09 Jan 2019 115 views
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photoblog image Tile the way to the next war
Tile the way to the next war|

Tile the way to the next war


In a previous posting, I featured a farmyard where a lot of resurfaced war material is kept. Obviously, the buildings in this yard has been rebuilt after WW1, using materials provided by Germany, as part of the peace treaty. This tile was lying around in the farmyard. Stuttgart 1898. In my view, this tile is symbolic of the start of WW2. How? Try to understand this:


Over all the years, prior to WW1, the most common reason to start a war, was that 1) a power believe it is stronger than the others about to be attacked and 2) the other side has resources and/or property that should change ownership (there were probably some wars with other goals [e.g. holy], but even then it played out to be the goodies in the end). The loser had to pay. One of those resources, was labour. That meant free labour as in slavery. With free labour, a ruler can build the most magnificent castles, palaces and other nonsense with which to honour him/herself. Today we stand in wonder before such edifices.


Imperialism meant that some powers invaded land in other places, where the inhabitants had little or no means to defend their livelihood. So, that land got a name as a imperial power's colony and the stripping begins.


This kind of mindset still existed at the time when WW1 started and eventually closed, supposedly with the treaty of Versailles. Actually, more treaties followed to address the explosive situations and relations caused by the first treaty. Four main things were addressed: 1) Germany was forced to become the guilty party, 2) Demilitarisation of Germany 3) Reparations 4) Dividing Germany's colonies and some parts of Germany itself. Fortunately slavery was not a possibillity at this time, anymore.


Some parties in the Allied side were against harsh treatment of Germany. The likes of Woodrow Wilson, John Maynard Keynes (British economist and party to the discussions), King Albert 1 of Belgium, etc. Others loved the idea of harsh treatment and implicitly gains for their own countries, like Marshal Foch (French military), the Brits voted for a government that could squeeze the Germans till the pips squeak (political slogan of the time).


The reparation was set at $31.4bn of which Belgium that lost quite a lot, received half a billion. Payment could be made in cash or kind. It may not sound like a lot, even when translated to current value. But set that against the cost of war, loss of so many productive young men, loss of sources; like colonies and parts of the country - then the payment become very difficult to make. Like poor Mother Hubbard, the cupboard was stripped bare. As in so many cases, that is the ideal breeding ground for nationalism and the Nazi Party came to power, which gave birth to WW2.


During my series about Berlin I posted an overview of the rise to power of Hitler and the Nazi party - if you are interested.





comments (13)

To the victor, the spoils....But be careful....
Louis: That is an excellent summary, Frank.
Amazing stuff...
Louis: Some of the thinking that went into the treaty, was somewhat dated at the time.
  • Ray
  • Thailand
  • 9 Jan 2019, 04:57
A find image, Louis.
Louis: Thank you, Ray.
  • Lisl
  • England
  • 9 Jan 2019, 05:39
Thank you, Louis
Louis: My pleasure, Lisl.
  • Chris
  • England
  • 9 Jan 2019, 06:21
Everything you state is right Louis. The ridiculous Versailles Treaty was little more than ritual humiliation for Germany. This led to the inevitable: inflation followed by dictatorship and warmongering on an epic scale. Then holocaust...
Louis: You have the high level order of events, down pat. It is not only inflation that leads to nationalism and dictatorships. I stand amazed at what is going on in Turkey - Erdoğan had himself voted in as dictator. Now he is champing at the bit to get at the Kurds in Syria - and he doesn't want to give them Christmas boxes. He says they are terrorists - well, for wanting to be Kurds - and he has full rights to attack them, even in another country (or so he claims). All this can happen because of a renewed surge of Turkish nationalism.
From such a tile is "hidden" incredible amounts of history, Louis, as you have explained so well.
Louis: Yes, turning a tile can have surprising results smile
  • Astrid
  • Netherlands
  • 9 Jan 2019, 07:34
" the Brits voted for a government that could squeeze the Germans till the pips squeak (political slogan of the time)"...
I still think negotiating is the best thing to avoid war, but there is too much testosteron on the top of most countries....
Louis: Negotiating is also a very good way to end a war. That is what the US president of that time wanted. So did others.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 9 Jan 2019, 07:57
You are a very thoughtful, a very well informed historian after seeing this tile ... Didn't see the German Government and the followers of Hitler the cost of the WWI, the loss of people, the hurt people who were still visible in the streets - I cannot understand why a WWII followed ...
Louis: The basic reason is the nationalism that was fuelled by the hardships of the post-war economy in Germany. There is an old saying among god breeders - hitting a dog to discipline it, will lead to the moment when that dog attacks the owner. Nationalism grows out of perceived hardship.
The determination that Germany should pay the total cost of the war was madness. That mistake, at least, was not made at the end of WW2
Louis: Heh. Poland was reconstituted as result of the treaty, regaining among others areas of Prussia (Germany) and Russia. Hitler's move that resulted in Britain declaring war (WW2) against Germany, was the German invasion of Poland. Russia also invaded Poland at the time and between Hitler and Stalin, countless atrocities were committed against the Polish people. Yet, Russia became an ally to Britain, US, etc.
  • Chad
  • Somewhere in deep space
  • 9 Jan 2019, 08:06
I think that some wanted Germany to remain an agricultural country, dispensing with engineering. I’m not sure who thought that but it might have been the French.
Louis: Philine provided an answer to your comment on my blog page. In short, that was in the discussion between Roosevelt and Churchill when they discussed Germany's fate post WW2.
  • Philine
  • Germany
  • 9 Jan 2019, 08:18
To Chad: ""We have got to be tough with Germany," Roosevelt told to his secretary of state. "You either have to castrate the German people or you have got to treat them so they can't just go on reproducing people who want to continue as in the past."

Morgenthau seemed to prevail at a meeting between Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill in Quebec in September 1944. Churchill, who initially had strong objections to the plan, snapped at Morgenthau, saying that he would not allow himself to be chained to a "dead Germany." But then money came into play and decided the issue. Churchill urgently needed a new loan from the United States. With that hurdle out of the way, the two commanders-in-chief placed their initials under a document agreeing on the transformation of Germany into a "country principally agricultural and pastoral in character.""
Louis: Thank you for those info. I have alerted Chad.
Yes, the settlement did almost as much damage as the war and, indeed, in setting the scene for WWII, even more!
Louis: Yes, even more. Thank you, Tom.
a thought provoking post, Louis. i think it is one common trait across all cultures - one group of individuals causing and exploiting the misery of another.
Louis: Thank you, Ayush. You are quite right about that common trait, I believe.

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