Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

I'm still not sure which way this war is going to turn out. Its a true butcher of war that is slightly leaning to the CP but I'm not sure.
 
Part 1-6
…Now one may be wondering that if WWI started in Late July 1914, but the United States only joined in April 1917, what was the US doing during that time rather than fighting in the war?

For the most part this was a continuation of the progressive era that had begun in the 1890’s. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) was established and the Federal Reserve opened. The first national law on Opioids was passed in late 1914. A law on Child labor was passed in 1916, but later found unconstitutional. The 40-hour work week was introduced in 1916, and the first woman was elected to Congress that same year.

However, one could argue that despite the name the Progressive era was anything but. The infamous lynching’s of Leo Frank and Jesse Washington occurred in 1915 and 1916 respectively, along with many other such crimes. The Second Ku Klux Klan was founded on November 27th in 1915 at Stone Mountain. An attempt to give women the vote failed in the House in 1915. An attempt to demonstrate by striking workers turned deadly in Everett Washington in November 1916…

…The United States would occupy the island of Santo Domingo, including Haiti and the Dominican republic starting in May 1916.

Perhaps the most memorable event of the period was the intervention in Mexico, the US had previously occupied Veracruz from May to November 1914 in response to a previous incident in Tampico during the Mexican Revolution. This occupation had led to the fall of Mexican President Victoriano Huerta and the rise of Venustiano Carranza. Carranza however led but one faction of many in Mexico at the time. Pancho Villa, one of his rivals, angry that Carranza had been recognized by the United States, took his anger out on the United States.

After several minor raids and massacres Villa attacked Columbus New Mexico on March 9th, 1916, which was garrisoned by US troops. Despite the town being looted and burned the outnumbered Americans were able to drive off the attackers with heavy losses.

Outraged by this President Wilson ordered a punitive expedition to capture Villa. 6 days later 10,000 men under General Pershing crossed the border in pursuit of Villa. They caught up with Villa on the 30th and a small US cavalry force routed his main body, inflicting heavy casualties on Villa’s force and wounding the man himself.

US forces continued South into Mexico after the fleeing Villa and his men. In Mid-April they would fight several skirmishes with troops loyal to Carranza which would inflict a pause on operations as Pershing secured his supply lines. National Guard troops were called up in June to secure the borders following several raids on Texas by Villa’s men. Minor skirmishing continued with forces loyal to Villa and to a lesser degree Carranza into August.

Then it was learned that Villa had finally expired from the wounds he suffered on March 30th. Pershing was ordered to withdraw, having succeeded in his mission. US troops left Mexico by the end of October though both Regulars and the National Guard remained on the border until the United States entered the war and beyond.

The expedition had provided combat valuable experience for the United States going into the war, though far less than was obviously needed…

…American preparations for the war were not nearly as extensive as we can say were needed with hindsight. The Preparedness movement, led by former president Theodore Roosevelt and General Leonard Wood, advocated for a larger military. The movement was viewed as a threat by Woodrow Wilson, due to its republican leadership, who opposed it for most of 1915. When Wilson changed his mind the opposition, he fostered was too strong to overcome, Congress would not pass any major military expansions and he was forced to replace his pro preparedness Secretary of war Lindley Garrison with anti-preparedness Newton Baker. Eventually watered-down military expansion bills would be passed in June and July 1916, too late to be of very much use for the coming war…


-Excerpt from What Happened When? Overlooked Times in History, Part V, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2011


Still short but am busy at the church, also put off doing my taxes way too long
 
Part 1-7
#80 The Battle of Cleaver Bank, June 7th, 1916


Dogger Bank had through the timidity of von Ingenhol failed to isolate and destroy a portion of the British fleet. He was sacked and replaced by Admiral von Pohl, who was then replaced in January 1916 by the more aggressive Scheer. Scheer wanted to try again to isolate and destroy a portion of the British fleet and attempted to do so in early April, his raid on Lowestoft had not made contact with the British fleet and resulted in mine damage to the Battlecruisers SMS Moltke and SMS Von der Tann. He wished to try again when repairs were completed in late May; however, weather conditions forced the battle to be delayed to make use of aerial recon. Finally, in the early hours of June 7th the German fleet of 16 Dreadnought Battleships, 5 Battlecruisers, 6 Predreadnought Battleships, 11 cruisers and 61 destroyers left Wilhelmshaven. The goal was to raid the town of Sunderland to draw the British out. To aid in this 20 U-Boats were waiting at sea to ambush British forces and several minefields had been laid.

British cryptographers had intercepted German radio traffic and patrols noticed the increased submarine activity. The Admiralty was aware that the Germans were likely to attempt something in the North Sea. Admiral Jellicoe in command of the Grand Fleet was worried that the Germans were attempting to enter the Baltic or break out into the Atlantic and ordered his fleet to wait off Denmark to ambush the Germans. The Grand Fleet of 24 Dreadnought Battleships, 3 Battlecruisers, 8 Armored Cruisers, 12 Light Cruisers and 50 Destroyers left port shortly before the Germans did. The Battlecruiser fleet of 4 Fast Battleships, 6 Battlecruisers, 14 Light cruisers, 27 destroyers and a seaplane carrier left port slightly after the Germans did.

Both fleets made it thought the German minefields and submarine patrols without incident during the morning. Shortly after noon a U-Boat made an unsuccessful attack on HMS Orion and forced the Grand Fleet to start antisubmarine measures. Around 1:00 word from air patrols reached Jellicoe and Beatty, the commander of the Battlecruisers, that the Germans were going to raid Britain again. They were caught out of position to intercept them short of the coast and raced Southwest to cut them off from home.

The German battlecruisers reached Sunderland in the early afternoon and spent forty-five minutes shelling the town before turning around and steaming southeast for home.

About an hour after turning for home the British and German forces spotted each other. Admiral von Hipper in charge of the German Battlecruisers ordered his ships to head south to where the Battleships were hiding. Admiral Beatty then made a series of mistakes, he ordered his battlecruisers to move at maximum speed, leaving his fast battleships behind, failed to reorganize his formation from cruising to fighting quick enough, and waited to open fire rather than use the longer range of his guns. Both squadrons thus opened fire at the same time, sailing in parallel lines to the south, with the British to the East of the Germans. The British had 6 capital ships, 4 with 13.5” guns, two with 12” while the Germans had 5, 3 with 11” and 2 with 12” guns, though the German ships were much better armored.

The first hit of the engagement was scored by the Germans, with an 11” hit on HMS Lion. That was soon followed by a British hit on SMS Von der Tann, but despite the numbers favoring the British the Germans scored more hits. 15 minutes into the exchange HMS Queen Mary was penetrated in her forward turret by an 11” shell the Battlecruiser SMS Seydlitz. With turret safety measures ordered disabled by Beatty to increase firing rate to prevent another German escape as at Dogger Bank, this hit set off the ready ammunition, the explosion from which travelled down into the magazine, dooming the ship. The odds were now even.

Forty-five minutes into the exchange the Queen Elizabeth class Fast Battleships had entered range and opened fire. The 15” shellfire changed the calculus in Hipper’s mind, however he was getting close to the Battleships and only had to hold a little longer. The loss of HMS Indomitable to an 11” salvo from SMS Moltke changed the calculus once more in the German favor. The 15” shells from the Battleships were gradually growing more accurate as the range closed, but guns on the British battlecruisers were being silenced.

An hour into the “Run to the Southeast” the situation changed in two ways in short order, Scheer’s battleships arrived, and HMS Lion blew up. Ten minutes after the Scheer sighted the Battlecruiser action the German battleships opened fire. About halfway through this period HMS Lion was hit by a combined 12” salvo from SMS Lützow and SMS Derfflinger. The shells penetrated her forward magazines and caused a detonation. Either Beatty had not noticed the German battleships, or simply not had time to signal before the ship was lost, either way the Battlecruisers were left leadership at a critical juncture and charged towards the German Battleships for several minutes before Admiral de Beauvior-Brock aboard HMS Princess Royal turned them around.

British command devolved onto Admiral Evans-Thomas with the fast Battleships. In order to save the remaining Battlecruisers, he ordered his four battleships to charge the Germans to buy time to break contact. For 15 minutes the remaining British battlecruisers were heavily pounded, though remarkably none was lost. Then the battleships were able to interpose themselves and the British began the “Run to the Northeast”.

For a half hour the British raced northeast, four battleships engaging sixteen, with the addition of Hipper’s five Battlecruisers and the 6 Predreadnoughts left behind. Evans-Thomas’s ships were heavily pounded, particularly HMS Valiant in the rear of the formation, but gave as good as they got and inflicted heavy damage to the German Battlecruisers. Twenty-five minutes into the engagement a fire started by a 12” round from SMS Kronprinz reached a 6” magazine on HMS Barham, the local crew were just too slow to react and the magazine brewed up, setting off the other 6” magazines in a sympathetic detonation, and soon reaching the 15” magazines.

This loss should have doomed the British formation, however five minutes later three more Battlecruisers arrived on the scene. The vanguard of the Grand Fleet had arrived. Scheer concluded that if more battlecruisers were present then the battleships of the Grand Fleet his Zeppelin support indicated they were in company with could not be far behind. In accordance with his instructions from the Kaiser not to risk his fleet in a full-scale battle with the Grand Fleet he turned his fleet east-southeast to return to port. The British reinforcements declined to immediately pursue the Germans, given the sheer damage the Battlecruiser Fleet had taken the three fresh Battlecruisers and their old armored cruiser counterparts would be heavily outmatched against enemy battleships. This fire most probably delivered the final blows that led to the loss of SMS Von der Tann to progressive flooding during the night.

Jellicoe’s battleships entered sight of their German counterparts after about an hour, and gunnery range a half hour after that. There was about an hour of daylight left and the British pounded the Germans from extreme range. The battleships of the Grand Fleet proved more accurate than their Battlecruiser counterparts and scored multiple hits on the fleeing Germans. Covered by the Battleships the fresh battlecruisers under Admiral Pakenham engaged their German counterparts alongside the older armored cruisers and added on to the damage they suffered.

To break contact Scheer ordered his torpedo boats into action to distract the British. They quickly became engaged in a confused melee between the battleship formations that nonetheless covered the German withdrawal. In one of the final exchanges of fire a long range 15” shot from HMS Revenge crippled SMS Schlesien, knocking one of her screws. In a vain attempt to protect her doomed division mate SMS Schleswig-Holstein was torpedoed by British destroyers and lost, while SMS Schlesien was finished by gunfire from HMS Ajax in the last major gunnery action of the night.

Destroyers, cruisers, and torpedo boats continued to clash through the night, with the British losing the armored cruiser HMS Shannon to a friendly torpedo in the confusion, however the German heavies had managed to escape. German losses had been, once SMS Von der Tann finished sinking, a battlecruiser, two predreadnought battleships, four light cruisers and eight torpedo boats, with four battlecruisers and four dreadnought battleships damaged to the point of not being combat worthy. SMS Lützow was still under repair into 1917.

While the Germans managed to return home almost without incident, the same fate did not befall the British. HMS Colossus was torpedoed by a U-Boat and forced to limp home for repairs. The attack on HMS Colossus would doom HMS Valiant, as to avoid attack by U-Boats she was ordered to steam at flank speed, which exacerbated the severe damage she had taken and forced her to take on additional water. The flooding finally grew too much and she was abandoned in the early hours of the morning on the 8th. HMS Inflexible, while she survived both the battle and the run home would never see war service again. The final British loss of the day was the light cruiser HMS Caroline, which struck a German mine within sight of land.

In all the British had lost three battlecruisers, two fast battleships, an armored cruiser, two light cruisers and eight destroyers, and had three battlecruisers, two fast battleships and two other battleships severely damaged, with one battlecruiser never to recommission following a dockyard mishap. In all counting the Inflexible the British lost 195,500 tons of shipping, compared to 75,000 tons for the Germans. Casualties were less lopsided with 8,000 British dead to 3300 German.

The battle would not achieve the goals Scheer had set out, to weaken the British Fleet so that the High Seas fleet could face it on equal terms. By the time the High Seas Fleet would again leave port the British would have commissioned four new Battlecruisers and two new battleships, all with 15” guns, though the battleships were slow and the battlecruisers poorly armored and with only six and four guns. The High Seas fleet would in that time add three new 15” battleships and a 12” battlecruiser, but this would not alter the balance of power enough, as it was still ten battlecruisers to five and thirty two dreadnought battleships to nineteen. Furthermore, by that point the United States had entered the war, meaning the British could be reinforced by an additional fourteen American dreadnought battleships. The battle was despite being strategically indecisive, tactically the greatest defeat the Royal Navy had suffered since arguably the 17th Century and would suffer until the Second World War.

The name Cleaver Bank, rather than a more accurate Dogger Bank, came from a mistake by German wireless. An edited summary of the battle was given as part of a press announcement, however with a well-known battle of Dogger Bank having already occurred the year prior the broadcaster noted the mention of cleaver bank in the summary and changed things for the English broadcasts. These broadcasts were the first news of the battle to reach the Entente nations, as well as the Americas, and the name spread far and wide before the official British announcement about the battle occurred.


-Excerpt from 101 Great Naval Battles, American Youth Press, New York 2010





Okay here is the update that was supposed to be last weeks, actually happened because someone else volunteered to video that first communion. This is actually going to replace this week's as I don't think I will be able to make things up. I'll admit it's not the best *Jutland out there, and definitely not the most plausible, but I have a place I want to take this TL and setting up WWII early, and no time, need or inclination to game things out or go into great detail. Should get into part II by the end of August if not earlier
 
Part 1-8
…When the Entente military leadership met again in January 1917 the mood was much different than in the previous years. Rather than trying to win the war outright in the year’s campaign it was instead a desperate attempt to avoid losing the war. Russia had taken enormous casualties in the previous fall in the failed Brusilov offensive and the counterattacks that followed. The ability of the Russians to resist major Central Powers offensives was in doubt, it was feared one good blow by the Germans could knock them out. This would render the situation in the West impossible, therefore it could not be allowed.

To prevent that the Entente would launch major offensives as soon as possible to tie down Central Powers troops and give time for the Russians to recover. Attacks would be conducted by the British and French on the Western front at the Aisne river with a number of diversionary attacks before the main offensive. The Italians would launch their own offensive on the Isonzo, and the British would launch a middle eastern campaign against the Ottomans, to prevent them from attacking the Russians.

The goals for this offensive were again preceded by other events. In order to build a reserve on the Western Front and avoid diversion of troops for their eastern campaign Hindenburg and Ludendorff had ordered a withdrawal to a shorter, better located line in the west. This Hindenburg, or Siegfried Line as it was sometimes known at the time, could be manned by fewer divisions. The gap between the lines would be devastated so that the entente would have to rebuild transportation infrastructure before they could launch an offensive. The withdrawal, codenamed Alberich, occurred over late February and early March and occurred without incident, successfully delaying the Entente offensive by several weeks.

The other incident was the February Revolution. The war had been hard on Russia’s economy, something amplified by mismanagement from above. The stress of sustaining a massive army and replacing equally massive losses was too much for Russia’s backward economy to deal with. This was exacerbated by poor management from the Czar and his ministers, made worse when he left for the front and the Czarina took over, with her even worse choices of ministers, rows with the Duma and awful advice from her confidant Rasputin, before his assassination.

In February 1917, early February by the Julian calendar still used by Russia, mid-February by everyone else’s, things came to a head. Imminent famine, high casualties, inflation, corruption, stagnant wages and more contributed to a series of strikes and protests in St. Petersburg. This led to clashes between protesters/strikers and the police/gendarmes trying to disperse them. The Army was called out when lesser measures failed to suppress the disturbances, and quickly tore itself apart with mutiny. The disturbances then began spreading to other cities. The Czar attempted to return and restore order but was foiled by strikers. He then made the decision to abdicate, first in favor of his son, then his brother, who refused. The centuries old monarchy was ended, replaced by a provisional government of the former Duma, all within a matter of weeks.

These events while preempting the 1917 offensive did not stop them. The first preliminary offensives started on April 1st with the main offensive to start on the 16th. The early offensives made limited tactical success before the main offensive, taking certain key points close to the front.

The Main offensive turned out differently. German aerial reconnaissance had detected the preparations by the Entente and were able to pre site their guns against Entente targets. This let the outnumbered German artillery stymie its Entente counterpart. Despite this the early phases of the offensive were successful, albeit with high casualties. A segment of the Hindenburg line was even captured. However, by the end of April the offensive had like most others bogged down and was achieve much lesser gains for much higher casualties.

The casualties of offensive, along with poor conditions in General reached a breaking point. Continuing efforts to drive the offensive on, driven by a desperate need to save the Russians, caused the first Mutinies to occur on May 1st. These early mutinies were independent and focused on a desire for better conditions, more leave and such. They were dealt with, but the dam had broken. By May 7th more mutinies were breaking out, these focused on stopping the offensive. They were suppressed brutally as French High Command was terrified by the prospect of Russia falling, reinforced by what were obviously preliminary attacks by the Central Powers on the Eastern front.

This suppression engendered more hatred and rebelliousness and by May 16th the offensive had effectively stopped. It was officially called off on the 20th, as the French Army High Command negotiated with the mutineers. The mutineer’s demands were simple, no offensives until the Americans arrived en masse, better conditions, more leave. French high command was willing to support the latter but not the former, the Americans would not be present in numbers for another 12 months, Russia might not last the Summer. For a few days there was an impasse, then the Germans counterattacked.

The Mutiny had hampered coordination between units of the French army. While most of the mutinous units were willing to fight on the defensive the ability to coordinate between other units and supporting arms was almost nonexistent. What few units did refuse to fight opened holes in the French lines that left other units exposed to flanking and forced to withdraw, surrender, or be destroyed. In order to prevent a potential catastrophe, the French High Command sacked General Nivelle and agreed to the Mutineers demand that there be no more offensives until the Americans arrived. They were eventually able to stabilize the lines back at the starting position, having made no gains in the French sector.

For the rest of 1917, the burden of the Western front would lie solely on British shoulders. The British portion of the offensive had made gains, but their casualties too were heavy, especially during the hasty attacks to distract the Germans during the mutiny. They would have no chance to recover as the threat to the Russians remained. Further offensives would need to be launched to keep the pressure off Russia. Plans for British attacks in Flanders were quickly made…



-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004
 
All right, so far it's basically the same as OTL. Can someone point out how it's diverged so far?
French mutinies are already gonna be going far worse. They didn't get suppressed per OTL like that, they negotiated. That means morale is still fragile. Add in the fact the British are weaker due to the resulting confusion, just as they're about to start engaging in one of the most controversial battles in WW1. Not a good sign.
 
All right, so far it's basically the same as OTL. Can someone point out how it's diverged so far?
The biggest divergences are in the east, Austria-Hungary didn't get the drubbing it got OTL, and is in 1917 in better shape than OTL 1916, Romania joined the central Powers rather than the Entente and the Salonika front aka the world's largest open air prison camp didn't happen so 15 Entente divisions are in France rather than doing nothing in Macedonia, and Greece is still neutral. The Entente performed somewhat worse in the west from 1916 to 1917 due to extra German resources from not having to prop up A-H so much, but this just about offset the 15 divisions camped in Salonika, so in a purely material sense the Entente is doing as well as OTL, morally is a different story. At sea the British are down 1 13.5" BC and 2 15" QE BB compared to this point OTL, but this is less relevant
 
Part 1-9
…The primary catalysts for US entry were as previously mentioned the German resumption of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare and the Zimmerman Telegram. The reason why the Germans did such stupid things, as most believe was Wilson’s fault. While that is partially true it does in fact ignore there were internal German reasons for doing what they did….

…To begin with the German leadership, most relevantly Hindenburg and Ludendorff, believed both that American entry to the war was nothing to be feared, and that American entry into the war was inevitable. For both of these reasons Wilson shares part of the blame.

For the former, the United States army was very small by European standards. Preparedness advocates had proposed to both double the standing Army and to provide a trained reserve that could rapidly expand it in times of war. Wilson had been an opponent of preparedness in 1915 and early 1916 before changing his tune and adopting a watered down form, that produced even more watered down bills in the summer of 1916, that were only just beginning to take effect in early 1917.

This meant that the German High Command could discount the United States Army as a factor, it was too small and unprepared to be a significant factor before late 1918 or even 1919 they believed. With their thoughts that the decisive campaigns would be in 1917 and 1918, the United States Army could thus be discounted. This estimate would be in error; however, it was the belief that the German High Command was operating under when it made the fatal decisions of late 1916 and early 1917. Had Wilson supported preparedness in 1915 the United States military would have been in the process of visibly expanding when the Germans made the fateful decisions and that may have made them reconsider if the United States could meaningfully intervene in 1917…

…Part of the reason that the Germans underestimated the United States was the contempt that Woodrow Wilson was held in. Wilson had downplayed actions by German saboteurs in the United States, such as the Black Tom explosion, and did not take a hardline against them. This was perceived as personal weakness by the German High Command. This was compounded by Wilson’s efforts to serve as a broker for a peace deal to end the World War, which led him to be seen as naïve and ineffectual. This contempt for Wilson spread into contempt for the United States in general and impacted German decision making in that way…

…While the Germans could arguably be justified in discounting the United States Army, they were in error in discounting the economic and industrial potential of the United States. They wanted to engage in Unrestricted Submarine Warfare to cut off supplies to the Entente but did not realize the nature of the economic relationship between the Entente and the United States. This is arguably due to set of ideological blinders particular to the Prussian military tradition that the German high command was thoroughly stepped in. This took the form of a focus on Operations and Tactics to an extant which overshadowed other military disciplines, such as strategy and logistics, something visible in both World War One and World War Two.

In a way this made sense, Prussia was a relatively small and poor country, its only way to defeat the much larger ones it had to face was to win quickly and decisively on the battlefield. This produced a flexible and responsive command structure that provided many victories and a doctrine that was the precursor to today’s mission-based tactics. It did however produce a neglect of logistics and to a lesser extent strategy. For 18th century Prussia this was manageable, logistic demands were less and strategy was not so divorced from operations as it would later become. For 19th century Prussia this emphasis had again worked out well when it was actually followed by the Prussians rather than used against them. Early 20th Century was something else entirely and faced an entirely different situation.

Thus, while German High Command thought that Unrestricted Submarine Warfare would be useful in constricting Entente supplies before the decisive campaigns, they did not realize that American Entry into the war would improve the Entente supply situation. The Entente had been steadily increasing their purchases of American goods and raw materials as American production ramped up. By the end of 1916 they were feeling a credit crunch and the Federal Reserve had warned against making any loans to the Entente that were not properly secured with collateral, which the Entente was running short of. If the situation did not change the Entente would have had to both cut back on their purchases and take more desperate measures to finance them. War with the United States gave them access to unlimited amounts of American credit free from the need for collateral and let them massively expand their purchases from the US…

…Furthermore, Unrestricted Submarine Warfare was not actually necessary to achieve their goals of constricting Entente Supplies. The increases in sinking that had been attributed to Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, were in fact due to announcements of that practice corresponding with a massive surge in U-Boats on commerce raiding patrols. In fact, well over 90% of ships sunk during the Unrestricted Submarine warfare period were sunk under Cruiser Rules. The limitation for German U-Boats was not finding enough targets to sink but running out of torpedoes.

The unnecessary provocation of Unrestricted Submarine Warfare, and such incidents as a U-Boat stinking ships while surrounded by American warships which could not legally engage, aroused anger in the American population. Had the Germans simply surged the number of U-Boats on commerce patrol, with some concessions to avoid American waters, would have almost accomplished the same results without angering the Americans nearly as much…

…That the Germans believed war with the United States was inevitable was again partially the fault of Woodrow Wilson. Wilson has personal sympathies with the United Kingdom and France, and his public speeches showed that. He was far more ready to condemn Germany than either Britain or France, and more willing to sweep what the Anglo-French did under the rug. He ignored his state department making a number of minor but Pro-Entente moves, like demanding copies of all diplomatic messages sent from US radio towers, when only the Germans were sending such messages from them.

Much of the American political establishment held similar views to Wilson, Francophile, and Anglophile they sympathized far more with the Entente. Many of them were quite outspoken in their professions of support in the Entente and a number were outright advocating for war with Germany as early as 1915.

What the Germans did not realize was how much opposition to the war there was. The lower socioeconomic rungs of society were particularly outspoken against the idea of a war. A general rule of thumb was that the more spelling and grammar errors a letter to the editor of a newspaper contained, the more likely it was to be an antiwar one. They were quite clear that it was they who would be expected to fight and die in the trenches and before the provocations of 1917 wanted no part of hit.

There was significant opposition to the war at higher income strata as well. Whether out of genuine belief or self interest quite a number of Americans opposed the idea of joining the war, including quite wealthy ones such as Henry Ford. Yet the Germans did not realize how much influence this group had in a country as democratic as the US. They saw the coastal elite being generally pro war and thought the coastal elite would drag the rest of the country after them, overinflating their influence over the country to match that of the less democratic states they were more used to dealing with…

…The Zimmerman note was a particular bit of foolishness that showed the ignorance and incompetence of the German Foreign office. The note offered Mexico a return of territories lost in the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo if it joined the Central powers, assuming the United States had previously joined the Entente and the Central Powers ultimately won the war, and financial support during the war.

The Mexicans were smart enough to have never even considered the note. They were in a civil war, and their army was in no shape to fight the United States. Furthermore they were well aware that Germany was in Europe, trapped behind the Royal Navy and had no real way to bring the war to the United States, thus any chance of the United States agreeing to significant loss of territory was a pipe dream. Thirdly Mexico did not want to acquire a huge amount of land filled with restive Anglos that would need pacific and invite another war with the Americans. Fourth Germany had not delivered gold Mexico had requested in 1916 to start a national bank, and their promises of money were thus suspect. Finally, such a war would be a diplomatic disaster as it would give support to opposing factions in the Civil War and would end its friendship with the South American ABC powers it relied on as a counterbalance to the US.

That the German foreign office did not realize this and sent the telegram, over a route known to be insecure and in an old code at that, was foolish. That the German Foreign Minister Arthur Zimmerman publicly admitted it was genuine was arguably even worse. Denying it may have forced the British to reveal that they were spying on American diplomatic communications, and would continue to do so for another 25 years, and mitigated some of the blowback from the incident…



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




Today's update heavily delayed, one week due to Isaias, two weeks probably due to Eversource getting some petty retaliation against the First Selectman here. Anyways I think I will finish off Part I next week
 
Part 1-10
…It is possible that no president elected in 1917 could have prevented war given the circumstances that prevailed in early 1917. The outrage generated by the Zimmerman note certainly made Americans furious with Germany. The resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, with the sinking of five American ships in a week during March, was a further provocation that could not be ignored. Combined with earlier provocations this would have made most presidents declare war.

Wilson did go above and beyond in convincing the American public to enter the war. This can be explained by his sense of moral outrage at what the Germans were doing, that it seemed to personally offend him that the Germans had ignored his offers to mediate a peace and escalated provocations despite warnings. Wilson was able to convince an increasingly moralist public to share his moral outrage. The same public that would soon be convinced to ban “the demon drink” for the betterment of the United States was convinced to declare war on Germany to “make the world safe for democracy”. As with Prohibition Americans would soon come to regret their decision when it turned to do the opposite of what the wanted.

Whatever they would later believe in March of 1917 the American public was convinced that they needed to join WWI. On April 4th Congress voted to declare war on Germany, passing in the Senate by 80 to 8 and in the house by 348 to 75 in the House of Representatives. America had entered the war and one of the greatest tragedies in American, and indeed World, History had begun…


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



…American Entry had come none too soon for the Entente. The British, acting as purchasing agents for the rest of the Entente had run out of ability to raise dollars using their current approaches and were overdrawing their accounts with J.P. Morgan by tens of millions a week. Only J.P. Morgan’s unwavering personal commitment to the Entente kept the money flowing. Yet even his vast personal reserves could not last forever and the Entente was looking at some very hard choices.

It was clear that they could not continue purchasing at their previous rates, so purchases would have to be scaled down to the most essential items. Furthermore, Italy and Russia would be cut off in order to maximize the amount going to Britain and France. It was clear that this would have a deleterious effect on the war effort, and especially the commitment of Italy and Russia, but such could not be helped. Further desperate measures would likely have to be taken in the future, mortgaging of assets previously untouchable, greater currency manipulation, possibly sale of colonies.

American entry changed all that. While the American treasury was at first extremely skeptical of Entente needs, they were convinced to start giving unsecured loans to the Entente by the end of May. This not only kept the Entente solvent and buying American goods but allowed a massive increase in borrowing, to date the Entente had borrowed two billion dollars from the United States, by the end of the war that was almost fourteen billion dollars.

Furthermore, US entry into the war allowed for greater government control over the economy. This proved important in 1917 as the wheat harvest proved bad, without government intervention it was unlikely that the US would have exported significant quantities of grain that year…

…Morally American entry in the war proved key to keeping morale up after the various disasters the Entente suffered. Most critically it let the French deal with the mutinies as quickly as they did…


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



…Functional POD: The point where reality in a Counterfactual Timeline noticeably differs from the Original Timeline. This is invoked when an author wants to explore the consequences of changing a particular event, but that event is not one which easily lends itself to being changed by a single directly related point…


-Excerpt from Dictionary of Science Fiction Terms, Gate Publishing, Atlanta, 2013



…American entry into WWI itself as a functional POD is relatively rare compared to earlier functional PODs that prevent the possibility of American entry in the first place, or PODs that make America better prepared when it does enter, or even POD’s that make it enter earlier.

The logical reasons for America not to enter are of course an absence of provocations from the Zimmerman note and the resumption of unrestricted submarine warfare, which involves changing the state of mind of German High Command and foreign ministry in 1916. While it is commonly assumed simply not having Wilson as president in 1917 is enough, analysis of probable alternatives indicate most would have reacted to those provocations much as Wilson had, though said provocations occurring can arguably be laid at Wilson’s feet.

Assuming those provocations are avoided we can state the most probable course of action as thus. Without America in the war the British are forced to cut off supplies to Russia and Italy due to a lack of dollars to buy them. This probably means that the Russian provisional government leaves the war in early summer, and the Italian front collapses in fall of 1917 and is forced to leave the war. Without the US the Spring offensive then knocks France from the war by the end of the summer of 1918. Britain will bow to the inevitable within a few months as the blockade can no longer be enforced and any chance of victory is nill. Probable result is a modest gain by Germany in the west, in order to procure a status quo ante bellum in the colonies and substantial gains in the East.

It is hard to see how this would not lead to a better world. The United States would avoid its six digits of dead and the more troublesome social aspects of the war. All powers would have less debt and fewer dead and wounded soldiers. Fewer neutral and Central Powers civilians would have been starved by the British Blockade. Germany as a victor would prevent a future General European War that could spiral into a world war, a defeated France and Italy are too weak to challenge the status quo, Austria-Hungary is bound at the hip to Germany, Russia is shorn of her western territories and Britain will not act without a continental ally. Without a Second World War…

…In all a much better world was lost due to Wilson’s folly…


-Excerpt from Sideways: An Examination of Common Divergences in Counterfactual History, Gate Publishing, Atlanta, 2016



This Concludes Part I of Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars


Part II: Wilson’s Folly will begin next week



That last part is assuming nothing untoward happens
 
Part 2-1
Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

A TL by RamscoopRaider

Part II: Wilson’s folly

The United States must be neutral in fact as well as in name...We must be impartial in thought as well as in action-Woodrow Wilson, August 19th 1914

There is a price which is too great to pay for peace, and that price can be put in one word. One cannot pay the price of self-respect-Woodrow Wilson, February 1st 1916

The supreme test of the nation has come. We must all speak, act, and serve together- Woodrow Wilson, April 15th 1917

FOLLY, n. That "gift and faculty divine" whose creative and controlling energy inspires Man's mind, guides his actions and adorns his life-Ambrose Bierce, The Devil’s Dictionary

A fool who knows his foolishness is wise at least to that extent, but a fool who thinks himself wise is a fool indeed-Siddhartha Gautama, the Dhammapada

The first Degree of Folly, is to conceit one’s self wise; the second to profess it; the third to despise Counsel-Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard’s Almanac

For fools rush in where angels fear to tread-Alexander Pope, an Essay on Criticism




…The Great war began as most American Wars to date had, with the United States completely unprepared for a war. The United States Army was small and lacking in modern equipment, it would require the absorption of hundreds of thousands of new recruits merely to deploy its existing formations, let alone newly raised ones. The Navy was better off, having adequate manpower for its existing ships, but its strength was only near adequate in Battleships and submarines, having invested most of its peacetime construction funds in the former as their long building times would prevent rush building during war. Still they would need a crash building program of escorts to deal with the demands of the war and their veteran crews be dispersed to crew hordes of auxiliaries and armed merchantmen. Despite this the Navy was able to play an important role almost from the beginning of the war, even the small number of escorts it had being enough to allow the Entente to start running convoys in the North Atlantic. The Army was not so lucky and would not have significant combat formations in place until October.

American entry was immediately decisive on the economic front, within eight weeks the Entente’s financial difficulties were solved by a flood of American loans unshackled from the constraints of collateral or security. The blockade, which had until this point leaked considerably became almost airtight as the United States was able to stop blockade runners before they left port, rather than having to run them down in the North Sea. The promise of postwar American loans was perhaps the only thing that prevented the ruling Socialist Revolutionary party in Russia from starting negotiations with the Germans in early summer of 1917, according to certain exiled politicians in the aftermath of the war…

…American entry proved absolutely critical in the terms of Entente morale. It was American entry that allowed the French to deal with their mutinies before they weakened the frontline against the Germans. One could imagine that something similar may have eventually happened with the British had they continued their headlong attacks without American entry. Certainly, the morale boost of American entry was necessary for the Italians, who by far had the greatest number of executions for discipline issues, one can only imagine what may have happened in the fall of 1917 otherwise. And of course, one must not forget the Russians, without the morale boost of American entry the infamous July Days may have come in June, or even May…

-Excerpt from The Loss of Innocence: America in the Great War, Harper & Brothers, New York 2014



…Woodrow Wilson is usually placed at or near the bottom of lists of American Presidents by most orthodox historians. Primarily this is due to his being president when the United States entered World War One, though in recent years criticism of his civil rights record has been an increasing part of the ranking. His good decisions, such as his reforms of the civil service are forgotten. While the latter certainly cannot be denied the former cannot be solely considered his fault.

The Orthodox argument was that Wilson was uniquely responsible for dragging the United States into the war, which goes with the popular view of the war as “Wilson’s Folly”. That he was seen as personally week, for not responding forcefully enough to German provocations led them to take the strength United States in contempt. That he did not do nearly enough to strengthen the United States, further driving the Germans to see the United States as weak. Finally, his Anglophilia led the Germans to believe that the United States would inevitably enter the war, thus there was no reason to avoid provocations of the United States.

This view ignores the fact that the Germans had an equal or greater say in the matter. That they had the ultimate choice in whether the United States would enter the war or not. They made the choice to give the United States provocations that could not be ignored. This choice can be shown to be far more a product of their biases, errors and incompetence than anything that Wilson did. A similar argument is made about the events of the following decades being his responsibility, again however others had a much greater say in things turning out as they did.

This view also places Wilson as uniquely terrible. This excludes the role many of his subordinates had in creating the situation in question, such as Robert Lansing, where at most he was guilty of inadequate supervision. Wilson’s relevant personal views were not as far outside of the mainstream of the American elite as one would be led to believe by orthodox history.

In short, this paper intends to show that while Wilson was certainly a subpar President he was not in the same category as James Buchanan, where he is often placed...


-Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XXIX, University of California Press: Berkley, 2019


…While Dragutin Dimitrijević, better known as Apis, had earned lasting infamy with the killing of Alexander I of Serbia, and worldwide infamy with the assassination of Archduke Ferdinand it was the assassination of Peter I and Crown Prince Alexander, as well as the surrounding events that earned Apis and the Black Hand their place as the most legendary group of Assassins in history.

Unlike the other two regicides Apis was responsible for this one was not a carefully planned action but rather an act of desperation. Apis had been considered a political liability for some time by the Serbian government in exile, especially the regent Crown Prince Alexander, as his presence made the Entente seriously uncomfortable. Unfortunately, the clique of ultranationalist military officers that surrounded him made him very difficult to remove. In 1917 Political pressure from their Entente allies grew to deal with them as secret negotiations with the Central Powers indicated that a guarantee of no Serbian agitation in Austria-Hungary was necessary. The Serbian government in exile could not resist this pressure for long and in May of 1917 the Regency council, based in Entente occupied Albania, began planning to quietly arrest Apis and his associates.

This news was leaked to Apis before it could be implemented. Apis and his associates viewed this as a betrayal of the Serbian people by the Serbian Government. Apis decided that they had to kill the regency council, blame the Austrians and take control of the government to prevent such a betrayal from taking place. To do so he had Gavrilo Princip, one of the backup assassins for Franz Ferdinand, deliver a bomb inside a briefcase into a meeting of the regency council where the King was present on June 1st. Princip eagerly volunteered for the task once explained to him, despite knowing it was a suicide mission.

What Apis did not know was the topic of the meeting, which was in fact the arrest of himself and his associates. As such when Princip walked into the meeting and blew himself up, taking with him the majority of the regency council, including the crown Prince and the King, Apis and his associates were already being arrested.

It is here that Apis truly became a legend, as he escaped while being dragged to an impromptu prison from his quarters. Following his escape, he was never seen again, and his body never found. This is why he often appears so often as a villain in fiction, this sense of mystery…


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


…The Valona coup while not successful induced a great deal of confusion among the Serbian government and military. Conflicting stories, about it being a domestic coup or an Austrian bombing circulated. The Serbian military quickly edged into a so called royalist and so-called nationalist faction, the former believed it was a coup, while the latter insisted there was no coup. Formations jockeyed for position and a minor degree of fighting broke out.

To prevent the situation from deteriorating the Italians were forced to deploy additional troops to Albania to both keep the Serbs separated and to fill in for units that had left the lines until the situation could be resolved. As it was only the relative passivity of the Bulgarians prevented a setback in the Albanian front before the Italians arrived in force in late June. The diversion of troops would prove important later when…


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