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Wednesday, 26 February 2014


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G'day Duffers,

Sir Max has an excellent book on the origins of WW I titled "Catastrophe: Europe Goes to war 1914". Published by William Collins. It takes a bit of getting through the 672 pages.

Also a good [and slightly longer at 736 pages] is "1914: The Year the World Ended" by Paul Ham and published by William Heineman.

They come to the logical and reasoned conclusion that Germany was set on war and the imposition of a Kaiser Reich on the rest of the world.

They take a bit of getting through but I read both of them to get an appreciation of why my Grand Father went to war in 1915. Gallipoli, France and Belgium.

Did you know that the Canadian historian he interviewed late on (impressive lass, I thought) is a great-granddaughter of Lloyd George? Shouldn't he have told us that?

Anyway, now you've settled that big question to the world's satisfaction, Duffers, answer the next one. Should we have given the Polish guarantee in 1938? (I say no.)

You're quite right, of course. German war aims stayed grossly annexationist right to the end of the War. Had Britain and the Empire not entered the War in 1914, the price of defeat would have annexation of Belgium to the German Empire, and the ceding by France of her Channel coast down to the mouth of the Somme, if not the Seine.
No British Government could have possibly accepted that, neither in 1914 nor in 1940.

Ferguson is a bit of a fraud, imho. Still, worth setting the recorder, I guess.

DM, began to reply to you here but it was so long that I decided to make it a blog post, so see above.

I didn't know that about Margaret MacMillan, her book on the run-up to WWI is simply superb!

We the British did the right thing in standing by Belgium. You only have to visit Flanders and meet the people.
The UK was next on the Kaisers list if Europe fell.
We should honour and be proud of our men and indeed the war effort by all our ancestors to keep us a free British nation.

"it would merely have postponed the inevitable": that's silly, nothing is inevitable. I'd settle for "only too likely", but "inevitable" is plain wrong.

Totally irrelevantly, was anyone else as impressed as I was by Sir Max's magnificent head of hair?

OK, DM, As 'nearly inevitable as an odds on dead cert can be'!

No, H, I was only struck by the fact that, if memory serves, he wore the same cream suit throughout. Can't be certain if he changed his shirt but one hopes so!

For reasons of continuity, old boy, one goes equipped with lots of duplicate clothes. I'd have thought an old theatre hand like you would have known that.

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