Winston Churchill on the June 28-July 1914 Crisis
[laptop-built, view on narrow browser window]

British Foreign Secretary Sir Edward Grey (l), Winston Churchill, Lord of the
Admiralty (c), the Marquess of Crewe, leader of the House of Lords 1908-1916. (r)

"Were we after all to achieve world security and universal peace by a marvellous system of combinations in equipoise and of armaments in equation, of checks and counter-checks on violent action ever more complex and more delicate?

"Would Europe thus marshalled, thus grouped, thus related, unite into one universal and glorious organism capable of receiving and enjoying in undreamed of abundance the bounty which nature and science stood hand in hand to give?"
Winston Churchill: The World Crisis (1923) at 198, 199.

"Have we not already seen enough of the fallacy and extravagance of those idle theories which have amused us with promises of an exemption from the imperfections, weaknesses and evils incident to society in every shape?

"Is it not time to awake from the deceitful dream of a golden age..." [italics added]
Alexander Hamilton: The Federalist #6: The Independent Journal, November 14, 1787.

Home References
Page 2: Foreign Secretary Edward Grey: Balkans Crisis Arbitration 1903-1914
1914: A general willingness to believe "war was something that was not going to happen in Europe."
Page 3: "Caught Looking": Physical Working Models
of European/British Response to June 28-July 1914 Crisis

Historians on Causes of World War I
Foreign Secretary Edward Grey: Delayed Telegrams June-July 1914
Foreign Secretary Edward Grey on the June 28-July 1914 Crisis
June 28-July 1914: The Tactic of Timidity
Ambiguous Defensive/Offensive Military Preparations
June 29th-July 1914, Wagons-Lits to the French Riviera
Switzerland: Europe's Strongest Neutral Armed-Power and the June 28-July 1914 Balkans Crisis

Post-June 28-July 1914/WWI:
July 16, 1945: Trinity
Effects of Atomic Detonations: Hiroshima, Nagasaki
Japan: Feasibility of Atomic Demonstration-Test in 1945
USAF Boeing B-52 Stratofortress

  • Intro:

Winston Churchill is famous for mobilizing Britain to stop Hitler. The following peers at Mr. Churchill's activities from an earlier time, starting Day-1, June 28th of the July 1914 Crisis that ignited WWI.

Dipping into the Lord of the Admiralty's memoirs, the first point of curiosity is that even though titled "The World Crisis", Mr. Churchill mysteriously pulls the curtain shut by blacking out the first 4 weeks of the actual 5-week-long June 28-July 1914 political meltdown that ignited WWI.

The Lord of the Admiralty seemed more interested in writing about WWI than the intense political crisis that ignited it.

So for June 28, 1914, Mr. Churchill has 1 entry noting the regicide at Sarajevo, and starting that evening, June 28th, in a deft maneuver (possibly reminiscent of Harry Houdini) Mr. Churchill promptly installs a month-long total BLACKOUT of everything related to Sarajevo, including blacking out everything said or done by Vienna, Austria-Hungary, Serbia, Russia, Germany and France until July 25, 1914.

Attempting to install a total blackout of the all-important first 4-weeks of the 5-week crisis that booted up WWI sort of defies human imagination. At 16:00 on June 28th the foreign secretary Edward Grey received a telegram sent by British Vice-Counsel J. F. Jones in Serajevo on the assassination - with more telegrams arriving at 18:00, 21:00 & 21:23 and more the next day.

So the Lord of the Admiralty should have been notified by that evening. What exactly did Mr. Churchill do the evening of June 28th and each and every day up until July 25th, 1914?

Again, as stated on the homepage, "...it is here that a problem arises." Refusing to pay the slightest attention to crises until only AFTER they become large is precisely what the famous political analyst Niccolo Machiavelli repeatedly warned gov't rulers to avoid at all costs.

  • Nicollo Machiavelli: The Prince:

On affairs of state (or medical conditions), Machiavelli wrote:

"... in the beginning of the malady it is easy to cure but difficult to detect, but in the course of time, not having been either detected or treated in the beginning, it becomes easy to detect but difficult to cure.

"...what all prudent princes ought to do, who have to regard not only present troubles, but also future ones, for which they must prepare with every energy, because, when foreseen, it is easy to remedy them; but if you wait until they approach, the medicine is no longer in time because the malady has become incurable...

"Thus it happens in affairs of state, for when the evils that arise have been foreseen (which it is only given to a wise man to see), they can be quickly redressed, but when, through not having been foreseen, they have been permitted to grow in a way that every one can see them, there is no longer a remedy."[italics added](1)

According to Machiavelli, the first 4 weeks of a 5-week-long political crisis that spilled into war would be ALL-IMPORTANT. Yet examining the Lord of the Admiralty's text, it's almost as if he had never heard of Machiavelli. How curious.

  • Full Chronologies In All Disaster Investigations:

Examining the text, the Lord of the Admiralty seems anxious to provide much detail up until June 28, 1914. Then a blank until July 25th. Then after July 25 appears a tsunami of excruciating detail. Unfortunately, excitedly writing about WWI details will not even begin to help pull apart what happened from June 28-July 25th. The otherwise admittedly brilliant Mr. Churchill really should have known that full day-by-day chronologies are required to pull apart all crises that lead to disaster.

There are NO EXCEPTIONS to this rule.

Detailed investigations of aviation/jetliner crashes deliver overwhelming proof of this point.

In other words, if instead of a 3.5-5-week-long Balkans Crisis, it had been 9-minutes of confusion in the cockpit of a jetliner before it crashed, Mr.Churchill's weird maneuver might be analogous to blacking out ≈ 80% of the flight recorder data, Air Traffic Control data, tower-pilot conversations, altimeter data, weather data, instrument data etc. while still expecting his opinion to contribute to an accurate investigation of the exact causes of the crash.

[above) KAL 801 6Ag1977: Selected FAA Altimeter and Flight Recorder Data]

For example, Korean Airlines Flight 801 experienced what in the aviation industry is called a CFIT [Controlled-Flight-Into-Terrain], August 6, 1977. The jetliner inadvertently struck the ground before the runway on Guam w/o the pilots fully aware of what was happening.

Selected FAA altitude and flight recorder data is here.   The NTSB's Aircraft Accident Report's full CVR (cockpit voice recording) of KA 801 is at Appendix B, at 180. Now suppose - for whatever reason - ≈ 80% of all flight recorder data, ATC data, tower radar data, altitude and weather data, etc. had been blacked out.

"'You consider that to be important?' he asked.
'Exceedingly so.'
'Is there any point to which you would wish to draw my attention?'
'To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.'
'The dog did nothing in the night-time."
'That was the curious incident,' remarked Sherlock Holmes." (2)
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  • The Lord of the Admiralty on the June 28-July 1914 Balkans Crisis:

The Lord of the Admiralty (1911-1915) offers his view of the June 28-July 1914 Crisis:

"At the end of June the simultaneous British naval visits to Kronstadt and Kiel took place...

"Undue curiosity in technical matters was banned by mutual agreement. There were races, there were banquets, there were speeches. There was sunshine, there was the Emperor. Officers and men fraternised and entertained each other afloat and ashore. Together they strolled arm in arm through the hospitable town, or dined with all good will in mess and ward-room.

"In the midst of these festivities, on the 28th June, arrived the news of the murder of the Archduke ... at Sarajevo."(4)

48 hours later the local Balkans Crisis had already expanded by dragging in at least one of the Great Powers:

"...on 30 June, 2 days after the Sarajevo incident, the [Russian] General Staff, under pressure from Tsar Nicholas II, approved the dispatch of 120,000 three-line rifles, with 120 million rounds, to Serbia."[italics added](3)
Sean McMeekin

For the next day, from July 1st onwards, Mr. Churchill delivers a rather gushing view of the European situation:

"Like many others, I often summon up in my memory the impression of those July days. The world on the verge of its catastrophe was very brilliant. Nations and Empires crowned with princes and potentates rose majestically on every side, lapped in the accumulated treasures of the long peace.

"All were fitted and fastened — it seemed securely — into an immense cantilever. The two mighty European systems faced each other glittering and clanking in their panoply, but with a tranquil gaze.

[(right) Salvador Dali - Caravan]

"A polite, discreet, pacific, and on the whole sincere diplomacy spread its web of connections over both.

"A sentence in a dispatch, an observation by an ambassador, a cryptic phrase in a Parliament seemed sufficient to adjust from day to day the balance of the prodigious structure. Words counted, and even whispers. A nod could be made to tell.

"Were we after all to achieve world security and universal peace by a marvellous system of combinations in equipoise and of armaments in equation, of checks and counter-checks on violent action ever more complex and more delicate?

"Would Europe thus marshalled, thus grouped, thus related, unite into one universal and glorious organism capable of receiving and enjoying in undreamed of abundance the bounty which nature and science stood hand in hand to give? The old world in its sunset was fair to see."(5)

While The Lord of the Admiralty was observing the Germans and the British as they "strolled arm in arm through the hospitable town, or dined with all good will...", the Russian gov't was busy sending 120,000 rifles and 120 million rounds of ammunition to Serbia to defend themselves from an Austrian attack.

If 1914-1918 was known as the "Great War," then the 3.5 weeks starting June 28th through most of July 1914 merits the title of the "Great Fantasy."

Churchill's weirdly indulgent heavenly dream of clanking, patently unstable alliances gushing forth "world security and universal peace" interfered with his normally piercing intellect.

Possibly his over-active peace-loving imagination preventing him from promptly identifying the June 28 Balkan Crisis as quite dangerous for the peace of Europe because EACH OFFENDED PARTY had a close, gigantic industrial-strength military ally with known radical military/political elements.

[(right) German Emperor Wilhelm II, Russian Tzar Nicholas II]

It is simply mind-boggling Mr. Churchill failed to instantly grasp such an elementary point. A newspaper-reading British teenager could have figured it out. In fact Mr. Churchill really should have known about the "what if Russia backs Serbia and Germany backs Austria" problem by 1908 at the latest, when Russia was forced to back down after Austria-Hungary annexed Bosnia-Herzegovina.

It also defies normal military prudence that the Lord of the Admiralty seemed to fail to take into account a degree of weakness exhibited by German Kaiser Wilhelm and Russian Tzar Nicholas II.

Even foreign secretary Edward Grey fully admitted - although after WWI was over - that in an intense crisis both Russian and German leaders might be swayed into taking rash military action (which was what happened).

  • The Firing of the Principal Architect of the European Peace, Otto von Bismarck:

The capital point here is Mr. Churchill had years, nay, decades of advance warning. Six years earlier the German Kaiser had given a bizarre interview to the Daily Telegraph, in which he called the British mad, mad as "March hares."

The Daily Telegraph later quoted von Bismarck on the Kaiser: "'He is like a balloon', he said. 'If you don't hold the string, you never know where he'll be off to.'"

Continuing, the Telegraph called it "...one of the greatest diplomatic blunders of the 20th century. The Kaiser gave an indiscreet interview to The Daily Telegraph on German foreign policy which was published on Oct 28, 1908, and sparked a huge row between Britain and Germany. It led to two days of heated debate in the Reichstag and contributed to the demise of the prime minister of the day."(6)

__________________________

And what was 10,000x worse, the Kaiser had previously fired none other than the Principal Architect of the European Peace, Otto von Bismarck in 1890. That firing should literally have gone off like a 138dB air-raid siren [at 1:00] inside Whitehall. It's not clear how much bigger OR LOUDER a warning could have been set off in Whitehall.

And the reaction from the British Parliment? Why it was like trying to hear an ant pee on cotton a mile away:

For days and weeks after the firing of the Architect of the European Peace, the British Empire feverishly buried itself in domestic duties: "POSTMEN'S CHRISTMAS BOXES."(7), "BELFAST LINEN LAPPERS FRIENDLY SOCIETY."(8), and "COST OF HALF-PENNY STAMPS AND POSTCARDS.."(9.)[Full capitalization in originals].

For the future peace of Europe, it must have been like trying to wake a baby in a crib.

Examine Parliment's post-March 18, 1890 domestic naval-gazing. It might be asked who in the British gov't was holding sober discussions about Kaiser Wilhelm II's suicidal firing of the Architect of the European Peace?

Parliment's alarming domestic retreat is yet more dismaying evidence as to how on Earth it was possible the June 28, 1914 Balkans Crisis could have found all the time it needed to expand and drag all the Great Powers into WWI. No doubt a similar response to Bismarck's firing could be found in other European parliments.

von Bismarck worked tirelessly to both unify Germany and stabilise all Europe. Towards that end, Bismarck also learned French, Italian, Russian and Polish. 5 European languages. The firing of the German gov't official who engineered the peace of Europe for over 2 decades and kept Germany out of the Balkans wars - can a more consequentially destructive decision be imagined?

The capital point here is von Bismarck's wholly alarming firing should have forever destroyed every adolescent fantasy in the mind of the Lord of the Admiralty as to any possibility of clanking, unstable heavily-armed ententes/alliances miraculously ushering in "world security and universal peace."

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The American Founding Fathers had acquired the exorbitantly violent 1,000-year-old history of Europe/Britain and taken the charming-but-berserk fantasy that heavily-armed commercial countries (each one practically sitting in each other's laps) could by "forming alliances" usher in "world security and universal peace" and run them though a paper shredder. And burnt the remains.

Somehow it never dawned on the Lord of the Admiralty, whose greatest empire on Earth had made war on America twice - (and lost both times) - to look and see what else besides an evident superior warfighting tenacity the Americans might possess that Europeans/British didn't know about.

Even Scotland Yard is aware that the world's strongest empire confidently making war - and losing twice - against a tiny opponent is what you call "a clue."

And because Mr. Churchill and other European/British gov't leaders and their officials dismissed the Americans' dire warnings about relying on adolescent fantasies of commercial countries ushering in "world security and universal peace" - look at the consequences: today the govt's of Europe/Britain have been backed into a tiny corner, pressed to figure out how to come to terms with an opponent millions and millions of times more formidable than an often unstable, gunpowder-armed Kaiser Wilhelm II, Prussia and a militant von Moltke.

  • 1914 German Kaiser Wilhelm vs. Atomic/Ballistic-Missile-Armed Russian President VV Putin:

Note what instantly followed Churchill's July 1914 weird Fentanyl-strength science fiction fantasy: catastrophe after catastrophe after catastrophe.

"It is now conventional wisdom that the First World War and its senseless, unimaginable slaughter was the Ur-catastrophe of the last century. The war radicalized Europe; without it, there would have been no Bolshevism and no Fascism."(10)[italics added]
Fritz Stern

To this could be added the unravelling of the Middle East and the Cold War.

Scroll forward just 4 decades and the former Lord of the Admiralty seemed to have finally given up his fantasy of "... achiev[ing] world security and universal peace by a marvellous system of combinations in equipoise and of armaments in equation...":

"There is an immense gulf between the atomic and the hydrogen bomb. The atomic bomb, with all its terrors, did not carry us outside the scope of human control or manageable events in thought or action, in peace or war.

But when Mr. Sterling Cole, the Chairman of the United States Congressional Committee, gave out a year ago-17th February, 1954 the first comprehensive review of the hydrogen bomb, the entire foundation of human affairs was revolutionized, and mankind placed in a situation both measureless and laden with doom."[italics added](11)
Winston Churchill: Hansard: Defence Through Deterrents, March 1, 1955.

If the Lord of the Admiralty thinks WWI's Europe/Britain's Maxim machine-gun/heavy artillery mass slaughter was not already "outside the scope of human control or manageable events in thought or action" he's fooling nobody. WWI's killing of 15,000,000 delivered undeniable proof to the whole world that trusting Europe/Britain to manage even gunpowder was literally a suicide mission:

"Europe was on the verge of suicide.
Humanity fell into a terrible hell."(12)
French President Emmanuel Macron
Armistice Centenary, 2018.

2 decades later, WWII proved this exact point again. Suicidal Europe/Britain again proved most unwilling or incapable of managing a 9th Century technology (gunpowder).

Moreover, Mr. Churchill had grossly under-estimated the destructiveness of even atomic weapons:

Hiroshima ≈ 15 kilotons, Nagasaki ≈ 20 kilotons:
Here.
And here.
And here.
And here: "In the following waves [after the initial blast] people's bodies were terribly squeezed, then their internal organs ruptured. Then the blast blew the broken bodies at 500 to 1,000 miles per hour through the flaming, rubble-filled air. Practically everybody within a radius of 6,500 feet was killed or seriously injured and all buildings crushed or disemboweled."(13)
LIFE magazine: Atom Bomb Effects: Hiroshima and Nagasaki, photos from the Ruins, March 11, 1946.

"Hiroshima does not look like a bombed city. It looks as if a monster steamroller had passed over it and squashed it out of existence.

"In this first testing ground of the atomic bomb I have seen the most terrible and frightening desolation in four years of war... If you could see what is left of Hiroshima you would think that London had not been touched by bombs.

"When you arrive in Hiroshima you can look around and for 25, perhaps 30, square miles you can hardly see a building... This in a city which at the start of the war had a population of 310,000.

"Of thousands of others, nearer the centre of the explosion, there was no trace. They vanished. The theory in Hiroshima is that the atomic heat was so great that they burned instantly to ashes – except that there were no ashes."(14)
Wilfred Burchett, first western journalist to visit Hiroshima after the detonation.

At 23KT, Operations Crossroads 1946 Baker Shot:

"At its greatest extent, the water column was 2000 feet (600 m) across, with walls 300 feet (100 m) thick, and 6000 feet (2 km) tall, holding a million tons of water."

[(right) Baker Shot]

"[1,000 feet from the detonation the] first wave [was] 94 feet high..."

"Waves 6 feet high were seen 22,000 feet (7 km) from the explosion."[italics added](15)

Almost a quarter of a thousand US Navy and captured foreign ships contributed to Operation Crossroads, plus another 90 target ships for the test:

"...with literally ships standing up on end. It was mind bending."(16)

Atomic energy is about 1,000,000x more destructive than gunpowder.

Let that sink in. Atomics: about 1,000,000x more destructive than gunpowder.

Fact: if in WWI Germany had atomic weapons, the London bombing would have been decisive and almost certainly knocked Britain out of the war. Even if thermonuclear devices had never been invented, considering England's doll-house-scale geography, European countries stockpiling even quite modest numbers of atomic devices would have easily vaporized Britain's "splendid isolation", as well as wiping out the geographical security of every other country in Europe.

Due to a complete collapse of political will to even try and arbitrate a 1905-1914 agreement with Germany's Kaiser Wilhelm II, scroll forward a short number of decades and the British gov't now has to face an opponent literally many orders of magnitude more dangerous than bombastic 1914 German Kaiser Wilhelm & a militant Prussia armed with a 9th century (gunpowder) technology:

"My apprehension was entirely as to what the unknown future had in store for us if science neutralised the efficiency of our warships...

"But the rapid march of scientific discovery, constantly revealing the existence of hitherto unsuspected forces, which were capable of the most formidable utilisation for service and disservice to mankind, made me feel that it was quite within the realm of possibility that one day there might be an invention which would neutralise our superiority, and reduce us to equality with, if not inferiority to, our neighbours.

"Inventions which portended such a menace had already appeared. Whether the peril would come from the air or from under the waters, I knew not; but no one could feel assured that such possibilities were altogether out of the reckoning. In such an event our position would be one of complete helplessness in the face of an invader with a powerful army."(17)
David Lloyd George, former British Chancellor of the Exchequer 1908-1916, later British Prime Minister]
Maps

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  • von Bismarck on the Balance of Power on the Eurasian Continent:

von Bismarck had warned that to maintain the peace of Europe it was vitally important to keep two great land powers of Germany and Russia equally balanced. Bismarck implied any attempt to weaken one would only dangerously enbolden the other.

Risking a war with Germany meant that if Germany lost, it was only a matter of time before the entire European Continent would be exposed to the Russian Steamroller. If Germany won, that is, if the Allied Powers had lost WWI, the entire European Continent and the island kingdom of Britain would be exposed to the German War Machine.

This was Bismarck's point. The two land powers of Russia and Germany had to be militarily balanced. Risking a war with Germany, and winning it, meant that Europe and Britain would sooner or later have to face the Russian Steamroller. And after the Allied Powers fought and "won" two World Wars against Germany, that's exactly what happened. The German-Russian balance of power that Bismarck worked so hard to balance was destroyed. The allies had unwittingly succeeded in making Russia the single strongest land-power on the Eurasian continent.

[(right) von Bismarck]

So for WWI analysts who strenously insist it would have been too difficult for 1905-1914 Britain to come to the table and settle it's differences with gunpowder Kaiser Wilhelm and the militant von Moltke, it's incumbent upon those enthusiastic and visionary WWI history experts to come forward and present their detailed plans showing how Britain can instead come to the table today and settle its major policy differences with an atomic/ballistic-missile-armed Russia.

And just as the British Empire's DOA reaction to the suicidal firing of the Architect of the European Peace, you can bet that'll be like trying to hear an ant pee on cotton a mile away.

__________________________

  • June 28-July 1914 the Single Most Important Political Month In the History of All Europe/Britain:

Possibly the Lord of the Admiralty's July 1914 fantasy of the possibility of ententes/alliances forming "world security and universal peace" peace was borne of a completely understandable desire to rid his country and Europe of its 1,000 year history of almost continuous disagreements, fighting and wars.

Unfortunately, trying to erase a 1,000 year history of almost endless fighting and wars by pushing the fantasy of heavily-armed "clanking" alliances inadvertently gave an all-important 3.5-4-week window-of-time for radical political/military elements in Europe to wrest the June 28-July 1914 Balkans Crisis free from it's local mooring and into a wider crisis, which quickly dragged in all the Great Powers.

June 28-July 1914 were the most important political 4 weeks in all Europe/Britain. Starting the evening of June 28, 1914, where was Mr. Churchill? What exactly was he doing each day? Is it really asking too much to suppose the very last thing that the then-world's most stable empire needed was yet another otherwise brilliant gov't official - circa June 28th 1914 - veering straight off the reservation and retreating into hopeless private adolescent fantasies?

In a way, it is remarkable that the Lord of the Admiralty even admitted to entertaining such peachy but wholly mythological fantasies - although it is certainly true that right from their inception Europe/Britain have been doing exactly that - especially when it would seem from June 28- July 1914 - the single most important political month in European-British history - the demand for sober and rock-steady personas would presumably be unlimited.

The other possibility, of course, is that the Lord of the Admiralty's gushing fantasy was his cover story, designed for popular consumption, an alibi for his 3.5 week-long comatose reaction after the June 28th Balkans Crisis struck. The otherwise fine historian Barbra MacMillan made a similar argument, that in 1914 there was a general willingness to believe "war was something that was not going to happen in Europe."

Just weeks later, WWI flattened both those suicidal fantasies - to the last atom.

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  • The Lord of the Admiralty Continues his Commentary:

After the near month-long blackout of all European events related to Sarajevo, Austria-Hungary, Germany, France & Russia, the Lord of the Admiralty resumes his narrative on July 25:

"But there was a strange temper in the air. Unsatisfied by material prosperity the nations turned restlessly towards strife internal or external. National passions, unduly exalted in the decline of religion, burned beneath the surface of nearly every land with fierce if shrouded fires. Almost one might think the world wished to suffer. Certainly men were everywhere eager to dare. On all sides the military preparations, precautions and counter precautions had reached their height.

"France had her Three Years' military service; Russia her growing strategic Railways. The Ancient Empire of the Hapsburgs, newly smitten by the bombs of Sarajevo, was a prey to intolerable racial stresses and profound processes of decay. Italy faced Turkey; Turkey confronted Greece; Greece, Serbia and Roumania stood against Bulgaria. Britain was rent by faction and seemed almost negligible...Germany, her fifty million capital tax expended on munitions, her army increases completed, the Kiel Canal open for Dreadnought battleships that very month, looked fixedly upon the scene and her gaze became suddenly a glare."(18)

This was all the more reason for the Lord of the Admiralty to consider an accomodation with German Kaiser Wilhelm. The Lord of the Admiralty had DECADES of the loudest possible advance warnings regarding Germany.

"On Saturday [July 25] afternoon the news came in that Serbia had accepted the ultimatum." (19)

"I went to bed with a feeling things might blow over. We had had, as this account has shown, so many scares before. Time after time the clouds had loomed up vague, menacing, constantly changing; time after time they had dispersed. We were still a long way, as it seemed, from any danger of war.

"Serbia had accepted the ultimatum, could Austria demand more?

"And if war came, could it not be confined to the East of Europe?"

Here Mr. Churchill writes as if peering through the Hubble Telescope struggling to make out the outlines of activity in a galaxy at an ungodly distance away. Here the Lord of the Admiralty is indulging in the exact same strategy of timidity that seemed to mysteriously take possession of the psyche of virtually every European/British gov't official starting Day-1 of the Balkans Crisis.

"Could not France and Germany, for instance, stand aside and leave Russia and Austria to settle their quarrel?

Yes, yes, very good point, but Mr. Churchill conveniently forgets he wasn't getting paid to consider what happens if France and Germany stand aside, he was getting paid to ask what happens if they don't.

"...Clearly there would be a chance of a conference, there would be time for Sir Edward Grey to get to work with conciliatory processes such as had proved so effective in the Balkan difficulties the year before."

The Lord of the Admiralty is right, there was a chance of a conference - if done soberly & promptly. Thanks to the unlimited amount of fantasy thinking available throughout June 28-July 1914, a conference never got off the ground.

"Anyhow, whatever happened, the British Navy had never been in a better condition or in greater strength...

"Reassured by these reflections I slept peacefully, and no summons disturbed the silence of the night.

"At 9 o'clock the next morning I called up the First Sea Lord by telephone. He told me that there was a rumour that Austria was not satisfied with the Serbian acceptance of the ultimatum, but otherwise there were no new developments."

The Lord of the Admiralty had utterly fooled himself about the supreme danger of the firing of the Architect of the European Peace Otto von Bismarck, had fooled himself about the power of atomic weapons, and as WWI/WWII proved, had even fooled himself about the destructiveness of gunpowder.

How on Earth could such an otherwise undeniably brilliant British gov't official have made such fatal large-scale mistakes? No doubt more could be said, but the above should suffice as an initial inquiry as to how it was possible 1914 Europe/Britain - through severe inattentiveness - booted up a catastrophic World War in under 5 weeks flat.

Top

References:

(1) Niccolo Machiavelli: The Prince Ch III: Concerning Mixed Principalities.

(2) Arthur Conan Doyle: The Adventure of Silver Blaze, 1892.

(3) Sean McMeekin: July 1914: Countdown to War: 2013, at 59.

(4) Winston Churchill: The World Crisis (1923) at 198.

(5) Ibid, at 198-199.

(6) Daily Telegraph: Diplomatic gaffe by Schröder 'as bad as Kaiser's', February 13, 2003.

(7) Hansard: Commons Sitting of 20 March 1890, at 1252.

(8) Hansard: Commons Sitting of 24 March 1890, at 1674-1675.

(9) Hansard: Commons Sitting of 25 March 1890, at 1813-1814.

(10) Fritz Stern (quoted in) Still in the grip of the Great War: Economist, March 27, 2014.

(11) Winston Churchill: Hansard: Defence Through Deterrents, 1 March 1955.

(12) French President Emmanuel Macron's speech at Armistice centenary event in Paris euronews (in English), Nov 11, 2018, at 3:46.

(13) "Atom Bomb Effects": LIFE magazine, 3/11/1946.

(14) Wilfred Burchett, Australian Journalist (quoted in) Wilfred Burchett: The Atomic Plague.

(15) Operation Crossroads, 1946.

(16) The Baker Shot.

(17) David Lloyd George [former British Prime Minister]: War Memoirs, 1933, at 22

(18) Churchill (1923) at 199, 200.

(19) Ibid, at 208.



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December 2019 - 2020