Disgraceful Partisanship from Prince William

by craig on August 4, 2014 11:12 am in Uncategorized

A jarringly inappropriate nationalistic speech from Prince William hit entirely the wrong tone and drew desultory applause at the commemoration ceremony for the start of the First World War, in Belgium today.

William’s whole attitude was based on the ludicrous jingoistic myth that there was a “right” and a “wrong” side in the First World War. This attitude pervaded the entire sickening performance. More than once he said we were “grateful” to Belgium for its “staunch resistance”. He mentioned the execution of Edith Cavell and the burning of the library of Loeven, with no balance of the equal war crimes on the other side.

In the dreadful nationalistic war between rival Imperial powers, the Belgian Empire was probably the most evil of all. To commend its resistance is ridiculous. Joseph Conrad’s great “Heart of Darkness” and “Congo Diary”, and the formal revelation by British Consul Roger Casement of the dreadful enslavement and abuse of the Congo population to provide vast profits to the Belgian crown, provide lasting testimony to the malignity of the Belgian Empire.

William referred to Cavell’s execution: he did not mention the execution of the heroic Roger Casement by the British, another key incident of the First World War.

The First World War was a terrible, terrible event. The millions of soldiers may have been activated by motives they believed to be noble, but the cause of war was the rival desires for aggrandisement of the very rich who ran and profited from the Empires. The Second World War was a fight against the evil philosophy of fascism, but there was no such cause for the First World War, which was simply a clash between Empires, and whose vindictive conclusion laid the foundations for fascism.

Commemorations which play to the “good side” “bad side” myth are uncalled for and should be widely condemned. That we still have a monarch-led elite which cannot admit the First World War is wrong is ludicrous. William stands baldly revealed as a reactionary ass.

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  1. And another pointless Royal presence was felt at the Commonwealth Games closing ceremony too, last night.

    If Scotland chooses a new form of governance next month, do we really want 19th century style characetures of the aristocracy to be our top tier spokespersons like the talentless Prince Edward or the pompously titled, Lord Smith of Kelvin?

    And as Prince William proved so easily yesterday in Belgium, they’re not really very good at anything.

  2. the dreadful enslavement and abuse of the Congo population to provide vast profits to the Belgian crown, provide lasting testimony to the malignity of the Belgian Empire.

    The countless mutilated, and limbless Congolese will attest to the barbarity of the “staunch resistors” aka Belgian Empire.

    Revisionism 101 up close and personal.

  3. Quite correct Craig.
    Cutting arms off was not the invention of some black guy with sunglasses.
    The plucky little Belgian government made it an art form.
    PS I bought a dictionary of the Afghan language by Captain Raverty.
    The introductory notes are a revelation.

  4. As long as we have the same power mongers at the top, we will get the same myths perpetuated. They will never admit they were to blame, the blame lies somewhere else as far as they are concerned.

  5. I generally agree with you that there was not a ‘good’ side and a ‘bad’ side in WW1, in that all the major participants were empires…. However surely it was the Central Powers that were the most responsible for the outbreak of the war, being the most aggressive of all the major powers. The political landscape was indeed terrible, but I wonder, once Ferdinand was assassinated, how would you have recommended the Allies behaved to avoid war? Leave Serbia to Austria-Hungary and cross their fingers that the Russians didn’t get involved? Maybe that would of been the wisest course of action, but hardly problem free either.

    “and whose vindictive conclusion laid the foundations for fascism.”

    This was what I was taught growing up, and until recently I had little sympathy for the Allies post WW1 treatment of Germany. More recently I have been reading up on WW1 quite a bit and the sheer horror of the war. With the millions dead and the horrific experiences of all those who had to fight, I’m not surprised the Allies tried to crush Germany in the post war settlement. No war had ever caused so much devastation and horror, I can’t exactly begrudge the allies from thinking they had to prevent a repeat by any means necessary. It is not exactly intuitive that rebuilding a prosperous Germany would prevent another ‘great’ war. Hindsight is always 20/20.

  6. Don’t the royals have to read out pre written speeches approved by FCO in these situations? I don’t wish to defend the speech (I haven’t yet heard it) but I suppose they have to repeat what they are told. Love your blog, a place where I can obtain decent context on the news plus your project on Robert Burns.

  7. The second world war was fought against the evil philosophy of fascism? The evils of communism (which has dispatched far more to their graves than fascism) was why western bankers built up and armed the Nazis. Read some Anthony Sutton. Britain entered a war against Germany because Hiller invaded Poland. At the end of the war, Britain agreed that Poland should be given to the monstrous Uncle Joe Stalin. A regime just as awful as the ‘evil Nazis’.

  8. There was recently a spate of ‘letters to the unknown soldier’, as part of these commemorations. After a hundred years, they were still full of jingoistic and mythologising euphemism. Yet another generation….

  9. ” To commend its resistance is ridiculous. ”

    So what are you saying? That they had it coming? That the Germans (whose weren’t any less brutal in their own colonies) were right to invade a neutral country: murder, rape and enslave it’s population because Belgian colonies had suffered the same? A strange kind of morality.

    Prince William was making a speech in Belgium. What else would you expect him to talk about? the invasion was a key event of WW1 and can’t simply be ignored for the sake of being non-partisan. I don’t suppose many Belgians have even heard of Roger Casement, he had nothing to do with the invasion of their country so I can’t see any reason why he would warrant a mention.

  10. For a good account of how the Belgian monarchy operated in Africa read Neal Ascherson’s The King Incorporated: Leopold the Second and the Congo.”


  11. Brendan:

    “Britain agreed that Poland should be given to the monstrous Uncle Joe Stalin. A regime just as awful as the ‘evil Nazis’.”

    Did Britain have much choice? Russia vs the other Allies in 1946? Europe may not exist anymore if that happened. Also, there is no need to put quotes around ‘evil Nazis’, they were so evil they make comic book bad guys look good.

  12. Both those empires essentially capitalist the capitalist victor continuing its laissez fair economics with mechanisation to the wilful detriment of some social conditions.
    For the likes of Prince William how trapped he must feel without the freedoms which most of us enjoy. Which may explain his short sighted and ungracious views.

  13. Kempe

    Don’t be an ass. He could have simply commemorated the dead on all sides, without praising the fighting qualities of a particular side. It was in Belgium, but Germany and Austria were represented and his approach was offensive.


    Actually I don’t agree. Ascribing blame to a particular country is pointless. In my view Russia’s disproportionate attack on Austria was what turned a local Balkan crisis into a World War, but I don’t think blaming Russia is sensible either.

  14. My father was born today and would have been 97 had he survived. The last relative of mine who died last month was 98. Nobody remembers the First World War. Like th Napoleonic wars it is over. We should be opposing wars today.

  15. Tonight we re all enjoined to sit in the dark for an hour to commemorate the bon mot of Sir Edward Grey about those lamps.

    It’s worth remembering that neither Grey nor his prime minister Asquith were exactly busting a gut for peace in the summer of 194. Grey, a keen fisherman, was away on holiday – gone fishing literally. He was not overjoyed to ave to return to work and although made the offer of a peace conference does not seem to have moved heaven and earth to stop the war. Given this, it seems strange that the man and his wisecrack are being bigged up, but then who wants to let the facts get in the way of a nice story.

  16. John Goss:

    Agree with your comment. I recall, growing up in the ’60s and ’70s, that WW1 was more of an annual remembrance formality. Now that all the old soldiers are dead and beyond help, we are beside ourselves with mawkish commemoration.

  17. Craig:

    Woo! I just got my first personal response from you after the many years of visiting your blog. It pays to comment early 😉

    Again, I generally agree with you that WW1 was a failure of the system and how the political game was played back then. I also don’t think that any of the ‘great’ powers really understood what they were getting themselves into when they signed up for the war (for example cavalry with lances, the poor bastards). I just think that realistically, once the Germans had decided they were going to attack France and Russia, that there wasn’t any other alternatives but a total war across Europe, not unless everyone just rolled over and agreed that Germany would control pretty much all of mainland Europe. German plans weren’t just to nibble away at a few provinces and slightly enlarge their territory, their plan from the very beginning was to be the unrivaled power across Europe.

  18. I’m surprised you expected any different from William. He’s there to stick to script and, along with Kate, ‘connect’ to the younger generation of ‘subjects’. And nothing else.

  19. Len Henderson

    4 Aug, 2014 - 1:01 pm

    On a slightly different tack – what sort of society do we inhabit which reportedly spends £50 millon to set up a media circus to commemorate the START of such carnage? Do the little stone monuments to be found in every village in the land not say enough? Are we being prepared to accept a 21st century rerun?

  20. I see Prince Williams’ speech as promoting reconciliation all in all, not offense. He was commending people who defended their country against aggression. Good for him and them. Casement was guilty of treason and got hanged for it. That’s what one should expect in times of war. The Irish Free State, not too surprisingly, honoured him. In any case he repented of his sins and became a Catholic just before his death, so we may hope for his immortal soul.
    As for the Belgian colonials who oppressed their subjects, we may leave it to Heaven to decide what to do with their immortal souls.

  21. A large part was played by the dead hand of Edward VII and his encirclement policy.

    The Coming War (1911)

  22. Just had to turn the radio off as Max Hastings started spouting the same old myth of British moral superiority. The bloke really believes we were the good guys. How can he be unaware that he only thinks that because he was born here?

  23. Russia’s disproportionate attack on Austria was what turned a local Balkan crisis into a World War, but I don’t think blaming Russia is sensible either.

    Truth be known that is the basis of it of all, although I believe Russians were counting on the progressive Austrians to be more accommodating, and unfortunately the reactionaries in the Austrian courts which would have put the Chinese courts to shame so far as duplicitous conduct were concerned, won the day, ergo the murderfest to kick off all the subsequent murderfests.

  24. PS. I have just noted that of the 110 people just rescued from Libya by HMS Enterprise were two Irish and one German. A good example of the modern state of reconciliation!

  25. I abhor war.

    I had three cousins in the US when my Aunts migrated there. It was during the Vietnam war. Two cousins were in the army. At a family gathering I asked what were they there fighting for. Yet to receive a sensible answer.

    One went semi-bonkers and became a recluse in a remote part of North Carolina. The other was not so impacted and lives a normal life with his wife.

    War – what is it good for?

  26. John Goss:

    “Nobody remembers the First World War.”

    Sorry, John, but I’ll have to pick you up on that one. I used to live with my grandfather who served three years at the front in the Royal Scots in WW1. He was wounded three times and spent the last nine months of the war as a prisoner in Germany. He spoke often to me about the war and I remember it. I have two female friends, both in their early 70’s. The father of one served the whole of the war as an infantryman in France, the father of the other was in the navy and at the Battle of Jutland. They both remember the war.

    Having said that, most of the people you hear and read wittering on in the media appear to know or remember little or nothing about the war.

    I am with you, John, when you say we should be opposing wars today.

  27. It could be argued that because the Belgian empire was so malevolent in its behaviour, Belgium’s invasion was an act of judgment by Providence. But I wonder whether even King Leopold started off as a humanitarian and became gradually corrupted by greed.

  28. Abe

    I have just noted that of the 110 people just rescued from Libya by HMS Enterprise were two Irish and one German. A good example of the modern state of reconciliation!

    Well ask your self the question please ….just why are they needing to be rescued? And from yet another perspective does one really need to have lived in Germany for 25 years to know just how ridiculous your comment is?

  29. Len Henderson, 1.01p.m. Good post.Yes we are, almost definitely

  30. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    4 Aug, 2014 - 1:56 pm

    A look at History often helps us understand the MO. Why change the strategy when it works so well.

    “It seems that, in response to this new submarine threat, some alterations were made to Lusitania and her operation. She was ordered not to fly any flags in the War Zone, which was a contravention of the Cruiser Rules. Some messages were sent to the ship’s commander to help him decide how to best protect his ship against the new threat, and it also seems that her funnels were most likely painted a dark grey to help make her less visible to enemy submarines. Clearly, there was no hope of disguising her actual identity, since her profile was so well known, and no attempt was made to paint out the ship’s name at the prow.[50]”


    Isn’t it interesting that they went from NO flag to false flags?


    On the morning of 28 June 1914, Franz Ferdinand and his party proceeded by train from Ilidža Spa to Sarajevo.[16] Governor Oskar Potiorek met the party at Sarajevo station. Six automobiles were waiting. By mistake, three local police officers got into the first car with the chief officer of special security; the special security officers who were supposed to accompany their chief got left behind.[59] The second car carried the Mayor and the Chief of Police of Sarajevo. The third car in the motorcade was a Gräf & Stift 28/32 PS open sports car with its top folded down. Franz Ferdinand, Sophie, Governor Potiorek, and Lieutenant Colonel Count Franz von Harrach rode in this third car.[59] The motorcade’s first stop on the preannounced program was for a brief inspection of a military barracks. According to the program, at 10:00 a.m., the motorcade was to leave the barracks for the town hall by way of the Appel Quay.[60]

    Security arrangements within Sarajevo were limited. The local military commander, General Michael von Appel, proposed that troops line the intended route but was told that this would offend the loyal citizenry. Protection for the visiting party was accordingly left to the Sarajevo police, of whom only 60 were on duty on the day of the visit.[61]”

    Does this at all sound familiar? Does it ring any bells?

    Read on here….http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assassination_of_Archduke_Franz_Ferdinand_of_Austria

  31. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 2:08 pm


    I could say more, but I’ll limit myself to three observations.

    1/. “He mentioned the execution of Edith Cavell and the burning of the library of Loeven, with no balance of the equal war crimes on the other side.”

    Please refer to a couple of these (Western Front).

    2/. “In the dreadful nationalistic war between rival Imperial powers, the Belgian Empire was probably the most evil of all.”

    Probably true. But, given that the war started in Europe and was, for all practical purposes, a war between European powers fought on the continent of Europe for European geo-political purposes, it is unwise to go on to say, immediately afterwards:

    “To commend its resistance is ridiculous.”

    3/. “William referred to Cavell’s execution: he did not mention the execution of the heroic Roger Casement by the British”

    Most people would probably see a difference between executing a nurse who hid allied soldiers from the German invaders and a person who was attempting to further an armed rebellion in a part of one of the combattant powers in the mddle of a war.


    The cleverness with which it’s been written (all the right and varied triggers are there to get the regulars going)cannot hide the fact that this is a disappointing and rather pointless post.

  32. “William stands baldly revealed as a reactionary ass”

    When it comes to the royal family, reactionary views and hair loss are genetic traits and must be expected.

  33. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    4 Aug, 2014 - 2:27 pm

    Diana weeps….

  34. “War – what is it good for?”

    Urban renewal?

  35. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 2:34 pm


    I liked your comments but would wish to add a couple of my own to reinforce yours.

    1/. “I wonder, once Ferdinand was assassinated, how would you have recommended the Allies behaved to avoid war? Leave Serbia to Austria-Hungary and cross their fingers that the Russians didn’t get involved?”

    You should have situated your question a few days down the line: what was the UK supposed to do once Germany, Russia and France were sucked into the conflict?

    2/. “I’m not surprised the Allies tried to crush Germany in the post war settlement.”

    The Versailles Treaty would have been a damn sight harder on Germany if the French demands had been taken on board in their entirety. This was very far from the case.


    And a couple of further observations:

    a/. Both Germany and France had War Plans which pre-dated the outbreak of hostilities by several (many years). The difference is that the German one was an offensive War Plan involving an invasion of Belgium and France (and, in one of its versions, the Netherlands); the French one was an essentially defensive one, the only offensive element of which consisting of a French advance into Belgium to counter a German offensive from Belgium.

    b/. The harshness of the Versailles Treaty terms has been greatly exaggerated as far as its “material” (ie, non-military) provisions are concerned; Keynes’s book must assume much of the blame for this misconception. As examples, the German hyper-inflation of 1923/4 was engineered by the German govt itself and the reparations actually paid by Germany, whether in gold marks or goods, were in fact negligeable from the beginning.

  36. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    4 Aug, 2014 - 2:40 pm


    “Here was the situation. By 1916, the Germans, Austrians, and Ottoman Turks had seemingly won the war. Russia was in turmoil and about to be swallowed up by communist revolution. France had suffered horrible losses, and Britain was under a German U-boat blockade. Germany made an offer to Britain to end the war under conditions favorable to Britain. But the British, and the international Zionists, had one more card to play!

    The British government and the Zionist leaders struck a dirty deal. The Zionists were led by Chaim Weizmann, the man who one day become the first President of the State of Israel. The idea was for the Zionists to use their influence to drag the mighty USA into the war on Britain’s side, so that Germany and it’s Ottoman allies could be crushed. In exchange for helping to bring the USA into the war, the British would reward the Zionists by taking over Palestine from the conquered Ottomans after the war was over. The British had originally wanted to give the Zionists a jewish homeland in an African territory. But the Zionists were fixated on claiming Palestine as their land. Once under British control, the jews of Europe would be allowed to immigrate to Palestine in great numbers.

    Zionists powerbrokers such as Bernard Baruch, Louis Brandeis, Paul Warburg (father of the US Federal Reserve), Jacob Schiff, and others immediately went to work to put the screws to President Woodrow Wilson. Overnight the Zionist influenced press transformed the German Kaiser and his people into bloodthirsty “Huns”, determined to destroy western civilization. In 1916, the US, with the help of the previous year’s Lusitania “incident”, entered the war on Britain’s side under the ridiculous pretext of “making the world safe for democracy”.

    Hmm. What was the origin of such?


    “The Cromwell sect was in turn overthrown at the end of the “First English Civil War,” his supporters killed or exiled and the Anglican monarchy was restored. Zionism (that is to say, the proposed creation of a state for the Jews) was abandoned. It reappears in the eighteenth century with the “Second English Civil War” (according to UK school history textbooks), which the rest of the world knows as the “War of Independence of the United States” (1775 – 83). Contrary to popular belief, it was not undertaken on behalf of the Enlightenment ideal that animated a few years later the French Revolution, but funded by the King of France and conducted on religious grounds shouting “Our King is Jesus! “.

    George Washington, Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin, to name a few, presented themselves as the successors of the exiled supporters of Oliver Cromwell. The United States logically resumed the Zionist project.”

  37. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 2:47 pm

    Craig to Kempe


    Don’t be an ass. He could have simply commemorated the dead on all sides, without praising the fighting qualities of a particular side. It was in Belgium, but Germany and Austria were represented and his approach was offensive.”

    With respect, Craig, you shouldn’t be calling Kempe an ass for his comment.

    You may know – or perhaps not – that Armistice Day 11 November, while commemorated in Belgium, France and the UK (and not, in my opinion, as a glorification of war or victory but as tribute to the fallen), has never been commemorated in Germany. That is indicative, I believe.

    Furthermore, the Federal Chancellor attended the commemoration which is the subject of your post – and he found no difficulty in referring to the German invasionS (two of them!) of Belgium. You shouldn’t attempt to be more Catholic than the Pope.

  38. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 2:52 pm


    for being the first commenter to get Zionism into the narrative!

    And only a little over 3 hours in!

  39. ‘The Second World War was a fight against the evil philosophy of fascism’

    There was more to it than that. Where did the finance for the re-arming of bankrupt Germany come from? In my view the purpose of WW11 was that Germany could crush the communist USSR, the West’s real enemy.

  40. Having an heir to a throne delivering a grandiose speech comprised of a flawed reading of history to a supine audience seems an oddly appropriate way to commemorate WW1, no? Maybe an FCO speechwriter was indulging himself at the expense of the royals.

    There’s no better book about the origins of WW1 and its tragic course than The Guns of August, and Adam Hochschild’s book, “King Leopold’s Ghost”, is a very good modern account of the horrors of Belgian Congo.

  41. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    4 Aug, 2014 - 3:07 pm

    Six million human shields.


    “President Roosevelt was deeply concerned with the plight of the European refugees and thought that all the free nations of the world ought to accept a certain number of immigrants, irrespective of race, creed, color or political belief. The President hoped that the rescue of 500,000 Displaced Persons could be achieved by such a generous grant of a worldwide political asylum. In line with this humanitarian idea, Morris Ernst, New York attorney and close friend of the President went to London in the middle of the war to see if the British would take in 100,000 or 200,000 uprooted people. The President had reasons to assume that Canada, Australia and the South American countries would gladly open their doors. And if such good examples were set by other nations, Mr. Roosevelt felt that the American Congress could be “educated to go back to our traditional position of asylum.” The key was in London. Would Morris Ernst succeed there? Mr. Ernst came home to report, and this is what took place in the White House (as related by Mr. Ernst to a Cincinnati audience in 1950):

    Ernst: “We are at home plate. That little island [and it was during the second Blitz that he visited England] on a properly representative program of a World Immigration Budget, will match the United States up to 150,000.

    Roosevelt: “150,000 to England—150,000 to match that in the United States—pick up 200,000 or 300,000 elsewhere, and we can start with half a million of these oppressed people.”

    A week later, or so, Mr. Ernst and his wife again visited the President.

    Roosevelt (turning to Mrs. Ernst): “Margaret, can’t you get me a Jewish Pope? I cannot stand it any more. I have got to be careful that when Stevie Wise leaves the White House he doesn’t see Joe Proskauer on the way in.” Then, to Mr. Ernst: “Nothing doing on the program. We can’t put it over because the dominant vocal Jewish leadership of America won’t stand for it.”

    “It’s impossible! Why?” asked Ernst.

    Roosevelt: “They are right from their point of view. The Zionist movement knows that Palestine is, and will be for some time, a remittance society. They know that they can raise vast sums for Palestine by saying to donors, ‘There is no other place this poor Jew can go.’ But if there is a world political asylum for all people irrespective of race, creed or color, they cannot raise their money. Then the people who do not want to give the money will have an excuse to say ‘What do you mean, there is no place they can go but Palestine? They are the preferred wards of the world.”

    Morris Ernst, shocked, first refused to believe his leader and friend. He began to lobby among his influential Jewish friends for this world program of rescue, without mentioning the President’s or the British reaction. As he himself has put it: “I was thrown out of parlors of friends of mine who very frankly said ‘Morris, this is treason. You are undermining the Zionist movement.’ ” He ran into the same reaction amongst all Jewish groups and their leaders. Everywhere he found “a deep, genuine, often fanatically emotional vested interest in putting over the Palestinian movement” in men “who are little concerned about human blood if it is not their own.”

    This response of Zionism ended the remarkable Roosevelt effort to rescue Europe’s Displaced Persons.

  42. Ангрысоба

    4 Aug, 2014 - 3:19 pm


    Just to answer your question about war crimes committed by the good guys, I think it is fair to say that there were plenty of them such as the shooting of prisoners of war, which was a regular occurrence by British troops. And the use of gas even if the Bad guys (the Germans) started it, thanks to Fritz Haber.

    But I think Craig Murray was also making the further point about the executions (for treason) of Irish nationalists such as those hanged after the Easter Rising including Sir Roger Casement.

    I agree with you over Treaty of Versailles, however. I won’t allow anyone to tell me that World War Two began because of legitimate grievances with the Treaty of Versailles. That is something that was often peddled in GCSE history lessons because it sounds simple enough for kids to understand, and yet it is pretty much nonsense for any number of reasons, but starting with the fact that Brest-Litovsk was far more draconian.

  43. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 3:27 pm

    “‘The Second World War was a fight against the evil philosophy of fascism’

    There was more to it than that. Where did the finance for the re-arming of bankrupt Germany come from? In my view the purpose of WW11 was that Germany could crush the communist USSR, the West’s real enemy.”

    Oh, for God’s sake.

    Why does every single thread on here get infested by the Lunatics?

    Thank Heaven they only represent about 0.000000001% of the population, otherwise we’d have a serious problem on our hands (or, rather, the NHS would).

  44. This response of Zionism ended the remarkable Roosevelt effort to rescue Europe’s Displaced Persons.

    Jewish Nationalism pre-dates all other nationalist movements (started with Moses), and to date is the most virulent kind of nationalism to be found. The fact that Jews see themselves as the “chosen tribe” is augmented by the special status of the Jew in the wider world context, this leaving the path clear for the carpetbaggers in the zionist movement to cash in. Cash in they did, and to date we can see the fascists in various streets of Isreal effectively suppressing thorough attacks, beatings, verbal humiliation and stabbings and gassings (pepper) on anyone who is not as steadfastly zionist as they ought to be.

    It is worth reading up on Morris Ernst further.

  45. “I won’t allow anyone to tell me that World War Two began because of legitimate grievances with the Treaty of Versailles.”

    Are you trying to suggest Versailles was NOT a contributing factor? I mean, I agree completely it was not the sole cause, but no less a mind than Keynes walked out of the British delegation because he feared the debts especially being imposed on Germany would lead to another World War.

  46. Ангрысоба

    4 Aug, 2014 - 3:32 pm

    And just as a reference for my claim that shooting prisoners was a regular occurrence, I just found a citation which is Niall Ferguson’s The War of the World pp.123-130.

  47. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 3:34 pm


    “…but starting with the fact that Brest-Litovsk was far more draconian.”

    That is entirely correct.

    And it’s worth repeating that the Versailles Treaty was a pussy-cat both in its material provisions and in the way the latter were actually implemented (or rather, not implemented).

  48. The war to end all wars? As long as politicians are hand-in-glove with arms dealers…

  49. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 3:45 pm


    A separate response/comment so as not to mix up issues.

    1/. Of course prisoners were often shot by both sides. But Craig chose to use Cavell and Leuven library (not only the library, btw!) as his examples of war crimes and I merely asked him to furnish similarly egregious examples of Allied war crimes. I suspect he will not be able to do so.

    2/. You mention “Irish nationalists”. I am aware that Casement was an Irish nationalist, but that in no way invalidates what I wrote earlier on. There is not a single belligerent of the time who would not have dealt with their local Casement in exactly the same way.

    But you “writing “nationalist” gives me an opportunity to voice an ignoble thought of mine, namely, that this post of Craig’s has more to do with the forthcoming Scottish referendum than with 4 August 1914 or anything else for that matter. Look at some of the motifs carefully.

  50. @johnstone “25 years” – what’s that referring to?

    They were being rescued from a country in a state of unrest by a country with whom they are now on reconciled and friendly terms.

    But if there had to be a bad guy in WWI it would be Germany. For many years before there had been suspicion in Great Britain that Germany was up to something. We see this reflected in Erskine Childers’ novel The Riddle of the Sands, and the formation of the modern Secret Services in 1909. If I understand correctly, Buchan actually began writing The 39 Steps before the war began, though it was published during it.

  51. On Tuesday September 9, 1947, American newspaper The Argus reported the arrest of 16 members of Jewish terrorist groups Stern Gang and a US Army Air Force (USAAF) pilot Reginald Gilbert by the French police at the Toussus le-Noble airport near Versailles.

    The terrorist group was lead by a Ukrainian-born Rabbi Baruch Korff, chairman of the American Political Action Committee for Palestine and his private secretary Judith Rosenberger, a Hungarian-born US citizen. All of them were accused of trying to bomb the British Foreign Office building in London in order to force London to withdraw its forces from Palestine which the World Zionist movement had decided to turn into “for Jews only” Israel by armed terrorism.

    In 2003, the released British secret service MI5 documents also confirmed that there was a “Project for a air raid over London City, in the course of which leaflets were to be dropped in the name of Stern Gang, together with high-explosive bombs“.


  52. conjunction

    4 Aug, 2014 - 3:58 pm

    I have been interested in the causes of the first world war for a number of years. I have always thought that if Lord Salisbury and Bismarck had still been around it would never have happened, they were consummate diplomats, constantly tweaking the balance of power. But after their day politics changed, partly because of the incoming of real democracy. There was only any kind of mass vote in the UK from 1870 onwards and politicians egos perhaps all got a big boost and they started playing to the galleries in a way they never had before.

    Joe Chamberlain has a lot to answer for in my opinion, arguably he started the Boer war.

    The heads of government in 1914 were not skilful – you had the Tsar whose main concern was to avoid a revolution in Russia and thought a war might bind the country together; France who would do anything to pay Germany back for the territory won off them in the Franco Prussian war of 1870, and who wound up Russia to fight; and Britain whose foreign secretary when not fishing or deciding not to tell his cabinet colleagues what he was doing refused Germany’s request to only get involved if France was invaded.

    Arguably, Germany would have had to have played a blinder to avoid war, and the Emperor was eccentric, shall we say.

    The other factor was that none of these countries had experience of modern weapons so they were like babies put into an armaments factory. Once the Tsar mobilised his army – which took about three weeks – Germany had to do the same or they would be caught napping.

    Alright yes it was capitalist influences but they will always be a problem until we have a political system which can work with them.

    And yes the Versailles treaty did cause the Second World War. Yes the reparations were not fully exacted but Germany did not know that at the time and they were humiliated because they got all the blame.

  53. republicofscotland

    4 Aug, 2014 - 4:00 pm

    WWI, a war of the vanities of Queen Victoria’s grandchildren, to see Prince Charles in military regalia today at the high kik of Glasgow, with his chest bursting with medals (even though he’s never seen a minutes action in his life) put me in mind of despots like Gadaffi and Hussein.

    A for commemorating the beginning of a war, its unheard of, unless, it falls around the same time as the Scottish independence referendum,of course, a despicable and shameful act on the memory of the fallen soldiers, in my opinion anyway, and to see the BBC and press, constantly push this agenda, on behalf of the corrupt establishment,sticks deep in my craw, keep the very good work up Craig.

  54. Well said, Republicofscotland 4:00pm.

  55. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 4:06 pm

    “Keynes walked out of the British delegation because he feared the debts especially being imposed on Germany would lead to another World War.”

    Well, he was wrong (as great men can be, on occasion).

    The only serious effort to get Germany to pay any war reparations (which were, themselves, only a fraction of the assessed war damage caused by Germany to Belgium and France) was the French occupation of the Ruhr coalmines and that didn’t last too long.

    The fact is that only a fraction of war reparations was ever paid by Germany and its entire war debt (financed in part, btw, by American loans) had been written off by the beginning of the 1930s (Dawes and Young plans).

    Even the military provisions – which themselves were not onerous for a state not harbouring aggressive intentions – began to be evaded in practice only a couple of years after the Treaty.

    I could go on, but suggest, instead, some more intensive reading for those who disagree.

  56. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 4:09 pm


    “Yes the reparations were not fully exacted but Germany did not know that at the time”

    Sloppy reasoning. Germany did not know that in 1919 but knew it by 1931/2. WW2 started, to the best of my belief, in 1939.

  57. O/T

    The dirty games they play, Snowden docs clarify that it is not just the Isreali mercenaries acting alone in the genocide of the Palestinians;

    Over the last decade, the NSA has significantly increased the surveillance assistance it provides to its Israeli counterpart, the Israeli SIGINT National Unit (ISNU; also known as Unit 8200), including data used to monitor and target Palestinians. In many cases, the NSA and ISNU work cooperatively with the British and Canadian spy agencies, the GCHQ and CSEC.

    The relationship has, on at least one occasion, entailed the covert payment of a large amount of cash to Israeli operatives. Beyond their own surveillance programs, the American and British surveillance agencies rely on U.S.-supported Arab regimes, including the Jordanian monarchy and even the Palestinian Authority Security Forces, to provide vital spying services regarding Palestinian targets.

    At least now it gets clearer, as for the reasons of Palestinian Unity is a dangerous thought!

  58. My Grandfather was an Officer in The Trenches and he survived 4 years of it. How, I don’t know. He had been a music teacher, and volunteered at the start. When he felt certain he was going to die, he composed a song on paper, which also survived, and my niece – also a musician found it and played it to my Mother on her 80th Birthday. Until then she had no idea her Dad had written this song.

    Anyway, rather than celebrating the start of This Disaster 100 years ago, we should be doing our utmost to try and stop the US neocons starting the final one. Yet we are failing miserably, because all of our Mainstream Press are literally controlled by them and the CIA with a mountain of lies and propaganda, that the vast majority of people believe, despite the overwhelming evidence that it is they who are the problem.

    You may think that a war with Russia, will not happen, but we are very close to the brink. It is far more dangerous now, than at any time in my lifetime. You cannot reason with insanity. JFK was not insane. The current lot most clearly are.

    Today a poster with handle “Where-Wolf” posted something quite spiritual on The Saker’s Blog. It resonated with me, even though I have rejected all religion. It is not in fact religious in nature and may well be appreciated by people who identify themselves as atheists.

    I also agree that the speculative analysis here, taking account of everything I have read from all sources on the subject…and seeing the photography of the wreckage – much of it in very high definition – and the reports of an OSCE inspector who was first on the scene – is probably pretty close to the truth. Not that that is likely to make very much difference to events yet to happen.



  59. Jemand,

    “War – what is it good for?”

    Urban renewal?; or

    Rapid demographic control?

  60. @Habbabkuk – do you disagree that Versailles was a contributing factor? I agree that it is often overstated as a cause of WW2, but surely you don’t think it played no role?

    For me – I’m an economist so maybe I’m biased towards looking at the world through this lens – the debt/reparations provisions of Versailles led to this chain of events in the 1920s:

    1. Chronic depression
    2. Hyperinflation (an unintended consequence of monetary policy intended to combat the depression)
    3. The Bruning austerity program
    4. Adolf someone etc etc

    Obviously this is a highly simplified timeline, but the careening of Weimar Germany from one economic crisis to another was a direct consequence of Versailles and the burden of the debt + reparations, and it helped foster German nationalism and resentment.

    Of the many reasons the Marshall Plan was adopted post-WW2, it was in part an attempt to avoid the Versailles path.

  61. ‘The harshness of the Versailles Treaty terms has been greatly exaggerated as far as its “material” (ie, non-military) provisions are concerned.’

    Another classic from Habba, the master of the half truth.Monetary reparations were only one part of the pound of flesh extracted by the allies from a defeated Germany post WW1. German industrial patents, particularly in the chemical industry, put German industry in 1914 streets ahead of the US,UK, and France in a host of areas. After Versailles, these patents were stolen by the victorious Entente powers, to the disbenefit of the German economy and the considerable enrichment of chemical companies in the allied nations such as Du Pont and ICI.

  62. Abe

    ‘they were being rescued from a country in a state of unrest by a country with whom they are now on reconciled and friendly terms.’

    Well ask your self please just why Libya is in a state of unrest?

    ‘A good example of the modern state of reconciliation!’

    What ‘modern state of reconciliation’ are you referring to please? That which comes about after horrific trench warfare where millions of young soldiers and civilians lost their lives and the whole of Europe was in turmoil for years.. oh yipee we have reconciliation.
    Its too late because they are all dead now so its meaningless! Its the chicken and the egg paradox. Become a pacifist then you might understand!

  63. Courtenay – “Rapid demographic control?”

    I see long term status quo/equilibrium as providing the conditions for the talentless GovCorp gangsters to infiltrate, consolidate and institutionalise their power. Certainly, war leaves a terrible wake of destruction but it also flushes out the non-heroes, the dead and rotten wood. I’m not advocating for war, just saying it’s had a bad rap and maybe we ought to be thinking how we conduct the next world war as civilised belligerents.

  64. Prince William has just expressed a view on WW1 that most of us adhered to at one time. It was the view we were taught in school history classes. Propoganda presented as history! How could it have been otherwise?

    The causes of WW1 had to be presented as good versus evil. The politicians / establishment of the day were never going to tell us that we blundered into a war that we didn’t have to fight, that killed a million Britons, that bankrupted the country and led to the great depression. It was a war that affected all of us: I lost several great uncles and my grandfather had an arm blown off at Pashendaele. Nobody really knows the cause of WW1. Lloyd George put it down to incompetent politicians and diplomats. Now we learn that King George 5 had insisted secretly to the Forign Secretary that he find a way to justify a war with Germany.

    Whatever the reson for our involvement in WW1, I just hope that we don’t blunder into another one. I found this article very interesting.


  65. I don’t think it is fair to blame William himself but I agree about the speech. The conflict was a pointless disaster for Britain, and the individuals and institutions responsible should, belatedly, now be held to account for their stupidity and callous disregard of life. Instead their descendants hide behind the bravery of the soldiers.

  66. Mention of Zionism is relevant and probably key to the whole affair, so lets not hear any rubbish about some Archduke’s assasination and tussles between Serbia and Austria-Hungary over Bosnia-Herzegovina. I may comment in more detail, but a detail regarding Asquith’s Foreign Secretary Grey’s “lights going out all over Europe” remark is that by then Grey was almost completely blind and the comment had personal resonance with him.

    It is interesting that the psedonymous Max Nordau (real name Suedfeld) at the sixth zionist conference in 1903 is quoted as addressing the conference thus: “Let me tell you the following words as if I were showing you the rungs of a ladder leading upward and upward: Herzl, the Zionist congress, the English Uganda proposition, the future world war, the peace conference where, with the help of England, a free and Jewish Palestine will be created”. All rather a bit too prophetic and beyond coincidence, it was probably unknown who the belligerents would be, but obviously Britain was being steered into a war with at the very least the Ottoman Empire in 1903! and being led like a donkey by the nose..

    Britain began planning and preparing for a war with Germany in deadly earnest demonstrably since something like 1906. Britain did not have any public formal obligation to back France in a French war of choice and could have sat out such a war if it so desired, France found itself in a frankly mad obligation to mobilise in support of Russia in the event of Russian mobilisation, which was not a clear cut affair as Russia, building its armed forces from scratch could have been said to be in mobilisation at any time in the preceding ten years prior to 1914. Mutual defence treaties, secret or otherwise, and the present day NATO is one, themselves lead to war.

  67. BrianFujisan

    4 Aug, 2014 - 6:18 pm

    Well done the White Feather Group in Glasgow –

    Where: WWI Commemoration Ceremony, George Square, Glasgow

    When: August 4th 11.00

    A group called the White Feather Collective dropped a banner, ‘Resist Militarism ‪#‎WhiteFeather‬’, inside George Square during the WWI Commemoration Ceremony in Glasgow. The banner was unfurled just as Prince Charles entered the square. Members of the group flew the banner for about ten minutes before walking out of the ceremony.

    Frida Grey, one of the White Feather Collective said, “In a time of ‘austerity’, spending £55 million on “truly national commemorations” to mark this anniversary is inappropriate and a waste of public money. To derive any national glory from this centenary dishonours those that died. This was a war driven by economics and geopolitical power, which resulted in 16 million people dead and 20 million wounded. The idea of remembrance is to learn from history, and we believe the British state has not. WW1 accelerated the modern industrialised arms race. The link between weapons and economic growth is even more relevant today. As the bombs rein down on Gaza – 1400 Palestinians are dead, and over 5000 wounded – the UK and US continue to sell weapons to Israel. Today we remember those who died and those who continue to die in imperial wars.”


  68. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 7:02 pm

    I don’t propose to write any more on this theme because

    1/. commenters’ attention has switched to a new thread (albeit a highly speculative one)

    2/. the level of ignorance if not bad faith on this one makes further comment pointless.

    Examples :

    “A war that we didn’t have to fight, that… led to the great depression ”


    “Mention of Zionism is relevant and probably key to the whole affair, so lets not hear any rubbish about some Archduke’s assasination (sic)”.

    (PS – apologies to Ed, I would have replied to you with a couple of further points otherwise.)


    Gegen die Dummheit kaempfen selbst die Goetter umsonst.

  69. Roderick Russell 5.34pm, Tony M. 5.54pm, Brian 6.18pm, excellent posts.
    Habbabkuk 7.02pm- God help us-like a sixth-former. Your possible contributions will not be missed in the slightest.
    “Strano mondo, sorprendente mentalita. Oremus.” Ferruccio Busoni.

  70. Habbabkuk (La vita è bella) !

    4 Aug, 2014 - 7:39 pm

    Miss Piggy

    “Your possible contributions will not be missed in the slightest.”

    Well, they would certainly have bounced off the carapace of your impenetrable stupidity :)

  71. ” Prince William said: “We were enemies more than once in the last century and today we are friends and allies. ”

    i can’t see how Prince William’s speech is offensive. Offensive to whom? There are very few Germans who think that the collapse of their grandfather’s and great-grandfather’s militarism wasn’t a good thing for europe and indeed their own country so why should they be offended?

  72. Courtenay not so god for rapid demograhic control – epidemics (black death, Spanish flu, ebola) are far more efficacious.
    Urban renewal – it could be argued that old Adolf cleared more British slums than all the inter-war governments put together…

  73. Actually, I’m not sure that the cause of W.W.II was the evil destruction of Fascism. While I can’t offer proof, I suspect that the motivations of those who started it were not dissimilar from the motives of those who started the First. It was, in other words, another imperialistic war. Leaving aside the technicality that the strongest axis power was Germany and they had a (nominally, at least) National Socialist* administration, attributing noble motives to politicians seems a little naïve and anti-empirical. I dare say many of the soldiers in both wars were motivated by patriotism and a desire to combat what they perceived to be evil, but I suspect they were dupes.

    *They only became widely known as “Fascists” after Germany ratted on the Molotov-Ribbentrop pact.

  74. “but the cause of war was the rival desires for aggrandisement of the very rich who ran and profited from the Empires.”

    Likewise, the wars for global empire, and the universal genocide of the Western nations through suppression of indigenous reproduction combined with multi-culturalism and mass immigration: objectives for which Craig Murray is in full support.

  75. nevermind, it will happen anyway

    4 Aug, 2014 - 8:15 pm

    A bunch of collonial rulers, all with chips on their shoulders, blown up tardy empires who had aquired parts of the nbworld by force and vicious coercion, The Germans in Windhoek, parctising racismn on the nherero’s, The Belgians in the Congo and the English in South Africa, India and elsewhere.
    All of them were full of themselves, stiff Prussian collars versus stiff upp er lips, sprinkled with some French indignation, boeuf. Something historians agree upon

    This is congealed rubbish

    ‘ The harshness of the Versailles Treaty terms has been greatly exaggerated as far as its “material” (ie, non-military) provisions are concerned; Keynes’s book must assume much of the blame for this misconception. As examples, the German hyper-inflation of 1923/4 was engineered by the German govt itself and the reparations actually paid by Germany, whether in gold marks or goods, were in fact negligeable from the beginning.’

  76. Kempe

    Strange Meeting by Wilfred Owen…I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

    Then, when much blood had clogged their chariot-wheels

    I would go up and wash them from sweet wells,

    Even with truths that lie too deep for taint.

    I would have poured my spirit without stint

    But not through wounds; not on the cess of war.

    Foreheads of men have bled where no wounds were.

    I am the enemy you killed, my friend.

    I knew you in this dark; for so you frowned

    Yesterday through me as you jabbed and killed.

    I parried; but my hands were loath and cold.

    Let us sleep now . . .”

  77. Hidden History: the secret history of the First World War


    From William Podmore’s review:

    Gerry Docherty, a former head teacher, and Jim Macgregor, a former doctor, have written a most remarkable book about the true origins of the First World War. They write, “What this book sets out to prove is that unscrupulous men, whose roots and origins were in Britain, sought a war to crush Germany and orchestrated events in order to bring this about.”

    They note, “A secret society of rich and powerful men was established in London in 1891 with the long-term aim of taking control of the entire world.” This was the real ruling class, led by Cecil Rhodes, Prime Minister of Cape Colony, Lord Nathaniel Rothschild, the world’s richest man, Lord Esher, advisor to the monarchy, Alfred Milner, later high commissioner in South Africa, and William Stead, the top journalist of the day. Prime Ministers Lord Rosebery and Lord Salisbury, and Balfour, Grey and Asquith, the elected cover, carried out the demands of this tiny minority.

    Milner, using Jan Smuts, instigated the Boer War. Milner wrote, “I precipitated the crisis … and … have been largely instrumental in bringing about a big war.” 102,000 people were killed.

    Britain’s 1904 entente with France gave Morocco to France, and drew France into an alliance pointed against Germany. Britain’s 1907 Convention with Russia secretly offered Russia control of the Black Sea Straits, and also drew Russia into the alliance against Germany.

    The British government backed King Leopold of Belgium’s annexation of the Congo. In return, Belgium agreed to secret military cooperation with Britain and France. From 1905 onwards, these three states jointly planned war against Germany.

    As the authors state, “Belgium’s behaviour violated the duties of a neutral state … Professor Albert Geouffre de Lapradelle, the renowned French specialist on international law, explained: `The perpetually neutral state renounces the right to make war, and, in consequence, the right to contract alliances, even purely defensive ones, because they would drag it into a war …'” So Belgium was not neutral. As Albert J. Nock wrote, “Belgium … was one of four solid allies under definite agreement worked out in complete detail …”

    The authors point out, “On four separate occasions over the previous two years [1912-14], Grey and Asquith stood at the despatch box in the House of Commons and solemnly assured Parliament that Britain was entirely free from any secret obligations to any other European country. In a private letter to his ambassador in Paris, Grey noted: `there would be a row in Parliament here if I had used words which implied the possibility of a secret engagement unknown to Parliament all these years committing us to a European war ….'”

    On 3 August 1914, Grey read out to the House of Commons a letter to the French, but left out its last sentence: “If these measures involved action, the plans of the General Staffs would at once be taken into consideration and the governments would then decide what effect should be given to them.” The authors comment that if he had read this out, “All of Prime Minister Asquith’s previous statements in Parliament denying that secret agreements tied Britain to France in the event of war with Germany would have been revealed as deliberate deceptions.”

    Revanchist lawyer Raymond Poincaré said, “I could discover no other reason why my generation should go on living except for the hope of recovering our lost provinces …” He became Prime Minister of France in January 1912, then President in February 1913.

    The authors write, “Poincaré’s first concern was `to prevent a German movement for peace’. Under his direction, the nature of the Franco-Russian agreement changed from a defensive alliance to open support for aggressive Russian intervention in the Balkans.” Poincaré extended national service from two to three years and sharply increased the size of France’s army. Docherty and Macgregor observe, “By 1914, over 80 per cent of Russian debt was owed to French banks. Poincaré and his backers insisted that these loans were conditional on increases in the Russian military and a modernised railway infrastructure that would speed up mobilisation against Germany.”

    The Russian ambassador in Bulgaria wrote in November 1912 that a representative of The Times claimed `very many people in England are working towards accentuating the complications in Europe’ to bring about the war that would cause the `destruction of the German Fleet and of German trade’. King George V reportedly told Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov in September 1912, “We shall sink every single German merchant ship we shall get hold of.”

    Poincaré went to St Petersburg on 20-23 July 1914. France’s ambassador to Russia, Maurice Paléologue, wrote in his account of the banquets held to honour Poincaré that “the Grand Duchesses Anastasia and Melitza, the respective wives of Grand Duke Nicholas and Grand Duke Peter, were ecstatic at the prospect that `War is going to break out. Nothing will be left of Austria. You will get Alsace-Lorraine back. Our armies will meet in Berlin. Germany will be annihilated.'”

    The British ambassador, Sir George Buchanan, sent a telegram to the Foreign Office on 24 July, summarising the result of Poincaré’s visit: “France would not only give Russia strong diplomatic support, but would, if necessary, fulfil all the obligations imposed on her by the alliance.” The authors comment, “Poincaré and Sazonov had agreed the deal. When Russia went to war against Germany and Austria, France would fulfil her commitment to Russia. This telegram explicitly proved that by 24 July Sir Edward Grey knew that his world war was ordained. The document was concealed from the world for ten years.”

    The authors point out that, “Buchanan did not suggest that Sazonov should stop the Russian mobilisation, far from it, but urged him to keep it well hidden from German view.” Paléologue recalled Buchanan telling him, “Russia is determined to go to war. We must therefore saddle Germany with the whole responsibility and initiative of the attack, as this will be the only way of winning over English public opinion to the war.”

    On 24 July, Russia, France and Belgium all mobilised. The first to mobilise was the aggressor. The chief of Russian general staff for mobilisation explained why – after the first mobilisation `no further diplomatic hesitation is possible’.

    Alexander Isvolsky, Russia’s ambassador to France, told St Petersburg on 1 August, “The French War Minister informed me, in hearty high spirits, that the Government have firmly decided on war, and begged me to endorse the hope of the French General Staff that all efforts will be directed against Germany …” This was almost 24 hours before Germany had announced mobilisation or declared war on Russia.

    Docherty and Macgregor sum up, “Germany was the last of the continental powers to take that irrevocable step [mobilisation]. How does that possibly fit with the claim that Germany started the First World War?”

  78. John Spencer-Davis

    4 Aug, 2014 - 9:47 pm

    I don’t have a copy of Ralph Miliband’s “The State in Capitalist Society” to hand, but I remember that there is a powerful passage in it in which he says that the British establishment didn’t give two hoots about fascism or Nazism until Hitler demonstrated, beyond any doubt, that his ambitions threatened British (establishment) interests. Only then was there all this fuss made about the evils of fascism and Nazism. It’s well known that Hitler and Mussolini were widely admired and praised for their staunch anti-Communism in the 1930’s.

    Maybe someone could track down the Miliband reference, I would be interested.

    Kind regards,


  79. Everyone seems to have their own idea about who was responsible for WW1. In fact, the war was the result of a concatenation of events, the outcome of each dependent on the decisions of one or several parties. Therefore, attempting to pin the blame one person or nation makes no sense.

    Serbia, for example, incited nationalist terrorists such as Gavril Princip who assassinated the Austrian archduke. Austria’s ultimatum to Serbia was excessively harsh, a harshness that German intevention failed to soften. Russia’s intervention on behalf of Austria was motivated by ambitions for conquest at the expense of the Ottoman Empire, an intervention agreed to by a feeble-minded Tsar against his better judgement. Once Russia was involved Germany could feared a two front war with Russia and her ally France, and therefore sought to insure victory by a pre-emptive strike on France, which necessitated the breach of Belgian neutrality guaranteed by the European powers in accordance with the 1839 Treaty of London, which gave the Liberals in Asquith’s cabinet the moral justification for British intervention on the side of France. As for what the dim-witted George V thought, I’m sure no one in the cabinet gave a damn.

  80. I’m surprised that no-one has mentioned the 1917 Balfour Agreement, which does link world war 1 very much to present day.

    I had often wondered exactly why it was that my grandfather signed up in 1917 to fight against the Germans and ended up nearly getting killed at the 3rd Battle of Jaffa… Ben and others have to some extent filled in the gaps in my knowledge in this thread; I’ve always thought that “Balfour” was the US’s condition for entering the war, but historians I’ve spoken to have disputed this.

  81. http://www.smh.com.au/nsw/police-to-allege-glen-turner-gunned-down-while-inspecting-an-unrelated-site-in-croppa-creek-20140804-10089f.html

    This is the nonsense Tony Abbott sprouted the other day:

    It was a terrible war. In one sense a tragic waste, but it was for a good cause,

    The war shaped our country and our reflection on it will help to shape our future

    What good cause, but to humiliate Germany and create the conditions for WW2? 60,000 dead Australians out of a population in 1914 of about 4 million was a good cause? That’s 3 out of every 200 citizens, 3 out of every hundred males, possibly 5 or more out of every 100 adult males? Triple or quadruple that for the maimed?

    Shape our future? Perhaps to show obedience to the new Empire of the USA and go to war against China, forgetting the disaster of our involvement in Vietnam?

    Tony Abbott is in good company with Prince William.

  82. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    4 Aug, 2014 - 11:11 pm

    ” historians I’ve spoken to have disputed this.”

    Peacewisher; You have distinguished yourself as one who actually reads comments. Education means probing the depths of information with the necessary context. Too many persons seem locked into the mainstream of thought without that concomitant. Cheers to you, I often find comments on blogs to be more enlightening that the post itself.

  83. CanSpeccy: 4 Aug, 2014 – 10:34 pm
    “Russia’s intervention on behalf of Austria was motivated […]

    Did you mean to say there: Russia’s intervention on behalf of Serbia … ?

    Peacewisher: Taking of Palestine was thought by those in favour of it and promoting it to possibly require up to a million troops, who would have to be and began being taken, with their materials, weapons etc. from France in the mud-months of 1917; Palestine was taken rather more easily than projected, but the front in France was weakened, then the October ’17 revolution took place in Russia and Russia withdrew from the war. American forces began being slotted into the vacated British front replacing those moved or in the process of being moved to Palestine. More Americans were required when Germany went on an early offensive in March 1918, much strengthened by troops from the defunct eastern front, the offensive was contained, though the situation was perilous, by troops destined for Palestine, but now not needed, being hastily returned to France. Palestine was a distraction which almost cost the allied side Paris, France and possibly the entire war and cost very many extra lives, not in Palestine but amongst the depleted forces in France.

  84. @Ben: I have to say that these historians are English. Perhaps the British historical establishment is too polite (or diplomatic?) to want to acknowledge the truth? I have heard of talk of other schemes e.g. Lusitania to get the US into ww1, but evidence perhaps inconclusive… Balfour does seem to fit… maybe this is a case of Occam’s Razor?

  85. @Tony: My grandfather never went to the Western Front… taken directly to Palestine in late 1917 after training at Wimbledon. I have the exact dates. Balfour declaration was right in the middle of all this on all souls day. There is a strong suggestion that the Balfour Declaration rubber stamped what was already starting to happen on the ground.

  86. Len Henderson
    4 Aug, 2014 – 1:01 pm


  87. @Len Henderson… I think it is meant to be part of the launch of the Con election campaign, without having to use their own funds. Not working so far… Lab 3% ahead.

  88. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    5 Aug, 2014 - 12:26 am

    Peacewisher; It could be due to human error/stupidity. That certainly is a viable explanation, but ask yourself; Why is it all these precipitous events seem to have a common thread? You really have to wonder if the Wizard might be behind the screen, pushing levers and pushing buttons. I don’t opt for fantasy, unless the fantasy has some human measures for evidence and credibility. That’s where I am. You?

  89. @Tony_Opmoc
    Did you mean to say there: Russia’s intervention on behalf of Serbia … ?


    And another thing, that dim-witted Hanoverian George V only expressed the desire for war against Germany to get ahead of anti-German hysteria that might have swept him off the throne.

    And of course Britain did not enter WWI to serve some specificmoneyed interest. Indeed the war impoverished virtually everyone. Britain went to war for the traditional reason, to assert the european balance of power: sending a small and cheap expeditionary force (four divisions to Germany’s 100 and something, most on the Western front) to tip the scale in favor of the weaker power — France.

    This was pretty much an obligation upon Britain since as a result of naval discussions with France, the French navy had been relocated to the Mediterranean, on the understanding that Britain would guard the Channel. And certainly it was in the interests of Britain’s defense to prevent the Germans from occupying the French coast where they would be in a vastly better position to challenge the power of the British Navy.

  90. Of course the Brit’s didn’t expect to ruin themselves and everyone else. Most thought the war would be over by Christmas, although some perceptive thinkers predicted it would turn into a stalemate that would continue until at least one side was totally ruined. As it turned out, all sides were totally ruined. So much for messing with great powers, as the US/UK are now doing with Russia, although today there is a difference. Push Russia hard enough and London and New York will be incinerated.

  91. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    5 Aug, 2014 - 1:01 am

    CanSpeccy; I think you overly rely on Toynbee. Good, but gullible.

  92. Peacewisher, thanks for that detail at 11:34pm, most interesting and puts a human face on these events. I would say if he left England after Russia’s withdrawal from the war, when the western front hung in the balance, then it was high folly indeed to send him or anyone spare to Palestine, though it may have been pre-destined by the training he had already received. As the US and its suicidal President Wilson were becoming the main sponsor of the Zionist project by then, it clearly made more sense to send US troops directly to try take Palestine for this violent colonisation project wrapped in religious fantasy, of the Zionists, than use them as morale boosters and substitutes to plug self-made gaping holes in the Western Front. Never forgetting that the late Russian Czar, German Kaiser and English Monarch were all close relatives and mutually eliminating their surplus proletariat and lots of French too, prolonging the slaughter unnecessarily, if not initiating it merely for that reason, was to them probably seen as a good thing. More so as the events in Russia had given western Europe’s aristos and oligarchs a sharpened fear of the masses’ revolutionary potential.

  93. Ben-American Fascist Flechette

    5 Aug, 2014 - 1:18 am

    Hitler’s hands

    Toynbee met Hitler in Berlin in 1936, shortly before the reoccupation of the Rhineland. The meeting is described in Acquaintances. Toynbee had no fascination with power at all. The last post shows where his political sympathies tended.

    “Most of the time, my eyes were following Hitler’s hands. He had beautiful hands. His gestures were eloquent, as well as graceful. His voice, too, was, unexpectedly to me, agreeably human in its pitch and cadence […].”

    Not another one! Another intelligent person who found something enchanting and mesmerising in Hitler.

    Acquaintances, OUP, 1967


    It’s like Bush saying something like ‘I looked into Putin’s eyes and saw his soul”

    Really. This is everyone’s ideal of a modern historian?

  94. Johnstone 8.24pm,

    Powerful poem indeed.

    Thank you for posting.

  95. I think you overly rely on Toynbee

    The fatuity of your comment is evident from the fact that I have never read Toynbee. And from what you say of him, I’ve not missed much.

  96. Peacewisher

    5 Aug, 2014 - 7:30 am

    @Ben: well, if there is a likely cause, and no-one is prepared to admit it, there must be strong lobby in favour of not admitting it. I’ve got an open mind, would just like to know the truth, but it looks as if the truth would be unpalatable to the masses. I didn’t expect to have a personal interest – I had previously thought my grandfather was on the Western Front – but thanks to the National Archives I do.

  97. Peacewisher

    5 Aug, 2014 - 8:27 am

    @Tony. He was a runner. He was injured by shrapnel near Jaffa on 1st February 1918, and was in quite a bad state for months… none of that side of my family would have existed but for the medical skills at Netley. Quite a sobering thought. He never spoke about war, and if asked said it was a very bad thing. Who would disagree…

  98. What else can we expect from a royal? Not the sharpest tool in the royal tool box either.

    But in mitigation I doubt they write their own speeches and if they do they are vetted beforehand.

    Such a pointless waste of money the royal family is – I don’t buy the argument that they make money for the country through tourism – we’d still have the palaces and castles without the idjits waving and gurning from the balconies.

    But WENI will remain stuck with them – but here’s hoping Scotland can dispense with them. Balmoral would make a splendid open prison for young offenders…

  99. Paul Rigby

    Very interested in your link and the review. I shall probably buy that book. These ideas mirror to some extent the views of Rudolf Steiner, the Austrian educationalist, academic, and occultist who also had a lot to say about Politics. His dates were approx 1865 to 1925. He was a friend of Moltke, the German Chief of staff, or head of armed forces in the early stages of the war.

    As he was an occultist his work may be ruled out of court by many, but remember he worked for many years in the Goethe archives as an academic and had an impeccable academic reputation. Also there are now hundreds if not thousands of Steiner schools around the world.

    He wrote an interesting book called Social and Political Science and several others delineating his view that Germany was scapegoated after the war, agreeing with many commentators on this blog that the war was caused equally by many nations, although he mostly blamed England.

    He also, remarkably, in a series of lectures now published under the title of ‘Karma of Untruthfulness’ detailed a conspiracy involving freemasonry going back to about 1870 whose aim was to cause a war with Germany.

    Normally I hate conspiracy theories, but I have to say I found a lot of his arguments about the first War compelling.

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