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The Blame Debate


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#16 applesandconverse

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 02:57 AM

HI!! umm i'm new to this forum but i was wondering if anyone would be soo kind to help me on my World War I debate. My assignment for my Contemporary World History class is to defend Austria-Hungary against Serbia in a debate this Friday---in conjunction with portraying Serbia as the most culpable for causing WWI.

I'm familar with historical background of both Serbia & A-H---everything from their Balkan ambitions to Pan-Slavism, Bosnian Crisis of '08, the Balkan Wars, their alliances with the greater euro powers (Russia & Germany)....and the assassination of Franz Ferdinand. But questions i can't seem to find a clear answer to are:

whether or not the Serbian Gov't knew of the assassination plan?

i know the assassins were all Bosnian by nationality but still...wasn't 60% of Bosnia serbs anyway? and wasn't the assassins assisted by Serbs military officials--which explains, in part, why the Serbian Minister Gruic didn't want to investigate the murder matter...because that would have implicated many high-ranking serbian officials. Thus, putting Serbia in a highly humiliating stance?? is my rationale logic to you?

and what's the problem between the Serbian Military and the Serbian Gov't. I've just read an ambiguous article that those two were two completely separate entities. That the Serb Gov't couldn't control its military. Does anyone know if that has a ring of truth to it?

and lastly...what was the point in murdering Franz Ferdinand? What benefit did they see in murdering him? because to me (and obvioulsy the Prime Minister of Serbia), killing Ferdinand was an outright cry for war.


i'm soooooo sorry this was soo long, but it would mean a lot if someone could clarify this for me, please. Thank-you soooo much! =)

#17 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 04 December 2007 - 06:51 PM

From what you say, you are clearly very knowledgeable about the issues and should have no difficulty with the debate.

As for your questions, as I understand it (which may be wrong, of course):

1. The Serbian government had little or no control over the Black Hand.
2. Members of the Serbian military were deeply implicated in the Black Hand.
3. The Serbian PM did warn Austria of a possible assassination attempt. However, as far as I am aware, he did nothing to try to stop it at his end.
4. The assassination of FF was a disaster, because FF was associated with elements in Austria which were more favourable towards Serb nationaliam; the assassins removed a friend, not a foe.
5. The assassination therefore had no sense - it was a mere assertion of Serbian nationalism by radical extremists.
6. Don't forget to stress that these 'boys' were not Austrian citizens - as many people try to represent them. Princip (and I think others) had trained as a terrorist with the Black Hand in Serbia.

Best of luck with the case!

#18 applesandconverse

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Posted 05 December 2007 - 01:07 AM

omygosh!! thank-you sooo much but i just have a few last questions to ask/clarify.

Austria-Hungary gave Serbia an ultimatum listing 10 demands along with a preamble. Serbia accepted all BUT one of them--demand # 6---which stated that Serbia had to hold a judicial proceeding with A-H's delegates present during the proceedings. Serbia rejected that because, i believe, they argued it compromised their sovereignty/constitution in which the accused had to be tried by a jury of their peers....

in your opinion, do you think it would be legit if i argued that since the Serb Gov't could barely control their military and the Black Hand---how could A-H possibly believe that Serbia could adequately carry out the proceedings and punish the assassins accordingly for their crime?? That A-H did not intended to take away their sovereignty but in actuality, A-H just wanted to ensure their security and to make sure that the assassins were justly punished?

umm...also i was talking with my history teacher today and he gave me a hint to look into all of Serbia's actions and comments towards A-H in the past. i was looking over my notes and i found Serbia's March Declaration written after the Bosnian Crisis addressed to A-H. i'm not sure if i understood it correctly, but in that Declaration....Serbia did promise to rid the country of any anti-A/H sentiments and/or anti-A/H groups (such as the Black Hand) and that they promised to "be on good neighborly terms" with A-H, right? so by definition...the July Crisis would have violated that and so did the Black Hand---because the Black Hand began gaining momentum after the Bosnian Crisis.

also...just wondering if it's also legit that i partially point the finger at russia for encouraging Serbia for the starting the war. I was thinking that maybe i can argue that A-H had no intention of having a general war--but a local war with serbia ONLY

....and if serbia hadn't asked russia for support, in which russia responded with partial mobilization TOWARDS A-H because they thought that if war was directed towards Serbia, it would also be directed towards them.....

then Germany took Russia's mobilization in fear because they saw it as Russia's plan to attack them...and responded to that with full mobilization...and from there, the dice began to roll...

So maybe if Serbia dealt with the matter with A-H only and not ask for support from Russia...WWI might have been delayed? but then again...the Serbian team might bring up Germany's blank cheque to A-H--giving them morale and unconditional support......

once again...sorry!! i tend to write novels when i'm in my train of thought!! thanks soo much for the help, though! i really appreciate it!

#19 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 09 December 2007 - 12:36 AM

omygosh!! thank-you sooo much but i just have a few last questions to ask/clarify.

Austria-Hungary gave Serbia an ultimatum listing 10 demands along with a preamble. Serbia accepted all BUT one of them--demand # 6---which stated that Serbia had to hold a judicial proceeding with A-H's delegates present during the proceedings. Serbia rejected that because, i believe, they argued it compromised their sovereignty/constitution in which the accused had to be tried by a jury of their peers....

That's how I thought it was too.

in your opinion, do you think it would be legit if i argued that since the Serb Gov't could barely control their military and the Black Hand---how could A-H possibly believe that Serbia could adequately carry out the proceedings and punish the assassins accordingly for their crime?? That A-H did not intended to take away their sovereignty but in actuality, A-H just wanted to ensure their security and to make sure that the assassins were justly punished?

I am sure that that is exactly how the A-H government DID argue.

umm...also i was talking with my history teacher today and he gave me a hint to look into all of Serbia's actions and comments towards A-H in the past. i was looking over my notes and i found Serbia's March Declaration written after the Bosnian Crisis addressed to A-H. i'm not sure if i understood it correctly, but in that Declaration....Serbia did promise to rid the country of any anti-A/H sentiments and/or anti-A/H groups (such as the Black Hand) and that they promised to "be on good neighborly terms" with A-H, right? so by definition...the July Crisis would have violated that and so did the Black Hand---because the Black Hand began gaining momentum after the Bosnian Crisis.

That would be a VERY clever twist - turn it back upon Serbia again!

also...just wondering if it's also legit that i partially point the finger at russia for encouraging Serbia for the starting the war. I was thinking that maybe i can argue that A-H had no intention of having a general war--but a local war with serbia ONLY

Again, that's exactly what A-H DID want.

....and if serbia hadn't asked russia for support, in which russia responded with partial mobilization TOWARDS A-H because they thought that if war was directed towards Serbia, it would also be directed towards them.....

then Germany took Russia's mobilization in fear because they saw it as Russia's plan to attack them...and responded to that with full mobilization...and from there, the dice began to roll...

This is all fair enough stuff, but isn't it getting away rather from your Serbia's-to-blame argument?

So maybe if Serbia dealt with the matter with A-H only and not ask for support from Russia...WWI might have been delayed? but then again...the Serbian team might bring up Germany's blank cheque to A-H--giving them morale and unconditional support......

But the 'blank cheque' would not have been necessary if Serbian-backed assassins hadn't murdered the heir to the throne of A-H!!!

once again...sorry!! i tend to write novels when i'm in my train of thought!! thanks soo much for the help, though! i really appreciate it!

All in all, it sound as though you've put together a GREAT argument - let us know how it goes.

#20 applesandconverse

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 01:12 AM

:lol:

it went GREAT!!! thanks for all your help!!!

...as to who won?? =) Austria-Hungary!!! lol--yeah!!!
still...The Serbian wasn't off much. They were realllllly smart in the fact that they used pity a lot in their closing statement LOL

THANKS A MILLION, though!!!!!!

#21 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 10 December 2007 - 01:19 AM

Hoorah!! :)

And REALLY good, because think A-H is the HARDEST role of all to play - if we weren't biased, it would be very easy to make A-H look as guilty as (to quote Blackadder) a puppy by a pile of poo.
So well done you.

#22 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 15 February 2008 - 10:50 PM

"It was Britain, in 1905, who put France up to contest Algericas" could you explain more about the contest Algericas. I can't find it on the internet and I need proof that Britain is to blame for that and causing WW1.

Algericas was the Conference where Britain and France confronted Germany over the 1st Moroccan Crisis - try http://www.johndclar...causes_WWI3.htm
What my page there doesn't tell you is that, at first, France was in a mood to let Germany get away with it - they were too scared to confront Germany. But the British promised to support them if they confronted Germany, and bullied France into causing a crisis.

Also, how did Britain virtually invent militarism,nationalism....

The British were building their Empire long before Germany was even thought of as maybe being one day a nation (in 1870). The British wanted a navy equal to everybody else's put together, and the British had been stomping over the world thinking they were better than everybody else for decades - find out about Palmerston: Civis Britannicus Sum, Opium Wars and 'gunboat diplomacy'.

I could also use information on how Germany IS NOT to blame. In our class I'm defending Austria-Hungary and they are our allies so I have to defend them as well.

It's very easy to defend Germany. The murder of FF by a Bosnian Serb (pro-Russian) was the event which started the war, and the blatant Russian mobilisation (against all your warnings and threats) along your border was the event which forced Germany to implement the Schlieffen Plan. If Russia hadn't mobilised, there would have been no need for Germany to get involved because A-H was easily beating Serbia in the small localised war which (surely justifiably) followed FF's murder.

People may tell you that:
1. Germany gave A-H a 'blank cheque'. It is a phrase bandied about by anti-Germans to imply that the Germans somehow promised to support A-H whatever A-H did, and that they thereby encouraged A-H to 'go too far', because - again by implication - Germany was busting for a war and deep-down wanted A-H to provoke one.
NONSENSE! The Germans of the time never talked about a 'blank cheque' - that is just a phrase made up by historians.
First - READ the actual telegram from Bethmann Hollweg to the Austrian Emperor Joseph II:

Finally, as far as concerns Serbia, His Majesty, of course, cannot interfere in the dispute now going on between Austria-Hungary and that country, as it is a matter not within his competence.
The Emperor Francis Joseph may, however, rest assured that His Majesty will faithfully stand by Austria-Hungary, as is required by the obligations of his alliance and of his ancient friendship.

Now when I read this, I don't see any blank cheque AT ALL! Instead, I see the Germans saying that they 'cannot interfere' with the Serbia problem - leaving it to A-H, and simply (should the Russians get involved) promising, not to stand by A-H whatever, but to stand by A-H as required by the terms of their alliance - ie a limited support.
2. German ministers were 'talking war'.
Again, NONSENSE! EVERYBODY was 'talking war' in those days - compare the British novels of the time imagining German invasions of Britain, and the British mob shouting 'We want eight and we won't wait'. What is amazing is, not that historians have been able to find a couple of statements by Germans saying: 'There's going to be a war and we can win it', but that historians have only been able to find a couple of examples of Germans talking war. It would be easy to find DOZENS of British examples.


Does that help?

#23 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 19 February 2008 - 08:56 AM

I am going to check out the Palmerston: Civis Britannicus.. stuff and maybe get back to you. :D

That would be great
Try this link, page 2: http://www.hmswarrio...nd_politics.pdf.
I think the main thing to realise that this was in 1850 - 61 years before so-called German militarism and the Panther incident. The Kaiser was correct; all Germany wanted to do was what Britain had been doing for years...

#24 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 20 February 2008 - 10:15 AM

Back again! This time i would like to know why Austria-Hungary is innocent. Heres what i have so far:
-the assassination of Franz Ferdinand was a personal attack to AH and they had justification to go to war
-The ultimatum was reasonable(then I have reasons)
-Serbia's March Declaration of 1909 was not carried out (but that would be more of a blame i supose)
-because Russia mobilized AH had no choice

And that's actually all I have. If there is any obviouse reasons I am missing could you please inform me soon. My debate is on Friday. Thankyou in advance. I really appreciate it!

This is a really good list. 1. You might mention that Serbia had been causing trouble for decades - mention the Pig War. and the Black Hand. Which other of the Great Powers lives next to a country which is continually trying to assassinate their leaders?
2. I would point out that FF was not just the heir to the throne. In an autocracy, he was heir to the government; killing him was akin to Al Quaeda murdering, not Prince Charles, but the Prime Minister as well.
3. Look what happened when Al Quaeda destroyed the two towers - Afrghanistan and Iraq. A world superpower cannot just stand by ad let things like the assassination of FF go unpunished. AH HAD to punish Serbia, or lose all international credibility.
4. Stress how careful you were - how you did not just rush in and eclare war - how you tried to talk. You tried all any nation could be expected in the circumstances to do to avoid war.
5. But in its rejection of point 6, Serbia showed that they were not prepared to address the issue of international terrorism. All this nonsense about 'the only point Serbia rejected', and 'against its sovereignthy' is nonsense. Point 6 was the only point that really mattered - the right of AH to go in pursuit of the terrorists and wipe them out; and Serbia would not agree ... to reect Point 6 was, in effect, ttamount to saying that they approved of the terrorists, and would continue to allow the terrorists to function on Serbian soil.

I would also like to know more reasons on why Russia is to blame. Would them supporting slavic nationalism in Ah be a reason to push Serbia into war?

You are right about Russia as well.
1. the belief that they would get Russian support was what caused Serbia to be bellicose throughout - the younger brother bullying people because he knows that his big brother will get them if they protest.
2.Ulitmately, the thing that changed this from a small spat in the Balkans to a world war was Russian mobilisation.

#25 Cyfer

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Posted 20 January 2010 - 10:07 PM

Wow truly a great topic with truck loads of information.

I'm trying to get my history teacher to create a history debate club where we can debate on various topics, and this would truly be one to debate!

#26 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 24 March 2010 - 11:06 PM

Recently I received this request from a pupil in America:

I am a high school student in Washington, Pennsylvania. In my history class, we have carried out a massive research project and are debating the causes of WWI. As I primary source, I was wondering if you could provide me with any information to help me defend my country, France.

How can Plan XVII be supported? Is it responsible for the onset of war?

Why was the Moroccan Crisis significant? Should France be held responsible for it and causing the war?

I would greatly appreciate it if you could answer my questions or provide other information/sources to help me with my project.

It is really wuite easy to defend France:
1. Germany attacked France, what is more going through neutral Belgium
2. Germany appears to have done so after pretending that French planes had violated German air-space (though I have yet to fully substantiate this nfact)
3. Yes it is true that the French hated the germans, but hadn't the Germans humilated France in 1870, and take Alsace-Lorraine. That's a bit like Mexico taking Texas - wouldn;t it be natural for Americans to want Texas back?

4. Yes it is true that, like every country, France did have a military plan prepared in case there was a war. Not to do so would have been negligent! But actually, Plan XVII - which entailed military action in the Alsace Lorraine area - turned out to be absolutely irrelevant because the German Army was already driving hard into France through belgium hundreds of miles away.
There is perhaps a small issue to be answered. Originally, the French Plan XIV (the forerunner of Plan XVII) had been wholly a plan of defence against aggression. Plan XVII, by contrast, WAS a plan of attack, and so it MIGHT be argued that it was part of the increasing atmosphere of militarisation and aggression which sparked the outbreak of war.
However, you would argue here that Plan XVII was NOT pre-emptive - it was to be implemenedt ONLY if germany declared war on France ... so it was 'defensive' in the sense that the best form of defence is attack.
It cannot under any circumstances be suggested that Plan XVII CAUSED the war.

5. The Moroccan crisis might be cited as an example of France causing one of the troubles which lead up to the war. However, to do so would be totally unfair.
EVERYBODY knew that France intended to take over morocco - France had substantial business, military and administartive invovlement in the country already by 1905, and had signed agreements with Italy and Spain about the matter.
The Moroccan crisis was entirely of germany's making - in was whipped up by germany to try to break the Anglo-French Entente of 1904. And it was again whipped up by germany in 1911, when germany broke the Algeciras Agreement of 1905.
Now one of your opponents might argue that France 'fought back' in the two crisis, by getting Britain and russia to face germany down. But, apart from arguing that France had little alternative,you could argue that the alternative (to give way to germany, was tried in the 1930s (when it was called appeasement) and it didn't stop war then.
Indeed, by contrast, the Moroccan crisis PROVES that standing up to germany STOPPED a war .. because no war rboke out in 1905 or 1911! I would MOCK your opponents' claims that France caused a war by standing up to germany in the two Moroccan crises - the FACT of history is that France STOPPED a war in 1905 and 1911. And how do we know that - because war didn;t break out until 1914!

#27 historygeek

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 02:03 PM

Hi I am new to this forum but i was wondering if anyone could please help
I am currently preparing for a debate regarding the responsibility of WW1
I am representing Serbia and I need points on who to blame for WW1
mostly Austria Hungary and Germany would be great

Also I am especially in need of points on how Serbia would be attacked by other countries regarding Serbia being the cause of the war
and how I would be able to counterattack those points
thanks:)

#28 Mr. D. Bryant

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Posted 25 March 2010 - 02:41 PM

Hi I am new to this forum but i was wondering if anyone could please help
I am currently preparing for a debate regarding the responsibility of WW1
I am representing Serbia and I need points on who to blame for WW1
mostly Austria Hungary and Germany would be great

Also I am especially in need of points on how Serbia would be attacked by other countries regarding Serbia being the cause of the war
and how I would be able to counterattack those points
thanks:)


I am glad to see that you have found the thread to which I directed you in a previous answer. Have you read this thread from the beginning? There is definitely some material which should be of use to you.

#29 historygeek

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 04:01 PM

thanks for directing me here.bt i was stil wondering
bcz im representing the Serbians
anyone knw any other points other countries would use against me?
besides the assassination. and how would i counter these points?
btw can anyone please give more points in regard to the defense of Serbia against the assasination?
anyhelp would be appreciated thanks:)

#30 MrJohnDClare

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Posted 27 March 2010 - 04:23 PM

Sorry to be tough on you, but you can do this yourself.

If you read this thread carefully (especially from this post onwards) you will find:

1. Advice given to Serbia on how to defend itself (esp over the assassination).
2. Advice given to A-H on what to accuse Serbia of.

THESE are the answers to your questions - you just need to read the posts.




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