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  3. Were the Germans "bad guys" in WW1?

User Info: King Pazuzu

King Pazuzu
3 years ago#1
It's easy to argue that Hitler and the Axis powers should have been defeated in WW2 even though the Allies were not perfect either. Plus most of the countries fighting Hitler were mostly democratic nations. However I don't see how the Triple Entante or Germany were far worse during WW1.
In a 6 person hot tub, there should be a maximum of 3 guys.

User Info: Lovelace

Lovelace
3 years ago#2
World War 1 was not a war between a clearly defined "good guys" and "bad guys". The only reason the Germans are look at as the "bad guys" is they got blamed for starting the war and they also lost, and then were the clearly defined bad guys in the sequel.

If anything, you could make the argument that the Triple Entente were closer to being the "good guys" of that war than the Alliance, who caused so many problems after winning the war (most to do with imperialism) that we're still suffering the effects of the Allies' stupidity to this day in the Middle East and Africa. Whether Ottoman hold on the Middle East was a good or a bad thing, when they inevitably did collapse it would at least be on their own terms and not on the terms of a group of imperialists trying to split the territories for themselves. Then of course the punishment for Germany and Austria-Hungary was terrible (the punishment to Austria-Hungary also becoming the basis for the latter Balkan conflicts).

While no side was perfect, the Germans were far from being the "bad guys" in that war, which seemingly lacked real villains.
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User Info: dark lancer

dark lancer
3 years ago#3
Historians cannot carelessly go around branding actors (that is, nations, states, or people) as the "good guys" or the "bad guys." It's best to be as objective and disinterested as possible, even to the point of refusing to consider an actor as "we" or "us" (eg. "we won the American Revolutionary War").
Not changing this signature until tomorrow.
[+JMJ]

User Info: Al-Uzza

Al-Uzza
3 years ago#4
Insert Austrian (Americanocentric) images here.

User Info: dark lancer

dark lancer
3 years ago#5
^"lol u mean australian rofl <3"
Not changing this signature until tomorrow.
[+JMJ]

User Info: BloodyBenten

BloodyBenten
3 years ago#6
King Pazuzu posted...
most of the countries fighting Hitler were mostly democratic nations

Lolwut

User Info: OldFrenchDragon

OldFrenchDragon
3 years ago#7
dark lancer posted...
Historians cannot carelessly go around branding actors (that is, nations, states, or people) as the "good guys" or the "bad guys." It's best to be as objective and disinterested as possible, even to the point of refusing to consider an actor as "we" or "us" (eg. "we won the American Revolutionary War").


Especially when that "we" tend to translate to "Americans all alone".

Sin of Americanism here !

Confiture yourself !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hyCc1DzRAgQ
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User Info: Funkdamental

Funkdamental
3 years ago#8
TheCorruptAngel posted...
While no side was perfect, the Germans were far from being the "bad guys" in that war, which seemingly lacked real villains.


If you're prepared to overlook genocide, massacres and summary executions of civilians, murder and mistreatment of POWs, strategic terror-bombing of cities, police-state repression in occupied territories, ruthless asset-stripping, destruction of cultural treasures, spiteful scorched-earth policies, deportation and forcible relocation of populations, the overworking and starvation of civilians and POWs as slave labourers in the danger zone, incarceration and brutalization of minority nationalities in concentration camps, and the fomenting of jihadist terrorism, then sure -- the Central Powers come out smelling of roses. The Kaiser's infantrymen murdered more civilians at Dinant than the Nazis did at Lidice, and the death rate for British POWs in German hands in WWI nearly equalled the death rate for those in Japanese hands in WWII (I'm cherry-picking just two examples here), but hey.

For years, coats of whitewash have been slapped over imperial Germany's dirty wartime record when it comes to its treatment of POWs and civilian populations, and the conflict is always painted as morally neutral -- a conflict in which, supposedly, everyone was equally to blame and no one was worse than anyone else. It's a distortion, one that's just as wrongheaded and misleading as portraying World War II in terms of snow white versus coal black.

Of course, World War I was hardly saints versus sinners either. Where Germany plunged headfirst down the slippery slope of criminality, the Allies sometimes slithered down behind; imperial Russia (in Galicia, East Prussia and the Caucasus) stands indicted too for many of the crimes that I've listed. But revisionism has shifted too far in the opposite direction by insisting on a "balanced" historical view of the conflict -- which means either (a) refusing to condemn anyone for anything, or (b) condemning everyone equally for everything. But "balance" isn't necessarily the same thing as truth or fairness, and the trouble with taking a "balanced" approach is that sometimes the only way the scales are going to balance is if you rig them.

Whether it's due to a sneaking Germanophile sentiment, or to a belief in the pacifist myth that all enemies in WWI were at heart blameless fellow victims, or to a climate of hypersensitivity about embarrassing former enemies (Germany's Nazi past is still a rare exception), this tendency to ignore, downplay, relativize or deny war crimes by the Central Powers has skewed popular perceptions of the war. It's made it impossible for later generations to understand why so many people at the time felt that resistance and liberation -- in other words, continuing to fight -- were so important. Instead, to us, the war seems unnecessary, irrational, stupid and futile because nothing really seemed to be at stake.

TheCorruptAngel posted...
the punishment to Austria-Hungary also becoming the basis for the latter Balkan conflicts.


I'd suggest that as far as the Balkans went, Trianon largely rubber-stamped the de facto situation existing by November 1918 with de jure recognition in June 1920. The basis for later Balkan conflicts was right there in the underlying causes of the Dual Monarchy's collapse, Trianon or no Trianon. Even if they'd been so minded, the Entente peacemakers would have been no more able to turn the situation 180 degrees and enforce a different solution in the former crownlands than they were in Germany's eastern borderlands or in the Ottoman Empire; it was the nationalist movements who created new facts, with boots on the ground.
/propaganda

User Info: Funkdamental

Funkdamental
3 years ago#9
I don't really blame people for being unaware that World War I had a much dirtier, darker underbelly that is usually assumed in the popular imagination. You’re unlikely to learn about it from reading popular histories of the war, most of which prefer to compartmentalize the conflict into its purely military dimensions: trench life, battles and hardware – in which suffering and brutality behind the lines are routinely relegated to a mention of hunger in German (but rarely non-German) cities.

Amnesia about the reality of WWI’s nastier side goes back a long way. The trend towards ‘healing old wounds’ began in the first decade after the armistice and, significantly, gained traction in the mid-1930s in the midst of the European climate of appeasement. Legitimate grievances that had caused bitterness for several years after the war, such as the treatment of POWs, were quietly swept under the rug in the interests of détente with former enemies -- except (surprise, surprise) in Germany, where by contrast they were exploited to the utmost. Because the monstrosities of the Nazi regime later overshadowed the crimes of the Kaiserreich, whose notoriety had already been deliberately watered down, post-1945 generations were misled into thinking they didn’t happen or didn’t matter.

But for some years there's been a growing body of WWI scholarship that deals with previously neglected areas such as occupation policies, military-civil relations, battlezone conduct, the experiences of POWs, and the making and breaking of international law. I recommend you dip into it. It'll give a much fuller picture of the conflict than the relentless focus on the microcosm of the trenches.
/propaganda

User Info: sfcalimari

sfcalimari
3 years ago#10
I think what's worse is the whitewashing of the fact that up until about 1938 or 1939, most Europeans and a lot of Americans were sympathetic if not supportive towards Hitler.
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