When is it too late for the Entente to win if the US joins the CP?

There is a thread here that discusses the military potential and consequences of a CP-aligned US, out of the blue in August 1914 - but with no clear POD. All agree, though, that the Entente is doomed - the point of contention is when.

I thought it would be interesting to look at actual scenarios that could lead to:

1) A war with UK, France and Russia vs. (at minimum) Germany, AH and the US in the years between 1880 and 1920, give or take.

2) Scenarios which the Entente would actually have a chance of winning (presumably as early as possible in the time frame given).

What possible scenarios can you think of for this one? I realize that butterflies may ruin it, but it would be nifty to see a scenario as close to our WWI as possible but where you actually give the Entente a chance of beating a CP coalition that includes the US.
 
There is a thread here that discusses the military potential and consequences of a CP-aligned US, out of the blue in August 1914 - but with no clear POD. All agree, though, that the Entente is doomed - the point of contention is when.

I thought it would be interesting to look at actual scenarios that could lead to:

1) A war with UK, France and Russia vs. (at minimum) Germany, AH and the US in the years between 1880 and 1920, give or take.

2) Scenarios which the Entente would actually have a chance of winning (presumably as early as possible in the time frame given).

What possible scenarios can you think of for this one? I realize that butterflies may ruin it, but it would be nifty to see a scenario as close to our WWI as possible but where you actually give the Entente a chance of beating a CP coalition that includes the US.
The problem is the earlier you go,the less aligned the UK is going to be with France and Russia. The window between London's final settlement of the Colonial rivalry will Paris and understandings will St.Petersburg and Germany's naval rise to the point they and GB are unreconcilable and that combined with the USN can check the Royal Navy on a global scale is very, very small. What you'd need is something that cuts into the tensions produced in The Great Game much earlier, as well as a cleaner settlement in Africa.

Off the top of my head, this has a solid chance of emerging in the event of the Japanese aligning with Germany instead of Britain, perhaps as the result of Berlin backing them during the Triple (in this case Double) Intervention rather than joining the French and Russians in slapping Tokyo away. Perhaps Nicky does something that deeply insults Willy during the early 90's causing him to abandon the policy of reconciling with Russia and instead focus on containing the "Steppe Hordes"; which would also involve a stronger backing of the OE and so muscling into what the Brits perceive as their territory. Without feeling secure in East Asian markets, Britain than goes whole hog in trying to penetrate Latin America as an additional source of raw resources and customers, thus running headlong into Yankee bussiness interests?
 
The later the US joins any war the better the chance of the Entente winning. Their biggest advantage here is the British and French navies which would largely not have much to do in any Continental conflict. To properly assist the CP the US would need to defeat the British navy which will take some time, first to build up the US navy and then actually engage. Based on our WWI, it seems feasible that the Entente could exhaust Germany before that happened if the war went a little better.

The US also has some weak points as well. The British Empire (in conjunction with Japan) would be in good position to invade the Philippines for example which would divert US attention and resources. I can see a situation where the US largely engages the Entente in Canada and colonial theaters while not doing much directly in Europe.
 
The later the US joins any war the better the chance of the Entente winning. Their biggest advantage here is the British and French navies which would largely not have much to do in any Continental conflict. To properly assist the CP the US would need to defeat the British navy which will take some time, first to build up the US navy and then actually engage. Based on our WWI, it seems feasible that the Entente could exhaust Germany before that happened if the war went a little better.

The US also has some weak points as well. The British Empire (in conjunction with Japan) would be in good position to invade the Philippines for example which would divert US attention and resources. I can see a situation where the US largely engages the Entente in Canada and colonial theaters while not doing much directly in Europe.
If the scenario is such that the US is cold enough to the Entente that they're on the path to war,they'll have shut off (or never turned on) the tap of war material and credit in the build up of tensions beforehand as the war goes on. That would throttle the Entente ability to pursue the war: even if things don't go entirely belly up, the conditions certainly aren't any better for France or Britain. They get status quo preformance at absolute best, highly likely preformance is moderately to greatly worse.

Unless you're suggesting we load the dice, if The Great War breaks out exactly as in out timeline the Entente loses in a US Joins scenario unless they join absurdly late, at which point that requires the US losing it's collective brain.
 
Unless you're suggesting we load the dice, if The Great War breaks out exactly as in out timeline the Entente loses in a US Joins scenario unless they join absurdly late, at which point that requires the US losing it's collective brain.
I'd rather not go there - that was the other thread's premise (which I linked to). Or at least it became the premise after discussing ... a lot: That somehow things are status quo until Aug 1914, and then the US switches. The OP actually suggested looking for a POD (but no earlier than 1900). That's where I'd like to go, only I have no problem with an even earlier POD and plenty of butterflies from there, but keeping in mind the challenge: Entente = France, UK, Russia, CP = US, Germany, AH (possibly more powers).

Very good observations, so far, by the way. Thanks for the contribs!
 
I'd rather not go there - that was the other thread's premise (which I linked to). Or at least it became the premise after discussing ... a lot: That somehow things are status quo until Aug 1914, and then the US switches. The OP actually suggested looking for a POD (but no earlier than 1900). That's where I'd like to go, only I have no problem with an even earlier POD and plenty of butterflies from there, but keeping in mind the challenge: Entente = France, UK, Russia, CP = US, Germany, AH (possibly more powers).

Very good observations, so far, by the way. Thanks for the contribs!
You're more than welcome. I'm familer will that thread; having participated quite a bit in it myself. But I eventually just accepted the premise so as to focus on the actual technical aspects of the conflict. Glad to see somebody too the effort to set up a thread to actually discuss the POD

Anyways, I think we need at least the following factors
  • German lead alliance needs to look more powerful earlier, to the point it appears to be over coming the Franco-Russians to the point they can establish hegemony or undermine areas of vital British interests
  • Britain needs to lack options for allies that don't tie her into Continental conflicts, which she wants to avoid direct participation in if possible.
  • Britain needs to, in order to solve her perceived weakness, take steps that alienate the Americans.
  • These steps need to actually work at boosting British industrial and financial power to the point it can balance Germany's and the US's rising manufacturing might
  • Russia needs a crash course in modernization, and FAST. That, or a more realistic level of butterflied in development occurs in Italy and the OE (The later also surviving more intact: likely as a consequence of British capital giving the sick man a nice blood transfusion and a pro-Austrian dynasty maintaining power in Serbia, leading to Western Europe facilitating a final understanding between the Czar and Sultan)
  • If the former case, those two powers don't end up aligned to the CP at minimum.
So, likely lineup is UK, France, Italy, Russia, and OE vs. Germany, Austria-Hungary, Japan, and US, with minors smattered about if you want a solid chance at a Entente victory. In that case, it's a matter of crushing AH in a vice while pinning down the Germans for land efforts, and the Franco-British-Italians than exploiting thier total control of the Med. to decisively take the naval conflict to Japan. The New World is still America's plauground, but if the rest of the CP can be neutralized they can be forced to the table and accept a dusadvangious peace
 
  • Britain needs to, in order to solve her perceived weakness, take steps that alienate the Americans.
  • These steps need to actually work at boosting British industrial and financial power to the point it can balance Germany's and the US's rising manufacturing might
Seems to me that is the real challenge of such a scenario. I'm no expert, far from it, on Anglo-American relations but it seems to me the "Great Rapprochement" between the UK and the US began in the late 19th century and developed fairly quickly: i.e. convergence of economic, political and military interests. The Venezuela Crisis, for example, surely did not escalate further because for all the mindset of the time about "national honor" and all the diplomatic outrage, it was clear to the major political actors on either side that war would gain little for them.
 
Seems to me that is the real challenge of such a scenario. I'm no expert, far from it, on Anglo-American relations but it seems to me the "Great Rapprochement" between the UK and the US began in the late 19th century and developed fairly quickly: i.e. convergence of economic, political and military interests. The Venezuela Crisis, for example, surely did not escalate further because for all the mindset of the time about "national honor" and all the diplomatic outrage, it was clear to the major political actors on either side that war would gain little for them.
Which is why I suggested you need a Britain who's more "boxed out" of alternate routes for keeping up with her rivals that don't clash with the US: similar to OTL's Germany who as a latecomer to the Imperial game found herself clashing over the remains not already snatched up by the established European powers that happened to also be those under the US eyes. Hence, the UK needs to be hedged out of influence in East Asia and more limited in Africa: though in such a way that dosen't chip her shoulder with France or Russia (Hard, as France is the main rival for Africa and Russia for influence in China). And if the situation is changed so anti-British governments are dominant in checking that power, than the Entente can't reasonably be powerful enough to have a prayer of winning.

So, what you need is either a major diplomatic shift in the early 1900's away from Germany and to the UK (Maybe Bismark keeps the reigns of power a little longer?) on the part of several mid-tier powers or a vastly retarded US and German economic boom (which I see no viable route to). A more equitable dispersal of industrial capacity between the powers in Europe,at least, which would be possible.

In that case... a resurgent OE aligned with the Entente and a decaying AH propped up by Berlin could produce the "Fool thing in the Balkans" over Bosnia. Say, Vienna faces a revolt by the Croats and Bosniaks after trying to placate Hungary by allowing a closer integration of Croatia will the Kingdom proper, thus creating a crisis as the Ottomans cite the fact Bosnia is still legally there's and move in to restore order and authority rather than seeing it illegally transferred to Hungary or a Pro-Habsburg Serbia. The Great Powers by and large support this, baring Germany, who rejects the ruling of a Conference and goes to war over the issue
 
Which is why I suggested you need a Britain who's more "boxed out" of alternate routes for keeping up with her rivals that don't clash with the US: similar to OTL's Germany who as a latecomer to the Imperial game found herself clashing over the remains not already snatched up by the established European powers that happened to also be those under the US eyes. Hence, the UK needs to be hedged out of influence in East Asia and more limited in Africa: though in such a way that dosen't chip her shoulder with France or Russia (Hard, as France is the main rival for Africa and Russia for influence in China). And if the situation is changed so anti-British governments are dominant in checking that power, than the Entente can't reasonably be powerful enough to have a prayer of winning.
Agreed - but it appears hard to do without too many butterflies. Aside from the aforementioned "US CP"-thread a quick search in this forum revealed:

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/when-was-the-closest-the-us-and-great-britain-came-to-war-after-1815.448926/

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/what-could-lead-to-a-war-bewteen-us-and-britain.135984/

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/at-what-point-did-it-become-unlikely-for-britain-to-beat-the-us-in-an-all-out-war.443220/

From what I've had time to read, most agree that if we just look at UK vs. US alone, the war will probably come before the ACW (or during), and the closer - obviously - we come to OTL WW1-time, the less likely the UK is to win, in any meaningful sense. So what I take away from this is that in order to change the UK's status vs. the US as much as we need to have them end up on different sides in a global WW1-like war, the more likely it is that we will at the same time butterfly that war away. The German Empire wasn't even created until 1871 and France and England remained nominal enemies until 1904. So it is hard to see how to do it. You can create many interesting wars, but it feels like a WW1-like war (OTL) but with the US as CP is kinda ... slippery.

Your suggestion to make this revolve around a resurgent OE, inter alia, intrigues me. Maybe there is some potential here. But how more specifically? And how to get the US involved down the line? I read what you are writing in previous posts, but the possible chronology is harder for me to visualize.
 
On Scenario 2- The Entente can win such a war at anytime As long as Germany and Austria are defeated and the Entente holds, they can then turn on an isolated America with the full industrial power of Europe.

During most of the time period, the Austro-Germans stood little chance against the Franco-Russians. There's a brief period after the Russo-Japanese War and the French Army rotting due to the Dreyfus scandal, that give the Austo-Germans a shot. Ultimately the doomed strategy of Plan XVII is what makes WWi last more than six months. By 1917 at the latest, the traditional balance of power of Europe with Russia on top of Germany would return
 
On Scenario 2- The Entente can win such a war at anytime As long as Germany and Austria are defeated and the Entente holds, they can then turn on an isolated America with the full industrial power of Europe.

During most of the time period, the Austro-Germans stood little chance against the Franco-Russians. There's a brief period after the Russo-Japanese War and the French Army rotting due to the Dreyfus scandal, that give the Austo-Germans a shot. Ultimately the doomed strategy of Plan XVII is what makes WWi last more than six months. By 1917 at the latest, the traditional balance of power of Europe with Russia on top of Germany would return
Are you saying the French could wipe the Germans until the culmination of Dreyfus? Okay, I'm not so sure, but I guess if there is a British naval blockade to choke Germany again that at least would count in their favor, and something the Germans cannot really do something about since subs aren't in the game yet and the HSF has hardly been created.

Anyway, and as discussed above - the hard part is bringing about such a scenario, like an 1890s or 1900s Great War with France, UK and Russia (and maybe others) vs. Germany, AH and the US (and maybe others) so it looks like OTL WW1, but with US on the CP side. But I guess we can always pull the Venezuela Crisis-scenario out of the hat, escalate it to a war between UK and US because Everything That Can Go Wrong and then have Germany take advantage of that situation to attack France. Russia would be drawn in due to their alliance with France and AH would support Germany. Italy might sit it out or jump in, maybe to take Tunisia or Corsica. (There is some good discussion of the road to war - or not - due to Venezuela here.)

Yes, the UK at this point isn't in any kind of alliance with the French and would be fighting a separate war with the US in principle. But I guess it counts technically as a Great War with the US on the CP-side, since drawing the UK away from Europe by default supports the Triple Alliance.

I guess the incentive for Germany to go to war would be ... to take advantage of a time when they can be 'sure' the UK is too occupied with the US and won't interfere, not even with the RN, in an attack on France, even though I reckon they would have interest in doing so to stop Germany from becoming too powerful and from occupying the Continental part of the Channel coast. Or maybe AH starts some "damn fool thing" in the Balkans while there is this great distraction going on overseas. I'm not sure and it is definitely a bit fuzzy here - with regard to cause and effect. But right now I'm thinking this POD might be the best chance to emulate a World War 1 with US as CP (indirectly at least), even if ... well, it seems a bit ASB to get everybody embroiled in a global war that starts with the Venezuela Crisis. (But I guess in June 1914 it seemed a bit ASB that there would be a World War next month because somebody shot an archduke ... )

There is also the option still of trying to come up with a way to create a weaker Britain that would come into more competition with the US and eventually war. This also deserves to be explored more. And maybe combined with some kind of Venezuela Crisis - if we can keep the damn butterflies in check!
 
@Christopher Marcus The French Army of 1900-05 would wipe the germans off the face of the Earth. In fact, they could probably beat the entire Triple Alliance on their own. Zuber describes the idea of a German attack on France as "suicidal"

The Germans are very succesful in applying the lessons of the Russo-Japanese War while the French

Consider

In 1905, The French have the 75 with a rapid fire capability, shields and a longer range. The German 77s have a rate of fire of les than a fourth of the French, lack shields, have a short barrel and no recoil mechanism. Not only is the French fire more than four times as fast, its far more accurate

In 1914, The French are still dressed in Red Pants while the Germans have adopted Field Grey. The Italians found that dummies dressed in the old uniforms took seven times the hits

Up until 1905, the French are operating under the old 3 year law. the men are better trained, the NCOs more numeous and the reserves useable unlike the Germans

Germany lacks heavy artillery with a recoil mchanism, ttrench mortars, machine guns, a fdelayed fuse that enableed them to detroy earthwoks
 
Agreed - but it appears hard to do without too many butterflies. Aside from the aforementioned "US CP"-thread a quick search in this forum revealed:

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/when-was-the-closest-the-us-and-great-britain-came-to-war-after-1815.448926/

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/what-could-lead-to-a-war-bewteen-us-and-britain.135984/

https://www.alternatehistory.com/forum/threads/at-what-point-did-it-become-unlikely-for-britain-to-beat-the-us-in-an-all-out-war.443220/

From what I've had time to read, most agree that if we just look at UK vs. US alone, the war will probably come before the ACW (or during), and the closer - obviously - we come to OTL WW1-time, the less likely the UK is to win, in any meaningful sense. So what I take away from this is that in order to change the UK's status vs. the US as much as we need to have them end up on different sides in a global WW1-like war, the more likely it is that we will at the same time butterfly that war away. The German Empire wasn't even created until 1871 and France and England remained nominal enemies until 1904. So it is hard to see how to do it. You can create many interesting wars, but it feels like a WW1-like war (OTL) but with the US as CP is kinda ... slippery.

Your suggestion to make this revolve around a resurgent OE, inter alia, intrigues me. Maybe there is some potential here. But how more specifically? And how to get the US involved down the line? I read what you are writing in previous posts, but the possible chronology is harder for me to visualize.
Indeed: that's the paradox here. The simple fact is this scenario requires the UK, US, or Germany to be, international politics speaking, in two places at once so interests overlap in a way that produces the alliance structure. Germany, by nessecity (both in it's positioning and the requirement of the scenario to be against France and Russia) has to put the lion's share of its attention on the Continent (See Bismark's Map of Africa comment for the spirit of that principal), while the US is for no shortage of reasons turned inwards on the Western Hemisphere. Thus, you need a UK who feels they need to stick their fingers in both those pies and feels confident in it's ability to do so, while simutaniously seeing Germany as sufficently more threatening than France or Russia to be willing to actively push for a situation that would increase those nation's position. That's a very, VERY narrow window of difference in power distribution, especially if we assume US and German industrial prospects of anything like the pattern that's been taking off in both since essentially the 1840's.

However, I assume we have to push the POD at least post-Unification, which essentially traps us with South Europe and the Pacific as the main zone of political-economic flexibility. Hence the Italians, Austrians, Japan and Ottomans being the main nation's who's metaphorical "weight" and alignment we can work with. Taking Japan out of the equation as a power might also help here: East Asia being a bone of contention between Britain and Russia. Feeling obliged to concede northern China,Korea, and Japan to Russian influence to secure India due to lacking a viable regional counterweight would pull Russian investment and expansionist interests eastward and into Siberian development , reducing pressure on the Ottomans and allowing the resurgance to occur (perhaps by the British feeding the capital and expertise that otherwise facilitated Japanese crash development into the Caliphate?). Combine that with butterflies that produce less development and greater internal strife in AH: maybe the result of a "Great Game" between France and Germany in the Balkans as the former seeks to undermine German's ally and earn the good will of and strengthen Italy as a baton to wave at their rival's southern flank,and Germany is propping up it's one big remaining friend, and you could have the OE and Austria in a contest as Russia bows out of the regional contest. Austria backs a Serbian client regeime and Greek ambitions, French and Italians promote the Croats and Tyrolian/Istrian Italians, Ottomans get Bulgaria to stay loyal and Romania to align with them, and all the while the Magyars get surlier and play everybody off one another to pry out greater concessions by either providing or withholding concent for certain reforms and actions on the part of the common Imperial adminstration.

Now, the US would have to be dragged in somehow... how about over Japan? If we hamstring Meiji's reforms, given US Pacific interests I could see them trying to integrate the islands into the informal commercial Empire. Way more profitable than the Phillipenes. If Russia has been given carte blanche by Britain in China, we could easily see Washington and St. Petersburg relations go as cold as both ends of the Bering Strait as the former tries to get a Open Door where the Czar has locked it down tight, while Russia will resent the US for pressing into Japan which they thought was "There's". Add in the vast difference in the political cultures and the influx of immigrants to the US from those Eastern European nations under Russian oppresion (Poles, Lithuanians, ect.) in the late 19th/early 20th century and have them integrated into the Irish American parts of the Democratic political machines, and I could see that party adopting a Anti-Absolutist/ Wilsonian Idealism plank a little earlier, especially if there's no "American Empire" formally as a result of no Spainish-American war (Or, maybe just one with no territorial gains and the territories freed into self-government) that could lead to more activist Monroe Doctrine idea to move just from "No new European influence" to "European influence must actively be removed from our Hemisphere. Venezuelan dispute than has a reason to boil hotter, maybe even having the US expand it to the question of the Falklands and Belize.
 
Indeed: that's the paradox here. The simple fact is this scenario requires the UK, US, or Germany to be, international politics speaking, in two places at once so interests overlap in a way that produces the alliance structure. Germany, by nessecity (both in it's positioning and the requirement of the scenario to be against France and Russia) has to put the lion's share of its attention on the Continent (See Bismark's Map of Africa comment for the spirit of that principal), while the US is for no shortage of reasons turned inwards on the Western Hemisphere. Thus, you need a UK who feels they need to stick their fingers in both those pies and feels confident in it's ability to do so, while simutaniously seeing Germany as sufficently more threatening than France or Russia to be willing to actively push for a situation that would increase those nation's position. That's a very, VERY narrow window of difference in power distribution, especially if we assume US and German industrial prospects of anything like the pattern that's been taking off in both since essentially the 1840's.

However, I assume we have to push the POD at least post-Unification, which essentially traps us with South Europe and the Pacific as the main zone of political-economic flexibility. Hence the Italians, Austrians, Japan and Ottomans being the main nation's who's metaphorical "weight" and alignment we can work with. Taking Japan out of the equation as a power might also help here: East Asia being a bone of contention between Britain and Russia. Feeling obliged to concede northern China,Korea, and Japan to Russian influence to secure India due to lacking a viable regional counterweight would pull Russian investment and expansionist interests eastward and into Siberian development , reducing pressure on the Ottomans and allowing the resurgance to occur (perhaps by the British feeding the capital and expertise that otherwise facilitated Japanese crash development into the Caliphate?). Combine that with butterflies that produce less development and greater internal strife in AH: maybe the result of a "Great Game" between France and Germany in the Balkans as the former seeks to undermine German's ally and earn the good will of and strengthen Italy as a baton to wave at their rival's southern flank,and Germany is propping up it's one big remaining friend, and you could have the OE and Austria in a contest as Russia bows out of the regional contest. Austria backs a Serbian client regeime and Greek ambitions, French and Italians promote the Croats and Tyrolian/Istrian Italians, Ottomans get Bulgaria to stay loyal and Romania to align with them, and all the while the Magyars get surlier and play everybody off one another to pry out greater concessions by either providing or withholding concent for certain reforms and actions on the part of the common Imperial adminstration.

Now, the US would have to be dragged in somehow... how about over Japan? If we hamstring Meiji's reforms, given US Pacific interests I could see them trying to integrate the islands into the informal commercial Empire. Way more profitable than the Phillipenes. If Russia has been given carte blanche by Britain in China, we could easily see Washington and St. Petersburg relations go as cold as both ends of the Bering Strait as the former tries to get a Open Door where the Czar has locked it down tight, while Russia will resent the US for pressing into Japan which they thought was "There's". Add in the vast difference in the political cultures and the influx of immigrants to the US from those Eastern European nations under Russian oppresion (Poles, Lithuanians, ect.) in the late 19th/early 20th century and have them integrated into the Irish American parts of the Democratic political machines, and I could see that party adopting a Anti-Absolutist/ Wilsonian Idealism plank a little earlier, especially if there's no "American Empire" formally as a result of no Spainish-American war (Or, maybe just one with no territorial gains and the territories freed into self-government) that could lead to more activist Monroe Doctrine idea to move just from "No new European influence" to "European influence must actively be removed from our Hemisphere. Venezuelan dispute than has a reason to boil hotter, maybe even having the US expand it to the question of the Falklands and Belize.
I think that sounds really good. Thanks for that eminent contrib! I also like it that you have Russia getting the US dragged in before we actually have a UK-US clash. I think I was getting a little too focused on everything having to start with the UK and the US, but there are many ways to get to a plausible and fairly recognizable World War around the turn of the century, with the US as CP (at least as co-belligerent, if not formally part of a Triple+ Alliance).

Now I think we have something to start with before we come to the part that is much loved on this board (and by me), namely ATL military comparisons and speculations :). If we assume levels of military and naval development follow much the same trajectory, the UK should be able to push the US out of its spheres of interest, at least in the short term if the war is somewhen around 1895-1900. But it need not necessarily be so. Since the scenario is only an outline, both the UK and the US could have expanded their navies (even) more than OTL, in response to each other or problems within their perceived part of the "pie" (read: sphere of interest). There could also have been minor wars with sea action that could have shaped naval development in a different trajectory, with regard to esp. the development of the battleship. And if we butterfly Kaiser Bill a bit, maybe Germany goes all Jeune École and no big HSF to worry the British for contest of the North Sea.

Land: Anything seems possible, esp. in Europe, but I imagine a similar very strong development of the German army and the French doing their best to follow - particularly in order to make their influence felt in the Balkans. Germany also needs to prop up AH, likely, and station troops both to guard against Russia and France. If the development in France takes a more radical turn away from OTL we might even see a revanchist attack on Germany to get their lost provinces back (assuming the Franco-Prussian war plays out more or less OTL).

Well, there's a lot to think about. I'll have to do it in bits here and there :)
 
If the US doesn't extend any credit to either side from the start of the war, the Central powers are way ahead of the game. Likewise if the UK make a harsher blockade than IOTL and makes the US mad over non war materials, this is something might get the US to get on the CP side early.
 
I think that sounds really good. Thanks for that eminent contrib! I also like it that you have Russia getting the US dragged in before we actually have a UK-US clash. I think I was getting a little too focused on everything having to start with the UK and the US, but there are many ways to get to a plausible and fairly recognizable World War around the turn of the century, with the US as CP (at least as co-belligerent, if not formally part of a Triple+ Alliance).

Now I think we have something to start with before we come to the part that is much loved on this board (and by me), namely ATL military comparisons and speculations :). If we assume levels of military and naval development follow much the same trajectory, the UK should be able to push the US out of its spheres of interest, at least in the short term if the war is somewhen around 1895-1900. But it need not necessarily be so. Since the scenario is only an outline, both the UK and the US could have expanded their navies (even) more than OTL, in response to each other or problems within their perceived part of the "pie" (read: sphere of interest). There could also have been minor wars with sea action that could have shaped naval development in a different trajectory, with regard to esp. the development of the battleship. And if we butterfly Kaiser Bill a bit, maybe Germany goes all Jeune École and no big HSF to worry the British for contest of the North Sea.

Land: Anything seems possible, esp. in Europe, but I imagine a similar very strong development of the German army and the French doing their best to follow - particularly in order to make their influence felt in the Balkans. Germany also needs to prop up AH, likely, and station troops both to guard against Russia and France. If the development in France takes a more radical turn away from OTL we might even see a revanchist attack on Germany to get their lost provinces back (assuming the Franco-Prussian war plays out more or less OTL).

Well, there's a lot to think about. I'll have to do it in bits here and there :)
I'm glad to hear you enjoy this. I can definately understand why most people assume the main clash would be between the UK and US: most scenarios don't get into the kind of events that shift the long-term areas of geopolitical focus of nations this late in the game, since this is generally hard to reliably expand on, and produces (roughly) the same list of powers with (roughly) similar distributions of population and industrial power. Shifting the core international rivalries is hard than because real hot rivalries depend on having vastly conflicting interests in the same area. As long as the rest of Europe is focused on... well, Europe, and the Americans in America, than of course its hard to create major tensions between the US and anybody other than the UK.

So far as the military comparisions go, I'll have to put a little more thought into the naval balance but I think we can assume Britain builds up more or less on the same policy as IOTL: namely, a "Two Power Doctrine" (Which is likely to be the US and either France or Russia). As for the Continental Entente, both have a potential to put a great focus on building up a Blue Water fleet: if the Germans go the route of a fleet than France likely emerges with the 3rd biggest fleet when combined with the more expansive reach of commerce into East Asia and Africa (Since we're assuming a better deal via Britain to avoid Franco-British tensions), while if not I'd think Russia would do so (mainly in the Pacific) as her own "Crown Jewel" of Northern China nesscitates a strong naval presence both to faciliate commerce, keep the guns trained on the port cities to stop the Chinese from doing anything funny, and to challange/protect against American influence. The US, meanwhile, also needs to build up a bigger navy in three theatures: The Pacific (to secure Japan) The Gulf, and the Atlantic. This strain of having to run two naval races at once (aginst the RN and Russians) may allow the Entente to outbuild them even in the long term, especially if the US is also funding a larger regular army based on a land arms race with the Canadians (OF course, that's more a losing proposition for the Entente). The US, for political reasons, can't channel as much of her national resources towards the fleet as the British and Russians with their stronger military establishments and narrower franchises, though she does have the advantage of being able to keep a politically reliable National Guard system that helps her build up long-term on land. It also woulden't be wise to totally discount the Ottomans: there was a period in the mid-1800's where they had a rather impressive fleet and building tradition, before Abdul Hamid neglected it out of lack of funds and worries about their political reliablity. Assuming they're in a more robust position and have reached an understanding with Russia to the point they don't have to overly focus on the security of the Black Sea, they could have a solid 2nd tier force that could outplay Austria in the Med., especially if development in the later is hamstrung. That's actually highly likely in a high Vienna-Budapest tension scenario, as one of the major industrial shipyard centers (Zara) is under Magyar control and the other (Trieste) under Austrian, and they'd need to invest more of their tighter military budget to bolster their position in the Balkans.

Under those conditions, I agree its highly likely Germany dosen't risk the High Seass Fleet idea. given (IF Britain has given France the keys to Africa) Germany is less likely to be able to work out the deals with its hated rival to pick up actually valuble chunks of territory (like German East Africa and Camaroon) that it did IOTL. They also can't overly build up manpower numbers due to the concerns of the officer corps (unless we assume a different governmental culture... which if we have a more liberal influence may actually be likely), though the money could to put into fortresses and increased firepower. If we have the fonflict break out in 1900-ish, though, that's irrelevent as the Germans historically haden't built up very much anyways in that reguard, meaning there's no money to re-invest. What ships they have can be hemmed in by French Navy (Who dosen't have to concentrate in the Med. as IOTL, due to the "CP" not having much in the way of forces there), unable to do much more than sustain the flow of raw materials from Scandinavia. Since this is also Pre-Kiel Canal, we might also see the German navy (what there is of it) divided by a Denmark that closes the Straits under the risks of... well, a centennial celebration of the last Copenhagen, which could shift things enough to allow for a "close blockade" that dosen't alienate the neutrals? Belgium and the Dutch would have to be kept honest; not hard for the later with Paris staring them down but a little less so for the later. Maybe the Dutch have been aligned to Germany anyways and are part of the CP, allowing that potential airway to be closed off?
 
There is a thread here that discusses the military potential and consequences of a CP-aligned US, out of the blue in August 1914 - but with no clear POD. All agree, though, that the Entente is doomed - the point of contention is when.

I thought it would be interesting to look at actual scenarios that could lead to:

1) A war with UK, France and Russia vs. (at minimum) Germany, AH and the US in the years between 1880 and 1920, give or take.

2) Scenarios which the Entente would actually have a chance of winning (presumably as early as possible in the time frame given).

What possible scenarios can you think of for this one? I realize that butterflies may ruin it, but it would be nifty to see a scenario as close to our WWI as possible but where you actually give the Entente a chance of beating a CP coalition that includes the US.
Depending on how contrived of a POD you allow then a late US entry to what is mostly OTL's war could still translate into an Entente victory (meaning victory in Europe, white peace in the Americas). As I outlined here.
 
Depending on how contrived of a POD you allow then a late US entry to what is mostly OTL's war could still translate into an Entente victory (meaning victory in Europe, white peace in the Americas). As I outlined here.
Thank you!

(And surprise, surprise - if you can imagine an AH somebody's already done it on AH.com;))
 
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All: Thanks so far for contribs. Check the link SealTheRealDeal sent. Not quite the same premise but close enough for interesting discussion inspiration, esp. as regards the potential naval scenarios. Anyway, I have RL stuff to do here so might not be back before a day or so. Look forward to it!
 
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Depending on how contrived of a POD you allow then a late US entry to what is mostly OTL's war could still translate into an Entente victory (meaning victory in Europe, white peace in the Americas). As I outlined here.
The Entente war economies by that late in the game were already deeply constructed on a framework of American raw materials that could be obtained will American credit. Those sources suddenly disappearing would be a massive shock to every supply chain that would utterly shatter Entente logistics; they might be able to hold a defense at higher costs in Europe,but you won't be able to fuel any offensives that would put the pressure on Europe. Germany will be in a great position in such a timeline to stabilize it's position, especially with the tensions in the east winding down as well, and can either dig in over the winter and dare the Entente to come at them with much lower stocks of shells and such, wind up for a knock-out punch on Italy, or even demobalize some men to help with spring planting to ease the food burdan.
 
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