The Opening Months of World War I in the West

This will be a series of posts laying out the general history of the major Fronts in World War I. The First World War was unnecessary in that if the diplomats of Europe had truly wanted to stop the war there was ample opportunity in the five weeks between the assassination of Austrian Archduke Franz Ferdinand and the start of the fighting.[1] The outbreak of war in 1939 can be directly traced to the terms of the Peace dictated at Versailles in 1919, and World War II was incomparably more destructive than World War I both in terms of lives lost and property destroyed. It was fashionable in the aftermath … More after the Jump…

Combatant Military Strategic Thought in 1914

All classical military theorists point out that military strategy and national policy are intermingled.   Clausewitz devotes a lengthy portion of his treatise to the ways in which military action should serve the needs of the state; indeed, his most famous quote concerns politics and war.   Most of the combatants in World War I seem to have forgotten that policy drives strategy. When the Elder Moltke was Chief of the German General Staff, German war-plans and policy neatly interlinked however, during Schleiffen’s tenure as Chief of the General Staff that link between policy and strategy was lost.   The Great Memorandum of 1905 ignored political reality in favor of … More after the Jump…

R2P or not?

R2P means “Responsibity to Protect“, and is the idea that the “International Community” has an obligation to “prevent and stop genocides, war crimes, ethnic cleansing and crimes against humanity.” This obligation extends regardless of whether or not traditional national interests are at stake. We can see that clearly in the case of the UN sanctioned attacks on Libya over the past five weeks. The question is since the West is bombing Libya to protect and save civilian lives from a government attempting to put down a rebellion, how long until we start bombing Syria since they are doing the same thing as Libya.  The even bigger question to my mind … More after the Jump…

What is an Act of War?

In light of the beginning of Attacks against Libya and the UN Security Council Resolution authorizing the establishment of a No-Fly Zone over part of Libya I thought it would be useful to have a post about Acts of War and historically what has been considered a legitimate reason to go to war. I will focus this post on the Westphalian System established in 1648 by the Peace of Westphalia ending the Thirty-Years War that also inaugurated the current system of Sovereign nation-states operative in the world today. The Westphalian System did not spring fully formed in 1648, mainly because it was focused on monarchical and dynastic states and not … More after the Jump…

Some Thoughts on Otto von Bismarck

Otto von Bismarck (1815-1898) was probably the most accomplished politician that Germany has ever produced.   He was almost single-handedly responsible for the emergence of the nation of Germany during the nineteenth century.   He was appointed Prime Minister of Germany in 1862 by the Prussian King Wilhelm I (1797-1888) in the middle of a constitutional crisis in Prussia in which the Reichstag refused to authorize a state budget.   Bismarck handled this crisis with ease by using the machinery of state to collect taxes without the Reichstag thus making them irrelevant.   He continued to collect taxes and finance the state for four years until finally the Reichstag was … More after the Jump…