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French unity, persistence, and strategy in a Germany goes east WWI- Union Sacree?

stevep

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Yup.
I was disgusted at my last workplace at the nastiness towards Ukrainians displayed by some of my co-workers. Some of whom - those Polish co-workers, I mean - having a history of being guest workers in the UK, France or Germany and being abused there.


We hates him too, my Precious, we does!
LG is the one of "granting Silesia to Poland is like giving a clock to a monkey" fame.
Although the more I learn about the Polish 2nd Republic the more I am ready to grudgingly agree that he possibly might have made a good point ...
Did he actually say that? It does make a change to the normal respresentation of him as being rabidly anti-German. Not to mention somewhat less diplomatic.

As long as we don't let you get hold of any gold rings. :p


Japan - definitely neutral or a Russo-French ally.

Interesting point about the Ottomans - in OTL, in October, when the final decision was made - they were looking at France beaten up by Germany and A-H beaten up by Russia and Britain being in the EP.
How much do the stolen battleships figure in this I do not know - I wonder how much of the "they do not matter and Turkey threw its lot with the CP before the battleships were siezed" is whitewashing the bumbling fat drunk with his moment of glory in 1940. Here the battleships should be delivered to the Turks (but you never know with the British Liberal Cabinet of 1914). Would this make them happy?
On the last point I have read a number of sources that suggests there were detailed negotiations between Berlin and Constantinople over an alliance and any war in which Russia is looking to get battered is going to be attractive to significant elements in the Young Turks. Plus blocking Russian trade through the straits is a big gain for Germany so their likely to work towards that.

Not sure what would happen with the two ships being constructed for the Ottomans? Without Britain being in the war they, like the two for Chile might still be completed and passed on to their planned owners. There is one big issue here however. On a naval site a poster I have a lot of respect for said that this could spark another war which would complicate matters.

At the time Greece had naval superiority over Turkey which had been a big factor in the 1st Balkan war. This would of course change drastically with the latter getting two dreadnoughts so apparently Greece had plans for a pre-emptive war before the ships were delivered. This actually included IIRC attacks into eastern Thrace and landings at Smyrna and the Cilicia region - the latter to block the only rail link between Anatolia and its eastern empire. Whether they would actually go ahead with this I don't know as it would be a high risk strategy but they might be that fearful. This could further complicate matters.

The other issue is what happens with the Goben? Without Britain being at war what does it do? Might head for the Adriatic once it stands running low on supply or still go for Constantinople or even try and break out into the Atlantic then around Britain to get home? It's OTL arrival gave a big boost to the pro-German camp - albeit that did seem well on top already. Plus it sped up the Turkish entry by its attacks on Russian Black sea ports, without Turkish approaval, at least according to some sources. They had been intending to join the war but a few months later when they were more prepared - and possibly in TTL when they have the two BBs Britain was building for them. So if Goben doesn't head that far east there could be some butterflies there.

Steve
 

sillygoose

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@stevep I haven't forgotten your post, it just takes a while to respond to the big ones.

Overblown as in "everybody in Poland conspired and prayed on an everyday basis for Restoration. And everybody was into the resistance to the Partitioning Powers and their actions were 100% effective."
I'd not be surprised if the Irish had similar mythos.
Gotcha. I think the Irish today have a more nuanced understanding of their history than earlier since the 'Troubles' ended a generation ago and emotions have cooled somewhat.

Ukranians working in Poland - there is over a million of them at any moment. In lower paid/nastier jobs it is difficult to find a Pole at times. My son - a trashman - often has to speak a broken Russian-Ukranian mix (he never learned Ukrainian) or English (those from Morroco, Togo, Egypt ... ) with his co-workers. He jokes that he gets to speak Polish only when back home.
TBH I'm a bit surprised, but thanks for the info.

I think that Russia will hold for at least two years - in OTL it took three years of being soundly beaten.
Very different circumstances than IOTL. For instance the loss of Poland would happen in 1914 and no CP territory would likely be held by the end of the year, while Serbia might well be defeated in 1914 as well. Britain may well never enter the war either. Same with Italy. Plus if France is as bad off as it could politically be due to fighting an offensive war and failing at it then the Entente war effort might well collapse quite a bit earlier, especially if the CP economies aren't hampered by the blockade.

France and Russia asking for terms together would be the sensible thing to do. Yet OTL WWI is full of stupid actions on both sides.
Russia and peace - the problem here is that idiot Nicholas - he will not ask for terms as long as France does not. So he has to get palace-couped or overthrown together with the monarchy (or autocracy at least). And here Russia could ask for terms separately.
One thing that was pretty constant was, at least on the CP side, that they hung together until the Provisional Government was overthrown in Russia. They realized that if anyone made a separate peace the situation post-war would be pretty bad for everyone. It was only the Bolsheviks that made a separate peace.

As to Nicholas that is just more to the point that they'd negotiate as a bloc. France would if Russia really needed to IMHO and if Britain isn't in the war and things to 'tits up' then they aren't as likely to stick it out without British finance and blockade being a factor. Germany without being blockaded would actually have a substantially more powerful economy per Hew Strachan (his line was something like trade doubled Entente industrial potential, the blockade reduced the CP economies by about 50%):

Best book I've ever read on WW1. Too bad he never got around to completing the series, but seeing the size of the book and depth of info it is no surprise.

I don't know what I want to know :) because I know nothing about them. I've no idea what political groups there were, with what agendas. I'm not ever sure how extensive the rabid revanchism was, of how much of it has been oxagerrated post-WWI as part of the national mythos.
There is a bunch of decent starter info about French parties on wikipedia. Always helps to start with the the PM and work backwards from there based on the period you're interested in.
Good point about the historiography pushing a specific narrative about the past that is at odds with reality. Turns out in a lot of cases there was a lot less enthusiasm for war in 1914 than propaganda led historians to believe for generations.

Britain - I still think that it would become a belligerent in 1914, by 1915 latest.
Why?

Italy - I fully agree on its neutrality. The way I see things Italy was in the CP as deterrent against France, as it did not have any beef with Russia and was too tied to Britain or dependent on its goodwill. It simply was not in the CP to take on Britain. Hence a Britain at war, or even simply neutral-yet-hostile towards the CP makes Italian belligerency against France very unlikely (though again, look at OTL 1940).
Agreed after looking into their situation more. Question is whether Britain gets in or not and how bad the war goes for the Entente and how quickly.

Lots of loose canons to follow here :)
Looking forward to it.

Yup.
I was disgusted at my last workplace at the nastiness towards Ukrainians displayed by some of my co-workers. Some of whom - those Polish co-workers, I mean - having a history of being guest workers in the UK, France or Germany and being abused there.
One constant with humans: shit rolls downhill.

We hates him too, my Precious, we does!
LG is the one of "granting Silesia to Poland is like giving a clock to a monkey" fame.
Although the more I learn about the Polish 2nd Republic the more I am ready to grudgingly agree that he possibly might have made a good point ...
The 2nd 'republic' does have quite an 'interesting' history.

Japan - definitely neutral or a Russo-French ally.
Agreed.

Interesting point about the Ottomans - in OTL, in October, when the final decision was made - they were looking at France beaten up by Germany and A-H beaten up by Russia and Britain being in the EP.
How much do the stolen battleships figure in this I do not know - I wonder how much of the "they do not matter and Turkey threw its lot with the CP before the battleships were siezed" is whitewashing the bumbling fat drunk with his moment of glory in 1940. Here the battleships should be delivered to the Turks (but you never know with the British Liberal Cabinet of 1914). Would this make them happy?
The BBs mattered a lot to the Ottomans, since they were basically stolen along with the payment, yet another humiliation piled upon them by a European state; Germany 'gifting' their cruisers was considered a big deal, especially given the threat of the Russians to the Ottomans. Plus with the Russians (the Ottoman's mortal enemy) being effectively allied to Britain really rubbed salt in the wound, same with knowing that with the CPs defeat the Ottomans would be on the chopping block next.

There is no way that the Brits don't behave the same way ITTL, as they did it before their entry into the war just based on the idea that they may need them to deal with the High Seas Fleet.
 

stevep

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@stevep I haven't forgotten your post, it just takes a while to respond to the big ones.
No problem. I've already spend far more time than I wanted today replying and I have the advanage of being retired - and bone idle.


Gotcha. I think the Irish today have a more nuanced understanding of their history than earlier since the 'Troubles' ended a generation ago and emotions have cooled somewhat.
Distinctly so. Also possibly some of the scandals about the Catholic church, especially in Ireland, have undermined its former role as a core part of the identity of the south. Its a distressing impact of the 'troubles' that whereas Ulster was more socially liberal in ~1968 say that the south the latter has made considerable progress whereas both blocs in the north have stayed deeply conservative in many ways. :(



Very different circumstances than IOTL. For instance the loss of Poland would happen in 1914 and no CP territory would likely be held by the end of the year, while Serbia might well be defeated in 1914 as well. Britain may well never enter the war either. Same with Italy. Plus if France is as bad off as it could politically be due to fighting an offensive war and failing at it then the Entente war effort might well collapse quite a bit earlier, especially if the CP economies aren't hampered by the blockade.
I don't see a driver for Serbia being defeated in 1914 unless the differing circumstances means that Bulgaria joins the CPs in 1914. Very little CP territory would be held but then little was OTL. A lot would depend on how quickly the French realise they have to change tactics and also how things go in the east. As I've said Russia will suffer more and the CPs will make initial gains faster than OTL but I think it will last markedly longer than your assuming.



One thing that was pretty constant was, at least on the CP side, that they hung together until the Provisional Government was overthrown in Russia. They realized that if anyone made a separate peace the situation post-war would be pretty bad for everyone. It was only the Bolsheviks that made a separate peace.

As to Nicholas that is just more to the point that they'd negotiate as a bloc. France would if Russia really needed to IMHO and if Britain isn't in the war and things to 'tits up' then they aren't as likely to stick it out without British finance and blockade being a factor. Germany without being blockaded would actually have a substantially more powerful economy per Hew Strachan (his line was something like trade doubled Entente industrial potential, the blockade reduced the CP economies by about 50%):

Best book I've ever read on WW1. Too bad he never got around to completing the series, but seeing the size of the book and depth of info it is no surprise.
Did you mean CP or EP here as your talking about until the 1917 coup in Russia?

On Strachan's book I only see an image here which doesn't link to anything for me. Looking at his wiki entry there are a number of books he did on WWI but not sure which one your referring to. Was it "The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms " as that refers to it being the 1st of a planned 3 volumes or something else?


Agreed after looking into their situation more. Question is whether Britain gets in or not and how bad the war goes for the Entente and how quickly.
Agreed



One constant with humans: shit rolls downhill.
Unfortunately also in full agreement.:mad:



The BBs mattered a lot to the Ottomans, since they were basically stolen along with the payment, yet another humiliation piled upon them by a European state; Germany 'gifting' their cruisers was considered a big deal, especially given the threat of the Russians to the Ottomans. Plus with the Russians (the Ottoman's mortal enemy) being effectively allied to Britain really rubbed salt in the wound, same with knowing that with the CPs defeat the Ottomans would be on the chopping block next.

There is no way that the Brits don't behave the same way ITTL, as they did it before their entry into the war just based on the idea that they may need them to deal with the High Seas Fleet.
I'm not sure the same incentive is in place. Also were they not offered the same terms as the Chilians, i.e payment for the use of the ships and their return, suitable upgraded at the end of the conflict? If so stolen is a somewhat inaccurate term. Plus any power going into a major war is going to look for any asset it can get and military units being constructed for a 3rd power is an obvious target that often get taken over by a belligerent.

In this case however Britain isn't going directly into a war so other issues come into play. Unless there's clear evidence that the Young Turks are already planning on joining the Germans there are incentives to try and keep them friendly, or at least not openly hostile to British interests.

Furthermore if the CPs did get defeated then its unlikely that the Ottomans would be 'next for the chopping block'. More likely Britain and quite possibly France would return to their traditional role of supporting them against Russian expansion as neither of them would want the Russians with clear access to the Med.
 

Buba

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Did he actually say that? It does make a change to the normal respresentation of him as being rabidly anti-German. Not to mention somewhat less diplomatic.
I read that in "God's Playground", a history of Poland, by Norman Davies.
Yes, quite undiplomatic of him, Old Chap!
There is no way that the Brits don't behave the same way ITTL, as they did it before their entry into the war just based on the idea that they may need them to deal with the High Seas Fleet.
In OTL we had Mister ADHD grabbing the ships.
Seriously - for the RN two ships, built to non-British specifications, acquired out of the blue - that's more bother than its worth it. The RN already had numerical superiority which was to only increase over time. And in quantity even more so, with the 15 inchers on the way. IIRC there were problems with finding men to crew the HMS Agincourt (hmm, wasn't Churchill sending Navy Reservists into combat as infantry armed with rifles and ferocious glares at that very same moment?).
A cooler mind might had decided that those two ships were not worth it. I've seen it argued on warships1 that it wasn't.
So, a grab is likely but not a given?

The possible Greek attack on those ships is an interesting POD indeed. How much was it typical Greek hot air and bluster and how much was it real - we will never know. BTW - Greece was to get a dreadnaught of its own in 1915 - the Salamis. Followed by a French built ship (Basileus Gergios?) a year later.
Another thing - Turkey collecting those ships in Q3 1914 means that they will be combat ready early next year soonest. There is a term - "shakedown cruise/period" - the crew getting to know the ship and learning to work with one another. In well organised fleets it took 2-3 months to "work up" a battleship into combat readiness after commissioning. Somehow I feel that the Turkish navy did not qualify as well organised.
 

gral

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Your version looks more correct than mine :)
BTW - I take it that Vasilefs = Basileos in more modern Greek?
Yes. As I understand it, Modern Greek has undergone the b -> v consonantal change; the second letter of the Greek Alphabet is pronounced 'veta' nowadays.
 

sillygoose

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Distinctly so. Also possibly some of the scandals about the Catholic church, especially in Ireland, have undermined its former role as a core part of the identity of the south. Its a distressing impact of the 'troubles' that whereas Ulster was more socially liberal in ~1968 say that the south the latter has made considerable progress whereas both blocs in the north have stayed deeply conservative in many ways. :(
Sadly protracted violence can negatively influence people's politics.

I don't see a driver for Serbia being defeated in 1914 unless the differing circumstances means that Bulgaria joins the CPs in 1914. Very little CP territory would be held but then little was OTL. A lot would depend on how quickly the French realise they have to change tactics and also how things go in the east. As I've said Russia will suffer more and the CPs will make initial gains faster than OTL but I think it will last markedly longer than your assuming.
I do think Bulgaria would join in with Russia getting the boots put to them early on, Romania possibly too given that the German king is still alive at that point. Part of the consideration I made there as well is with the A-Hs doing much better in August 1914 and on in Galicia and the pressure from Russia being off that the A-Hs can push their November offensive home in a way they couldn't IOTL thanks to more troops, which when coupled with an early Bulgarian entry seals Serbia's fate.

With the Russians contained by October in the East there is no reason the A-Hs couldn't form an army detachment or 7th army, which would be more than the Serbs could handle; they barely managed to stop the A-Hs IOTL at the Battle of Kolubara. Plus the Entente may not be able to afford to send the Serbs the promised artillery shells they sent in November anyway ITTL without which the Serbs are finished; even if they could if the Bulgarians join in it is over for the Serbs because their links to Greece are severed, which would also mean without any extra troops the A-H could handle them with what they had historically.

IMHO Bulgarian neutrality depended on the situation on the Eastern Front, which IOTL was going very badly for the Austrians.

1914 IOTL saw the Russians nearly invading the Hungarian plain by the end of the year and nearly knocking the Hungarians out of the war. Remember too the battle of Lodz was going on by the end of the year which nearly saw Posen/Silesia invaded while East Prussia was still in part held by the Russians. So IOTL the Entente was actually doing quite well, especially with Britain in and blockading Germany. 1915 is when things went very badly for the Entente.

The French could change tactics, but they lacked the heavy artillery to do what was needed. Certainly they could take out the fortress guns from Verdun and use those old pieces, but they'd lack modern range, rate of fire, and accuracy, so would at best be a bandaid. IOTL it took them until 1916 to really get their artillery situation sorted. Of course that was with Britain in the war and Germany blockaded. The lack of a blockade on Germany, lack of Britain and Belgium in the war, and Russia getting smashed up early on will all have much worse effects on both the international perception of the outcome of the war for the Entente and as a result French finances as well as CP abilities to produce and stay fed as well as export to raise money.

Did you mean CP or EP here as your talking about until the 1917 coup in Russia?
I'm not 100% clear on what you're asking.

On Strachan's book I only see an image here which doesn't link to anything for me. Looking at his wiki entry there are a number of books he did on WWI but not sure which one your referring to. Was it "The First World War: Volume 1: To Arms " as that refers to it being the 1st of a planned 3 volumes or something else?
That is the book.


I'm not sure the same incentive is in place. Also were they not offered the same terms as the Chilians, i.e payment for the use of the ships and their return, suitable upgraded at the end of the conflict? If so stolen is a somewhat inaccurate term. Plus any power going into a major war is going to look for any asset it can get and military units being constructed for a 3rd power is an obvious target that often get taken over by a belligerent.
This is what I found:
On 28 July 1914 Winston Churchill asked for the requisition of two modern warships being built by British shipyards for the Ottoman navy. These were Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel, which had been completed and was making preparations to leave, and Reşadiye. Despite questions about the legality of such a seizure, the request was granted at a Cabinet meeting on 31 July, together with an offer to Turkey to pay for the ships. On 2 August, the British requisitioned them, thereby alienating pro-British elements in Constantinople.[27] Enver Pasha, knowing Turkey was about to lose them, had offered to sell the ships to Germany in a renewed attempt at obtaining a treaty of alliance.[28] After Enver's 22 July approach to Germany had been rejected, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered that it be reconsidered. Renewed negotiations started on 28 July, involving Enver, Talaat, and Said Halim Pasha. In the resulting secret defensive treaty, signed on 1 August, Germany undertook to defend Ottoman territory if it was threatened, and Turkey would join with Germany if German treaty obligations with Austria forced it into war, but would not actually fight on Germany's side unless Bulgaria also did.[29]
Still the Ottomans weren't interested in war yet:
On 3 August, the Ottoman government officially declared neutrality.

On 5 August, Enver informed the Russians that he was willing to reduce the number of troops along the Russian frontier and strengthen the garrison in eastern Thrace, to prevent Bulgaria or Greece from giving thought to joining the Central Powers. On 9 August, Said informed the Germans that Romania had approached Constantinople and Athens about forming a trilateral (Ottoman–Greek–Romanian) neutrality pact.[33]

On 9 August 1914, following the Said Halim Pasha's 2 August decision, Enver was communicating with the Russian Ambassador Giers. These talks reached to a point that Enver proposed an Ottoman-Russian Alliance at this day.[36] Historians developed two positions on Enver's proposal. One group believes proposal was a ruse to hide German alliance. Other group believes Enver was acting along the decision of Said Halim and they were sincerely trying to find a viable solution to keep the Empire out of war at this junction.[36] It is clear that there was no member of Ottoman leadership committed to war at this point, they were trying to maximise their options.[36]
On 19 August 1914, an Ottoman–Bulgarian alliance was signed in Sofia during the opening month of the First World War, although at the time both the signatories were neutral.[37] The Minister of the Interior, Talaat Pasha, and President Halil Bey of the Chamber of Deputies signed the treaty on behalf of the Empire and Prime Minister Vasil Radoslavov on behalf of the Kingdom of Bulgaria.[38] The Ottoman Empire and Bulgaria showed sympathy to one another because they suffered as a result of the territories lost with the conclusion of the Balkan Wars (1912–13). They also held bitter relations with Greece. It was natural and beneficial for them to work for the development of policies that enabled them to gain better positions within the region. The Ottoman–Bulgarian alliance may have been a prerequisite for Bulgaria's joining the Central Powers after Turkey entered the war.[39]
Then they took advantage of the situation to remove all of the onerous treaties they were forced to sign by other European powers. Only the CPs privately said it was a non-issue. Of course after the Russians didn't take the Ottomans up on their offer the Ottomans played hardball and ultimately the British sided with the Russians and that started them on the war path.
On 9 September 1914, the Porte unilaterally abrogated the capitulations granted to foreign powers.[40] The British, French, Russian, Italian, Austro-Hungarian and German ambassadors signed a joint note of protest, but privately the Austro-Hungarian and German ambassadors informed the Grand Vizier that they would not press the issue. On 1 October, the Ottoman government raised its customs duties, previously controlled by the Ottoman Public Debt Administration, and closed all foreign post offices.[33]

On 28 September, the Ottoman government in defiance of the 1841 treaty regulating the use of the Turkish straits linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, closed the Turkish straits to international shipping, causing an immense blow to the Russian economy.[41] The Straits were vital for Russian commerce and for communications between the Western Allies and Moscow.[42]

On 2 October, the British cabinet decided to drop its century-long support for the Ottoman Empire against Russian threats. The decision was that the Russian alliance was more important. The key decision was to keep Russia out of Prague, Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade, Bucharest, and Sofia by giving it Constantinople after the Ottomans were defeated. Russia had always wanted control of Constantinople and the Straits, primarily so it could have free access to the Mediterranean Sea and it agreed to these terms in November.[43]
So yeah the BBs weren't the cause of war, but it was a major event that pissed off the Ottomans even if the British offered to pay for them. No offer of upgrades and their return after the war; the Ottomans were more worried about the balance of naval power vs. the Russians than the money. Ultimately the Ottomans are going to take advantage of the Russian situation to get revenge and forestall future Russian ambitions on the Straits/Constantinople which will either lead to war or further pressure Russia to exit the war before the tide turns against them too much.

In this case however Britain isn't going directly into a war so other issues come into play. Unless there's clear evidence that the Young Turks are already planning on joining the Germans there are incentives to try and keep them friendly, or at least not openly hostile to British interests.
ITTL based on the above I don't think the Ottomans would enter necessarily given that the Russians were pretty well already handled and the British neutral, so no need or desire to antagonize them. The Straits might still be closed, but that could be different here depending on British sticks and carrots. As it seems Enver was looking to maximize his nation's options they could probably be bought off to be neutral. However the Bulgarian alliance would free up the Bulgarians to go after Serbia.

Furthermore if the CPs did get defeated then its unlikely that the Ottomans would be 'next for the chopping block'. More likely Britain and quite possibly France would return to their traditional role of supporting them against Russian expansion as neither of them would want the Russians with clear access to the Med.
OTL Russia demanded the Straits before Ottoman entry and Britain and France picked the Russian alliance over the Ottomans. I could very well see the British and French decided to split up the Ottomans like they did post-war if they could get away with it; leave Turkey as the bulwark against Russia, but pick off their empire. It's not like the Capitulations pre-war weren't precedent:

Plus Britain has seized Egypt from the Ottomans rather blatantly in the late 1800s, same with essentially grabbing Cyprus earlier at the Congress of Berlin.
 
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stevep

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Sadly protracted violence can negatively influence people's politics.
All too true unfortunately.

I do think Bulgaria would join in with Russia getting the boots put to them early on, Romania possibly too given that the German king is still alive at that point. Part of the consideration I made there as well is with the A-Hs doing much better in August 1914 and on in Galicia and the pressure from Russia being off that the A-Hs can push their November offensive home in a way they couldn't IOTL thanks to more troops, which when coupled with an early Bulgarian entry seals Serbia's fate.

With the Russians contained by October in the East there is no reason the A-Hs couldn't form an army detachment or 7th army, which would be more than the Serbs could handle; they barely managed to stop the A-Hs IOTL at the Battle of Kolubara. Plus the Entente may not be able to afford to send the Serbs the promised artillery shells they sent in November anyway ITTL without which the Serbs are finished; even if they could if the Bulgarians join in it is over for the Serbs because their links to Greece are severed, which would also mean without any extra troops the A-H could handle them with what they had historically.

IMHO Bulgarian neutrality depended on the situation on the Eastern Front, which IOTL was going very badly for the Austrians.
I would agree that Bulgarian entry would doom the Serbs and also that its likely in this scenario that it could occur in autumn 1914. [Only delay might be if the Austrians are so confident of victory that they decide not to listen to Bulgarians approaches].


The French could change tactics, but they lacked the heavy artillery to do what was needed. Certainly they could take out the fortress guns from Verdun and use those old pieces, but they'd lack modern range, rate of fire, and accuracy, so would at best be a bandaid. IOTL it took them until 1916 to really get their artillery situation sorted. Of course that was with Britain in the war and Germany blockaded. The lack of a blockade on Germany, lack of Britain and Belgium in the war, and Russia getting smashed up early on will all have much worse effects on both the international perception of the outcome of the war for the Entente and as a result French finances as well as CP abilities to produce and stay fed as well as export to raise money.
The tactics are probably more important than the heavy artillery and France isn't in as dire a state as OTL but yes to really make significant progress in the west they would need both and that would take a fair bit of time.

I'm not 100% clear on what you're asking.
You said
One thing that was pretty constant was, at least on the CP side, that they hung together until the Provisional Government was overthrown in Russia.
Since your talking about Russia I suspect you meant the EP rather than the CP?

That is the book.
OK thanks. Add to the list that I need to order some time.

This is what I found:


Still the Ottomans weren't interested in war yet:



Then they took advantage of the situation to remove all of the onerous treaties they were forced to sign by other European powers. Only the CPs privately said it was a non-issue. Of course after the Russians didn't take the Ottomans up on their offer the Ottomans played hardball and ultimately the British sided with the Russians and that started them on the war path.


So yeah the BBs weren't the cause of war, but it was a major event that pissed off the Ottomans even if the British offered to pay for them. No offer of upgrades and their return after the war; the Ottomans were more worried about the balance of naval power vs. the Russians than the money. Ultimately the Ottomans are going to take advantage of the Russian situation to get revenge and forestall future Russian ambitions on the Straits/Constantinople which will either lead to war or further pressure Russia to exit the war before the tide turns against them too much.


ITTL based on the above I don't think the Ottomans would enter necessarily given that the Russians were pretty well already handled and the British neutral, so no need or desire to antagonize them. The Straits might still be closed, but that could be different here depending on British sticks and carrots. As it seems Enver was looking to maximize his nation's options they could probably be bought off to be neutral. However the Bulgarian alliance would free up the Bulgarians to go after Serbia.
That 1st wiki entry seems a bit odd i.e.
On 28 July 1914 Winston Churchill asked for the requisition of two modern warships being built by British shipyards for the Ottoman navy. These were Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel, which had been completed and was making preparations to leave, and Reşadiye. Despite questions about the legality of such a seizure, the request was granted at a Cabinet meeting on 31 July, together with an offer to Turkey to pay for the ships. On 2 August, the British requisitioned them, thereby alienating pro-British elements in Constantinople.[27] Enver Pasha, knowing Turkey was about to lose them, had offered to sell the ships to Germany in a renewed attempt at obtaining a treaty of alliance.[28] After Enver's 22 July approach to Germany had been rejected, Kaiser Wilhelm II ordered that it be reconsidered. Renewed negotiations started on 28 July, involving Enver, Talaat, and Said Halim Pasha. In the resulting secret defensive treaty, signed on 1 August, Germany undertook to defend Ottoman territory if it was threatened, and Turkey would join with Germany if German treaty obligations with Austria forced it into war, but would not actually fight on Germany's side unless Bulgaria also did.[29]
Since it says that Envar approached Germany on the 22nd July - presumably about the suggestion of selling the ships to Germany - yet Churchill didn't asked for their seizure until 28th July and the action didn't go ahead until 2nd August. It also suggests that the Turks were already looking for an alliance with Germany even before then. Interesting that the deal mentioned suggested that, although they took their own dubious action in closing the straits to merchant shipping the Turks weren't willing to formally join the war until Bulgaria clearly joined the CP.

It does mention that Britain offered to buy the ships which was an alternative offered to Chile and did actually occur with the 2nd ship, which was completed as HMS Eagle and purchased from Chile after the war. As such it could be that the same dual offer was made to Turkey but that for whatever reason on the purchase one was known/mentioned by the poster.

I would also say that while the two ships might not seem that powerful they were still fairly modern dreadnoughts and with the current battlestrengths between Britain and Germany being close - none of the 15" ships having entered service at this point. This might be especially the case for politicians who wouldn't be that aware of the technical details.

Fully agree that sending the two naval 'brigades' to help defend Antwerp was a pretty stupid waste of trained men the RN would need shortly, even for Churchill. :(

OTL Russia demanded the Straits before Ottoman entry and Britain and France picked the Russian alliance over the Ottomans. I could very well see the British and French decided to split up the Ottomans like they did post-war if they could get away with it; leave Turkey as the bulwark against Russia, but pick off their empire. It's not like the Capitulations pre-war weren't precedent:

Plus Britain has seized Egypt from the Ottomans rather blatantly in the late 1800s, same with essentially grabbing Cyprus earlier at the Congress of Berlin.
I was aware of an agreement in early 1915 over the future of the straits, by which time Turkey was in the war. Didn't know of any such agreement before then.

Can't really see a desire for large scale partition without the pretty much total collapse of the empire that occurred OTL. After all the existence of the huge oil supplies wasn't known at the time and there was little else of economic value in the region. Especially for a Liberal government which opposed further territorial gains. Spheres of influence possibly and for historical/political reasons the French had an interest in the Lebanon/Syrian coastal region but otherwise I'm not aware of it being of much interest to either.

Britain and France intervened to suppress a revolt in Egypt in 1888 IIRC - actually checking the details the French ships left prior to the actual fighting breaking out. They restored the formal rule of the Khedive under Ottoman overlordship and as I mentioned before Egypt continued to pay tribute to Constantinople until the Ottomans joined the CPs in 1914, as Britain did for the control of Cyprus.
 

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[Only delay might be if the Austrians are so confident of victory that they decide not to listen to Bulgarians approaches].
I take a very dim view of A-H policy - Vienna is IMO very likely to reject Bulgarian aid. Why? Because Bulgaria would make territorial demands which - if granted - would make it stronger, something which A-H perceives not to be in its interest.
No "powerful slavic state" in the Balkans was Vienna's condition for allowing the 1877 Russo-Turkish war (Russia pissed over its promise with San Stefano). I'm not sure if this stance had been abandoned by 1914 ...

Also I'm not certain if - or to what extent - Bulgaria was war-capable in the 2nd half of 1914. It had been in two wars - one lost - inside the previous two years. Lots of wastage and loss of war material (remember that carts, wagons, horses/oxen, harnesses, boots etc. all matter very much). Still, several hundred thousand men with rifles backed up with a a few hundrerd artillery pieces (which would had been sucked up and spat out in the West or East) might had counted for something against 1914 Serbia fighting on two fronts.
 
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sillygoose

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I would agree that Bulgarian entry would doom the Serbs and also that its likely in this scenario that it could occur in autumn 1914. [Only delay might be if the Austrians are so confident of victory that they decide not to listen to Bulgarians approaches].
The Germans basically led the relationship and got the Bulgarians in. The Austrians had no objection to their entry or territorial demands and wanted them in. It was the Serbs who refused to give up territory and blocked potential Bulgarian entry on their side (IOTL with very different circumstances):

The tactics are probably more important than the heavy artillery and France isn't in as dire a state as OTL but yes to really make significant progress in the west they would need both and that would take a fair bit of time.
Heavy artillery is what you need to deal with trenches and forts in rough terrain. The French did use different tactics IOTL and were stymied; in fact their elite Chasseurs Alpins get torn up pretty badly in Alsace in the Vosges despite their training and equipment to fight in such a region.
Still, with casualties being pretty intense the tactics will likely get worse for a while as less well trained replacements aren't going to be able to handle sophisticated tactics in trench warfare (hence the horrific French losses of 1915).

You said

Since your talking about Russia I suspect you meant the EP rather than the CP?
Yes you are correct, I mean Entente powers.

That 1st wiki entry seems a bit odd i.e.

Since it says that Envar approached Germany on the 22nd July - presumably about the suggestion of selling the ships to Germany - yet Churchill didn't asked for their seizure until 28th July and the action didn't go ahead until 2nd August. It also suggests that the Turks were already looking for an alliance with Germany even before then. Interesting that the deal mentioned suggested that, although they took their own dubious action in closing the straits to merchant shipping the Turks weren't willing to formally join the war until Bulgaria clearly joined the CP.

It does mention that Britain offered to buy the ships which was an alternative offered to Chile and did actually occur with the 2nd ship, which was completed as HMS Eagle and purchased from Chile after the war. As such it could be that the same dual offer was made to Turkey but that for whatever reason on the purchase one was known/mentioned by the poster.
That's a typo. Enver offered an alliance on the 22nd, but was rebuffed and later on offered the battleships after Britain decided to seize them:
The Germanophile Ottoman War Minister Enver Pasha directly proposed an alliance on 22 July 1914 to the German ambassador in Istanbul, Hans Freiherr von Wangenheim, but he was rebuffed. Kaiser Wilhelm II overruled Wangenheim two days later, and an Ottoman draft for an alliance was delivered in Berlin on 28 July—the day World War I began

On 1 August, Enver offered Wangenheim the new battleship Sultân Osmân-ı Evvel in exchange for German protection. This was likely a clever ploy; United Kingdom officials, in order to bolster the Royal Navy to wage war against Germany, had already seized Sultan Osman-ı Evvel and the battleship Reşadiye, which were under construction in their shipyards. Wagenheim and the majority of the Ottoman government were unaware of this. Enver probably already knew of the seizure, since actually releasing the battleship to a foreign nation would have caused an uproar from the public and the government. Ambassador Wagenheim signed the treaty the next day, creating the secret Ottoman–German alliance.[12]
Yes Enver had proposed the defensive alliance, per the last quoted article. The one directly above frames it differently and less accurately.
The article you cited also says the Ottomans tried to get a deal with Russia, but were rebuffed and only later closed the straits, which was of course legally dubious.

As said before the payment was besides the point since the Ottomans needed the ships to get close to parity with the Black Seas fleet, which was a serious threat to their coastline if the Russians decided to act on their Constantinople ambitions during the war...which was probably a motivation for closing the straits after Russia refused their alliance offer.

Fully agree that sending the two naval 'brigades' to help defend Antwerp was a pretty stupid waste of trained men the RN would need shortly, even for Churchill. :(
I disagree given that they kept the Germans locked down besieging Antwerp for along while, while the Belgian army was in part allowed to live to fight another day due to British help. They wouldn't likely have lost as many in the siege if communications had worked better and the brigades moved when ordered to do so:

Tying down the Germans and saving the Belgian army were very worth it given what would have happened otherwise.


I was aware of an agreement in early 1915 over the future of the straits, by which time Turkey was in the war. Didn't know of any such agreement before then.
True. There wasn't one before 1915 but Russia's ambitions were pretty well precedented and in victory who would have stopped the Russians taking what they wanted?

Can't really see a desire for large scale partition without the pretty much total collapse of the empire that occurred OTL. After all the existence of the huge oil supplies wasn't known at the time and there was little else of economic value in the region. Especially for a Liberal government which opposed further territorial gains. Spheres of influence possibly and for historical/political reasons the French had an interest in the Lebanon/Syrian coastal region but otherwise I'm not aware of it being of much interest to either.
Iraq wasn't invaded for nothing and the 'Holy Land' was of course coveted by European powers for religious reasons. Why would Britain and France even want any of that territory after WW1 if it weren't valuable?
Oil was known to be in the region (especially around Kirkuk in Northern Iraq) and everyone wanted to control it, though the region was basically unexplored by modern oil techniques. That was after all the driver of the Berlin-Baghdad Rail Road.

Syria and the Middle East had been coveted by France since Napoleon, but Britain took Egypt first in the late 19th century:

Britain and France intervened to suppress a revolt in Egypt in 1888 IIRC - actually checking the details the French ships left prior to the actual fighting breaking out. They restored the formal rule of the Khedive under Ottoman overlordship and as I mentioned before Egypt continued to pay tribute to Constantinople until the Ottomans joined the CPs in 1914, as Britain did for the control of Cyprus.
Who controlled the Suez Canal?
Local unrest caused the British to invade in 1882 and take full control, although nominally Egypt remained part of the Ottoman Empire. The British representative from 1883 to 1907 was Evelyn Baring, 1st Earl of Cromer, who reorganized and modernized the government and suppressed rebellions and corruption, thereby facilitating increased traffic on the canal.[73]

The Convention of Constantinople in 1888 declared the canal a neutral zone under the protection of the British, who had occupied Egypt and Sudan at the request of Khedive Tewfiq to suppress the Urabi Revolt against his rule. The revolt went on from 1879 to 1882. The British defended the strategically important passage against a major Ottoman attack in 1915, during the First World War.[79]
So the Ottomans, technically in charge of Egypt, had to attack a British controlled canal in 1915...

I take a very dim view of A-H policy - Vienna is IMO very likely to reject Bulgarian aid. Why? Because Bulgaria would make territorial demands which - if granted - would make it stronger, something which A-H perceives not to be in its interest.
No "powerful slavic state" in the Balkans was Vienna's condition for allowing the 1877 Russo-Turkish war (Russia pissed over its promise with San Stefano). I'm not sure if this stance had been abandoned by 1914 ...
IOTL it was the Germans and Austrians who courted the Bulgarians to enter the war, the Bulgarians didn't offer to join. In fact they offered Bulgaria the territory it wanted from Serbia, since it didn't matter to either who controlled it, since the Austrians had no intention of annexing Serbia (more rebellious Slavs they didn't want). In fact an allied Bulgaria, which gave the CPs direct RR access to the Ottomans, was a huge boon to their war effort and kept Romania neutral despite it's OTL leanings toward the Entente in 1915. Of course ITTL the Romanians might have joined in if they thought Russia weak and the Bulgarians already onside with the CPs. They wanted Bessarabia.

The Austrians were willing to accept an enhanced Bulgaria because they'd basically be permanently allied and all the other boons above (including Ottoman entry, since the Ottomans made their entry conditional on Bulgarian entry into the war).

Also I'm not certain if - or to what extent - Bulgaria was war-capable in the 2nd half of 1914. It had been in two wars - one lost - inside the previous two years. Lots of wastage and loss of war material (remember that carts, wagons, horses/oxen, harnesses, boots etc. all matter very much). Still, several hundred thousand men with rifles backed up with a a few hundrerd artillery pieces (which would had been sucked up and spat out in the West or East) might had counted for something against 1914 Serbia fighting on two fronts.
They entered several months later in 1915. Given that the Serbs were already fully tied down and the Ottomans allied to them already they'd just have to face a much weaker foe in Serbia. It would be a cheap quick war for them just like in 1915. Serbia was out of artillery ammo as of October and waiting for some to come in November (IOTL), while the entire army was required to check the A-Hs, who took Belgrade in November despite facing the entire Serbian army.
 

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I disagree given that they kept the Germans locked down besieging Antwerp for along while,
I suspect some British myth/whitewashing Churchill. What difference do eight battalions of men with rifles make?
ADDED LATER:
Antwerp was a fully equipped and manned fortress, plus the whole Belgian field army was there. Hence IMO two brigades of RN reservists with rifles were of ... let us be nice and say "of symbolic nature".

Also - the Germans did not make a move against Antwerp until October, just blockading it, as it was irrelevant on an extreme flank of their operations.

ADDED LATER:
When they got serious they kicked out the Belgians and the RN reservists (and two regular British divisions?) in short order.
IOTL it was the Germans and Austrians who courted the Bulgarians to enter the war,
Thanks, I did not know the details.
 
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stevep

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The Germans basically led the relationship and got the Bulgarians in. The Austrians had no objection to their entry or territorial demands and wanted them in. It was the Serbs who refused to give up territory and blocked potential Bulgarian entry on their side (IOTL with very different circumstances):
OK thanks. :)

Heavy artillery is what you need to deal with trenches and forts in rough terrain. The French did use different tactics IOTL and were stymied; in fact their elite Chasseurs Alpins get torn up pretty badly in Alsace in the Vosges despite their training and equipment to fight in such a region.
Still, with casualties being pretty intense the tactics will likely get worse for a while as less well trained replacements aren't going to be able to handle sophisticated tactics in trench warfare (hence the horrific French losses of 1915).
Its the best way although there are some options. Plus even OTL the French made some progress. [albeit not as much as hoped for and at terrible losses]. A lot will depend on how much they feel oblidged to continue attacking to try and take pressure off Russia, how quickly they adjust to the new circumstances and how quickly without the OTL crisis at home they could get heavy artillery in numbers. Also whether they think of trying something else.

True. There wasn't one before 1915 but Russia's ambitions were pretty well precedented and in victory who would have stopped the Russians taking what they wanted?
As I said Britain and France. ;)


Iraq wasn't invaded for nothing and the 'Holy Land' was of course coveted by European powers for religious reasons. Why would Britain and France even want any of that territory after WW1 if it weren't valuable?
Oil was known to be in the region (especially around Kirkuk in Northern Iraq) and everyone wanted to control it, though the region was basically unexplored by modern oil techniques. That was after all the driver of the Berlin-Baghdad Rail Road.

Syria and the Middle East had been coveted by France since Napoleon, but Britain took Egypt first in the late 19th century:


Who controlled the Suez Canal?

So the Ottomans, technically in charge of Egypt, had to attack a British controlled canal in 1915...
Religion wasn't a significant factor for the western allies by 1914. The prime reason for British operations in Sinai and Palestine was to protect the canal plus possibly having given up on amphibious operations after Gallipoli it seemed the only way to carry the war to the Ottomans. In terms of Iraq I think the initial desire was to protect the Gulf region and Iranian oil and then mission drift occurred, followed after the Kut disaster by the desire to avenge Kut.:( Oil in northern Iraq was an issue but I don't think it was a major one.

Britain had long had influence in Egypt prior to the Urabi revolt and also had purchased control of the canal so on that point Britain had very important interests there.



They entered several months later in 1915. Given that the Serbs were already fully tied down and the Ottomans allied to them already they'd just have to face a much weaker foe in Serbia. It would be a cheap quick war for them just like in 1915. Serbia was out of artillery ammo as of October and waiting for some to come in November (IOTL), while the entire army was required to check the A-Hs, who took Belgrade in November despite facing the entire Serbian army.
Very true. It was slightly over a year after the outbreak of war OTL, in Oct 1915 but is likely to be ~autumn 1915 here. Both because of the EP powers doing worse in the east and also probably British neutrality.
 

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Its the best way although there are some options. Plus even OTL the French made some progress. [albeit not as much as hoped for and at terrible losses]. A lot will depend on how much they feel oblidged to continue attacking to try and take pressure off Russia, how quickly they adjust to the new circumstances and how quickly without the OTL crisis at home they could get heavy artillery in numbers. Also whether they think of trying something else.
Agreed, though I have a feeling that if Russia is retreating out of Poland and facing substantial defeats France would not have a choice but to attack regardless of cost to keep Russia in otherwise they might cut a deal and drop out due to feeling betrayed (shades of WW2).
IOTL it took the French until May 1915 (AFAIK) to come up with a new trench assault manual:

The Germans thought so highly of it (they captured several) that they translated it and issued it to their assault units.
Though if you read it it sounds like WW2 Soviet assault manual (damn the casualties, full speed ahead!).

France might have a very hard time sourcing artillery and shells from abroad given the Brits and US used imperial measurements, so didn't have the equipment to make desired French calibers and the US wasn't selling weapons at the time. Though you're probably right that absent losing their industrial base they'd be able to make what they needed eventually, depending on whether labor striked or not. Depending on how serious the Socialists were they might be able to shut down arsenals or at least seriously disrupt production to stop the war.

Tactics can only take you so far depending on the casualties you're willing to take. France wasn't the USSR though, especially if they weren't attacked first.

As I said Britain and France. ;)
Who IOTL gave Russia carte blanche for their ambitions vis-a-vis the Ottomans. Remember Germany is the big baddie, not cousin Nicky.

Religion wasn't a significant factor for the western allies by 1914. The prime reason for British operations in Sinai and Palestine was to protect the canal plus possibly having given up on amphibious operations after Gallipoli it seemed the only way to carry the war to the Ottomans. In terms of Iraq I think the initial desire was to protect the Gulf region and Iranian oil and then mission drift occurred, followed after the Kut disaster by the desire to avenge Kut.:( Oil in northern Iraq was an issue but I don't think it was a major one.

Britain had long had influence in Egypt prior to the Urabi revolt and also had purchased control of the canal so on that point Britain had very important interests there.
Britain was much more religious in the early 20th century than it was after WW1, though you're right that secular/strategic considerations were more important. Agreed about the initial invasion of Iraq, but the Kirkuk/Mosul oil potential was a consideration. Since oil was already known to be in neighboring British controlled Kuwait and Persia I'm sure the operation also had a post-war motivation. Kut was further reason to keep going. Also given how hard Britain fought to get northern Iraq into their control in the peace treaty they certainly had some idea that oil was a factor there.

Very true. It was slightly over a year after the outbreak of war OTL, in Oct 1915 but is likely to be ~autumn 1915 here. Both because of the EP powers doing worse in the east and also probably British neutrality.
Why 1915? They had no reason to stay neutral by October/November 1914 if it looked like the CPs were winning. All their pre-requisites were met for joining in. The thing that kept them neutral IOTL until 1915 was how bad the CPs were doing in the East until then. The Austrians not losing Galicia and in fact ITTL being in a position to destroy the better part of two Russian armies in August 1914 would completely change the strategic situation from OTL. That's not even getting into Britain being neutral here.

BTW what do you think would trigger a later British DoW? And how would the public react?

I suspect some British myth/whitewashing Churchill. What difference do eight battalions of men with rifles make?
Every rifle counts, but I thought it was more than 8 battalions. There was a Marine Brigade in addition. Don't forget the political considerations of supporting an ally in a bad situation too.

ADDED LATER:
Antwerp was a fully equipped and manned fortress, plus the whole Belgian field army was there. Hence IMO two brigades of RN reservists with rifles were of ... let us be nice and say "of symbolic nature".
Sure, but symbolism can matter to morale.

Also - the Germans did not make a move against Antwerp until October, just blockading it, as it was irrelevant on an extreme flank of their operations.
IIRC the Entente forces sortied too and tied down considerable German forces in the meantime.

ADDED LATER:
When they got serious they kicked out the Belgians and the RN reservists (and two regular British divisions?) in short order.
Sure, but they had to spend a lot of effort to do so.

Thanks, I did not know the details.
NP.
 

stevep

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Agreed, though I have a feeling that if Russia is retreating out of Poland and facing substantial defeats France would not have a choice but to attack regardless of cost to keep Russia in otherwise they might cut a deal and drop out due to feeling betrayed (shades of WW2).
IOTL it took the French until May 1915 (AFAIK) to come up with a new trench assault manual:

The Germans thought so highly of it (they captured several) that they translated it and issued it to their assault units.
Though if you read it it sounds like WW2 Soviet assault manual (damn the casualties, full speed ahead!).

France might have a very hard time sourcing artillery and shells from abroad given the Brits and US used imperial measurements, so didn't have the equipment to make desired French calibers and the US wasn't selling weapons at the time. Though you're probably right that absent losing their industrial base they'd be able to make what they needed eventually, depending on whether labor striked or not. Depending on how serious the Socialists were they might be able to shut down arsenals or at least seriously disrupt production to stop the war.

Tactics can only take you so far depending on the casualties you're willing to take. France wasn't the USSR though, especially if they weren't attacked first.
True although they could do something such as Gallipoli as they would probably have reserves with no major threat to them on the western front. Going to be tough while trying to keep an eye on the Austrian fleet as well as whatever happens to Goeben but not impossible I would have thought. With a more professional military they might even make it successful although that would be a fairly slim chance I suspect.

The other option, although it wouldn't directly support Russia might be a force sent to Montenegro to aid the Serbs and Montenegrin. Which might also make available some sort of base to help blockade the Austrian navy. There's a possibility it might delay a Bulgarian dow as well. [Have heard that the British landings at Galipoli had this effect OTL].


Who IOTL gave Russia carte blanche for their ambitions vis-a-vis the Ottomans. Remember Germany is the big baddie, not cousin Nicky.
That was OTL under different circumstances. Here Britain is at peace and Russia is going to be more concerned with defending its western border.

Britain was much more religious in the early 20th century than it was after WW1, though you're right that secular/strategic considerations were more important. Agreed about the initial invasion of Iraq, but the Kirkuk/Mosul oil potential was a consideration. Since oil was already known to be in neighboring British controlled Kuwait and Persia I'm sure the operation also had a post-war motivation. Kut was further reason to keep going. Also given how hard Britain fought to get northern Iraq into their control in the peace treaty they certainly had some idea that oil was a factor there.
True religion was more important but it seems to have been more a 'moral' form in terms of personal behaviour - disagreements between the assorted groups notwithstanding - rather than a 'we must reclaim the holy land' sort. Oil would have been a factor but not sure if Britain would have been too eager to dismantle the Ottoman empire in the early stages with a concern about its probable use as a continued buffer against Russia. After all the target of Townsend's operation was Baghdad.

Why 1915? They had no reason to stay neutral by October/November 1914 if it looked like the CPs were winning. All their pre-requisites were met for joining in. The thing that kept them neutral IOTL until 1915 was how bad the CPs were doing in the East until then. The Austrians not losing Galicia and in fact ITTL being in a position to destroy the better part of two Russian armies in August 1914 would completely change the strategic situation from OTL. That's not even getting into Britain being neutral here.
Duh! Apologies for the senior moment, I meant 1914 but didn't notice the finger problem.:oops: I would expect it to be some time in late autumn or early winter 1914.


BTW what do you think would trigger a later British DoW? And how would the public react?
It would depend on the circumstances. The obvious factors would be a big early CP win looking likely or some issue, most likely with Germany. Say for whatever reason they still support extremists in Ireland and there's something like the 1916 coup attempt occurs. Unlikely with Home Rule likely to go ahead as its going to be the Protestants pissed off although just possibly Germany might support them instead here. It would be stupid but then they were supporting attempted terrorist attacks in the US prior to the later joining the conflict and then came up with the Zimmerman Telegram.

I specify an [big] early win because that's more likely to lead to a draconian peace and a Germany especially still strong enough to pose a rapid threat to Britain. A later one that had seen both sides bled white could be seen as less dangerous and also more likely that British threat of direct intervention is more likely to lead to the CPs deciding to settle for less rather than extend a war they could well lose.

Another possibility might be that there's an election and the Tories win a big majority. They seem to have been markedly more hostile to Germany and were looking at things like conscription pre-war and if the CPs are making significant progress in the east they could argue that the Liberals are being weak and putting the country in danger. Of course given the size of the losses everybody is suffering on the continent that should make such ideas less popular but then as you point out values were different and there could well be a view that Britain would wage war better without such ruinous losses the other powers were suffering. [Which I suspect would be bloody stupid but we are talking about WWI here!]

Steve
 

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True although they could do something such as Gallipoli as they would probably have reserves with no major threat to them on the western front. Going to be tough while trying to keep an eye on the Austrian fleet as well as whatever happens to Goeben but not impossible I would have thought. With a more professional military they might even make it successful although that would be a fairly slim chance I suspect.
Maybe. Though I think they could be just as likely to land in Greece to support Serbia and end up like OTL; still there they'd have to worry about international opinion if they did that since they wouldn't have the cover of the German invasion of Belgium ITTL. And there is domestic opinion to consider since this is a war of choice rather than defense as per OTL.

I suppose there is also the question of worrying about neutral Italy too and having a desire to demonstrate strength as well as not step on Italy's toes further. So that might rule out the Greek adventure, which means bad news for Serbia. I guess the question is when do the Ottomans join in, how do the British react, and will the Balkan adventure happen before then to intimidate the Ottomans to stay neutral and not close the Straits.

The other option, although it wouldn't directly support Russia might be a force sent to Montenegro to aid the Serbs and Montenegrin. Which might also make available some sort of base to help blockade the Austrian navy. There's a possibility it might delay a Bulgarian dow as well. [Have heard that the British landings at Galipoli had this effect OTL].
Maybe, but the Salonika operation was favored due to the rail line connection to Serbia:

That was OTL under different circumstances. Here Britain is at peace and Russia is going to be more concerned with defending its western border.
Russia only got more ambitious the worse the war went for them to justify the cost and for fear of revolution if they didn't.

True religion was more important but it seems to have been more a 'moral' form in terms of personal behaviour - disagreements between the assorted groups notwithstanding - rather than a 'we must reclaim the holy land' sort. Oil would have been a factor but not sure if Britain would have been too eager to dismantle the Ottoman empire in the early stages with a concern about its probable use as a continued buffer against Russia. After all the target of Townsend's operation was Baghdad.
Fair enough. As to the oil situation once the Ottomans threw in with Germany over the Berlin-Baghdad RR and joined the war the Brits were going for any prize they could get in the Ottoman empire without dismantling too much of the Turkish core to keep the Russians at bay. They didn't need Iraq, Syria, or Palestine to do that.

Duh! Apologies for the senior moment, I meant 1914 but didn't notice the finger problem.:oops: I would expect it to be some time in late autumn or early winter 1914.
Gotcha.

It would depend on the circumstances. The obvious factors would be a big early CP win looking likely or some issue, most likely with Germany. Say for whatever reason they still support extremists in Ireland and there's something like the 1916 coup attempt occurs. Unlikely with Home Rule likely to go ahead as its going to be the Protestants pissed off although just possibly Germany might support them instead here. It would be stupid but then they were supporting attempted terrorist attacks in the US prior to the later joining the conflict and then came up with the Zimmerman Telegram.
Do you think they would risk that if Britain looked like it would stay neutral anyway? IIRC the 1916 uprising was only viable due to the war removing so many of pro-British Irishmen from the country.
The sabotage ops in the US were understandable given that the US was basically enabling the Entente war effort in the West. Got to go after their supply lines.
The ZT was pretty dumb, a super desperation move.

I specify an [big] early win because that's more likely to lead to a draconian peace and a Germany especially still strong enough to pose a rapid threat to Britain. A later one that had seen both sides bled white could be seen as less dangerous and also more likely that British threat of direct intervention is more likely to lead to the CPs deciding to settle for less rather than extend a war they could well lose.
If Germany is only advancing in the East, France is intact, and Belgium unviolated? In fact wouldn't the British prefer that outcome since it removes the Russians as a threat to the British Empire and focuses Germany permanently in the East and on land since they will have a guaranteed threat for the foreseeable future from Russia? Not to mention the occupation duties/cost incurred in the East. Especially if France is uninvaded and cuts a deal before the Germans bother turning West? Not only that, but Italy is also now a confirmed free agent. In fact a short sharp war that sees the Entente not particularly bled out, even if political unstable, would be preferable to an exhausted Entente that is now unable to balance out the CPs at all.

Another possibility might be that there's an election and the Tories win a big majority. They seem to have been markedly more hostile to Germany and were looking at things like conscription pre-war and if the CPs are making significant progress in the east they could argue that the Liberals are being weak and putting the country in danger. Of course given the size of the losses everybody is suffering on the continent that should make such ideas less popular but then as you point out values were different and there could well be a view that Britain would wage war better without such ruinous losses the other powers were suffering. [Which I suspect would be bloody stupid but we are talking about WWI here!]
Not sure that would be the case since the next election would only be held in 1916:
The election that would have been due by 1916 as a result of the Parliament Act 1911 was not held due to the First World War (1914–1918).
I think you'd have to have a bunch of liberals have a vote of no confidence, which honestly I highly doubt would happen given the chance of a Tory win. Especially since the Liberals, other than some at the top (Grey, Asquith) were the anti-war party since they were more about domestic agenda rather than foreign wars. Plus again there is the Home Rule issue which isn't going away without Britain actually in the war and France+Belgium uninvaded.

I just don't see what the cause of Britain going to war here would be if the Germans aren't invading Belgium or France (or at least France anywhere else than via A-L).
 

stevep

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Maybe. Though I think they could be just as likely to land in Greece to support Serbia and end up like OTL; still there they'd have to worry about international opinion if they did that since they wouldn't have the cover of the German invasion of Belgium ITTL. And there is domestic opinion to consider since this is a war of choice rather than defense as per OTL.

I suppose there is also the question of worrying about neutral Italy too and having a desire to demonstrate strength as well as not step on Italy's toes further. So that might rule out the Greek adventure, which means bad news for Serbia. I guess the question is when do the Ottomans join in, how do the British react, and will the Balkan adventure happen before then to intimidate the Ottomans to stay neutral and not close the Straits.


Maybe, but the Salonika operation was favored due to the rail line connection to Serbia:
[/QUOTE]

Possibly but without direct British support and with Italy probably staying neutral an attempt to press Greece to support them, or simply force occupation of parts of Greece is going to be a more difficult and risky operation. Plus as you say without the occupation of Belgium or the German invasion of France its a somewhat less black and white situation in terms of good/bad guys for the neutrals. As such I would suspect that Montenegro would be a more likely option

Russia only got more ambitious the worse the war went for them to justify the cost and for fear of revolution if they didn't.
Ah but the issue is not Russian desire but Anglo-French interests after the CP's are defeated and no longer a clear threat.

Fair enough. As to the oil situation once the Ottomans threw in with Germany over the Berlin-Baghdad RR and joined the war the Brits were going for any prize they could get in the Ottoman empire without dismantling too much of the Turkish core to keep the Russians at bay. They didn't need Iraq, Syria, or Palestine to do that.
That's an opinion and may well even be accurate for some British interests. However the key issue is that Turkey was an enemy and posed a serious threat, both to Britain links to places like Egypt, India and the Far East and also to Russia as it greatly crippled the ability to supply them or for them to exports goods such as grain to fund their purchases.

Look at it this way. If the Galipoli campaign had somehow succeeded and led to the allied control of the straits do you think either London or Paris would have demanded major territorial concessions in the Arabic parts of the empire rather than end the conflict with Turkey quickly so as to free up troops and open up shipping lanes?


Do you think they would risk that if Britain looked like it would stay neutral anyway? IIRC the 1916 uprising was only viable due to the war removing so many of pro-British Irishmen from the country.
The sabotage ops in the US were understandable given that the US was basically enabling the Entente war effort in the West. Got to go after their supply lines.
The ZT was pretty dumb, a super desperation move.
As I understand it they still expected to be crushed, pretty much as they were. More an idea to display the willingness of some Irish to die [and of course kill other Irish] for the idea of full independence regardless of what most of the island wanted.

The sabotage operations were stupid as it was a breach of neutrality and the US was still largely neutral. They were willing to export - at a sizeable markup of course - to anyone and it was the allied blockade that prevented real trade between the US and Germany. Similarly lacking the overseas investments that Britain had Berlin couldn't offer resources for the purchase of US goods like London could.

If Germany is only advancing in the East, France is intact, and Belgium unviolated? In fact wouldn't the British prefer that outcome since it removes the Russians as a threat to the British Empire and focuses Germany permanently in the East and on land since they will have a guaranteed threat for the foreseeable future from Russia? Not to mention the occupation duties/cost incurred in the East. Especially if France is uninvaded and cuts a deal before the Germans bother turning West? Not only that, but Italy is also now a confirmed free agent. In fact a short sharp war that sees the Entente not particularly bled out, even if political unstable, would be preferable to an exhausted Entente that is now unable to balance out the CPs at all.
Except that Germany is perceived as the primary threat at this point. I know you have argued that this was more due to propaganda - possibly some unholy alliance between the RN and Tirpitz and his Naval League to maximise naval construction for both powers.;):p However even if that was the case that was the view of the bulk of the British public and leadership.

Also aren't you using part of my argument here, that a big territorial conquest in the east is going to be a drain on Germany as it struggles for independence or at least more say? You were arguing that Germany would win quickly in the east and that because their rule would be more attractive to most people in the new territories so it would be a significant boost to the CPs.

A long war is likely to exhaust both sides, especially if Britain is able to ensure a peace with minimal territorial gains for anyone. That is definitely better for Britain than any war in which either side gets a substantial victory. That's why my point is that something that would be seen as a big/decisive win for either side, although this is far more likely for the central powers would be the great danger for Britain.


Not sure that would be the case since the next election would only be held in 1916:


I think you'd have to have a bunch of liberals have a vote of no confidence, which honestly I highly doubt would happen given the chance of a Tory win. Especially since the Liberals, other than some at the top (Grey, Asquith) were the anti-war party since they were more about domestic agenda rather than foreign wars. Plus again there is the Home Rule issue which isn't going away without Britain actually in the war and France+Belgium uninvaded.
OK wasn't sure of the dates and admittedly was too lazy to look it up. Although do recall that the Liberals didn't have a majority after the Dec 1910 election having only one MP more than the Tories and being dependent on the assorted Irish Nationalist parties and possibly occasionally the Labour party for support. See December_1910_United_Kingdom_general_election for details. The raw numbers were Liberals 272, Conservatives 271, IPP [Irish Parliamentary Party] 74, Labour 42, AFI [All for Ireland another Irish party] 8 and Others 3. It would only need some clash with the IPP and the government could easily lose a vote of no confidence. True in one way that's unlikely as the IPP were supporting the Liberals because of their commitment to Irish Home Rule but once that's passed there could be other issues.


I just don't see what the cause of Britain going to war here would be if the Germans aren't invading Belgium or France (or at least France anywhere else than via A-L).
As I say above Britain, like other powers, had permanent interests to quote Palmerston's old phase and pretty much above all others in terms of foreign affairs that was that no single bloc, especially if it had a history of hostility towards Britain, could be allowed to dominate the continent.
 

Buba

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Serbia could be supported in one of two possible ways:
1 - Salonika, as in OTL due to port and RR;
2 - Ottoman-Bulgarian combo - here the port would be Istambul and the RR through Bulgaria.

Montenegro and Albania have no RR connections through roadless mountains to Serbia.

Invading one neutral - Greece, as was done in OTL - is cheaper than bullying and/or bribing two - Bulgaria and Turkey.
 

stevep

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Serbia could be supported in one of two possible ways:
1 - Salonika, as in OTL due to port and RR;
2 - Ottoman-Bulgarian combo - here the port would be Istambul and the RR through Bulgaria.

Montenegro and Albania have no RR connections through roadless mountains to Serbia.

Invading one neutral - Greece, as was done in OTL - is cheaper than bullying and/or bribing two - Bulgaria and Turkey.
Well option 2 is definitely a no go given Bulgarian hostility towards Serbia and Turkish hostility towards Russia. Option 1 is better if Greece was co-operative, and might also deter at least one of the others joining the CPs at least for the moment.

Going via Montenegro has serious logistical problems but the Balkans as a whole isn't exactly well served with railways so while forces and supplies there would be a struggle its not much better for the Austrians and their trying to fight through hostile territory.

I suppose one other option might be if Paris can persuade Serbia to give up some of the Bulgarian claims in return for substantial lands from Austria although this could be difficult given the feeling between the two nations. If done before the Turks leave the fence then supplies could go through the straits and once established an EP presence in Bulgaria and Serbia might strengthen the peace movement in Constantinople. Since joining the CPs would mean war with:
a) Serbia - although not in reality as their busy defending their lands against the Austrians
b) Bulgaria - who are immediately on the border and had the better of the 1st Balkan war although they got a kicking in the 2nd and the Turkish forces have been reformed somewhat.
c) France would would have forces there.
d) Russia who has the opportunity now to land forces in Bulgaria to support an attack on Constantinople.

Although as I say such an agreement is unlikely it could persuade the Turks to keep their heads down.

 

sillygoose

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Possibly but without direct British support and with Italy probably staying neutral an attempt to press Greece to support them, or simply force occupation of parts of Greece is going to be a more difficult and risky operation. Plus as you say without the occupation of Belgium or the German invasion of France its a somewhat less black and white situation in terms of good/bad guys for the neutrals. As such I would suspect that Montenegro would be a more likely option
True. Likely support for the Russians by going after the Ottomans would be politically easier ITTL assuming the Ottomans even join in. If not then I don't see how they don't pull something with Greece given the lack of other options. Well besides sending an expeditionary force to Russia much like Russia did for France IOTL:

Montenegero though gets them nowhere and is pretty hard to advance out of. Without a rail line to support Serbia they're SOL. Maybe if Bulgaria joins the war then it clarifies the situation and France can land in Salonika to attack Bulgaria since apparently the French were already allowed to use the port to ship supplies to Serbia IOTL 1914 well before Entente forces landed there. Frankly the entire situation is very murky for this ATL.

Ah but the issue is not Russian desire but Anglo-French interests after the CP's are defeated and no longer a clear threat.
Russian desire matters because if they say "f-it, let's bail on the war" then France is in a really bad situation, especially given that Russia owes them money and may not be able to or willing to pay it back if they feel France didn't honor its obligations and Russia paid the price. Plus the British government at the time didn't want to see Russia lose the war quickly; if anything it would be in their interest for both the CPs and Russia bleed each other white. So why not promise the moon?

That's an opinion and may well even be accurate for some British interests. However the key issue is that Turkey was an enemy and posed a serious threat, both to Britain links to places like Egypt, India and the Far East and also to Russia as it greatly crippled the ability to supply them or for them to exports goods such as grain to fund their purchases.
Can we agree that Britain had multiple interests in doing what they did IOTL?

Look at it this way. If the Galipoli campaign had somehow succeeded and led to the allied control of the straits do you think either London or Paris would have demanded major territorial concessions in the Arabic parts of the empire rather than end the conflict with Turkey quickly so as to free up troops and open up shipping lanes?
Yes I do. The imperialists are still imperialists and will want valuable markets that potentially have oil. Control over the majority of the world's oil supplies gives them intense leverage over everyone. Contrary to Anglophone perceptions the Entente were just as big of self interested dicks as the CPs and WW1 as well as the preceding few centuries were about European state trying to dominate the world. Or do you think the British and French empires happened by accident?

As I understand it they still expected to be crushed, pretty much as they were. More an idea to display the willingness of some Irish to die [and of course kill other Irish] for the idea of full independence regardless of what most of the island wanted.
I'll have to defer to you on that, I'm not all that familiar with the Irish situation specifics.

The sabotage operations were stupid as it was a breach of neutrality and the US was still largely neutral. They were willing to export - at a sizeable markup of course - to anyone and it was the allied blockade that prevented real trade between the US and Germany. Similarly lacking the overseas investments that Britain had Berlin couldn't offer resources for the purchase of US goods like London could.
The US wasn't neutral and I'm willing to bet that is why the operations like that never led to any significant breach of US-German relations. Plus in 1916 (election year) the US wasn't in a position to go to war either and was even less so early on.

Plus the US wasn't in a position to really figure out what actually happened:
The United States did not have an established national intelligence service, other than diplomats and few military and naval attaches, making the investigation difficult. Without a formal intelligence service on the national level, the United States only had rudimentary communications security and no federal statute forbidding peacetime espionage or sabotage,[3] making the connections to the saboteurs and accomplices almost impossible to track.
Too bad the linked source is invalid.

Except that Germany is perceived as the primary threat at this point. I know you have argued that this was more due to propaganda - possibly some unholy alliance between the RN and Tirpitz and his Naval League to maximise naval construction for both powers.;):p However even if that was the case that was the view of the bulk of the British public and leadership.
Perceived by whom? The average person had no interest in fighting before Belgium and France were invaded. It really was mostly naval and a few top level Liberal cabinet members who were viewing Germany was a threat. If they were focused on Russia very few in Britain would see them as any sort of threat, especially if the French were busy invading them (even if badly). Do you have prewar sources that show Germany was viewed at the time by the majority of the public as a threat in 1914 in July?

Also aren't you using part of my argument here, that a big territorial conquest in the east is going to be a drain on Germany as it struggles for independence or at least more say? You were arguing that Germany would win quickly in the east and that because their rule would be more attractive to most people in the new territories so it would be a significant boost to the CPs.
Hey, why not use your own argument against you? :p
Though I meant it more as British perception rather than reality, but it would keep Germany firmly fixated in the East and on their army to hedge against a resurgent revanchist Russia. Actually I could see Russia going Fascist here (I mean more so than the Czar already was, especially if replaced by Michael).

A long war is likely to exhaust both sides, especially if Britain is able to ensure a peace with minimal territorial gains for anyone. That is definitely better for Britain than any war in which either side gets a substantial victory. That's why my point is that something that would be seen as a big/decisive win for either side, although this is far more likely for the central powers would be the great danger for Britain.
How would Britain ensure that? They could try and invade Germany proper via sea landing or Belgium, but then in the former case they'd probably face serious operation issues even attempting that not to mention problems from the public for even trying to enter the war when unlike OTL Germany couldn't be said to be a direct threat to Britain. In the latter case I'm sure you can see the issue there.

Again you're thinking like a politician in a dictatorship, not a democracy where the public doesn't see their interests directly threatened. Plus the average Brit, until they joined the war in 1914, weren't really pro-Russia as far as I can tell.

OK wasn't sure of the dates and admittedly was too lazy to look it up. Although do recall that the Liberals didn't have a majority after the Dec 1910 election having only one MP more than the Tories and being dependent on the assorted Irish Nationalist parties and possibly occasionally the Labour party for support. See December_1910_United_Kingdom_general_election for details. The raw numbers were Liberals 272, Conservatives 271, IPP [Irish Parliamentary Party] 74, Labour 42, AFI [All for Ireland another Irish party] 8 and Others 3. It would only need some clash with the IPP and the government could easily lose a vote of no confidence. True in one way that's unlikely as the IPP were supporting the Liberals because of their commitment to Irish Home Rule but once that's passed there could be other issues.
They lasted into 1914 though. So maybe due to the Irish parties the Home Rule crisis isn't able to be put on the backburner if Britain doesn't join the war. BTW what is your source for the claim the Tories were pro-war in July before Belgium was invaded? Also what about Labour? The Liberals were already in support of more social spending and were interested in cutting the military budget.

As I say above Britain, like other powers, had permanent interests to quote Palmerston's old phase and pretty much above all others in terms of foreign affairs that was that no single bloc, especially if it had a history of hostility towards Britain, could be allowed to dominate the continent.
British government interests aren't the average people's interests and in a democracy they'd need to be highly concerned with getting public support well before they could declare war without an obvious casus belli. Plus even in victory in a short sharp war the CPs wouldn't dominate the continent, they'd just have an edge on France and Russia, though they'd have lost
Italy as an ally for sure by then. The question is whether France and Russia would face actual revolution during or after the war, but that isn't likely to make Britain go to war, just perhaps send troops to help the governments stay in power.
 
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