Tuesday, 8 July 2014

German Mobilization, 1914

So what does it mean, this "mobilization" I keep talking about?
Well, Noble Readers, let me explain. Suppose you're a nice, peaceful country with several borders, and you've recently had a nasty spat with one of the awkward countries next door.
The spat may have been over some perceived slight or possibly even something more serious, like an act of war, the assassination of one of your important people perhaps. Anyway, let's suppose that diplomacy has failed, the situation has deteriorated, and that you either, 
(a)  fear an attack,or,
(b)  have decided to jolly well teach them a lesson.
It is, after all, for these two eventualities that you bother to keep an army at all.

Now, your soldiers are housed in barracks here and there. But you need to have them at the border where the trouble is about to begin, and so you must issue an order to that effect. That's mobilization.
It means that you entrain your serving forces, you call-up your reservists - men who've had a military training, but who are now civilians again - and you commence measures that will switch your peace-time economy over to supplying the coming war.
Now, all of this activity is likely to be readily apparent to the enemy. Firstly because they pay actual spies whose job it is to report on what's happening, and secondly because, even in a world without mobile phones, word just sort of leaks out.
It's a very Bad Thing when you hear that a country next-door has mobilized. It means that in a few hours they’ll have their troops up against your border and will be ready to start swarming across it. It means, if you’re a small country like Belgium let's say, that you're about to get the stuffing kicked out of you.
The worst thing is, in these circumstances, there is no alternative to mobilizing yourself. And so the process feeds on itself, and even without nations being tied into secret treaties the whole shebang goes up inflames before you can say "Pax Britannica."

My latest novel The Deadly Playground, 1914 is out now. Why not click on this link and get yourself a copy? http://smarturl.it/DPAmazon

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