March 27, 2014 at 6:31 pm #16854
I just finished reading The Western Front by Hunt Tooley a few days ago, listened to the lectures on WW1 again by Dr. Woods this week, and I listened to your lectures this morning regarding WW1 again, including the lectures leading up to the war and its aftermath. I think I somewhat understand the Austrian, Belgium, French, British, Italian, Russian, and the American entries into the war. Perhaps I missed something, but I still don’t understand why Germany decided to invade France in the first place?
-AndrewApril 1, 2014 at 3:54 pm #16855Jason JewellParticipant
Andrew, the decision to invade France was made out of a perceived military necessity. German military commanders had feared a two-front war ever since German unification in 1871. The thinking was that a quick invasion of France while Russia was still mobilizing could prevent the need to fight on two fronts. By the time Russia was prepared for war the Germans hoped to have defeated France already.
Does this help?April 1, 2014 at 10:07 pm #16856dardnerMember
This is a link to a YouTube vid: the world at war (Ralph raico)
It’s pretty much the same answer that Dr. J laid out but some more context with everything else that was going on at the time. First 24 min he explains how Europe became imperialist, from there to about 55min is more to your question. I think you might like the whole lecture, hope I didn’t waste your time.April 1, 2014 at 10:19 pm #16857
I understand that to an extent, but If Germany invaded France due to a fear of a two-front war, I don’t understand why Germany would want to start two fronts in order to avoid two fronts. Or did Germany believe that a two-front war with France and Great Britain was inevitable and merely chose to strike first?
-AndrewApril 1, 2014 at 10:34 pm #16858
osgood401, thanks for the video link. I’ll definitely check it out when I get a chance.April 3, 2014 at 12:39 pm #16859Jason JewellParticipant
Andrew, you are on the right track.
The two fronts were with France and Russia. German assistance to Austria was going to mean war with Russia. France was allied with Russia, and it wanted revenge against Germany for its defeat in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870.
Germany knew that France would enter any conflict between Germany and Russia. This certainty is what led the German generals to plan for a quick invasion of France at the war’s beginning. The idea was that the war would not _really_ be on two fronts because it would take Russia months to mobilize. By the time Russia was ready to fight, German leaders wanted to have dealt with France already. They were sure they’d have to one way or the other. They were convinced that a “wait and see” approach would mean fighting both France and Russia simultaneously when both enemies were at maximum readiness.April 4, 2014 at 9:55 pm #16860
Ah, ok. Now I understand. I meant a 2nd front with France and Great Britain. World War One makes much more sense now. Thanks Dr. Jewell!
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