Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part 1-1
Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

A TL by RamscoopRaider

Part I: The Great War


…Muhamed Mehmedbašić, perhaps the most infamous name in modern history. The one man who more than anything ended the golden age of the Long Nineteenth Century and brought on the horrors of the Twentieth. To be clear there were other assassins, five of them in fact. But Mehmedbašić was the first, and had his bomb missed it is unlikely in the extreme that the other killers would have been able to assassinate the Archduke once on guard.

To be clear Mehmedbašić and the killers did not act alone. They were members of a revolutionary organization known as the Black Hand. An organization that was effectively run by the Chief of Serbian Military Intelligence one Colonel Dragutin Dimitrijević, one of the key figures behind the 1903 May Coup where the Serbian Royal Family and top government officials were slain for being insufficiently nationalistic. One can say that Dimitrijević bore the greater responsibility as the coup he organized pushed Serbia in a direction contrary to that of its recently elected government, and thus put Mehmedbašić in his position.

However, at the end of the day it was Mehmedbašić who threw the bomb that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Duchess Sophie, Governor General Oskar Potiorek and Lieutenant Colonel Count Franz von Harrach, and thus ended a century of peace, progress and prosperity, ushering in decades of hell…


-Excerpt from A Popular History of the 20th Century, Scholastic American Press: Philadelphia, 1980






…The Assassination of Archduke Ferdinand did not have to spark a general European War, much less a global one. Had Europe reacted as they had to the May Coup, with a general diplomatic isolation of Serbia, rather than quibble over the terms of the July Ultimatum, it was likely Serbia would have backed down and accepted the terms as offered. Had Russia not given Serbia support, despite Serbia rejecting their advice, it would have remained an isolated Austro-Serbian war, had it occurred at all. Had the French not given unconditional assurances to the Russians, even in the case of Serbia being found in the wrong, it is probable the Russians would not have threatened war with Austria-Hungary.

Even at this point the war could have remained a mere European War, as the Balkan Wars had, or the Russo-Turkish or Franco-Prussian Wars, if on a larger scale, had two things not occurred. The Belgians refusing the Germans passage based on a mistaken estimate of the German Siege artillery was the first and guaranteed that the front would bog down into years in the trenches with all the mass bloodletting that entailed.

Secondly was the decision by the United Kingdom to go to war over a scrap of paper. That the government of the time had reasons for it was true, distraction from the ongoing crisis in Ireland and leave the United Kingdom friendless and isolated in Europe. That the war would have been only a temporary fix that would cause tensions to fester in Ireland should have been obvious even then. Furthermore, it was known to the Asquith Cabinet that the resulting war would be long and costly; thus, any victory would of necessity be pyrrhic and leave both sides desperate for friends themselves. Without British Imperial resources it is unlikely the Entente would have lasted past 1916, making for a shorter and much less costly war that would not have laid the groundwork for the destruction of the British Empire nor set the stage for so many horrors to come...


-Excerpt from A New Unofficial History of WWI, Sydney University Press: Sydney, 2010



…Orthodox history since the 1950’s primarily places the blame for the First World War upon Serbia, and to a somewhat lesser degree Russia and France, with Britain blamed for transforming it from a European War to a World War. Austria-Hungary is portrayed as a justifiably aggrieved partner and Germany as a loyal ally with questionable decision making. This viewpoint actively minimizes the evidence that substantial elements in both Austria-Hungary and Germany were actively seeking war, that the Dual Monarchy never seriously considered not going to war with Serbia and that Germany was fully willing to start a general European war.

This paper does not set out to absolve the Entente of any blame for the emergence of the First World War, what this paper does intend is to allocate the responsibility in a more unbiased manner. This paper will further show how biases stemming from later periods have influenced Orthodox Historians to take the viewpoints they have…


-Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XXX, University of California Press: Berkley, 2020



…The assassination of Franz Ferdinand is one of the more famous assassinations and an example of what this book calls a mixed success. Franz Ferdinand was killed because it was feared that if he took the throne, he would reform Austria-Hungary in a way that would accommodate its South Slavic ethnicities better. As the Black Hand and Serbian government wanted the South Slavs to revolt against Austria-Hungary and join a South Slavic state, Serbian dominated naturally, killing him would avoid this. In that they succeeded at their primary goal, Franz Ferdinand never got the chance to reform the Austro-Hungarian state.

One the other hand they almost totally screwed things up. By using a bomb, they made the death of the Archduke, who was wearing a bullet resistant silk vest, more likely. But at the same time, it increased collateral damage, while killing the Governor General of Bosnia certainly advanced their cause, killing the Archduke’s Wife, especially in such a graphic manner, vastly increased the backlash to the assassination. That backlash increased the chances of Serbia being rendered unable to take leadership of a South Slavic State, and very nearly did. As the plotters could not have predicted anything beyond Austria-Hungary is likely to go to war to avenge the death of the heir to their throne, using such a messy method was probably not the optimal choice…


-Excerpt from A History of Assassination, American Youth Press, New York, 2001



…The Average American over the course of their education spends about two months on the World War One, a month in high school and a month in middle school. Those who go to college for a bachelors degree will generally spend two weeks on it in addition to that. Most of this is, understandably devoted to American entry and participation in the war, with minimal time devoted towards the rest of the conflict.

About the rest of the war what the average American more or less knows is this. That a Serbian backed terrorist bombed Archduke Ferdinand’s Limo on June 28th, 1914, killing him, his wife and two other guys. Austria attacked Serbia in revenge, Serbia ran to Russia for help, Austria ran to Germany and Russia ran to France. Then Germany goes through Belgium to attack France, bringing in Britain, the Turks join in because the British stole their Battleships, the Italians get bribed to fight the Austrians and everybody is killing each other in trenches until the US is forced to join in come 1917. A massive semi accurate oversimplification at best. I am going to try and accurately fill in the rest of the picture so whoever reading this will not sound like a total ignoramus if they talk about World War One to a foreigner…

…Serbia, despite very probably starting this whole mess was totally unprepared for fighting a European Great Power in 1914. They had little artillery, even less ammunition for it and could not even equip their soldiers with actual boots. That their most experienced commander from the Balkan Wars, Marshal Radomir Putnik, was in Austria-Hungary at the time and interned was merely icing on the cake.

Despite this they launched the first major attack. The Austrians while enormously angry with the Serbs for the whole assassination of their crown prince thing, were pragmatic enough to realize that defending against Russia took priority over revenge and limited themselves to bombardments, skirmishes and a slow advance. The Serbians however were under enormous pressure by the Russians and French to attack the Austro-Hungarians and tie down troops that would otherwise be transferred to fight Russia.

By August 25th, the Serbians could no longer resist the pressure and their 1st and 2nd armies attacked the Austrian 5th Army in an attempt to stop the 2nd Army being transferred to the front against Russia in Galicia. It was a failure in all regards, it burnt up their artillery ammunition reserves, did not manage to significantly damage 5th Army and did nothing to 2nd army’s withdrawal timetable. On September Archduke Eugene in command of the Austrian troops launched a counterattack with his 6th Army that smashed the Serbian 3rd Army and forced it to withdraw. Serbian reluctance to retreat led to their 2nd and 1st armies suffering severe casualties before being forced to withdraw into the hills by September 11th.

The situation then deteriorated into the sort of trench warfare that WWI was famous for. The Austrians having actual waterproof boots for their men and sufficient artillery ammunition did much better. On November 2nd, the Austrians then launched another attack, the Serbians stubbornly resisted but were driven back. By November 15th Belgrade was threatened and elements of the Army wanted to abandon it, but no one had the political clout to convince the government of that. Thus, the Serbs were forced to fight the Austrians head on without the supplies or ammunition to do so. They lasted 10 days before they were forced to withdraw and abandon Belgrade. The Austrians entered the city on the 30th of November and paused to let their supply lines catch up. At this point the Serbs finally received artillery ammunition from the French but they were in no position to do anything with it.

This situation would last through the winter when one key factor changed. Bulgaria, who as mentioned in previous chapters lost land to Serbia not long ago, decided to throw its lot in with the Central Powers following the victory at the Masurian Lakes in February 1915. They promised Bulgaria slightly over half of Serbia, as well as security guarantees against Romania and Greece and a war loan. The Entente offered certain territorial gains if Bulgaria remained neutral, but that required Serbian and Greek cooperation, which did not look to be forthcoming, as well as an Entente victory over the Ottomans.

On April 12th, the Bulgarians declared war and attacked with two field Armies into Southern Serbia. This near instantly cut the Serbian line of supply and forced them to withdraw to the Kosovo Plain to avoid encirclement. The Bulgarians pursued enthusiastically, the Austrians with caution as not to divert resources from the upcoming Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive. By June 1st the Serbians had withdrawn to Kosovo and were left with three choices, seek terms, fight to the death or withdraw over the Korab mountains and fight from exile.

The Serbians chose the latter and over two months they marched over the mountains into the anarchy of northern Albania, before reaching the Adriatic and hopefully waiting Entente ships with supplies. During this period, the Montenegrin Army fought a brief rearguard action to cover the Serbian retreat, before surrendering to the Austrians. Over 50,000 Serbs died on the march to the sea, from disease, hunger, bandit attacks and pursuing Central Powers forces. Still more died when on arrival at the coast there were no supplies or ships waiting for several weeks. Eventually supplies and ships would be sent and 150,000 Serbs, mostly soldiers were evacuated, primarily to the Greek island of Corfu that was occupied by the Entente. These soldiers would later serve on the…


-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004




Well my first attempt at a TL up to the standards of Post 1900 rather than ASB. Updates will hopefully be on Sundays but I make no promises, Tomorrows Pen still has priority
 
Will be watching this eagerly. Tomorrow's Pen is fantastic, but my particular focus has always been the more modern stuff, so I am very excited to see what you do with both World Wars.
 
This honestly has me wondering what is the POD in this TL. But a good looking start Ramscoop.
...threw the bomb that killed Archduke Franz Ferdinand, Duchess Sophie, Governor General Oskar Potiorek and Lieutenant Colonel Count Franz von Harrach...
The grenade attempt actually worked and more people were killed. So you have more people dead in a more dramatic/grisly fashion leading to changes in opinion, perception, and decision making. For example in OTL I believe Austria-Hungary attacked into Serbia first not the other way around. Much more will obviously change but the successful grenade attack is the initial POD.
 
The grenade attempt actually worked and more people were killed. So you have more people dead in a more dramatic/grisly fashion leading to changes in opinion, perception, and decision making. For example in OTL I believe Austria-Hungary attacked into Serbia first not the other way around. Much more will obviously change but the successful grenade attack is the initial POD.
Personally I kind of doubt it. I think the POD is something that has yet to be stated as the Austro-Hungarians acted smartly here.
 
Personally I kind of doubt it. I think the POD is something that has yet to be stated as the Austro-Hungarians acted smartly here.
I mean that is literally where history diverges in the introductory post of the timeline without any hinting that we are being introduced in media res. I find it very believable that such a change could shake things up in such a way. From what I understand the lead up to WW1 was perhaps one of the more chaotic, in the physics sense, historical episodes.
 
I mean that is literally where history diverges in the introductory post of the timeline without any hinting that we are being introduced in media res. I find it very believable that such a change could shake things up in such a way. From what I understand the lead up to WW1 was perhaps one of the more chaotic, in the physics sense, historical episodes.
The reason I disagree with that is because of the Austro-Hungarian Action in the aftermath. In OTL with Franz Fredinand was assassinated, not bombed, the Austro-Hungarians chucked half its bloody army at Serbia. Here they perform a holding action. This was to smack Serbia for the assassination of FF. Here? They waited after a far worse attack by the Serbs. So My hunch is the POD is earlier.
 
The reason I disagree with that is because of the Austro-Hungarian Action in the aftermath. In OTL with Franz Fredinand was assassinated, not bombed, the Austro-Hungarians chucked half its bloody army at Serbia. Here they perform a holding action. This was to smack Serbia for the assassination of FF. Here? They waited after a far worse attack by the Serbs. So My hunch is the POD is earlier.
Fair enough, I think the current known POD is reasonable but I can see how it would seem insufficient for the results.
 
The reason I disagree with that is because of the Austro-Hungarian Action in the aftermath. In OTL with Franz Fredinand was assassinated, not bombed, the Austro-Hungarians chucked half its bloody army at Serbia. Here they perform a holding action. This was to smack Serbia for the assassination of FF. Here? They waited after a far worse attack by the Serbs. So My hunch is the POD is earlier.
Austria-Hungary did not actually chuck half their army at Serbia OTL. They mobilized half their army on Serbia's borders as according to their warplan for fighting Serbia, then realized oh sh*t the Russians aren't bluffing and tried to transfer their 2nd Army to the front with Russia. Their railway system was overloaded so that would take until August 18th to really get that underway. This all happened the same ITTL, why things turned out rather different on the Serbian front ITTL was a direct result of the POD, which was the result of me looking at a "make A-H do better in WWI" thread. Admittedly understanding why that POD leads to better Austro-Hungarian performance requires one to know some details about why A-H did so badly OTL
So Serbian nationalist extremists had Muslim members back then. Who knew?
Muhamed Mehmedbašić was actually the first of the six assassins recruited by the Black Hand, and was supposed to carry out the original planned attack the cell was set up for, the assassination of Oskar Potiorek, who was the man Princip OTL wished he had gotten rather than Duchess Sophie. OTL Muhamed Mehmedbašić was placed first but claimed that the presence of a police officer next to him, one of only 60 on duty in all Sarajevo, deterred him from throwing his bomb

The man often considered the father of Serbian nationalism used a definition of Serb that included all Stokavian dialect speakers, Serbs, Croats, Bosnians and Montenegrins, and this was a common view before 1918. Before 1918 a certain amount of Croats and Bosnians were willing to go along with that because they disliked being part of the German and Magyar dominated Austria-Hungary and saw Serbia as their potential liberator for that. Serbian nationalism got much more restrictive after 1918 when Yugoslavia was formed and the Serbs tried running it as Greater Serbia while the other nationalities wanted a true federation
 
Part 1-2
…Popular History views Italian Entry into the First World War as a mercenary nation selling its services to the highest bidder in defiance of its commitments to its alliances. Professional Historians will begrudgingly admit that the Triple Alliance was defensive in nature and that Italy was under no obligation to enter the war with the Central Powers. Likewise, if pressed they will admit that it was Austria-Hungary that had failed to consult Italy in regards to actions they will take in the Balkans as required by the Triple Alliance, with Italy finding out about the declaration of war on Serbia from the Newspapers rather than diplomacy. Furthermore, Austria-Hungary did not compensate Italy for its annexation of Bosnia-Herzegovina in 1909 as required by the Treaty. Despite this the majority of anglophone historians will present Italy as in the wrong during this period. While it cannot be argued that Italy’s choices proved catastrophic over the long-term orthodox historiography is too rooted in Post WWII biases to be truly objective.

Certainly, any historian must admit that Italy’s actions appear of a mercenary bent. Prime Minister Salandra and Foreign Minister Sonnino solicited offers for both sides and chose to pursue the Entente offers that promised them more. That Italy was dependent both on British finance and imports of British coal merely made them more confident in their decision. After the fall of Przemysl to the Russians Salandra and Sonnino became convinced that Entente victory was imminent, with the Russians soon to launch a major offensive into Hungary. Therefore, over the month of April a treaty was negotiated in London.

This preliminary treaty was much less favorable to Italy than the one eventually signed. Italy was promised Tyrol to the Brenner Pass, the Austrian Littoral minus Fiume and Veglia, Northern Dalmatia and most islands save Arbe and Brazza, parts of Carinola and Carinthia, Valona and unspecified Territory in Africa and near Adalia in Anatolia. Furthermore, Italy would have a Protectorate over Albania and control over the Dodacanese confirmed. Serbia would receive Dalmatia between Krka and Ston, the Sabbioncella Penninsula, Split and Brazza, Bosnia, Herzegovina, Syrmia Backa and part of Albania. Montenegro would receive Dalmatia between Budva and Ston, Ragusa, the Bay of Kotor and part of Albania. Greece would receive an unspecified part of Albania.

Salandra wanted more than this, he had originally asked for all of Dalmatia and Albania but was opposed by the Russians. Using the recent Bulgarian entry into the war as an excuse he decided not to sign the treaty at that moment. At the time, a majority of the Italian parliament was against joining the war and Salandra was nearly forced out by former prime minister Giovanni Giolitti. For the moment Italian entry into the war was halted.

On May 2nd, the Germans and Austrians launched the Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive and forced the Russians back all along the front. This, along with continued bad news on the Serbian front, resulted in a feeling of desperation among the Entente, who a distraction for Austria-Hungary as fast as possible. It also served to shock a number of pro neutrality Italian parliamentarians, with Russia and Serbia seemingly in full rout it looked quite possible that the Central Powers would win the war by the end of summer. That opened the possibility of Italy finding herself facing off against them alone after the conclusion of the war, given the extant hostility with Austria-Hungary. This prospect was to some Italian politicians more terrifying than joining the war now, even if Italy was badly unprepared for war and would face heavy losses.

Salandra thus found himself with the whip hand in negotiations with the Entente and sent Sonnino to London for a second round of negotiations. Very quickly Italy started gaining more concessions. Fiume and Veglia were the first, followed by Arbe, Brazza and Solta. Greece was quickly denied a share of Albania, soon followed by Serbia and Montenegro. The Austro-Hungarian Navy would be turned over to Italy, save the riverine forces that would go to Serbia. Italy was given more than vague promises regarding Adalia and was even offered Cyprus. This satisfied Sonnino and Salandra, but they decided to keep playing hardball on the off chance that more would be offered. The Entente negotiators were taken in by this and became desperate for what else to offer.

Russia, worried about the postwar fate of the Balkans, was against handing Italy the area between Zara and Fiume or denying any Dalmatian territory from Serbia and Montenegro. France possessed Nice and Savoy which had been Italian until 55 years ago, as well as Corsica which was also considered part of “Unredeemed Italy”, however France was adamant on not giving up any of its own national territory. Britain also had a piece of “Unredeemed Italy” in Malta but felt that too strategically valuable to give up at any cost. There was a consensus to confirm that Italy would receive Trans-Juba and the Jaghbub Oasis, as well as territory in the Sahara from France, but that was not thought enough to convince the Italians. With a reluctance to give the Italians any potentially strategic or profitable colonies elsewhere there was believed to be little more possible to entice Italians to join, with that being more needed than ever. Then two junior staffers, from the French and British delegations respectively came up with separate out of the box proposals.

The French staffer noticed that as part of their attempt to save the Serbian Army the Island of Corfu was to be seized by the French. Corfu had for centuries been owned by Venice and was seen by many as part of “Unredeemed Italy”. Turning it over to the Italians would be something they could do as a fait accompli. The British staffer suggested that rather than promise territory they promise aid in acquiring territory. The Italians had infamously been defeated at Adowa in 1896 during their attempt to conquer Ethiopia. Giving them a free hand to redress this at a later date would cost the Entente nothing, and even promises of material and financial support could be dealt with later when the war was won. The Russians did not like either proposal but given their situation they felt like there was no choice but to accept.

On May 28th the Treaty of London was signed in secret, committing Italy to war within a month in exchange for the aforementioned concessions. On June 2nd Italy left the Triple Alliance. An attempt by Giolitti to depose Salandra was narrowly thwarted and war was declared on June 28th. Italy had entered the war…


-Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XXVIII, University of California Press: Berkley, 2018




…The Gallipoli Campaign is a campaign of WWI that is usually forgotten by most people, the exceptions being Australians and New Zealanders. With the entry of the Ottoman Empire into WWI Sea routes to the Russian Empire were closed. The Trans-Siberian Railway was not yet complete, and its completion hindered by the loss of a key shipment to German commerce raiders, and Archangel on the White Sea was only useable during summer months. Given that Russian industrial production was not sufficient to equip its massive army on its own, this proved a problem.

First Lord of the Admiralty Winston Churchill had the solution. A naval attack to force the Dardanelles and knock the Ottomans out of the war, or at the very least distract them. This was combined with a preexisting plan by Lord Kitchener to conduct a landing at Alexandretta and cut the Ottoman railway system in half, a plan scuttled by the French who thought that was there sphere of influence. The initial plan called for it to be a primarily naval affair, using mostly obsolete warships and the army to provide a mere occupying force.

On February 19th, the British and French began attacking the outer works of the Dardanelles, a place they had briefly bombarded on November 3rd before they had declared war on the Ottomans. By February 25th, the outlying forts had been reduced and the entrance to the Dardanelles cleared of mines, with a minor landing to spike the guns of destroyed fortresses. Then, however progress slowed as Ottoman mobile guns stymied minesweeping efforts. A large-scale push to rectify this on March 18th resulted in the loss of 3 British and 2 French Pre-Dreadnought battleships to mines. There were calls to push on, as those vessels were obsolete and fully expendable, but the Admiral on the scene and First Sea Lord Fisher were adamant that pure naval power alone could not settle this. A full-scale landing would be necessary.

Even before the attack itself went in on April 25th it was clear that there would be issues. To support the naval operations the British and French had seized several Greek islands for bases, that were soon used for landing practice. Many units were unloaded there, then diverted to Alexandria in Egypt to be loaded onto the transports that they would land in. Intelligence was poor to nonexistent and was at some points relying on tourist guides for information. The Ottomans were vastly underestimated after their defeats by the Italians and Balkan League in the previous years and hard fighting was not expected.

When the landing occurred on April 25th, at what is now Anzac Cove and Cape Helles the Ottomans were prepared. Having 4 weeks they built roads, made boats, dug trenches, laid mines and wire and trained their troops. The landings themselves proved costly, with heavy casualties being inflicted on both. Naval support proved less effective than hoped, as did air support. Diversionary landings on the Asiatic shore proved to be unconvincing.

The landing at what is now Anzac cove was conducted by forces from the Australia and New Zealand Army Corps, or ANZAC Despite initial success, the lack of maps and coordination let a Turkish counterattack take back the high ground overlooking the beaches by the end of the day, forcing the Anzacs into a small perimeter. Despite later efforts to break out they would remain trapped in the perimeter until evacuation.

The landing at Cape Helles proved somewhat more successful in that it was not immediately bottled up. However, the main landings at V&W beaches were immediately stymied, the subordinate landings at X, Y and S beaches were not. A lack of planning and communication led for the forces landed there not to exploit their position, as they had been told to wait for troops from V&W, despite in some cases having literally no opposition. As such Ottoman counterattacks were able to contain them for the first day, with Y beach being evacuated in the night.

On the 26th and 27th the Entente and Ottoman forces clashed at Cape Helles, with the Ottomans being gradually pushed back, but inflicting heavy losses. A major attack on the 28th failed due to bad coordination leading to Entente troops being separated and outflanked, with the troops sent back to their starting line. A Major set piece battle was launched on May 5th and lasted to the 8th, pushing the Ottomans back but not defeating them and ending when the Entente ran out of ammunition. An Ottoman attempt to eliminate the Anzac landing on the 19th ended in disaster despite a 2.5 to 1 advantage in numbers and led to a brief truce to bury the dead. At sea a Turkish destroyer bagged a British pre Dreadnought on May 12th, and a German U-Boat bagged a Pre Dreadnought and a Battlecruiser on the 24th, precautions to prevent a repeat severely limited Entente naval power.

A final major Entente attack occurred on June 4th and failed to achieve a decisive breakthrough. The situation then dissolved into a Western Front style stalemate for six weeks when things changed. With Serbia captured the railway lines from Germany and Austria to the Ottoman Empire were reopened. The Germans were able to rearm the Ottomans with heavy artillery to match the Entente, while the Austrians sent surplus artillery units of their own to join the fighting. It was clear that material attrition would no longer favor the Entente, therefore maneuver would have to be tried.

On August 9th, a landing was launched at Sulva Bay to support a breakout from Anzac Cove. Conducted in darkness confusion was rampant and most of the landing forces became lost, taking until daylight to reorient themselves, suffering heavily in the process. The commander of the landing, Lt. General Stopford was old and lethargic and let his chief of staff dominate him, said chief of staff’s experiences on the Western front had predisposed him to excessive caution. Despite an advance to the high ground overlooking the bay being possible after the troops reorganized themselves, Stopford decided to consolidate his position instead of advancing. After two days General Hamilton in command of the theater ordered Stopford to advance. The nighttime advance ran into Ottoman reinforcements and was halted. Hamilton then conducted an attritional battle to unite the Anzac and Sulva landings until the 22nd when he called it off.

With the French planning a fall campaign on the Western front, they were disinclined to send more reinforcements. Furthermore, with Serbia fully out of the war and the Eastern Front winding down for the year, the Germans and Austrians could reinforce at will. There were calls to abandon the campaign as early as September 15th. Hamilton feared what that would do for British prestige, but he was replaced on October 1st, his replacement Charles Monro immediately suggested evacuation, and following a tour by Lord Kitchener he recommended it to the Cabinet in early November, and it was set by November 10th.

The evacuation started on November 20th, with full evacuation by the 28th. On the 23rd the Ottomans learned of it and with German and Austrian assistance launched full scale assaults. The evacuation went into overdrive and naval artillery was used to cover the evacuation. Despite this the Entente suffered 20,000 casualties during the evacuation, and had to leave behind huge quantities of munitions, animals and other supplies to be captured, despite efforts to destroy such.

In all the Entente suffered 315,000 casualties, and the Ottomans 240,000. The campaign had caused the resignations of Winston Churchill and Jackie Fisher in May. It had lost 7 Battleships and a Battlecruiser, all for no gain. If not for the fact that this was the first large scale combat for Australia and New Zealand forces this would be totally forgotten in the popular mind. However, for them April 25th is considered a day of mourning to remember all those who lost their lives in war…



-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004


Not my best work I will admit but oh well, at least I am inspired to write this and it isn't that short. Anyways a response to questions about the POD
In my opinion Austrian performance on the Serbian theater is due primarily to the commander there. OTL it went to a man who lobbied the Emperor for the position, then wanted to win a victory by the Emperor's birthday. A man who was desperate to avenge Franz Ferdinand for personal reasons, having been responsible for security, warned of it being lacking, refused to bring in more soldiers as guards due to a lack of dress uniforms, denied the possibility of more assassins and forgot to tell the drivers of a change in routes leading to Princip getting his shot at the Archduke. A man who was in the car with the Archduke, a man who Princip wanted to kill rather than Sophie, a man who the assassins had originally been recruited to kill, a man named Oskar Potiorek

He died in paragraph 3 of the timeline. The man who in OTL replaced him instead leads the Serbian campaign, as had been proposed in 1909, and is generally considered to have been fairly competent in OTL WWI. Someone who will not screw things up for personal reasons
 
I love some of the assumptions from ATL's historians. "Of course there is no possible way any successive assassination attempts could have been successful. What are the odds of a lone gunman finding himself somehow right in front of his target? Such implausible fiction is known as ASB in Alternate History forums."

Sometimes, I get the feeling we are the ones living in an Alternate Timeline.
 
Part 1-3
…Every schoolchild knows why the US entered WWI; President Wilson screwed things up. Honor Roll students will explain further, Wilson convinced the Germans that the United States would enter the War on the Entente side, therefore the Germans launched unrestricted submarine attacks and to try to ally with Mexico. While not wholly inaccurate it does not tell the whole truth either. Like modern orthodox historiography it tends to be overly generous to the Germans of the period…

…In truth American public opinion started off sympathetic to the Central Powers. The gruesome imagery from the bombing of the Archduke’s limousine, as well as the collateral damage when assassin Nedeljko Čabrinović blew himself up to avoid capture made an impression on the American people through newspapers.

This sympathy was not to last. German actions in Belgium, motivated by a desire to avoid attacks on their rear area by irregular troops known as franc-tireurs, as seen in the Franco-Prussian War, proved fodder for Entente Propaganda. The British had cut off direct German communications with America via their control of undersea cables leaving their narrative to become dominant. Accounts of rape, murder, arson, looting and torture filled the British press, each more lurid that the last, and almost all aimed at an American audience. While some incidents assuredly did happen, such as the burning of Louvain, the vast majority were found in the 1920’s to be fabrications of Entente propaganda, but this was not known at the time.

Cases like that of Edith Cavell, a British Nurse who was executed for aiding 200 Entente soldiers in escaping Belgium and returning to the fight, were publicized and lionized, even when a postwar British investigation would later regard the verdict in her case as legally correct. Another case was that of a Canadian soldier supposedly found crucified by the Germans at the battle of Ypres, of which the only evidence is of contradictory eyewitness accounts. All these and more seeped into the American psyche and shifted public sympathy against the Central Powers…

…At sea, the Germans began a policy of attacking Entente merchant vessels without warning in a declared area around the British Isles in February. While not true Unrestricted submarine warfare as would later be seen, it was different that the cruiser rules of previous conflicts that were championed by Britain and elements in the US Government; rules intended for sailing ships in the 18th century, not submarines in the 20th . Incidents involving the vessels Falaba, Cushing and Gulflight, along with the sinking of the Liner Lapland with the 500 dead including 30 Americans, caused Wilson to respond forcefully to the Germans, as Americans were dying and a neutral American vessel, the Gulflight, had been torpedoed. Germany apologized for the Gulflight incident, and the U-Boat in question was found by the British to have behaved as under cruiser rules, with the attack partly due to the British escort, though this was not published at the time.

US response to the situation was a forceful protest aimed solely at Germany. US Secretary of State William Jennings Bryan was vigorously opposed to this, believing that Americans were traveling at their own risk and that the German apology for the Gulflight incident was sufficient. In June he was forced to resign and replaced by Robert Lansing, upon whose advice Wilson based his response. While Lansing in private believed that the logical and fair response to be an embargo of military goods against both sides, but Lansing thought that would harm the US Economy which was selling so much to the Entente. Lansing would shape much of what Wilson actually did over the next few years with regards to the Great War…

…Perhaps the biggest part of the issue was the incompetence of the German Diplomacy. The German Embassy in the United States, after the first few months of the war, devoted the majority of its clandestine efforts to sabotage, rather than propaganda. Arms were bought and an attempt was made to ship them to revolutionaries in India. A Factory, Bridge and Merchant ship were blown up in early 1915. A plot was made to divert phenol from explosive manufacturing, which incidentally helped permanently associate Bayer with Aspirin. Finally, in July 1916 there was the infamous Black Tom explosion which injured hundreds and damaged the Statue of Liberty. There was even a plot to recruit an army of 600,000 cowboys to attack Canada; it is telling that more time was spent discussing whether cowboy outfits counted as uniforms rather than the practicality of the plan. Of course, besides sabotage the German embassy staff was up to other things, a photo of the ambassador with two scantily dressed ladies surfaced in late 1916, and at least one staffer was found to have somehow contracted syphilis.

When German officials did comment, these often did not help. Rather than apologizing or downplaying their actions, the Germans attempted to justify them in legalistic or nationalistic terms. German propaganda aimed at neutrals was often simply that aimed at a domestic audience with certain points downplayed or ignored, thus was less effective than possible. The slogan “work, order, duty,” did not resonate nearly as well with Americans as with Germans, especially when compared with the Entente’s “liberty, equality, fraternity”. Events that could have made useful propaganda, such as the French execution of two German nurses in a mirror of the Edith Cavell case, were purposefully ignored.

In all during the key early phases of the war the Germans proved lousy at manipulating American PR…


-Excerpt from Why did they do THAT!?! Historical Madness in Context: Volume III, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2015



…The Gorlice-Tarnow Offensive began on May 1st, 1915 and ended on June 20th. It was launched to relieve pressure on Austria-Hungary before Italian intervention. With the Western Front quiet the Germans thought that they could employ their reserves in the east without issue. August von Mackensen was placed at the head of the newly formed German 11th Army and Austrian 4th, with the Austrian Second and Third to attack in support in the Carpathians. German heavy artillery supported by airborne spotters allowed them to silence Russian guns while the light artillery supported the advance. Attacking on a 25 mile front the Germans quickly broke through and they and the Austrians began a broad front advance.

Russian attempts to stop this proved catastrophic, two divisions were annihilated without any word getting back to headquarters. Other formations were sent in with limited equipment, with some soldiers only having clubs, in a desperate attempt to stem the tide. This did not work and by May 8th the Germans and Austrians had achieved all their objectives. A further objective of the San river was achieved on May 16th. The Germans and Austrians then paused to sort out logistics before launching the next attack on June 10th. The target was Lemberg, the Galacian capital, and Mackensen’s forces took it on the 20th, after the Russians had abandoned it on the 19th. The Russians had taken 350,000 casualties, a quarter million of which were captured, while the Central Powers had taken substantially less than half that.

At this point Conrad and Hindenburg proposed a grand encirclement to surround and destroy the Russian Armies in Poland. This was refused by Von Falkenhayn on grounds of logistics. Instead a broad front offensive would be launched to push the Russian back.

On July 10th, this offensive was launched. Despite heavy casualties to certain units, by day 4 the Germans and Austrians had advanced 100 miles in some places and forced the Russians to start a general retreat. This quickly became the Russian Great Retreat. By early August Congress Poland had fallen. In mid-September when the Central Powers had to halt due to exhaustion, the front ran on a line of Riga-Jakobstadt-Duenaburg-Baranovichi-Pinsk-Dubno-Ternopil.

Following ineffectual Russian counter attacks a smaller attack by Mackensen’s Army group in the South was launched in October. When they stopped at the end of the Month the from exhaustion and to avoid the onset of winter the front was pushed back to Pinsk-Rovno-Proskurov-Kamenets Podolski.

In total the Russians suffered 1.7 Million casualties in the Great retreat, of which over a million were captured. The Central Powers suffered about 450,000 in comparison. Vast amounts of irreplaceable equipment was lost and Russian morale was shattered. Any lesser country would have been destroyed, and the Central Powers even asked the Danes to host a Peace Conference. But Russia remained in the war, Czar Nicholas would not make a separate peace and chose to sack Grand Duke Nicholas and lead the Army himself…


-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004





Okay author's note. Just to be clear part I of this update is from an in universe perspective. I am not trying to downplay or deny German atrocities in Belgium, which OTL were considerable if not to the extent WWI British propaganda would have you believe. This is from an in universe POV, and even in OTL during the 20's German behavior in Belgium was in anglophone sources often dismissed as pure fabrication, and this did not change until new research at original documents occurred in the late 20th century, suffice to say the historiography is different ITTL

Also given the local reopening my church is reschuduling a lot of cancelled events, and spreading them out over more sessions, which may impact my update schedule for this TL
 
Part 1-4
…Representatives from the major Entente Powers, Britain, France, Italy and Russia, met at French headquarters in Chantilly to coordinate actions with each other. The First Conference in July 1915 provided nothing of note. The Second in December led to a guarantee that in the event of an attack on one power, the others would launch relief offensives. Furthermore, General Joffre in command of the French proposed that a combined series of offensives be launched simultaneously in 1916. This would prevent the Central Powers from transferring troops between fronts and defeating the offensives in detail.

No agreement was made at the time exactly when to start this coordinated attack. This led to the assault being preempted by the German attack on Verdun. In 6 days, the Germans advanced up to 10 kilometers in places, threatening the French defensive lines and taking Forts Douaumount and Vaux. Further attacks continued to push the French back and inflict heavy casualties.

On March 12th, another conference emerged, specifying a date of May 15th to June 1st for the beginning of the attacks, with a lesser Russian attack starting on March 18th. That attack, an offensive at Lake Naroch proved a disaster with over 100,000 Russians lost over two weeks for less than a fifth that many German losses. A similar attack by the Italians on the Isonzo River met with similar if smaller results, as the previous 4 battles had shown the area was lousy for offensive fighting.

None of the Entente powers had been able to make the May 15th deadline, however the Austrians almost did. Launching from South Tyrol on May 17th the Austrian offensive was aimed to take Venice and cut off the Italian armies attacking on the Isonzo. While initially successful the Italians were able to contain it in three weeks and further push the Austrians back slightly when circumstances elsewhere resulted in the withdrawal of troops. Still the attack caused the Italian government to fall and shook Italian morale.

Of the Entente offensives the first was performed by the Russians and became known as the Brusilov Offensive, after the commanding officer of the Russian Southwestern Front. Brusilov was probably the most competent of the Russian generals of the period, having performed very well in 1914 and early 1915 against the Austrians. Brusilov was intelligent enough to be able to make the most of his limited resources. He had limited artillery ammunition, so he would only perform a short sharp preparatory bombardment and otherwise husband his ammunition for interdiction of key targets. Without the ability to totally degrade defenses he would need to have specialists breach holes in the front for the rest of the army to follow. Without any guarantee of reinforcements, he brought up his reserves to the front and had them dig concealing entrenchments to be able to take part in the early waves of combat without being detected by the Austrians. Finally, without a decisive advantage in numbers to allow him to prevent any counterattacks from containing his breakthroughs, he decided to launch a broad front attack to make any breakthrough too large to contain.

Brusilov’s Offensive started on June 7th and quickly achieved limited success. Two of Four Russian armies managed breakthroughs and the Austrians were forced to withdraw. The Austrians had taken huge losses, including 100,000 prisoners, and were forced to withdraw to the lines as of September 1915. By June 20th reserves and transfers from the Italian front had stabilized the lines.

A second major Russian offensive was launched in the North by General Evert against the Germans on June 20th. This rapidly turned into Lake Naroch but on a larger scale over the coming weeks. The failure of this offensive and the containment of Brusilov’s along with the slow German push forward at Verdun and continued Italian impotence proved of diplomatic import.

Brusilov was able to renew his offensive in late July, however the Austrians gave significant ground before him and did not suffer major losses. The reason for this became apparent on August 14th when Romania declared war on Russia. The Romanian Army was able to attack north and get behind the Russians, Ninth Army was nearly destroyed, while Seventh Army was mauled. The Russians were forced back to their start lines, and then some by mid-October. The Russians had inflicted about 500,000 dead and wounded with 150,000 more captured. In exchange they had lost 700,000 dead and wounded of their own, along with 200,000 prisoners and a good deal of ground and heavy equipment.

Of course, while this was going on the Germans continued to slowly grind forward at Verdun and the Anglo-French started their own Offensive on the Somme on July 10th …



-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004



As I warned church has interfered, so update is short next week should be better, crosses fingers
 
Part 1-5
… The Somme Offensive had originated as a decisive war winning effort. Originally it was supposed to be a purely British affair in Flanders to drive the Germans from the Belgian coast and eliminate the U-Boat bases there, with the pressure of it along with other simultaneous offensives combining to overwhelm the Central Powers. This was soon changed to an offensive at the joining of the British and French lines in Picardy to better allow the French to participate.

The German offensive at Verdun on February 22nd soon forced a change. The Germans were able to gain significant amounts of ground on the east bank of the Meuse during February, and offensive on the west bank secured those gains in March. To protect the city the French were forced into costly counterattacks into the teeth of German artillery attacking from three sides. The Somme was thus downgraded from a potential decisive blow to a means of relieving the pressure on Verdun.

The Germans learned of the attack from a group of Irish deserters several weeks before it happened. As such they were prepared, fortifications were expanded and 3 sets of trench lines were built, a lightly manned frontline, a strongly held second line, and a reserve line, built with zig zags to contain shrapnel. Despite this the Germans did not take things as seriously as they should have, and did not reinforce as heavily as they could have, as General Von Falkenhayn wanted to save troops for Verdun and a counteroffensive to occur once the Somme Offensive was halted.

On July 1st 16 British and 15 French divisions attacked 15 German divisions. At 7:20 in the morning, after a weeklong preparatory bombardment the first of 19 mines exploded. When the final mine went off at 7:30 and the bombardment ended the attack went over the top. The French and British XIII and XV Corps had great success, with only one minor objective unachieved by XV corps. The rest of the British were not so lucky and while some temporary success was achieved, most was eliminated by German counterattacks in the afternoon. The British had taken 71,000 casualties, 27,000 fatal, while the French had taken 10,000 and the Germans 15,000. For the British Army it was their worst day ever until this point.

The Offensive then bogged down into a grinding attrition match as the Entente slowly pushed forwards. On July 25th, the German Sixth Army to the north launched a counter offensive at Arras, which while achieving limited success on the first day, bogged down as well. By the end of August, the Arras offensive was abandoned by the Germans, and Verdun became a defensive operation to prevent a failure on the Somme.

Fighting continued intermittently all three fronts until December. The first tanks showed up on the Somme front in September but had no effect. No power had achieved their goal, Germany had not needed to transfer forces from the East until after the critical moments there. Meanwhile the French Army had not been destroyed at Verdun, thanks to the Noria system of troop rotation over 85% of the French Army had rotated through the battle there, preventing a collapse of the French Army. This hindered German plans to butcher a hasty British relief offensive and splinter the Entente.

All together the major battles of 1916 in the west were highly costly to all sides, the Germans took 840,000 casualties, the French 630,000 and the British 460,000. With the Western Entente better able to replace these losses than the Germans 1916 had only avoided being a disaster by victories in the East. As such General von Falkenhayn, the German Chief of staff was replaced with Von Hindenburg.

Von Hindenburg, and his assistant Ludendorff, advocated for an Eastern strategy for 1917 to end that front, before a decisive Western offensive in 1918. Their decisions in pursuing such an offensive would prove counterproductive…


-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004



Somewhat short but I had to work this morning, lucky to have an update
 
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