. During this time period it might account. For why you know these. International incidents which could have led to war previously didn't, but now are because the leadership sucks. I mean in terms of what you could expect that these people were merit. Based leaders You can say what you want about a Stalin or Hitler or even a Mussolini who's been portrayed again in the West, like some sort of clown, but all of those people were formidable individuals who wrote
through the ranks at some level, the same thing with american politicians. I mean I Franklin Roosevelt. You can say what you want about him, but that's a formidable human being with qualities that allowed them to sort of rise to the top requires a merit based something being born into the Hohenzollern family, as the oldest son, doesn't require anything. That's the luck of the draw, if the Rob of Kaiser had been merit based, Kaiser Wilhelm. The second wouldn't have gotten anywhere near it, and yet he's the Guy most responsible for putting the pin back in the grenade of war is going to be avoided here and, he famously said after he sacked Bismarck and then sacked another guy said I'm I am my own chancellor meaning I'm I'm going to run all this myself, but We do when not only are they subpar in intelligence and brilliance and all that, but because they
a bar, and if they can't see that their subpart, they don't even take advice. Well, I mean at one point in the story: the Kaiser will ask one of his military leaders to do something that is ridiculous. Stupid Who is the war? Stupid and the military leader will say it cannot be done in the Kaiser, will embarrass him and say something to the effect of Uncle, who was also a field would have given me a different answer, in other words I've done what I want to do, even if it was stupid. The Kaiser, just to show you how it is too. So you understand royalty and you remember you, your head, you go yeah, that's what royalties, like this same military leader. I just quoted a guy named VON Moltke will have change the way that the german war game system works before the first World WAR and he will to put his foot down and take a career risking, moved and tell Kaiser that no longer can they keep up with their tradition that whatever side the Kaiser is commanding in the german National WAR Games has to win. Think about that for a second
before field marshal. Von Moltke puts his foot down whatever side that Kaiser is commanding in these war games, these national maneuvers of national security importance, whatever side the Kaisers commanding wins automatically come on folks, that's goofy and the Kaiser's a little goofy he's got this one arm that was damaged during his birth was withered and had no strength. He couldn't cut his own food, for example, which is so embarrassing to a guy. Who's already got an inferiority complex. He go England to spend time with his cousins, and they don't really care for him too much. The british royal family is kind of turned off by William and all William wants is kind of their love and approval and to be like them it's funny. Isn't this sort of weird almost like magic play right kind of way. Kaiser sort of embodies the inferiority complex that his country has. At this time too. There are new,
country on the stage and they think you're being treated like trash they're mad there there's a chauvinistic, that's how the British in the French and those people see them in just these upstart in a Their weight around kind of people but, as many historians have pointed out, there's no nation in the world that is up and coming that doesn't start to act like it and when they do the nations that already have it all don't like it, I mean how do how does the United it's kind of feel about China, today, is sort of elbowing its way into the you know: power straw here I mean we all understand they deserve it. You look at economics? Look at all the signs they they're they're up and coming, but nobody necessarily feels like that person pushing their way in to get their own space is anything other a bit of an upstart during this, the United States plays a similar role. Elbowing their way in the world power, whether the people that are already there like it or not, make some room here we come that's how the german empire was. There was a feeling of inferiority and Kaiser Wilhelm held that sort of attitude in spades. But if you read the
stuff at the time he's portrayed as this militarist, and that is the term that is most often used for this. German hire that will be blamed for everything. That's happening here: ok, militarism, the entire latter part of the eighteen hundred people focused on militarism and the building of these amazingly technologically deadly armaments and the race for power? I mean it just seemed like the world was arming itself, It was just going to explode and it was these militarists who are responsible and people who look at Nazi Germany and who are, I know, people who are enthralled by the Verm Oct and the precision marching in the uniforms in this whole sort of militaristic, fascist attitude that the Nazis portrayed, and I was trying to tell them that the Nazis didn't invent this, that the nazis were revitalizing regular german Marshall attitudes. That's the nice militarism, if you don't like it, it's Marshall, if you do like it, that's
Hitler in his crib. All we're doing is bringing back traditional prussian martial practices that stepping robotic. Unbelievably efficient precision, drilling and all that those are rushing qualities that go back to Frederick the great and it freaked out a lot of the countries in Europe. Look at this and they just they look dangers. They look mean they looked Chauvin They look like they wanted to take over your country, and then they were building this giant navy now, all of a sudden out of nowhere challenging Britain B Kaiser had read that same book that Theodore, Roosevelt Red did anybody do more damage than Alfred Thayer Mahan. When he decides to write a book on naval history Kaiser like Roosevelt Reddit, was enthralled with it made all as you apples read it and then decided he was going to build this fleet to compete with Britain so that they, you know, wouldn't for granted leading character. A perfect example What can happen with the the monarchy, dice.
Now, of course, all the governments in Europe that matter are not all mom keys and autocratic governments. There are the fame governments of France and Britain, for example, France is a republic again by this time, having tried out royalty again after Napoleon decided that they like Republic better in their republic and written might as well be by this time period. They still the king in the royalty and all that, but they don't have any power anymore there. They were during this time period. The way the royal family is now maybe more graves otos maybe more able to shift opinion one way or the other than the more The generation today looks at the current royal family, but at the time about the extent of their political authority. Parliament to legislate, of Britain has the power then like they have the power now, but that a dynamic The french and the British have to worry about things that you know. Countries on the other side of the ledger or Russia don't have to worry, but they have to worry about the political situation. They have to worry
their political opponents using the war situation. As a Politice issue in there's quite a bit of division over this whole thing, during this time period between when the archduke was assassinated, which happens on June 28th, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen and when the Austro hungarian government issues that famous ultimatum, the list of demands to Serbia, which happens on July 23rd? There's a dead zone in there. Now, it's not really it's only if you were reading the morning papers every morning in that period there be war scares and comments here, and there would be something new everyday to keep. You focused on the crisis, but historically speak. Not much happens. What was going on was behind the scenes, a ton of diplomacy, and one of the main avenues of diplomacy, were the fray trying to get the british? You know into some sort of hard agreement for what they're gonna do if this war breaks out in five minutes, because they don't have a heart agreement with the British, they sort of have a soft agreement instead,
a signed on the dotted line contract. They have a handshake deal and they're start to get a little bit worried about the handshake deal getting worried that even the government in charge in London right now, come through on the handshake deal, who's to say, they're, going to be able to keep political power. Their opponent use this war issue you not to topple the government. Take control of the government then say to France. We only have a handshake deal. I'm sorry. The new government will not comply with a handshake, sorry we're not getting involved in this war were neutral. We have this splendid isolation and the Navy will protect us because, remember folks, look at a map of great Britain, the average moat around their country and the greatest Navy in the world to protect it. They have the staying out of this thing if they want to the which don't have that luxury they were on the invasion list there on the dinner menu for Imperial Germany and they're. Looking for people to provide some help, they've got the but the Russians are a long way away.
Not being on the dinner menu for the imperial german military did. The british situation was fundamentally different. They couldn't see a positive outcome for them if they get involved in this whole affair, I mean there are things you can gain, they got couple lost territory, they lost to Germany in the war of eighteen, seventy eighteen, seventy one they'd like to get who's back in. Case scenario, you this conflict breaks out, they will get them back, British, don't have anything that wonderfully positive to look forward too yeah they might alleviate the threat of this german fleet, but by nine. Twelve, it was already that the British had proven that the German it could not compete with them. In the building of ships. If they wanted to have a great land army at the same time, and so that's kind of out of the way by this point: oh no, big gain there and maybe protect France from falling 'cause. If France falls, you get the situation you had in the Second World WAR in
Forty were all of a sudden. You have the german staring across the you know, English channel from you and then all of a sudden that mode doesn't look that. Why does it? But that's not a lot of positive stuff to go into the first global conflict in a hundred years for to the British this looks like a massive disruption of their extremely profitable business ventures, they've been mapping out books like that illusion, written by Norman angle. Wherever historian points out how influential this book was Orang is trying to explain to the people in that time period that war. That continually gets threatened, like the russian roulette trigger being pulled is never going to happen. It can't happen the world become to inter in that time period. There's two: globalization. This is the early period were all that starts where you have the telegraph, providing instant communication in the railroads in the shipping lines and trade had never been higher. Wealth had never been grander, and Europe at the height of its fine
power and Britain was at the height of everybody's financial power. Would you mess with that make situation, guys like angle, were saying that what it uh and is it, was so profitable to simply do business as usual that there was Nothing worth going to war over. What angle was saying is that anything you would gain by launching a war would be dwarfed by what you would lose by destroying the system that was allowing everyone to make so much money, there's an old line that, when goods don't cross borders armies will well. This is opposite situation. Their goods are crossing borders like crazy. So guys, like angle, tell you that you know because that formula and they believe in that formula you can't have a war and what the british turning to find out. You know, is this dead zone period from the end of the archdukes assassination to the ultimatum by Serbia, with the British are starting to find out. Is that angle, at least partially wrong. He may be right that you will destroy a whole system. That's making everybody rich. He seen
To be wrong in thinking that the is that b will avoid a war because of that in the British government is having a hard time selling people on the idea that this is good for Britain on July. 23Rd Finally, the long awaited response from the Austro hungarian government to the killing of their heir to the throne, they send an ultimatum. The to the government of Serbia The ultimatum is one of those documents you can look at throughout history. That is obviously designed to be rejected. The demands would eviscerate been straight Serbians, No sovereign state could agree to this and they're only in forty eight hours to respond to all these different points, the rejection of any one of which means war, but the day or the forty eight hour deadline runs out, the serb government sends a message to the czar of Russia asking for help and they wrote quote
we cannot defend ourselves. Therefore, pray, your majesty, to send help as soon as possible, He is given many proofs of your previous goodwill and we Confidently hope that disappear. Will find an echo in your generous love, heart and quote disturbs, send bounce back to the Austro Hungarians. It's not good enough. The Austro Hungarians, declare war on July 28th exactly one month after the assassination and they're shelling Belgrade. In, like five minutes, the Russians, Claire Mobilization in response to this. This is the moment when the first outside power turns on their doomsday device. You see when master Hungarians in the Serbians mobilized. It doesn't anyone else out because they're going to fight a little war against each other and they have to mobilize to do that. It's when the first out side power tied to these alliance systems
It's on their doomsday device that everyone else is going to feel the pressure to do the same thing. Germany. The most pressure be they're the ones the very short window of opportunity. I think the designer of the military plans couch leaf had figured out, it was about nine hundred nine hundred and fifty hours that they had to smash the potential of France, you didn't have to be mopped up, but she had to be smashed within nine hundred and fifty or so hours. For the Russians would start to come in from the east with their armies now mobilized. If you screw that up could be in Berlin having coffee and cigarettes and poking the Kaiser with a stick in a cage by the time. You know the figured out what was going on. So the let the Russians mobilize you have this crisis because the Russians have the flex, if they want to have just sending those people home in a month, mobilization doesn't mean war to them, but it does to the Germans because they
got to start their plans and day. They don't that nine hundred and fifty or so our window is shrinking. This is the point in the with the military plans begin take over the political process in a way that makes it impossible politicians and the diplomats to do what they need to do to potentially stop this conflict. They need time they need time 26th of July the government written calls a peace conferences for the major powers of the could hash. This out talk it out. Nobody the time once the into the mobilization switch? the Germans are under pressure tell the Russians to stop the Russians say we're only doing this again: hungry. This isn't meant. You know do you doesn't matter. The Germans have a Well now, and they begin going to everyone else in saying. Are you in? Are you and they go to the french and say the French? You in this conflict, it's about to come out. 'cause we're going to go to war with the Russians if they don't demobilize. What are you going to do.
The friendship we're going to act in accordance with our interest on the German, that will listen if you stay out of this war. All you have to do is hand us the keys to all your forts on our fortified border until the war in the east is over that, as pledge of your good behavior and will consider you out of this war, that is, impossible for the french government to do as the demands on Serbia WAR. For the Serbians to do French can't do that you know hand over your national security keys to your most antagonistic historic enemy I think so, and the Germans must have known that they knew they could France, out of this conflict, which is why they had these in a fan, military plans to defeat two powers: the country they were really hoping to keep out of the conflict was great Britain. He kept negotiating with Britain saying you know you do any deal here. We're cousins were both Anglo Saxons were the same race. You know the french or your historic enemies. Are you really going to work with them on the third?
of July, the british Prime Minister wrote in his diary quote The european situation is at least one degree worse than it was yesterday, and it is I've been improved by rather shameless attempt on the part of Germany to buy our neutrality during the war by promises that she will not an ex french territory except colonies or HOLLAND or Belgium. There is something very crude. He writes and childlike about german diplomacy mean why French are beginning to press in the opposite sense, as the Russians have been doing for some time. The city, He means London, which is in a terrible state of depression, and paralysis, is for the time being, all against english intervention. I think the prospect very black today end quote. But something will happen that change the mood in Britain, something will help to create a good guy bad guy narrative in this war
I told you earlier one of the key issues, because this war so important to the rest of the 20th century in 21st century history is whose fault at all is and the British are very concerned during this time period that they be if they intervene, intervening on the right side. The bad guy. It's going to depend on what happens. That's again, where the german war plans put them in a situation where, for the or plan to succeed. You have to create strategic problems that are going to cost you the war. The biggest thing that Germans need to do here is keep the british out of this war, but the war plan involve a requirement that will br the British into the war, the Germans can't actor French along their mutual border that borders full of forts it's the most. One the most fortified borders throughout world history. Ever since roman times, it's the same area about a hundred and twenty mile front that become the Magino line after this war and before the Second World war during this time,
period. There are fantastically technologically sophisticated forts all through this one hundred and twenty mile border between Germany and France, with interlocking fields of fire and large garrisons. It's not. Did the Germans can't defeat that they did in eighteen? Seventy one thousand eight hundred and seventy one that was the root of invasion back then, the prom is the Germans can't defeat them? within that nine hundred and fifty or so our window, the time, the german smash their way through those forts. The Russians are in Berlin and easy and everywhere else right. So there's only one thing that Germans can see their way to doing as part of this plan to win the two front. War and to smash into France in the part of France. That's undefended, but the reason the part- that's that's undefended or less defended than this fortified there is less defended is because it isn't on the border with Germany, on the border a bunch of neutral states these are going to.
To be to be the highways the german army uses to get from Germany to France. The only problem is that those highways neutrality is guaranteed by the british government and have been for seventy five years. What is the to happen as a result of the stipulations of those german war plans, potentially the greatest mistake, ever made I put it on my top ten list somewhere greatest mistakes ever made. If you're a German, I have to believe that I have a hard time figuring out. What is a greater mistake for the entire history of your nation as a unified in a country since in seventy one have a hard time finding something you could label as a greater mistake. In this one, because so many of the other candidates you might put as your greatest mistake only happened because of this mistake before it the end Belgium is a disaster for Germany on so many fronts, and that's what we're talking about here originally in a way back in, like the late eighteen
early one thousand nine had also been on the list of countries to be used as a highway for the german army, but since time and is the war plans were refined. It was just narrow down to just Belgium and the Germans were sort of naively hoping that the Belgians would just step aside line there army up on both sides of the street and watch the Germans March through the british and the Prussians. You know who are sort of the forefathers of these Germans, two of the signatories to something called the Treaty of London in eighteen, thirty, nine that pledged to and Belgium's Neutrality in a wonderfully tragic ironic sort of connection to, by the way, the Belgium is going to play leading to the first World war is very similar to the role Poland played leading up to the second. In both case those countries were the reason Britain got dragged into the conflict before Second World WAR Britain Head going tried to stop. Hitler's seemingly endless ambition
putting a road block in his way and guaranteeing the independence of Poland, Ignore that guarantee, when into Poland and Britain's in the war in the first World WAR, the same thing is happening with Belgium. The german others can see no way to win this war without violating Belgium's neutrality. As we said, this is what makes it the greatest mistake, though, potentially in all german history. Violating Belgium, ends up taking a Britain that one historian says as recently as two days before they declare war on. Germany is lean. Tord neutrality. That's amazing! two days before they enter the war, the government is leaning toward neutrality. What changed that the invasion of Belgium. The invasion of Belgium does too terrible things. If you're looking at this. From Germany's point of view, the first thing changes british police Alan public opinion, almost overnight on a dime, as the british Prime Minister Herbert ask. With put it, he of course,
wants to get more involved in this looming war because of the handshake deal with France. He said that the ultimatum the Germans give to the Belgians simplify matters, all of a sudden, the people who are trying to convince the rest of Britain that they have a dog in this continental war looming up Have some real ammunition? The first thing is a signed treaty with the Belgians. That's not a handshake deal, that's in ink it's longstanding, as is the national security concern that Britain has had for a very long time of keeping the channel ports in Belgium out of the hands of some dangerous hostile power throughout most of Britain's history that dangerous hostile power was France, but they're calling the Kaiser the new Napoleon and if he goes into Belgium, he's going to have those channel ports. So what had been A more sort of highbrow argue that didn't really, you know, appeal to the God is changing because of Belgium. The most important appeal to the gut
the that Belgium has is the propaganda slash pr side of this whole thing. Belgium is destroys Germany's mutation in terms of global public opinion, I mean there's always been people who call Germany, this evil malevolent militaristic country and what have you, but on the world stage as soon as the Germans invade Belgium, they partici right in the most aggressive act so far by any of the major powers in this conflict. Austro Hungarian against Serbia, maybe before this was the most egregious, but that was is having some sort of you know. Connection to events I mean the serbian government had maybe been involved in this assassination. There was something to do with one another. Belgium an innocent bystander like a shooting war breaks out between a couple of sisters on the street and the thing, one of the gangsters does is turn to the side and kills an innocent bystander because they're standing in their way, that's a little like what this is portrayed as by you know. The allied I to services which make the most
this Belgium thing you can imagine so much so that it incense people like Adolf Hitler who later in mind. Comp. There's, no, where else do Germans in a false so far behind the British and the french leader, the Americans then did in the in the realm of propaganda. Hitler says each mistake of Germany and Austria. Hungary propaganda was to portray the enemy as comical, and he said that the bridge in the French. The Americans understand that the enemy needs to be seen as violent, dangerous and bloodthirsty as bad, not comical, because he said the problem with portraying them. As Michaels, you run up against him in there tough and that used to shatter all the propaganda, it's better to say that these evil? You know the nine riders of more door are approaching. He says, and then you know you really get your back into a cause like that and how the allies, which is what Britain, France, and many other countries. The United States, later included, will be called
WAR. There initially called the triple entente the other side. The alliance with Germany hungry later Turkey and some other countries will be called the central powers, and so it's the triple on against the central powers or allies against the central powers in the powers will be portrayed as Hitler said. As these papers and pillagers an looters, and it will be Belgium, the Germans will provide their opponents with the raw materials to not to exaggerate too much at all. To portray as the modern day version of the Huns. Now on August. First, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen This small war between the Austro Hungarians and the Serbs gets bigger, because that's when the german ultimatum given to the Russians telling them to stop their mobilization, or else runs out historian Stevenson says that this is
clear, sign that the Russians know what's coming and there okay with it They know that if they don't stand down, they'll have war with Germany and they don't stand down. So he says one way or another. You have to infer that tions were ready for this and okay with it. Two on August, the Germans declare war on the Russians that day. Italy says they're out. They had a nominal alliance with Germany and Austria, Hungary, but they choose used to use an out clause which may or may not be valid, depending on who you're talking to saying that this here's to being aggressive war and their alliance only covers defensive war, so they're out they declare they're neutral on this new conflict, it's just starting the next day in the West Germany invades the neutral country of Luxembourg, the tiny little neutral country, Luxembourg,
the same time issues this ultimatum to the Belgians saying: listen, we just need to use your country to get to France. We mean you no harm, just let us march through. If we break anything, will pay for it later and we don't have any designs on your country long term. In response to this, Belgians, have a heroic moment where the king of Belgium, you know and the major officials all get together and basically all agree that they're not going to stand down attitude they seem to have his we're screwed, either way We might as well go out of this gloriously and they decide to mobilize their tiny little army and fight and at the same time, issue calls to the other guarantors of their neutrality, saying you know, and they they waited until the moment. The Germans, by the way, stepped in everybody's, worried somebody's gonna, pull a fast one and try to fit like that. The French, your The Germans are going to try to fake them into going into Belgium first because they think the Germans are coming in. The Germans could say we weren't the first people to violate Belgium. Everybody wants to stay on the good
in terms of war responsibility. The French are so worried about falling into a trap like that they pull the unprecedented move of all time and on the the war hold their military forces six miles back from the border. Remember not just for positioning those are troops who picked the watch that they were in because they're important strategic spots, important passes and river crossings and other things that have been built up with fortifications for years and the government is so freaked out about possibly being for starting this and the Germans not being blamed for starting this. That they pull their forces back, the French Those are not pleased about this, but the move is intended to also make sure that the british people and the peace and in Britain have no excuse to say well, french file. Belgian neutrality first or fired by the french first, so the humans are positioned into this thing, where they have a time limit on this deal, they can't sit around and wait around Belgium,
has to be violated for the plan to work. They can at the French or the British to violate Belgium. First. They tell the Belgians you to let him through the Belgians, say no, on August. Third, Germany, declares war on France and Belgium. Now think about that. Folks, we could go. Europe was peaceful now, it's on the slide to general war. Within another week. The entire continents is going to be flaming out at each other. I mean that's Cray to go from Tony p. To total war in less than two weeks. Hg wells? Writing a year or two after the conflict, and so he's right in the middle of the moment. He even says you can't quite you, write about it now without Passions in the feelings, you know totally screwing up your impression thing things, but he does talk about how weird the mood was, because all this was happening so fast, and he was talking about the british public cuz, that's where he lived and how
There was almost this disconnect between the fact that the entire world has changed, but it's happening so last, we haven't changed with it yet, and he writes quote all Europe still remembers the strange atmosphere of those eventful sunny August days. The end the armed peace for nearly half a century. The western world have been tranquil and it seemed safe few middle aged and aging people in France, it had any practical experience of warfare, the newspaper talk of a world catastrophe conveyed very little meaning to those for whom the world it always seems, secure, who were indeed incapable of thinking of it as anything otherwise than secure in Britain particularly for some weeks, the peacetime routine continued in a slightly dazed fashion. You like a man still walking about the world, unaware that he is contracted a fatal disease which will alter every routine and habit in his life
people went on with their summer holidays shops reassured their customers with the announcement business. As usual, there was talking excitement when the newspapers came, but it was the can excitement of spectators who have no vivid sense of participation in the catastrophe that was presently to all the mall end quote. It's easy to understand too. Why british public really weren't ready for this. In fact, none of the which really ready for this they hadn't been mentally prepped for the idea that this was coming for. Also it's a political reasons. The british government couldn't declare itself out right and sort of draw a line in the sand and tell the Germans listen if you invade Belgium, it's on no ifs your butts. The british Minister. Didn't have that power for all. He knew the peace faction in his government would topple his government if a statement like that were made in both the and the Germans for a very long time before this conflict breaks out, but especially in the fevered in the last month or
trying to get some sort of word from Great Britain what the policy is, what you going to do with the last minute. The French are sure the British are going to abandon them. The frame Foreign minister will sit down and discuss at one point, say they're going to desert us. When someone in the british media asked him what he's doing he says, I'm going to wait to see if Britain still has any honor, british are waiting for something to happen in Belgium, and so are the Belgians they don't want to do anything until their actual neutrality is violated. So they wait until the Germans arrive. When advanced, cavalry patrols and actually some guys on bicycles, believe it or not, paddle into Belgium, and give notices to the locals that we're sorry that we have to do this and everything be fine, just don't cause any trouble, don't blow up any bridges sabotaging railways don't destroy, Or any tunnels anything we might need to get from here to there leave all that in place or those will be considered hostile acts as soon
becomes apparent that Germans are on belgian soil king of Belgium basically orders that all those things be done and then kind. Text the other guarantors of belgian neutrality and says. The Germans are here? We need your help. That's when the British draw up the official sort of ultimatum, which we'll? Have criticized them for me: they say if you only given that ultimatum before the Germans had gone into Belgium, they might have had more options once they're in Belgium, for them to get out of Belgium, because the British told them to was really like a tail between their legs kind of situation, and this is happened in history. Many times in other situations, where people have said. If you had just said what you were going to do before the enemy did, what they did might have been for now come in this case once the Germans are in Belgium, the British, ambassador to Germany, guy name, Sir, and Goshen, deliver the british ultimatum to
He delivers it into the hands of the german minister, a guy named Gottlieb, an ego and the german Chancellor guiding Theobald VON Bethmann Hollweg Goshen New, that this was a historic meeting and he put down what happened, and he said the Germans when they receive this ultimatum from him. Freaked out, he wrote that the meeting was rocked with menace quote, found the chancellor very agitated excellency at once began a harangue which lasted for about twenty minutes. He said that the taken by the british government was terrable to a degree just for a word neutrality a word which in wartime it so often been disregarded just for a scrap of paper Britain was going to make war on a kindred nation who desired nothing better than to be friends with her all efforts in that direction had been rendered useless by this last terrible step policy. To
as I knew he had devoted himself since is a session to office had tumbled down like a house of cards. What we had done was unthinkable. You know in the my the Germans, it was like breaking a man from behind, while he was fighting for his life against two assailants healed, great Brit. Responsible for all the terrible events that might happen. I protested Only against that statement and said that, in the same way that he and her VON Go wished me to understand that for strict jingle reasons. It was a matter of life and death to Germany to advance through Belgium and via the latter's neutrality, so I would wish him to understand that it was so to speak a matter of life and death for the honor of great Britain that she should for solemn engagements to do our utmost to defend Belgium's neutrality if attacked solemn compact simply had to be kept or what could anyone have any engagements given by great Britain in the future the chancellor said, but at what price will Compact have been kept, as the government thought of that end quote
And this is an interesting key point because I've, often wondered if you could take the suppose polls were the decision makers in this conflict into the future. And show them some history books and show them what it happened. Even the winners. Do you think would have found a way to avert in what ended. Happening because it was more more than any of them envisioned the field marshal in charge with the military affairs at this time. Von Moltke famously said that this the struggle that would decide the course of history for the next one hundred years and he was totally right, maybe more But had he known that this would mean Germany would be on the losing end of two world wars in the 20th century. When you he would have done. I mean look at the situation now and imagine Germany without having lost those two world wars and how different they might be today there roman historians who consider
this role of the iron dice is going to war. Here is often referred to as one of the great irresponsible responsible gambles and all german history and the key element in the whole affair was Britain's Asian to involve itself in the conflict, because one make a very good case that if Britain stands aside, Germany, Is this war that's about to start? Instead, they have perhaps greatest overall superpower in the 20th century world lining up on. Other side and to be truthful. The Germans weren't really afraid of the british Army that's a small colonial force that by german standards is relatively insignificant, or so they think I mean Bismarck famously said when an adviser had warned him that if you go to war with Britain, they could use that wonderful naval power to land their entire army on our coastline and big
are famously said. If they do that, I shall have them arrested, meaning he send the police force out to corral. British army. That's how worried they were about this tiny little force that their army dwarfed, but they were keenly aware that Britain had the this navy by far in the world. They were the greatest financial power in the world. They control a huge chunk of the World Britain and It's together, owned, about seventy percent of the world at this time period. When you talk about all their colonies and everything else and that's all stuff, they can drawn to fight the war. What's more that wonderful navy of Great Britain's can shut down german shipping? You know in a moment, in the stroke of a pen Britain, secretary, Sir Edward Grey. On August third, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen when tensions have reached a new, edge fever each moment will
out the window and see the Lamplighter is of London lighting the lamps for the evening, as was customary at the time, and he to someone else at the window and famously said the lamps are going out all over Europe. We shall see them lit again in our lifetime. The Germans are given the famous ultimatum, and it's to expire at midnight on August. Fourth, german time which is eleven thousand one hundred pm british time Lloyd. George one of the ministers said they were sitting around a table just before Stroke of eleven watching the clock, tick away, and he said that his big Bens chime start chiming for the eleven o'clock hour, signifying that the deadline is about to expire, he's every ring of the Bell sounded like Dum Dum, Dum
then, when it expires, Britain declares war on Germany. That's worth asking at this point, what the people who just entered upon this course of action. Thought was going to happen and when Lloyd George here the chimes of big Ben sounding and things they sound like doom. What is Lloyd, George mean when he says doom mean this is a conflict of the the Europe, had not had for a hundred years and a lot of changed in a hundred years. This is like jump off of a cliff in the dark for Europe, and no one knows how long the drop is going to be and they exposed to a lot of thinking out there by guys, like Norman Angle, we mentioned earlier, who are saying no one's going to jump, jumping would be suicidal everybody died, the golden goose would be killed, globalization would be destroyed, no one will do it, and now they had just done it. What did people think that meant well, as we said earlier,
The first World war has so much written about it that you can cherry pick from this or that source and create any sort of impression you want. Really looks like, though, if you some up, you know, I've read a bunch of stuff on this to me, what it looks like is, There was a small view among some people that, under to the reality and they to be the Cassandra's in the story that the ones who actually prophesize accurate what's going to happen most of the People didn't have a clue. I think Lloyd, George, when he hears big Ben sounding doom, is worried about Britain's financial sector. And he had every reason to be by the way, because a few days before. When Austria, Hungary declares war on Serbia, the markets around the world, you know, go crazy, and in London, the financial capital of the World, Lloyd, George's hearing from all the bankers and all the investors and all these people that this is a crisis. Troy, Britton Fiscally, which sounds like the worst thing in the world until you fast
where the time machine for years and see what's really going to happen where you paid good money to only have the financial system collapse. Here's the thing, though there were, bought. Who turned out to be right about how momentous this leap off this cliff and how long the drop was going to be, who to be right and we're kind open for it mean take. For example, the guy who, along with Karl Marx, helped create modern communism Friedrich Engels, who, in eighteen eighty seven wrote about this coming conflict and how terrible it was going to be and, of course, in his mind, hoping for an overthrow of all the existing regimes to be replaced by communism. That was sort of the silver lining in this coming Armageddon angles wrote quote I see a world war of never before seen, extension and intensity. If the system of mutual outbidding in Armament Kerry extreme finally bears it's natural fruits. Ten million soldiers will slaughter each other and strip your
Bear is no swarm of locusts has ever done before that. Stations of the thirty years war, condensed to three or four years and spread all over the continent. Famine, epidemics general barbarism. Tion of armies and masses provoked by sheer desperation chaos in our trade. Street in commerce ending in general bankruptcy. Chal of the old states in their traditional wisdom. In such a way that the crown's role in the gutter by the dozens and there will be nobody to pick them up, absolute impossibility- differ see how all this will end and who will be the victors in that struggle. Only one result absolutely certain general exhaustion and the creation of circumstances for the final victory of the working class. End quote: Oh there's, your silver lining. If you happen to be a communist revolutionary and you want to see the overthrow of governments and in one sense angles will get what he wants, at least in one country, but not the only person that for this some
military minds. Of the time see it too, we told the field marshal in charge of Germany's war effort, the man known as VON Moltke, but he pale shadow of his uncle, the man known as the elder VON Moltke, who command russian forces in the Franco Prussian WAR of eighteen, seventy eighteen, seventy one by this, period he's retired and he's on the speaking circuit in one thousand nine hundred and six, he speaks to the german legislature and he warns them what a modern war is going to be, like quote the age of cabinet war is behind us. All we have now is people's war. Gentleman if the war that has been hanging over our heads now for more than ten years like the sword of Damocles. If this war breaks out, then duration and it's and will be unforeseeable, the great powers of Europe armed as never before will be going into battle with each other. Not one of them can be crushed so completely in one or two campaigns that he will admit defeat that it will be
hell to conclude peace under hard terms and that it will not come back even if it is a year later to renew the struggle gentleman it may be a war. Seven years or thirty years, duration and woe to him who sets your a polite, who first put the few just to the powder keg end quote. This long drop in the dark is going to set up the first? If you want to use boxing analogy again, heavyweight championship fight. The world has seen since Napoleon's day a hundred years before In the interim, you had a lot of one sided conflicts. You know a champion like Muhammad Ali or MIKE Tyson, fighting a person heard of or you, something like the wars between the United States and Spain or Cuba and the Philippines, which is a rising soon to be first class power against a declining soon to be third class power, or these
colonial conflicts were a nation like Britain will go in and crush the dervishes or the Zulus, with the occasional set back, of course, and they will use proto machine guns against these natives armed with spears, one of proto machine guns, really a gatling gun was called the maxim gun and there was a famous Cologne Claire poem said whatever happens, we have got the maxim gun and they have not in this upcoming war. Both sides have the maximum gun, in fact, much more deadly modern versions of the maxim gun that we call machine guns today, no one had ever seen a war where both sides had machine guns. The Frank prussian. War saw the French trying to use these gatling guns, these early machine guns as best they could, but no one really had any clue what to do with them that change by one thousand, nine hundred and fourteen. We were seeing the most professional armies but the world had ever seen, and certainly the largest that the world had ever seen getting ready. Clash in a conflict that was going
do be like jumping off a cliff in the dark. Nobody could foresee the end of this. One thing was for sure: the Army for Germany, that is about to enter Belgium, is probably the greatest army that the world had seen up until that time. And I say that with everyone, knowing what a big fan I am of the Mongol military science and history in their armies and they're wonderful, but they, respect. People understand how, in dominant the Mongols were The army of Germany during this time period that Kaiser right there just like the Rodney Dangerfield of armies, they don't get any respect and Yet they are. Maybe I mean you create your top ten list of the greatest armies throughout all history, and I put the Kaiser Reich Army on there. I'm not sure but the german army from the Second World war on there and you
part of the reason we don't know more about that. First world war, german armies, because the Second World WAR, german army, like so many things in that second conflict over shadow, it in many ways the very in the Second World WAR is flashier than the first World war. German army. You know again to get to the boxing character Richard. The very mocked a big heavy, hitter knockout artist and they go around and it's just boom it's over in one round sometimes, and you stand up and it's thrilling an incredible, but in a someone hits them back and or or beat them up a little. It's a different game you start wearing them down continue to wear them because they're not strong, fundamentally at the core They have a great punch but they're uh sort of an uneven foundation that was really where the strength of the first world army was, it may not have been as flashy with those giant knockouts and all that, but they had a better chin and they were, you know, rested on firm foundations. It was a fantastic army.
And no one remembers it today and what's funny is once again a it becomes. Another that Adolf Hitler was wrong about when he wrote quote Thousands of years may pass, but never will it be possible to speak of heroism without mentioning the german army in the World WAR, then, from the veil of the past, the I r in front of the gray steel helmet will emerge unwavering and unflinching any mortal monument as long is there are Germans alive. They will remember that these men were sons of their nation. End quote: it's a fantastic army part of what makes it so great is this natural efficiency that is stereo typically german, is a two to military science during a time period, where military science really does become science, it's become the age of the bean counters and efficiency experts. When it comes to putting an army in the field, that's what the poll
Sonicare creates when you get this part of the war machine, the ability to create these mass armies. Now Imagine a guy like Alexander the great who I love to mention all the time, but you can imagine Julius Caesar two guys Probably never commanded more than eighty thousand people ever and staff. You know we're capable and they could deal with it and they were very efficient, logistically and everything for their time period, but dealing with a one thousand men. In this era, you're dealing with twelve to fifth teen times that amount. What would Alexander the great had done trying to control one and a half million men, it's exercise in higher math to try to do that, and when you hear about how the Germans had prepared minutely for this day that for so long had been called the day, dare tog this hack into Belgium into overwhelm friends and everything you get in idea of how much actual bean counting and planning is involved. Now in
to maintain these armies. That would have been impossible, one hundred and fifty years before, because capability didn't exist. It's a function of modern civilization. The era of the 20th century,. Now to get an idea of size. You have to think about the division, which is the basic unit unit, these militaries kind of operate with goes back to the times. Divisions are still use, of course, in militaries today and if you want to think about fifteen thousand men in a division is a kind of a rough size. It actually fluctuates in different, militaries and whatnot, but just think fifteen thousand men a fish one thousand man. Division is probably more troops than either the Normans or the Saxons at the battle of Hastings, the pivotal one thousand and sixty six battle that decided the fate of in a Britain at the time in England. At the time. So each division- this is equivalent to a rather nice sized early medieval army. German are at the beginning of the war, has more than eighty of these imagine trying to control eighty Norman armies and it
not just about getting each division where it needs to go it's about sinking what they do together and when you start organizing divisions into Coors and Coors and armies, then these armies have to support each other. They have to travel on different roads and then converge at certain points and you I think of the incredible math- that's involved in these March columns and it's hard to get your mind around, but these are so large and these roads so narrow that head of the column, starts walking they've gone, twenty nine miles before the end. If the column can start walking, try plan, to have food ready for these guys when they stop marching, I mean it's the pics of this is incredible and the main reason why you couldn't do this. You eight there's an ages ago. You just couldn't support it in addition, all these armies are fabulously trained. The Germans are incredibly trained in terms of having even their reservists on the practice fields in Germany doing fire exercises preparing for this day. This is a barber
been writes about you with mobilization and you get an idea of how planned every step is in the german army quote once the mobilization button was pushed the whole vast machinery for calling up, equipping and transporting two million men began turning automatically reserve went to their designated depots, were issued uniforms equipment an arms formed into companies and companies into battalions. We're joined by cavalry cyclists artillery medical units cook wagons, blacks, as wagons, even postal wagons moved according to Prepared railway timetables to concentration, points near the frontier where they formed into divisions, divisions into Coors and Coors into armies, ready to advance in fight one core alone, she writes out a total of forty in the german forces require one hundred and seventy railway cars for officers. Nine hundred and sixty five for infantry Two thousand nine hundred and sixty for cavalry
one hundred and fifteen for artillery and supply wagons six thousand ten in all group in one hundred and forty trains and an equal number again for their supplies from the the order was given. She writes everything. Was to move it fixed times according to a schedule precise down to the number of train axles that would pass over a given bridge within a given time. End quote. When you realize how minutely planned and how and she will this whole thing must be in order to function. You can see why delays of even a few hours will throw the whole time table off in a right before whole conflict breaks out, and I mentioned it earlier. The Kaiser will turn to VON Moltke and he's panicking at the last minute, the Great Supreme WAR leaders, not so tough when it all looks it's coming down, unfortunately, for him, or fortunately, the staff that works under him are tough as nails again. Another thing is german army of this period brought to the table, which To be honest. The second one did most of the time too. It's fan
big leadership and the Kaiser at one point thinks the war with Britain's off and he says great. We can turn the armies around. You know just send him to Russia instead of worrying about France and England at all, in VON Moltke has to stop him and say you do not improvise the employment of millions. I think the exact plan was the deployment of millions cannot be improvised, but you get the point. This was an efficient plan, to deploy the largest number of people that had ever been sent in a area for a single purpose, probably in all human history, you think about. Holding his greatest Regis Gamble right to invade Russia. Utilizing an army composed of many many many different european peoples, and I had to scrape Germany in every place else to get enough people to send into Russia was something that was called the grand army. You know in the early 1800s, and is this crazy endeavour sent maybe seven Fifty thousand men into Russia did
we're going to invade Belgium with more than twice that in and out flanking maneuver that's, not even the army. That's holding the front, that's just a big wide swinging gate. That's going to smash on top of the head of France. How do you control that many, How do you even get them from one place to another? We kind of seem to think in our head that they can just mark. Across you know mountainsides and country lanes and through fields and pastures, and sometimes they do but most the time they get to this is the same way. Most of us do that utilized the road system think about But the road system in Belgium, tiny little actually rural. Belgium is going to be like with this massive grade. Sized Army probably ever put together trying to march through it all in a short period of time. There witnesses, of course, to the actually happening one of the fun ones. To read for me: is Harding Davis,
Davis is one of those guys he's an American. He also he's, basically, the war correspondent, one of the main ones of his era, and he wrote about the deployment of american forces in Cuba. You know what the turn of the century and all this kind of stuff and he's he's really a rah rah Americana kind of guy. You know Americans the best at everything and and that sort of feeling, but he was there in Belgium, the german army comes through, and you can. I mean I'm going to read you this extensively, because you can hear in his writing. His jaw is on the floor. And here's someone who doesn't think anybody does anything better than America and getting a lesson in what the best army in the world looks like and remember this kind, force at this kind of level and potency hasn't been on display in anyone's living memory, You're getting a view of a nation at war. Like you would in Napoleonic times, but marched and equipped an organ
and supported by a modern 20th century state. This was while you were beginning to see, tiny little glimmer of what the leap in the dark was going to entail. It was going to Fighting armies, like this one, Richard Harding Davis, writes quote, the entrance of the german army into Brussels has lossed the human quality it was lost as soon as the three soldiers who led the army bicycle into the boulevard DU regent, and ask the way to the Gadda Nord when they passed the human note passed with them. What came after, and twenty four hours later is still coming. Isn't men marching but a force nature like a tie wave an avalanche or river flooding its banks at this it is rolling through Brussels as the swollen waters of the common I valley swept through Johns town at the site of the first few regiments of the enemy he writes. We were thrilled with interest.
Hours they had passed in one unbroken steel gray column. We were bored but hour after hour passed, and there was no halt, no breathing time, no open spaces in the ranks. The thing became uncanny inhuman you return to watch it fascinated? It held the mystery and menace of fog rolling toward you across the sea. End quote he then goes on to describe the uniforms, which are pretty much same color. The second world war. German uniforms are feldgrau, I guess is the proper way to outside, but basically it's just a gray, but this time period, most nations had only relatively recently gone away from gaudy colorful clothing. You know red scarlet for british troops has only recently given away Takaki and the french Army still war stuff that look like they belong in Napoleon's army. They're, going to wear red, pants and blue jackets, and
I carry sabers in their calvary's, going to have breast plates and horse hair helmets. I mean it's kooky stuff. Most militaries are moving away from that the Germans use Gray Harding thinks is the most fantastic, that use of camouflage she's ever seen the British, khaki is often compared to canary, that's gotten dusty Davis goes on and on about how the minute these german soldiers get one hundred yards from, you can't see him anymore. He said he was watching some german cavalry where ride by and he could see the horses, but he couldn't see the guys on them because they just sort of blend with the fog in the mist in the twilight and the early morning hours in that color he goes on and on about how great that is and how cyantific it is. He goes on yesterday major General VON Jaroski, the german military governor of Brussels assured Burgermaster MAX that the german army would not occupy the city but would pass through it. It is passing followed in campaigns, six armies, but
being, not even our own, the Japanese or the British scene seen one so thoroughly equipped, I'm not speaking of the qualities of any army only if the it meant an organization. The german army moved into the city a smoothly and as compactly as of the empire state Express, there were no holds no open places, no stragglers. This army, he writes, has been on active service for three weeks, and so are. There is not, apparently a chin, strap or a horseshoe missing. Came in with the smoke pouring from cook stoves on wheels and in an hour had set up post office wagons from Witch mountain messengers, galloped along the line of columns, distributing letters and it which soldiers posted picture postcards the infantry he writes, came in files of five two hundred men to each company, the answers in columns of four with not a pennant missing the firing guns and field pieces were one hour at a time in passing each gun
The technician wagon taking twenty seconds in which to pass the men of Infantry saying Fatherland, my fatherland between each line of song. They took three steps at times. Two thousand. Men were singing together in absolute rhythm and beat when the melody gave way. The silence was broken only by the stamp of iron shod boots, and then again the song rose. When the singing ceased, the bands played marches, they followed by the rumble of siege guns, the creaking of wheels and of chains clanking against the cobblestones and on the sharp bell, like voices of the bugles for seven hours. The army passed in such solid columns that not once write a taxi cab or trolley car passed through the city a river of steel. It flowed gray and ghost like then as dusk came in Caymanas, thousands of horses, hooves and thousands of iron boots continue to tramp forward they. Tiny sparks from the cobblestones, but the horses and men who beat out the sparks were invisible at midnight
ach wagons and siege guns were still passing at seven this morning I was awakened by the tramp of men in bands playing jauntily, whether they marched all night or not. I do not know, but now twenty six hours, the gray Army has rumbled by with the mystery of fog and the pertinacity of a steamroller. End quote. That was a long quote, but that's That's the german army of the Kaiser right on campaign. The german army in the Second World WAR is that countries attempt to recreate that. No. I've always believed. The very ferocity in the scariness of this Kaiser right german army worked against at the beginning of the war in a way that heard it through the entire history of the war- and I think long afterwards helped establish this german reputation as sort the bad guys
because this army was so intimidating, so scary. Everything from the precision drill to the equipment. To how well organized they were to the logistics to the leadership to the intimidating elements built into it? I mean they had a wonderful it called the deaths head has ours which goes back to You know the napoleonic wars earlier, actually, and they wear the fashion has ours for helmet. This is in nineteen fourteen folks. This isn't no one thousand eight hundred and ten, the fur helmet of the hussars and on the fur helmet is a skull remind you a little bit of the SS forces in the Second World WAR, but it shows you that all of this predated you know with Nazis did the Nazis were just updating a lot of classic german traditions and in a lot of cases, perverting them and staining them with blackness and everything. But left hand, has ours are famous and intimidating as they are meant to be. But then you take really nasty ferocious intimidating army. That looks like it
Take on anyone in the world in the first time you see him in action. They're taking on God bless them the Belgians. A tiny little neutral nation, that's less than a hundred years old and has never fought a war. In fact, is so small and is surrounded by great powers that they rationally figured out along time ago. It doesn't matter how much effort they put into defense, they can't win, You know the Belgians, totally unprepared for warfare lose only a little bit faster than the Belgians obsessively prepared for warfare they put trust in these international agreements. They had with people who are going to guarantee their security, which is how this whole thing's happening anyway right. I build some defenses, maybe as a sign that you know we can yeah, but we could hurt you and fences are really cool it's really right in that period in human history, where fortifications forts reach sort of their high watermark
still build forts today, but it's nothing like it was well from the beginning of you know human until what about the we're talking about here. Because then basin entire defense strategy on. Nowadays we have these. Positions, where you'll guard them with a fork. But if anybody decides start launching missiles and bombs, and I mean it doesn't matter. Fourth, don't hold up, something we learn very soon in this story, but in 1880s. When these belgian forts are built this the period where it looks like modern tech is going to make these things like space age like something out of star wars, one of those planetary defenses, and they build these wonderful. So Terranean Forts Barbara Tuchman said like castles. Underground and will will do. Is you know I'm reminded of the old Godzilla films in the monster, zero films, where you have some planet and it would a gun that would just rise up from the planet, surface, shoot and then go back down underground and that's what happened in these sports I have to remind myself
cool that is. This is like steam, punk stuff, because when building these forts for Belgium, the same time that the United States and Mexico are trying to corral Geronimo and a bunch of Apache's in the american southwest. Well, that's going on the Belgians are building underground, forts. And you can see some of the stuff on video. If you look at the Magino line, which comes a generation after this, obviously, but it's the same kind of thing works. If you look at it from above ground, you can barely tell there's a fourth there when in underground in a massive concrete and you know little railroads underneath moving guns and ammunition around it's gets cool stuff in the way the belgian designer who was one of the best in the world built this just to we took advantage of the natural River and the rise in the hill and everything in there and he built six big forts. With six small forts in between, and they all cover each others fields of fire with their guns. So you know what for a Can reach with their guns for Tbi can reach with there's two, so they overlap so there's never a place in the Distance anyway, where the guns
can't reach the enemy between these forts. The Belgians have it so that they're going to put guys in trenches so between, forward our people there supported by the guns at this wonderful system, and then you throw more troops out. You know. Five, yards, a thousand yards ahead to keep enemy artillery away, and you have this system. Maybe you can't win a war against someone like the Germans, but you can. Give him a bloody nose and maybe say see if you really don't want to do this. The Germans aren't sure about that when they come into Belgium, they're kind of in the belgian army is either just going to stand aside. Like I said earlier, or maybe you know a few shots up in the air, we protected our honor. Now we're going to stand aside and sign that the Germans are wrong about this is that the bridges are blown up when they get to them. The tunnels are blown the railroads are blown up, Madden's the Germans, 'cause they're on this tight schedule right so now, to deal with at east transportation nightmares
road system that was already going to be clogged terribly mean. There's, there's your first nightmare and then the Germans to across some of these rivers on the frontier in pontoons. And the bell Start shooting at them, so the Germans put into action. A group I have designed specifically to take these fortune. This is the part of the story after to where we are. One Declared you have seventy two hours where everybody's trying to get their heads around this idea at the same time they flipped all switches for mobilization the doomsday device. I called it, where they're calling up all these forces and everybody. You know we don't have stuff here and everybody's scrambling in what they assume is a race to the front lines which they want to lose what if they gave a war and only one side, came meanwhile the while everybody is concentrating its called their forces, the Germans three thousand guys that were so? in advanced to go out basically in the pregame of the first World war. I guess you could say and take
out these forts if they have to, because these forts are blocking the roads. You cannot get to that belgian road system that you need to get from Germany to France. If you don't take the forts around a place like Lee, Asher or name. And so thirty thousand men have been training for years. For just this job, like I said earlier, the day was called deer tag the day this has been plan for, for a long time and the Germans Essentially a special unit of thirty thousand guys whose job it is to take out the sports at the Belgians, don't stand aside and surrender them the Belgians stand aside and surrender them, and in fact the bell Regions are going to teach the first great lesson of the war about, what's changed since the last time, great powers faced off how much the killing power that
machines afforded mankind on the battlefield. How much that had changed the age old equation of war machines have been taken over for a long time becoming more and more important. Is the war where they take over completely An man supremacy on the battlefield, even though they're the ones who run the machines hello, is being now is secondary compared to the killing power. And mechanization that can be brought to bear you know by modern societies, technology was, stating when used against tribal peoples and nations, that can compete militarily, the bell things going to show what a tiny little army of chocolate soldiers is, what the Germans thought they were going to face a tiny little armia chocolate soldiers can do to the greatest army in the world because of the deadly of the weapons at hand and
the interesting sort of sub themes of this whole upcoming conflict is how long it takes some old, to absorb the lessons that are being taught in this conflict. You know lesson number one is how deadly the weapons are and how you have to account for that. Some of the generals and military thinkers understood this going into the war because they had paid close attention to that one thousand nine hundred and five war. I told you about the Russo japanese war, which, by the way President Teddy Roosevelt won a Nobel Prize for helping to broker the peace for that, but that taught less it's about what happens when two sides, armed with machine guns and two sides aren't with modern artillery and all that face off, but the lessons were not the kind of lessons some people wanted to learn. I mean, if you were a cavalry commander. For example, your arm of the military is already not looked upon as very survivable, The war is all since Napoleon have kind of shown that listen, cavalry just dies on the battlefield. The
in the cavalry commander still have going in their favor. Is there aren't really automobiles? Yet there will be by the time this war is over, but they're a novelty they'll be used in strange, innovative situations, but militaries of the world don't have tons of automobiles in a running. It's not mechanized, like the Second World WAR, everybody's using horses, even if they die on the battlefield. Chiefs of wheat being sized down. You have nothing to replace that mobility with, but these cavalry commanders don't want to hear that it's even worse than it used to be wow Rachel, the modern artillery and machine guns get ahold of your cavalry. I don't want to hear that, so they talk about the results as being unrepresentative commanders who are very involved in the idea of the power of the bay in it and the charge in the offensive for well. The entire french outlook on war right now is keep this idea that you attack and you attack with the band that doesn't really mean you're, going to begin. The hand to hand combat, but that aggressive style of warfare is what you want. If you been,
reaching that not your country's doctrine and your entire militaries organized or on the culture of the offensive and cran, is the french word I guess for like guts and it's all about guts. Nobody wants to hear that machine guns just rip guts out. That's the only thing they care about cuts and it doesn't work to have banned charges and rid offense is well, the French would say yes well, it doesn't work the Russians or the Japanese will for the French and that's why we have a great military. I mean there's all kinds of ways to rationalize what you don't want to learn many militaries of the world are organized like Napoleonic times. They don't I want to hear that that is really wrong way to be organized. The french Calvary heading off to war, as I said earlier, but you have to imagine this. If you want to see what Napoleon's soldiers look like go, look at pictures of the French Cavalry one thousand nine hundred and fourteen going off to war with metal breast
it's an horsehair helmets and you would have to be an expert to look at a picture of them in nineteen fourteen and a pig Napoleon's cavalry in one thousand eight hundred and fourteen and find the differences so is there going to go to war and white, gloves they're going to have swords they're going to stand up and troops are going to march into combat in billiard ball. Formations or in a bowl, pan formations drill formations from the battlefield. None of the people who consider this to be an integral part of military culture want to learn that the rules have changed in ninety five, they got one lesson in nineteen get another and the Germans get. There is when they try to take these forts. On August fifth, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen The Germans attack four of these belgian forts now, between the forts, the Belgians quickly put some infantry and there are a couple of machine guns around and whatnot in the Germans. You know
a bit of a rush here. They don't have time to sit there and starve things out. This thirty thousand man forth with artillery have to go in there and power this through, so that the armies behind them can continue there in a huge assault through Belgium, on France and charge. These entrenchments and the belgian slaughter them slaughter them. Mounds of bodies and the Belgians can't figure out the best to deal with it, because the mounds of bodies become a problem? because the mounds of bodies become places. German troops can hide behind and shoot from behind and launch attacks from behind, and the Belgians are trying to figure out. Ok, do we shoot through these bodies and create? Can you create? Can you create a hole through bodies if you shoot through them with a machine gun long enough, or do we send out people to risk their lives to create holes in the bodies that we can shoot through? Barbara Tuchman has a passage in her book which she quotes.
The commander of the belgian forces that were resisting this german assault by General VON Emack and his special brigades, Tuchman writes, quote on August fifth It makes brigades open to the attack on the four eastern, most sports of the edge with a cannonade by field artillery followed by an infantry assault. The eight shells made no impression on the forts and the belgian guns poured a hail of fire on the german troops. Slaughtering their front ranks company after any came on making spaces in between the forts, where the belgian entrenchments had not been completed at some point where they broke through the German stormed up the slopes where the guns could not be depressed to reach them and were mowed down by the forts machine guns the day piled up in ridge is a yard high at Fort BAR shown that shins, seeing the german lines waiver charged
the bayonet and threw them back again and again, the Germans returned to the assault spending lives like bullets, in the knowledge of plentiful reserves to make up for the losses she now quotes. A belgian officer who was there quote, They made no attempt at deploying a belgian officer described it later came on line after line almost shoulder to shoulder. Until we shut them down fallen, were heaped on top of each other in an awful Baruch aid of dead and Woon. Did that threatened to mask our guns and cause us trouble so high to the Baruch aid become that we didn't know whether to fire through it or to go out and clear openings with our hands. But would you believe it this veritable wall of dead and dying? Enabled those wonderful Germans to creep closer actually charge up the embankment. They got farther than halfway, though, because our machine guns and rifles swept them back
Of course, we had our losses, but they were slight compared to the carnage we inflicted on our enemies and quote. It's interesting to note: isn't it that Bell. Officers respect for those wonderful Germans, as he called them exhibiting. The military virtues of valor that were so celebrated during this period. Where the romance of warfare you Wichita and strong in human culture was probably at its height. The 19th century. The romance was incredible this is the era where that romance runs into reality, in a way that you just can't pretend I mean guys like William Tecumseh Sherman, the civil war general for the? U famously said that war is hell, and glory is all moonshine, but I didn't really seep into the mass of the population is one historian had pointed out there
publishing a whole lot of combat photos and really nasty terrable stuff for the folks back home at anytime during these periods. So there wasn't a lot of stuff to really counter The romantic ideas of war. This the conflict where you can't hide it anymore, and even though this, Elgin officer looks at this german assault on his food is something akin to the charge of the Light brigade, the famous doomed charge of that British Cavalry during the crimean war. But here's the thing this war is going to teach. If you want the charge of the light brigade. You think it's magnificent in and Bray a doomed sort of attack on the part of incredibly courageous men. What happens if, after the charge fails, they send another one and the same results occur, and then they send another one in the same results occur and then they do it again and again at what point. This wonderful doomed, romantic
operation of the courage of the military heart becomes something obscene. This war is going to take us there and it's going to pound the point home till you're, sick of it After the failure of that german attack on the belgian defenses, the Germans regroup to attack again that same night August, fifth, there for the sun to go down and weaknesses who were with the troops describe them as nervous and anxious and gloomy about the prospects of assaulting. You know these again, what's more doing it at night most of human history night assaults. If you were lucky had taught light illumination. It was always a huge gamble, very disorienting, you couldn't see anything now going to change with this war, and it was going to be a facet of 20th century warfare that we may never see repeated again now that night vision has become a battlefield staple there's, no reason to light up the battlefield in
one side has night vision in the other. Doesn't you don't want it lit up? In this period these germans were going to go into conflict where the night time, darkness could be banished by technology. You had flights in these sports new its search light on the german side. Sometimes you had shells that you could shoot into the air that would illuminate the night sky and you have to imagine bunches of those shells going off. You know it at separate where they overlap so they're getting brighter and darker in it. You know the that remind you of like a flashbulb fly, that sort of strobe light for illumination and it casts cats sleep all over the whole battlefield so that every time you get that burst of light, you see thousands of people like ants, moving along the battlefield and your artillery going off, I mean just think about how weird and disorienting being in the middle of a modern battlefield would be in the daytime, and take away the light. It's freaky that's what these german soldiers are about to face, and there
stand to be nervous. They expected some sort of romantic kind of war, even if it was dangerous. You had a chance for heroism and a chance to for your country. I mean this is a generation that is absolutely infused with the ideas of nationalism and that dying for you. Countries are huge, glorious thing that you should look forward to and now they're saying wait a minute: how glorious is it to be one of many people, mowed down by machine guns in or just sort of randomly They don't want to go on the assault again, and this attack starts to bog down after it starts now there's officer, Who's roaming around the battlefield, who normally is in Berlin with the high general staff of the german military, the germ encourage their staff members to get out in the field, sometimes and see. What's going on in this guy had a particular interest in this battle because he was one of the people who planned it. For years. He'd been planning this battle. He took his
vacations from Germany to Belgium just to look around where the battle was going to be fought and now, since he had interest in hoping his play, were carried out correctly. He's wandering around this battlefield at night. Looking for what the hold up is and find not that the general commanding a certain part of the attack is dead, killed by machine gunfire. So this guy, this staff officer, who has have described as absolutely devoid of fear. Big man grabs. The unit of dead, general five or six thousand men in the dark and starts leading them toward the objective. You know you got all the sports more than four hundred guns from the four to than the guns on the german side. It's just got to be this unbelievable chaotic mess in the dark, and this one general has grabbed this unit and is and is heading toward the city of Leon. Which is protected by this circle of forthright, with man in between all the forts. He fine
a spot. That's undefended leads this unit past the forts. In the city on gamble that maybe the city won't be defended, or maybe, if I walk in there with six thousand guys they'll just lay down their weapons. Now the Germans don't have a lot to celebrate In their military history in the Second World WAR, because the cause was so nasty doesn't matter, you know how many good things their troops did in terms of military history. The military side of that causes so corrupted taints everything that can take some justifiable pride, in the adventure story of this guy because first walks in the city and everybody just sort of surrenders to him there, and then he goes up to the citadel, the main defense in the center of the city, his sword hilt. He pounds on the door demanding the surrender and they open up the door. And they surrender Yikes talk about boldness talk about gambling. This is a base
unknown German, officer who beat is of the name he is making for himself will be in a position that some historians will call the Terry dictator of Germany, within four years name is Erick Ludendorff. Ludendorff's actions that night remind us once again that, even though, as I've said several times, the machines have kind of taken over the dominant role in fighting artillery guns All those things are machines. You can't count the human factor, in fact the human fact it's probably the dominant factor among adversaries that are somewhat evenly matched evenly matched me. No military genius is going to save Belgium from Germany, the Germany, the differences between potential of the two sides is just too great between totally equal are only moderately unequal powers. Leadership could be the determining factor and the boldness shown by ludendorff. That night is a precursor to what we can expect from him later on and
the Russians can expect from him very very soon. Now, Ludin doors, very audacious capture of the city of the eyes doesn't solve the problem. The Germans have, because all those forts are still active, he's keep in the city hasn't taken the forts and they're. Still there. Ready to shoot up german March columns, those if they're not taken before the big March starts. So Ludendorff calls for his ace in the hole the Germans have been planning for this attack for a very long time. They knew that the Belgians might resist and they knew if they did, they had to have a weapon that was greater than anything the people who built these forts ever envisioned in the aids, although some of these four states in the 1890s in that era, the it's more basically guaranteed to the belgian government to be invulnerable to any Canon, then known in the world The cannons that were then known in the world are no longer the maximum size cannons available in the world belong to. The Germans
and no one even knew it until they first showed up on the scene and they come and even better demonstration than the machine gunfire mowing down those boards, in charging. The belgian defense is that the I've was simply do his device like if you imagine it magnified thousands of times. The weapons that are on the way from Germany to Jim to reduce these forts, are the best well, I can think of to show how much has changed since the last time. The great powers fought each other in Europe hundred years before. In? No, where is that more on display in evident than in artillery, which one years ago, during Napoleon's time was already what Napoleon thought decided battles It was a guy who made his bones in the art,
he rose through the ranks. Is an artillery officer he's known for its use on the battlefield? Here's a guy that that could shock people with the killing power of well used artillery and his big guns were firing. Twelve pound cannonballs, twelve pound cannonballs. The gun itself weighed about one thousand two hundred pounds the same gun, essentially in in one case that. Both sides in the US civil war used, but about one thousand, two hundred pound cannon. The largest of the guns that are on the way from Berlin to Belgium, The largest of them weighs three hundred thousand pounds. One thousand two hundred pounds to three hundred thousand pounds: that's quite a change The shells that Napoleon's twelve pounders fired, or between nine and twelve pounds.
The shell that the largest of these guns of four hundred and twenty millimeter motor fires, that Shell weighs two thousand pounds. The napoleonic cannon that was so deadly at the time that it was shocking, had an effective about two thousand yards, the Just have these guns on the way from Berlin which, even design, some of them for range at all the large to these as a siege cannon, so it doesn't even have to fire very far has Sometimes the range of that french cannon that was designed in its state issued shoot far is an entirely new kind of warfare. The people who actually see this gun after its assembled are slack jawed, and assembled it must be because think about how hard it would be trying to transport any these large guns, especially the largest of them. Now now turn the clock back
two one thousand nine hundred and fourteen style technology were automobiles, aren't even very old. There are relatively new product, pictures are even newer, railways don't go everywhere. You need him to, and these guns weigh a ton. Guns that are this large, usually can only be put on ships. That's how you get them from place to place. These are essentially naval guns in size, talking about a gun that is just over a sixteen inch gun. That's traditionally enabled naval gun later on. You'll have rail guns that are that large to same problem, though, how do you get him from place to place they're, so big they're, so heavy the larger? battleship guns, you know, deployed where the Yamato, Japanese, super battleships and there's were eighteen point. One inches the american battleships, the last effective ones. Built, the Iowa Class, the Missouri's they had. Sixteen inch guns Imagine those guns trying transported. Crossland getting them to where you need them to go.
The guns on the way to reduce sports, that kind of size the of them. Sixteen inch guns takes forever and is an amazing engineering feat just to get these guns to where they need to be. And then when they get there the crew for these largest guns and it's like a couple hundred guys have to lay cement the cement has to dry. I have to be assembled and put together then, when they, fire. This thing this gives you an idea of the monsters were talking about. The gun crew had to go the football fields away, three hundred yards away and fire, other thing electronically, and they were still so close that they had to put cotton wadding over their eyes, their nose and their ears, and they the fire this thing, while their mouth was open or they blow their eardrums and potentially worse than that.
Imagine what this weapon does the well is fired in a four thousand foot arc. It takes a full minute to get from the gun to the it's so you fire it and then there's the sixty second wait until motion happens online foley time. We have cool shells that can be delayed action fused, an armor piercing, so that when you fire me sports. They hit the top of the that's the kind of arc they have. They don't fire flat, something they fire way up in the air, and then it drops right on top of these fords a shell that pierces armor concrete and then once it reaches its maximum depth, then it explodes. The wonderful world of science and engineering is going to Take over the battlefields of this upcoming conflict in a way that has never happened before and this happened to me most symbolizes in this early part of the war you know your example of here's. Your wake up, call here's your Darth Vader
here's what 20th century warfare is going to mean. The gun arrives along some cousins who are slightly smaller from the also great armaments works of Skoda in Austro, hungarian then, and the weapons created by Crook and Skoda start shelling these forts and they start going down and they start going down fast now. Those of you have listened to many of my shows. No, I'm not a huge on Keegan fan, but as Story, I think, he's best his world war, one and world war, two histories- and he wrote about this guns arrival outside the fortune said quote. I so it was in placed the bombardment, began. The crew wearing head padding, lay prone three hundred yards away while the gun was fired electronically, quoting at the scene now quote sixty seconds
take by the time needed for the shelter traverse. It's four thousand meter trajectory and everyone listened into the telephone report of our battery commander, who had observation Post, one thousand five hundred meters from the bombardment fort and could watch it close range, the column of smoke, earth and fire that climbed into the heavens key king continues quote the first of the shells delay fused to explode. Only after penetration of the forge protective skin fell. Short six minutes later. The next was fired then five more each of them walked up towards the target, as the elevation was corrected. The ventless approaching footfall of the detonations spoke to the paralyzed defenders of the devastation to come. The eighth struck home then the gun fell silent for the night, but the
this morning joined by the other, which is completed. The journey from Essen, the bombardment reopened. The range had been found, and soon the two thousand pound shells were quote ripping away armor plate and blocks of concrete cracking arches and poisoning the air with heavy brown fumes, end quote, and Keegan then goes on to say, and I'm not going to murder the french names of these Fords, but at one thousand two hundred and thirty one is a wreck he says in his physically incapacitated and surrenders. They then shift to another fort, which surrenders five hours later one explodes when it's magazine is hit by one of these shells completely destroying the whole thing. That will happen. A couple of these forts by the way and when find those the Germans were first on the scene say that they look, like quote miniature alpine landscape with debris strewn about like pebbles in a mountain stream heavy
artillery and ammunition had been thrown everywhere. The law had been blown from its place and had fallen on its dome, and it now looks like a monstrous tortoise lying on its shell as sports began to fall. Artillery then closed in on the fourth that had the general commanding This whole affair, and he himself what it was like to be under fire by web is that no one had ever seen the like of in human history quote. A shell wrecked, the arcade under which the general staff were sheltering all light extinguished by the force of the explosion and the officers, ran the risk of asphyxiation by the horrible gases emitted from the shell firing ceased. I ventured out on a tour of inspection on the external slopes, which found it been reduced to rubble heap. A few minutes later he writes the bombardment was resumed,
it seemed as though all the german batteries were firing salvos, nobody will ever be able to form an adequate idea of what the reality was like. I have only learned since that big siege mortars entered into the action they hurled against US shells weighing one thousand kilos, the explode. Force of which surpassed anything known hitherto, their approach just to be heard in an acute buzzing and then they buy with a thunderous, roar, raising clouds of missiles, stones and dust. After some I'm passed. Amid these horrors, I wished return to my observation tower, but I'd hardly advanced a few feet into the gallery. When a great blast passed by and I was thrown violently to the ground, I managed to get up Continued on my way only to be buy a choking cloud of poisonous gas. It was a mixture of the gas from an explosion and the smoke of a fire in the troops quarters we were driven back, have suffocated looking out of a p ol. I saw to my horror that the fort had fallen slow.
Encounter slopes being a chaos of rubbish while Hugh, tongues of flame, we're shooting forth from the throat of the fortress my first thought he writes was to try to save the remnant of the garrison I rush to give orders and saw some soldiers whom I mistook for belgian gendarmes. I called them and then fell again. S gas is seemed to grip. My throat as an advice, end quote. He woke up to one of his aides and the german officer giving him water those soldiers, he thought were belgian, were german and they were the first to enter the fort. After a shell detonated you know the magazine in the entire four hundred and twenty in a giant explosion. These are enormous metal and steel and concrete in a forts. These guns were pulverising for
that were built to withstand the guns of just a generation before and doing so with ease, that's a demonstration How much things have changed just since the 1880s and think of how which things had changed from Napoleon's time to the 1880s. This was a nineteenth century world, covering the horrors of 20th century warfare, and they were going to have to learn how to deal with this new reality. One horse, VIC bloody lesson at a time. The lesson of Lee Age. Is that the eras of missing your defenses on forts is over. This is a lesson that will be learned and will be taught again in and in May one thousand nine hundred and forty. It's also my
in that the Germans are being taught a lesson. Even as this story is going down in the guns are pulverising the fortune. Belgium The German should be picking up on what current events are trying to teach them they will never take that lesson to heart and they will repay these mistakes, they're making in Belgium again in the Second World WAR, it's safe to say. I think that the damage done to the german reputation globally because of what's going on in Belgium won't go away till at least the 1950s, and I think you could make a very decent case. I've never gone away and that involves german treatment of new countries and on combatants, wherever they find them and As you watch this story unfold, it's clear that In some respects the germans- just don't get it when you would think
would. This is a country that you know it's funny they've, lost this reputation due to two world wars and their involvement in both of them, but they use be considered an absolute hotbed of human culture You know the cutting edge of art and science and live richer and thought philosophy. I mean all these things that the Germans really prided themselves in music mean an increase more people that guys, like Hg wells were intimidated by couldn't help admire them, but it was intimidated by how how ahead of things they seem to be at how advanced they seem to be in all these areas. How strain really ironic, though, that the people that are so danced in those areas could have so many blind spots in areas that one would think are related to the higher culture aspects. Do the people who reducing such cutting edge higher culture. How do they miss something that's likely to be as dead edging to your international reputation as well
History now calls the rape of Belgium no rape of Belgium, I should point out a little bit is a. Propagandists fantasy, I mean they've made it into practically a movie. The rape of Belgium go see the rape of Nanking in your history books, and then you will see something that propagandists did not need to magnify it all to create a world class historical atrocity, killing field? Belgium wasn't that, but it was some. And that something would come back to haunt the Germans in ways that they almost seem ignorant of again in a week or did Hitler earlier about propaganda. Hitler sees it after the war. That the Germans were just blindsided by 20th century glow communications in the ability to manipulate world opinion. By taking things that were real facts and blowing them up to levels that just incense
Whole societies, including neutral countries, The Germans don't understand that the way they are conducting themselves in Belgium is affecting public opinion in places like the United States, which have large german american populations by the way which are cheering. You know the feats of arms and how the german military shown themselves to be so dominant american papers are not one hundred percent against the Germans. At this point, in some places, american papers are in regions that are dominated by german Americans, but they explain away what's happening in Belgium and what stuff watch the day the invasion of Belgium happens. A german start killing belgian citizens. They do so as part of what is now understood to be a. Policy of frightful messes it was called, I'm not sure. That's the perfect translation of the term, but the Germans
tended to you know, set examples of people that did things that the Germans had said. You shouldn't do. They said you shouldn't blow up bridges. If they find you blowing up bridges, they are punish you when they do not give probation. They will, hang you, they will shoot you if they catch you trying to blow up a bridge the Take that even farther, though If you're near a village where a bridge gets blown up, the village might pay price. The Germans believed in collective punishment. They also we've taking hostages for good behavior and when people stuff anyway, they killed the hostages. This one of the most tensions. Parts of you know new scholarship, all the time on the question of atrocities in Belgium, because you know during the war. It is this huge deal and those by the way have lived long enough have seen.
Same dynamic at work where real atrocities happen. I remember the First Gulf WAR. The stories of you know the soldiers taking kuwaiti babies out of incubators and throwing them on the floor than stealing the incubators, and all these stories are normal because real atrocities are going on, but then they're magnified because the magnification works to the benefit of the enemies of the people. The propaganda is working against. The Germans went in and did a bunch of things in Belgium that make him look bad because they were bad, and then the foreign media, like the British, were fantastic at this. Get ahold of those stories Turn them into the worst things you can ever think of the Germans only began to get this. You know. A few people at time I mean later on much later on, Kaiser sign a guy known as the crown prince would say that Bell Jim's when the Germans lost the first great battle of the war, but they didn't lose
on the battlefield they crash, the Belgians. They lost it in realm of global public opinion because of their behavior, hey, here that the Germans will use all throughout this war and again in the second World war tendency to ignore neutrality. As we said earlier, the german diplomat told diplomat this you're going to go to war over a piece of paper. It's just a piece of neutrality is often violated in war, that's kind of how they thought. They also thought that you treat noncombatants harshly and you know to sort of soften that a little it's worth, noting that the German, Treat their own people this way they are a stern rather strict. It's a severe society, especially you know the Prussia I elements of it and they expect obedience and discipline and formally to the rules and that's what they expected their own people, and then they go into Belgium, and when people violate the rules,
get treated harshly. Germans just filter for c, maybe with cultural blinders. The people that come from much less severe traditions would maybe in a play that quality up something uniquely german and nasty, not just It should be pointed out that a lot of different peoples in the world This time we're having problems dealing with regular fighting. This was a big deal at the time. A regular fighting, of course, is when you know regular people take up arms and start shooting at your soldiers like guerrilla troops, for example in Vietnam. The US, Viet Cong guerrillas very difficult to do all kinds of problems. Atrocities tend to happen. British had just dealt with this not altogether successfully in South Africa, where atrocity issues happened, the which are dealing with it in Asia and North Africa. The Russians were dealing with it in Central Asia. The Japanese were dealing with it in China and Korea. This
the problem, a lot of countries were having the Germans were very worried about what were called free shooters today we would call them snipers, because in the war of eighteen, seventy they had a lot of problems with snipers, so they win Belgium, an if they thought snipers were there, people paid the price left right and center. The whole towns would be executed, if a sniper was loose and here's the worst part papers may not have even been loose. Some historians say these are a bunch of gun shy. Soldiers who've, never faced in fire where someone was shooting at them. They may hear some german soldiers gun go off from the other side of town and start killing civilians. It's a very controversial issue. It's historians still but the mouth about a John Keegan strikes me as somebody who's who feels this absolute need to defend this idea of German. You know, Devilishness have a couple of
I, like the author, Lynn Mcdonald, wrote about this. I thought she did a very balanced job, and so did Neil Ferguson Ferguson. What I love Ferguson says he goes and finds like the original thing that happened and then how it got blown out of proportion and but nonetheless, all these people emphasize the same thing. These atrocities happen people died. The Germans practiced collective punishment, all these awful things that most most revival today and then They paid an extra price for it by providing the basic seeds that would grow into enemy propaganda. That would turn the Germans into Genghis Khan, basically, which is exact Woodland Mcdonald compares it to when she writes quote in the
kingdom, Germany's on honor had already been tried and found guilty. Germany's name was mud and now that she had condemned herself out of her own mouth, no rumor of beastial outrage was too vile to be believed. They emanated mainly from the refugees who had fled, have terrified out of their wits from the towns and villages of Belgium. They were the first accounts from people who had escaped from flames of, and then were two hundred hostages had been shot from to me we're four hundred were gunned down and that from the inhabitants of did not. Who would arouse the ire of the Germans by destroying the vital bridge the Germans revenge was to round up more than six hundred men, women and children them in cold blood, the youngest age weeks died in his mother's arms, stories were true and the Germans made no attempt to keep them secret. They were, after all tended to warn inevitably as they traveled they spawned fictions in their wake of rape of Macau.
Chillings of mutilation of bread. Jim Hands, sliced off by sabres of crucifixions of babies, dipped into boiling water or swung for sport against brick walls. There, even whispers of cannibalism, brains of swelled and grew into a crop of rumors of unspeakable villainies unsurpassed since the hordes of Jane Khan had rampaged and pillaged across Asia in dancing in Britain. The newspapers were full of them opinion hardened, it was no longer merely a just war, it was positively righteous and people were out for blood. End quote. I don't think the Germans have recovered from that image. Even now have they you talk about a misstep What if the Germans had treated neutral, countries, and now combatants, with more respect? How different my
reputation, be today what if they'd learn learned from Belgium in nineteen fourteen and reacted differently in nineteen? Thirty, nine? Thanks for sure this whole idea of frightfulness in order to cow, you know the people you had just subjected to the boots of your soldiers that didn't workout bad policy. Foundations and the paintings of that idea it didn't work and the people in charge of it were guys like VON Moltke, who said his austrian counterpart yeah, brutal are advance into Belgium is brutal. But what are you going to do? You know we're fighting to save our lives? Basically, this is life or death. Going to be a little brutal for a while the guys like VON Moltke. He was one of these logical insanity, guys somebody asked him once you know what the most humane way to carry out war is, and he Ashley said make it quick brutal, as you want make it quick. It's our old boxing analogy. Von Moltke was basically saying knock come out, quick knockouts, that's
the nicest you can be, even if it's horribly brutal, to make the knockout as quick as it is so fun, in this case is basically saying yeah, it's a it's well, but in the end this is going to save lives going to use hang a few of these saboteurs. You shoot a few of these people that snipe at your troops and then they stopped doing it. You don't have to burn whole villages down, see how that works. Neil Ferguson when he addresses this issue, is based quickly, sort of telling to not be so naive we've all lived through when we're. In the 21st century now we've had a long time to absorb the ideas of 20th century big and and how it's a legitimate aspect of war, and one of the things you do is paint your adversary in the worst possible light. You can again something that the Germans weren't quite getting when the 20th century was brand new, that they would get. It's better in the Second World WAR Ferguson This book tells a story where he talks about
You know the ways in which this propaganda were used. He talks about how the british newspapers would photos sometimes from stories that had nothing to do with this war in one case stories with add photos from russian pogroms against Jews. That happened before the war and then just you know captioning the photo with something that 'cause it's from this war. I mean no one had any idea, show a bunch of dead civilians and say this is what the Germans are doing. Ferguson writes quote but pre war, photographs of russian pogroms genuinely were reprinted too in quotes illustrate. Stories of german behavior in Belgium, the Sun Chronicle, he writes was one of many british papers which alleged that the Germans had cut off the hands of belgian children, while the four Scaremonger, William, look related ill disguised relish the quote: wild orgies of blood and debauchery and quote '
which the Germans allegedly indulged, including the quote ruthless violation and killing of defenseless women, girls and children of tender age and quote for and continues quote other writers had great fun. Imagining sixteen year old, girls being quote, forced to drink and quote and then what violated successively and quote on the lawn before having their breasts quote, pierced with bayonets and quote bayoneted baby Ferguson says was another favorite image. J Morgan even threw in the charge of Sodomy of little children, end quote, but Ferguson is forced to deal with the reality of the situation that this. Stuff wasn't manufactured out of whole cloth and that be Belgium in the in a line of german advance during this time period was a very day, just position to perhaps find yourself in an perhaps have no fault of your own Ferguson. Writes quote.
Although the Entente press wildly exaggerated what went on in Belgium, there is no question that the german army did commit atrocities there in one thousand, nine hundred and fourteen, according to evidence from the diaries of german soldiers, another reliable sources. All advancing german armies executed civilians, including women and priests. Together about five thousand five hundred belgian civilians were deliberately killed by the german army. Have them in the eleven day period, from the 18th to the 28th of August, one thousand nine hundred and fourteen Just another five hundred in France, the Germans also used civilians as human shields and raised numerous villages to the ground in case in eighteen year, old girl was bayoneted to death. There were also numerous rapes in occupied France and Quote John Keegan who obviously feels very strong about. This goes out of his way to point out these- are not you know, sort of Shackle affairs that the
involve lots of troops, sometimes that these executions are not done by special execution squads, as will be the case in the Second World WAR, sometimes by regular units of the german army- he writes quote victims included children and women, as well as men and the killings were systematic at ten means. The hostages were massed in the square shot down by execution squads and survivors bayoneted. The execute squads were not, as were the action groups of Hitler's Holocaust specially Killers but ordinary german soldiers, indeed those who murdered and and then were the reservists of the most distinguished regiments of the prussian Army, the guard regiment as Phyllis and quote. And the Belgians would have every right you think when you to wonder as their living through this, where their protectors are they signed these agreements that said that they indeed
It is guaranteed by the greatest powers of the age. Where are those people right now, when the Belgians need them all they see or the german army marching through and burning things and perhaps shooting people? You know. Answer is there on the way the British are in the process. Right as we are in the story of landing troops on the continent to aid, the French who are finishing the last bits of the necessary ingredients, so they can launch an offensive The Russians are shocking. Everybody by putting together enough units to at least attack. Eastern Germany, and remind the German that you can't just leave your eastern border undefended and throw everything against France were still here and the Austro Hungarians are about to fight out exactly why the Serbs have such a ferocious military reputation, all Going to happen pretty much simultaneously and it's going to be the Real consequential experiment to test
hypothesis a sort of celestial. If you want or cosmic hypothesis concerning question of whether or not you you do it enough. You can beat the violence out of a society or culture or people, or maybe even the globalization you that this time, usher in maybe world, and the answer is that it depends on how hard you beat them. I guess no has been beaten very hard. Yet in this story, the Belgians are but an appetizer modern warfare is going to be like modern warfare between the great powers on the planet. The first experiment in this hypothesis of being the violence out of societies is on the way. If in addition to the human species, what's about to happen, is the first dose of shock therapy to see if we can be
be sure to us on Twitter the address is at hardcore history. Help the podcasts we'd, really appreciate it. Here's how it works. It's very simple. Just by your Amazon, dot com products through the Amazon Search Window on Dan Carlin, dot com and Dan in band, will get a percentage of what you spend and it helps these guys out because they are nice, young fellas, I think the show you just heard is worth a dollar Dan and Ben would love to have it a buck, a show. It's all. We ask go to dancarlin dot com for information on how to donate, to the show get their first assist with the mostest I that's the phrase that made me cringe, during the editing process. Listening to the show you just heard I can almost hear a five fifteen thousand. I don't know how many avid civil war buffs American Civil WAR Box. We have listening, but that's going to be
or point with them, and I could tell when I listen to it during editing, I'm just going on. Do I really want all those emails? I? in attribute that quote to anyone. I just set a confederate Avary commander, but it was Moseley, allegedly legendarily, said by a guy named Nathan, Bedford, Forrest and controversial figure even today, but that's not unusual among confederate generals and it's not even unheard of among union. Northern generals first is maybe in a class by himself, but he's not controversy when it comes to acknowledging his military genius he's one of the best can generals in this whole period. In you, history and he's an innovative cavalry commander He knows and has already absorbed the lesson that most. European Cavalry commanders, even in the first World WAR, when it breaks out that they haven't absorbed yet forestry. Is that you can't use cavalry the way traditionally been used. You know through entire history. Up until that point, it's just too vulnerable. Now the weapons are destroyed a lot
cavalry, could do so forest strip down the with cavalry to the bare minimum. What does it do that? Nothing else can do and it moves people faster than anything else can do so. We use For that. He essentially had an elite unit of mounted infantry and he would transport these people too vulnerable and important spots, tactically important area dismount him and use him as infantry and then use the horses to ski datil out of there before superior force could catch. You. It's a very modern way to use cavalry and and really the only way, could survive on a modern battlefield and, of course, the battlefield that Nathan Bedford Forrest was. Keep his cavalry live on. Nowhere near is deadly for anyone horses, especially as the battle would be in one thousand, nine hundred and fourteen those all fields are on the way the appetizers over. The main course is about to begin this great. Army in the world is to run into what is probably the second greatest army in the world, France
end. The probably in terms of bang for their buck most elite Terry Force most experienced military force in the world. All these Germans, marching on France, great train troops, who've, never been in combat, except against Belgians they're, going to run into a british colonial force. That's tiny, but that has so much SIRI. Is that there's almost no room for anymore unit owners for these units. Cuz they fought in any parts of the world so long, and so often they're not come coming to this war, to learn on the job. They've already done this job many times, they're going to be the only truly really experienced troops in this conflict which will make them to get back who are boxing metaphors, able to punch above their weight class they're going to give a lot better than their small numbers, probably in They would but can anything this german steamroller, you know
I've often been asked by people how large, the that, offended Imperial Rome, was. And at its height the high number you usually see, is seven hundred and fifty thousand men. So the entire roman empire. That's not one army with the entire roman empires, total number of soldiers throughout the entire you know Borders and interior of the places- maybe seven hundred and fifty thousand guys seven Fifty thousand guises also the upper limit number, as we said in the show that Napoleon may have In his famous and forlorn invasion of Russia. So that's a pretty big number just to understand. What's bearing down on the small british forces landed on the continent, and this french force who waiting to find out what modern warfare is really like. The loan number is seven hundred and fifty thousand Germans, just simply marching through Belgium a high number is one point: five million and that doesn't even
Count the troops facing the french the traditional four to hundred twenty mile border. That's normally the invasion route. You have equivalent of entire armed power, of the roman empire at its height using the belgian road systems to fall on. Northeastern France That's an amazing blog what happens when the erase double force. And runs into the immovable object when Either one of those titles not to be true in part. Two of blueprint for Armageddon okay. One last note added much later way to Let you know that the program you just heard, is not identical to the version we originally released. We did something with this program. We've never done before 'cause, it's crazy hard for us to do and went back.
I'm actually sacrificed work on the next hardcore history show to get into this one in and clear up one. Fix. Another two mm clarity and accuracy actually, and hopefully we better program out of it new and improved version, two whatever you want to say. I wish I Yeah with every program, although, as has been pointed out to me, I'd still be working on, show number one to get it quite right for you, folks, if they would. Let me. Nonetheless always seeking to improve, and hopefully with the update to this, show small way. We have thanks for everything folks.
Transcript generated on 2021-12-22.