Plausibility check: is there actually any scenario in which the US would fight alongside the Central Powers?

What is the plausibility of the US joining the Central Powers and fighting against the Entente?

  • Not as implausible as many believe

    Votes: 34 25.6%
  • Very unlikely

    Votes: 70 52.6%
  • Borderline ASB

    Votes: 23 17.3%
  • No less likely than them joining the Entente

    Votes: 6 4.5%

  • Total voters
    133
The US had little enough to fight over with Imperial Germany. Aside from my Great Grandfather being a Swabian draft dodger from the Franco Prussian War. It was rather inept German diplomacy and British skill that brought the US in. Really the default scenario is US neutrality. To gert the US in as a Central Powers ally, its necessary to reverse the diplomatic situation. The Brits and French blundering at every step & the Kaisers Foreign Office blandishing with skill & finesse.
a good way to improve those odds is Kaiser Wilhelm keeping Bismarck around as long as possible.
 
Slightly pre-1900, but I wonder if something could go VERY wrong with the Spanish American War that introduces deep animosity in the US towards the British?
 
The Right Honourable Charles Craig said:
We are bound to Japan by a defensive and offensive alliance, and to use the words of the Prime Minister, it is not a contingency which can reasonably enter into the calculations of Statesmen that we should go to war with a Power which is hound to us by a solemn Treaty. In the same way with the United States of America, they have always maintained that it is beyond the bounds of probability, and they even go so far as to say that it is even beyond the bounds of probability that this country should ever be at war with the United States of America, and that on those grounds it would be manifestly absurd that we should take that Fewer into consideration in calculating our two-Power standard.

I also agree with them to a certain extent, in fact I go long way with them in the matter of the improbability of our ever being at war with the United States, but I do not go as far as they appear to go in stating that such a war is impossible.

I recently posted a thread on the two power naval standard. In advance of posting I was reading a debate on the standard from 1909 and I felt that posters here would be interested in the view in Britain in 1909 of an Anglo American war by quoting an MP discussing the possibility of a war with USA.
 
The US absolutely had not dealt with anything like occupying a country the size of Canada directly on the US border with an active (and presumably well armed) insurgency. These aren’t Moros with machetes and muskets that can be isolated by the US Navy.
I was talking about occupying the Confederacy.
 
Fall of Paris in 1914 would likely mean the UK starts looking for an out as well, and start floating ideas for a SQAB peace in the west with perhaps a few minor concessions. If Germany agreed to withdraw from Belgium, enthusiasm for continuing a war solely for the benefit of Russia and Serbia wouldn't exactly be stellar. I doubt if the US would have any reason (or really any time) to enter the fray...
Ah, but the Germans will never accept a peace in which there remains a balance of power on the european continent (or even the posibility of one returning). They wanted to put an end to France as an Military/Industrial Great Power and ensure that any future European war could never happen because Germany would be too overwhelmingly likley to win.

Balance of Power on the Continent had been the basis of British foreign policy for 500 years and I doubt they would give it up so easily. Not when they held all the naval cards and had the ability to slowly starve Germany.

Now, the US can change this situation, and demand a lot from Germany in the final settlement for decisive help making Britain back out.
 
The only way to drag the Americans into WWI on the side of the Central Powers is for the British to fuck up monumentally. Have a captain manning the blockade decide to fire on an American vessel headed toward a neutral country, where politics prevents the British from simply throwing them under the bus - maybe the captain in question is very well connected politically, maybe it's just so brazen and damaging that the only concession the American public would accept is to drop the blockade entirely, it's going to be difficult.

We might also need different American politics, like Hearst being somewhere in Washington, well placed to stoke the flames.
 
actually, that would be impossible. US Speaker of the house made a speech basically talking about how it would be a step closer to Annexing Canada, and this stirred up Canadian nationalism and Anti-Americanism. He said, and I quote- "I look forward to the time when the American flag will fly over every square foot of British North America up to the North Pole. The people of Canada are of our blood and language." Clark then goes on to suggest in his speech that reciprocity agreement was the first step towards the end of Canada, a speech that was supposedly greeted with a "prolonged applause"
I'm going with that comment not being made and Canada not having an early election allowing both the US and Canada to pass the legislation.
 
The POD would have to be in the 1890s at the latest, but I don't see any reason you couldn't have a POD in the 1890s harm Anglo-American relations enough to eventually lead to war while still keeping a recognizable form of the WW1.

If on the other hand the POD is during the war itself ... Well, Britain could anger America enough to lead to an Entente defeat but it would be because of America cutting off the flow of cash and supplies, not joining the war on the side of the Central Powers.
 
I have a vague memory of Britain thinking about invading Mexico to secure the Tampico oilfields in the event that Mexico's revolution gets too out of hand, apparently like 80% of the RNs (not Britain's) oil came from Mexico.

If launched clumsily and unilaterally this might cause the US to fight Britain in Mexico, not exactly joining the CP but maybe a first step.
 
Theres nothing in the Carribean the US would want and Canada would mean suddenly having to deal with a massive insurgency by a population of millions who hate you.
And nationalists are known for never doing anything irrational. /sarcasm
On a more serious note you need an earlier POD, but if your POD is in the 1890s then British colonies in the Americas provide the most likely flash point.

Slightly pre-1900, but I wonder if something could go VERY wrong with the Spanish American War that introduces deep animosity in the US towards the British?
The only thing I can think of for Anglo-American ties during the Spanish-American War would be not letting the US Navy use Hong Kong as a base of operations. That wouldn't alienate the Americans but it would be a big missed opportunity to build ties. Also perhaps Germany could alienate the US less during the Spanish-American War by at the very least not partitioning the Marianas. If you go to before the Spanish-American War, the 1895 Venezuela crisis presents a good opportunity for the Brits to seriously piss off the Americans.
 
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I think an underrated driver of this decision, debateably more so than cultural ties, would be financial ties. IOTL American finance skewed heavily towards the Entente and continued access to American lines of credit was one of the big reasons the British and French put so high a priority on maintaining cordial relationships with the US.

To be honest I'm not sure what kind of POD would cause US financial weight to be thrown behind Germany rather than Britain and France, but given that most of that came from Wall Street and not from the actual government one could argue that all it really takes is Germany doing better in the opening months of the war. That said, given the enthusiasm of JP Morgan jr. for the Entente cause (from Wikipedia: "The firm's involvement with British and French interests fueled charges the bank was conspiring to maneuver the United States into supporting the Allies in order to rescue its loans") you'd probably have to have some pre-1900 POD to get anything other than a group of rabidly pro-British WASPs in charge of America's banking infrastructure.
 
A possible late PoD would be the Germans winning the Race to the Sea and holding the Channel Coast down to the Somme mouth. This would make blockade running possible, although difficult, and extremely profitable as the distance between German held Boulogne Sur Mer and the 'narrows' of Portland Bill - Cherbourg and beyond could be transited in a single night at reasonable speed.

Doubtless there would be Americans who tied this and when they are interfered with by the British they would be annoyed. Annoy the US enough and it will go to war.
 
I think an underrated driver of this decision, debateably more so than cultural ties, would be financial ties. IOTL American finance skewed heavily towards the Entente and continued access to American lines of credit was one of the big reasons the British and French put so high a priority on maintaining cordial relationships with the US.

To be honest I'm not sure what kind of POD would cause US financial weight to be thrown behind Germany rather than Britain and France, but given that most of that came from Wall Street and not from the actual government one could argue that all it really takes is Germany doing better in the opening months of the war. That said, given the enthusiasm of JP Morgan jr. for the Entente cause (from Wikipedia: "The firm's involvement with British and French interests fueled charges the bank was conspiring to maneuver the United States into supporting the Allies in order to rescue its loans") you'd probably have to have some pre-1900 POD to get anything other than a group of rabidly pro-British WASPs in charge of America's banking infrastructure.
Before the war, the USA had more trade with Germany than with France, but American-British trade eclipsed that. Germany was a major source of dyes for the American textile industry. As for pro-British WASPs, I don't know about JP Morgan specifically, but many of them (for example Henry Cabot Lodge) were incensed by British policy over the disputed boundary with Venezuela, until the Brits agreed to arbitration in 1895. That's why I suggested a POD in the 1890s.
 
Before the war, the USA had more trade with Germany than with France, but American-British trade eclipsed that. Germany was a major source of dyes for the American textile industry. As for pro-British WASPs, I don't know about JP Morgan specifically, but many of them (for example Henry Cabot Lodge) were incensed by British policy over the disputed boundary with Venezuela, until the Brits agreed to arbitration in 1895. That's why I suggested a POD in the 1890s.

I think the 1890s is a plausible divergence as it gives about a generation for different attitudes to set in. I do think more than trade is required (see British attitudes towards the Confederacy). There's a difference between industries buying components or raw materials from the most efficient source across a decentralized market vs. a powerful and politically connected financial sector being intimately invested, both literally and figuratively, in a specific outcome.
 
You'd probably need to take out Kaiser Wilhelm II before the war and have his son take over, who then delegates his power to the Reichstag and Imperial Army. By 1914 you would have the same Triple Entente/Central Powers line-up, but the German government would be much better at running a propaganda campaign in the states to sway opinion against Britain and the Entente as a whole. I specify Britain because they could play an "original enemy" mantra with them, going back all the way to 1776.
 
There was no serious Confederate insurgency.
Not after formal surrender. Before that however, when most of the confederacy was occupied...

And who is to say there would have been a major Canadian insurgency? If Britain loses hard enough it would look kinda hopeless. The Confederacy had a much larger population than Canada (certainly relative to the US population and ability to mobilise men).
 
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