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No one owns a culture

The whole notion that culture can be “appropriated” in any negative sense is one of the most absurd notions being bandied about (and that is really saying something given the carnival of absurdities that passes for critical thinking these days). 

Such ideas about culture are profoundly fascist in origin, a collectivist notion that somehow culture and identity must be preserved in a “pure” state from outside influences and somehow “belongs” to an ethno-national grouping.  It is very much akin intellectually to abominating miscegenation. Yet strangely the same people who spout such arrant nonsense tend not to picket performances featuring oriental ballet dancers or black opera singers (as well they shouldn’t).  Sorry (not really) but the future is cosmopolitan and voluntary.  I will take whatever aspects of any culture I think are worth incorporating and there is not a damn thing anyone can do to stop me.  And if some collectivist jackanapes is offended by my “appropriation”, well take a guess how many fucks I give because that just makes it all the more delicious 😉

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90 comments to No one owns a culture

  • RAB

    Can Blue men Sing the Whites? Of course they can, Japanese and Chinese violinists can play Beethoven too. Can I cook a Curry as well as a Cawl? you bet your sweet bippy I can! So what’s the problem? One very nasty Middle Eastern religion, in my opinion. The rest of us get on relatively well.

  • There’s also the little matter of how far back you go. We use paper from China, the number zero from India. Surely those fighting against cultural appropriation should lead the way in giving up all these things. Giving up paper means they won’t need to go to Venezuela to get the socialist experience of no toilet paper. Giving up the number zero protects them from being monitored by the vast right-wing conspiracy: computers lose half of their data without zeros – or, from another viewpoint, almost all of it since 1s without 0s convey little. And why stop at cultures from other continents. Britain appropriated much science from Greece and Rome; hand it back so the green agenda achieve its ultimate goals. And finally, did we not get our morals from the Hebrews; hand them back.

    Uh guys, along with my lack of toilet paper, working computers and stone buildings, I suddenly can’t remember why appropriating things is wrong. 🙂

  • CaptDMO

    I’ve always held the same esteem for crybullies whining “cultural appropriation”, in the fear that somewhere, some how, some “other” MAY be enjoying themselves, as I do
    for the intellectual champions musing the timid “reverse discrimination”, when calling out the victim class “elite” on their own disingenuous pant loads.

  • CaptDMO

    Why DOES this site click through Tor when posting?

  • Paul Marks

    Good post.

  • Mr Ed

    Leftist: ‘People should not appropriate that which has come from other cultures.’.

    A: ‘And do you believe in healthcare for all?’.

    Leftist: ‘Why, yes, of course. Healthcare is a universal human right.’.

    A: ‘Should non-Germans appropriate X-rays from Dr Röntgen and Germany’s scientific legacy?”.

    Leftist: ‘Die you fascist’.

  • AndrewZ

    The identity politics left are totalitarians and totalitarians have a need to make everyone guilty. It’s not just that they need a pretext to punish anyone who disagrees with them, although that is an important part of it. The fundamental motive is that totalitarians cannot tolerate the existence of any other form of authority that might challenge their own. They are equally hostile to religion and rationalism, because a belief in God or reason implies that there is a source of truth that exists independently of the party line. But a person who believes in his or her own judgement and experience is also an independent authority. A totalitarian state can kill such people, but ideological zealots who have the totalitarian mentality without the backing of a total state must find other means of achieving the power they crave. Independent minds must be taught to doubt themselves. They must be accused of endless crimes until they come to believe in their own guilt and reject their own judgement as unreliable. To do this the totalitarians must invent an endless series of new crimes that can be applied to anyone and which are entirely subjective in nature, so that the accused can never prove their innocence. That is what “cultural appropriation” and “microaggressions” are about. They are imaginary crimes invented to trick people into feeling guilty so that they can be controlled. It follows that all such accusations must be automatically dismissed as both false and malicious.

  • veryretired

    Let me know when all the non-western cultures are going to cease using the various scientific, medical, and agricultural ideas they have misappropriated from the west.

    I won’t be holding my breath.

  • ChrisW

    “It’s only a matter of discovering the lever. If you learn to rule one single man’s soul, you can get the rest of mankind. It’s the soul, Peter, the soul. Not whips or swords or fire or guns. That’s why the Caesars, the Attilas. the Napoleons were fools and did not last. We will. The soul, Peter, is that which can’t be ruled. It must be broken. Drive a wedge in, get your fingers on it — the man is yours. You won’t need a whip — he’ll bring it to you and ask to be whipped. Set him in reverse — and his own mechanism will do your work for you. Use him against himself. Want to know how it’s done? See if I ever lied to you. See if you haven’t heard all this for years, but didn’t want to hear, and the fault is yours, not mine. There are many ways. Here’s one. Make man feel small. Make him feel guilty. Kill his aspirations and integrity. That’s difficult. The worst among you grasps for an ideal in his own twisted way. Kill integrity by internal corruption. Use it against itself. Direct it toward a goal destructive of all integrity.” — Ellsworth Toohey

    Books that warn against bleak futures apparently make the best guides for accomplishing them.

  • gongcult

    If we mean by “culture”shared ideas and values that might be exhibited by the development of institutions, traditions and general modes of behavior -it is folly to never borrow or acknowledge those that further civilization and progress.It may not be your own individually or from your own group (however you may delineate that…) but it is certainly needed to explore and accept others ideals and values if they serve to foster the development of humanity !

  • Mr Ed

    Nothing promotes cultural exchange as much as free trade, whereby one can enjoy what others make and do, and thereby learn, copy, adapt and reject according to one’s needs.

    All without a State.

  • jim jones

    Every time I see an African with a mobile phone I think “Cultural Appropriation”

  • Lee Moore

    There’s just something about the way Perry de H writes his posts that always makes me want to say “Yes, but…” even when I agree with him 100%.

    The “yes, but..” in this case, is Hollywood’s tendency to make movies in which the Battle of Britain was won by volunteer gay American pilots, in which PC attitudes and modes of speech were ubiquitous in the 19th century, in which the Soviet communists were basically cuddly Liberal Democrats with tanks, and in which most of Benjamin Franklin’s writings were actually ghosted by a fourteen year old slave girl . With a limp.

    Bah humbug !

  • Kevin B

    Ah but cultural appropriation only works one way. The Evil West forced our nasty imperialist culture on those peaceful pastoral peoples and then stole their beautiful innocent cultural artifacts.

    So they’re entitled to use modern medicine, mobile phones, computers and Toyota Land Cruisers while we’re not allowed to cook curry.

  • Michael Jennings

    It goes with my hatred of the word “authentic” to describe anything culture. All cultures are constantly changing. All cultures are constantly being changed by both inside and outside influences. Any culture that is not is dead, or at least very uninteresting.

  • the other rob

    I’m rather fond of several mainstays of traditional British culture, such as curry, Mulligatawny soup and IPA.

  • Patrick Crozier

    Reading the article it seems that the main objection is to rich people patronising poor people by dressing like poor people to look good in the eyes of other rich people. The author then perverts a phrase meaning a good thing i.e.”cultural appropriation” to mean a bad thing.

  • Hanah Myers

    All of these things are demonstrative of a white gaze that carelessly glosses over the complexity of Indian culture in its hurry to construct a magical, mystical place that doesn’t exist.

    Yeah, because I should give a damn about the complexities of Indian culture why? I’m interested in cool, not third world authentic. Third world authentic frequently involves washing in the same rivers people dispose of corpses, tapeworms and barefoot pregnant 15 year old girls. If I like an Indian motif or pattern, I’m happy to use it. And if that has some deeper religious or cultural meaning, please don’t mistake me for someone who gives a damn, darlin’.

  • APL

    RAB: “One very nasty Middle Eastern religion, in my opinion. The rest of us get on relatively well.”

    I have often wondered why the British were able to walk into India and more or less take the place over in a century or so. You’d think that the Hindu and Sikh would have fought like cat and dog to keep ’em out.

    The invasion was probably facilitated by the fact that the other invasion that India had suffered was much, much worse in scale and devastation than anything the British brought with them, to the extent that British occupation was considered infinitely better that anything Islam had brought with it.

  • RRS

    Since there are many different understandings (as well as definitions) of culture (noun)these comments have taken various tacks.

    In the vacuous “source” article, the actual subject matter referenced artifacts of a what might be considered “a” culture; more accurately artifacts of parts of the cultures (pl.), often blended, of a geographic area or peoples.

    Much as some may wish it so, or try to make it so, artifacts are not the culture; they are only its artifacts. They may be all that “outsiders” can understand or interpret of a culture; but they remain only artifacts.

    On examination that will probably hold for all the artifacts derived from the motivations of mankind which forms cultures from their commonalities (pace, Lee Moore).

  • You’d think that the Hindu and Sikh would have fought like cat and dog to keep ’em out.

    If the average contemporary Indian fucked over his fellow man in order to gain himself a small advantage in the way modern-day Indians do, I’m surprised it took Britain more than a regiment.

  • You’d think that the Hindu and Sikh would have fought like cat and dog to keep ’em out.

    The Mysore Wars, Carnatic Wars and Maratha Wars do spring to mind! I believe Wellington said the Battle of Assaye was harder than Waterloo, so there was a bit more to taking over India than the Honourable East India Company just marching in and setting up shop 😉

  • Mr Ed

    If the average contemporary Indian fucked over his fellow man in order to gain himself a small advantage in the way modern-day Indians do

    Funny that, it almost perfectly sums up the view of a Sikh friend of mine, born in Kenya later fleeing to England, after his first trip in his life to India, in middle age.

  • Alisa

    RRS, I think it is fairly clear that ‘cultural appropriation’ is shorthand for ‘appropriation of cultural artifacts’, at least in this context – I don’t think that there are too many people who understand it differently.

  • PersonFromPorlock

    I am perfectly happy to discuss cultural appropriation, in English, with activists whose ancestors natively spoke English.

  • Thailover

    I’m reminded of what Ayn Rand wrote in Capitalism, the Unknown ideal.

    “The American philosophy of the Rights of Man was never grasped fully by European intellectuals. Europe’s predominant idea of emancipation consisted of changing the concept of man as a slave of the absolute state embodied by a king, to the concept of man as a slave of the absolute state embodied by “the people”— i.e., switching from slavery to a tribal chief into slavery to the tribe. A non-tribal view of existence could not penetrate the mentalities that regarded the privilege of ruling material producers by physical force as a badge of nobility. Thus Europe’s thinkers did not notice the fact that during the nineteenth century, the galley slaves had been replaced by the inventors of steamboats, and the village blacksmiths by the owners of blast furnaces, and they went on thinking in such terms (such contradictions in terms) as “wage slavery” or “the antisocial selfishness of industrialists who take so much from society without giving anything in return”— on the unchallenged axiom that wealth is an anonymous, social, tribal product.”

    These people are tribalists, and as they view the “proper” wealth of any people as an “anonymous social tribal product”, they view not only trade of goods and services, but also the free market of exchange of ideas as the theft of intellectual tribal property.
    That they are tribalists only makes sense, since only in a tribe would ‘fair’ replace ‘justice’, as “fair” applies to zero sum games in a zero sum world, and concepts such as “fair share” would apply, as every value to the tribe would be a community asset, and concepts such as private property is viewed as depriving others.

  • Thailover

    AmdrewZ, very well said.

  • APL

    PdH: “The Mysore Wars, Carnatic Wars and Maratha Wars do spring to mind!”

    It seems to me, the first of those were between the Musslemen Maygar dynasty. The second a proxy war against France, and the third actual fighting against Hindus.

  • RRS

    Alisa,

    So then, is it understood that since its artifacts may be owned, the “culture” PdeH referenced CAN be owned?

    Not to be derogatory of the comments made, but what might be expected somewhere in all this is some observation about the assimilations of cultures, rather than that vacuous “appropriation” stuff (stuck in amidst adverts).

    Reading the remarks on India; one is reminded that it was, at the time the English displaced the French and Portuguese as the insertion (or override) of Western Civilization, comprised of mixed, but not blended, cultures, fragmented and contesting. With communication and transport (along with degrees of internal and external mobility) some blending has occurred; beginning a commercial society [mostly based on artifacts and techniques, including language, from external cultures].

  • Thailover

    APL said,
    “I have often wondered why the British were able to walk into India and more or less take the place over in a century or so. You’d think that the Hindu and Sikh would have fought like cat and dog to keep ’em out.”

    I imagine is was a bit like this. LOL

  • Thailover

    Perry wrote in the original post,
    “….a collectivist notion that somehow culture and identity must be preserved in a “pure” state from outside influences and somehow “belongs” to an ethno-national grouping.”

    This reminds me of when Jamie Foxx, a few days after Michael Jackson died, said “We want to celebrate this black man.” “He belongs to us, and we shared him with everybody else.”

    Jamie Foxx, who always gets a “you’re free to be racist with impunity” card, soon after, (if my memory serves me correctly) spoke about “our lord and savior”, only to let the audience know that the “punch line” was that he’s talking about Obama.

  • Alisa

    So then, is it understood that since its artifacts may be owned, the “culture” PdeH referenced CAN be owned?

    Point well taken.

  • Thailover

    Michael Jennings wrote,

    “It goes with my hatred of the word “authentic” to describe anything culture. All cultures are constantly changing. All cultures are constantly being changed by both inside and outside influences. Any culture that is not is dead, or at least very uninteresting.”

    It’s a common perspective in America (pumped out by the left), that the rest of the world, especially the “undeveloped nations” hate America with our “colonialism” and how we push our culture on them, yada-yada. However, the truth of the matter though (I’ve learned, being a world traveler) is that other nations LOVE America, or at least the idea of America, and they wear “our” jeans and other Americana artifacts because they want more America and less of their own home nation. It’s not unusual to see a Russian vacationer in Thaland wearing American-style jeans, a ball cap sporting an american sports team emblem, nike shoes, the whole nine yards.

  • It seems to me, the first of those were between the Musslemen Maygar dynasty. The second a proxy war against France, and the third actual fighting against Hindus.

    All three ended up with more control over India for the ‘John Company’. As there were no less than four wars between the HEIC and the Kingdom of Mysore, I think it fair to say HEIC was a major player in its own right. And yes, pushing out France was of course also very important.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    I think another factor was racism. The class system was based on fairness of skin colour, so when the top caste came across a whole race that was lighter-skinned than they were, it put them at a disadvantage.

  • Rich Rostrom

    I thoroughly despise the anti-Western bigotry of the Left, but I think this discussion fails to grasp the idea of how “cultural appropriation” can be invidious. I don’t think anyone much objects to Westerners participating in non-Western cultural milieus: learning to play the samisen or do kathakali dance, if they do so on the same terms as people from the originating culture.

    The non-Westerners who sing opera or play Beethoven quartets or build automobiles do so on the same terms as Westerners.

    What can be genuinely and gratuitously offensive is the use of bits and pieces of a culture by outsiders, without any relation to how they were used or what they were for, or any understanding of how to do them right, as representations of that culture.

    For instance, the American fraternal order the Shriners follows a pseudo-Arabic motif; Shriner lodges were often called “mosques”, or were decorated with Arabic inscriptions taken from the Koran. (Oddly, AFAIK no Moslems have complained about this.)

    Another category of misappropriation is low-quality re-usage. When outsiders produce (and sell) cheap knock-offs of work that has a particular significance in the originating culture, that seems genuinely offensive.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Nothing is more cultural than language, so I want every non-Aborigine to ask permission before using boomerang, kangaroo, coroboree, koala, waratah, billabong, etc.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Such ideas about culture are profoundly fascist in origin, a collectivist notion that somehow culture and identity must be preserved in a “pure” state from outside influences and somehow “belongs” to an ethno-national grouping.

    There are a lot of people who do not think that cultures belong to ethnic groups, but who nonetheless think it’s beneficial for people in general to take pride in the exclusive culture into which they were born, to pass their affirmative cultural identity onto the next generation, and to live in relatively homogenous communities. This does not mean anyone should not enjoy the varied cultural delights of modern cosmopolitan life, but it does mean that we should not fool ourselves into thinking that the consequences of society-wide diversity are unambiguously beneficial.

    http://archive.boston.com/news/globe/ideas/articles/2007/08/05/the_downside_of_diversity/?page=full

    There are pros and there are cons. Like most things in life.

  • Thailover

    I think it should be mentioned somewhere in this thread that how people are IS the culture, and that culture does not own the people. Racists, aka extreme “culturalists” often put that cart before the horse. Taken to the usual extremes, men of a certain “culture” suggest that “their women” should not “mix”, and that their women have a cutural unchosen obligation aka “duty” to carry on their cultural torches. The men? Well, they don’t burden themselves with such matters, do they.

  • Laird

    Rich Rostrom, that is a grossly patronizing position. I have absolutely no problem with taking “bits and pieces” of other cultures, whether or not they are used “correctly.” If I want to use pseudo-Arabic motifs in my lodge, or an historic Scottish tartan pattern in my shirt, etc., I will do so without qualm.

    What is truly offensive is turning Beethoven into a disco song.

  • Cristina

    Oh dear! One should not disrupt the performances featuring oriental ballet dancers (without previous evaluation, that is) or the black opera singers (some are wonderful singers), but I most definitely would not suffer a black (woman) ballet dancer. That for me is a NO.

    Laird, what a strange circumstance! We agree in the offensiveness of turning Beethoven into a disco song. And I detest Beethoven with all the rancor of somebody who has had to study the Diabelli Variations for hours on end.
    BTW, is that the shahada on your avatar’s headdress?

  • […] acabar, una nota de Samizdata sobre la cultura i la seva apropiació que bé podríem estudiar amb relació al debat lingüístic que té ocupada la realitat […]

  • but who nonetheless think it’s beneficial for people in general to take pride in the exclusive culture into which they were born, to pass their affirmative cultural identity onto the next generation, and to live in relatively homogenous communities.

    Living in Sweden for a while in the 1980’s (when it was homogeneous and an intellectual monoculture) really really cured me of that notion, not to mention being the trigger that started me heading down the libertarian minarchist path (even if my True Believer status did not come about until 1992-1997 Balkan adventures). You can take pretty much any “relatively homogenous community” and stick it somewhere dark and moist, although I suppose the wiggle room comes with the word “relatively”. In my experience they really aren’t what they are cracked up to be 😉

  • Mr Ed

    We appear to have a Catalan friend.

  • Cristina

    That’s interesting. Why, Perry?

  • Christina, I offer the following anecdote to add to whatever Perry replies. In the 1980s, I was once on a long train ride from London back to Edinburgh. A Swedish woman sat opposite me and began talking to me (I don’t usually talk on trains; I assumed the cultural attitude was different in Sweden then – and wonder if it is less so now). She had a negative opinion of Margaret Thatcher which she (in a polite manner) wished to express. I recall two things vividly even after all these years. The first was her mannerism of giving a very slight gasp, as of surprise, at anything I replied; I was never quite sure whether my not being hostile to Margaret Thatcher was really that astounding to her or she merely had that as a generic habit. I suspected the former, because the other thing I recall was her remark that in her country the things Mrs Thatcher said were things some right-wing politicians “might think, but they would not dare say it.”

    It’s the lies no one challenges in public that are the most insolent. If Perry lived in a monoculture where “2+2=4, not 13 and 3/4” was something a right-winger might think but not dare say, I can imagine he’d sour on monocultures.

  • Cristina

    Niall, I don’t think possible for an intelligent man to be cured of the notion of the goodness of a relatively homogeneous community just by the respiratory issues of some people. 🙂
    I’d like to know why an outsider thought the social arrangement at the time was a bad thing for the community.

  • Without inflicting on everyone the details of my time in Göteborg and Stockholm, Sweden was where I came to realise the very word “tolerance” could mean “virtue signalling intolerance”, and “equality” actually meant “an aggressive fetish for consensus”.

    The first time I ever heard the term “politically correct” was in Sweden, long before the phrase was in common currency, when I was told my Thatcherite views were not “politically correct” and quite literally beyond reasonable discourse. One person even called it “political derangement”.

    And how did (almost) everyone know I was mistaken on just about any political issue? Well because “everyone knows that” (which in Croatia and Bosnia circa 1992-7 when someone told me that the war was happening because of The Jews/The Bankers/The Catholic Church/Trilateralists etc., and I asked “How do you know that?”… the 100% consistent reply… every…single… time… was “everyone knows that”). For extra added giggles I would imply if they knew such things, they were clearly Illuminati as they were privy to the deep dark secret conspiracies that really make the world run (I said that in the Balkans as by then I could see the funny side of it, which in Sweden a decade earlier I really never did, quixotically imagining the mistake was mine and I was just not phrasing my thoughts well enough to connect with people who disagreed with me).

    And what I also often heard, usually when I had someone backed into a corner (sometimes literally) and tried to coax out an argument from first principles, well… even if what I was saying had some tenuous sliver of truth relating to the UK or USA, it could not be relevant to them because “in Sweden we think this” or “the Swedish way is this” as if that was self-evident proof of something beyond the existance of an intellectual monoculture. I found that in Sweden circa 1985 it was impossible to politely point out certain things without people either looking at you as if they were waiting for a punchline that never came, or just uneasily shifting from foot to foot and trying to change the subject. I would have caused less unease if I had put in a good word for Pol Pot (not joking). The mere suggestion “the Swedish Way” was not only unsustainable but was small minded and ultimately counter productive was anathema, literally beyond rational discussion. Maybe it was just the circles I moved in but I doubt it.

    I was used to ‘robust’ political and philosophical disagreement in 1980’s Britain, and yet found it easier to have a meaningful argument with benighted Arthur Scargill supporters (who might as well have hailed from another planet compared to one one I came from) than nice middle class Swedish doctors and graphic designers who looked very much like blond blue eyed Perry de Havilland. Yes, I met some people who either saw things my way or at least were open to discussing it, but I imagine it must be similar when aficionados of Japanese tentacle porn get together: not something you do in a café where real people might be listening.

    And over time, I came to the conclusion “everyone knows that” was just a facet of “everyone rational is like me”. This really became apparent in the Balkans, where I saw a need for “homogeneity” weaponised, making it possible for very intelligent people to accept the most ludicrous notions as axioms and introducing me to the downwind cloying smell of mass graves, something you just don’t get if your only experience of world events gets filtered through CNN and the BBC via a piece of glass fronted technology. Homogeneity, like unity generally, is vastly over rated. To have a perfectly functional and agreeable civilization, we really only have to (forcibly) agree on a very very small list of things, and we sure as hell do not need to look like each other or even like each other all that much.

  • Laird

    Cristina, I just now saw your question about my avatar. As far as I know that is not the Shahada* on the headpiece (according to Wikipedia the Shahada looks like this: لا إله إلا الله محمد رسول الله, which is entirely different). For all I know it is merely a nest of worms or snakes (which, now that I think about it, seems entirely appropriate). But if it were the Shahada (or if it actually is, for that matter) I would happily “culturally appropriate” it for my purposes. Because the important feature of that avatar is that the “headdress” is actually a stylized representation of a bomb such as one might see in an old-fashioned cartoon. And it’s sitting on top of Muhammed. That is simultaneously grossly politically incorrect, religiously offensive and entirely appropriate, which of course is why I use it.

    * Not to be confused with the Sha Na Na, a common mistake.

  • Cristina

    “To have a perfectly functional and agreeable civilization, we really only have to (forcibly) agree on a very very small list of things, and we sure as hell do not need to look like each other or even like each other all that much.”

    That’s true. The Sweden of your description was not a place of shared culture and traditions passed down from previous generations to the next ones. At least not just that place. The sad country was suffering a terminal case of political correctness, even though they didn’t know it at the time. We can see the result of such a deep indoctrination in the current dissolution of the country before our eyes. BTW, the modern Sweden is a diverse society on his way to homogeneity again. This time a more sinister one.

  • Mr Ed

    Sweden sounds like a country made up entirely of people with the mentality of BBC Radio 4 staff, but with snow.

  • Cristina

    Yes, Laird. The bomb has a stylized shahada written on it. It’s great your irreverent use of this avatar.
    Sha Na Na? Really? I had to follow the link to know what that was. Shame on you. 🙂

  • Cristina

    Mr. Ed, LOL

  • Laird

    Cristina, if you didn’t know what Sha Na Na is, you must either be very young or not get out much! 🙂

  • Cristina

    Laird, I’m fifty years old. I don’t know how young is that for you. And I don’t want to know. 🙂
    You are right. I don’t get out much. I never did. My true passions have always been solitary endeavours (studying, reading, practicing and listening music, and thinking) or with a small group of people (my family and my true friends). The church and the job are a need and a nuisance respectively.

  • Thailover

    “Not to be confused with the Sha Na Na, a common mistake.”

    LOL, that avatar doesn’t look a bit like Bowser.

  • Thailover

    “What is truly offensive is turning Beethoven into a disco song.”

    Ha-Ha-Ha…agreed.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    Beethoven was deaf, and disco music is played so loud you become deaf. It seems like a perfect match, to me.

  • I see Sweden as a country whose decision to opt for cowardice in WWII forced mental contortions that fed forward on themselves to reach the 80s state Perry describes and thence its current state (that we know though much of the media still avoids reporting examples of it). In Germany between the wars, the idea that “the Jews caused the war” was popular for the obvious reason that if some subtle conspiracy of financiers did not start WWI then that left it very obvious that Germany did. In a parallel way, Swedes of the 30s were visibly moving to the state where, in April 1940, they chose not to know it was their duty ito help Norway resist the Nazis, but the decision then had its own consequences. They chose to sell ore and ball bearings to Hitler – on credit when Germany was strong and for money long, long after Germany was not in a position to threaten them (and still after they – finally – told the western allies they wouldn’t). They chose to know in their hearts that resisting Hitler was sometimes unsafe and othertimes unprofitable, whereas refusing the western allies would never cost more than hard words. That affected what they could allow themselves to know in their heads. In short, Sweden was a virtue-signalling country long before it became fashionable. I’m not surprised Perry first met the term ‘political correctness’ there.

    A counterbalancing point can also be made. One could call a country with a strong attachment to the 1st and 2nd amendments a ‘monoculture’ on those issues, though the 1st would presumably prevent its being too much a monoculture on other things. I’m anything but critical of a strong, self-confident culture in principle. Western culture did not stop Hitler by cringing but by ceasing to cringe. It could regain a lot of its former self-respect before that ceased being an unqualified good.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Niall Kilmartin,

    In Germany between the wars, the idea that “the Jews caused the war” was popular for the obvious reason that if some subtle conspiracy of financiers did not start WWI then that left it very obvious that Germany did.

    This vastly oversimplifies a series of very complex situations. Not only would the Russian, French, Austrian, etc diplomats who were exchanging messages in the aftermath of the assassination in Sarajevo disagree with your contention, many of them would find it strange that one could a century later make such a flippant claim so lightly. I’d agree with them.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I’d like to know why an outsider thought the social arrangement at the time was a bad thing for the community.

    The prosecution rests. Perfect.

  • Mr Ed

    This vastly oversimplifies a series of very complex situations.

    It was a very simple situation with WW1, the Germans had plans for world domination and attacked Belgium with no justification, and the German declaration of war on France was a tissue of lies.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Homogeneity, like unity generally, is vastly over rated. To have a perfectly functional and agreeable civilization, we really only have to (forcibly) agree on a very very small list of things, and we sure as hell do not need to look like each other or even like each other all that much.

    In theory you’re arguably correct. In practice it’s not so simple.

    As the previous link I posted proves with immense quantity of DATA:

    IT HAS BECOME increasingly popular to speak of racial and ethnic diversity as a civic strength. From multicultural festivals to pronouncements from political leaders, the message is the same: our differences make us stronger.

    But a massive new study, based on detailed interviews of nearly 30,000 people across America, has concluded just the opposite. Harvard political scientist Robert Putnam — famous for “Bowling Alone,” his 2000 book on declining civic engagement — has found that the greater the diversity in a community, the fewer people vote and the less they volunteer, the less they give to charity and work on community projects. In the most diverse communities, neighbors trust one another about half as much as they do in the most homogenous settings. The study, the largest ever on civic engagement in America, found that virtually all measures of civic health are lower in more diverse settings.

    So yeah. We can have “functioning” societies that are diverse. They may just be a little less functional.

    Also, I’m curious why in Perry’s opinion every major American city is segregated on a voluntary basis?

    http://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2015/07/08/us/census-race-map.html?_r=0

    This is not some one-off instance. This is voluntary racial segregation in NYC, Baltimore, Denver, Atlanta, LA, Phoenix, Philadelphia, Boston, etc. The question is why.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    It was a very simple situation with WW1, the Germans had plans for world domination and attacked Belgium with no justification, and the German declaration of war on France was a tissue of lies.

    Is this comment even serious? I mean… I don’t want to give you a lecture on international relations if you meant this as a joke.

  • Mr Ed

    SM,

    What part of it do you dispute?

  • The prosecution rests. Perfect.

    I am glad you are not my brief then 😉

  • In WWI, Germany issued the first declarations of war; Germany initiated the first invasion of a foreign country; Germany abrogated the first treaty of neutrality; Germany did first everything that distinguishes “the situation is tense” from “war has started”. To the ordinary non-intellectual guy in the street, that corresponds to the usual definition of ‘starting it’.

    All over the world, those who wanted to feel superior to the ordinary guy in the street wanted subtler explanations between the wars. These often involved cabals of financiers (sometimes specifically Jewish ones) because that was the zeitgeist of the times – and had been before the war, in socialist circles (c.f. J.A. Hobson’s pre-war book “Imperialism, a bible to the left: it stated “Does anyone suppose a major war could occur in Europe in the House of Rothschild set its face against it”).

    In Germany, this intellectuals’ desire fused with the ordinary German guy in the street’s desire not to accept the obvious explanation for who started it to produce a uniquely widespread commitment to the lie.

    I note in passing that this analysis of Germany between the wars would not be vitiated even if one assumed that the common sense appearance (“Germany invades first, therefore started it”) was somehow unjust. However I do generally agree with Mr Ed above. The start of WWI can be seen as more complex, in the sense that everything can be studied and discussed in great detail, but, at the end of the day, “Germany willed the war more than others, therefore started it” is a perfectly reasonable one-sentence summary. Whether WWI would have happened in 1914 even if Germany had willed the war less is a what-if: I believe it would have been a good deal less likely. But as Germany did not wait to find out, “Germany started it” remains a valid one-sentence summary.

  • Typo in my quote (which was from memory): “… in Europe in the House of Rothschild …” should be “… in Europe if the House of Rothschild…”

  • Shlomo Maistre

    In WWI, Germany issued the first declarations of war; Germany initiated the first invasion of a foreign country; Germany abrogated the first treaty of neutrality; Germany did first everything that distinguishes “the situation is tense” from “war has started”.

    Germany did not issue the first declaration of war. The Austro-Hungarian Empire did – and rightfully so (more on that later).

    Germany did not violate the first treaty – that was Montenegro (and wrongfully so – more on that later).

    Israel was the first to declare war on another country in 1967. Israel was the first to invade a foreign nation in that war. Was Israel responsible for the 1967 war? If you answer yes then please google “Straits of Tiran”.

    If war was going to happen, Israel had to strike first in order to have a CHANCE of winning (due to the composition, quality, scale, placement/location, and allegiances of various forces throughout the Middle East)

    If war was going to happen, Germany had to strike first in order to have a CHANCE of winning (due to the composition, quality, scale, placement/location and allegiances of various forces in Europe)

    Israel won; very few people blame Israel for starting 1967 war. Germany lost WWI; most people blame Germany for starting WWI. Didn’t Churchill say something about the victors writing history?

    Germany only declared war after demanding that Russia stop mobilizing its forces – which was expected to take a long time, much longer than it takes other, smaller nations. Russia responded to German demands – and these were genuinely hopeful demands – by saying the full mobilization was just for Austria-Hungary even though Russia knew Germany would defend Austria-Hungary.

    If any one country is to blame for WWI then it’s Russia who KNEW FOR SURE THAT A MAJOR CONTINENT-WIDE WAR WOULD HAPPEN IF IT ORDERED A FULL MOBILIZATION OF ITS MILITARY BUT DID SO ANYWAY.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    In WWI, Germany issued the first declarations of war; Germany initiated the first invasion of a foreign country; Germany abrogated the first treaty of neutrality; Germany did first everything that distinguishes “the situation is tense” from “war has started”. […] But as Germany did not wait to find out, “Germany started it” remains a valid one-sentence summary.

    Just after the Archduke was assassinated two Serbian ambassadors (to France and Russia) stated that Serbia had warned Austria-Hungary that an assassination was coming. Why would they say this? How did they know this? Serbia later on denied knowledge of the plot, which – as you should surely know – was a poorly veiled attempt to protest too much. Then, of course, when Austrian and German officials tried to investigate the plot in Serbia they were denied access to people, they were denied information, they were denied help, they were denied friendship. Instead of helping Austrian and German officials find out who had murdered the heir presumptive to the throne of the Austro-Hungarian Empire, Serbia basically said “go fuck yourselves”. This was pretty much a declaration of war and at that point a war of some sort was probably close to inevitable (it was Russia who decided it would be a Continent-wide war). Why did Serbia ask the Austro-Hungarian Empire and Germany to fuck themselves? Google Vojislav Tankosić. Serbia’s military was full of the Black Hand and Serbia’s government knew this, was aware of their actions and did nothing to stop them. This kind of nonsense and instigating against the Austrians had not been going on for years, it had been going on for DECADES.

    Serbia knew that if Serbia was seriously threatened then Russia would step in to protect them, which is why Serbia was able to be so hostile to foreign diplomats and officials seeking justice for the premeditated murder of the heir to the throne of their nation.

    So Austria and Hungary went to ask Serbia’s boss Russia to pressure Serbia to allow investigation into the murder. Russian Foreign Minister Sazonov said to Austria and Germany to fuck themselves. As if – you know – Serbia had something to hide. How shocking!

    Nations that want peace are supposed to work together to find political solutions to political acts of violence that cross national boundaries so that military solutions don’t need to be used. That Serbia was uninterested in finding political solution was hardly a surprise because dominant elements of Serbia’s military had committed the murder and the country’s government had been aware of and quite hospitable to that element of their military. Again, this had been going on for decades. It was, however, genuinely surprising that Russia was abrogating its responsibility as a great power to penalize its little rabid dog Serbia when said little rabid dog bit another great power in the leg and tore out a chunk of flesh and did not even have the decency to apologize.

    Now google Muhamed Mehmedbašić. He was part of the assassination team and he fled to Montenegro after the assassination. Montenegro got him to talk and he confessed to a major plot with irredentist intentions. How surprising! Funny thing was, when big Austria-Hungary asked little Montenegro to hand him over according to their mutual extradition treaty, little, tiny Montenegro similarly said to the massive Austro-Hungarian Empire (and Germans) to go fuck themselves. Noticing a pattern here? As everyone knew, little Montenegro would not have violated its treaty obligations with big bad Austria-Hungary without having at least one great power on its side. But this time it was not Russia – it was France!

    So Germany and the Austrians found themselves surrounded by powers great and small – all telling them to go fuck themselves instead of helping to investigate the murder of the HEIR TO THEIR THRONE and get some measure of justice – even if only face-saving justice for the Austro-Hungarian Empire.

    Have you read ever read the Declaration of War issued by Franz Joseph I? Here’s one key bit that he’s 100% correct about.

    Serbia has rejected the just and moderate demands of my Government and refused to conform to those obligations the fulfillment of which forms the natural and necessary foundation of peace in the life of peoples and States. I must therefore proceed by force of arms to secure those indispensable pledges which alone can insure tranquillity to my States within and lasting peace without.

    It’s too bad the wrong side won WWI.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    TLDR: There is a difference between a declaration of war and an act of war. Blaming Germany for WWI is to confuse one for the other.

    To the ordinary non-intellectual guy in the street, that corresponds to the usual definition of ‘starting it’.

    Yeah, well, the ordinary non-intellectual guy in the street does not know much about game theory or the subtleties of diplomacy in international relations. It’s necessary to understand the complexities of game theory in the context of international relations to appropriately adjudicate “blame” for WWI. There are many ways one can come to appreciate how complex international relations can be in the pre-atomic bomb era. A decent first step would be a couple hundred hours playing Europa Universalis. Or picking up a book on the subject written before the term “human rights” was invented.

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    gosh, shlomo, that means that Germany would have been right to want to have another war! Lucky thing the Poles invaded so the Germans are blameless for that! So how come they lost this ‘blameless’ war?

  • Mr Ed

    SM

    You appear to lack the ability to simplify, an ability which shows true understanding. Instead you seek to complicate. Again, I ask what part of my statement do you disagree with?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    gosh, shlomo, that means that Germany would have been right to want to have another war!

    Nope.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Again, I ask what part of my statement do you disagree with?

    Okay, your statement in parts:

    It was a very simple situation with WW1

    International relations is never simple, least of all in the case with WWI. Europa Universalis (kind of like chess in five dimensions instead of two) is more complex than you make out real-world international relations to be and EU is just a video game! So that should say something. There’s a difference between an act of war and a declaration of war. Lets try not to confuse them.

    the Germans had plans for world domination

    lol don’t we all

    and attacked Belgium with no justification

    My understanding is that Belgium refused to allow German forces through to France and that Belgium was being supported by the British.

    and the German declaration of war on France was a tissue of lies

    I’ve never read it but truth is the first casualty in any war. With that said, Franz Joseph I’s declaration of war against Serbia was actually quite accurate.

    Mr Ed – do you disagree with any of the assessments I stated above in response to Niall? If so why?

  • Mr Ed

    SM,

    Have you been in Europe, have you seen where Belgium is, compared to Serbia? There’s quite a lot between them.

    Germany was the aggressor, you seek to avoid the issue with humour, it seems to me, and it may have escaped your notice that Germany did have plans for workd domination and it made what might have been a contained, scrappy Balkan war into a world war.

    Belgium was neutral, I am certain that you understand what that meant, and its neutrality was supported by the UK.

    You’ve never read the German declaration, well if you are going to pronounce in WW1 perhaps you might benefit from filling that gap in your knowledge.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Mr Ed

    Have you been in Europe, have you seen where Belgium is, compared to Serbia? There’s quite a lot between them.

    So what’s your point? Once it was clear that there would be a Continent-wide war you apparently think that Germany should have waited until everyone was ready so that it would be a fair fight? Maybe everyone should gather in one location with their weapons and then start fighting when Belgium says “ready… set.. go!!”?

    In any two-sided conflict there is usually one side that for economic/logistical/demographic/technological trends overall GAINS STRENGTH from perpetuation of the status quo: time is on their side. The further in the future the war happens the stronger they will be in the war vis-a-vis the enemy side. That was Egypt/Jordan/Syria in the lead-up to 1967 War, France/Russia/Britain in the lead-up to WWI, the North in the US Civil War. So the other side strikes FIRST AND QUICKLY. And usually loses anyway. Thank G-d for Operation Focus.

    Germany was the aggressor, you seek to avoid the issue with humour, it seems to me

    Germany was not the aggressor and I spent several long paragraphs explaining why and this is your response? Seriously, next time someone gives you a history lesson be more grateful.

    it may have escaped your notice that Germany did have plans for workd domination

    Okay so lets assume that Germany pre-WWI was somehow unlike other nations in wanting to dominate the world. What’s wrong with that exactly?

    By most indications the USA dominates the world. Is that a bad thing in and of itself? It depends on how such power is used, perhaps?

    and it made what might have been a contained, scrappy Balkan war into a world war.

    As I have already explained to you Russia was responsible for making the conflict in the Balkans a world war (if we have to blame one country). There was no reason for FULL mobilization of Russian military forces for any other reason. Russia abrogated its responsibility as a great power to punish its rabid dog Serbia when said rabid dog bit off a chunk of flesh and refused to apologize for its bad behavior even after decades of provocation and insolence towards Austria-Hungary.

    Belgium was neutral, I am certain that you understand what that meant, and its neutrality was supported by the UK.

    What’s your point? You said Germany had no justification for attacking Belgium. I explained to you that Germany’s justification was that Belgium was supported by an ally of Russia and that Belgium refused to allow Germany through to France. I never said this is a “good” justification (nothing in war is good) but war is war. Germany did what Germany thought was in its best interests to SURVIVE.

    You’ve never read the German declaration, well if you are going to pronounce in WW1 perhaps you might benefit from filling that gap in your knowledge.

    Noted.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I have read the German declaration of war on France in WWI as it was apparently presented by the German Ambassador.

    http://www.firstworldwar.com/source/germandeclarationofwar_france.htm

    Which part exactly do you think is a lie? I genuinely expected most of it to be a lie, but everything appears to be entirely factual.

    Now, as you should surely know, countries don’t usually give the REAL reasons they go to war and the reason Germany decided to attack France is obviously because Germany knew that France would come to Russia’s aid once German and Russian forces clashed – as was guaranteed to happen by the Russian decision to order a FULL mobilization of its military despite Germany demanding, indeed begging Russia to come to its senses and stand down. Or maybe you actually think that French violations of Belgian airspace (as cited in the declaration of war) is actually why Germany declared war instead of, you know, the Franco-Russian alliance?

  • My understanding is that Belgium refused to allow German forces through to France

    Typically nations react poorly to requests to invade them, it must be said. Convincing people this was not naked aggression is going to be a very hard sell.

    and that Belgium was being supported by the British.

    And British support on the basis Germany might well attack Belgium, which they did, somehow makes Germany not the aggressor?

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Typically nations react poorly to requests to invade them, it must be said. Convincing people this was not naked aggression is going to be a very hard sell.

    Fair point. Again, I never said it was a “good” reason. Belgium and Germany were acting rationally. Russia was not.

    And British support on the basis Germany might well attack Belgium, which they did, somehow makes Germany not the aggressor?

    Really Perry? I spent multiple LONG PARAGRAPHS explaining how and why Russia was the one that decided the conflict between Serbia and Austria-Hungary was going to turn into a Continent-wide war and instead of addressing my argument you respond with a complete red herring? I expect more at Samizdata.

  • Mr Ed

    ‘There’s enough material here for an entire conference.’

  • Shlomo Maistre

    ‘Les limites de ses connaissances sont celles de sa nature’

  • Shlomo Maistre

    I reread this looking for ONE FACTUAL STATEMENT made by Mr Ed, Niall Kilmartin or Perry de Havilland in this thread on the causes of WWI that is TRUE but i’m unable to find one. Can anyone point me to one?

    Their perspective seems to be that everyone knows Germany started WWI and only a crazy person thinks otherwise. What makes their view so interesting is that it’s wonderfully devoid of any factual basis.

    1. Niall said that Germany was the first to declare war, which is factually incorrect.
    2. Niall said that Germany was the first to abrogate a treaty, which is factually incorrect.
    3. Mr Ed is unable to point to a single factually incorrect statement in the German declaration of war on France after claiming that it was “a tissue of lies”.
    4. Mr Ed claimed that Germany had no justification for invading Belgium even though there were at least two justifications.

    There were other claims (I hesitate to call them assertions of fact, though) that bordered on wild conspiracy like the idea that Germany uniquely desired world domination.

    None of these three gentlemen seem able to dispute my analysis of the lead-up to WWI, which is fine but they can at least concede that part of my analysis seems on target.

    Instead they ignore my main points and respond with red herrings.

    Unlearning false historical narratives is not everyone.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Unlearning false historical narratives is not for* everyone.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Then-Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Sazonov in a letter to the Tsar just before WWI relating his conversation with then-Prime Minister of France Raymond Poincare:

    […] he [Poincare] confided to me [Sazanov] that while no written agreement between France and Great Britain was in existence, the General and Naval Staffs of the two States were nevertheless in close touch with one another, and were uninterruptedly and with entire openness consulting one another on matters of mutual interest. This continual exchange of ideas has led to a verbal agreement between the Governments of France and Great Britain, in which Great Britain had declared her readiness to come to the aid of France with her land and naval forces should the latter be attacked by Germany. Great Britain had promised to support France on land by a detachment 100,000 strong sent to the Belgian frontier, in order to ward off an invasion of the German army through Belgium, which was expected by the French General Staff.

    M Poincare begged me urgently to preserve absolute silence about this information and not to give the British ground for suspicion that we were informed of it.

    When we spoke of the mutual assistance which Great Britain and France contemplated rendering to one another at sea, M Poincare touched on the possibility of simultaneous cooperation between the Russian and British naval forces.

    Under our naval convention, France has undertaken the obligation to help us by diverting the Austrian fleet in the Mediterranean from us and preventing its penetration into the Black Sea. In Poincare’s view, the British naval forces could undertake the same role in the Baltic to which the French Fleet is unable to extend its activity.

    Source:
    https://archive.org/details/genesisofworldwa00harr

    From the same book:

    [Russian diplomat] Izvolski was, of course, only interested in the Balkans so far as Balkan disturbances might secure the Straits [for the Russians] and advance the Russian hegemony in this area. To Poincare this was wholly secondary. To him the Balkans were important as the one area over which a European war might be provoked and at the same time ensure the Russian attack upon German which would provide the only possible method for the French to recover Alsace-Lorraine. Hence, he determined to adopt a policy which would prevent Russia from gaining her ends without the European war indispensable to the French program. The Balkan situation must be so manipulated as to bring about a European war. The famous “Millerand conversation” amply confirms this interpretation of Poincare’s attitude during the Balkan crisis of 1912-13. […] On the 12th of September, 1912, Poincare told Izvolski that France would probably refuse to follow him in a war over the Balkans unless Germany should support Austria.

    […]

    Poincare’s insistence that he should have knowledge of and a veto upon Russian conduct in the Balkans lest it result in some form of exploitation of the situation which would advance Russian interests and not those of the French, is expressed in a telegram of Izvolski on January 30, 1913:

    Under present conditions and in view of the existing system of alliances and agreements, any isolated action in Balkan affairs on the part of one power or another may very quickly lead to a general European war. The French Government fully realizes and recognizes the special situation of the Russian Government, which has to take account of nationalist feeling and of all-powerful historic traditions […] Russia is therefore assured by France not only of armed assistance in the event of defined the Franco-Russian agreement, but also of the most decided and energetic support of all measures adopted by the Russian Government in the interest of those States. But precisely in order that France may be able at any moment to extend to Russia her friendly help as an Ally in the fullest degree the French government earnestly asks us to take no steps on our own account without a prior change of views with France, our Ally; for only this condition can the French Government successfully prepare public opinion in France for the necessity of participating in a war.

    Emphasis mine. So that’s the Prime Minister of France hoping to find the right conditions to prepare French public opinion for war with Germany over a port in Serbia. Interesting.

    Now it actually makes much more sense why Russia ordered a full mobilization.

    I retract my earlier comment that Russia was acting irrationally.

    Russia was acting in its self interest by intentionally starting a Continent-wide war by ordering full mobilization of its military forces because Russia knew the extent of cooperation between France and Britain and that France would only support Russia in a conflict with Austria-Hungary if Germany were drawn into such a conflict because France’s primary war aim was the recovery of Alsace-Lorraine, which could only be achieved by instigating a Continent-wide war. Russia wanted a few things, especially access to the Straits for ultimately a warm water port.

    Poincare, Prime Minister of France, famously stated (same source)

    I could discover no other reason why my generation should on living except for the hope of recovering our lost provinces.

    So now I have a better understanding why Russia, Serbia and France collectively told Austrian state officials who were investigating the murder or the heir to the throne of their Empire to go fuck themselves. They wanted war. A big one.

    I am certain that Perry de Havilland, Mr Ed and Niall Kilmartin will have been well aware of these primary source documents but nonetheless are possessed of excellent, well researched arguments to support their earlier contentions in response.

  • Mr Ed

    SM,

    You really are a right one. You blather on about the causes of WW1 as if you are some expert, yet you admit that you had never even read the German declaration of war on France, which would be quite a staggering omission for an ‘expert’. Now, I will not bother to point out anything other than the allegation that the French had dropped bombs near Nuremberg. If you had the slightest comprehension of the situation, amd the capabilities of the French air force (as it was) at the time, and the location of Nuremberg, a place that you might not have been to, you might just have found that the German claims in the declaration so self-evidently bogus as to ask yourself the question ‘Why were the Germans saying that?’ or ‘How could this have been true?”.

    However, it seems clear that you lack the inclination, or perhaps the capability, to take such steps, so I shall not bother to read your broadsides since you are firing blanks. You might find a better audience on Youtube.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    You blather on about the causes of WW1 as if you are some expert, yet you admit that you had never even read the German declaration of war on France, which would be quite a staggering omission for an ‘expert’.

    Never claimed to be an expert. I just happen to know more than you about the lead-up to WWI and how international relations works.

    Now, I will not bother to point out anything other than the allegation that the French had dropped bombs near Nuremberg. If you had the slightest comprehension of the situation, amd the capabilities of the French air force (as it was) at the time, and the location of Nuremberg, a place that you might not have been to, you might just have found that the German claims in the declaration so self-evidently bogus as to ask yourself the question ‘Why were the Germans saying that?’ or ‘How could this have been true?”.

    Yet Again: you are unable to identify anything in the German declaration of war that is false.

    Germany did not give its true reasons for war, but this is hardly an aberration: countries rarely give the real reason for why they go to war. There are obviously good reasons to not say the real reason you are going to war, though it may not be so obvious to you.

    There are sundry primary sources in old books from those intellectuals Niall Kilmartin holds in such low regard that demonstrate why it is that Germany went to war. You don’t care. All you care about is that Germany did not honestly say why it went to war with France. It’s juvenile.

    However, it seems clear that you lack the inclination, or perhaps the capability, to take such steps, so I shall not bother to read your broadsides since you are firing blanks. You might find a better audience on Youtube.

    How do you know I’m firing blanks if you don’t read the primary source documents (a couple of which I quote)?

  • Nicholas (Excentrality!) Gray

    What did the russian mean by thinking that Britain and France didn’t have treaties? I thought it was called the Entente Cordielle because there were treaties. Hadn’t Germany, ever since Bismarck, been trying to avoid being encircled? And didn’t Austria, whilst trying to look reasonable, give too little time for anything to stop Austria’s declaration of War? Whilst I agree that assassination is a crime, only the assassins should have been targeted, not the whole country of Serbia.
    And I think that a lot of countries wanted to go to war because they had no idea of the cost and time, and they thought it would be over before Christmas.

  • Shlomo Maistre

    If you had the slightest comprehension of the situation, amd the capabilities of the French air force (as it was) at the time, and the location of Nuremberg, a place that you might not have been to, you might just have found that the German claims in the declaration so self-evidently bogus as to ask yourself the question ‘Why were the Germans saying that?’”.

    I’ll note that ironically I have asked myself this exact question.

    Indeed, I have retyped quite a few LONG Paragraphs of primary sources and my own analysis to explain why in my view Germany used mild French violations of law as an EXCUSE to go to war. You are unable to dispute my analysis. And you have not offered your own analysis.

    In fact, you appear to be unable to understand why a country would lie about why it goes to war, which betrays a fundamental lack of understanding of international relations. Before you consult the primary source documentation I have provided in this thread, you should start with the following:

    Man, the State, and War by Waltz
    The Twenty Years’ Crisis, 1919-1939: An Introduction to the Study of International Relations by Carr

  • Shlomo Maistre

    Whilst I agree that assassination is a crime, only the assassins should have been targeted, not the whole country of Serbia.

    Absolutely – I agree.

    The problem is that when officials of the Austro-Hungarian Empire went to Serbia to investigate the actual people who committed or collaborated in the murder of the heir to the throne of their nation, they were told to fuck themselves.

    They were denied access to information, people, resources. There was no cooperation.

    Serbia’s political leadership had known about the Black Hand’s activities and they did nothing (or at least very very little) to stop them. In fact many senior elements of Serbia’s military were members of the Black Hand itself!