TL-191: Filling the Gaps

United States Army, 1884-1914

....By 1914, the United States Army numbered fifty divisions, organized into five field armies:

First Army, headquartered in Xenia, Ohio
Second Army, Urbana, Illinois
Third Army, Utica, New York

First Army, or "Custer's Men" was headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1914, and then moved to Cairo, Illinois, to oversee the invasion of western Kentucky at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. John Pershing's Second Army was to the east, probably in Indiana, as it invaded the C.S.A. at Louisville. Third Army was probably in Cincinnati as it invaded Kentucky in the east.
very interesting, I see almost everyone is serving in the military, I understand that is because of the Conscription Act but it would be interesting if you could get a fairly prominent soldier from OTL into a strictly civilian life. :D

Omar Bradley 1893-??

Growing up poor in Missouri, Bradley looked forward to his conscription, figuring that a career in the Army was his best hope. But his hopes were dashed in 1912, when a troop train derailment smashed his lower left leg, leaving him with a permanent disability. He was invalided out of the Army, and used his pension to attend the University of Missouri. The Great War interrupted his studies, and Bradley was allowed to re-enlist as a clerk, serving mostly in First Army headquarters. After the war, Bradley finished his studies and attended law school at Northwestern, though he left before graduating.

Bradley returned to Missouri to practice in Kansas City, and in 1924 Harry Truman, the Democratic judge of Jackson County, convinced him to run for district attorney, after the incumbent, a Pendergast machine politician like Truman, was found to have been taking kickbacks in return for generous plea-bargains. Bradley won in a close election, as Missouri was one of the few states to resist the Socialist tidal wave of the year. He was re-elected in 1928, despite the fact that Hosea Blackford took the state. He ran for Missouri Attorney General in 1930 and won as well, though halfway through his term he was appointed an occupation judge by Herbert Hoover and assigned to Guelph, Canada, and then Toronto. He was shot at only twice in six years, a good record for an occupation official.

Hoover was defeated by Al Smith in 1936, taking with him any chance of another federal appointment for Bradley. He returned home and was elected to another term as Missouri attorney general in 1938. When the Second Great War broke out, Missouri once again become a battlefield, as bushwhackers on both sides took aim at their enemies. Bradley led the charge to suppress pro-Confederate guerrillas, and won widespread acclaim for his efforts. He survived yet another assassination attempt, this time a car-bomb outside his Jefferson City office. He was easily re-elected in 1942. In 1944, he served as a prosecutor in the war-crimes tribunals, under Robert Jackson, acting as lead attorney in the trial of Saul Goldman and obtaining a conviction.

The Democrats returned to national power in 1944, and took Bradley with them. President Dewey, whose running mate had been Bradley's long-ago patron Harry Truman, appointed him Attorney General. And when Chief Justice Cicero Pittman died in 1947, Bradley was chosen to replace him, in what Dewey has called "the biggest damned mistake I ever made." Since joining the Court Bradley, the erstwhile law-and-order protector of border Missouri, has been far less conservative than anticipated. For example, the use of the federal writ of habeas corpus has been greatly expanded (though not in occupation territories). Ironically, the bloc of liberal Justices appointed by Socialist Presidents from 1921-1945 is now led by a Missouri Democrat.
Last edited:
Hoover, Herbert 1874-??

Hoover's Iowan parents died early in his life, and he spent most of his young adulthood being shuttled between various distant relatives - an upbringing that was responsible for the aloof, rigid bearing he would later present to the world. He was a member of the inaugural class of Stanford in 1895, graduating with a degree in geology. He went to work for a mining company in China, Ottoman Arabia, and German East Africa. His innovations in the field made him a wealthy man, and he became an independent businessman in 1910.

When the Great War began in 1914, Theodore Roosevelt made him Director-General of the United States Construction Corps, a uniformed service that acted in a noncombatant role. Although its ranks were constantly in flux thanks to wartime recissions of draft deferments, Hoover's tenure was a great success - the USCC not only continued in his peacetime capacity, but Hoover pushed for it to take on a humanitarian dimesnions, evacuating, feeding, and housing refugees from war zones.

Upon the signing of the armistice, the USCC became the primary agency responsible for reconstruction, and Hoover personally oversaw the efforts to rebuild Washington, D.C. His popularity was so great that Theodore Roosevelt sought to bring him on board as his running-mate in 1920. But Hoover, foreseeing a Socialist year, demurred, and Kansas City editor William Allen White was selected in his stead.

Hoover retired from the USCC in 1923, after Upton Sinclair told him that the office was his for as long as he wanted it. He returned to mining, overseeing a firm with interests in the Far West and writing a column for a newsmagazine published by another old China hand, Henry Luce's Facts. He ran for the 1924 Democratic nomination and was the prohibitive favorite, but he made the fatal mistake of relying on his grassroots popularity. With no base among the professional politicians, he stalled early in the balloting and then steadily dropped as enthusiasm waned; Governor James Cox of Ohio won the nomination, as a result of a so-called "smoky room" decision.

Dispirited by such cutthroat competition and bossism, Hoover vowed to leave electoral politics. In 1927 he offered his services in the wake of the Mississippi flood, but Confederate President Burton Mitchel turned him down. He also chaired a presidential commission which recommended tariff reform (subsequently rejected by Congress). He campaigned for Calvin Coolidge in 1928, to no avail, but when Coolidge was re-nominated for a rematch against the discredited Hosea Blackford, the governor of Massachusetts chose Hoover for his running mate. Assured that the nomination was his, Hoover accepted and the two went on to a landslide victory.

But Coolidge died of a heart attack in 1932, and Vice-President-elect Hoover was inaugurated in his stead. Despite having served as the head of a massive government agency, the erstwhile progressive Hoover retrenched once in office, rejecting the idea of expanding public works to lower unemployment (he reasoned that the USCC was a "fully-funded, purpose-built agency, not a slapdash boondoggle") Believing that Blackford had already gone too far in using the government to combat the Collapse, Hoover led efforts to balance the budget. When the economy continued to sputter, he could not comprehend that fiscal orthodoxy had failed to work its magic.

In foreign policy, he reached out to the Socialists by appointing Franklin Roosevelt Secretary of War, continued his predecessors' policies holding down Canada and Utah, and refused point-blank Jake Featherston's demand for the return of former Confederate territory. Saddled with a gridlocked Pacific War in which he saw no point, he eventually agreed to an armistice that restored that the staus quo ante bellum, though there was a sense of unifinished business on both sides. He also agreed to an expansion of the military budget in light of that conflict, albeit at a slow pace. But when Featherston asked to re-arm following a black uprising in 1935, Hoover acquiesced, inadvertently allowing Featherston to begin building his war machine.

Disillusioned with the "Great Engineer," the public turned Hoover out of office in favor of the Socialist Al Smith in 1936. He considered seeking re-nomination in 1936, but the growing grassroots tide for Senator Robert Taft overwhelmed his plans, and he endorsed the front-runner before the convention. Before leaving office, the supposedly bitter President served as a pallbearer for his predecessor, Hosea Blackford.

He retired to private life, and rarely spoke in public until the Second Great War. He denounced the Richmond Agreement, calling President Smith a "New York naif." During the war he served as on the executive committee industrial mobilization agency, which re-tooled and re-located factors for military purposes. He also served as head of the United States Military Railroads, and temporarily nationalized the industry, long a Socialist pipe-dream. He privately justified it by reasoning that they were in better shape in his hands than in Charles La Follette's.

With the war ended, Hoover declined a return to reconstruction work. He has retired to California, seemingly this time for good.
Last edited:
Confederate grand strategy, 1882-1914

It may seem strange that a country which had decisively defeated a larger nation in two wars should face a crisis over the direction of its foreign policy. But following the Second Mexican War, Southern policy-makers struggled over how to deal with the United States. British and, to a lesser extent, French support had been vital in 1881-1882, and strategists relied on further support as a bulwark against US aggression. But with the US officially joining the the Quadruple Alliance in 1890, the prospect of transatlantic assistances were now bleak.

Two schools of thought emerged. The first, championed by President Longstreet, was the so-called "Louisville" strategy of standing on the defensive and forcing the more numerous Yankees into attacking fortifications protected by artillery, repeating rifles, and later, machine guns. The US would be bled white and forced to sue for peace.

At the other extreme was the "Fire-eater" philosophy. Disdaining trenches as unmanning and cowardly, Fire-eaters favored the attack, believing that superior Confederate morale and fighting ability would overwhelm the Yankee hordes. Superior leadership would inevitable lead the Southern soldiers to victory. States Rights Gist was a notable proponent of this approach.

Both strategies had flaws. The Fire-eaters proved to be disastrously wrong about the ability of attacking infantry to defeat barbed wire and massed fire. But they did recognize the need for the Confederacy to tend to its own backyard and win its own victory. On the other hand, defensive warfare carried the advantage during the late 19th and early 20th century. But the Louisville strategy implicitly called for European intervention to break the deadlock if the Yankees did not lose their will. Neither of these two things came to pass in 1914-1917.

Unlike the German Schlieffen Plan, the the French Plan Plan XVII, and the Union's various color-coded war plans (Case Blue, calling for a weighted blow through Kentucky, was that which was used in 1914), the Confederates did not developed a coherent strategy until near the beginning of the war. Although this worked to their advantage somewhat (with no Confederate intentions to divine, US intelligence remained mystified almost right up until the first gunshots), the all-important matter of logistics necessitated a firm plan.

Upon taking office in 1910, President Wilson reviewed the War Department's scattershot planning and ordered a thorough review. In the next next three years, a tumultuous argument broke out in Confederate military circles between the Louisville side and the Fire-eaters. Wilson finally cut the Gordian knot in late 1912, following Theodore Roosevelt's election up north. He agreed with the practitioners of military science that defenders would have an easier time of it in a modern war. But he also recognized that Confederate morale would suffer if not allowed to go on the offensive, and that the US's greater resources permitted them the luxury of a war of attrition. And as a Virginian who'd grown up being regaled with stories of death and destruction from the War of Secession, he was loath to fight on his own soil.

In the end, he decided to emulate Lee's Pennsylvania campaign of 1862. The Army of Northern Virginia, augmented by a corps from the Army of Texas and two divisions of the Confederate Marine Corps, would assault northward into Maryland, executing a great wheel that would land a roundhouse punch on Philadelphia's cheek. The Army of Kentucky would stand on the defensive behind the Ohio River, while the Army of Texas would trade space for time on the deserts and plains of the West.

This grand plan fell only a few dozen miles short of a repeat of Lee's fabled triumph. Poor troop placement by Major General Frederick Funston (he'd expected to invade Virginia, and had detached a corps to the Roanoke Valley, where repeated assaults against Big Lick would fail) resulted in a route of the forces standing on the Potomac. The United States, forced steadily back by the invasion force, managed to stabilize a defensive line on the Susquehanna, one river short of Philadelphia. From there, the Army of Northern Virginia would execute one long fighting retreat back into its namesake.

Throughout the 1920s and 30s, historians and military officers have debated the wisdom of Wilson's plan. (A general consensus has been reached that the United States' Case White, which called for an invasion of Canada in strength, would have resulted in a quick defeat of that nation, freeing up resources for the war in the south. Case Red called for a massive invasion of Virginia, and presents a fascinating exercise for the student.) But all analyses invariably lead to one conclusion - the Confederate States was losing the war from November 1914 onwards - before the Red rebellion, and before the introduction of barrel warfare. This, despite white manpower utilization rates that easily exceeded those of the United States. (Of all belligerents, only Canada and Serbia exceeded the CSA in the proportion of adult men who fought.)

If the Confederacy couldn't win a boxing match in the early rounds, it would be wrestled to the ground. A more heavily-weighted blow in the East might have captured Philadelphia and won the war, but as it is the Confederates came close to stripping the cupboard bare to prepare for the offensive. There were simply no more white troops to go around.

Nearly a third of Confederate men in 1914 were Negroes. This vast reserve of potential soldiers law fallow until 1917, by which time the Confederate cause was lost. Even a few more Confederate divisions might have succeeded in winning the race to the Susquehanna. In the end, the Confederate strategy was defeated not only by US resistance and resources, but in the South's own refusal to live up to its potential.
Last edited:


Some very interesting updates. A couple of questions though.
1) How did the decision to invade Haiti enter into Confederate strategic planning? And would the Confederate Marine Corps even be available to take part in the drive on Philadelphia? I had rather assumed they were probably the force that conquered Haiti.

2) I was surprised the Pacific War did not get addressed at all in the Hoover entry. It is definitely one of the biggest gaps in all TL-191. Any chance of it getting it's own entry later on?

And excellent job on Josephus Daniels.
1. That should have read "augmented by two divisions of the Confederate Marine Corps." I made a lot of typos last night.

2. This was just an oversight. I'll correct it now.
Confederate States Marine Corps

Like its US counterpart, the CSMC was a small outfit during the War of Secession, serving in the traditional role aboard ships of the Confederate Navy. It continued as a military backwater into the 1890s until, following the US lead, it evolved into an elite ground-fighting force, albeit one that retained an emphasis on maritime and riverine operations.

By 1914, it had grown to three divisions, compared to ten for its US counterpart.

1st CS Marines, Miami, Florida
2nd CS Marines, Galveston, Texas
3rd CS Marines, Wilmington, North Carolina

In contrast to the Army, each Marine divisions had a well-planned primary mission. 1st Marines trained for an invasion of Haiti, long a Confederate goal. 2nd Marines was tasked with possible intervention in the Empire of Mexico, in case of internal disturbances. And the 3rd was ready for operations elsewhere in the Caribbean, such as the British Bahamas, Spanish Puerto Rico, or Nicaragua.

But the Army of Northern Virginia's offensive required a heavy blow, and to that end two Marine divisions, in addition to a corps from the Army of Texas, were transferred to that front in July 1914. They participated in the rapid advance into Pennsylvania, and were driven back with the Army beginning in the spring of 1915. Only the 1st ever got to official carry out its mission, conquering Haiti and driving its government into exile in Philadelphia. (An insurgency continued throughout the war, requiring a reserve Marine division to be posted there.) The Marines withdrew from Haiti in 1917, bitter over losing through no fault of their own.

When the ban on Confederate militarization was lifted in 1935, the Marines were permitted to expand from the skeleton force it had been reduced to, but with the increasing prominence of Freedom Party Guards and elite Army units, the Marines found themselves on the short end of the stick. It was once again held to only three divisions in 1941, and no more were raised. The Confederate States Marine Corps was dissolved along with the other armed forces in July 1944.
Last edited:
Soldier's Circle

A veterans' organization founded in 1897 following the Nicaragua crisis, when patriotic, aggressive feelings were at their height in the US. It was composed of conscripts who had served out their enlistment, organized by induction class and state. These states were then grouped into "districts" (New England, Eastern, Middle, Western, and Pacific) under "Generals." Its first Commander was Major General John Schofield, ret.

(The organization had no Confederate counterpart until the 1918 founding of the Tin Hats by Amos Mizell. Confederate men looking for another cause to join generally enlisted in state militias, which were more extensive than the National Guard system in the United States.)

Composed almost entirely of white Protestant men, the Circle became a virtual auxiliary of the Democratic party - attending rallies, protesting Socialists, acting as strikebreakers. They were a fixture at Remembrance Day parades, and were well known for street-fighting during May Day events. It did have a softer side, however, promoting athletics and academics among young boys and running an unemployment relief program for members (funds were quickly exhausted during the Collapse, however).

Following the Great War, however, its influence steadily declined as its members were called up to service, and men from the draft classes of 1914-1917 proved conspicuously uninterested in joining. By Remembrance Day, 1941, nary a Soldier's Circle ring was to be seen at the New York City Remembrance Day Parade, an enormous shift from thirty years before. It has been largely replaced by the Veterans' Association, a more inclusive, less political organization.

In the 1950s, a popular "spec-fi" writer penned a novel positing that if the United States had lost the Great War, the Soldier's Circle would have seized power and taken vengeance a la the Freedom Party.

Presidents Roosevelt, Dewey, and Hoover, as well as Calvin Coolidge, Harry Truman, and Robert Taft, were Soldier's Circle members. Dewey is the only man in this list to be have also joined the VA.
Lansky, Meyer 1902-1947

Born in the Russian Empire, Meyer's family emigrated to New York City early in his childhood to escape the pogroms. Along with a few young associates, he formed a neighborhood gang which extorted "protection" money from local businesses, legitimate and otherwise. During this time he gained a scar on his left cheek, courtesy of a Soldier's Circle ring in 1916.

The war ended before Lansky was conscripted in 1920. He was assigned as a truck driver in Kentucky, and made extensive contacts among Confederate diehards, black Reds, and American occupation soldiers. When he was discharged in 1922, Meyer had a ready-made supply network of corrupt suppliers which he used to clandestinely ship arms to the Kentuckian undergrounds.

By the time of the collapse, Lansky's operations had extended into Canada, and he was now a member in good standing of the criminal underworld's national commission, having added gambling to his interests. Following Confederate re-armanent in the mid-1930s, rebels in the unredeemed territories suddenly had a much larger supply of illicit weapons, and Lansky found himself cut off. He expanded into other areas, but the underworld itself was now hounded by Manhattan District Attorney Thomas Dewey.

In exchange for the federal government pulling its support of Dewey's efforts, Lansky offered in 1940 to share his intelligence on his Confederate contacts. This cooperation, as well as similar efforts (such as the mob-influenced New York dock unions' efforts to protect the Navy and merchant fleet from spies and saboteurs) resulted in Dewey's prosecutions fizzling. (Dewey was never informed of the deals before becoming President in 1945, following his 1942 election as New York Governor.)

But when the war ended, Lansk promptly tried to resume running guns into the old Confederacy. He ran into two problems, however - a huge surplus of automatic small arms in Southern states, as well as the fact that his old network had been wiped out by the war and the Destruction. Lansky was cornered by Army agents posing as neo-Freedomites in an operation specially ordered by President Dewey. He was put before a military tribunal, safe from mob influence. Lansky was tried, convicted, and executed in early 1947.
Last edited:


I just want to say that ,like David's thread ,this thread is great and long overdue.Olease keep it coming!
United States National Guard

As the United States transitioned from a force of state-raised volunteer regiments to a large standing army in the 1890s, the militias of the Northern states were reorganized into state National Guard formations, which were required to conform to US Army standards. (Differing uniforms, flags, and even equipment among various state regiments had caused endless difficulty in the War of Secession and Second Mexican War.) Because veterans were members of the Reserve until the age of thirty, there was less need of extensive state militia, however, and the National Guard system was a rather small pillar in the system of national defense.

By law, National Guard members could not be active-duty or reserve military personnel (which generally meant that they were over the age of thirty or stamped unfit for service). Like the Confederate militia and unlike most standing armies, it was organized by brigade, not by the division. Although all units were subject to federalization without their state's consent, in practice National Guard units served in rear areas in both wars, leaving frontline combat to the regular and reserve forces. During the 1920s and 30s, with the Army stretched by occupation duty and budget cuts, the National Guard took on more roles within the United States, such as guarding sensitive areas, as well as retaining their traditional roles of riot control and disaster response.

During the second Canadian uprising, with the Army occupied with the Confederates in Virginia and Ohio, the entire National Guard was federalized and many brigades sent north when the Republic of Quebec's army proved insufficient to quell the rebellion. National Guard units, which few machine-guns, barrels, or cannons, did little more than hold the line until better-trained, better-equipped forces were brought in to recapture lost ground.

In 1914, the Utah National Guard provided the backbone of the Nation of Deseret's military forces, as well as most of its equipment (though Mormon armorers were able to produce a surprising amount of weaponry). When Al Smith normalized the state in 1937, its National Guard was not permitted automatic weapons, barrels, explosives, or artillery, in contrast to other state units. The Mormons managed to rebel once again in 1941, however, with the aid of surplus military equipment from the interwar period which had been acquired clandestinely.
British Expeditionary Force, Canada

As the United States militarized in the 1890s, the Canadians, greatly outnumbered by their southern neighbors, were forced to do likewise. Great Britain, alone of all the major powers, resisted introducing conscription before the Great War. But its volunteer Royal Army, with its emphasis on rapid and accurate marksmanship, was widely considered one of the best ground forces in the world, and successive Liberal and Conservative governments pledged to send it to Europe and North America if fighting broke out.

The British Expeditionary Force, numbered ten divisions in 1914. The BEF Europe remained at home, awaiting French invitation onto continental soil, but the Canadians had no such qualms; from the early 1900s, the three British divisions of the BEFC, under Lieutenant-General Sir James Grierson, were stationed in Canada. (Canadian national pride did insist, however, that overall direction come from their military, which the British accepted.)

Both the Canadians and the BEFC acquitted themselves well during the invasion of 1914. The cavalry of Sir Edmund Allenby was particularly vital in the plains of the Manitoba, where, in one of the few significant cavalry actions of the war, it turned the flanks of a US force and halted the drive on Winnipeg. After the 1st US Marines failed to take the port of Halifax, a fourth division landed to reinforce their comrades, but they would be the last; US submersibles and surface ships made such crossings far too dangerous once the Battle of the North Atlantic got underway, and in any case the new British conscript army was tied down in France and Belgium.

Without reinforcements, the BEFC was rapidly worn down, to the point where its officers began accepting Canadian volunteers to bolster their perilously thin ranks. These troops were among the last standing, as Great Britain was the final Entente power to accept an armistice, in
August 1917. The men of the BEFC were repatriated to the United Kingdom, and the departure of Allenby (who had replaced the late Grierson after the latter died on pneumonia in the winter of 1915), who defiantly declared "We shall return," has gone down as one of the most poignant scenes in the long history of the British Empire.
Confederate Army, prewar period

Although the United States modernized and organized its army along German lines in the 1890s, the Confederates, predictably, declined to go along with their northern cousins. Besides adopting the General Staff system (the French model), the Confederate Army structure remained much like it was in the 1880s. The Regular Army was a skeleton force, consisting mostly of officers serving at the divisional level and above. Unlike the division-based US Army, the body of the force consisted of state-raised brigades that were nominally grouped into Regular Army divisions, but were de facto independent units in peacetime.

The US Army threw men from every corner of the country into the same company, but Confederate brigades and smaller units came entirely from single states. For example, the First Richmond Howitzers was an artillery battery stationed in Arlington, Virginia. It was a component of the 1st Virginia, which, in turn had as its parent unit the 1st Division, First Corps, Army of Northern Virginia. First Corps was composed of Virginia, North Carolina, Georgia, and Cuba brigades, and the ANV included units from states up and down the Eastern seaboard. The Army of Kentucky was mostly formed by those states between the Mississippi and the Atlantic, while the Army of Texas was composed of men of the West.

Confederate conscription was conducted by states, and coordinated by the Confederate Conscription Bureau. Like in the US, men served for two years in the Army or Navy, or three in the Marines. Unlike in the US, men who were done with their hitch did not go into the reserves (though the Confederate government reserved the right to raise the conscription age or revoke deferments). But the militia system was strong in the Confederacy, and enough men joined their state units to obviate the need for a formal reserve.

(The exception was the State of Sequoyah, the domain of the Five Civilized Tribes, which did not maintain a militia. Instead, each Indian nation maintained its own militia. Sequoyah did raise an Army brigade, however, just like every other Confederate state.)

This system broke down quickly under the stress of the Great War. The regular army expanded quickly, and in its ranks soldiers from different states mixed together and were sent to different fronts. After a year of fighting, the original Army had all but disappeared, and the new "mongrel" force (as old-line officers called it) had replaced it. For example, Jefferson Pinkard of Alabama would have served in the Army of Kentucky in peacetime, but was sent to Texas upon his conscription in 1916.
Last edited:
These brief bios are pretty neat.

For a suggestion on a future one; how about one on General Custer?
First Army, or "Custer's Men" was headquartered in St. Louis, Missouri, in 1914, and then moved to Cairo, Illinois, to oversee the invasion of western Kentucky at the confluence of the Ohio and Tennessee rivers. John Pershing's Second Army was to the east, probably in Indiana, as it invaded the C.S.A. at Louisville. Third Army was probably in Cincinnati as it invaded Kentucky in the east.

I've renumbered and re-located the armies accordingly, adding a sixth in order to produce some semblance of sanity to the US's strategic plans. I avoided using cities too close to the border, as it seems a bad idea to locate army HQ so close to the front.

These brief bios are pretty neat.

For a suggestion on a future one; how about one on General Custer?

I originally wanted to avoid him, since we have so much information on Custer (and TR) already. But that thirty-year gap is pretty enticing, so I'll start thinking about both men. Information about TR is already sprinkled throughout.

I was wondering about von Lettow-Vorbeck, Gandhi, Mussolini, John Muir, Charlie Chaplin, the Red Baron, Charles Lindbergh, Amelia Earhart, Orson Wells, William Lyon Mackenzie King, John Diefenbaker, Francisco Franco, Lester Pearson, and Lyndon Johnson.

Long list, I know. hopefully that gives you a lot of people to work on.

LBJ, Diefenbaker and Pearson I might skip, since so much of their adult careers is postwar, which seems more suited to another thread. The rest are interesting suggestions, though. I especially like the Chaplin and Mir suggestions, as non-government/military bios are lacking so far.
There's been brief mention of the Red Baron, if you haven't already seen it.
United States Navy, prewar period

Despite the growing success of the US Navy in blockading the Confederate coast, events on land conspired to rob it of glory. Following the armistice of November 1862, Royal Navy warships (with a token French presence, that country being preoccupied with its Mexican designs) arrived to ensure that the blockade was lifted, and the small Union fleet grudgingly returned to port.

Successive doughface Administrations were no more generous to the Navy than those before the war. Although the US had pioneered the use of ironclad ships, European navies soon leapfrogged it, and when Britain and France re-joined the CSA in the Second Mexican War, the Navy was helpless to protect the continent against the larger, more modern squadrons.

Alfred Thayer Mahan had served on the Congress in the Second Mexican War as a young lieutenant, and had spent the 1870s in various shore installations, burning with resentment at what he saw as the insanely reckless policy of a small Navy. His series of lectures at the Naval Academy on the use of sea power during the Napoleonic Wars earned him wide acclaim, and he began writing a book o the subject.

For him, the Second Mexican War was thee last straw. Serving as skipper of the Charles Ellsworth, he watched in rage as the superior armor and gunnery of the Royal Navy wrecked a flotilla sent to intercept British troops moving to Canada.

Mahan, as a respected theorist, became Assistant (later full) Secretary of the Navy under President Reed, and he became a forceful advocate of a modern, two-ocean navy. When the Democratic convention of 1896 deadlocked, party boss handed the nomination to Mahan, who was uninterested in partisan politics, but now had the power to put his ideas fully into practice. During his eight years in office, a modern two-ocean navy was built, consisting of the North Atlantic, South Atlantic, North Pacific, South Pacific, and Great Lakes Squadrons, with riverine operations becoming the Army's province. (As befitting US strategic interests, the Atlantic Fleet received the bulk of funding.)

Thanks to Mahan's views, the US was not far behind when the Royal Navy put the Dreadnought to sea, and the first ship of the US's competing New York class was commissioned the next year. Mahan had his limits, however. His love of the surface navy caused him to underestimate the submersibles which would cause such havoc in both Great Wars. In 1914, the US's submarine fleet was nearly the same size as Confederacy's, and somewhat inferior in design. This was in contrast to Germany, who recognized the numerical superiority of the Royal Navy's surface ships and thus led the world in the production of submersibles. But the war did much to break hidebound tradition, and in 1917 Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels approved the far-sighted USS Remembrance airplane carrier, restoring the US's reputation as a naval innovator.
Paul von Lettow-Vorbeck, 1870-??

One of the many Junker officers to go into battle in the Great War questing for glory, Lettow-Vorbeck had the misfortune (one would think) of being posted to German East Africa when the fighting began. Commanding a small force of German regulars and a few thousand askari colonial troops, he won two early conventional victories over the much larger British forces in the area before realizing that he could not possibly sustain losses at such a rate.

Thereafter Lettow-Vorbeck sought to avoid a confrontation with the British, and led his troops on one of the most remarkable guerrilla campaigns the world has ever seen. Determined to tie down troops who would otherwise be sent to the Western Front, he attacked forts, railways, crossroads, depots - always melting away at the first sign of the British arriving in force. With the High Seas Fleet bottled up by the Royal Navy, chances of resupply and reinforcement were slim, and he came to rely more and more upon his askaris, treating them as men and promoting black officers. While colonial troops of all nations, poorly clothed and equipped and usually mistreated by white officers, had high desertion rates, Lettow-Vorbeck commanded the most loyal force outside of the Western world.

South African General Jan Smuts was sent to destroy Lettow-Vorbeck in 1916, and for over a year the two armies shadowed each other throughout East Africa. Frustrated by his failure to pin down the enemy, and bombarded with telegrams from the South African government and the British Colonial office, Smuts' caution began to give way. With news of the Russian collapse and the French mutinies arriving in 1917, Smuts finally moved against Lettow-vorbeck at Morogoro. The battle was a tactical stalemate and both withdrew, though Smuts suffered heavier losses. News of the British armistice arrived before fighting could resume.

Berlin promoted Lettow-Vorbeck to Major General. Kaiser Wilhelm himself is reported to said that the German commander could have anything he want, to which Lettow-Vorbeck allegedly scrawled a single word on the telegram: "Rations." Forced to live off the land, his troops had stripped East Africa nearly clean, as had the British, and the colony was nearly starving. The British consented to allow shipping through the Suez Canal, and following the defeat of the Arab rebellion, the Ottomans began supplying the colony as well. But the colonial fighting in both wars has wrenched the continent, with effects that are yet to be seen.

Upon his return to Berlin in 1918, Lettow-Vorbeck was honored as a hero, given a parade through the Brandenburg Gate. (The American Clark Gable would later win an Academy Award for his portrayal of the German general in the film Safari.) He rose through a series of staff and field assignments, including as military governor of occupied Belgium. (Displaying the same instincts to ingratiate himself with the locals that served him so well in Africa, he would learn conversational French and Flemish during his tenure.) Lettow-Vorbeck retired at the rank Colonel General in 1935, at the age of 65. He toured German East Africa the next year. Hundreds of former askari troops are reported to have worn their tattered uniforms during his visit.

During the Second Great War, many retired officers were re-activated following the German reverses of 1941. Lettow-Vorbeck was recalled to duty and sent to the Ukraine, where Austro-German forces had been driven out of Kiev. Over seventy years of age (Lettow-Vorbeck was one of the oldest field generals in the Great Wars, second only to the American George Custer), he nevertheless assembled a force of Germans, Austrians, and loyal Ukrainians which harried the larger Russian army with flank attacks, goading it into costly frontal assaults. As the Ukraine dissolved into chaos, Lettow-Vorbeck stabilized his front and was sent north, where he checked a Russian advance on Warsaw at the Battle of Wegrow.

As Germany gathered its strength, its barrel columns began to force the larger but poorly-equipped Russian Army back into the Motherland. Lettow-Vorbeck's forces drove through the Baltic coast northeast to Petrograd, but they were halted at Minsk by the onset of winter. Lettow-Vorbeck planned a spring campaign, but was unaccountable rebuffed by the General Staff.

He soon learned why. Petrograd was destroyed by the world's first superbomb attack that May, and Russia surrendered shortly after. Lettow-Vorbeck's invading army became an occupation force, and he oversaw the independence of the Baltic republics. He retired following the Confederate surrender in August 1944, at the rank of Marshal.

Lettow-Vorbeck, along with Manstein, Guderian, Todt, and Canaris, has gone down as one of the German giants of the Second Great War, and one of the few men to become a hero in both Great Wars. He lives in Bremen.
Last edited:


How about some "social " items ie Titanic,the Southern Baptist convention, Booker T Washington,WEB Bubois,Marcus Garvey,Martin L King,movies,music,food,holidays etc
Spanish Civil War, 1936-1939

While Spain's 1901 defeat to Japan may have been a shock(the first defeat of a European country by a non-Western nation), it's more realistic to see the war as one more fall in the country's long, slow decline from its 17th century peak. Spain was shorn of its Pacific possessions, Guam and the Philippines, to go along with the loss of Cuba in a fire sale to the CSA in 1877, and the independence of South America a few generations before that Socialism gained a foothold in the face of a weak monarch and an overbearing aristocracy and Church, but anarchism also gained converts, especially in Catalonia. Repeated rebellions erupted in Morocco, one of its few remaining colonies and one such uprising in 1910 resulted in the death of Miguel Primo de Rivera, a charismatic general of great potential. Spain slowly withdrew into its shell, and did not join either side in the Great War, instead acting as a third-party in prisoner exchanges and the like.

The defeat of the Spanish Army of Africa in the Battle of Annual, to a band of Rif tribal warriors, finally spurred that sleeping giant into action. A military uprising began in 1925, aimed at overthrowing the civilian government and replacing it with a military dictatorship under King Alfonso XIII. But obstacles arose almost immediately. Without a single figure to lead it, the members of the would-be junta squabbled amongst themselves and jockeyed fro power they hadn't yet seized. Many unions members in the socialist UGT and especially the anarchist CNT showed a willingness to fight that few in the army had expected. And with success in doubt, many influential figures, including General Francisco Franco and the king himself, refused to give it their outright support. When the metropolitan army failed to secure Madrid and the crucial southern port of Cadiz in the face of opposition from the unions, Alfonso condemned the coup and it quickly collapsed.

From this fateful decision, the left wing of Spanish politics, generally republican and anti-clerical, slowly began to draw closely to the throne. The 1931 elections, with Spain in economic chaos like the rest of the world, gave the left-wing coalition won a majority of the Cortes-General, and Alfonso appointed as Prime Minister Niceto Alcala-Zamora of the left monarchists, with socialists and republicans in many cabinet positions.

Spain slowly began to pull itself out of the Collapse, and the left-wing government proved better able to help the working class and head off labor trouble than that of the conservatives. But the Church, the landed aristocrats, and the military all chafed under the socialist yoke along with smaller groups like the Falangists, a far-right party which took the Freedom Party as its model. When the left-wing government was re-elected in 1936, a second, much broader uprising began.

Although the Nationalists, as the conservative rebels came to be called, were able to seize the Balearics, the Canaries, Morocco, and Puerto Rico almost immediately, mainland Spain became a battleground. Madrid and Barcelona proved especially tough nuts to crack, even after the Army of Africa, under Emilio Mola, was transported to Andalusia in a daring airlift. Catalonia became a virtual state unto itself under the labor union CNT, as the anarchists would fight the Nationalists but not ally themselves with the king. General Francisco Franco, who, along with Jose Primo de Rivera and Mola was one of the three heads of the rebellion, died in a plane crash off the coast of Portugal as he was being transported from his post in faraway Puerto Rico. Primo de Rivera, the son of a martyred General, became the de facto Nationalist head of government.

Germany, despite having no strong formal ties with Spain, immediately announced its support of the Kingdom of Spain, as did the United States and most other nations. But Britain and France threw in their lot with the Nationalists, partly for ideologically reasons (although both were monarchies themselves) and partly to stick Germany in the eye. Sharing a long border with Spain, France was easily able to ship arms to the rebels, and the French air force under Roland Garros repeatedly bombed the Carlists and anarchists in Navarre and Catalonia. Germany's support was not only more tepid (it too was wracked by the Collapse and distracted by occupation and strife in Eastern Europe, while the ongoing illness of Kaiser Wilhelm II slowed decision-making in foreign-policy to a crawl), but German men and materiel had travel by sea to a friendly seaport, which became few and far between as the Nationalists took more ground.

Like the Mexican Civil War in North America, the Spanish Civil War became a cause celebre, and thousands of European volunteers fought for both sides, such as the British Wellington Legion and the German Königs Brigade.

Under General Sanjuro, one of the few high-ranking officers to remain loyal to the king, the disparate Monarchists fought a defensive war under the weight of Entente metal. The refusal of the anarchists in Barcelona to join forces badly splintered the anti-Nationalist coalition and may have doomed the monarchist cause to defeat. The Basque country fell in 1937, followed by Navarre in 1938. Alfonso evacuated Madrid in March 1939, and the city fell shortly after. The king abdicated and fled to Italy, and the anarchists were crushed in May. Granada, with its symbolic significance, finally fell in June, and the Nationalist victory was complete.

Millions perished in the war and in the purges that followed. The Spanish Civil War was an unprecedentedly bitter, brutal conflict, waged with all the destructive power that modern military science could muster- a harbinger of what was to come two years later.