The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

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joerookery
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The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by joerookery » Sun Jun 17, 2018 8:55 am

Imagecover book 5 by Joe Robinson, on Flickr

The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914--How Faulty Reconnaisance Exposed the Weakness of the Schlieffen Plan. This should make academia sit up. Dr. Dennis Showalter is a professor emeritus of history and probably America's leading expert on German military history. Not sure when it will be released but this is not a rehash of what you have already read.
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
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edwin
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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by edwin » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:14 pm

I am looking forward to it! Thanks for sharing.

Regards,

Edwin

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by joerookery » Sun Jun 17, 2018 3:31 pm

In the acknowledgments –Edwin Van Bloois from Holland provided a great deal of information and photographs about the crossings at Lixhe and Dutch neutrality. Lars Alfers, a Dutchman from Norway provided a unique set of pictures and some analysis of locations from Google Earth.
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
the facts that are interesting in history, but the questions and their
answers - and these can never be fixed.

911car
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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by 911car » Sun Jun 17, 2018 6:32 pm

I look forward to ordering this!
I feel like a total layman, not knowing that the Germans had failed in Belgium in August 1914...

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by edwin » Sun Jun 24, 2018 2:58 pm

Thanks for the acknowledgement. I just tried to help someone with similar interests!

Regards,

Edwin

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by Peter_Suciu » Tue Jun 26, 2018 11:03 am

Joe, one point I've longed wondered is what would have had happened had the Germans invaded sooner than August? Much has been made that the British government may not have agreed to go to war had Germany not invaded Belgium. If France had instead the British may have remained neutral - they wouldn't go to war with their de facto ally for violating Belgian neutrality of course.

But I've wondered would it have made any difference if the Germans had invaded even a few weeks or days earlier. As we know now the British cabinet was very divided on what to do. Would the British get involved if the German march to Paris was happening quickly, and could the British even get the troops to the continent in time to do anything?

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by joerookery » Tue Jun 26, 2018 6:23 pm

Peter I do not know about the what is. However I do know that the German staff assumed probably starting in 1913 that the British would be hostile. The focus of the failures is that the attack missed many of the objectives. To destroy the Belgian Army, to destroy the British Army, and then fall on the flank of the French army – much of this was missed for various reasons. Many academics and authors focus on Liège. Liège was a means to an end. It was not the objective. Regardless of British execution, the assumption was that they were there. Even after all of the failures, the Germans almost pulled it off on 23 August. But they really blew the opportunity. It's a fun discussion – now if we can only get through all of McFarland's little hurdles.
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
the facts that are interesting in history, but the questions and their
answers - and these can never be fixed.

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by joerookery » Wed Jun 27, 2018 9:24 am

Could not happen to a nicer guy. Our co-author.
http://www.koaa.com/story/38508948/a-mi ... 0000-prize
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
the facts that are interesting in history, but the questions and their
answers - and these can never be fixed.

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by Sandmann » Thu Jun 28, 2018 9:05 am

Congratulations to him ☺️
Best wishes, Sandy

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by Peter_Suciu » Thu Jun 28, 2018 11:23 am

WOW! I didn't realize that was your co-author. I guess he picks up the tab the next time you go to dinner!

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by edwin » Sat Jun 30, 2018 12:20 am

Just two things... After the Franco-Prussian war the British were forced to act in case of another European war with Germany because they could not accept Germany becoming the dominant continental power. So the invasion of Belgium was a welcome excuse, at least to the military wo had been planning with France since a long time, to legitimate British involvement. Secondly, I dare say that the Germans failed in almost every way during the opening days of the war due to a multitude of reasons, ranging from trying to force their massive armies between the narrow strip of land between the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, the unexpected Belgian resistance at Liege and the delay this caused, the lack of an appropriate answer to this and the violation of Dutch neutrality when trying to counter the resistance at Liege.

Regards,

Edwin

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by joerookery » Sat Jun 30, 2018 4:26 pm

Just two things... After the Franco-Prussian war the British were forced to act in case of another European war with Germany because they could not accept Germany becoming the dominant continental power. So the invasion of Belgium was a welcome excuse, at least to the military wo had been planning with France since a long time, to legitimate British involvement. Secondly, I dare say that the Germans failed in almost every way during the opening days of the war due to a multitude of reasons, ranging from trying to force their massive armies between the narrow strip of land between the Netherlands, Germany and Belgium, the unexpected Belgian resistance at Liege and the delay this caused, the lack of an appropriate answer to this and the violation of Dutch neutrality when trying to counter the resistance at Liege.
Yes, exactly. While we do not go into the British to change about Belgium and simply accept that they have decided to come, the Germans did fail in almost every way. This book shows all sorts of problems that Edwin has talked about. I mean it is really astounding. However, academia has kind of ignored it. A quick summary of conventional wisdom would be:

Germany invaded with overwhelming force in a well-planned operation, little Belgium resisted harder than expected, the Germans brought up the big guns and smashed Liège. After that there is nothing worth mentioning until the BEF bloodied the Germans noses at Mons. From that point onward we can start discussing the war because there are English language sources which obviously are faultless.

This book will detail the "technical problems" accepted by the Germans when they decided to abandon the route of Schlieffen and the violation of Dutch neutrality. You will probably end up asking why did they try this? I think it will be a significant jolt to the English linguistic academic community. It is very helpful I think that Showalter Co-wrote this. Yet, the Germans almost pulled it off anyway and then they blew it big time on 23 August. We are hoping for a lively discussion-and as Showalter has recently praised the future of military history due to "independent scholars" He shows the value of the nonacademic research going on – like Edwin's blog.

We actually start off our next book on the Handstreich with a quote from Wikipedia that shows how uninformed and just plain wrong some sources are. But that project has been shoved to the right as we are now looking at what I call the "book tour" along with the publishing house McFarland.

Peter, I am going to send you some information and maybe we can get you involved just doing what you're doing with McFarland.
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
the facts that are interesting in history, but the questions and their
answers - and these can never be fixed.

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by edwin » Sun Jul 01, 2018 3:15 am

There is little English literature I know that deals with the opening days of the war and Handstreich in particular. I think that that subject is touched upon briefly in the Guns of August. However, the only book that covers the siege of Liege, the destruction of the fortresses and operation Handstreich is a Dutch book, Luik Augustus 1914.

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Edwin

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by joerookery » Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:17 am

We have of course extensively used Der Handstreich gegen Lüttich vom 3. bis 7. August 1914 (herausgegeben vom generalstab des Heeres Berlin 1939). if you look at the date and the source your mind can come up with certain prejudices of the authors. This is in German – no real problem – my Dutch is spotty at best and I do not have the Dutch book you mentioned. Is there an English translation? I am also looking for Belgian accounts – the biggest problem is that my French skills are pretty lousy. Janet is a little bit better but still we are not a beacon of light. Any suggestions coming from you would be appreciated. You remember you did have an English translation of the book on Dutch neutrality!
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The British philosopher and historian R.G. Colligwood said, "it is not
the facts that are interesting in history, but the questions and their
answers - and these can never be fixed.

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Re: The German Failure in Belgium, August 1914

Post by edwin » Mon Jul 09, 2018 4:02 pm

joerookery wrote:
Sun Jul 01, 2018 9:17 am
We have of course extensively used Der Handstreich gegen Lüttich vom 3. bis 7. August 1914 (herausgegeben vom generalstab des Heeres Berlin 1939). if you look at the date and the source your mind can come up with certain prejudices of the authors. This is in German – no real problem – my Dutch is spotty at best and I do not have the Dutch book you mentioned. Is there an English translation? I am also looking for Belgian accounts – the biggest problem is that my French skills are pretty lousy. Janet is a little bit better but still we are not a beacon of light. Any suggestions coming from you would be appreciated. You remember you did have an English translation of the book on Dutch neutrality!
I am sorry its only available in Dutch.

Regards,

Edwin

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