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General Information

As you know guys with the world possible going mad I have been very busy with real life and across at the think defense blog. Do not worry we have not forgotten about you. We are currently undergoing a big change here at the blog and we will roll out new posts soon. I promise you we shall not forget you.

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I hope you enjoy, more will be coming in the next week.  We will move it to a separate Channel soon 

 

The Great Power Game

The Great Power Chess Game 

cartoon

We are back. Sorry for not many posts but this is due to doing a lot of work over at the Think Defense blog, who has let me become a guest writer. So today we will be looking at a chess game that nearly backfired for Germany. We have more Unthinkable stuff soon as well. The research has been fantastic to do but is taking along time.

The Moroccan crisis was in effect split into two parts. The first being the Tangier Crisis, between 1905 and 1906, which was  over the political statues of Morocco. The second crisis, over the port of Agadir where the aim was to directly intimidate France into forming an alliance with Germany over British Naval expansion. The main principle aim of the two crisis, was to try to damage or break any links between the New Entente members of  Great Britain, and France who were two historic enemies. The idea that Germany could see was that the Entente Cordiale, “is nothing more than a frame of mind, a view of general policy which is shared by the by the governments of two countries, but which may be, or become, as vague as to lose all content.”[1] Which states that the alliance in effect didn’t mean that the two countries, had to help each other in a war against Germany .The Kaiser wanted to test how strong this alliance was and to see if he could sway the two old enemies against each other; these were the main motives of Germany during the incidents. Also to a side not it was to see how strong the German Alliance was with Austro-Hungry.

To this Extent, the Tangier crisis in 1905 provided Germany the perfect chance to test their motives to see if there was a strain on the alliance, due to that Morocco, at that time was going under a process, of becoming a protectorate of the Third Republic, the Kaiser decided to test this Entente; because of the recent involvements with the British in Africa and the Far East, meant that old Imperial rivalries may surface again. The idea was conceived by German Chancellor Bernhard von Bulow, and he suggested that the Kaiser should visit Morocco to try to get the country on Germany’s side if there was ever a war in Europe. The Kaiser did land in Tangier and with a marching band went through the streets he declared that “that he was visiting an independent sovereign state” [2] which shows the Kaisers determination to gain allies against the Entente Powers, and try to upset the balance. The Germans believed the British would be unwilling to go to war with France, if it wasn’t in their best interests.

More ever it looked like with this crisis that a war couldn’t be avoided, and French and German troops were mobilised. British Foreign Minister Edward Grey stated with this build up that “ If there is a war between France and Germany it will be very difficult for us to keep out of it.” [3]he is also stated in saying that “the French will never forgive us”[4] This in affect showed how the British were willing to stand alongside the French in affect it made the Entente stronger it did in reverse what the Germans wanted, the Kaiser stated that “The Coalition is here in fact” “England has in affect made an offer of armed support to France”[5]

This shows that the Kaiser understood that Germany’s position which was created to try to break the Entente had failed, mainly due to Great Britain’s support of France. With the statement given by Edward Grey it confirms the Kaiser fears and assumptions that the plan had in affect failed.

With this failure the Algeciras Conference, was devised to settle the dispute, but in sense this again turned against Germany.  It did expect the members of the triple alliance to stand by its side. In one account Austro Hungry which affirms the relationship between, the two countries but the one major difference would be Italy “ Italy’s failure to support Germany spotlighted the weakness of the once mighty Triple Alliance” [6] this shows that Italy was unwilling to fight on Germany’s side ,as eventually they would join the allies in World War one. It really does show that one of Germany’s motives for the crisis had backfired, and in fact made them into a weaker position than they were before the crisis. “Germany not France, had been publicly humiliated” [7] even the fledgling United States was against Germany it showed how badly their plan had back fired.

agadir

Germany hoped this wouldn’t happen again, and the Agadir Crisis was this time a different approach by Germany, with a rebellion in Morocco, the French were prepared to send troops into the country, Germany saw this as a breach of the Algeciras Conference, so the Germans saw this a chance to stand up against France and try to win back some colonial concessions of France, and also it would give a strong feeling towards the population of Germany; due to the upcoming elections in 1912.  A gunboat called the panther was sent to the port of Agadir to demand compensation. In fact there was outburst amongst its alliance members as this act was not in Austro- Hungary’s best interests. “ It demonstrated that the alliance with Austro-Hungry would not be worth much” [8] showing that the whole venture which could have lead to war, would have left Germany on her own against the entente, which because of the crisis became stronger. In reality it weakened the Triple alliance, and strengthened the Entente. As Britain became closer to France as they saw Germany as a threat to British Naval Supremacy. “ I say emphatically that peace at the price would be a humiliation intolerable for a great country like ours to endure”[9] shows that the UK was determined to stand by France in any manner they even promised, to protect Frances northern sea routes and the channel from an feature German Threat.

Germany aims in in both crisis was trying to split the Entente to try to and isolate France or try to turn Great Britain  against France using there old ex colonial rivalry. In principle it would have worked, but it shows the motives that Germany had going into these crisis’s actually backfired, and begin to show weakness within the triple alliance itself. This would lead to disputatious conclusions for Germany in the coming great war.

Bibliography

William Carr A History of Germany 1815-1945,

Sir Robert Ensor, England 1870-1914 The Oxford History of England Vol 14

K.A Hamilton, Great Britain and France, 1911-1914 .in F.H Hinslet (ed.), British foreign

Policy under Sir Edward Grey (Cambridge, 177)

Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War Third Edition

John Holland Rose The Cambridge History of the British Empire, Ap Newton, 1929

 

 

 


[1] K.A Hamilton,  Great Britain and France, 1911-1914 p324.in F.H Hinslet (ed.), British foreign policy Under Sir Edward Grey (Cambridge, 177)

[2]  Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War ,p63, Third Edition

[3] Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War ,p64, Third Edition

[4] Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War ,p64, Third Edition

[5] John Holland Rose The Cambridge History of the British Empire, p544,Ap Newton,1929

[6]  William Carr A History of Germany 1815-1945,p227

[7] William Carr A History of Germany 1815-1945,p227

[8] Gordon Martel, The Origins of the First World War ,p70, Third Edition

[9] Sir Robert Ensor, England 1870-1914 The Oxford History of England Vol 14,p435

A short history of the 1980’s

Conlcusions

This is the final part of our 1812 work. It draws together conclusions and gives the reader some further reading on the topic if you want to know more.  Feel free to discuss points in the comments.

Conclusions

“A siege is always terrible, but the sacking of a town is an abomination. Here the inhabitants suffer the terrible vengeance of all the ferocity of the human species”[1]

Ensign George Bell

We can ascertain four principles reasons for the sacking of Badajoz. These can be outlined as the following; the psychological effect of siege warfare combined with alcohol. Secondly there is an implication that forty percent of most battalions were made up of convicted criminals, although evidence is very hard to find that they caused the sacking or that they were involved. Thirdly the lack of discipline set down after Ciudad Rodrigo would have a telling effect on the troops that they could get away with it again without consequence.  Lastly the general nature of the towns’ structure did not provide a focal point for the officers to regain control of their men; unlike at Rodrigo where the streets and alleys converged on the town square.  These factors altogether contribute to the sacking of Badajoz, and can also be used to a certain extent to explain the reasoning behind the siege of San Sebastian in 1814. Wellington would blame the lack of a dedicated battalion to handle siege warfare on the British War Office. The Royal Engineers would create a unit dedicated to siege warfare but only after the lessons were learned at the end of the conflict. Although most major European armies had moved away from direct sieges until the Siege of Sevastopol in the Crimean War, this article also brings to mind the mentality of the British governments neglect of the army that still stands to this day, which underfunded and ill equipped for the job it has to undertake.  If you were to visit Badajoz today there is no memorial to the dead on both sides including civilians, or recognition of any regimental battle honours. For example the East Kent Buffs have no mention of the siege on the plaque in Canterbury Cathedral, even though they played an important part in delaying actions by helping to hold off the French relief column.  The sieges do have a direct stigma to them as the civilian population today tries to relinquish the past. In that respect, it is initially reasonable that the sieges are not remembered as they certainly were not glorious.

Further Reading

A general guide to the sources used to ascertain the understanding of the period. The War of Wars by Robert Harvey is an interesting history of the whole period, in one volume. It gives a good account of how the French Revolutionary wars and the later Napoleonic wars, and how they developed. It also gives a secondary side to the coin by not just being a Anglo centric view of the war but to provide equal measure to all sides involved. With this is mind you can start to bring in more specialist works on the Peninsular war Gates David. The Spanish Ulcer: A History of the Peninsular War provides a British and Spanish view of the war but in the way it is written actually portrays the small part Britain actually played during the conflict until its later stages. If you would want to take a more revisionist stance on the conflict more recent works by Charles Esdaile who has began working on a post revisionist look at the Peninsular war which in a way tries to bring together the traditional view of Britain won the conflict compared to the revisionist view of Britain did not do enough to bring the downfall of Napoleon. What Esdaile tries to bring together both ideas much like Robert Harvey has done and state that the British effort in Spain coupled with the Spanish armies and irregular forces helped erode away Napoleons fighting combat power; but also to show the rest of Europe that a small part was not bowing down to Napoleon and still fighting.  The Research Subjects: Government & Politics the Napoleon Series is an English translation of the Berlin decrees which help outline the reasoning behind Napoleons venture into the Peninsular and in most of the books outlined in this section use them as a very important source in understanding and showing physically why Britain became involved from an economic and military standpoint.

In the context of the wider essay, firsthand accounts do prove vital. Most of these are from the Officer class. This would provide complications for looking at the events of Badajoz and Ciudad Rodrigo, as many of the junior officers were killed at the breaches, so we cannot get an accurate picture due to the officers being in the second wave once an effective lodgement had been placed. This would explain Bell George. Ensign Bell in the Peninsular War The Experiences of a Young British Solider of the 34th Regiment ‘the Cumberland Gentlemen’ in the Napoleonic Wars. The horror and disgust at the scenes that they have saw, it does bring into context the idea of class and status into the mix which is very heavy through the period; although there is another reasoning behind these published works and that is the literacy rate was low during Britain at the time and to be an effective non commissioned officer and to move up the ranks said person needed to be able to read and write and on the odd occasion you would get accounts by Rifleman Costello. The Adventures of a Soldier of the 95th (Rifles) in the Peninsular & Waterloo Campaigns of the Napoleonic Wars and Anonymous., Memoirs of a Sergeant late in the Forty-Third Light Infantry Regiment. These two sources are actually vital to the main body of argument, to help portray the four indicators of the sacking of Badajoz. These two sources have been used in the context of this before but the sections vary between authors. For example, Ian Fletcher  In the Hell Before Daylight the Siege and Storming of the Fortress of Badajoz 16th March- 6 April 1812 and Charles Esdaile. Peninsular Eyewitness The Experience of War in Spain and Portugal 1808-1813 do use the above works but do not  use the parts that have been used in this article. The two authors try to use it in a narrative format, where as in this case it has been used as an explanatory measure.

 


[1] Bell George. Ensign Bell in the Peninsular War The Experiences of a Young British Solider of the 34th Regiment ‘the Cumberland Gentlemen’ in the Napoleonic Wars (Great Britain: Leonaur 2006 ).,pg48

The Irish Connection ?

This is more of a post for some one close to me, explaining why it is so hard to trace back her Irish roots. This was caused mainly by the opening shots of the Irish Civil War. So enjoy.

Why Was There a Civil War in Ireland 1922-1923

 

 

The Irish Civil war of 1922 was a defining moment in Irish history. It is the culmination of different issues that originated from the Angle Irish war (Irish War of Independence) and its resulting treaty. This divided the Irish Free State politically along fault lines, which are still visible today in the main two parties.  Ireland was on the verge of Civil war before the First World War. In a sense you could say that the First World War delayed the inevitable internal conflict. The Conflict was called to mediation to resolve the issue of Irish sovereignty. De Valera was invited by British Prime Minister Lloyd George to put and end to the conflict.  This would lead to a treaty that would provide a split within the Irish Government and plunge the Irish Free State into Civil War. Was it necessarily the case that this would happen? Or were there other factors involved.

In my View it can be said that the treaty did provide the main factor for the civil war. Both Great Britain and the provisional government under De Valera they both wanted a peaceful compromise to the present situation. De Valera who was the de facto leader of the unofficial Irish State at that time stated in a letter to Lloyd George, the agreement for a peaceful settlement. “Sir, the desire you express on the part of the British Government to end the centuries of conflict between the peoples of these two islands, and to establish relations of neighbourly harmony, is the genuine desire of the people of Ireland. I have consulted with my colleagues and secured the views of the representatives of the minority of our Nation in regard to the invitation you have sent me. In reply, I desire to say that I am ready to meet and discuss with you on what bases such a Conference as that proposed can reasonably hope to achieve the object desired.”[1] With this it can be seen that De Valera wanted to end the current conflict, and break away from the United Kingdom and form a Republic. In this respect though, De Valera makes no real mention of his intention of creating a Republic until after the treaty has been passed.

The Treaty in itself would only pass with a majority of seven, many members of the Dail changed their minds due to political pressure from their constituents who just wanted an end to the conflict. This can be reflected in the results of the First Irish Free State Election with pro Treaty getting 58 seats and Anti Treaty getting 35. (35 voted other).

So what caused the political controversy? This was the supposed political sovereignty of the Irish State. What was agreed in the Anglo Irish Treaty, was that Ireland (not including modern day Northern Ireland) would gain dominion status within the British Empire. It can be argued that full independence could have been achieved if assurances were not made by Arthur Griffiths to Lloyd George in a letter sent a few months earlier. Michael Collins stated that the treaty was massively important to peace and stability in region. Collins said that it was “Not the ultimate freedom that all nations aspire and develop to, but the freedom to achieve freedom”[2]. This makes perfect sense, in most respects the general perception in the street was that peace needed to obtained. The Threat of a renewed conflict with Britain made it clear by the time of the vote that many members of the Dail had their mind changed due to pressure from the electorate. Collins could see that it was vitally important to take this first step, to obtain the same statues as the White Dominions. This stance gave Collins a lot of political backing especially in the Irish Republican army council. Most notable was Kevin O Higgins, who would even go as far as saying to the opposition that “They should not vote against its ratification, unless they could demonstrate clearly how more concessions could be won in practise.”[3] In a sense it is basically saying that what other alternative would there be, if a renewed war with Britain was to take place, Ireland would not doubt lose. Collins leadership and political skill must not be underestimated. A clause in the treaty even stipulated that a boundary commission would be used  to oversee the issue of the border between the South and the North, and possible unification through a council of Ireland.

To many members of the political classes the treaty was not acceptable. It came down to the issue of sovereignty, and in there eyes it was seen as a betrayal of Republican principles that most had supposedly fought the Anglo Irish war for. It was point four of the treaty that provided the problem. “I ……. do solemnly swear true faith and allegiance to the Constitution of the Irish Free State as by law established and that I will be faithful to H.M. King George V., his heirs and successors by law, in virtue of the common citizenship of Ireland with Great Britain and her adherence to and membership of the group of nations forming the British Commonwealth of Nations.”[4] It basically states that Ireland would be in essence a free state but would have the British King as their head of state.

Ironically De Valera was against this, which is quite interesting because it brings into an argument that he could be considered pre Civil war. His motives are crucial to understand this period before the civil war. It is true that Valera wanted a whole untied Ireland that is even mentioned in the Irish Republics constitution. D H Alkenson puts forward a very strong case that Valera in fact was a true republican of the word. He would state the characteristics of Irish Republicanism and how in a way Valera did not fit into the category. “The first of these characteristics is that Irish republicans agreed that under the con-situation of an Irish republic there would be no deference, symbolic or real, paid to the British Crown. Nothing would be permitted, in fact or in theory, to interfere with Ireland’s management of its own affairs. All ties with Great Britain were to be severed”[5]. This is true and provides the main argument against the treaty. What it does provide though is an interesting argument. This is that Valera himself was directing policy from Ireland. As the talks went on in he makes no mention of a republic just an idea of a united Ireland. Alkenson would then go on to say that. “The military situation dictated that the achievement of a pure republic was impossible. As the price for maximum freedom in the real world, de Valera had to surrender the theoretical republic. During the negotiations he did not mention the republic. He only pressed for the principle of the consent of the governed, a weak substitute.”[6] Even in document two which was put to the house makes no mention of a real Republic in the true sense. Alkenson even notices that even in this document “The closest de Valera came to the pure republican position was to state that dominion status should explicitly guarantee the right to withdraw from the Commonwealth.”[7] . The Valera knew Griffith was a strong monarchist it is interesting to note why he picked him as the leader of the delegation to London. Also that Collins understood the dire situation of the Military capability of the IRA. If conflict was resumed, it can be argued that he stayed at home to provide political stability no matter what the outcome, or to distance himself from the political fall out.

Document two would enter the treaty debate. This was Valera’s alternative to the treaty. It makes only small changes and talks about external association, which historically at the time was a new concept, never been used before. Michael Hays states that. “It was a policy of ‘external association’ of which members of the Cabinet like Cosgrave told the writer they had never heard before the Treaty was brought back. (Something like it was adopted in India in 1947 but that was twenty-five years later under a government in London which was engaged, as a matter of policy, in dismantling the Empire” [8].  In a sense then it can be argued that it was a small change and not a full swing to a Republic, in my view it was a chance for De Valera to try to swing across any fringe voters in the Dail. There was one problem with document two. This was that it was kept private from the Irish public, Valera was more than ready to bring out in public the political infighting the treaty was causing. Arthur Griffith would in a way sum up the confusion that Valera was causing politically.

“We are ready,” he said—“to leave the whole question between Ireland and England to external arbitration.” What did that mean? Need I comment on it? Is that saying you will have a Republic and nothing but a Republic” [9]. In a sense this would clearly back up Alkenson and his argument that Valera was not in a sense a true Republican of the word.

The Debate on the Treaty provides the main focus and divisions for the civil war. It manages to split the Irish Republican Army council and the political elite, some say the issue was over partition, as the first shots of the civil was in a sense were fired in by the IRA in the North. Tom Garvin would say this was not the case “The Conflict was Clearly not about partition, which was scarcely mentioned in the Dail debates on the Anglo Irish Treaty of 1921. Both sides declared publically to join that Northern Ireland was not to be coerced physically to join their new polity.  The Civil war was deeply unpopular with the majority of the population and was, in a sense, an anomalous event. It involved only the elites and their immediate followers, the new political class”[10].  To a point this is true, because the issues in Ireland were already brought to a head, due to the debate over the treaty; the situation with the Boundary commission report stating that more land would go to the North this caused the anti treaty members of the IRA to begin an armed campaign in the north. This lead the new Irish Free State government who was reluctant to fight fellow Irishmen, most notable of this view was Collins himself.  An Irish News Paper in the North would sum up the rising tension “The national will has been made manifest. Those Deputies of Dail Eireann who have deliberately resolved to defy it are withholding from the Irish people the right that British governments and British military power had forcibly denied to all the generations of Irishmen”[11]. It can come to a head that is maybe the political elite that caused the civil war. In most instances in the west of the country  which were IRA strongholds began to wane, mainly due to  many simply leaving the cause due to the idea that the political process has been done.

The majority of the Irish nation wanted this peaceful settlement, it was mainly the political split over the over the treaty and to some small extent the issue of the boundary commission. What we can ascertain though through the build up and come into question is how politically viable a Republic was.  More ever how much was Da Valera behind the split, and the argument put forward is that he may not be in the traditional term a true Republican. Where as it must be noted the support for Collins, mainly due to his the belief that it was not worth risking another war with Great Britain which it was more thank likely to lose. This did win him a lot of the support and can be said helped widen the gap in the political elite, which in turn caused the situation to intensify and turn into a civil war.

Bibliography

Garvin, Tom., 1922: The Birth of Irish Democracy (Dublin: Colour Books Ltd 1996)

Hennessey ,Thomas., A History of Northern Ireland 1920-1996 (Hampshire: Palgrave 1997)

Laffen, Michael., The Partition of Ireland 1911-1925 (Dundalk: Dundalgan Press, 1983)

O nagh, Walsh., Irelands Independence 1880-1923 (London: Routledge 2002)

Rees Russell ., Ireland 1905-1925: Volume 1 Text and Historiography (County Down: Colourpoint Books 1998)

D. H. Akenson Was De Valera a Republican? The Review of Politics > Vol. 33, No. 2 (Apr., 1971), pp. 233-253

http://www.jstor.org/stable/1406252

Paul Bew Moderate Nationalism and the Irish Revolution, 1916-1923 The Historical Journal > Vol. 42, No. 3 (Sep., 1999), pp. 729-749

http://www.jstor.org/stable/3020919

Hayes Michael., Dáil Eireann and the Irish Civil War An Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. 58, No. 229 (Spring, 1969), pp. 1-2,

http://www.jstor.org/stable/30087847

Debate on Treaty, Dáil Éireann – Volume 3 – 07 January, 1922

http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/DT/D.T.192201070002.html

Department of Defence, Dáil Éireann – Volume 2 – 28 April, 1922

http://www.oireachtas-debates.gov.ie/D/DT/D.S.192204280004.html

Excerpts of the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland as signed in London, 6 December 1921, taken from the transcript in Documents on Irish Foreign Policy Volume I, 1919-1922.

http://www.nationalarchives.ie/topics/anglo_irish/dfaexhib2.html

Eamon de Valera to David Lloyd George Mansion House, Dublin, 8 July 1921

http://www.difp.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=138


[1] Eamon de Valera to David Lloyd George Mansion House, Dublin, 8 July 1921

http://www.difp.ie/viewdoc.asp?DocID=138

[2]Rees Russell ., Ireland 1905-1925: Volume 1 Text and Historiography (County Down: Colourpoint Books 1998) .,pg291

[3] ^IBID.,pg291

[4] Excerpts of the Articles of Agreement for a Treaty between Great Britain and Ireland as signed in London, 6 December 1921 http://www.nationalarchives.ie/topics/anglo_irish/dfaexhib2.html

[6] ^.IBID.,pg234

[8] Hayes Michael., Dáil Eireann and the Irish Civil War An Irish Quarterly Review, Vol. 58, No. 229 (Spring, 1969), pp. 1-2,

http://www.jstor.org/stable/30087847.,pg4

[9] Debate on Treaty, Dáil Éireann – Volume 3 – 07 January, 1922

http://historical-debates.oireachtas.ie/D/DT/D.T.192201070002.html

[10] Garvin, Tom., 1922: The Birth of Irish Democracy (Dublin: Colour Books Ltd 1996).,pg25

[11] Hennessey ,Thomas., A History of Northern Ireland 1920-1996 (Hampshire: Palgrave 1997).,pg23

Paste a Video URL

BRITISH ARMY MANOEUVRES aka BRITISH ARMY MANOEUVERS

This film is taken from Pathe News. It show the transition period of the British army from the Great War to the Second world war. Also its where the German army got some ideas for its Panzer Divisions.

Link if the Video is inactive: http://www.britishpathe.com/video/british-army-manoeuvres-aka-british-army-manoeuv-1/query/british+army

Operation Unthinkable document

I though i would put this up, a very good document ti have a look at for early cold war madness

http://web.archive.org/web/20101116152301/http://www.history.neu.edu/PRO2/

German Plans Circa 1940

Just the team here wishing you a happy New year, and to have fun. We have lots to come in 2013, and have been hard at work to make posts me frequent. As you know it is the holiday season, so a slow down is expected.

In 2013 you can expect a small look into Dutch and Belgium history. Followed by a look at Native American culture and the Iriquious confederation.  Also we have a project under way which is physical, this is the British lines in the event of a German invasion. (Photos etc) so stay tuned  , and thank to all the readers here.

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