World War I
Chilwell munitions factory
There was a readiness for war among all the leading European nations. "Many were already in the starting blocks, waiting for the great conflict. If you had to blame someone, then the greatest blame would lie with nationalism itself.
This armaments race accelerated in the decade before 1914 as the Triple Alliance of Germany, Austria-Hungary, and Italy squared off against the Triple Entente of France, Russia, and Britain. Germany's fears of increases in Russian armaments, and British fears of the German naval buildup, contributed heavily to the outbreak and spread of the First World War in 1914.
Neutrality meant that we claimed the right to trade with anyone that we wanted; that we claimed the right to loan money to anyone who wanted it; ... The British position, and that of most belligerents in Europe, was that if they were fighting another country their friends should not trade with those who are their enemies. ... The United States had a surplus of money at that time, and people like J. P. Morgan and others made a lot of money by loaning their cash to foreign countries who paid high interest rates on it. The United States was loaning money to Great Britain and Germany and other belligerents that they were using in the war.
Churchill's commitment to the safety of noncombatant shipping was less than keen: three months before the sinking he wrote to the President of the Board of Trade that it was 'most important to attract neutral shipping to our shores in the hope especially of embroiling the USA with Germany... For our part, we want the traffic—the more the better; if some of it gets into trouble, better still.'
Sinking of the RMS Lusitania
In a disputed incident like this, one often gets to the truth of the matter by asking the question, "Cui bono?" "Who benefits?" After a detailed examination of the facts, one can only come to the conclusion that it was the banksters who benefitted, and grossly at that.
The contemporary investigations both in the UK and the United States into the precise causes of the ship's loss were obstructed by the needs of wartime secrecy and a propaganda campaign to ensure all blame fell upon Germany. Argument over whether the ship was a legitimate military target raged back and forth throughout the war as both sides made misleading claims about the ship.
Ammunition found aboard RMS Lusitania
Von Jagow argued that the German government possessed information that the Lusitania was carrying munitions to Britain - a situation which would inevitably render her a legitimate target.
The facts are that there is a large amount of ammunition in the wreck, some of which is highly dangerous.
The serial number U-15 VII on the base of this .303 bullet shows that it was made for the British Government by Union Metallic Co. in 1915.
Atrocity propaganda focused on the most violent acts committed by the German and Austro-Hungarian armies, emphasising their barbarity and providing justification for the conflict.
Opinion changed gradually, partly in response to German actions in Belgium and the Lusitania...
League of Nations
National political control over the arms trade continued to encroach on the laissez-faire system of the pre-war period. Britain in 1921 established a comprehensive licensing system for arms exports (which excluded aircraft) and embargoed exports to China (until 1929), the Soviet Union, Africa and ex-enemy states. ... Every major seller took advantage of the chaos in China to sell weapons there... The third major element of continuity in the interwar arms transfer system was the continued evolution and rise of second-tier producers who had succesfully industrialised and who subsequently entered the arms export market...
Throughout Knock explores the place of internationalism in American politics, sweeping away the old view that isolationism was the cause of Wilson's failure and revealing the role of competing visions of internationalism--conservative and progressive.