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COURSERA: The Modern World, Part Two: Global History since 1910, W1.06 On to Victory?

W1.06 On to Victory?

Hi. Welcome back. In the presentation today, I'm going to try to zoom in on some choices made, especially in late 1916, about whether to continue the war. When we talk about the continuation of World War I, you see theses nightmarish horrors that are going on in 1914, 15, 16, so how could people continue, how could statesman let their countries go on? Well they made choices; it helps to really try to understand their choices. These were not stupid people, so to understand their choices, as we talked very early on, choices are stories. They're stories in which people confront a Situation; they try to make sense of it; they see their problems there; and they try to figure out what's the best way I can solve these problems. Which then may create a new situation. So, then what we're going to try to do is look at how some of the key players saw the situation by the late summer of 1916, in order to understand why their choices merged together so that this terrible war continued. Let's turn our attention back to the United States of America, led by Woodrow Wilson, and its attitude toward all of this in 1916. One of the first things to understand about Wilson's America is that it was neutral. It was out of the war, and it was doing extremely well as a result. The United States was becoming a supplier mainly to the British and French because the British and French mainly controlled sea lanes and could buy and ship stuff from the United States, and American farmers and merchants were making a huge amount of money out of the war. These were good times for American agriculture. Also Wilson doesn't want America to be involved in the war. And Wilson, the American president, really has a firm grip on controlling American foreign policy. Really to an almost extreme degree, American foreign policy in 1916 was the policy of Woodrow Wilson. Who was Woodrow Wilson? The son of a minister. Former president of a university. A high minded intellectual. But also, a very willful and skillful politician. Forceful orator. What were his positions about the war? First, he was pretty scornful of the great power rivalries that had led these countries into the war. He had no sympathy for what they were trying to achieve and would have been happy if the war had just gone back to the territories and situations that had existed before the war started. He didn't strongly sympathize with one side as being right and another side as being wrong. He wanted America therefore to stay out of the war. [SOUND] But here's the rub. He knew that if the war continued, America was likely to be pulled into it. If he wanted to avoid war, he had to look for ways to stop it. Because as the war escalated, the Germans could not tolerate the United States being the supplier of goods and money to only one side. Nor did Wilson feel the United States could tolerate having its trade cut off by either side. The freedom of America to be allowed to trade with the world was regarded by many Americans as something that was just essential to their prosperity. Here's a wonderful photograph of Woodrow Wilson. We have this kind of caricatured image of him today as this somewhat unworldly idealist. He was indeed quite idealistic, but he was also a highly practical person. So if Wilson wanted to bring the war to an end, did he have any leverage over the combatants? He did. First, he was regarded, with some cause, as being genuinely neutral about which side was right and which side was wrong. And there was a precedent, going back to the Russo-Japanese War, of when another American president, that one Theodore Roosevelt, had actually been called upon to serve as an arbitrator in bringing the war to an end. He had a lot of leverage from the German point of view because if they escalated their submarine attacks, if the US goes to war, that would be bad for the German side. He had a lot of leverage over the British. Not because he was going to declare war on the British. That was inconceivable by this time. The British and the Americans had gone a long way toward making up their differences, especially in the 1890s and early 1900s. The real leverage America had over the British: The U.S. was loaning them the money and selling them the means. And indeed, the U.S. was loaning the British the money that they could use to buy the goods they needed from the United States to continue to wage the war. If the United States threatened to choke off that flow of funds to Great Britain in some way, that would be immediate substantial leverage over the British side. And the British, in turn, were the key financiers of the whole Allied war effort. So, in theory, Wilson had a lot of potential leverage. One problem was: Was the US entering the war scary enough to the German? Because Wilson would not build up the American army. So some German generals discounted how dangerous the Americans might be or thought it would take too long for the Americans to make their presence felt if they got involved in the war. And there was some question as to: Were the Americans really willing to use their theoretical financial leverage against the British? Would they have the nerve to use it against the people who are buying so much of their stuff? In 1916, Wilson's foreign policy situation was this: He tried a peace move in the first half of the year; it had Failed, but it had failed because all of the different sides still had their big war plans to try to win in 1916. They weren't going to be interested in peace until those plans failed. Those plans had not clearly failed until the second half of 1916. Until August or September. Internally though, by August and September, Wilson is running for re-election. That will concentrate his attention. He's in a tough election campaign against the Republican candidate: Charles Evans Hughes. The election will be at the beginning of November 1916. The chronology's important. Now, let's swing our attention to Berlin, and look at how the German leaders analyzed their situation by the late summer of 1916. [NOISE] They are feeling great strain at this point. Tactically, their position is okay. Their armies are, after all, on French and Belgian territory, not on German territory. But strategically, they can't see any clear path to how they win the war. The one panacea they can think of is to rely on submarines to cut the ties of Britain and her allies from the rest of the world. But use the submarines, you bring the United States into war. So, a lot of strain, tactically okay but the overall outlook grim. And as the war goes on, Bethmann increasingly feels like if we go into this all-out submarine warfare, all-out war domestically, I'm going to lose control of the situation. We're going to have to become a different kind of country. The military is going to take over. In effect, Bethmann, the civilian chancellor for the Kaiser thinks: If we don't settle this war pretty soon, it's going to escalate in ways in which it's pretty much going to pass out of my hands, and Germany's going to turn into a military dictatorship dedicated to trying to wage an all-out war. He doesn't want to go there unless he has to, but they have to settle it soon. If they don't get something done soon, then by late 1916 they're going to have to start writing their plans for an all-out submarine attack in 1917 that will bring the United States into the war. So the Germans reach out, looking for urgent US mediation to try to end the war. Let's take a look for instance at some of the interesting telegrams that were exchanged between Bethmann-Hollweg and the German ambassador in Washington. The ambassador for example is pointing out that the Americans do not want to get involved in the war. As the German ambassador observes in the summer of 1916, when all is said and done, the American people are pacifistically inclined. It becomes clearer day by day, how difficult it is to arouse a feeling for preparedness for war, et cetera. Whoever has lived here for a long time cannot avoid the conviction that the Americans' aim in life is the peaceful acquisition of wealth. It is only when he believes that a deep injustice has been done him that he allows himself to be carried along in the current of an hysterical war sentiment. Bethmann-Hollweg's answer. Writing from Berlin in early September 1916, he talks about the situation. The fronts are holding fast, but hope to conclude peace before winter, as the exhaustion of Russia or France by the war is lessened by this development. He's referring to the entry of Romania into the war on the side of the Allies. In case no major catastrophe should occur in the East, would peace mediation by Wilson be possible and successful if we were to guarantee Belgium's unconditional restoration? Otherwise, the unrestricted U-boat war, those are their submarines, U-boats, U-boat war will have to be carried on in dead earnest. Bernstorff believes President Wilson will make a peace move, but he's worried that it may be delayed until after the presidential election. That really worries Bethmann-Hollweg, who writes back to his ambassador that the supreme high command of the army is already looking at the unrestricted U-boat war. That situation would change if President Wilson will make his move. But, some action of this kind must occur before long since we are not in a position to remain quiet any longer. That's in late September of 1916. In other words, they're anxious to end the war quickly before matters escalate in a way that will not only take the war in a new direction but maybe be the end of normal civilian rule in Germany, as the military high command gets its way. Now let's switch the scene to yet one more absolutely key player: the British leadership. The British Government in the summer of 1916 is headed by the last great Liberal prime minister, Herbert Asquith. The war's increasingly overwhelming him as a politician and as a person. As he looks at these issues of war and peace in the late summer of 1916, Asquith and his wife are distraught by the news that their own son has just been killed in France. Britain too is under enormous strain, not clear what else they can do to bring the war to a successful conclusion. The British public through the popular press is getting encouraging news about what's happening in the Battle of the Somme, but little can hide that the front line has not advanced and that the cost is simply terrible. This photograph gives you one illustration of the devastation. As you can see that practically every bit of vegetation has been destroyed. When these shells explode, the metal fragments, the shrapnel, shreds anything that's more than a foot above the ground. Here are some of the walking wounded heading back from the front. In this case, what appears to be a German Prisoner, possibly blinded by poison gas, is being helped back by one of the British wounded. This is part of the debris of war. This is simply used shell casings from some of the artillery that's been firing into the front lines. Asquith makes his move, too. In August 1916, he asks all the leaders of his Cabinet to ponder what the aims would be for a continuation of the war. One answer to Asquith's question comes from the most dynamic politician in his cabinet, a Welshman named David Lloyd George. Here's a photograph of Lloyd George. Lloyd George was a Liberal politician, but He had very much seen himself as a man representing the Welsh miners, representing the working class, a spokesman for social insurance, for government help. When it came to war, Lloyd George presented himself as the dynamic man, the man who could lead Britain to victory. And indeed, Lloyd George begins to see this moment as the one when he will become the war leader. He will become prime minister. He's smart. He doesn't see any panacea for a big breakthrough on the Western Front. He's also highly critical of the quality of British generalship. He has some ideas for using a blockade, for trying to attack Germany and its allies at the margins somehow. But he's determined that Britain just has to continue, and his answer is to go public in September 1916, and tell journalists that what Britain needs to do is to plan on a knockout blow and be willing just to fight it all the way through. He sets himself out to the public as the man who is willing to do whatever is needed. In contrast to Lloyd George, inside the Cabinet discussions, Asquith gets an extraordinary memo from one of the senior statesmen in his government, Lord Lansdowne. Lansdowne has held several of the highest posts the British government can give, even going back to the late 1800s. This elder, conservative statesman, this sober stalwart of British foreign policy, now writes a remarkable secret memo to his Cabinet colleagues. Lansdowne puts his views down in a memo to his colleagues in November 1916. I'm actually reading from the reprinting of this memo in Lloyd George's own memoirs, because Lloyd George regarded what he called this courageous memo, as the key opposing view to the one that he was putting forward. Lansdowne argued: I do not suppose for an instant that there is any weakening in the spirit of the people of this country. And that he hoped that the same might be said of our allies. But neither in their interests nor in ours can it be desirable that the war should be prolonged, unless it can be shown that we can bring it to an effectual conclusion within a reasonable space of time. So, what does the prolongation of the war mean? Our own casualties already amount to over 1.1 million. We've had 15,000 officers killed, not including those who are missing. There's no reason to suppose that as the force at the front and the different theaters of war increases, the casualties will increase at a slower rate. We are slowly but surely killing off the best of the male population of these islands. As for the Allies the total must be appalling. Financial. The financial burden which we have already accumulated is almost incalculable. We're adding to it at the rate of over 5 million pounds per day. Generations will have to come and go before the country recovers from the loss which it has sustained in human beings and from the financial ruin and the destruction of the means of production which are taking place. Fundamentally, Britain is about to go bankrupt. You've seen some of the charts showing the scale of British foreign investment around the world. Britain had been the financial hub of modern capitalism. That era is coming to a close, and Lansdowne is feeling it, because Britain is running out of money. Its public and private finances are strained to the limit. Lansdowne even perceives, presciently, that if the war continues, some of Britain's Allies may themselves implode. Looking over at Russia, and remember this is written in the fall of 1916, he points out that already the domestic situation is far from reassuring. There have been alarming disorders both at Moscow and in Petrograd. If the war continues, Britain will change in some permanent, fundamental way that it can never recover and so might the rest of the world. These are Liberal politicians who are seeing the world they grew up with disappearing before their eyes with the continuation of this war. And they hope to bring it to an end. So look at the way the elements have converged in the late summer and early fall of 1916. [SOUND] The USA needs to bring the war to an end to keep it from engulfing them. And it has leverage over the two sides. The Germans urgently want US mediation, and are, for their own reasons, interested in getting a cessation of hostilities before the end of the year. And the leadership of the British government is clearly looking at all their options. So then. Why did the moment pass? For the USA, Wilson couldn't act quickly because he was consumed by his re-election campaign. Just the timing of the American election cycle. He ends up not making his peace move until December 1916. By that time it's too late. In Germany, they're already moving towards preparing their 1917 war plans. The military will have the upper hand. And in Britain, the advocate of total war, David Lloyd George, had already out maneuvered his opponents in the British Cabinet. Lloyd George's policies are going to drive the British approach. By the end of 1916, when the Americans make their move, German domestic politics, British domestic politics have already closed the window of opportunity. Now I'm spotlighting this moment not because I'm sure there was a panacea here. Maybe if you run a counter-factual experiment, you say: Hmm, there are all sorts of reasons this might not have worked out. Even if the Americans had mediated, it might have failed. And there's no sure thing, especially when you're speculating about might-have-beens. But it does seem to me there is a significant possibility that fruitful negotiations might have happened, given the confluence of positions among these critical countries and the alternative they were looking at. As that windows closed, World War I transitions to a new stage. In the winter of 1916 and 1917, the direction of the war took a dramatic new turn. The leading powers have new people in charge. In Britain, the new prime minister is David Lloyd George, determined to lead the British people to achieve that knockout blow he talked about to the press back in September of 1916, when he'd been outmaneuvering his Liberal rivals for the leadership. Lloyd George forms a national coalition between Liberals and Conservatives, who will join together to win the war at all costs. In France, their leadership too was swept aside the new premier is this man: Georges Clemenceau. Clemenceau was a formidable figure. He comes from what I classify as one of the Liberal parties, in France it would be called the Radical Party. Clemenceau has been a strong advocate of liberty, an opponent of the Church, a fierce spokesman for the underdog. He's a tough fellow. His nickname is: The Tiger (Le Tigre). He'd spent some time in the United States in his younger days, and also had been involved in more than one duel. In Berlin, Bethmann-Hollweg's worst fears come to pass. The German High Command decides it'll adopt its approach to win the war. The key figure in the German General Staff, its military master planner, is this man: Erich von Ludendorff. Ludendorff becomes, in effect, the military ruler of Germany. Bethmann-Hollweg will soon step down from the chancellorship. Ludendorff will really run the day-to-day management of the German Empire. As these new teams move into place in Britain, France, and Germany, Woodrow Wilson, newly re-elected in November and by a very close margin, does make his move to try to end the war. Wilson's peace message of December 1916 calls for a peace without victory. But the moment in which the British and German leaderships would have been open to that kind of move has passed. Now Wilson would have to use a lot of leverage. He actually does pull the British lion's tail a little bit by showing just how vulnerable the British are to American financial pressure. But the American army isn't built up to the point where the German High Command is very frightened of it. Instead, the Germans decide that they're going to undertake their gamble. What is their gamble? The German High Command's theory is this: Yes, the Americans may come into the war if we wage all-out submarine warfare. But we'll starve the British and knock them out of the war before America can slowly build up its army, train its troops, get them to France, and really make their weight felt on the battlefield. And who knows whether the Americans will be that tough an opponent anyway. They aren't used to war like we are. The result, then, is a new phase in the First World War, one that'll push some of the countries over the brink. In one case, in the Russian Empire, the war pushes the government of Tsar Nicholas II over the brink. They simply can't sustain the war effort anymore. The Russian people rise up and overthrow the monarchy. At first it's not clear what's going to happen with Russia's role in the war. This protest, for example, features a banner on the left that simply says: Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland. This banner over here, on the right: Increase payments to the soldiers' families, the defenders of freedom and world peace. They just want a better government. So the Russian Empire, one of the last of the old-style governments, Traditional-style governments, cracks. Another factor that helps create some emotional momentum for war is the Germans, anticipating that America might come in, send to the Mexican government an offer that if the Mexicans will ally themselves with the Germans against the Americans, why, the Germans will help the Mexicans get back all that territory they lost to the United States in the 1840s. Texas, California, and so on. [LAUGH] That German offer to the Mexican government was intercepted by British intelligence, which then finds a way of leaking it without their fingerprints being on it into the American press. You can imagine how the American public reacted to that German move. Even so, it's not a sure thing that America's going to come into the war. A lot still turns on what President Wilson is going to ask. Wilson decides that America does need to come in. Why? He is increasingly convinced that to end the war in the right way offers the only hope to really save civilization, that he needs to join with other countries in doing what America can to make the world safe for a democratic future, and that America won�t be able to have any voice on the future shape of the world unless it joins in the war to be able to be at the table and contribute. So, Wilson decides that America has to come in. He asks the Congress to declare war in early April 1917, and the United States, for the first time in its history, joins in a full-scale European conflict. The final phase of World War I and its aftermath will be our topic next week. I'll look forward to seeing you then.


W1.06 On to Victory?

Hi. Welcome back. In the presentation today, I'm going to try to zoom in on some choices made, especially in late 1916, about whether to continue the war. When we talk about the continuation of World War I, you see theses nightmarish horrors that are going on in 1914, 15, 16, so how could people continue, how could statesman let their countries go on? Well they made choices; it helps to really try to understand their choices. These were not stupid people, so to understand their choices, as we talked very early on, choices are stories. They're stories in which people confront a Situation; they try to make sense of it; they see their problems there; and they try to figure out what's the best way I can solve these problems. Which then may create a new situation. So, then what we're going to try to do is look at how some of the key players saw the situation by the late summer of 1916, in order to understand why their choices merged together so that this terrible war continued. Let's turn our attention back to the United States of America, led by Woodrow Wilson, and its attitude toward all of this in 1916. One of the first things to understand about Wilson's America is that it was neutral. It was out of the war, and it was doing extremely well as a result. Bilo je izven vojne in posledično je šlo zelo dobro. The United States was becoming a supplier mainly to the British and French because the British and French mainly controlled sea lanes and could buy and ship stuff from the United States, and American farmers and merchants were making a huge amount of money out of the war. These were good times for American agriculture. Also Wilson doesn't want America to be involved in the war. And Wilson, the American president, really has a firm grip on controlling American foreign policy. Really to an almost extreme degree, American foreign policy in 1916 was the policy of Woodrow Wilson. Who was Woodrow Wilson? The son of a minister. Former president of a university. A high minded intellectual. But also, a very willful and skillful politician. Forceful orator. What were his positions about the war? First, he was pretty scornful of the great power rivalries that had led these countries into the war. He had no sympathy for what they were trying to achieve and would have been happy if the war had just gone back to the territories and situations that had existed before the war started. He didn't strongly sympathize with one side as being right and another side as being wrong. He wanted America therefore to stay out of the war. [SOUND] But here's the rub. [ZVUK] Ampak tukaj je rub. He knew that if the war continued, America was likely to be pulled into it. If he wanted to avoid war, he had to look for ways to stop it. Because as the war escalated, the Germans could not tolerate the United States being the supplier of goods and money to only one side. Nor did Wilson feel the United States could tolerate having its trade cut off by either side. The freedom of America to be allowed to trade with the world was regarded by many Americans as something that was just essential to their prosperity. Američani so svobodo Amerike, ki ji je dovoljeno trgovanje s svetom, obravnavali kot nekaj, kar je bistveno za njihovo blaginjo. Here's a wonderful photograph of Woodrow Wilson. We have this kind of caricatured image of him today as this somewhat unworldly idealist. He was indeed quite idealistic, but he was also a highly practical person. So if Wilson wanted to bring the war to an end, did he have any leverage over the combatants? He did. First, he was regarded, with some cause, as being genuinely neutral about which side was right and which side was wrong. And there was a precedent, going back to the Russo-Japanese War, of when another American president, that one Theodore Roosevelt, had actually been called upon to serve as an arbitrator in bringing the war to an end. Vrnil se je tudi v rusko-japonsko vojno, ko je bil drugi ameriški predsednik, tisti Theodore Roosevelt, dejansko poklican kot arbiter pri koncu vojne. He had a lot of leverage from the German point of view because if they escalated their submarine attacks, if the US goes to war, that would be bad for the German side. He had a lot of leverage over the British. Imel je velik vpliv na Britance. Not because he was going to declare war on the British. That was inconceivable by this time. The British and the Americans had gone a long way toward making up their differences, especially in the 1890s and early 1900s. Britanci in Američani so precej napredovali pri popravljanju razlik, zlasti v osemdesetih in zgodnjih devetdesetih letih prejšnjega stoletja. The real leverage America had over the British: The U.S. Pravi vzvod, ki ga je imela Amerika nad Britanci: ZDA was loaning them the money and selling them the means. jim je posojal denar in jim prodajal sredstva. And indeed, the U.S. was loaning the British the money that they could use to buy the goods they needed from the United States to continue to wage the war. If the United States threatened to choke off that flow of funds to Great Britain in some way, that would be immediate substantial leverage over the British side. Če bi Združene države grozile, da bodo na nek način zadušile ta pretok sredstev v Veliko Britanijo, bi to bil takojšen pomemben vzvod na britansko stran. And the British, in turn, were the key financiers of the whole Allied war effort. Britanci pa so bili ključni financerji celotnega zavezniškega vojnega prizadevanja. So, in theory, Wilson had a lot of potential leverage. One problem was: Was the US entering the war scary enough to the German? Ena težava je bila: Ali so ZDA vstopile v vojno za Nemce dovolj strašljive? Because Wilson would not build up the American army. Ker Wilson ne bi ustvaril ameriške vojske. So some German generals discounted how dangerous the Americans might be or thought it would take too long for the Americans to make their presence felt if they got involved in the war. Tako so nekateri nemški generali popustili, kako nevarni bi bili Američani, ali pa so menili, da bo trajalo predolgo časa, da bodo Američani čutili svojo prisotnost, če se bodo vključili v vojno. And there was some question as to: Were the Americans really willing to use their theoretical financial leverage against the British? Ob tem se je pojavilo nekaj vprašanj: Ali so bili Američani res pripravljeni uporabiti svoj teoretski finančni vzvod proti Britancem? Would they have the nerve to use it against the people who are buying so much of their stuff? In 1916, Wilson's foreign policy situation was this: He tried a peace move in the first half of the year; it had Failed, but it had failed because all of the different sides still had their big war plans to try to win in 1916. They weren't going to be interested in peace until those plans failed. Those plans had not clearly failed until the second half of 1916. Until August or September. Internally though, by August and September, Wilson is running for re-election. That will concentrate his attention. He's in a tough election campaign against the Republican candidate: Charles Evans Hughes. The election will be at the beginning of November 1916. The chronology's important. Now, let's swing our attention to Berlin, and look at how the German leaders analyzed their situation by the late summer of 1916. [NOISE] They are feeling great strain at this point. [Hrup] Na tej točki se počutita zelo obremenjena. Tactically, their position is okay. Their armies are, after all, on French and Belgian territory, not on German territory. But strategically, they can't see any clear path to how they win the war. The one panacea they can think of is to rely on submarines to cut the ties of Britain and her allies from the rest of the world. Edina rešitev, ki si jo lahko omislijo, je, da se zanesejo na podmornice, da prekinejo vezi Britanije in njenih zaveznikov iz preostalega sveta. But use the submarines, you bring the United States into war. So, a lot of strain, tactically okay but the overall outlook grim. And as the war goes on, Bethmann increasingly feels like if we go into this all-out submarine warfare, all-out war domestically, I'm going to lose control of the situation. In ko se vojna nadaljuje, se Bethmannu vse bolj zdi, da bom, če se lotimo tega vsestranskega podmorniškega vojskovanja, vsesplošne vojne na domačem področju, izgubil nadzor nad razmerami. We're going to have to become a different kind of country. Postati moramo drugačna država. The military is going to take over. In effect, Bethmann, the civilian chancellor for the Kaiser thinks: If we don't settle this war pretty soon, it's going to escalate in ways in which it's pretty much going to pass out of my hands, and Germany's going to turn into a military dictatorship dedicated to trying to wage an all-out war. Pravzaprav Bethmann, civilni kancler pri Kaiserju, meni: Če te vojne ne bomo rešili kmalu, se bo stopnjevala tako, da mi bo precej izginila, Nemčija pa se bo spremenila v vojaška diktatura, namenjena vodenju vsestranske vojne. He doesn't want to go there unless he has to, but they have to settle it soon. If they don't get something done soon, then by late 1916 they're going to have to start writing their plans for an all-out submarine attack in 1917 that will bring the United States into the war. So the Germans reach out, looking for urgent US mediation to try to end the war. Let's take a look for instance at some of the interesting telegrams that were exchanged between Bethmann-Hollweg and the German ambassador in Washington. The ambassador for example is pointing out that the Americans do not want to get involved in the war. As the German ambassador observes in the summer of 1916, when all is said and done, the American people are pacifistically inclined. Kot opaža nemški veleposlanik poleti 1916, ko je vse povedano, so Američani pacifistično nagnjeni. It becomes clearer day by day, how difficult it is to arouse a feeling for preparedness for war, et cetera. Iz dneva v dan je bolj jasno, kako težko je vzbuditi občutek pripravljenosti na vojno itd. Whoever has lived here for a long time cannot avoid the conviction that the Americans' aim in life is the peaceful acquisition of wealth. Kdor že dolgo živi tukaj, se ne more izogniti prepričanju, da je cilj Američanov v življenju mirno pridobivanje bogastva. It is only when he believes that a deep injustice has been done him that he allows himself to be carried along in the current of an hysterical war sentiment. Šele ko verjame, da mu je bila storjena globoka krivica, si dovoli, da ga nosijo v toku histeričnega vojnega čustva. Bethmann-Hollweg's answer. Writing from Berlin in early September 1916, he talks about the situation. The fronts are holding fast, but hope to conclude peace before winter, as the exhaustion of Russia or France by the war is lessened by this development. Fronte se trdno držijo, vendar upajo, da bodo mir sklenili pred zimo, saj je izčrpanost Rusije ali Francije zaradi vojne zmanjšala ta razvoj dogodkov. He's referring to the entry of Romania into the war on the side of the Allies. In case no major catastrophe should occur in the East, would peace mediation by Wilson be possible and successful if we were to guarantee Belgium's unconditional restoration? V primeru, da na vzhodu ne bi prišlo do večje katastrofe, ali bi bilo Wilsonovo posredovanje v miru in uspešno, če bi zagotovili brezpogojno obnovo Belgije? Otherwise, the unrestricted U-boat war, those are their submarines, U-boats, U-boat war will have to be carried on in dead earnest. V nasprotnem primeru bo treba neomejeno vojno podmornice, to so njihove podmornice, podmornice, vojno s podmornicami, nadaljevati resno. Bernstorff believes President Wilson will make a peace move, but he's worried that it may be delayed until after the presidential election. That really worries Bethmann-Hollweg, who writes back to his ambassador that the supreme high command of the army is already looking at the unrestricted U-boat war. That situation would change if President Wilson will make his move. But, some action of this kind must occur before long since we are not in a position to remain quiet any longer. Toda takšni ukrepi se morajo zgoditi kmalu, saj ne bomo mogli več molčati. That's in late September of 1916. In other words, they're anxious to end the war quickly before matters escalate in a way that will not only take the war in a new direction but maybe be the end of normal civilian rule in Germany, as the military high command gets its way. Now let's switch the scene to yet one more absolutely key player: the British leadership. The British Government in the summer of 1916 is headed by the last great Liberal prime minister, Herbert Asquith. The war's increasingly overwhelming him as a politician and as a person. Vojna ga vse bolj prevzema kot politika in kot osebo. As he looks at these issues of war and peace in the late summer of 1916, Asquith and his wife are distraught by the news that their own son has just been killed in France. Britain too is under enormous strain, not clear what else they can do to bring the war to a successful conclusion. The British public through the popular press is getting encouraging news about what's happening in the Battle of the Somme, but little can hide that the front line has not advanced and that the cost is simply terrible. This photograph gives you one illustration of the devastation. As you can see that practically every bit of vegetation has been destroyed. When these shells explode, the metal fragments, the shrapnel, shreds anything that's more than a foot above the ground. Ko te lupine eksplodirajo, kovinski drobci, šrapnel, drobijo vse, kar je več kot meter nad tlemi. Here are some of the walking wounded heading back from the front. Tukaj je nekaj hoje ranjenih, ki se vračajo od spredaj. In this case, what appears to be a German Prisoner, possibly blinded by poison gas, is being helped back by one of the British wounded. V tem primeru eden od britanskih ranjencev pomaga nemškemu zaporniku, ki ga je morda zaslepil strupeni plin. This is part of the debris of war. This is simply used shell casings from some of the artillery that's been firing into the front lines. Asquith makes his move, too. In August 1916, he asks all the leaders of his Cabinet to ponder what the aims would be for a continuation of the war. One answer to Asquith's question comes from the most dynamic politician in his cabinet, a Welshman named David Lloyd George. Here's a photograph of Lloyd George. Lloyd George was a Liberal politician, but He had very much seen himself as a man representing the Welsh miners, representing the working class, a spokesman for social insurance, for government help. When it came to war, Lloyd George presented himself as the dynamic man, the man who could lead Britain to victory. And indeed, Lloyd George begins to see this moment as the one when he will become the war leader. In res, Lloyd George začne ta trenutek videti kot tistega, ko bo postal vojni vodja. He will become prime minister. He's smart. He doesn't see any panacea for a big breakthrough on the Western Front. Ne vidi nobene rešitve za velik preboj na zahodni fronti. He's also highly critical of the quality of British generalship. Zelo kritičen je tudi do kakovosti britanskega generala. He has some ideas for using a blockade, for trying to attack Germany and its allies at the margins somehow. Ima nekaj idej, kako uporabiti blokado, kako bi poskušal nekako obrobiti Nemčijo in njene zaveznike na robu. But he's determined that Britain just has to continue, and his answer is to go public in September 1916, and tell journalists that what Britain needs to do is to plan on a knockout blow and be willing just to fight it all the way through. Odločil pa se je, da mora Britanija le nadaljevati, njegov odgovor pa je, da bo javnost objavljena septembra 1916 in novinarjem povedal, da mora Velika Britanija načrtovati izstrelitveni udarec in se pripravljena boriti do konca. He sets himself out to the public as the man who is willing to do whatever is needed. In contrast to Lloyd George, inside the Cabinet discussions, Asquith gets an extraordinary memo from one of the senior statesmen in his government, Lord Lansdowne. V nasprotju z Lloydom Georgeom v razpravah v kabinetu dobi Asquith izjemen zapis od enega višjih državnikov v svoji vladi, lorda Lansdowna. Lansdowne has held several of the highest posts the British government can give, even going back to the late 1800s. Lansdowne je zasedel več najvišjih položajev, ki jih britanska vlada lahko ima, celo v poznih 1800 -ih. This elder, conservative statesman, this sober stalwart of British foreign policy, now writes a remarkable secret memo to his Cabinet colleagues. Lansdowne puts his views down in a memo to his colleagues in November 1916. I'm actually reading from the reprinting of this memo in Lloyd George's own memoirs, because Lloyd George regarded what he called this courageous memo, as the key opposing view to the one that he was putting forward. Lansdowne argued: I do not suppose for an instant that there is any weakening in the spirit of the people of this country. And that he hoped that the same might be said of our allies. But neither in their interests nor in ours can it be desirable that the war should be prolonged, unless it can be shown that we can bring it to an effectual conclusion within a reasonable space of time. So, what does the prolongation of the war mean? Torej, kaj pomeni podaljšanje vojne? Our own casualties already amount to over 1.1 million. We've had 15,000 officers killed, not including those who are missing. There's no reason to suppose that as the force at the front and the different theaters of war increases, the casualties will increase at a slower rate. Ni razloga za domnevo, da se bodo žrtve s povečanjem sil na fronti in različnih vojnih gledališčih povečevale počasneje. We are slowly but surely killing off the best of the male population of these islands. Počasi, a zanesljivo ubijamo najboljše moško prebivalstvo teh otokov. As for the Allies the total must be appalling. Kar zadeva zaveznike, mora biti vsota grozljiva. Financial. The financial burden which we have already accumulated is almost incalculable. We're adding to it at the rate of over 5 million pounds per day. Generations will have to come and go before the country recovers from the loss which it has sustained in human beings and from the financial ruin and the destruction of the means of production which are taking place. Fundamentally, Britain is about to go bankrupt. You've seen some of the charts showing the scale of British foreign investment around the world. Britain had been the financial hub of modern capitalism. That era is coming to a close, and Lansdowne is feeling it, because Britain is running out of money. Its public and private finances are strained to the limit. Lansdowne even perceives, presciently, that if the war continues, some of Britain's Allies may themselves implode. Lansdowne celo predvidljivo zaznava, da bodo nekateri britanski zavezniki, če se bo vojna nadaljevala, sami propadli. Looking over at Russia, and remember this is written in the fall of 1916, he points out that already the domestic situation is far from reassuring. There have been alarming disorders both at Moscow and in Petrograd. If the war continues, Britain will change in some permanent, fundamental way that it can never recover and so might the rest of the world. These are Liberal politicians who are seeing the world they grew up with disappearing before their eyes with the continuation of this war. And they hope to bring it to an end. So look at the way the elements have converged in the late summer and early fall of 1916. [SOUND] The USA needs to bring the war to an end to keep it from engulfing them. And it has leverage over the two sides. The Germans urgently want US mediation, and are, for their own reasons, interested in getting a cessation of hostilities before the end of the year. And the leadership of the British government is clearly looking at all their options. So then. Why did the moment pass? For the USA, Wilson couldn't act quickly because he was consumed by his re-election campaign. Just the timing of the American election cycle. He ends up not making his peace move until December 1916. By that time it's too late. In Germany, they're already moving towards preparing their 1917 war plans. The military will have the upper hand. Vojska bo imela prednost. And in Britain, the advocate of total war, David Lloyd George, had already out maneuvered his opponents in the British Cabinet. Lloyd George's policies are going to drive the British approach. Politika Lloyda Georgea bo vodila britanski pristop. By the end of 1916, when the Americans make their move, German domestic politics, British domestic politics have already closed the window of opportunity. Now I'm spotlighting this moment not because I'm sure there was a panacea here. Maybe if you run a counter-factual experiment, you say: Hmm, there are all sorts of reasons this might not have worked out. Even if the Americans had mediated, it might have failed. And there's no sure thing, especially when you're speculating about might-have-beens. But it does seem to me there is a significant possibility that fruitful negotiations might have happened, given the confluence of positions among these critical countries and the alternative they were looking at. Vendar se mi zdi, da obstaja velika možnost, da bi prišlo do plodnih pogajanj glede na sosedstvo stališč med temi kritičnimi državami in alternativo, ki so jo iskali. As that windows closed, World War I transitions to a new stage. In the winter of 1916 and 1917, the direction of the war took a dramatic new turn. The leading powers have new people in charge. In Britain, the new prime minister is David Lloyd George, determined to lead the British people to achieve that knockout blow he talked about to the press back in September of 1916, when he'd been outmaneuvering his Liberal rivals for the leadership. Lloyd George forms a national coalition between Liberals and Conservatives, who will join together to win the war at all costs. In France, their leadership too was swept aside the new premier is this man: Georges Clemenceau. Clemenceau was a formidable figure. He comes from what I classify as one of the Liberal parties, in France it would be called the Radical Party. Clemenceau has been a strong advocate of liberty, an opponent of the Church, a fierce spokesman for the underdog. Clemenceau je bil močan zagovornik svobode, nasprotnik Cerkve, oster predstavnik slabosti. He's a tough fellow. Težak je. His nickname is: The Tiger (Le Tigre). He'd spent some time in the United States in his younger days, and also had been involved in more than one duel. In Berlin, Bethmann-Hollweg's worst fears come to pass. V Berlinu se uresničijo najhujši strahovi Bethmann-Hollwega. The German High Command decides it'll adopt its approach to win the war. Nemško vrhovno poveljstvo se odloči, da bo sprejelo svoj pristop za zmago v vojni. The key figure in the German General Staff, its military master planner, is this man: Erich von Ludendorff. Ludendorff becomes, in effect, the military ruler of Germany. Bethmann-Hollweg will soon step down from the chancellorship. Ludendorff will really run the day-to-day management of the German Empire. As these new teams move into place in Britain, France, and Germany, Woodrow Wilson, newly re-elected in November and by a very close margin, does make his move to try to end the war. Wilson's peace message of December 1916 calls for a peace without victory. But the moment in which the British and German leaderships would have been open to that kind of move has passed. Now Wilson would have to use a lot of leverage. He actually does pull the British lion's tail a little bit by showing just how vulnerable the British are to American financial pressure. Pravzaprav nekoliko potegne britanski levji rep za rep, tako da pokaže, kako ranljivi so Britanci za ameriški finančni pritisk. But the American army isn't built up to the point where the German High Command is very frightened of it. Instead, the Germans decide that they're going to undertake their gamble. Namesto tega se Nemci odločijo, da se bodo lotili igre na srečo. What is their gamble? The German High Command's theory is this: Yes, the Americans may come into the war if we wage all-out submarine warfare. But we'll starve the British and knock them out of the war before America can slowly build up its army, train its troops, get them to France, and really make their weight felt on the battlefield. And who knows whether the Americans will be that tough an opponent anyway. They aren't used to war like we are. The result, then, is a new phase in the First World War, one that'll push some of the countries over the brink. In one case, in the Russian Empire, the war pushes the government of Tsar Nicholas II over the brink. They simply can't sustain the war effort anymore. The Russian people rise up and overthrow the monarchy. At first it's not clear what's going to happen with Russia's role in the war. This protest, for example, features a banner on the left that simply says: Feed the children of the defenders of the motherland. Ta protest na primer vsebuje transparent na levi strani, ki preprosto pravi: Nahranite otroke zagovornikov domovine. This banner over here, on the right: Increase payments to the soldiers' families, the defenders of freedom and world peace. They just want a better government. So the Russian Empire, one of the last of the old-style governments, Traditional-style governments, cracks. Another factor that helps create some emotional momentum for war is the Germans, anticipating that America might come in, send to the Mexican government an offer that if the Mexicans will ally themselves with the Germans against the Americans, why, the Germans will help the Mexicans get back all that territory they lost to the United States in the 1840s. Texas, California, and so on. [LAUGH] That German offer to the Mexican government was intercepted by British intelligence, which then finds a way of leaking it without their fingerprints being on it into the American press. You can imagine how the American public reacted to that German move. Even so, it's not a sure thing that America's going to come into the war. A lot still turns on what President Wilson is going to ask. Wilson decides that America does need to come in. Why? He is increasingly convinced that to end the war in the right way offers the only hope to really save civilization, that he needs to join with other countries in doing what America can to make the world safe for a democratic future, and that America won�t be able to have any voice on the future shape of the world unless it joins in the war to be able to be at the table and contribute. So, Wilson decides that America has to come in. He asks the Congress to declare war in early April 1917, and the United States, for the first time in its history, joins in a full-scale European conflict. The final phase of World War I and its aftermath will be our topic next week. I'll look forward to seeing you then.