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

P.S. My only caution about using the word "inflexibility" is that it can bend our analysis of the Great War's outbreak into some kind of inevitability.
I think that if the 'Great war' was inevitable, (and i don't think it was) it was due to French revanchism - Absent that, the UK and Germany might have been on a tif, but that wouldn't spiral, and Russia wouldn't subourn their other interest (in Asia and CA) leading to the Balkans being the only outlet.
Whereas if you drop Willy 2 and the UK/German rivalry, it's still entirely plausible that France still goes to war.

That being said, to the degree that the Great war was unavoidable, was the fact that the people in charge did not know the realities of Total war, and thus any 'limited' war would almost necessarily spiral into something comparable.
 
P.S. My only caution about using the word "inflexibility" is that it can bend our analysis of the Great War's outbreak into some kind of inevitability.

Inevitable, no, but it does drastically limit containment options in a crisis. Basically all players were limited to yes/no decisions with the pressure of knowing that any delay in mobilising put the country at grave risk of defeat. It would be a brave leader indeed who unilaterally tries to put the brakes on his own country as all around him are hitting the nitrous. It is easiest for Britain, and indeed Britain exercised the most 'restraint' in the crisis, but once the guns were fired Britain's entry was inevitable in my mind.
 
but once the guns were fired Britain's entry was inevitable in my mind.

I'm almost there with you.

Given a hawkish cabinet in place - which, curiously, Asquith's cabinet was, despite being three quarters dovish - and given a resisted German invasion of Belgium . . . yes, it's hard to see how you keep Britain out of the war.

Put a dovish Cabinet in place - let us, say, under Morley, with Grey vanished from the scene - it's not at all impossible, I think, that you could get a wait-and-see decision, though I think it would be a tough non-belligerency, with a kind of ultimatum sent to Berlin about the kinds of German naval action that would trigger a declaration of war. It would help if there were no Tory back channel communications at that point.

If you take away a German invasion of Belgium - or even if the Belgians decide to allow German passage - I think it gets a lot harder to get Britain into the war, based on my sense of what I know about the Cabinet dynamics of that week. Asquith seems to have thought he needed that tripwire to get his doves in line, and my sense is that he was right.
 
I'm almost there with you.

Given a hawkish cabinet in place - which, curiously, Asquith's cabinet was, despite being three quarters dovish - and given a resisted German invasion of Belgium . . . yes, it's hard to see how you keep Britain out of the war.

Put a dovish Cabinet in place - let us, say, under Morley, with Grey vanished from the scene - it's not at all impossible, I think, that you could get a wait-and-see decision, though I think it would be a tough non-belligerency, with a kind of ultimatum sent to Berlin about the kinds of German naval action that would trigger a declaration of war. It would help if there were no Tory back channel communications at that point.

If you take away a German invasion of Belgium - or even if the Belgians decide to allow German passage - I think it gets a lot harder to get Britain into the war, based on my sense of what I know about the Cabinet dynamics of that week. Asquith seems to have thought he needed that tripwire to get his doves in line, and my sense is that he was right.

The Government had been there a while, Asquith was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1905 and PM from 1908, so had largely shaped the diplomatic environment they faced in 1914. I don't know how you'd get a dove Cabinet, or perhaps more importantly when you'd get it.

In any case only Britain has the luxury of being dovish. If any of the Continental great powers tried to pump the brakes they'd be vulnerable to countries that weren't, indeed dovish behaviour would likely provoke predatory behaviour from other great powers. How important is Britain when Continental great powers thought about mass armies conducting a single campaign?
 
As I noted, there were no Russian partial mobilization plans in place in 1914
I don't know about prior plans but they did partially mobilised earlier than they fully mobilised, it was in the chain of events you posted?

(it's also one of the things that this debate perennially revolves around)
 
Maybe i wasnt as clear as i could have been but i think a large part of GB going to war but having tried to stop/prevent the war is that GB didnt want Russia and France to win a war and then dictate the peace and what ever territorial rearrangements that come from that
This was the view of individual ministers and the Conservatives, not of the Cabinet which was, as previous posters have said made up largely of non-interventionists. Had Germany not invaded Belgium and kept their fleet from the Channel (as they had already promised) they would have caused a political crisis in Britain that would have lasted at least a few weeks over intervention.
So it was well within GBs “right” do build a fleet and use it to its advantage and it was Well within Germanys right to get upset with the bullying and to build a fleet to try and counter that.
I cant think of any historian that says different. What they do say is that it was a strategic blunder for Germany to expand the High Seas Fleet so much, as Germany made itself the biggest threat to Britain and its empire. Germany had every right to build a fleet, but building such a large one needlessly made Britain more wary of them than they were of France and Russia.
I don't understand why Russia (and France abd GB) standing up for its friend is a good guy but Germany stsmding up for its friend is a bad guy
Because Austria was the one asking to wage a blatantly aggressive war against its neighbour (yes asking, it would not have started the conflict without the German green light) and refusing any and all offers of negotiations.
I don't think Germany was any more (or less) evil then anyone else in WW1, I don't think Germany was responsible for stating the war and that the blame falls on everyone, I think
'I know Germany alienated Russia by failing to renew the Reinsurance Treaty, rebuked British alliance negotiations, instigated the naval arms race, instigated both Moroccan Crises thus pushing Britain and France together, knowingly escalated the July Crisis by egging Austria on and preparing for a war if its attempt to split the Entente failed (as most historians still think i.e. Hastings, Stevenson, Sheffield etc. etc.), planned for a war of conquest & brought about British entry by invading Belgium - but everyone was equally to blame for WWI lol, there were no good or bad guys'.

Also see: the Sealed Train decision. Why people still defend the German Empire truly baffles me.

Now dont get me wrong it is Possible to keep GB out of the war but not though any action on Germanys part
Don't invade Belgium and the Liberal Cabinet will in all likelihood collapse, giving Germany at least a window of opportunity. Play the game of international politics a bit more astutely (naval expansion to defend Germany's coast and keep the sea lanes open against France and Russia, but not enough to spook Britain needlessly, accepting Chamberlain's overtures about an alliance, rather than thinking aggression and arrogance will get better terms, no blundering interviews with the Telegraph etc.) and British neutrality is assured.
 

DougM

Donor
I guess it depends on how you define inevitable.
I think A war was all but inevitable 99.9999999999999999999999999999 type of thing. To many things had been brewing for two long, something was going to tip something bast breaking point. By this point in history Europe had been avoiding conflict for quite a while by the skin of its teeth it was inevitable that at some point a conflict would approach without a diplomat skilled enough to stop a war from happening. You can only luck into having a skilled diplomate on hand so often eventually you get a conflict with both sides have bad Diplomaten…. And boom war.

The question is who is going to fight and when. That is variable. I think with out major PODs other then say avoiding the assassination you have a very high chance of see a war within a couple years. The longer the time the higher the chance of a war starting. On the other hand the longer you delay the war the better the chance that when it does happen it won’t pull in the whole world. WW1 was as much a result of the tensions at that exact moment as it was anything else and give a couple years and things would have changed. Germaniens views would be different because they would face a drastically different Russia, Russia would have been radically different (either with or without the Czar) GB would have had a different outlook after the navel arms race was over and depending on who looked to be the continental power and so on and so forth.

That being said there was still a very high likelihood that WW1 would happen as the alien es and concerns were all wrapped up such that it would take a while before you could get a separate war without bring in everyone. France was going to looking for a chance to get A/L back and any opritunity was going to be grabbed at. AH wanted to flex its muscles in the Balkan’s Russia wanted to gain influence in the Balkans. These kind of things are hard to change. A good POD can change one of them but not all of them. And without WW1 and WW2 and Nukes and the various cold wars disputes like Korea and such and without more modern technology to promote knowledge of and integration with and travel between distant places the world is not going to evolve away from war anytime soon.

As for GB itself it is going yo take a while to change. And while you could find a POD that keeps it out of the wat the reality is that it is hard to do and Germany having a different fleet is not that POD. GB was concerned about how the power balance on the continent was devided up. And at the time it was common that a peace treaty would see boarders changed and power balances shift ant was dictated by the winners. So if you wanted a say in how Europe was shuffled you needed to be in the game and have a winning hand. So if GzB stayed out and France won without them then France would do what France wanted and to bad for GB. So GB figured it had to get into the war. Besides with them involved it would be a short war with very few Britash casualties as GzB would mostly use its Navy and France and Russia would supply the ground troops and the war would be over by Christmas or sometime the rolling summer at the latest es. So a quick inexpensive war at at the end GzB gets a say in who is the power on the continent. It is very hard to find a POD that changes this believe in GB as it truly was in its best interest to have a say in the peace treaty and no one understood how the technology of the day was going to turn the war into a bloody stalemate. And that the alliances would make the sides pretty well balanced.

It is kind of funny. GB got into the way because it wanted to and believed it could dictate terms to the other side that would be favorable to GB. The US on the other hand was dumb enough (naive if you will) that it’s President believed that the war could be ended with a treaty that was both fair to all sides and designed to avoid potential future conflicts. Even though the biggest cause for the US to enter the war was a bunch of rich folks being worried about money…

So the US enters a war because the war was economic ply huge and potentially devistated but the US dreams it can create a fair and just peace treaty.
GB (and the other powers to one degree or another). Enter a war that they think will be economically inexpensive and minor but in hopes to be able to manipulate the treaty in favor of themsel and screw over the other side.
This shows a total miss understanding on every side. The European powers had a good grasp on how the peace treaty of the time worked but didn’t understand modern warfare and its costs at all. The US with the benefit of seeing the actual war had a pretty good understanding of the cost in lives and money (and the later being why it’s influential power elite wanted to go to war) but had no understanding on how peace treaties worked in Europe…

So to avoid this mess you need to find a POD geared towards your particular country and its perticular views and believes and its situation at the time. And it is hard to find a POD that results in it not being in GB best interest to have a say when the treaty was being dictated. So you basicly have to then find one keeps them out of the war for a different reason. So that usually involves inter politics within GB or the Empire itself. And while the Naval Arms was was a reason why GB wanted yo yo yo war at that particular moment for fear that it could lose its navel advantage yo Germany the truth is that that was a contributing factor but not big enough to keep GB out of the war if you remove the navel arms race. And Belgium while more likely to keep GB out probably won’t do it either, Maybe no naval race AND no Belgium may keep GB out at least for a while but even that is probably a slim chance. As GB had to much potential advantage to being in the war if it happen date what at the time was belived to be little cost. So if the war happened then GB needed to be in it. And that is extremely hard to change. You basically have to find a group of politicians that just don’t care that it was in GB best interest to go to war if you want to avoid it.

Actully it is interesting now that I think of it, but the reality is that it TRULLY was in the best interests of many countries yo go to war at that time based on what was know at the time. I think this is something we lose track if because we know how devastating the war was for EVERYONE and we have a modern believe that wars are bad in general and we are more concerned about life. But looking at it from the point of view of the people and countries at the time with the knowledge they had and the expectation of a quick war it really was in the best interests of AH, France , Russia, Italy and GB to go to war, Germany was mor in a situation of, the war is going yo happen and we are never going to be stronger in relationship to our enemies then ipnow so it was arguably in its best interest to yo yo war at that point as well. But only the lesser countries were in a position that they knew the war was bad for them. Even the US thought at the time it entered the war that it was in its best interest to do so. Oddly enough the US is probably the only country as it turns out that it WAS in the best interests as it turned.

So WW1 is a very complicated thing to change because it is all tied up in knots.
 
Because Austria was the one asking to wage a blatantly aggressive war against its neighbour (yes asking, it would not have started the conflict without the German green light) and refusing any and all offers of negotiations.
And using the same logic: If Russia didnt say they have their back Serbia would have accepted the Austrian ultimatum. If Poincaré told Nicholas II that France wont go to war over Serbia instead of telling him that France will have their back whatever they do Russia would not have gone to war with Austria. This does not absolve the german or the Austrians of course but they were not the only ones to blame.

Also there is something most people failed as much to understand than as they are failing to understand now: Giving a somewhat adequate answer to the serbian question was a life and death matter for Austria. Don't believe it? Look at what happened in Macedonia fot decades before the Balkan wars. The territory was turned into a hellhole of terrorrist bands roaming the coutriside and doing their work. The responsible one were: Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia. The European powers - especially Russia - did not allow any responsibility or consequences to fall on them - if the turks attacked them they would have intervened. Even when they attacked the turks they were not allowed to loose - because Russia or maybe other europeans would come and save them. In Russia Austria was regarded as the next sick men of Europe after the turks. And when they decided to extend the same kind of support to the serbians against Austria than they have against the Ottomans they basically relegated the Austrian to the level of the Ottomans. Because Serbia and the Black Hand was transferring their operations to Bosnia from Macedonia as the last one was aquired. If Austria accepted that Serbia is untouchable because of Russian guarantees they would have had to develope ways to fight Serbian terror on their territory whie having no way to attack the source of it all.

'I know Germany alienated Russia by failing to renew the Reinsurance Treaty, rebuked British alliance negotiations, instigated the naval arms race, instigated both Moroccan Crises thus pushing Britain and France together, knowingly escalated the July Crisis by egging Austria on and preparing for a war if its attempt to split the Entente failed (as most historians still think i.e. Hastings, Stevenson, Sheffield etc. etc.), planned for a war of conquest & brought about British entry by invading Belgium - but everyone was equally to blame for WWI lol, there were no good or bad guys'.
Some of those I agree with but far from all. For example Germany instigated the second Morocco crisis? They weren't innocent for sure but AFAIK it was France who decided it wants to annex Morocco and Germany decided it doesntwant to be left out.
 
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Not sure I have a ton to contribute here, but I do think that if war started without Britain, they could still enter later on despite seeing the early losses. After all, that did nothing to deter the Italians or the Romanians or the Americans. Like them, the British could easily assume they'll just do better than those incompetent French and Russians, or else that the Central Powers are on the ropes already and just need one last push to finish them off. Ireland could be more of a hinderance, though.
 
'I know Germany alienated Russia by failing to renew the Reinsurance Treaty, rebuked British alliance negotiations, instigated the naval arms race, instigated both Moroccan Crises thus pushing Britain and France together, knowingly escalated the July Crisis by egging Austria on and preparing for a war if its attempt to split the Entente failed (as most historians still think i.e. Hastings, Stevenson, Sheffield etc. etc.), planned for a war of conquest & brought about British entry by invading Belgium - but everyone was equally to blame for WWI lol, there were no good or bad guys'.
Lets see if we can find examples from the Entente side to all that:
- The Reinsurance Treaty, so Russia is miffed that Germany does not renew a treaty after it had run out... well Russia could at least have waited until the Anglo-Russian one ran out before going back to meddle in Persia... Or maybe how Iswolski (Russia) duped Aehrenthal (AH) over the Bosnien talks.
- I take the British alliance and naval matters together here. So Germany should be the "patsy" of Britian on the continent again, I think it already happend in the Seven Years War so go figure why they thought it was a baf idea, and ignore all the British wight throwing with the RN, here an perfect example is Sir Berty during the Boer crisis. Threatening the maritime trade and lifeline of Germany becasue they had the enmity to gratulate a friendly nation that had fought of a raid of bandits... sadly those bandits were British go figure.
- As to the Marocco Crisis, in both cases I read it that France had as much blame as Germany. But sure blame the Germans that they defend their economic interests in an international conference and AFTER France sent troops under nebolous pretenses into Marocco with an old ship. Again here is to mention that it was the RN that was pushing for a confrontation with the Germans...
- By July Crisis I assume you mean the Blank Check. But as numerous others have already pointed out, Serbia and Russia were not in a formal alliance and France backed Russia in the same way.
- Splitting the Entente... well that is nice, look at how France tried to break out Italy from the CP...
- And planning an agressive war... do the Boers ring a bell or how about how the British and French egged on Italy about Libya...
 
And using the same logic: If Russia didnt say they have their back Serbia would have accepted the Austrian ultimatum.

They accepted all but giving up judicial sovereignty on their own soil

And just so we're clear on the ongoing goals and motivation this was the German response to that:

The German shipping tycoon Albert Ballin recalled that when the German government heard a misleading report that Serbia had accepted the ultimatum, there was "disappointment", but "tremendous joy" when it learned that the Serbs had not accepted all of the Austrian terms.[103]

When Ballin suggested Wilhelm end his North Sea cruise to deal with the crisis, the German Foreign Ministry flatly stated the Emperor should continue his cruise because "everything must be done to ensure that he [Wilhelm] does not interfere in things with his pacifist ideas".[106]

At the same time, a message was sent to Berchtold from his ambassador in Berlin reminding him "Here every delay in the beginning of war operations is regarded as signifying the danger that foreign powers might interfere. We are urgently advised to proceed without delay."[106]



If Poincaré told Nicholas II that France wont go to war over Serbia instead of telling him that France will have their back whatever they do Russia would not have gone to war with Austria. This does not absolve the german or the Austrians of course but they were not the only ones to blame.

Also there is something most people failed as much to understand than as they are failing to understand now: Giving a somewhat adequate answer to the serbian question was a life and death matter for Austria.

If the AH empire is truly going to collapse if it's not allowed to curb stomp Serbia than frankly the AH empire is invariably doomed and nothing will stop it.
Don't believe it? Look at what happened in Macedonia fot decades before the Balkan wars. The territory was turned into a hellhole of terrorrist bands roaming the coutriside and doing their work. The responsible one were: Bulgaria, Greece and Serbia. The European powers - especially Russia - did not allow any responsibility or consequences to fall on them - if the turks attacked them they would have intervened. Even when they attacked the turks they were not allowed to loose - because Russia or maybe other europeans would come and save them. In Russia Austria was regarded as the next sick men of Europe after the turks. And when they decided to extend the same kind of support to the serbians against Austria than they have against the Ottomans they basically relegated the Austrian to the level of the Ottomans. Because Serbia and the Black Hand was transferring their operations to Bosnia from Macedonia as the last one was aquired. If Austria accepted that Serbia is untouchable because of Russian guarantees they would have had to develope ways to fight Serbian terror on their territory whie having no way to attack the source of it all.
You kind of got that cause and effect the wrong way round, Macedonia didn't cause the ottoman empire to fall, the slow drawn out decline of teh Ottoman empire caused that Macedonian situation to be possible.

Frankly if AH is actually so at risk of collapsing at this point then they are the sick man or Europe and no amount of clapping* will keep this Tinkerbelle alive.




*by clapping I mean military intervention and ignoring the reality of international treaties and the wishes of other large powers
 
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....
- By July Crisis I assume you mean the Blank Check. But as numerous others have already pointed out, Serbia and Russia were not in a formal alliance

Russia had been backing Serbia for a long time at that point, more importantly Russia made it's position clear to Germany in July,

On 21 July, the Russian Foreign Minister warned the German ambassador to Russia that "Russia would not be able to tolerate Austria-Hungary's using threatening language to Serbia or taking military measures".....


there should have been conceivable way by Russia backing Serbia, except


....The leaders in Berlin discounted this threat of war German foreign minister Gottlieb von Jagow noted "there is certain to be some blustering in St. Petersburg". .

and France backed Russia in the same way.

Not in the same way because, you are conflating a mutual defence treaty (which AH & Germany have as much right to have as France & Russia has) with the actual specific blank cheque German gave AH. And see my previous post about whet teh actual attitude in the German Gov was during this.


 
@TDM what do you see as backing Serbia for a long time? Because Serbia had switched from AH to Russia over the prior decade, after the Black Hand Couped the prior dynasty. So there is a bit of ambiguety here. Also note that the persons in charge of vital intelegence organs were the ones involved in said coup...

Another point to keep in mind is that Serbia talked a good game. See the talk vs. action they did regarding the Balkan wars and occupied teretory. Not a good thing to be known to be bluffing a lot if fecal matter had hit the air impeller... like being implicated in the murder of the HEIR to the throne of AH. That goes double if there are clumsy attampts to deny everything. So yeah, maybe some AH oversight in the investigation is needed...

As to the Blank Cheque, France allowed as a case for the alliance with Russia more or less everything in the Balkans. So again, if that is not similar to Germany and AH... and they at least had the direct threat to AH.

And from your prior post, that Germany pushed for speed is actualy the right choice here. Becasue as long as AH is riding the wave of sympathy others may be less inclined to interfere. At least I see it as such.

Another point I got from Sleepwalkers is that the narative that AH was the next sick man was pushed by those that profited from it. As such it becomes a self fullfilling promise. Because we want AH to be the sick man we push and prod so long until it is true... and because it was so we were right all allong.
 
Because Austria was the one asking to wage a blatantly aggressive war against its neighbour
That was the cause of FF's death.
And Serbia had no actual Defensive Pacts or Treaty with anyone, secret or public.
They only thing they had , was the Russian 'Muh Slavic Brothers!' And the desire for a quick War, that the French were fine with
 
@TDM what do you see as backing Serbia for a long time? Because Serbia had switched from AH to Russia over the prior decade, after the Black Hand Couped the prior dynasty. So there is a bit of ambiguety here. Also note that the persons in charge of vital intelegence organs were the ones involved in said coup...

Well as you say there was the whole 'Muh Slavic Brothers!' had been a thing for while. (Edit sorry that was marathag's line, but they are right)

Both Russia and AH had been making moves in the Balkans in the mid C19th, and to be surprised by Russia backing Serbia in 1914 is to not only ignore that in general but to ignore the previous few years specifically.




Another point to keep in mind is that Serbia talked a good game. See the talk vs. action they did regarding the Balkan wars and occupied teretory. Not a good thing to be known to be bluffing a lot if fecal matter had hit the air impeller... like being implicated in the murder of the HEIR to the throne of AH. That goes double if there are clumsy attampts to deny everything. So yeah, maybe some AH oversight in the investigation is needed...

I get your re Serbia but no country would cede judicial sovereignty to another (especially when it was combined with AH troops coming in to help with the investigation, it's de-facto allowing AH to put Serbia under AH martial law).

If only there had been a suggestion to run the investigation through an international mediation and appointment that while not pleasing either side completely, would have been a compromise?


As to the Blank Cheque, France allowed as a case for the alliance with Russia more or less everything in the Balkans. So again, if that is not similar to Germany and AH... and they at least had the direct threat to AH.

And from your prior post, that Germany pushed for speed is actualy the right choice here. Becasue as long as AH is riding the wave of sympathy others may be less inclined to interfere. At least I see it as such.
I was talking about the German reaction to the Serbian Response to the AH Ultimatum


The German shipping tycoon Albert Ballin recalled that when the German government heard a misleading report that Serbia had accepted the ultimatum, there was "disappointment", but "tremendous joy" when it learned that the Serbs had not accepted all of the Austrian terms.[103]

When Ballin suggested Wilhelm end his North Sea cruise to deal with the crisis, the German Foreign Ministry flatly stated the Emperor should continue his cruise because "everything must be done to ensure that he [Wilhelm] does not interfere in things with his pacifist ideas".[106]

At the same time, a message was sent to Berchtold from his ambassador in Berlin reminding him "Here every delay in the beginning of war operations is regarded as signifying the danger that foreign powers might interfere. We are urgently advised to proceed without delay."[106]



I'm sorry that right there? That tells you want you need to know.



But you are right Germany had wanted AH to go faster in early July, but well AH didn't did they?
Another point I got from Sleepwalkers is that the narative that AH was the next sick man was pushed by those that profited from it. As such it becomes a self fullfilling promise. Because we want AH to be the sick man we push and prod so long until it is true... and because it was so we were right all allong.
Certainly those that dislike AH e.g the pan-slavists in the Balkan where AH was trying to make moves were going to push that narrative, but it was you arguing that not being able to curbstomp Serbia would mean AH's collapse?

To the wider question itself. What can I say trying to be a centuries old multi-polar, multi-ethic monarchic empire, in the early C20th were an up surging in anti monocracy, nationalism and self determination is a tough row to hoe.

Especially if when your long term rival multi-polar, multi-ethic monarchic empire is falling apart and you try to pick up some Balkan bling but by doing so raise some pretty obvious questions about the relevance of multi-polar, multi-ethic monarchic empires!
 
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Whereas if you drop Willy 2 and the UK/German rivalry, it's still entirely plausible that France still goes to war.
Alsace-Lorraine was not a widely influential political question before the Entente and the following German blustering and the Moroccan debacles.
People who wanted to "deliver Alsace-Lorraine from the Germans...and France from the parliamentary yoke" were part of the French society, but protesting against Wagner opera was one thing. It took a decade and a half for the French policy towards Germany (and German policy towards France) to move from Waldeck-Rousseau's sincere attempts to negotiate to the historical mutual belligerence.
 
Alsace-Lorraine was not a widely influential political question before the Entente and the following German blustering and the Moroccan debacles.
People who wanted to "deliver Alsace-Lorraine from the Germans...and France from the parliamentary yoke" were part of the French society, but protesting against Wagner opera was one thing. It took a decade and a half for the French policy towards Germany (and German policy towards France) to move from Waldeck-Rousseau's sincere attempts to negotiate to the historical mutual belligerence.
It was certainly a thing though - I agree that it wasn't some sort of unavoidable contest, but it existed independently of Willy was my point.
And the Franco-Russian alliance makes sense absent Willy 2 too, and it's entirely plausible WW1 france decides to go to war absent UK support anyway.
 
Both Russia and AH had been making moves in the Balkans in the mid C19th, and to be surprised by Russia backing Serbia in 1914 is to not only ignore that in general but to ignore the previous few years specifically.
By backing Serbia, you mean when they were not backing Bulgaria or Romania... The Balkans at the time were a mess and all powers were trying to find a stable solution. And Russia was one that had switched "favorites" several times. At least as far as I remember.

I get your re Serbia but no country would cede judicial sovereignty to another (especially when it was combined with AH troops coming in to help with the investigation, it's de-facto allowing AH to put Serbia under AH martial law).

If only there had been a suggestion to run the investigation through an international mediation and appointment that while not pleasing either side completely, would have been a compromise?
If that is your reading, then ok. I think it is more that AH wanted to be included into the investigations and be able to keep the Serbs from brushing things under the rug. As they had tried before by talking about the points and seemingly agreeing (I think) while at the same time doing nothing. And for me that is remeniscent of what happend then. The Serbs "investigated" for a week... and got absolutely nothing. Even the people that were named did not exist... You see the problem AH would have had if they let the Serbs do the "investigating" on their own.

As to an international investigation, points against are the French and Russian declarations without investigation and in undue haste that the Serbians did nothing wrong.

I was talking about the German reaction to the Serbian Response to the AH Ultimatum
I am unsure what this reaction has to do with the point raised about the French Blank Cheque to Russia?

As to the reactions? Well the times had so many crisis and conflict was simmering so at a point I think it is the feeling of "at least" that was going on. My interpretation naturaly.
As to the Kaiser... you need to ask why they wanted him not meddeling?
And I see ne refute that a faster AH response would have been better.

Certainly those that dislike AH e.g the pan-slavists in the Balkan where AH was trying to make moves were going to push that narrative, but it was you arguing that not being able to curbstomp Serbia would mean AH's collapse?

To the wider question itself. What can I say trying to be a centuries old multi-polar, multi-ethic monarchic empire, in the early C20th were an up surging in anti monocracy, nationalism and self determination is a tough row to hoe.

Especially if when you long term rival multi-polar, multi-ethic monarchic empire is falling apart and you try to pick up some Balkan bling but by doing so raise some pretty obvious questions about the relevance of multi-polar, multi-ethic monarchic empires!
The point about the sick man was more a general observation that I found interesting. And Clark not only has the Pan-Slavists for that but also Grey and Crow in Britian that pushed that. May have been for Germany in their case. But if push for negative opinion pices and "reward" them it pushes that narative.
And I think your own points show you see AH as failing. Were there problems? Sure. All nations had problems. But was AH failing? I think it was not.

And again, what was AH to do in this case? It was attacked in a terroristic manner and Serbia was known to employ those tactics and irregular forces. Add that, as far as I know, Serbia was seen as a kind of Rouge State that had ignored other states and was willing to lie about the goings on and I understand that AH choose war. Was it the right choise? Probably not but AH had to show strenght as otherwise Serbie, Imo, would have kept pushing for more and further.

On that note, what would nations like Russia, France or Great Britain have done in such a case? Becasue I think that in such a circumstance they also would have reacted with violence.
 
The Government had been there a while, Asquith was Chancellor of the Exchequer in 1905 and PM from 1908, so had largely shaped the diplomatic environment they faced in 1914. I don't know how you'd get a dove Cabinet, or perhaps more importantly when you'd get it.

It's not impossible; just unlikely.

But the more hawkish line was driven in no small part by personalities: specifically, Asquith allowing Grey free rein over foreign policy, thanks to the Regulas Pact - abetted to varyng degrees and points in time by McKenna, Haldane, and Churchill. This liberty was so broad that Grey had the army undertake discussions about BEF deployments to France without Asquith's knowledge. Asquith was unhappy when he found out, but didn't feel strong enough to sack Grey over it, or indeed repudiate the talks.

But take Asquith and Grey out of the picture, especially early on, and the dominant Liberal figures are now (arguably) Lloyd George and Morley. Both of whom were chilly to armaments spending or an alliance with France. Their focus was more in line with what Liberal backbenchers was focused on: the People's Budget, and other domestic reforms.
How important is Britain when Continental great powers thought about mass armies conducting a single campaign?

Of limited value in a short war, or bringing a war on, of course.

But I'm focused on British decision-making because that's what the OP is asking about.
 
Alsace-Lorraine was not a widely influential political question before the Entente and the following German blustering and the Moroccan debacles.

Yeah, it had really receded as a central motivation or contention by the Edwardian Age. Even the Zabern Affair didn't really resurrect it.
 
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