13. Can a war be fought too long to have a negotiated settlement?.'
Wars are like forest fires, which only burn themselves out when they run out of fuel. Modern industrial wars require intention, manpower and resources. When the available manpower pool declines due to sustained casualties the fuel runs out and the intention fails. Only then will negotiations begin.
14. 'Germany would have proposed a custom-union state for Europe post victory over France.'
Germany came into being initially as a customs union which then became a state. The European Union was originally conceived as a customs union with a vision of a federal Europe which has not yet created unity. Any reference Germany might have ever made to a customs union of Europe was a tantamount to one nation under German control.
15. 'Was America torpedoed into war?.'
America chose to stay out of the war for as long as possible for strategic reasons. Britain was until 1914 perceived to be America’s strategic competitor and as such it sought a weakened Britain, who finally won the war against Germany. Thus America resisted the pretexts and potential catalysts that German torpedoes created as its ships were sunk, but finally came into the war when evidence appeared that Germany was working with Mexico (The Zimmerman Note) to invade the American south-west. Critical to this timing was that Britain had run out of money to continue the war. By taking its own time America was able to observe both the Monroe Doctrine and the Roosevelt Corollary
16. 'WW1 was Britain's greatest mistake?.'
Britain had for almost two decades perceived that Germany was a threat and had entered into an arms race that was designed to ensure its control of the seas against a German challenge. That arms race placed Britain under enormous financial pressure as her empire slowly moved into decline. It was just not in her power to build an army of comparable strength to Germany whilst still at peace. Thus Britain had done all she could to defend herself in the run up to 1914 against the German challenge.
If there was a mistake it was a German one that having failed to win a lightning victory against France she did not pull out and negotiate for peace knowing that she could not win the war of attrition that followed.
17. 1914-18 A British Catastrophe'
Ultimately, one way or another the old order of Europe comprising of Britain, France, Austria and Russia, was always going to be challenged by the new order in the form of Germany and America. History tells us that such challenges always result in conflict and the larger the participant the bigger the war required to determine the victor. The key lesson is that changes in the economic power of nations and empires driven by demographics manifest major wars. Unless we fully understand this mechanism man is doomed to repeat the pattern with potentially apocalyptic consequences for our race. Empires, as do the individuals who live within them, become old. If every old person fought the up and coming youth where would we be?
The essential driver is that expanding powers act as predators seeking weakness and opportunity. If they perceive, it they will pounce, so that without strong foreign policies old powers become vulnerable. Thus when weak leaders govern nations and empires their weakness makes the onset of wars become far more probable.
Mr. Obama, have you read this?