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  • US involvement in WWI

    Would a lack of US intervention in WWI have caused major world changes?

    Ludendorff began an Offensive in March-April of 1918, with one of the major determinants being an attack before US troops deploy in strength.

    Would the Allies be defeated by the Central Powers? WOuld a lesser Aggrement have to be made with Germany, an equal peace treaty instead of the humiliating Versailles treaty? Would the outcome be the same, but with a less recognition/respect for the US coming in to WWII? Would the US become even more isolationist and refuse to help in WWII?

    Many questions, and I bet it has been brought up before, but hey, why not discuss it again!?

  • #2
    Originally posted by daemonofdecay
    Many questions, and I bet it has been brought up before, but hey, why not discuss it again!?
    It has, but why not.

    Germany was in a desperate position. Her Allies were on the brink of collapse, her internal politics rife with dissension, the British blockade biting hard. This is not to say that the Anglo-French led coalition was in a good position, even with American assistance on the way they were not considering going on to the offensive at least until 1919 or even 1920.

    Without American military assistance I think that the German offensive of 1918 would still have ultimately failed to secure a decisive victory. However, I doubt that the Allies could have defeated Germany militarily either. I suspect that internal politics would have swayed the day in the end, a peace treaty of some kind would have been agreed, probably as much to avert Bolshevik style revolutions in Germany and the former Habsburg Empire as anything else. It is even possible that the former enemies could have united to crush the Red Army and re-install the Tsarist monarchy, but under a British style constitution (Germany may well have gone the same way). Quite how the ethnic groups of the old Ottoman and Habsburg Empires would have ended up is very unclear (it's late and I'm half ) so I'll pass the baton on at this point.
    Signing out.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Full Monty
      Without American military assistance I think that the German offensive of 1918 would still have ultimately failed to secure a decisive victory.
      I don't agree. The US 3ID saved Paris. Had Paris fallen, I suspect the French would have been toast. Russia was already out and Italy was suffering. I don't think the UK would have gone on alone...I think they would have sued for peace and given Germany huge parts of Africa (from France) to cease the bloodshed. The Reds would still have risen up in Germany and Rosa Luxemburg would still have been shot. Germany would have been able to keep the Brest-Litovsk gains in the east (Poland, Ukraine, etc.). Hitler would have sold postcards in Vienna, there would have been no WW2, no space race, and there would be a German Empire today.
      Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
      Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


      "Never pet a burning dog."

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      • #4
        Without the US, there's no pushing the Germans back and 'forcing' a peace treaty. By getting rid of Versailles, you have no call to arms or situation for a Germany Rising and a WWII. There would likely have been a peace treaty similar to any number of peace treaties before where some land switches hands, some colonies switch flags, and some 'wrong' is 'righted'. This would likely leave a bad taste in the mouth for the British and French, but what can they do? They're spent, the Germans are spent, and there's nothing more either side can do break the stalemate; the Germans can't really go forward and the Western Allies certainly can't push them back into Germany.

        I think the 'world outcome' depends on whether the Germans could get to Paris or not, and I just don't know if they could. Either way, you don't have the stage set for a second world war; at least not with Hitler and the Nazis.
        If voting could really change things, it would be illegal.

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        • #5
          I agree with Janos and Chris. If the US didn't enter the war there is a very strong chance WW II would not occur and Europe would likely be far different than the way it became. With any luck there would never have been a Great Depression. That is the positive side. The negative is that the technologies that evolved because of WW II such as jet propulsion, radar and atomic energy would have occured far later or possibly not at all. The US may not have grown into the superpower it became. After all war is the greatest catalyst for technological change.
          Last edited by Lance Williams; 22 Sep 04, 13:34.
          Lance W.

          Peace through superior firepower.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by Janos
            I don't agree. The US 3ID saved Paris. Had Paris fallen, I suspect the French would have been toast. Russia was already out and Italy was suffering. I don't think the UK would have gone on alone...I think they would have sued for peace and given Germany huge parts of Africa (from France) to cease the bloodshed. The Reds would still have risen up in Germany and Rosa Luxemburg would still have been shot. Germany would have been able to keep the Brest-Litovsk gains in the east (Poland, Ukraine, etc.). Hitler would have sold postcards in Vienna, there would have been no WW2, no space race, and there would be a German Empire today.
            Don't agree that 3rd ID saved Paris. If one looks at the offensive the Germans were still some 50 or 60 miles from Paris (Belleau Wood and Chateau Thierry) and their offensive was running out of steam. They simply didn't have the logistical capabilities to maintain offensive operations, each of their attacks at that time were not sustained despite often spectacular opening gains. This is not to deny that American troops played a significant role, simply that it wasn't decisive imho. However, even if Paris had fallen I can't see the French giving up. As long as the British held firm, they'd suffered so many casualties that to surrender after all that sacrifice would have been unthinkable. But I think peace would have been inevitable one way or another much as I'd outlined above.

            Regarding the former Habsburg, Romanov and Ottoman Empires, I feel there would have been serious instability across their old territories. The exhausted European 'Great Powers' would have struggled to prevent the kind of 'ethnic cleansing' and extreme nationalism that was endemic in the Balkans quite recently and characterised Nazism/Fascism in the inter-war/WW2 period. Maybe a 'Hitler-like' figure would have emerged to try to unite the Slavs, or Kemal Ataturk could have attempted to re-take some of the old empire back for the Turks. Japan and the USA would probably still have 'squared-off' in the Pacific so somewhere another 'Great War' would have been sparked off.
            Signing out.

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Full Monty
              .....Japan and the USA would probably still have 'squared-off' in the Pacific so somewhere another 'Great War' would have been sparked off.
              Such a conflict was accurately predicted by US ex-patriot Homer Lea as early as 1909. Unfortunately for the USA, his work was hardly read in this country while it was hotly studied by a generation of Japanese officers.........
              Last edited by Lance Williams; 22 Sep 04, 16:23.
              Lance W.

              Peace through superior firepower.

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              • #8
                Originally posted by Full Monty
                Regarding the former Habsburg, Romanov and Ottoman Empires, I feel there would have been serious instability across their old territories. The exhausted European 'Great Powers' would have struggled to prevent the kind of 'ethnic cleansing' and extreme nationalism that was endemic in the Balkans quite recently and characterised Nazism/Fascism in the inter-war/WW2 period. Maybe a 'Hitler-like' figure would have emerged to try to unite the Slavs, or Kemal Ataturk could have attempted to re-take some of the old empire back for the Turks. Japan and the USA would probably still have 'squared-off' in the Pacific so somewhere another 'Great War' would have been sparked off.
                Well, by 1918 the Romanovs were already shot in the name of the people and the Ottomans were the "sick old man of Europe" so no argument there, but the German Empire was not a polyglot as the others were and I feel it could have been sustained.

                re Japan and US in Pac -- could well be. No argument from me on that one.
                Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                "Never pet a burning dog."

                RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Janos
                  Well, by 1918 the Romanovs were already shot in the name of the people and the Ottomans were the "sick old man of Europe" so no argument there, but the German Empire was not a polyglot as the others were and I feel it could have been sustained.
                  I think you've got mixed up a bit (or maybe it's my terminology ), by 'Habsburg' I'm referring to 'Austro-Hungarian' which was probably more 'polyglot' than any other European empire. Kaiser Wilhelm II was a Hohenzollern (although, like so many of the European royals of the time, he was a close cousin of George V of Great Britain).
                  Signing out.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Full Monty
                    I think you've got mixed up a bit (or maybe it's my terminology ), by 'Habsburg' I'm referring to 'Austro-Hungarian' which was probably more 'polyglot' than any other European empire. Kaiser Wilhelm II was a Hohenzollern (although, like so many of the European royals of the time, he was a close cousin of George V of Great Britain).
                    Roger, I know the terms. I screwed up by reading more into that I should have.
                    Barcsi János ispán vezérőrnagy
                    Time Magazine's Person of the Year for 2003 & 2006


                    "Never pet a burning dog."

                    RECOMMENDED WEBSITES:
                    http://www.mormon.org
                    http://www.sca.org
                    http://www.scv.org/
                    http://www.scouting.org/

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                    • #11
                      As early as August 12 (four days after the start of the Amiens offensive) Ludendorff was telling the Kaiser and the OHL that the war was lost. The blockade was crippling the civilian population and its industry, German allies were on the verge of collapse. All that remained to be seen was how long it would take the allies to win. The US Army provided fresh troops to take the pressure off the bloodied French and Brits and helped speed the final collapse. If the US army had not been present Germany might have held out for another month or two but in the end it was starvation and revolution in Germany that brought the final collapse, not defeat in France.
                      The Purist

                      Words ought to be a little wild, for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking - John Maynard Keynes.

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by Janos
                        Roger, I know the terms. I screwed up by reading more into that I should have.
                        Easily done

                        Regarding the American troops, I think their arrival (or even more, their anticipated arrival) was an important morale boost for the French and the British. It meant they could confidently make plans for a 1919 offensive, indeed Haig was asked to scale back his attacks on the Hindenburg Line in order to preserve troops for this very purpose. Thus, from a military perspective, when the Germans launched their offensives in 1918 the ground conceded was of little import as long as the defensive lines could be stabilised. It also had the opposite effect on the Germans who knew that failure to achieve a decisive victory in 1918 could only spell ultimate defeat.
                        Signing out.

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