Re: reaction to Microsoft ruling

From: Charlie Stross (
Date: Tue Apr 18 2000 - 04:03:56 MDT

On Mon, Apr 17, 2000 at 12:03:08PM -0400, Michael S. Lorrey wrote:
> >
> > Where did you get the 300,000 dead from? The figure I'm working from is
> > 60,000 US soldiers dead -- putting the USA in roughly fourteenth place
> > in the conflict. (Citation: "The First World War", Martin Gilbert.)
> This is as I recall from school. I could be wrong, and I might have mixed that
> up with WWII losses. In any event, even accepting your figures, that would be
> more losses in less than two years

Actually, in those eleven months. IIRC, the *first* American casualty of
the war -- excluding those Americans who lied about their nationality to
join the armed forces of a European nation -- happened in January/February
1918. Pershing wasn't planning on *any* US military involvement on the
ground prior to 1919 -- his hand was forced by the near-collapse of the
French in May/June 1918 during the German's last big push.

The US army on the ground in June 1918 had about 300,000 soldiers *total*
(although by June 1919 that was due to be up to about 2 million, at which
point it would be as large as the British expeditionary force).

> ...... All of this on something that really had
> nothing to do with us.

Except for the fact that at the end of the conflict, the whole balance of
trade and power among the great powers would have changed. By getting
involved, the USA had the opportunity to dictate some aspects of the
outcome -- in its own favour.

(This isn't a _good_ reason for jumping into a world war, but it's a
realpolitik reason.)

This also leaves aside the then-current issue of "Hun beastliness" and
the rape of Belgium, which was what got the UK into the war -- if the
German army hadn't violated the borders of a neutral country, the UK might
well have stayed neutral, leaving the war to play out in 1914 as a replay
of 1871.

-- Charlie

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