Letter: German intentions in 1914 are still far from clear

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The Independent Online
JOHN GRIGG ("The first fight for freedom", 8 November) is right to stress that the 1914-1918 war was far from pointless.

In March 1918 the Germans imposed on the Bolsheviks the draconian Treaty of Brest-Litovsk. Its appallingly harsh terms were never implemented since the German army was defeated on the Western Front first. The same applied to the equally hideous Treaty of Bucharest forced on the Romanians in May. Both treaties were designed not merely to humiliate but to destroy and enslave the conquered nations. Their terms differed little from Hitler's declared intentions a quarter of a century later.

When in 1914 the Kaiser ordered his army to "walk over General French's contemptible (verachtlich) little army", he prefaced that injunction with the words "exterminate the treacherous England". It is not difficult to believe that the terms of a treaty inflicted on Britain and France would have been only slightly more lenient than those inflicted on Russia and Romania.


Llanfairpwll, Anglesey