Dear readers,
Update will be posted by the end of the day.
Once again, I feel that this one needs a little introduction. It features a narrative from the perspective of John Abercrombie, an Alabama congressman and RL figure. His views on racial matters are less than enlightened, and it's always him talking, not me. I certainly don't wish to offend anyone and if there's a line of dialogue which someone objects to, please don't hesitate to say so and I'll edit it.
Thanks very much,
Kaiser Wilhelm the Tenth
 
Chapter 25.2: The United States Goes To War
Chapter 25.2- The United States Goes To War
"Johnny, get your gun, get your gun, get your gun! Take it on the run, on the run, on the run. Make Ven-us-tiano 'fraid of you, and the old red, white, and blue! Do-o-wn South! Do-o-wn South! Send the word, send the word, do-o-wn south! We're a-go-ing, yes we're a-go-ing, and the foe we'll trounce when we're a-down south!"
-Verse one of "Down South", a popular patriotic ballad written in January 1918 by George Cohen.

"If you pull the tail feathers of our national eagle, you can bet it will bite back. Now, Mr. Carranza is about to find out what we can do when we put our mind to it!"
-Charles Evans Hughes in his New Year's address to the country, 1 January 1918.


Things weren’t going as planned.

The Second Mexican War should have been a cakewalk for the United States. As they had in 1848 and 1914, US troops had landed at Veracruz; they were then supposed to have occupied it with minimal fuss and marched triumphantly on the capital. Given that the landings had taken place in mid-August, the war should’ve been over by autumn. Such a quick victory would’ve toppled the regime of Venustiano Carranza and sent a powerful signal to both the nations of the Western Hemisphere and the newly ascendant Central Powers that the United States was not to be crossed lightly… plus, it would’ve helped revive the sluggish American economy.

Instead, with Christmas a bare two weeks away, thousands of Americans were stuck in fortified positions outside Veracruz. Repeated attempts to break out of the perimeter, led by John J Pershing, had met with failure. Of course, holding that line was proving deeply costly for Carranza’s men, but that such a country could fight the United States toe-to-toe was galling. Diversions elsewhere had proven unsuccessful: former President Theodore Roosevelt and ex-Congressman Emmett Jay Scott had formed a volunteer brigade, and Roosevelt had met his fate deep in Sonora. Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic were all on-side, yet their participation had proven insignificant. The only place where the Americans had had any real success was in fomenting internal dissent; they had coerced Sonoran warlord Alvaro Obregon into a pact with them, while peasant rebel Emiliano Zapata led an insurgency in the southwest. That said, despite both enjoying covert American backing, neither Obregon nor Zapata looked to be capable of taking Carranza down. Despite their superiority in size and status as a Great Power, the Americans seemed unable to land a decisive blow that would end the war.

And now Theodore Roosevelt was dead.

News of the Rough Rider’s fall had brought an outpouring of public grief amongst the American people. They’d loved Roosevelt, giving him the affectionate moniker “Teddy”, and had cheered his volunteer regiment on, following his successes in the papers. He’d been killed on 21 December 1917, and news had reached Washington within hours. President Hughes is said to have groaned and told his wife, “Antoinette, tomorrow I am going to have to appear on the podium, in front of all those reporters, and give Venustiano Carranza an early damn Christmas present.” He spent the entire day writing and rewriting the bad news, trying in vain to package the blow in a cushion of rhetoric. Of course, the press was one step ahead of him, the New York Times publishing a massive front-page article on the 23rd, crying “ROOSEVELT DEAD, PRESIDENT SILENT!” When one of his aides showed him the paper, Hughes uncharacteristically let loose with a torrent of bad language- it only improved his mood when another aide brought in a Mexican propaganda article gloating about the “cruel Yankee cowboy meeting his fate”. Shortly after three PM, Hughes stepped out onto the White House lawn to deliver his press conference; he met with a lot of hostility for letting Roosevelt go off and get killed in the first place. It was all monstrously unfair, but it sold papers, and that was what the press cared about most.

The New York Times' front-page headline on 23 December 1917 announcing Theodore Roosevelt's death.
Theodore Roosevelt death article.png


Christmas was a subdued affair that year as people mourned for their President. Across churches in America, priests and vicars spoke of the loss to the country (before going on to say that since this was Christ’s birthday, their congregants should remember that Roosevelt was now being judged by a higher Authority). A few imaginative toy store owners somehow found the time to capitalise on the news, putting teddy bears dressed in mourning black on the shelves (these subsequently became valued collector’s items). After a perfunctory Christmas message to the newspapers, Hughes and his wife paid a call to the newly widowed Edith Roosevelt and her daughter Ethel. Roosevelt’s sons were all officers in Veracruz, and they telephoned Christmas greetings and brief messages of political support to the president.

However, the mourning soon took on a darker turn. There were several instances of violence against Mexican-Americans in supposed “retaliation” for Roosevelt’s death; in one case in Los Angeles, a group of yobbos who really ought to have been in the Army attacked a prominent Mexican-American’s home during a family Christmas celebration. They pounded the tar out of the poor family while the police looked the other way. Roosevelt’s funeral took place a week into the New Year in New York City; over ten thousand people turned up to wish the old Rough Rider farewell. However, things quickly descended into violence, with people who had spoken out against the war being viciously attacked by their more jingoistic neighbours; again, the police were often willing to look the other way.

This propaganda poster, issued by the state of Texas, perfectly highlights the racism with which white Southwesterners acted towards their Mexican counterparts in the wake of Roosevelt's death.
whichwillmakethebettercitizen?.jpg


All of this rubbed one key fact in the President’s face: the United States couldn’t win the war as it was fighting right now. Something would have to change.

Charles Evans Hughes was a liberal man despite belonging to the Republican Party. When the war had commenced back in August, he had refused to conduct a real mobilisation for war. National Guardsmen and the small yet professional full-time military had all gone to the front, while patriotic volunteers had of course been accepted (his son Charles Jr having been one of them, he was killed at Veracruz), and a scheme of “War Bonds” were established. Aside from this, the President had deliberately minimised the war’s intrusion into civilian life. Taxes had been kept at close to peacetime levels, and there had been no conscription put in place.

All of this could change. As President during wartime, Hughes had the authority to enact conscription via executive order, while the slim Republican majority in both houses of Congress would be enough to raise taxes. Banking on a quick war, the President had followed his conscience and refrained from taking these steps in August. Now, facing embarrassment on the world stage, he was forced to consider. The American economy was in a poor state; if the government took out loans from the big banks to help finance an expanded war effort, that might prove a shot in the arm- and putting people to work in factories and the like certainly wouldn’t hurt. Nonetheless, the President remained opposed. He viewed conscription as an unacceptable intrusion on the liberties of the individual, while his anti-corporate past as a judge made him loath to empower the big banks by taking out loans from them- loans which the American taxpayer would have to pay back out of his none-too-full wallet. Of course, some made a more cynical argument- Hughes had portrayed himself to the voters as a champion of individual liberty and minimal government; with the midterms only a year away, he couldn’t afford to reverse this stance. As the American public carved up its New Year’s ham, Hughes paced the Oval Office, cigar in hand, thinking.

A few days after Roosevelt’s funeral, an old friend of Hughes paid a call to the White House. House Majority Leader James Mann had always got on well with the President, and both men were eager for a catch-up. The Democrats would spread all kinds of rumours and misinformation about the political deal about to be hatched; the participants would go to great lengths to deny them. President and Representative made small talk over a bottle of brandy for half an hour before Hughes smiled awkwardly. He had rather a delicate favour to ask of Mann. Hughes recognised the importance of expanding the war effort, but for political reasons he didn’t want to openly take the step of introducing such measures. If Mann would approach the governors of certain reliably Republican states- he listed New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and the six New England states- and ask them to implement statewide conscription measures, he would very much appreciate it.

This was a clever proposal. The only successful American draft, in 1862, had been conducted on a state-by-state basis. Therefore, by delegating this power to the states, Hughes could claim that he was following precedent. There was also a certain amount of implicit passing of responsibility to the governors in this. Since the conscription laws would come from state capitals as opposed to Washington DC, Hughes could craft a narrative that it was the doing of patriotic governors, not the White House. Finally, by sending the message through Mann, Hughes could frame it as though the initiative came from the House. Of course, many would see through this and Hughes would take a lot of flak in the coming years for his sleight of hand, but it was expedient in the short term.

One side effect of Theodore Roosevelt’s death had been to increase patriotism amongst the public. Before the death of the former president, the war had seemed far off and unimportant to many. Losing a much-loved public figure such as Roosevelt had been an insult of sorts to many Americans, and many of them felt they had to get back at Carranza. While this unfortunately resulted in numerous cases of anti-Mexican violence, it also led to an upswing in voluntary enlistment. Thirty thousand people volunteered all across the country in January 1918, giving rise to an odd little cultural phenomenon. Many of these people had eaten liberally and put on a bit of weight over the holidays, and they weren’t always in prime shape. One abrasive recruiting sergeant, whose name has not survived, commented that “these boys are too soft- all full of ham and dough”- hence, they came to be dubbed “doughboys”, and the phrase would linger in the American lexicon as a derivative term for one who shows up late and unprepared.

Enthusiastic "doughboys" line up to enlist, January 1918
usarmyrecruitingstationwwi.jpg


Young men were not the only group of overfed patriots affected by Roosevelt’s death, however. In keeping with the promise he’d made with President Hughes, James Mann invited the governors of New York, Pennsylvania, Oregon, and the six New England states to his office one bitterly cold January day to discuss conscription. Stances on the matter varied, but everyone agreed that the former president’s death had opened up a real window of opportunity and that it was now or never. The governors all agreed that conscription was for the best, but one of them- Samuel McCall of Massachusetts- had an idea. With the country up in arms over the insult of Roosevelt’s death, now would be a good time to push a nationwide service bill through- having forty-eight states collaborating on the same programme would be far more effective than having different governors following their own policies. This impressed Mann, and later that day he telephoned President Hughes. Roosevelt’s death, Mann emphasised, had changed everything. People really wanted to serve and likely wouldn’t object to being forced to; having the federal government direct everything would make the entire process much smoother. (1) Pressing his advantage, Mann said that a Republican-introduced conscription bill would make the party look strong and patriotic at this key juncture. Once more, Hughes was caught in a bind. The midterms would be along in November, and so he had to factor public opinion in- and the public now seemed to want mandatory service. However, the President’s conscience still resisted the idea, leaving him in a bind. Nevertheless, at one AM on the ninth, he left a note for his secretary. ‘Call Mr. Mann first thing in the morning’, it read, ‘and let him know I want to talk to him yesterday’. He then staggered off to bed, waking his wife up with his snores.

Sure enough, Mann paid a call to the White House at six-thirty AM; Hughes was plowing through a plate of lox and eggs when the House Majority Leader knocked on the door. The message was simple: he wanted Congress to meet as soon as possible to vote on a national conscription bill, and he wanted to call it the “Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Service Act”. As it was in the middle of the Congressional season, summoning them was the work of a moment, and Mann found himself on the floor just after lunch.



* * *
Representative John Abercrombie
johnabercrombie.jpg


John Abercrombie was freezing. Washington DC was so much colder than Alabama, and he’d never been able to get used to it. For reasons known only to God, the Congress hadn’t bothered to pay to heat the building, and it was a chilly January day. He pulled his tweed coat tighter over himself and rubbed his hands together, stifling a sneeze as he waited in the security queue.

“You’re clear”. The security guard looked to be about sixty-five and desperately needed a shave. Shaking his head, Abercrombie walked through the ornate doors through the rotunda, glancing at the ceiling mural. George Washington looked down at him, flanked by angels. People milled about, talking with their fellow Congressmen and with reporters. A dozen regional accents assaulted Abercrombie’s ear; he couldn’t understand half of what anyone was saying. All he wanted to do was to get this over with and back to his flat.

“Ah, John. Good to see you.” Abercrombie’s fellow Alabama Congressman was a rotund man with a well-clipped beard named Edward B. Almon. “Mighty cold, no?”

“You might say so, yes. You holding up well?” The two men gripped hands and leaned in closer to hear one another over the cacophony of voices. “Anyone wants to know what I think”- he lowered his voice conspiratorially “it’s a damn waste o’ time having us meet here. It will be a pleasure once we move on from Mr. Roosevelt’s death and get on with our business.”

Edward Almon smiled. “Right there, my friend, there you are certainly right. I cannot see what business the President had in starting this war in the first place; I just thank the Lord all my sons are safe.” Before Abercrombie could reply, the Speaker of the House banged his gavel.

“The House of Representatives is now in session!” With that, the dull formalities commenced. John Abercrombie tuned out, his mind drifting to the wife back in Alabama. He absentmindedly polished his spectacles, trying to ignore the bitter cold in the hall.

“I now cede the floor to the honourable Representative from the state of Illinois, House Majority Leader James Mann!” The gavel came down once more, and Representative Mann stepped onto the floor. As a former university dean, Abercrombie had taken a good deal of ribbing about looking like a professor, and he knew that there was some truth in that. Mann, however, looked twice as scholarly as he. The Majority Leader wore the largest round glasses Abercrombie had ever seen, and well-maintained silver hair covered his head and chin. Mann’s raspy accent left no doubt that he was from the Midwest and contrasted sharply with Abercrombie’s Southern drawl.

House Majority Leader James Mann, looking every bit the professor
jamesmann.jpg


“Congressmen of the United States!

I do wish we were gathered here today upon some matter less pressing to the nation. I deeply regret the proposal I am about to make, wishing with all my heart and my being that it was not necessary. Yet, it is. The United States of America finds herself at war with the despotic regime of Venustiano Carranza, a state of war in which the first shots were fired by Mexican soldiers against Americans defending our honourable national interest. Our progress in this conflict has not been what we might have hoped. This is in no way a detriment to the courage of our soldiers in arms, nor is it a judgement on the wisdom of General Pershing. Rather, the blame lies in that we underestimated the tenacity with which the Mexican regime would defend itself. As the premiere power in this Hemisphere by the grace of God, we had anticipated rapid success and a restoration of peaceful relations. Now, half a year has gone by and this nation has failed to force a decision.”

Abercrombie stifled a yawn. He had better things to do than hear this silly Yankee cover his backside to defend a war that shouldn’t have been fought in the first place while sitting in a bloody freezing hall.

“The late President Theodore Roosevelt recognised this state of affairs. In a testament to his personal courage and daring, he took it upon his own initiative to lead men down to the Rio Grande and plant our American flag in those vast deserts. Now, he has been taken from us, God rest his soul. Yet, in his personal sacrifice we may all find inspiration. Thus, I announce my submission to the House of Representatives of the Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Service Act. If passed, this will enable the various governors of the forty-eight states to call the young men of America to war. I know that every man in this country has a fire of patriotism in his belly and will nobly serve if called.

I wish that this was unnecessary. I wish that President Roosevelt was still among us. I wish that the war had brought swift success in weeks. I wish that peace still reigned in North America. Yet, the world is as we find it and not as we wish it. Therefore, I submit this to the House in total faith that you gentlemen will decide the proper course of action according to the dictates of your own conscience. Thank you, and may God bless the United States of America.”

John Abercrombie and Edward Almon clapped heavily, more out of relief that he’d finally shut up than anything else. Abercrombie smiled to himself at the sight of his fellow Democrats doing likewise. However, the Republicans were going wild- one or two were even getting up on their feet, and he could’ve sworn he heard a whistle from somewhere. The heavy gavel came down once more.

“Voting shall now commence!”, the Speaker boomed. “Those in favour are to respond, ‘Aye!’, those against, ‘Nay!’” He cleared his throat. “Representative Rankin, Montana?” A middle-aged woman stood up, her floral hat far too small for her. Abercrombie wrinkled his nose- a woman in Congress? What was the world coming to?

“Nay!”, Rankin declared forcefully before sitting down hurriedly. The Speaker made a note before moving to the next Representative… and on it went. Abercrombie wished for a cigar to warm him up, but smoking was forbidden. His stomach growled and his eyes grew heavy. “Won’t half be glad when this is over, I tell you. They made me miss lunch on account of this.”

“Tell me about it.” Edward Almon spoke in a low whisper. “Frankly, I hardly care one way or the other if this here bill passes. I’m a fat ol’ man and they ain’t gonna take me.” Both men smiled.

“Congressman Almon?” Edward stood up. “Nay!”

“Very good. Congressman… Abercrombie?” Oh, Lord, here we go. His legs protesting, Abercrombie stood up. “Nay!” A handful of Republicans sent him frosty stares; a Georgian representative whose name escaped Abercrombie flashed him a thumbs-up. He smiled back.

“Very good. Congressman…” On and on it went. His head ached, and he needed to relieve himself. After everyone had voted, the Speaker of the House pounded the gavel once more. “The bill is passed!”

Oh, shit, Abercrombie thought with a groan- a most un-Congressional sentiment. Meanwhile, the Republicans- less that Representative Rankin from Montana- were jubilant, pounding one another on the back, laughing and joking. The Speaker- himself a Republican- looked distinctly pleased as well, and had a certain lightness in his voice as he moved to adjourn.

“I say, Abercrombie.” The Georgian representative from earlier tapped him on the shoulder as everyone ever-so-slowly left the hall. “Care to join us for dinner? A few of us, we’re meeting at the Eagle’s Lodge for supper, thought you might like to come.” The mere thought of a mouthwatering steak at someone else’s expense did a lot to improve Abercrombie’s view of the world.

The Eagle’s Lodge was jammed full that night. Along with the Congressmen, several wealthy officers were having a sending-off party for one of their number going to Mexico; while a Danubian diplomat tried to impress a gorgeous redhead by buying her the most expensive wine on the menu. The lighting was quite dim, and Abercrombie scarcely noticed Edward Almon at first.

“Good to see you made it! I daresay the rest of our party should arrive soon.” Over the next few minutes, Abercrombie came to wonder exactly how Almon meant his remark. So many Congressmen came through the door it appeared the rest of the Democratic Party was arriving, not the rest of the dinner party.

Wilson smiled thinly. “The pleasure, my good man, is all mine. Nice to get back to the capital once in a time. I do wish I could make the acquaintance of this lovely city more often. If only that… so-and-so hadn’t taken my office.” Both men laughed dimly. “Come, then. I daresay everyone has arrived.” Led by a somewhat overawed waiter, the Southern Democrats made their way to a round table big enough to suit King Arthur.

“Have whatever you please”, the ex-President said. “My treat.” Suddenly, the world seemed a brighter place, and Abercrombie felt no compulsions about ordering the most expensive steak on the menu- nor was he the only one to do so. If Wilson’s heart bled at the damage being done to his wallet, he didn’t show it. “My condolences to you all on the passage of that… infernal bill.”

“Indeed, sir.” That was a Virginia congressman, who shared Wilson’s soft accent prevalent in the state. “Many a hope for our liberties was dashed. No doubt the President was pleased, though.”

Wilson nodded, taking a bite of his greens. “Ah, you may rest assured that if I had achieved my re-election, that would never have crossed my desk. Now, how many good American boys must meet their doom for President Hughes’ political goals? It is a fearful thing to lead this country into war.”

Abercrombie nodded, attacking his steak as though he hadn’t eaten in months. “And all because of Mr Roosevelt’s untimely death.”
“Ah, yes.” Wilson’s smile was devoid of warmth. “You know, when this foolish war started, I knew he wanted to fight. High office was never his true calling.”

“He was a damned cowboy. I saw it comin’ a mile off.” The Tennessee congressman who’d spoken realised that he’d been a little too free with his comment- no doubt aided by his empty whiskey glass- and turned very red. “Sir.”

Another cold smile crossed Wilson’s face. “Ah yes, Mr. Fischer. I cannot deny that he had a wild streak about him. As a matter of fact, I- and you gentlemen may treat this with the strictest confidence- I found the account of his death mildly amusing. The Rough Rider falls off his horse!” Everyone- Abercrombie included- laughed. He could all too easily imagine the old lion charging into fire, determined to go out with glory. Abercrombie sipped his wine- it was an Italian Savoia. (2)

“True enough, sir, but the timing was still unfortunate. Now, that warmonger Hughes will use his death as an excuse for whatever measures he sees fit. We will be no better than the serfs under Tsar Michael!”

Wilson sighed. “Mr. Abercrombie, I sincerely wish I could say you were wrong. As it is, I see no way we can stop this bill in the House, and therefore innocent boys will die to satiate Mr. Hughes’ whims.”

“Damn right… er, sir. There ain’t nothin’ we can do.” All of a sudden, an idea came across Abercrombie and his face lit up. “So why fight it?”

Wilson frowned. “I beg your pardon?”

“Why fight it, sir, if we can’t stop it?” Everyone stared at Abercrombie, but he didn’t flinch. “If y’all in the Senate don’t make too much fuss over this, it’ll still pass, but we’ll have shown Hughes that we can be bargained with. If we give him this, we can get something in return- it’s the way the game works.” The wine in his belly gave him the courage to keep going. “And besides, I’ve read the bill. It lets the governors say how many men they want to send to the war. Not Hughes, not some so-and-so in his fine office in Washington, but the governors. Now, if we have to work with this here bill, what’s to stop the governors from just saying they want five hundred men and leaving it at that?”

“Mr Abercrombie”, said the Tennessee representative, “you have forgotten something. As soon as he took office, that damnyankee Hughes forced us to treat black folks the same in the Army!” Whiskey fuelling his passion, the Tennessean leaned across the table. “You cannot mean you want the fine state of Tennessee to let black folks join on the same basis as good white men?”

“Of course not!” Abercrombie was shocked at the very idea. “I’m a good Southerner, same as you. But what I am saying is that under the terms of this bill, the governors can control conscription. Well, what’s stopping them from saying quietly to the recruiting sergeants, ‘come up with some pretext, anything you like, so as not to let black folks sign up at your station?’” He ate the last piece of steak and wiped his mouth. “Delicious. Anyhow, I don’t hardly reckon black people are man enough to fight. Can’t trust ‘em.” (3) Everyone was finished with their supper. “Waiter!” Abercrombie snapped his fingers, and a black man in a tuxedo appeared within moments. “Peach crumble for me, and make it snappy, boy!”

“Yes, sir.” The waiter bowed obsequiously and retreated.

“And a brandy for me!”, Almon called after him. “Mr. Abercrombie, I daresay you’ve come up with something quite useful there.” Almon's eyes gleamed. “If we appease Mr. Hughes’ foolishness here, we can minimise the damage done while excluding those who are unworthy to fight.” The waiter reappeared with Abercrombie’s dessert and Almon's drink.

“So, then, we’re agreed?” Everyone nodded. “Jolly good!” Almon raised his brandy. “To freedom!”

“Freedom!” John Abercrombie drained his glass.

* * *

Now that the Democrats had opted to let the bill pass, there was little work to be done in the Senate. The Theodore Roosevelt Memorial Service Act passed the Senate and found itself on Hughes’ desk before dinner. The next day, the twelfth, he announced the new bill to the nation who responded with a surprising degree of patriotic fervour. Parades took place in the major cities as young men went to enlist before their notices came in the post, and many towns held sending-off parties for their sons. The South was far slower to enact conscription, with each state sending an average of 700 draftees throughout the first two months of the new law’s life, but elsewhere governors responded enthusiastically. By March 1918, marvelling at the fresh troops flooding the Veracruz perimeter, General Pershing was confident enough to boast that the war would be over by May.

However, events were to take an unexpected turn, and Carranza’s regime would fall without a single Yankee boot setting foot in Mexico City...


Comments?

  1. Well, that’s what he thinks. I, ahem, beg to differ.
  2. Imagine champagne being thought of as German ITTL.
  3. Again, Abercrombie is an Alabaman in 1917. His views on race don’t exactly align to those of your humble author.
 
Last edited:
Dear readers,
Update will be posted by the end of the day.
Once again, I feel that this one needs a little introduction. It features a narrative from the perspective of John Abercrombie, an Alabama congressman and RL figure. His views on racial matters are less than enlightened, and it's always him talking, not me. I certainly don't wish to offend anyone and if there's a line of dialogue which someone objects to, please don't hesitate to say so and I'll edit it.
Thanks very much,
Kaiser Wilhelm the Tenth
Always the fun little disclaimer to put out. But everyone should do it.
Really good update.

And don't worry - no-one here on this forum or any other is responsible for the views of our ancestors, even if we have to write about them.
That is the truth. Good update.
 
I'm impressed at this update. I think this Mexican war is incredibly foolhardy, and highlights all the faults of early 20th century American imperialism, but on the other hand, the people standing against conscription (excepting Rankin, of course) are the Southern segregationists. The vibe I am getting is like that satirical article about the worst person you know making a great point.
 
Always the fun little disclaimer to put out. But everyone should do it.

That is the truth. Good update.
Better safe than sorry.
Thanks very much, glad you liked it!
I'm impressed at this update. I think this Mexican war is incredibly foolhardy, and highlights all the faults of early 20th century American imperialism, but on the other hand, the people standing against conscription (excepting Rankin, of course) are the Southern segregationists. The vibe I am getting is like that satirical article about the worst person you know making a great point.
You phrased it better than I could have. Neither Hughes nor Cowboy Teddy really had moral right on their side, but this was sadly the practice of the era. The fact that the Southern Dems are vile racists doesn't mean they don't have a point.
 
Good chapter over all, but those racist assholes towards the end really soured it.

EDIT: Nothing against the author, it needs be said. In fact, he does well portraying the shameless racism of the Democrats at the time, which while adding a touch of realism just makes for uncomfortable reading.
 
Last edited:
The fact of the matter is that the Mexican government failed to stop a bandit who was killing Americans. The war wouldn't have started had the Mexicans successfully dealt with Villa themselves.

The fact that the anti-war lobby is full of racist southerners isn't going to make the cause look good to the more enlightened generations to come.

Hopefully, the war won't end before the Americans can get something out of the situation. Like a buffer state.
 
The fact of the matter is that the Mexican government failed to stop a bandit who was killing Americans. The war wouldn't have started had the Mexicans successfully dealt with Villa themselves.

The fact that the anti-war lobby is full of racist southerners isn't going to make the cause look good to the more enlightened generations to come.

Hopefully, the war won't end before the Americans can get something out of the situation. Like a buffer state.
I imagine future generations will criticise both sides pretty heavily. As to postwar Mexico... I have ideas, but I'm not quite sure where to take them
 
Hmm...With Russia and France, along other minors (*cough* SERBIA *cough) beign the probable agressors of a WW2 ITTL could we see a Britain allied, or at least not hostile, towards the Vaterland? If so, this german patriotic song english version is totally fitting:

Edit: note how the last line in some stanzas is : "Firm stands the guard along the GERMAN Rhine!"
 
Last edited:
There's something really funny about the US having this huge outpouring of patriotism and enlisting, only for the war to end just after they're all trained but before any fighting actually starts.
I wonder if there'll be effects from this, for lack of a better world, blueballing
 
Top