“On reading this, I did a double-take and almost questioned my sanity. Surely, Hochschild must be aware that exactly at that point in time, the government of Germany had publicly proposed international peace talks without preconditions aimed at ending the war, suggesting that the massive, pointless slaughter be halted, perhaps largely on a status quo ante basis.
The Germans had recently won several huge victories, inflicting enormous losses on the Allies in the Battle of the Somme and also completely knocking Rumania out of the war. So riding high on their military success, they emphasized that they were seeking peace on the basis of their strength rather than from any weakness. Unfortunately, the Allies flatly rejected this peace overture, declaring that that the offer proved Germany was close to defeat, so they were determined to hold out for complete victory with major territorial gains.
As a result, many additional millions needlessly died over the next two years, while just a couple of months later in early 1917 Russia’s Czarist government collapsed, eventually leading to the Bolshevik seizure of power, a turning-point with fateful, long-term consequences.”