WI: Imperial Germany does not attempt to compete with Royal Navy

I mean it really shouldn't have been a surprise after a British diplomat theretend to "Copenhagen" the german fleet during the bore war. Which frankly gave all the ammunition turpitz and William need to get there fleet built.
That was Fisher during the Moroccan Crisis of 1905.
 
I think Michel was problematic, too, in his own way; but had he been in charge in August 1914, France would not have come as close to disaster as it did under Joffre.
I don't know where the idea he wanted to invade Belgium came from, what got him fired was his absolutely insane ideas about how to add reserves to the main French army.

Basically all main regiments would have a reserve regiment lead by the main regiments lutenet-cernal and still under comand of the main regiments carnal creating a "demi bergade". Two demi bergades created a bergade and two bergades a division, creating a monsterus 10 regiment division ( the four main regiments would also create 2 taratorial regiments for rear area duty for the division). Which made the already over sized divisions of the time look small (even the huge American divisions of 1917 looks small compared to this). That was as far as I can tell what got him fired, which ya this is a bit much even if he was proven right on the fighting ability of reserves.
 
Fair enough, but the problem is that building a fleet is a peacetime task that takes decades. Germany will have to some point face the fact that Britain is just over the North Sea, and if Germany doesn't rise to that challenge until the Dual Entente is dealt with then it will have to suffer Britain's naval power for 20 years until Germany builds the fleet it needs.

Well, what does it mean to "suffer Britain's naval power?" Because up until 1914, Germany had been able to get along pretty well. In fact, it had built up a passenger liner industry that was giving British shipbuilders a run for their money despite British naval superiority astride its trade and SLOCs.. It had been able to acquire major overseas colonies, and access them without hindrance, despite British naval superiority astride its trade and SLOCs.

How exactly was British seapower really a challenge to unified Germany? By itself, it could not pose any existential threat to Germany. It couldn't occupy territory or destroy assets, especially not after the development of capable naval mines in quantity. But the Russian and French armies sure as hell could.

As others have said in this thread, building a fleet equal to the Dual Entente will almost certainly provoke a reaction from Britain AND not building a seagoing fleet is no guarantee that Britain will not join the Dual Entente.

And if Holstein had not knocked down multiple attempts at military alliance offered by Chamberlain and Salisbury, Germany *could* have had a strategic relationship with Britain in which a modest naval buildup *could* have proceeded without raising alarm bells in Whitehall.

Truth is, though, that the German novelles of 1898 and 1900 didn't raise alarm bells in London. It was only with the Third Novelle that the freakout began. For this reason, I think that a German Navy obviously built for securing control of the Baltic and defense of overseas colonies against middle-ranking naval powers isn't going to bring Germany into conflict with Britain - at least, not by itself.
 
That was Fisher during the Moroccan Crisis of 1905.


PoD, Germany decides to instead to really fortify Heligoland,
1631413248312.gif


plus add more postage stamp islands like China is currently doing to make more, but larger than

OTL's Langlütjen islands in the Bight.
 
Is there consensus on whether or not Germany keeping a more modest Fleet would be likely to keep Britain neutral?
By itself, no.
If combined with a better relationship overall, a bit but, there were two sides to pick, and the UK picked what it perceived to be it's better side.
On the other hand, if the UK and Germany could have a better Anti-Russia thing going on, that might have been de-escalating to begin with.
 
A German fleet with a single squadron of dreadnoughts with some older ships + plenty of support forces would have been more than enough to dominate the Baltic and keep the French honest. It keeps the strategic goals of protecting the north german coast and dominating the Baltic well within reach, minimises cost and resource and allows enough opportunity for Willy to willy wave when holding nice fleet reviews. Shouldn't unduly angst the RN if built over a sensible timeframe and removes a bone of diplomatic contention in terms of anglo german relations even if other ones do exist
 
Is there consensus on whether or not Germany keeping a more modest Fleet would be likely to keep Britain neutral?
The cabinet meeting in late July on whether to declare war was almost evenly split.
Cant remember who the "doves" were, but Churchill (unsurprisingly) was one of the "hawks".
One description I have read is that in cabinet on Friday the decision had been not to declare war.
But by Monday 3rd August, without any meetings or major events taking place, the mood had changed.

Removing the decade long naval buildup & rivalry could have been enough to change that enough, at least in early August.
Impossible to rule out a later declaration or involvement.

The UK hadn't intervened in any of the European wars of the 19th century, with the sole exception of the Crimean war.
And there were quite a few: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe#19th_century
So, having not intervened in any of the others, from the viewpoint of 1914 there wasn't a huge amount of difference about this one, from the Franco-Prussian, Prussian- Austrian, or Franco-Italian conflicts of the previous 100 years.

I find it hard to say categorically that no naval rivalry results in no declaration of war, or that war is inevitable.
From what I have read I think that the OTL declaration was unexpected by Germany, and was greeted with relief by France and Russia.
Which implies to me it was not seen as a certainty.
Remove half or more of the high seas fleet, and in my view that near certainty becomes something closer to somewhere between probable and possibly.
 
The cabinet meeting in late July on whether to declare war was almost evenly split.
Cant remember who the "doves" were, but Churchill (unsurprisingly) was one of the "hawks".
One description I have read is that in cabinet on Friday the decision had been not to declare war.
But by Monday 3rd August, without any meetings or major events taking place, the mood had changed.

Removing the decade long naval buildup & rivalry could have been enough to change that enough, at least in early August.
Impossible to rule out a later declaration or involvement.

The UK hadn't intervened in any of the European wars of the 19th century, with the sole exception of the Crimean war.
And there were quite a few: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe#19th_century
So, having not intervened in any of the others, from the viewpoint of 1914 there wasn't a huge amount of difference about this one, from the Franco-Prussian, Prussian- Austrian, or Franco-Italian conflicts of the previous 100 years.

I find it hard to say categorically that no naval rivalry results in no declaration of war, or that war is inevitable.
From what I have read I think that the OTL declaration was unexpected by Germany, and was greeted with relief by France and Russia.
Which implies to me it was not seen as a certainty.
Remove half or more of the high seas fleet, and in my view that near certainty becomes something closer to somewhere between probable and possibly.

I think there had been several meetings and major event taking place between 24th* July and 3rd Aug


*Sorry I'm assuming you are talking about the meeting on the 24th which led to Asquith’s "spectators" comment
 
The cabinet meeting in late July on whether to declare war was almost evenly split.
Cant remember who the "doves" were, but Churchill (unsurprisingly) was one of the "hawks".
One description I have read is that in cabinet on Friday the decision had been not to declare war.
But by Monday 3rd August, without any meetings or major events taking place, the mood had changed.

Removing the decade long naval buildup & rivalry could have been enough to change that enough, at least in early August.
Impossible to rule out a later declaration or involvement.

The UK hadn't intervened in any of the European wars of the 19th century, with the sole exception of the Crimean war.
And there were quite a few: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_conflicts_in_Europe#19th_century
So, having not intervened in any of the others, from the viewpoint of 1914 there wasn't a huge amount of difference about this one, from the Franco-Prussian, Prussian- Austrian, or Franco-Italian conflicts of the previous 100 years.

I find it hard to say categorically that no naval rivalry results in no declaration of war, or that war is inevitable.
From what I have read I think that the OTL declaration was unexpected by Germany, and was greeted with relief by France and Russia.
Which implies to me it was not seen as a certainty.
Remove half or more of the high seas fleet, and in my view that near certainty becomes something closer to somewhere between probable and possibly.
Is there backstory on why Churchill wanted to go t war with Germany? I understand Hitler. Nazism is disgusting and Hitler had already violated multiple agreements. But why did he want to go to war with the Kaiser? Did he just view them as Britains biggest threat?
 
Is there backstory on why Churchill wanted to go t war with Germany? I understand Hitler. Nazism is disgusting and Hitler had already violated multiple agreements. But why did he want to go to war with the Kaiser? Did he just view them as Britains biggest threat?
The Conservatives wanted to go to war to distract the socialists and the irish.
That backfired.
 
I think there had been several meetings and major event taking place between 24th* July and 3rd Aug


*Sorry I'm assuming you are talking about the meeting on the 24th which led to Asquith’s "spectators" comment
My understanding was that there was a cabinet late on a Friday night that, although no conclusive decision was reached, tended towards peace.
By Monday, although no cabinet or other meeting had taken place, the mood within the government had shifted.
I was under the impression that was the weekend of the 31st July - 3rd August, but it could be the previous weekend and my memory is at fault.
The main impression stands, that for the UK the march to war was not as nailed-on as for the continental powers.
 

DougM

Donor
Are people realy asking how the British fleet was a danger to Germany that needed to be countered? Really?
Ok how about this. Germany LOST WW1 its empire and it emperer because of the Royal Navy. You can blame anything else you want but the Royal Navy is the single biggest factor. Its blockade destroyed the economy and starved the heck out of Germany, And it eliminated any chance of Germany keeping an ok relationship with the US and eliminated any dealing with South America.
So if anything WW1 indicastes that Germany needed a bigger fleet then it built.

And yes most empires are not exactly nice. But in a lot of the books and shows on WW1 (often created by or with “advice from”. Britons, GB is often portrayed as the sweet inocent country that got dragged into the war against the evil empire when it dastardly invaded poor little Belgem.
And that the Nasty Wasty Germens were building up a huge war fleet soly in order to attack the Innocent BG because what other possible reason would Germany have to build a fleet when GB was making the oceans of the world safe for comerce.

Well go ask the Boars how nice those folks from GB were….

And yes a lot of other countries have done just as bad but the pretence that WW1 was 100% Germanys fault is rediculus. And the idea that GB was making the world safe for democracy against the evil dictatorship of Germany is even more rediculas.

And while the fleet build up was a large reason GB wanted to go to war the reality is GB thought that with its blockade and with the French and Russians that the war would end in there favor and soon so they wanted to stick their fingers into the ontental pie when it was time to shuffle the boarders. It didnt work out so well for them. But the truth is pretty much every government in WW1 got what it deserved to one degree or another. And only the citesens who were sold a bill of goods are truly innocent in that mess. Even the US was frankly getting involved not because Germany was evil and needed to be defeated (a VERY valid argument in the next world war) but because it was good for a bunch of big businesses and rich folk. And Frankly of the major powers the US was probably closest to being innocent in that ware, and they wernt inocent at all so go figure.
France no more cared about some pissant Balkan state then it cared about Napa Vally Vinyards. But it was a great chance yo get even for the
last time Germany invaded. AH was more interested in using the death of its royals as an escuse to go to war. Russia was trying to gain influance in the Balkans and at the same time avoid or head off internal problems (kind if like an unhapoy couple having a kid to save a marriage) And so on and so forth. And this was not the first ytime any of these counties tried this kind of thing, So there were no virgins in that bed. But GB does a very good (and very annoying ) job of pretending that they were the inocent party just put yo protect the world. Hell the US dosent do as good a job selling its participation in WW2 as GB does with WW1.

So no matter what Germany does (short of complete surrender) GB is still going alie with Russia and France and when it comes to entering WW1 GB will do whatever it tginks is best for GB. And fleet or no fleet anything Germany does is hpgoing to have little effect. If anything the weaker Germany is the more likly GB is to go to war as they were looking at thecpolitical opritunities and costs not if Germany was evil or whatever.
 
Is there consensus on whether or not Germany keeping a more modest Fleet would be likely to keep Britain neutral?

Perhaps more likely than OTL, but certainly not likely, probably or guaranteed. There were a lot of reasons Britain ended up in competition with Germany and there is not some theoretical number of warships that will see this melt away while still serving some lesser list of Germany's strategic needs.

I'd also like to reiterate that the Germany Navy was underused, mainly because of horrific command structure, and therefore did not achieve results or undertake sacrifices nearly commensurate with the resources expended on it. A more active Germany navy, one fights more and maximises what opportunities it does have, would be seen in an entirely different light that it does IOTL.
 
Perhaps more likely than OTL, but certainly not likely, probably or guaranteed. There were a lot of reasons Britain ended up in competition with Germany and there is not some theoretical number of warships that will see this melt away while still serving some lesser list of Germany's strategic needs.

I'd also like to reiterate that the Germany Navy was underused, mainly because of horrific command structure, and therefore did not achieve results or undertake sacrifices nearly commensurate with the resources expended on it. A more active Germany navy, one fights more and maximises what opportunities it does have, would be seen in an entirely different light that it does IOTL.
Hell there's a cuple very good TL that deal with exact premince. Although it seems the issue was mostly with the top leavle leaders and not like the individual captains (who were genuinely about on the same level as the British).
 
Hell there's a cuple very good TL that deal with exact premince. Although it seems the issue was mostly with the top leavle leaders and not like the individual captains (who were genuinely about on the same level as the British).

The problem was that there was by October 1914 3 naval stations and 2 fleets but nobody in charge to allocate resources between them in pursuit of a strategy. Therefore everything became a turf war and the only way anything got allocated was with with a fight.
 
Are people realy asking how the British fleet was a danger to Germany that needed to be countered? Really?
Ok how about this. Germany LOST WW1 its empire and it emperer because of the Royal Navy. You can blame anything else you want but the Royal Navy is the single biggest factor. Its blockade destroyed the economy and starved the heck out of Germany, And it eliminated any chance of Germany keeping an ok relationship with the US and eliminated any dealing with South America.

And all those colonies hummed along just fine for the better part of the three decades when Germany DIDN'T go to war with Great Britain.

I mean, on this logic, it was incumbent on Belgium to go out and build 30 dreadnoughts, stat.

So no matter what Germany does (short of complete surrender) GB is still going alie with Russia and France and when it comes to entering WW1 GB will do whatever it tginks is best for GB.

Not if Germany doesn't invade Belgium it won't - certainly not under a Liberal government.
 

NoMommsen

Donor
The cabinet meeting in late July on whether to declare war was almost evenly split.
Cant remember who the "doves" were, but Churchill (unsurprisingly) was one of the "hawks".
One description I have read is that in cabinet on Friday the decision had been not to declare war.
But by Monday 3rd August, without any meetings or major events taking place, the mood had changed.
...
erhmmm ... WROONG
There were additionally two cabinet meetings on Saturday, one on Sunday (not sure atm on which day were the 2 meetings, could be vice versa) and one on Monday morning even before Edward Greays oh so known speech before the house.
There were the publication of the russian general mobilisation, the answering general mobilisation of Germany and the notorious ultimatum to Belgium (as well as the for the Brits as such even named irrelevant occupation of Luxembourg).

Whatever "description" you've read : it seems to be simply ... flawed (to be polite).
An IMHO very good despription (well sourced be numerous contemporary notes, diaries, letters of all involved british politicians) can give you this reading. It also quite clearly gives you the rather 1/4 (if even as much) to 3/4 distribution within the cabinet between "hawks" (in earnest only churchill and Grey could be named as such, Asquith was - if at all - "in" only for staying with Grey but not out og on conviction, Haldane was NOT a hawk but rather a 'wait-for-the-right-moment-AFTER-the first clashes and ... well that's it for the 'hawks' : 2 fully and 2 halfhearted at best) and "doves" (or better framed non-military-non interventionists ... the remaining 17 cabinet members IIRC) as well as the almost even split within the conservativs between non- and interventionists (against oh so often claimed 'certain pro-war-conservatives' myth intensly nursed and propagated since 3rd August 1914 continuesly until today) and the struggle within the conservative party for the position finally taken.

(Just to name a single book. There are several other writings well worth reading in addition and for details on single topics.)
 
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