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Decisions made by germany s leaders did

A strong martial spirit prevailed in all of the major European countries, and the five continental powers each maintained a large military establishment, while Britain and the United Statesan emerging great power, had small volunteer armies but maintained large fleets. In the years before 1914 the leading states each in its own way considered military or naval prowess a supreme ideal, and each subordinated other interests to those of the armed forces.

Yet even in the states where monarchs, strongly influenced by military leaders, held the ultimate authority, they did not act without the counsel and consent of civilian ministers or civilian representative bodies.

The wars of 1899-1913 in South Africathe Far East, and the Balkans provided ample evidence that a successful modern war effort required the wholehearted support of the home front, and that in an age of nationalismcivilians were willing, even eager, to provide such support. But for most of the great powers, for most of 1914-1918, leaders found that when civilian populations embraced a modern war effort, they had difficulty accepting anything less than total victory.

For the French and American republics, as well as for the parliamentary monarchies of Britain and Italythis constitutional feature ensured ultimate civilian control over the military. The least ambiguous situation was in the United States, where thanks to the precedent set by Abraham Lincoln 1809-1865 during the American Civil War the chief executive claimed sweeping war powers that Congress would not attempt to limit until the War Powers Act of 1973, passed in the wake of the Vietnam War.

In an age in which all male crowned heads customarily bore military rank and more often than not appeared publicly in uniform, the military role of the British monarch was purely symbolic, while the kings of Italy held considerable power in theory but traditionally deferred to decisions made by germany s leaders did politicians.

  • A strong martial spirit prevailed in all of the major European countries, and the five continental powers each maintained a large military establishment, while Britain and the United States , an emerging great power, had small volunteer armies but maintained large fleets;
  • Asquith and Kitchener both believed military service should remain voluntary, and the government used the image of the popular field marshal to encourage enlistment;
  • In all countries where officers exercised ministerial responsibility over military and naval affairs, their posts were considered less prestigious than the general staff chiefs who, in wartime, served as de facto if not de jure commanders of their respective armed forces;
  • Militarism, Myth, and Mobilization in Germany, Cambridge 2000;
  • The wars of 1899-1913 in South Africa , the Far East, and the Balkans provided ample evidence that a successful modern war effort required the wholehearted support of the home front, and that in an age of nationalism , civilians were willing, even eager, to provide such support;
  • Besieged by protests from his civilian ministers as well as his generals, he soon relented, and the Russian mobilization was on again, effective 31 July 1914.

Unlike true constitutional monarchies, Germany and Austria-Hungary gave their monarchs sweeping powers to conduct foreign policy and war; both had emperors who considered themselves soldiers, yet during the crisis of 1914 and the war that followed, Wilhelm II, German Emperor 1859-1941 and Francis Joseph I, Emperor of Austria 1830-1916 deferred to actual soldiers in military decision-making.

In the ministerial sense, Britain and the United States had the strongest traditions of civilian control over the military. The same had been true in Imperial Russia under royal absolutism, and continued to be the case under the constitutional monarchy established after the Revolution of 1905.

Meanwhile, the German navy was a true national institution, under the administrative direction of the state secretary for the Imperial Navy Office, likewise a senior officer on active duty. The unique structure included three war ministers, because reserves and home security were delegated to the two states, leaving the Austro-Hungarian war minister responsible only for the front line units of the common army. All three war ministers were senior officers on active duty, as was the head of the naval section of the common war ministry, responsible for the Austro-Hungarian fleet.

In all countries where officers exercised ministerial responsibility over military and naval affairs, their posts were considered less prestigious than the general staff chiefs who, in wartime, served as de facto if not de jure commanders of their respective armed forces. The staff chiefs typically also outranked the general officers holding ministerial posts, further undercutting them and ensuring their deference especially after the fighting started.

In all of these countries, the right of elected representative bodies to approve or reject military budgets ensured a civilian voice in military affairs, though after the war started, public opinion and patriotism left few politicians willing or able to use their potential vote against military expenditure as a means of influencing policy.

In the less democratic states, constitutional provisions restricted the prerogatives of the elected representatives in the area of military spending. In Austria-Hungary the elected legislators found their influence limited by the unique constitutional structure of the Dual Monarchy, under which all common Austro-Hungarian expenditure decisions made by germany s leaders did appropriations for the frontline units of the army as well as all naval spending was approved annually by indirectly elected delegations representing the Austrian and Hungarian parliaments.

The two houses of lords controlled one-third of the seats in the delegations, and their numbers, added to those of pro-government representatives from the two lower houses, sufficed to guarantee passage of military bills. Under the Compromise of 1867 the emperor theoretically presided over the council but, in his absence, the foreign minister chaired it. As Francis Joseph grew older, he seldom joined the ministers in person, and not at all in the days following the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, Archduke of Austria-Este 1863-1914.

He only attended two meetings of the council during July 1914, at which he distinguished himself from his counterparts in other countries by outlining his war plans to the civilian leaders in great detail. Foreign Minister Count Leopold Berchtold 1863-1942 took the lead in crafting the ultimatum to Serbiawith input from the other ministers.

In the last days of July 1914, the Common Ministerial Council affirmed the decision to proceed with war against Serbia even after it became clear that it would also mean war against Russia and a general conflict for Europe.

Along the way, Francis Joseph dutifully signed the requisite declarations of war and mobilization orders. The Imperial Russian cabinet, all civilians except the war and navy ministers, conducted its fateful deliberations on 24 July 1914, the day after decisions made by germany s leaders did ultimatum to Serbia.

Foreign Minister Sergei Sazonov 1861-1927 was the most outspoken voice for mobilization, and only the finance minister, Pyotr Bark 1869-1937hesitated before making it unanimous. The war minister, General Vladimir Sukhomlinov 1848-1926and the navy minister, Admiral Ivan Grigorovich 1853-1930assured their colleagues that Russia was strong enough to fight. They saw nothing but opportunity in the present crisis. The tsar ordered a general mobilization of the Russian army on 29 July 1914, only to have second thoughts and countermand the order that evening.

Besieged by protests from his civilian ministers as well as his generals, he soon relented, and the Russian mobilization was on again, effective 31 July 1914.

Wilhelm II and his ministers felt confident that if the tsar were the first to proclaim a general mobilization, even the Social Democrats the largest party in the Reichstag and the only one that had always voted against military appropriations would support the funding for Germany to respond.

The Russian general mobilization of 31 July 1914 brought an end to peace demonstrations sponsored by the Social Democratic party and its affiliated trade unions, unifying German public opinion perhaps as never before. Though some still harbored deep misgivings, the Social Democrats voted unanimously in favor of the bill, confirming that Russia, by being the first to initiate a general mobilization, had cast itself in the role of aggressor in the eyes of the German public, including the socialists, and endowed the German cause with a sense of righteousness that blinded most Germans to the role their own leaders had played in escalating the conflict.

In France, civilian leaders made all of the decisions in July 1914. Petersburg, but historians have long exaggerated the role of their long-planned trip in the timing of the key machinations of the Central Powers.

Returning to Paris on 29 July 1914, the president impressed upon the cabinet that in the present crisis France must have a united home front and the support of Britain, both of which could be achieved only by allowing Germany to be the aggressor.

  1. While the Allies wanted American troops placed at their disposal as soon as they arrived in France, Pershing recognized the political consequences of allowing them to be amalgamated into French and British divisions in this manner.
  2. Among the major belligerents, France in 1914-1915 suffered more casualties, per capita, than anyone else, and in the first weeks of the war lost 6 percent of its territory to foreign occupation, more than any of the others would in the entire war.
  3. Foreign Minister Count Leopold Berchtold 1863-1942 took the lead in crafting the ultimatum to Serbia , with input from the other ministers.
  4. The Last Great War. Protesters cut off Diagonal Avenue in Barcelona for nearly one hour.
  5. He received no specific instructions from Wilson on how to deal with the amalgamation question, but knew the president could only play his desired part in shaping the postwar settlement if the troops of the AEF were given responsibility for their own sector of the Western Front, where their significance to the defeat of Germany would be clearly demonstrated.

Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey 1862-1933 had engendered closer relations with France and, in 1907, negotiated the Anglo-Russian rapprochement that provided the third leg of the triangle in the Triple Entente.

Without consulting their colleagues, in the last days of July 1914 Grey warned the Germans that Britain would not remain neutral in a continental war between its Entente partners and Germany, while Churchill ordered the British fleet not to disperse from a practice mobilization to order to remain ready for war.

For Grey, the German invasion of Belgium was a godsend, as nothing up to that point had worked to sway the non-interventionists within his own party.

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In the House of Commons, decisions made by germany s leaders did opposition leaders presented no serious obstacles; on 3 August 1914, when the foreign secretary made his final appeal for war, Conservative leader Andrew Bonar Law 1858-1923 and Irish Parliamentary party leader John Redmond 1856-1918 endorsed his remarks, leaving only James Ramsay MacDonald 1866-1937 of Labour at the time a small fourth-party, holding just 6 percent of the seats to advocate neutrality.

Lloyd George supported a sharply worded British ultimatum to Berlin drafted by Asquith and Grey, demanding an end to all hostile action against Belgium. Thus Britain declared war on Germany at the end of that day, with the full support of Parliament aside from a small Labour faction, but without a vote in the House of Commons.

Under the leadership of Prime Minister Antonio Salandra 1853-1931Italy broke ranks with its Triple Alliance partners in the summer of 1914, declared neutrality, then joined the Entente in the spring of 1915 in exchange for promises of sweeping territorial gains at the expense of Austria-Hungary.

The opportunism in this course left the Italian public and political opinion deeply divided, reflecting a nation not emotionally invested in the decision to go to war, and in May 1915, after committing Italy to the Entente in the secret Treaty of London 26 April 1915Salandra failed to secure a parliamentary majority in support of his policy.

By precedent the British constitutional model, followed since the creation of the kingdom of Italy in 1861a prime minister whose policy had been repudiated should have been forced to resign, but at that point Victor Emmanuel III, King of Italy 1869-1947 intervened, exercising his de jure powers both to retain a prime decisions made by germany s leaders did who did not command a majority and to declare war on his own constitutional authority.

In the United States, German unrestricted submarine warfare gradually turned public and political opinion against the Central Powers over the two years preceding April 1917, when President Woodrow Wilson 1856-1924 asked Congress for a declaration of war.

What followed contrasted sharply with the aftermath of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, when President Franklin Roosevelt 1882-1945 delivered a seven-minute speech followed by forty minutes of deliberations and came away with a near-unanimous declaration of war against Japan no dissenting votes in the Senate, one in the House. Afterward, Wilhelm II remained the figurehead of nationalist sentiment, invoking the unifying image of a medieval city under siege in calling for a Burgfrieden — literally, peace within the walls of the castle — as long as the external threat persisted.

  1. After the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in the autumn of 1914, Russia pursued its age-old dream of securing Constantinople while the British and French, joined in 1915 by the Italians, devised various plans to partition Asia Minor and the Arab lands. The Puigdemont case is a complex one, as there is barely any precedent in German case law to use as a reference, or to provide clues as to what it means to exercise violence in the context of high treason.
  2. Italy, like France, became more dependent on its allies as the war continued, but unlike the French, the Italians could not point to achievements on the battlefield sufficient to justify the postwar fulfillment of their war aims. Thomas, the last prominent socialist in the cabinet, resigned in September 1917, causing the short-lived government of Alexandre Ribot 1842-1923 to fall.
  3. Imperial Germany and the Great War, 1914-1918, Cambridge 1998, pp. This devotion to hard work has combined with a public demeanour—which is at once reserved and assertive—to produce a stereotype of the German people as aloof and distant.

For Germany, August 1914, and the embellished memories of it, helped to lay the foundation for National Socialism in that it set a powerful example of how a national community could be united in a great cause and in a spirit that transcended the traditional divisive boundaries of social class. Nowhere did the military leaders play a role in fanning the flames, because they did not have to.

Indeed, in a broader, often vaguer sense, people across Europe supported their leaders in accepting war as necessary or even beneficial for their country.

  • In France, civilian leaders made all of the decisions in July 1914;
  • But in Austria-Hungary, as in Germany, gestures toward reform unleashed forces the government could not control;
  • Protesters stopped traffic both ways on the AP-7, a major artery connecting Catalonia and France, near the town of Figueres.

Just as there were socialists who welcomed the war as a vehicle for social leveling or even more radical revolutionary change, there were conservatives who saw the conflict as an opportunity for a religious revival or a return to pre-industrial traditional values. Chancellor Bethmann Hollweg formulated the grand design, ironically dated 9 September 1914, the day of Germany's defeat at the First Battle of the Marne. After the Ottoman Empire joined the Central Powers in the autumn of 1914, Russia pursued its age-old dream of securing Constantinople while the British and French, joined in 1915 by the Italians, devised various plans to partition Asia Minor and the Arab lands.

The dream of a South Slav Yugoslav state under Serbian leadership likewise required, at the least, the truncation or dismemberment of Austria-Hungary. Thus, while the war aims of the Allied powers were never articulated in a single program like those of Germany, their ambitions grew as the war progressed and were no less a factor in precluding a negotiated peace. At least during the first three years of the war, public opinion in all countries generally favored a victorious peace, one that necessarily would include such gains.

These feelings only intensified as more men died, for without victory their sacrifice would be in vain. After 4 August 1914, the day the German Reichstag unanimously approved the initial round of war credits, it retained only the power to approve further funding for the war. The Reichstag reconvened for this purpose in December 1914, then again the following March, after which it was never out of session for more than three months at a time for the remainder of the war.

In December 1914, Karl Liebknecht 1871-1919 became the first Social Democrat to break ranks and vote against further funding for the war. The bill passed on the strength of a heretofore unusual coalition of Left Liberals, Catholics, and Social Democrats, with the conservative parties abstaining to reflect their displeasure over the concessions to the workers.

Bethmann Hollweg persuaded Wilhelm II to issue a promise of post-war constitutional reform, delivered the day after the United States decisions made by germany s leaders did war, but his remarks only unleashed forces they would be unable to control.

Wilhelm II, Hindenburg and Ludendorff officially ignored the resolution but afterward, at the insistence of the generals, the emperor sacked Bethmann Hollweg in favor of the bureaucrat Georg Michaelis 1857-1936who soon gave way to Georg von Hertling 1843-1919the conservative prime minister of Bavaria.

In the autumn of 1918, after the generals had lost the war, they called upon the peace parties to form a government and get the best possible deal for Germany. As in Germany, in Austria-Hungary the demise of Imperial Russia and the entry of the United States into the war prompted promises of political change.

In May 1917, Emperor Charles reconvened the Austrian Reichsrat, which had not met since March 1914, and accepted the resignation of the Hungarian prime minister, Tisza, after he refused to broaden the Hungarian franchise. But in Austria-Hungary, as in Germany, gestures toward reform unleashed forces the government could not control. Asquith and Kitchener both believed military service should remain voluntary, and the government used the image of the popular field marshal to encourage enlistment.

Aside from the addition of Kitchener, Asquith continued with an all-Liberal cabinet and did not form a coalition government until May 1915, after the disastrous start of the Gallipoli Campaign. During 1915 Gallipoli joined the broader stalemate of the Western Front in depressing enlistments, forcing Asquith and Kitchener to agree to a conscription lawpassed by Parliament in January 1916.

After Kitchener was lost at sea on a mission to Russia in June 1916, the War Office returned to civilian leadership under Lloyd George, who went on to succeed Asquith as prime minister in December 1916. Britain ultimately employed more women in war industries than any other country in World War I, and their involvement in the wartime economy was responsible, at least indirectly, for women getting the vote as of March 1918, when Parliament passed the Representation of the People Act by a wide margin.

In September 1915 Nicholas II went to the front to take personal command of the army, a decision which made the chief of staff, General Mikhail Alekseev 1857-1918de facto commander decisions made by germany s leaders did, fatefully, left Alexandra, Empress, consort of Nicholas II, Emperor of Russia 1872-1918 and her confidante, the eccentric Grigori Rasputin 1869-1916to fill a leadership vacuum in Petrograd.

Yet even as strikes and demonstrations became widespread during the winter of 1916-17, the circle of politicians, generals, and noblemen best positioned to take action could not reach a consensus on what to do to save Russia, other than get rid of Rasputin murdered in December 1916. Nicholas II finally forced their hand in March 1917 by dissolving the Duma and authorizing the Petrograd garrison to fire on protesters.

Alexander Kerensky 1881-1970 of the Socialist Revolutionary party was the only member of both the Provisional Government and the Petrograd Soviet, and provided a crucial link between them.

Kerensky attempted to suppress them but, in September 1917, had to rely upon their support to fend off a coup by General Lavr Kornilov 1870-1916whom he had entrusted with command of the army following the failed offensive. Afterward Kerensky could exercise authority only with the approval of the soviets.

On 7-8 November 1917, after securing majorities in the Petrograd and Moscow soviets, the Bolsheviks easily toppled Kerensky, then formed their own government and pulled Russia out of the war.

Thus the military leadership stood by the tsar until he discredited himself, at which point Alekseev played a key role in removing him; then, in 1917, the generals supported the Provisional Government until it, too, proved too weak to govern, prompting Kornilov to attempt his coup. Among the major belligerents, France in 1914-1915 suffered more casualties, per capita, than anyone else, and in the first weeks of the war lost 6 percent of its territory to foreign occupation, more than any of the others would in the entire war.

The interlude in Bordeaux had fateful consequences, however, in that it gave General Joseph Joffre 1852-1931commander-in-chief of the army since 1911, the opportunity to assert his prerogatives at the expense of civilian authority, creating a tense civilian-military relationship that persisted as long as he remained in command.

In the first forty years of the Third Republic, twenty-five of the thirty men to serve as war minister were generals, but from 1914-1916 a civilian politician from the left, Alexandre Millerand 1859-1943held the post. The French socialists, like the German Social Democrats, voted unanimously for war credits in August 1914 but began to see more of their members drift into opposition to the war during 1915. To head off labor disputes that could hurt war production, Viviani appointed a socialist, Albert Thomas 1878-1932to decisions made by germany s leaders did post of undersecretary decisions made by germany s leaders did munitions in the War Ministry.

Thomas was so effective that Briand, in December 1916, rewarded him with full ministerial status. Meanwhile, during the protracted bloodbath at Verdun February-December 1916the French Chamber and Senate both convened secret sessions increasingly critical of Joffre, ultimately demanding a change in command.

Advocates of a compromise peace included Radical party leaders Joseph Caillaux 1863-1944 and Louis-Jean Malvy 1875-1949. Thomas, the last prominent socialist in the cabinet, resigned in September 1917, causing the short-lived government of Alexandre Ribot 1842-1923 to fall.

German judge keeps Catalan leader in custody pending extradition decision

He promptly sent a strong message to the defeatists by ordering the arrest of Caillaux and Malvy on treason charges. Clemenceau, serving as his own war minister, also asserted a greater degree of civilian control over the military, but in the process he also defended the army from its detractors. In the last year and a half of the war, only the parties and politicians of the French Right even bothered to use the term. A veteran Liberal politician, legal scholar, and Sicilian mafioso, Orlando possessed a unique combination of qualities that proved to be what Italy needed at that moment.

The debacle at Caporetto, however, provided the sort of clarity for Italy that August 1914 had produced in France. But even in the wake of Caporetto, which reduced the size of the Italian army by half, the king and his ministers hesitated to challenge Cadorna until the British and French gave them no choice, by refusing to send further aid to an army he commanded. General Armando Diaz 1861-1928 replaced him, and with the help of Allied reinforcements quickly stabilized the front.