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Subject: If the First World War Were a Bar Fight. rss

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franklin johnson
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Police report, written up by the desk sergeant on duty for use by the night court judge.
***********************************

Germany, Austria and Italy are standing together in the middle of a bar when Serbia bumps into Austria and spills Austria's beer. Austria demands Serbia buy it a complete new suit because there are splashes on its trouser leg. Germany expresses its support for Austria's point of view. Britain recommends that everyone calm down a bit.


Serbia points out that it can't afford a whole suit, but offers to pay for the cleaning of Austria's trousers. Russia and Serbia look at Austria. Austria asks Russia who it's looking at. Russia suggests that Austria should leave its little brother Serbia alone. Austria inquires as to whose army will assist Russia in compelling it to do so. Russia says France and Russia are like brothers. Austria says Germany and Austria *are* brothers, and Germany is the big brother. As it happens, Germany has been looking for a fight for some time, and aggressively tells Britain to back off. Germany further adds that France has been looking at it, and that this is sufficiently out of order that Britain should butt out. Britain, nettled, replies that France can look at who it wants to, that Britain is looking at Germany too, and what is Germany going to do about it? And Germany had better stop looking at France’s little brother, Belgium, too.


Germany tells Russia to stop looking at Austria, or Germany will render Russia incapable of such action. Britain and France both ask Germany whether it's looking at Belgium. Germany calls on Turkey and Italy to watch its back, but Italy goes off in a corner. Turkey and Germany go off into a corner and whisper.


When they come back, Turkey makes a show of not looking at anyone. Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at Russia, looks at France, and sucker-punches Belgium. Germany then kicks Belgium when it is down. France and Britain punch Germany. Austria punches Russia. Germany punches Britain and France with one hand and Russia with the other. Russia throws a punch at Germany, but misses and nearly falls over. Japan calls over from the other side of the room that it's on Britain's side, but stays there. Italy surprises everyone by punching Austria.

Austria punches Italy. Britain shouts for help and Australia runs in and punches Turkey, and gets punched back. There are no hard feelings because Britain made Australia do it. France gets thrown through a plate glass window, but gets back up and carries on fighting. Russia gets thrown through another one, gets knocked out, suffers brain damage, wakes up with a complete personality change, and staggers off. Italy throws a punch at Austria and misses, but Austria falls over anyway and goes all to pieces.


Germany has been throwing furniture out the window at America to keep friend-of-Britain America from coming in, but America finally comes in. America waits till Germany and France are about to fall over from sustained punching, then walks over and smashes Germany with a barstool, then pretends it won the fight all by itself. By now all the chairs are broken and the big mirror over the bar is shattered. Britain, France, Italy and America agree that Germany threw the first punch, so the whole thing is Germany's fault. Besides which, Germany had stolen France’s Alsatian last week. While Germany is still unconscious, they go through its pockets, take its wallet by way of compensation, and buy drinks for all their friends.

(from an old usenet folder)

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Jim Cote
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FrankLJ wrote:
Germany has been throwing furniture out the window at America to keep friend-of-Britain America from coming in, but America finally comes in.

Only because America overhears a whispered conversation on a cellphone between Germany and Mexico.
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Exit 191
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Beautifully done and so true.
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Sean
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The macro-politics of that era are ridiculously complicated as were the many treaties binding several countries, and the period of European history between 1867-1914 is one of the most studied. Yet this line
FrankLJ wrote:
As it happens, Germany has been looking for a fight for some time
is a little too over-simplified.

However, good analogy all the same. If only it had all stayed in a bar.
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Cal Macewan
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ekted wrote:
FrankLJ wrote:
Germany has been throwing furniture out the window at America to keep friend-of-Britain America from coming in, but America finally comes in.

Only because America overhears a whispered conversation on a cellphone between Germany and Mexico.


Or rather Britain tells America about a text from Germany to Mexico they had seen, whilst totally not bugging Germany's phone or anything.
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franklin johnson
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It is simplified, but that is the nature of these parodies. I was thinking of the influence of Treitschke, and General Bernhardi ('Germany and the Next War') and all those Junker militarists who thought Germany needed to strike soon, early in the twentieth century, before her enemies overwhelmed her. This was not the only view of course, but it was sadly influential.

1960's German historian Franz Fischer has a good synthesis of these views, and also of the consequences of putting them into action in his 'Germany's Aims in the First World War'(I am looking forward to reading the collected critics of his work in 'World Power and Decline'). What I get out of it all so far is that the Versailles Treaty's 'War Guilt' clause was not as far adrift as a disillusioned post-war generation thought.

Simplified, but not so over-simplified.

On the piece, I liked this when I first found it; you can just see the tired desk sergeant writing up the exploits of yet another group of party-hearty idiots to explain it all to the judge the next morning.

Not that the stupid posturing and swagger of a bunch of drunks in a bar would have anything to do with the diplomatic initatives of the Great Powers, of course.

shake
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The Honorable Mayor McCheese
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You forgot the part where France and Russia both dared Serbia to bump into Austria and cause the beer to spill.
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I more wonder what war couldn't be explained as a bar brawl?
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Kurt
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Awesome. I wish I had seen this when I was in high school and trying to follow it. Sometimes oversimplified parodies can serve as a great 'Cliff's Notes."
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Cpl. Fields
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FrankLJ wrote:
Germany rolls up its sleeves, looks at Russia, looks at France, and sucker-punches Belgium.


Classic.
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Tony Ackroyd
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MWChapel wrote:
I more wonder what war couldn't be explained as a bar brawl?

Not many. Heres a quick go at the Cold War:

Two massive guys were sitting on opposite ends of a bar staring at each other. Each of them had a gang of little friends.
They each brought in lots of hand grenades and then sat there flicking peanuts at each other.
This went on for some time.
Then one massive guy realised he couldn't afford to pay for his hand grenades and had run out of money for peanuts and drinks. All his little friends went home and he snuck out the back door.

The other massive guy and his friends were delighted and sat there carrying on drinking and wondering what they were going to do with all these hand grenades.

Then he got his bar bill and realised he couldn't afford to pay it.
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franklin johnson
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Hum - it seems this post won me a Level One Spammer Award (over 100 posts). It's the center one. Well, it's a type of distinction, I guess.
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