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World War One - Prelude

Military Expenditures: 1908 - 1913 (Literary Digest, 1935)

A printable chart calculated in millions of U.S. dollars (evaluated prior to the 1934 value), which lays out the military spending as it increased between the years 1908 through 1913. The nations taken into account are Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Japan and the United States.

Numerous articles about military spending prior to W.W. II in this section...


''The Baseless Fear of War'' by Andrew Carnegie (The Independent, 1913)

Andrew Carnegie (1835 - 1919) tried his hand at clairvoyance and wrote this article in response to the constant plea for money from the U.S. Department of War, which he found completely unnecessary and excessive.

"Our naval and military officials must dream of wars since most of them never even see one."


The Franco-Russian Alliance (Literary Digest, 1897)

The Franco-Russian Alliance (1892 - 1917) was a military partnership uniting the Russian empire of Alexander III Alexandrovich and the French Third Republic under President Marie François Sadi Carnot. It was a key element that contributed to the deep sense of insecurity experienced by Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany. When one reads the attached article from 1897, with it's strong anti-German language, you will come away wondering why the First World War didn't begin sooner:

"France may now hope to regain her lost provinces with the help of Russia. The hour of revenge has come. Alsace Lorraine will once more be French..."


The Need for French Military Glory (Literary Digest, 1900)

Appearing on newsstands fourteen years prior to the outbreak of the First World War was this small piece from THE LITERARY DIGEST declaring that the thirst for military glory was woven into the very fiber of the French Republic:

"Not within the memory of living men has France been the mistress of continental Europe; yet the memory of her military glory is still vivid among her people, and the expressions of many of her writers show that she has not given up her proud preeminence."
"Revenge for Sedan is a sentiment necessary to our national existence."

Click here to read a 1912 article about the expansion of the Imperial German Navy.


Rumors of War (Review of Reviews, 1910)

This article refers to a "temperate" review of Anglo-German relations as understood by Dr. Theodore Schiemann (1847 - 1921), confidant of Kaiser Wilhelm II and professor at the University of Berlin. Interestingly, the professor predicted some aspects of the forth-coming war correctly but, by enlarge, he believed Germany would be victorious:

"A German-English war would be a calamity for the whole world, England included; for it may be regarded as a foregone conclusion that simultaneously with such an event every element in Asia and Africa that is hostile to the English would rise up as unbidden allies of Germany".


Germany Defends It's Military Build Up (Literary Digest, 1913)

A defense was offered for the growth of German military expenditures based on the spread of "Slavik pride" and the rise of a "great Pan-Slavonic movement" due to "victory of their kinsmen in the Balkans". German leaders, furthermore, felt a deep uneasiness about the fact that about one-third of the population of the Hapsburg Monarchy consisted of Slavs and therefore felt that military aid from the Austro-Hungarian Empire was not guaranteed in the event of a war with Russia and France.


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