Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by joeyanonymous, Sep 6, 2018.
How do the mines allow ships through with huminatarian aid?
They designated one port and required Red Cross inspections.
Point taken, but Congress still can't force action.
If Congress declares war over the President's opposition, and the President declares publicly that he won't send US forces into action... I don't think either Germany or Japan would play into the hawks' hands by attacking first.
WRT Japan, the President could order all US forces withdrawn from the Philippines on the very reasonable grounds that they are indefensible (also Guam). This could be followed up by a "field truce" agreement with Japan declaring the Philippines neutral. With no US forces there, Japan has no reason to invade, and everyone's happy - especially the Filipinos, I think.
They can't afford not to. In particular, this is an absolutely golden opportunity for Germany to cut off American trade with Britain, which even in the absence of cash and carry and Lend-Lease is still a big deal for food and such stuff. Especially if the President is swearing up down and sideways that he's not going to send out the Navy and the Coast Guard to get in their way.
And will the Japanese buy that? I don't think they will, to be honest. Why would they? From their perspective, at any moment the President could change his mind and send the Americans back in, and if the Japanese have already move past the Philippines on the grounds that they're neutralized and harmless they'll be caught flat-footed and with a hostile navy and army sitting astride key supply lines. So they really have no reason whatsoever to believe the President, and plenty of reasons to seize the Philippines and Guam anyway and hope that the President is more representative of American public opinion than Congress.
In any case, I seriously doubt Burton K. Wheeler would actually be nominated by the Democratic Party in 1940, even in Roosevelt's absence. There's a reason Wendell Wilkie was chosen by the Republicans over Taft, after all. So more likely yet would be a President that willingly cooperates with Congress...just like Roosevelt. And so US involvement in World War II...just like OTL.
I think the best chance you have of avoiding US involvement in World War II is by avoiding the war altogether, and the next-best chance would be ending it before the United States can work up the will to join. Have Japan not get dragged into China and have a war start over the Anschluss or Czechoslovakia somehow, and you could easily arrange for America to stay out.
Germany stayed out of the Western Atlantic in OTL to avoid provoking the US; FDR sent US warships as far east as he could to assist Britain and possibly provoke an incident. Wheeler will keep US warships west of Greenland (to protect US shipping in our own waters), and will state flatly that any American merchant ships sailing to Britain do so at their own risk.
Why should Germany break that up?
Right. Because the US could easily move, say, 200,000 troops, 1,000 aircraft, and 50 warships 8,000 km from Hawaii to the Philippines, right through Japanese-held Micronesia, without the Japanese even noticing, much less interfering.
Other than his long history of public statements opposing any US involvement in overseas wars.
Thereby guaranteeing a full-on war with the US and making the President's position moot.
Do you think it was just anti-isolationism? Wrong. It may surprise you, but most Americans were more concerned with domestic issues than foreign policy. Willkie was famous as an eloquent opponent of the New Deal. and his backers considered him more electable than Taft.
FDR didn't "cooperate with Congress"; he led the way, with proposals such as Lend-Lease, which Congress approved, and with executive orders and directives to the armed forces for assistance to the Allies.
Wheeler would fail to cooperate with Congress only in the very unlikely event that Congress chose to declare war against the opposition of the President.
Thats one interpretation, which seems to look at 'Congress' as a homogenous entity. The war hawks as a separate group, or groups, and individuals are not much considered in these discussions. Even the ground shift after June 1941 is seldom considered or mentioned. Its like that shrinking majority percentage completely obviates the other group that were committed & had pro war leaders among them.
Let me put it this way. There was no faction in Congress, either dominant or plurality, with its own articulated policy for aiding the Allies and bringing the US closer to war, which FDR followed. FDR had such a plan, and enough support in Congress to carry it out.
IMO, if the President has no war policy, it is very unlikely for a Congress faction to develop one, and extremely unlikely for Congress to enact one.
But who is blocking commerce first, Britain or Germany?
I would imagine that if an genuinely neutral American president tried to end all blockades and Uboat campaigns, Germany would be more interested in allowing free trade than Britain given their circumstances.
The only way I can see that happening is if Japan doesn't do PH or attacks more territories in Asia. This could had been accomplished in a POD where the Frebruary 26 coup succeeds:
The plotters supported the Strike North strategy which was about attacking the Soviet Union:
Let's suppose this happen, this would require Japan to stay out of China if it really wants to prepare to fight the USSR. The Barbarossa happens, the US is not going to enter WWII just to help the British or Soviets, even if that means allowing a German hegemon in Europe, the public is simply not going to support it. How this war would end, I don't know.
Either the combined forces of Germany and Japan manage to defeat the USSR, or the USSR succeeds in both pushing back Germany into Berlin and then pushing the Japanese out of mainland Asia (The Imperial Navy would prevent a Soviet invasion of the Home Islands). So either way the US would have to deal with a superpower Nazi Germany or with a USSR way stronger than OTL.-
I don’t know. Who?
A pre-requisite of Lend Lease was Britain opening its books to US interests and demonstrating it was already broke. Without Lend Lease and US war finance, Britain would be forced to the table some time in 1941. With no Lend lease and no secondary fronts or bombing campaigns against the Axis, the Soviets are going to struggle.
Nazi governed Germany had zero interest in 'Free Trade'. It was run by a group of kleptocrats who had a near random bag of ideas about Aryan or Germany centric economics. Dupes or fellow ideologes in the US, like perhaps Dupont, Rockafeller, or Davis, would be favored. Everyone else could go fight over hind teat.
This line keeps being peddled, lend-lease was fairly insignificant as a proportion of American Exports until the second half of 1941, Britain deliberately became broke by ordering goods from America without regards to the ability to pay. If required the UK could have stayed in the war for as long as required at various levels of war effort.
Yeah the British aim was essentially to create an economic interest for US industry to keep Britain from collapsing, knowing they would in turn squeeze Congress to be more accommodating in supplying the UK.
Nazi Germany had zero interest in free trade even before the war. They used tariffs and subsidies to protect German farmers and manufacturers, to the point where ordinary Germans were paying far above world prices for things like food and petrol. Add to that that Germany was only able to maintain a supply of gold and foreign currency by looting its victims, which ran out in fairly short order when they had to pay for goods from the neutrals who would trade with them. I feel like a broken records saying this in yet another thread, but read Adam Tooze's 'Wages of Destruction' if you really want to understand what a train wreck the Nazi economy was and why 'free trade' was the last thing they would have embraced.
Also quite interesting is the fact that many of the Machine tools paid for by the UK were in fact never delivered as the demand for them in the US was so high
however by the end of the war most of the UKs exports from America were via lend lease, without which the war would have gone on for years longer.
It's noteworthy that with the largest empire the world had ever seen, that Britain was essentially broke by 1941. What's the point in having all the wheat fields of Canada, coal mines of Australia, rubber and tin of Malaya, textile mills and manpower of India, etc, etc. with almost 20% of the world's GDP, if you can't fight a two year war without blowing the bank?
How did Britain pay for the 100 years war, or the Napoleonic Wars?
I don't think Britain was "broke" then. I am willing to look at actual number on this, but my understanding from forty years ago, is that Britain would run out of foreign currency and gold reserves in early 1942. Internally Britain, or the empire had a healthy Sterling economy, but would have been short the ability to pay US banks in bullion or dollars.
I asked one of my professors that concerning the Napoleonic wars. Did not write the answer down, but recall a few of the points about a Central Banking system, a intact global trading system, relative efficiency in industrial production, defacto control of the trade from the Portugese & Spanish empires, and the US - was enabled by a efficient advanced banking system. There were other reasons I've forgotten, but the reasons seemed to connect to Britain having imperial direct economic control, and indirect control of 300,000,000+ people seemed to be at the core of it. In 1941 Britain had 500 million in its empire and control of most of the global sea trade with a billion+ others.
True - but "free trade" is not the right phrase. "Unobstructed trade" would fit better. That is, Germany wanted to be able to trade with all other nations, while Britain used its sea control to block the overseas trade of other countries when they wanted to. It goes back to the "Mare Clausum" versus "Mare Liberusm" dispute of the 17th century, when England claimed the right to block Dutch commerce through the English Channel.
This is completely separate from the usual meaning of "free trade", meaning no tariffs imposed on imports - a decision entirely up to the importing country. However much Nazi Germany controlled or taxed its subjects' foreign commerce, they did not seek to control other nations' foreign commerce as Britain did. (To be sure, Germany lacked the ability to do that, and if they had it would probably have used it.)
No sorry this is just not an accurate representation of Nazi trade policy. They had no more interest in unobstructed trade than they did free trade. Their policies in the 30's were aimed at autarky and propping up German producers. They alienated most of their major potential trading partners with their tariffs and subsidies. At best foreign trade was regarded as a necessary evil. And of course they most assuredly did seek to control other countries foreign commerce, both by occupying countries such as France and intimidating other others like Sweden and Romania into trading on terms favourable to Germany.
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