USA doesn't join WW1 but Germany still loses?

The Bolsheviks are pretty much at the mercy of the CPs: if they reject the treaty any further, the CPs would have pretty much marched into Petrograd and Moscow, given the state of the Russian Army at this point during the war.
Like I said, the Bolsheviks would've lost power starving the cities while plundering the countryside to feed Germany; no one would've listened and congrats Germany now needs 2-3 million men it couldn't spare to occupy Russia. The Bolsheviks came into power because there wasn't food in the cities, you can't just magic up food that they didn't have for the Germans and no Russian wanted to starve to feed them.

And this is the exactly same attitude IOTL for OHL; "know your beaten, or else I'll kick you harder and do the grain plundering myself".
 
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Capbeetle61

Banned
Like I said, the Bolsheviks would've lost power starving the cities while plundering the countryside to feed Germany; no one would've listened and congrats Germany now needs 2-3 million men it couldn't spare to occupy Russia
Extremely unlikely that they would have occupied Russia: they would more likely have installed Krasnov and Milyukov as the heads of Russia.
An old post of mine:
***
How about them supporting neither the Bolsheviks nor the pro-Allied majority of the Whites but setting up a puppet government of their own like Skoropadski's in Ukraine? Krasnov would be an obvious figurehead...

(In OTL, even when the Kaiser rejected the idea of military intervention against the Bolsheviks in the summer of 1918, he significantly added the words "without foreclosing future opportunities." https://books.google.com/books?id=5mSkxsos488C&pg=PA184 A German victory in the West might provide such an opportunity, given that the Germans were well aware that the Bolsheviks still wanted a revolution in Germany.)

The Bolsheviks might be the lesser evil compared with strongly anti-German moderate socialists and Kadets (some Kadets, like Milyukov were willing to reconsider their hostility to Germany but they wanted a serious revision of Brest-Litovsk). But was that really the only choice open to the Germans if they won in the West? I know it's been objected that the German people would be in no mood for a new war, but the Red Army was in its infancy, and replacing the Bolsheviks with a puppet government would not take a huge military effort...
 
Extremely unlikely that they would have occupied Russia: they would more likely have installed Krasnov and Milyukov as the heads of Russia.
Great then who bothers listening to them? The hundreds of self-elected and organized Soviet councils? The now defunct Bolsheviks, the only party that wanted peace among the Russian factions? Russian central authority had crumbled by then, no one wanted to die for the Tsar or starve for the Germans. IOTL during Operation Faustschlag, the German offensive that led to BL the Bols issued a general call to arms; and no one listened except the women's regiment and the Latvian rifles, and the Czech legion. So imagine the reaction when instead of patriotically defending the country, peasants are asked to starve for the Germans so the Bols can stay in power.

They installed an Ukrainian Rada with troops on the ground, which fell apart when they pulled their troops out. Are they going to advance on Moscow and Leningrad then garrison them to ensure compliance? Since that sounds exactly the same as occupying Russia with a greater manpower and material sink than BL.
 
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Capbeetle61

Banned
Great then who bothers listening to them? The hundreds of self-elected and organized Soviet councils? The now defunct Bolsheviks, the only party that wanted peace among the Russian factions?

They installed an Ukrainian Rada with troops on the ground, which fell apart when they pulled their troops out. Are they going to advance on Moscow and Leningrad then garrison them to ensure compliance? Since that sounds exactly the same as occupying Russia with a greater manpower and material sink.
1. Even the Provisional Government with all of its fault was given the benefit of the doubt by the Soviet councils for months on end from February up until October, and no, I do not see any other Russian faction inevitably doing things any differently from how the Bolsheviks did it.

2. The White Armies are likely to be more loyal to Krasnov than they ever were towards the Provisional Government. Even in the event that this fragile arrangement inevitably spins away into a Civil War, that will be great for the Germans, since the Russians would now be fighting each other to the death, unable to put forward any semblance of a unified resistance against German interests in Russia.
 
2. The White Armies are likely to be more loyal to Krasnov than they ever were towards the Provisional Government. Even in the event that this fragile arrangement inevitably spins away into a Civil War, that will be great for the Germans, since the Russians would now be fighting each other to the death, unable to put forward any semblance of a unified resistance against German interests in Russia.

They won't be loyal if Krasnov has been installed by the Germans and the Germans need Russian food, their cities behind them are rapidly starving, if the Russians splinter into civil war the Germans won't in a position to exploit anything in the medium term as chaos will just make it even more difficult to get the food they need resulting in revolution at home.
As I've said by spring of 1918 the Germans are eating their seed corn, almost all the livestock is gone and unless they get a massive source of food in the next 8-10 months they are done. For that they need a Ukraine at peace, with a functioning transport network, at the moment it is neither at peace nor does it have a functioning transport network. They don't need to control it directly, in fact in an ideal world they wouldn't have any troops there, freeing men up for the west but they do need a competent, authoritative government in place that is happy to export the entire regional grain surplus West (something which incidentally will guarantee famine in urban areas in Russia), able to restore the transport network and can keep the peasants safe to farm. Now I don't have a great idea of how to achieve that and it may well be impossible but if you want to keep Germany fighting into 1919 that's what you need to achieve.
 
1. Even the Provisional Government with all of its fault was given the benefit of the doubt by the Soviet councils for months on end from February up until October, and no, I do not see any other Russian faction inevitably doing things any differently from how the Bolsheviks did it.

2. The White Armies are likely to be more loyal to Krasnov than they ever were towards the Provisional Government. Even in the event that this fragile arrangement inevitably spins away into a Civil War, that will be great for the Germans, since the Russians would now be fighting each other to the death, unable to put forward any semblance of a unified resistance against German interests in Russia.
So let's get this straight: there's no difference between the Bols, left SRs, right SRs, or Whites on peace policy. But you also want something more punitive from IOTL with the Russians actively helping the Germans because they were just so afraid of the Germans hundreds of kilometers away with no presence or desire to march into continental Russia.

And you want both the benefits of a puppet government, without the occupation to install the puppet, but hey if the Russians descend into civil war then the Germans can invade and advance their interests aka an occupation. This is Luigi Cadorna levels of muddled thinking, no one in OHL's going to waste the effort going deep into Russia for a puppet government while there' still a Western front.
 
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No Russian government could willingly cooperate with the wholesale looting of Ukraine that the CPs needed to feed themselves, and if the Germans tried to enforce the matter they would quickly find that there's no Russian government at all. Germany cannot impose military rule in the east in order to loot the materials they needed to maintain their wartime economy; indeed, the attempt to do so arguably cost them the war by tying down millions of soldiers... quite similar to the ultimate futility of Generalplan Ost really.
 

Capbeetle61

Banned
So let's get this straight: there's no difference between the Bols, left SRs, right SRs, or Whites on peace policy. But you also want something more punitive from IOTL with the Russians actively helping the Germans because they were just so afraid of the Germans hundreds of kilometers away with no presence or desire to march into continental Russia.

And you want both the benefits of a puppet government, without the occupation to install the puppet, but hey if the Russians descend into civil war then the Germans can invade and advance their interests aka an occupation. This is Luigi Cadorna levels of muddled thinking, no one in OHL's going to waste the effort going deep into Russia for a puppet government while there' still a Western front.
1.Talking about everything that you desire on peace policy and acknowledging the actuality of the military situation on the ground are extremely different things from each other. As for a punitive German expedition into Russia, see the David T post that I have quoted above about a potential German intervention in the RCW being actively considered by the OHL.
2. Please do not accuse and insult others on the grounds of baseless evidence. Krasnov would not have been leading a puppet government under occupation as you are incorrectly characterizing him as, but a client state. As David T has said earlier above, the Germans would have had no incentive to prop up Krasnov after they had "installed" him as Vozhd of Russia, once the whole place falls back into civil war. Any German effort to invade and advance their interests in Russia, occupation, was met with a lightweight response, as the Bolshevik response to Operation Faustschlag shows. Again, please get your political terminology correct surrounding this entire puppet/client government affair.
 
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Capbeetle61

Banned
They won't be loyal if Krasnov has been installed by the Germans and the Germans need Russian food, their cities behind them are rapidly starving, if the Russians splinter into civil war the Germans won't in a position to exploit anything in the medium term as chaos will just make it even more difficult to get the food they need resulting in revolution at home.
As I've said by spring of 1918 the Germans are eating their seed corn, almost all the livestock is gone and unless they get a massive source of food in the next 8-10 months they are done. For that they need a Ukraine at peace, with a functioning transport network, at the moment it is neither at peace nor does it have a functioning transport network. They don't need to control it directly, in fact in an ideal world they wouldn't have any troops there, freeing men up for the west but they do need a competent, authoritative government in place that is happy to export the entire regional grain surplus West (something which incidentally will guarantee famine in urban areas in Russia), able to restore the transport network and can keep the peasants safe to farm. Now I don't have a great idea of how to achieve that and it may well be impossible but if you want to keep Germany fighting into 1919 that's what you need to achieve.
The Russians would probably be busy shooting at each other for the grain shipments than the Germans: for reference, see the Russian Army's response to Operation Faustschlag in 1918. The Russians splintered into civil war anyway, so I can't see anything been different after the Provisional Government dithers over the peace treaty and then is eviscerated by both the left and the right.

I mean, had the Spring Offensive captured both Amiens and Hazebrouck, the BEF would probably have had to evacuate themselves from the Continent, leaving the Germans free to concentrate against the French. As the OP has specified that the USA does not join WWI but Germany still loses, we have to presume that Ludendorff has, once again, failed to concentrate against these critical rail transport hubs, instead, just like in OTL, dispersing his limited forces towards distant objectives.
 
I mean, had the Spring Offensive captured both Amiens and Hazebrouck, the BEF would probably have had to evacuate themselves from the Continent, leaving the Germans free to concentrate against the French.
WE went over this pretty intently in another thread a while back. For what it is worth, my estimate is that they are very unlikely to do so. Just to get to Amiens before the lines stabilized they would have had to move markedly faster than they managed in March 1918 OTL at fastest point. And IOTL the infantry had outrun the artillery and the artillery had outrun their supply. What's more, taking Amiens would require so much commitment that they would likely not be able to launch an attack against Hazebrouck even the size of the OTL one. And the OTL one basically stalled after 2 days.
 

Capbeetle61

Banned
Ban
WE went over this pretty intently in another thread a while back. For what it is worth, my estimate is that they are very unlikely to do so. Just to get to Amiens before the lines stabilized they would have had to move markedly faster than they managed in March 1918 OTL at fastest point. And IOTL the infantry had outrun the artillery and the artillery had outrun their supply. What's more, taking Amiens would require so much commitment that they would likely not be able to launch an attack against Hazebrouck even the size of the OTL one. And the OTL one basically stalled after 2 days.
I'm pretty sure that Zabecki demolishes this entire notion in his doctoral thesis.
 
I'm pretty sure that Zabecki demolishes this entire notion in his doctoral thesis.
Well, it was Zabecki's thesis we were arguing off of, so I would tend to disagree. However, his thesis was more directed at Amiens and Hazebrouck being better targets, with the assumption that better focus would have led the Germans to take them than it was a thorough analysis of what was needed to do so.

However, its probably not a good idea to bring that discussion into this thread. That original thread eventually led to the OP being banned (twice). So I will leave it here.
 

Capbeetle61

Banned
Well, it was Zabecki's thesis we were arguing off of, so I would tend to disagree. However, his thesis was more directed at Amiens and Hazebrouck being better targets, with the assumption that better focus would have led the Germans to take them than it was a thorough analysis of what was needed to do so.
I mean, I do remember from the top of my head that he does quite thoroughly analyse how the Germans would have captured Amiens and Hazebrouck, but never mind, let's not go into that in detail.
 
Any thoughts on what happens if the British government, (with no Doughboys in the offing) goes ahead with extending conscription to *Ireland*?

Not sure myself but I suspect things could get very lively there.
Even the rumours of such a thing caused a lot of problems - so no

Still got a lot of volunteers though - including my Grandfather who was gassed in 1916 and evacuated to the UK and sent to Ireland to recover where he quickly met a pretty young lass (my grandmother) and married her.

His injuries were so severe that he only managed to father 9 children and in the early 60s came back to England to get medical treatment due to complications from the gassing where his youngest child (my mother) met my father.

So I not only won the lottery of life I was also half Irish - how lucky am I?

So thank you Germany :)
 
I think too many people have been playing Kaiserreich and have confused that scenario for reality. By 1917 providing the Entente held Paris the Central Powers were destined loose because they were starving. Brest-Litvosk may have assigned vast territories to the Central Powers and the collapse of Romania had added another grain surplus region but in OTL it proved impossible to get sufficient food out of the Ukraine and Romania and into Austria and Germany proper to prevent serious hunger over the winter of 1917 and spring of 1918 and the 1918/19 was going to be much, much worse. Industrial production was also declining to raw material shortages. In the field the German Army had no answer to the combined arms, mechanised warfare that British Empire forces utilised in the 100 days offensive. With no US involvement the Kaiserschlacht is slightly more successful and the 100 days slightly less successful without the Meuse-Argonne to draw in German forces. But the material shortages still cripple Germany and in the absence of a Gestapo revolution still breaks out and it's all over by December 1918.

I've never played Kaiserreich, but do have a beginners grasp on WW1 history. For example I know that even the battle of Cambrai in late 1917 turned out to be a bust as the German counter attack retook all the gains, while in Italy the Battle of Caporetto was a major win for the CP. Then in 1918, after the US had been in the war for a year, the Germans undertook 4 months of offensives making the biggest gains in the West for 4 years. It was only after this that the Entente, which by now included US Armies on the line undertaking Corps and Army level operations that the Entente broke the German army in the west and then began major offensives that outshone the German ones of early in 1918.

I also know that the poor conditions on the home front were not a factor in Germany defeat until the second half of 1918, to suggest the Germans were on the verge of defeat from starvation a year or more before they actually capitulated, and then only after a failed offensive and crushing Entente offensives is a misreading of the situation.

The US DoW is a sign of the Political and Strategic superiority of the Entente, without this Political and Strategic superiority they lack the Tactical and Operational capability to win the war.
 
Those who claim that the Entente had access to all ressources

it was buying 75% of its copper from the USA. Less copper, less artillery shells.

it was buying 70% of its oil from the USA. Go figure yourself.

Both cannot be replaced anywhere in the world.

The UK was importing 50% of its food stuff. Good luck in finding another supplier.

The 30% of steel might not be that important after copper has stopped flowing. But for Italy it was 70%.

So assuming the situation in 1918 ITTL is just exactly as OTL is not realizing hard facts.

The CP and Entente fought different wars, the Entente fought a rich mans war while the CP fought a poor mans war. The Entente could be more efficient with their use of resources, for example the Salonika campaign was a total dud and I'd suggest other peripheral campaigns were not great uses of resources if they became limited. Similarly the Entente used a lot of resources ensuring their general security was good, taking longer transit routes etc rather than taking operational risks to save on resources like shipping and fuel.

I'd suggest in the absence of a US DoW the British in particular could keep fighting by shrinking their economy like France and Germany did and make double digit resource economies in a lot of areas like logistics overheads and other wastage. This could mean that alternative sources of supply that could be more easily financed could be used, rather than the 'efficient because we have the cash' US sources.

It's not ideal, but it keeps the Entente in the fight.
 
At Sea

POD 1. 1917: Zimmerman keeps his yap shut, the popular belief is that the telegram is an English forgery. A British minister is given a berating as it backfires on them. American war enthusiasm is dimmed slightly but still overwhelming pre-Entente as weekly headlines of American children, women, and men lost at sea against unrestricted submarine warfare. Merchant men are being armed as per IOTL against the unchanged unrestricted submarine warfare while diplomatic relations are severed. Admiral Henning von Holtzendorff seems to be vindicated on his prediction of American neutrality, for now. Having lost a high of 800,000 shipping tons in April the British start organizing and implementing a convoy system and the tonnage lost steadily declines down towards 500,000 tons a month; contrary to Von Holzendorff's predictions the British refuse to give up. While current losses exceed Entente shipping production, the British, Dominions, and French started the war with over half the world's shipping at 23 million tons. At a exchange rate of 55,000 merchant tons and 105 sailors (can be drawn from worldwide pool) per submarine (quite the technical construct) and 35 submariners (must be trained at least 9 months with technical skills) attrition isn't on the side of the German Empire as British production and ship purchases from America keeps losses manageable.

There is a brief scare in France as imports seemed insufficient to prevent hunger and the French Minister of Commerce Etienne Clémentel in control of French maritime transport, goes to London in Autumn 1917 to seek relief; this will lead to the Allied Maritime Transport Council like IOTL that not only pool shipping resources but also helped implement efficiencies against port congestion and ship waiting times as per IOTL.

POD 2. As American causalities mount two votes are proposed by Wilson to join the war, but like Versailles IOTL Wilson's desire to play the hero while neglecting congresses concerns backfires as congress disagrees with Wilson's over-eagerness wanting to go over some details and inadvertently end up in a mud-slinging match both times. Regardless the majority of Americans are pro-Entente while hate for the Germans killing Americans rises. The British and French, fighting the Germans killing innocent Americans gain better credit terms; while they may not be at war the American resentment is seething.

On land

The provisional government, as per IOTL believed that their military is revitalized just because they replaced the head and plans continue for a July offensive ignoring all the seething troubles of the Tsarist government. This plan was voted on before OTL's American DOW and nothing material changes in Russia, the hope is still to use an offensive to gain prestige, then deal with all the internal troubles. Kerensky as per IOTL is giving speeches infront of hand-picked crowds that are enthusiastic to end the war, but by going home instead of fighting Germany. Blind to the sheer war-wariness and more concerned about legality and precedence of popular demands of land reform, serfdom, and food the provisional government decides to hold an assembly in September. Meanwhile the peasants and soldiers of Russia, who gave two shits about legal precedence or constitutional legitimacy votes with their feet by walking home and seizing noble lands; the majority of times the land records are burned and the manor's occupants told firmly to get out or else. Meanwhile the cities grow more restless as the new government seems just as bad as the Tsarist gov it replaced in getting food. Many setup their own councils (Soviets) often with the SRs, often in alliance with the Bolsheviks as IOTL. America's absence has minimal effect as the strait of the Bosporus remains closed and shipping is lacking regardless.

On the western front Nivelle continues his preparations for an offensive (once again pre-dating America's DOW) decided in the Chantilly Conferences in 1916. Despite reservations from Petain the overwhelming majority of French civilians, leadership, and soldiers want to reclaim French land and their discontent was with the inefficiency of the previous offensives as opposed to the idea of offensives. Just like IOTL, neither the French nor British planned for an American DOW, it was nice but they had no idea if or when it might happen. The British give their support and join the offensive contingent on French-assistance; Nivelle will mess this up.

Both offensives fail. The French sack Nivelle promoting him to African theater command, yet the old guy just sticks around headquarters for weeks as no one wanted to deal with the awkward conversation just like IOTL. While there is a brief antiwar revolt, French soldiers can simply write to their representative and many of them do incontrast to the military dictatorship in Germany. Petain takes over, gives the men better conditions, more rest, and sets the army on a defensive posture for at least the rest of the year.

Lacking manpower, the French start implementing mass-colonial conscription; while opposed by colonial big whites and definitely complicates metropole-colonial relations post-war it was seen as the lesser of two evils. Many colonials will sign up, after all the French had already made various promises of autonomy, privileges, and such when peace was achieved at the start of the war; some of course sign up for the pay which even at a fraction of a Frenchman's is quite the sum back home.

It looks like its up to the British for 1918 who still has plenty of men to draft. Meanwhile various dominions begin or widen conscription, while contentious most Dominions are British or first generation British and support is overwhelming except in Quebec. Horrified by the seemingly pointless causalities taken for a few miles British PM Lloyd George considers with-holding men from conservative favorite Hauge, begins to (and by implication sabotages the British war effort for political gain) but quickly reverses course when the Germans seem to be on the ascendant after fall in the East.

In the East, many soldiers simply refuse to attack, those that do are the most reliable and elite of the remaining Tsarist-now Provisional forces. The attack is directed at the weaker Austrian forces, unknown to the Russians the Austrian army had mostly integrated into the German army and the quality was uniform across the Eastern front. The attack is allowed to run out of steam before the German army counter attacks dealing a devastating blow to Russian morale and Kerensky who betted all of his legitimacy on winning a good peace.

Despite the failure, Kerensky's delusions deepen as he alienates the Cossacks (the last militarily powerful pro-provisional force) as per IOTL. Bolshevik elements call for a coup to dispense with the dual governing arrangement between the Provisional Government and the Soviets, nothing happens IOTL as the majority of Russians are tired and hungry not caring to fight for either side; yet Kerensky in his delusion interprets this as a lack of support for the Soviets and by default a massive amount of support for him. Over the course of June, July, September Kerensky tries to call an assembly for legitimacy, only the Provisional Government assembly doesn't shut up and obey and goes off to make his own assembly just as IOTL, with hookers and blackjack in the Tsar's palace (not yet confirmed).

In a vacuum of power after the breakdown of central authority, the Bolsheviks seize power and proclaims land, peace, self-determination, and food. Given that Bolshevik power is limited to parts of Moscow and Petrograd and a tactical alliance with the SRs that run the majority of Soviets there was little else they could've done. Most remaining soldiers take this as permission to go home, looting along the way to sustain themselves while peasants ratchet up the land appropriation. In contrast to their proclamations, the Bolsheviks immediately setup the Cheka; a secret police accountable to no one, start confiscating food from the countryside to sustain their urban powerbase, shutting down all political opposition, and accepting minority independence on paper; ie arguing that while the Ukrainians should be free, the Rada isn't representative and we should have an non-rigged election later.

Across the empire, with the breakdown of central authority many old grudges are coming to the surface across class, religious, and ethnic lines. In Finland the militant aristocratic right strikes first; hoping to crush the socialists and gain independence, meanwhile the majority reds and socialists are caught flat-footed as they also wanted independence, but peacefully. There are many more instances but that's a story for another time.

To conserve troops and to fight in the east, the Germans pull back to the Hindenburg line in March. The deplorable state of occupied France they leave behind shocks the world and further enrages the French. At the end of it, the Germans tire of Bolshevik stalling at Brest-Litovsk and decided to attack hard against... nothing. Nothing expect the token defensive positions and come within a hundred miles of Leningrad (as IOTL) and the minority of Bolsheviks led by Lenin sues for peace under harsh terms; trusting that soon revolution will come to Germany and the other imperialist powers and they can reverse the losses. Regardless of peace or war, the long-suppressed tensions of the Russian Empire are finally unleashed and there is no turning back regardless of what figurehead is in charge.

To many peasants the Bolsheviks were worse than the Tsar, stealing food, beating the reluctant, all with a excess spurred by revolutionary zeal and the gluttony of hungry men. Adding to that the Germans try to extract what food there's left that they can get their hands on in Poland and Ukraine; the resulting 100,000 tons (just as IOTL) is a drop in the bucket for Germany, let alone Austria or Bulgarian.

Germany:

Trading a million men in occupation fraternizing with socialists for 100.000 tons of grain is a bad deal by all accounts, but the prideful Hindenburg refuses to admit as such and opts to continue the trend from 1915 of scape-gloating minorities, pitting regions against each other, soldiers against officers who receive better rations, POWs, women, children, and anyone who isn't working for the war-industries or military is deemed as "stealing" food from the deserving just as IOTL. (sounds like Nazi-lite doesn't it?). 3 years of prioritizing nitrogen for the military instead of fertilizer, of farm boy drafts, of farm animal drafts/slaughter for the imminent victory every season since 1914, and of the price controls fast finally hitting the breaking point. Faced with confiscated/slaughtered animals, drafted sons, less fertilizer, and price controls making profits impossible many farmers decide to grow for only personal consumption.

By 1917 most Germans, while supportive of market controls found the government to be “in control of nothing” and even to have sanctioned profiteering, suggesting that people who did not follow the rules should be put into prison, while those who did follow the law belonged “in the nuthouse." as per IOTL. On average, a healthy German would've lost 40 pounds by 1917 (just as IOTL) and the specter of disease and famine began to rear their heads. The average German surveyed listed sourcing food as both the number one concern and the greatest time spent per day; valuable work hours are spent queuing in line, searching unofficial markets, or just plain sick instead of industrial activity. Only a hundred thousand or so die this winter, but the food situation can only worsen and OHL decides that since USW has failed to break British morale that it must finish the war soon.

AH: By 1917, one of the chief architects of the war Conrad von Hötzendorf had already destroyed the Imperial Army several times and had implemented indiscriminate drafting since 1915 ripping away machinists and farmers need for the war. In march 1917, after so much wasted lives Conrad von Hötzendorf is finally dismissed and given the title of count; he will spend the rest of his life denying all wrongdoing and blaming everyone else (particularly the imperial court and Germans, the only ones capable of exonerating him). (just as IOTL, he'll brood in hell for a quick moment before being clawed apart by millions of imperial subjects and Serbians.)

At 5.638 million tons imperial food production is only 60% of the pre-war 9.43 million tons just as IOTL, last I checked the Austrians weren't importing from America. First, the decline is partially due to the repeated occupation and scorched earth of Galicia and Bukovina which accounted for over 1/3 of imperial production. Second the repeated destruction of the imperial army has led to a massive labor shortage, lack of fertilizers, lack of draft animals, lack of grazing herds. Unlike Germany, AH had only lacked Phosphorous and Nitrogen fertilizers but had potash in abundance; which has lead to 3 years of overuse and soil depletion; something post-war farmers will complain bitterly about. Also unlike Germany AH price controls discouraged grain in favor of animal feed in addition to discouraging general production. And unlike Germany AH was hit by climatic disruptions, which further lowered food production. (all as IOTL)

In contrast to the more generalized German market the internal AH market was relatively specialized, leading to worsening distribution and oddities such as Austria being self-sufficient in dairy, but severely lacking in meat and grain. As transport broke down the Empire's agricultural specialization has left the Austrian core starving; while it made sense pre-war to produce only perishables around Vienna and import durable grain from Hungary this was no longer the case.

In the midst of all this turmoil, old agitations for democracy, equality, national self-determination, class-wars, and were reaching a boil. Riots and strikes had already broken out in the cold and hungry winters of 1916. More frightening still was the adoption of the Russian slogan "All power to the Soviets!" by the moderate democrats, not that Vienna bothered to make the distinction. In reaction to all this, the military high command that had stumbled into this war decided to inspire "military discipline" to stop the unrest to little effect, blame the various ethnicities they commanded for the failures of command, and come September blame the returning prisoners of war from Russia as cowards and traitors sending them to military re-education camps (just as IOTL, I can't make this stupidity up, how arrogant do you have to be to actively spite your own soldiers?). Despite all of this, order still prevailed and the army obeyed while their stomachs rumbled louder every day. Meanwhile non-German and Hungarian POWs in Entente camps flocked towards the foreign legions with the promise of freeing their homelands.

Bulgaria; starting from a feudal-rural economy the tiny nation of 4 million has mobilized an amazing quarter of its population. This is especially impressive given that it had lost its most fertile land in 1912 during the second Balkan War and had not recovered its herds or material stocks. Yet unable to feed itself, arm itself with heavy weaponry, or push into the mountains of the Macedonian front the cries for help grow ever louder towards Berlin and the heavens.

Ottoman Empire: despite the majority of the country opposing the war, being unready for war, and having just suffered the loss of the economic heartland in 1912, and undergoing sectarian strike, Enver Pasha said "fuck it I'm gonna burn it all down in a war and a new and improved Ottoman Empire will rise from the ashes" and is now getting to reap his fruits; except instead of a renewed Ottoman Empire its looking more and more like a renewed Turkish nation as regions breakaway.
In no small part thanks to Pasha's amazing incompetence entire armies had died to the elements before even meeting a single Russian and the same starvation, destitution, and chaos is present like the other central powers. (same as IOTL, bit colorful)
 
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American war enthusiasm is dimmed slightly but still overwhelming pre-Entente as weekly headlines of American children, women, and men lost at sea against unrestricted submarine warfare.

How many American women and children would there *be* on the high seas once it was realised how dangerous it had become?
 
How many American women and children would there *be* on the high seas once it was realised how dangerous it had become?
The same as IOTL after the DOW, Americans didn't cower in fear and stayed home saying welp guess we're gonna do autarky now that we can't trade with the majority of our partners in Europe. No, they got mad and put guns on their merchantmen, gave the British ships, and declared war. How dare the Germans attack neutral Americans!? Do they think they own the ocean, do they want a fight? Was the mindset IOTL.

USW was the main reason they went to war; a neutral US is still going to trade overseas. Zimmerman's not going to change that, at best it delays it.
I'm pretty sure that Zabecki demolishes this entire notion in his doctoral thesis.
Ha! Oh, you can make different accounts but you won't convert from the Zabecki bible.
 
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The same as IOTL after the DOW, Americans didn't cower in fear and stayed home saying welp guess we're gonna do autarky now that we can't trade with the majority of our partners in Europe. No, they got mad and put guns on their merchantmen, gave the British ships, and declared war. How dare the Germans attack neutral Americans!? Do they think they own the ocean, do they want a fight? Was the mindset IOTL.

USW was the main reason they went to war; a neutral US is still going to trade overseas. Zimmerman's not going to change that, at best it delays it.

I'd suggest combining no Zimmerman with a 'Sharpened' rather than Unrestricted uboat campaign would delay US entry into the war, perhaps long enough for the Kerensky offensive to fail which might further delay US entry.

The Sharpened rules are "Attacks could be made without warning on: (1) all enemy ships inside the British Isles war zone, (2) all defensively-armed enemy ships outside the war zone which would be treated as warships, (3) troop transports sailing between Le Havre and Dunkirk. All passengers ships whether armed or unarmed, inside or outside the war zone, could not be attacked by a submerged U-boat" https://www.naval-history.net/WW1NavyBritishShips-Locations10AttackedMNDate1916.htm

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