Why Are The Germans So Stupid To Pin Their Hopes On Such Insanity

379 Words2 Pages
Why were the Germans so stupid to pin their hopes on such insanity? Simple, they weren't. In fact, the German plan looks pretty damn good compared their contemporaries: the French marching into Alsace-Lorraine as if at Waterloo and mercilessly mowed down by machine gun fire, the Austrian debacle in the Carpathians, and the Russian annihilation at Tannenberg by the Germans. It is all too easy to condone or condemn military thinkers after the fact. Their legacy lies less in their genius or imbecility than the unpredictable battles that are decided more by luck, contingency, and the incompetence of others rather than their own doing. For instance, the French are ridiculed for hiding behind the Maginot Line in 1939 while the Germans are moronic for not adopting Moltke the Elder's advice and this very same fortress strategy in 1914.…show more content…
Paying less attention to armchair generals writing with the privilege of hindsight and precise archival evidence in favor of what the generals perceived would happen in 1914 (which incidentally is much closer to reality than is attributed...every serious thinker knew it would be a bloodbath) offers much more valuable insight into the crisis that faced the statesmen in July 1914. Michael Howard and Steve Van Evera (both found in Military Strategy and the Origins of the First World War) accurately conclude because the offensive was believed to a decisive advantage, if there was a window for a diplomatic solution, it was frighteningly small. Understanding the "Cult of the Offensive" is crucial for comprehending how quickly July 1914 destabilized; generals truly believed their empires would crumble if attacked and politicians were tempted by the notion that fortune favors the foolish. Finally, James Joll convincingly argues that the pervasiveness of the "cult of the offensive" and the glorification of military matters was implicit in a society replete with military
Open Document