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Thread: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

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    Default David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    While doing my usual evening on Reddit I found an uproar in the Europe subreddit regarding a tweet made by British Prime Minister David Cameron linked here:
    https://twitter.com/David_Cameron/st...33093741060096

    In which he describes the WW1 vets as heroes "who gave their lives in the course of freedom." Now this apparently made a particular Belgian angry as it was in his view a pointless war that should be exposed for what it was, a needless waste of life for which no good purpose was had. The responses in the thread he made is here. From my reading of the thread it seems as if r/Europe was of two minds, the Western Europeans agreed that the war was pointless and should not be glorified while the Eastern Europeans viewed the war as the beginning of their liberation from the Russian Empire. I am curious as to what the Europeans of the org have to say on this matter. Are the WW1 vets heroes fighting for freedom or were they poor souls condemned as cannon fodder for the arrogance of European politicians? How do we reconcile our honor for the fallen without glorifying the war itself?
    In all these papers we see a love of honest work, an aversion to shams, a caution in the enunciation of conclusions, a distrust of rash generalizations and speculations based on uncertain premises. He was never anxious to add one more guess on doubtful matters in the hope of hitting the truth, or what might pass as such for a time, but was always ready to take infinite pains in the most careful testing of every theory. With these qualities was united a modesty which forbade the pushing of his own claims and desired no reputation except the unsought tribute of competent judges.

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Belgium suffered pretty badly. There isn't any consensus on who's to blame for the war, it's a pointless inevitability of the politics since 1848. Fighting for freedom, I wouldn't call it that as the vets didn't have a choice, or voluntered because they were naive
    Last edited by Fragony; 12-20-2013 at 11:21.

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    IMHO, a very stupid war.

    Perhaps even the very MOST stupid war ever.

    It is of course not the soldiers fault, but the leaders.

    So noooo.... Can't say the soldiers gave their life for "freedom".

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    A completely pointless war.

    Especially considering that it forced the next World War on us as well.


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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Husar View Post
    A completely pointless war.

    Especially considering that it forced the next World War on us as well.
    Pointless yes, thoughtless no, there was a hand under the skirt. People tend to believe that it started with a single incident that ignited the fuse but a lot more was going on behind the screens. I think the Greater-Serbia theory is the most convincing. Problem with that theory is that Russia wasn't prepared for war logistically, not enough rails. Than again, you can't invade Russia as it's too vast so it could have been worth the gamble to lure Europe into a war. The reason being sea-routes.

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    AFAIK the nations of the time weren't fighting for freedom but to uphold agreements and after a year both sides were only fighting just so they wouldn't have to say they threw away millions of men over basically nothing.

    Hrm... well I suppose at a stretch the british troops were fighting for the freedom of the belgian state from the german state's aggression, and I guess the first shot of the war was fired for the freedom of serbia.

    Still, even at best it was a horrendous oversimpification that indicates Cameron (and by extention the ruling party) has forgotten the lessons we learned in that bloody mess, or worse never learned it.

    It's actually kind of a worrying sign when juxtaposed against the nazi resurgence in greece.
    Last edited by Greyblades; 12-20-2013 at 13:27.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyblades View Post
    Hrm... well I suppose, technically, the british troops were fighting for the freedom of the belgian state from the german state's aggression, and the first shot of the war was fired for the freedom of serbia. Still, stupid comment.
    Heh, did I mention the hand under the skirt? There is evidence that the Serbian government was fully aware of the consequences of the assasination and the border control was told to let the assasin through, there is also corresponce between Russia and Serbia that suggests that the by then PM Pastich(sp) was into the deal and very much aware of what was about to happen. The Serbs would than get their greater Serbia, and Russia their acces to the searoutes. The German emperor actually tried to prevent war, there is a two week hiatus between the punitive mission of Austria-Hungary because of that.

    That is an existing theory, nobody really knows.

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Heh, did I mention the hand under the skirt? There is evidence that the Serbian government was fully aware of the consequences of the assasination and the border control was told to let the assasin through, there is also corresponce between Russia and Serbia that suggests that the by then PM Pastich(sp) was into the deal and very much aware of what was about to happen. The Serbs would than get their greater Serbia, and Russia their acces to the searoutes. The German emperor actually tried to prevent war, there is a two week hiatus between the punitive mission of Austria-Hungary because of that.

    That is an existing theory, nobody really knows.
    Does this theory have as much value as the other theories you present?

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    has a Senior Member HoreTore's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Saying that the WW1 vets fought "for King and country" or something like that is accurate.

    Saying that they fought "for freedom" is sheer nonsense. The German empire wasn't anti freedom. But Cameron is a conservative, and they seem to have a really limited vocabulary. That, plus their ability to portray everything coming from "their own" as good, while everything coming from "the others" as bad.

    WW1 was the logical culmination of the alliance building of the late 19th century coupled with conflicting imperial interests. It really wasn't about anything else, and every involved country was just as responsible for it. WW2 was the German's fault, WW1 most certainly wasn't.
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Kadagar_AV View Post
    Does this theory have as much value as the other theories you present?
    If I read that as it was intended about as much as your pressence here and the universe and surroundings. It's not my theory but it's plausable. Fact, nobody knows exactly what led to the Great War. Some blame the rise of the nation-state, some on total idiocy. Nobody knows exactly what the relationship between the Serb-government, the Black Hand, and Russia were. Follow the money, it isn't anything new. With a Greater Serbia with acces for the Russians to the traderoutes it would provide it would be a huge benefit to both. Again, nobody really knows. People tend to forget that there were already two Balkan wars just before WW1.
    Last edited by Fragony; 12-20-2013 at 14:07.

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Fragony View Post
    Follow the money
    Are we still doing the "blame the jews"-thingy?
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    I once saw a documentary about WW1. I think it said Professor Moriarty started it or something like that.
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    master of the pwniverse Member Fragony's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Are we still doing the "blame the jews"-thingy?
    I don't know, do you have that association? Pretty common thing in Sandinavia so it would be pretty normal if you do.

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by HoreTore View Post
    Saying that the WW1 vets fought "for King and country" or something like that is accurate.

    Saying that they fought "for freedom" is sheer nonsense. The German empire wasn't anti freedom. But Cameron is a conservative, and they seem to have a really limited vocabulary. That, plus their ability to portray everything coming from "their own" as good, while everything coming from "the others" as bad.

    WW1 was the logical culmination of the alliance building of the late 19th century coupled with conflicting imperial interests. It really wasn't about anything else, and every involved country was just as responsible for it. WW2 was the German's fault, WW1 most certainly wasn't.
    Conservatives have no special or unique skills at manipulating the language, Horetore. The tendency you ascribe to them is a common tactic across cultures and creeds -- particularly with violence involved. After all, it is far easier to attack an "enemy sniper" than to shoot some "gal who looks a bit like my sister." Objectifying the "other" has been part of conflict and part of political communication from the outset.

    Which, by the way, gives some support for what Cameron was saying. In any logical sense, the above mentioned arguments make it clear that WW1 really wasn't about "freedom" at all. However, in the minds of those British vets, following the natural human impulse of affection for one's on culture and way of doing things [an extension of the survival mechanism], they were "fighting for freedom" because they viewed freedom as a central value of what it meant/means to be British. Never mind the limitations of whose rights were actually being protected by Magna Carta or the limitations of Parliament's "representative" character for much of its history -- freedom is an enshrined element of British culture and it is likely that, at first, many of them would have felt that they were fighting for freedom.

    After that, like all soldiers, they fought for their companions.
    "The only way that has ever been discovered to have a lot of people cooperate together voluntarily is through the free market. And that's why it's so essential to preserving individual freedom.” -- Milton Friedman

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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Well, basically every nation had some goal or idea for joining WW1 and the alliances were merely formed to have a chance to reach said goals.
    - Russia wanted more influence in Serbia over Austria
    - Austria wanted to keep its influence in the Balkans and preserve their precious inbred rulers' "prestige"
    - Germany had his weird idea of "just Austria and us and we can rule the world! <3" which was very contrary to the alliances of the late 19th century
    - France was foaming at the mouth to get revenge for 1871 even though that was 40 years ago
    - Britain wanted what it always wanted, a divided Europe that cannot threaten their little island of happiness

    The result was somewhat like this (in not necessarily chronological order):

    - Serbians kill Austrian heir
    - Inbred Emperor wants revenge on Serbia
    - Russia says it will help Serbia, hoping to get more influence there
    - German idiot gives Austria a blanket guarantee to provide more cannon fodder
    - France tells Germany on request that it will gladly invade Germany in case of a war due to the triple entente and glorious revenge
    - Britain says "But think of the children! (=little ones = Belgium)"
    - Inbreds start the war and do so bad that Germany has to carry most of the weight
    - Surprisingly, and noone saw that coming, the little ones provide the only viable access to France, Germany goes through there because it loves a two-front war
    - Russia falls apart due to revolution
    - England joins France, stalls German advance
    - Boring, purposeless meatgrinder for the "glory" of 5 people or so
    - USA come late to the party
    - Germany falls apart due to revolution and just being overwhelmed now anyway, attempts to mitigate damage
    - Everybody agrees this is totally Germany's and Austria's fault, but mostly Germany's of course since they owe everyone from 1871
    - A "hero" rises in Germany and promises to throw off the shackles of injustice to reinstate the proper glory of Germany and most of all himself...
    - Everybody (except the USA) is worse off and some still find explosives on their turf today

    What we have learned from this today is that it's much better to think of other Europeans as "the enemy that needs to be overshadowed" than to integrate national countries and work towards common goals.


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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    The British fought for freedom in WW1 like Epaminondas and his Thebans fought to end Spartan oppression of helots/Messenians.
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Freedom is subjective. Britain's version of freedom was not being influenced or invaded by a united europe, and the best way to keep a united europe from emeriging at the time was to stop Germany winning over france, so through stretching reason we see that by fighting Germany Britain fought for it's freedom.
    Last edited by Greyblades; 12-20-2013 at 17:10.
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    Iron Fist Senior Member Husar's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyblades View Post
    Freedom is subjective. Britain's version of freedom was not being influenced or invaded by a united europe, and the best way to keep a united europe from emeriging at the time was to stop Germany winning over france, so through stretching reason a little we see that by fighting Germany Britain fought for it's freedom.
    In that case Germany fought for freedom as well because Germany was afraid to get split in half with one half going to France and the other to Russia. Had our military only been weaker, you would've sided with us and we could've blamed the whole war on France and Russia afterwards.


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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    I did say it was stretching reason a little.

    We can say that the soldier's fought for thier freedom, doesnt mean that thier version of freedom is the dictionary definition or particularly laudable.

    Wait... I'm playing dumbass' advocate here aren't I?
    Last edited by Greyblades; 12-20-2013 at 17:21.
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Saying that anyone fought for anyone's freedom in WW1 seems a bit silly, yes.

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Can I say that the viking raids were about Norwegian freedom as well?
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Only so long as the norwegian version of freedom required them to be allowed to raid english monastaries unimpeeded. Like I said, it's subjective, smeg gets silly quick.
    Last edited by Greyblades; 12-20-2013 at 17:40.
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyblades View Post
    Only so long as the norwegian version of freedom required them to be allowed to raid english monastaries unimpeeded. Like I said, it's subjective, smeg gets silly quick.
    The loot from Britain made us capable of resisting the Danes. The women we took scared off the Swedes.

    It's not rape when you're doing it for freedom!
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Member Member Greyblades's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Hrm, what freedom are we talking about, freedom of expression? Freedom to live? Or are we talking about the freedom to kill? Freedom to steal, to rape?
    Being better than the worst does not inherently make you good. But being better than the rest lets you brag.


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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyblades View Post
    Hrm, what freedom are we talking about, freedom of expression? Freedom to live? Or are we talking about the freedom to kill? Freedom to steal, to rape?
    Freedom from oppression from the 'orrible Danes and silly Swedes, of course.

    In other words, the same kind of freedom the brits fought for in ww1, just swap with "Germans" and "French".
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Gelatinous Cube View Post
    The nebulous phrase "They fought for [insert]" is almost always a load of crap.
    FIFY

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Freedom from oppression from the 'orrible Danes and silly Swedes, of course.

    In other words, the same kind of freedom the brits fought for in ww1, just swap with "Germans" and "French".
    Hrm, I'm going to cut this tangent short and go back to your origional post:
    Can I say that the viking raids were about Norwegian freedom as well?
    Yes you can, and cameron can say that the brits fought for freedom in WW1; freedom's abstract, so abstract that saying someone's fighting for it without a qualifier indicates a lack of understanding of the conflict, and in our western world just the mention of the word automatically makes the word's target "the good guy" regardless of actual moral integrety.

    Cameron's right, technically, but the way the western world glorifies the word freedom means he's been interprited as saying that "Brits were shining knights and Germans evil bastards"(well, non nazi germans anyway). So while he is right; Cameron is either a bit of a dumbass for not seeing the interpritation coming or a huge dumbass for knowing exactly what he was implying and saying it anyway.
    Last edited by Greyblades; 12-20-2013 at 20:25.
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Quote Originally Posted by Greyblades View Post
    Hrm, I'm going to cut this tangent short and go back to your origional post:
    Yes you can, and cameron can say that the brits fought for freedom in WW1; freedom's abstract, so abstract that saying someone's fighting for it without a qualifier indicates a lack of understanding of the conflict, and in our western world just the mention of the word automatically makes the word's target "the good guy" regardless of actual moral integrety.

    Cameron's right, technically, but the way the western world glorifies the word freedom means he's been interprited as saying that "Brits were shining knights and Germans evil bastards"(well, non nazi germans anyway). So while he is right; Cameron is either a bit of a dumbass for not seeing the interpritation coming or a huge dumbass for knowing exactly what he was implying and saying it anyway.
    I do believe you just made the term utterly meaningless.

    EDIT: But we can all agree that the Brits stayed in those foxholes because the Germans made them a bit cross for interrupting tea-time, right?
    Still maintain that crying on the pitch should warrant a 3 match ban

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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Have I?...

    Awesome!

    EDIT: But we can all agree that the Brits stayed in those foxholes because the Germans made them a bit cross for interrupting tea-time, right?
    Oh absolutely, kinda why we needed the empire, so that we'd have troops who wouldnt be immobilised for 15 minutes every 6pm. If only we had stayed in those foxholes instead of charging into gunfire every other week it might not have been such a bloodbath.
    Last edited by Greyblades; 12-20-2013 at 20:40.
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    Senior Member Senior Member Brenus's Avatar
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    Default Re: David Cameron: WW1 vets fought for freedom. Is this offensive or not?

    Did the soldiers fought for Freedom? Against the majority I would say yes.

    France had no choice. France was attacked. France, Belgium and Serbia are the 3 countries that had no choices as they were under attack, this is fact.

    It is well and good to say how much the French wanted the “revanche” (and yes they did) but Alsace-Lorraine have been taken by force and if you want to know, you can check how much France had to pay to the newly formed Germany (in Versailles) after the defeat (plus cost for maintaining the German Occupation Forces left there to secure the payment) of 1871.
    Then it was Germany that attacked neutral Belgium in order to attack the French in the back.
    So yes, at least the French soldiers fought for the freedom of the country, paid the price for it as they had it before and knew what was to come if the German Empire had it its way.
    Yes, the French Generals were brutal and most of them incompetents, like their German Counterpart or their allies, losing 1000 men a day in a war that none of them have foreseen against the lessons from the US Civil War and the Crimean War (siege, machine guns and heavy artillery).

    Now do not forget that the Austria Heir was the representative of an occupying Country on other peoples. Nor the Serbs, Croats and now Bosnians were willingly part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. So killing an oppressor is part of a war for freedom.
    I am not sure of the implication of the Serbian Kingdom, as most of historians do point out the Crna Ruka and the chief of the Serbian Intelligence. However, the attack itself was not really well prepared and the success of it is largely due to luck (from Gavrilo Princip point of view of course).

    France did jump in the occasion offered by the German Empire. To take back the lost territory was the reason of the 2nd Colonial Empire in order to have troops and material to do so. Children were taught in school to use weapons and learned military discipline. It is difficult to imagine the level of propaganda that was used between 1871 and 1914, the blue line of the Vosges, “y penser, toujours, en parler, jamais”, to think of it, always, to speak about, never”. Germany was aware of it, and the design of the offensive on the Western Front included this aspect (lure the French in Alsace, then cut them from supply lines in invading Belgium).

    Now, about Camerone, he said as well that the Campaign in Afghanistan was a success, except of course in few details as the Taliban are still here, the record harvesting of opium, the re-instauration of the Sharia law, and a general corruption that can be compared to the South Vietnam of the 70’.
    He also saying that the UK economy is better, so…
    Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities. Voltaire.

    "I've been in few famous last stands, lad, and they're butcher shops. That's what Blouse's leading you into, mark my words. What'll you lot do then? We've had a few scuffles, but that's not war. Think you'll be man enough to stand, when the metal meets the meat?"
    "You did, sarge", said Polly." You said you were in few last stands."
    "Yeah, lad. But I was holding the metal"
    Sergeant Major Jackrum 10th Light Foot Infantery Regiment "Inns-and-Out"

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