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What if US decided to send troops to Rhineland in 1936?

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  • What if US decided to send troops to Rhineland in 1936?

    From Wikipedia - Re-militarization of the Rhineland, Einstein's 1939 letter to Roosevelt.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Remilit..._the_Rhineland

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Einstei...C3%A1rd_letter

    It is March 14, 1936. President Franklin Roosevelt is greatly disturbed by the German Re-militarization of the Rhineland, which took place the week before. That day he receives a letter from US immigrant and German emigrant Albert Einstein. This letter mentions some of Hitler's moves to militarize and his moves against the Jews, and it also mentions significant research being undertaken in nuclear physics by leading German scientists including Heisenberg, which Einstein states MAY lead to weapons of enormous power.

    Roosevelt is greatly disturbed by this, and consults informally over several weeks with some leading Americans in and out of government. Some of the people not in government he consults with include leading Republicans Henry Stimson and Frank Knox.

    Roosevelt secretly contacts the French and British governments. It is decided the US will send a regiment of troops and a squadron of bombers to France as a "training exercise" for the US Army and Navy. Roosevelt does this with the tacit approval of Congress by giving in on some New Deal issues where he had encountered significant opposition, and by making other deals and arm-twisting.

    Arrangements are made to send a regiment to France, and plans are made to gradually increase the deployment if necessary.

    What happens from this point?
    Last edited by lakechampainer; 12 Jun 14, 15:40.

  • #2
    Without a treaty, it would mean nothing, and an isolationist Congress wasn't about to join a European alliance. Once war was declared in 1939, the troops would have been called home.

    If they were in place in 1940, they would have been interred and sent home by the Germans.

    Not a lot of options to get the US into the war early, really. As torpedoing one of our DDs proved, Congress wasn't interested.
    Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

    Comment


    • #3
      Without the French and Britain it would hsve little meaning. At the time only France had the military means to call hitler. Because he wasn't challenged then he basically was give a free pass for is later actions. France paid dearly for their lack of action then.
      "Ask not what your country can do for you"

      Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

      youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

      Comment


      • #4
        I'm thinking more in terms of the resolve of the US and the two big allies (obviously Italy is now on Germany's side)being shown to Hitler, and probably more importantly to the German military and industrial and aristocratic power centers. Certainly the military and industrial classes understand the industrial strength of the US, and they realize they didn't even really encounter it full-bore in WW I.

        I think perhaps also through backchannels word is sent to Germany that, look, no matter what we might say in public, we don't we really care how you act on your eastern front.

        Also, I'm thinking Britain just gives lip-service to protesting the re-militarization, as they had in fact already talked about allowing it (see Wikipedia article). But I can see maybe France being a lot tougher with the US's industrial and probably more importantly here financial strength behind them (see Wikipedia article about French financial weakness).

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Arnold J Rimmer View Post
          Without a treaty, it would mean nothing, and an isolationist Congress wasn't about to join a European alliance. Once war was declared in 1939, the troops would have been called home.

          If they were in place in 1940, they would have been interred and sent home by the Germans.

          Not a lot of options to get the US into the war early, really. As torpedoing one of our DDs proved, Congress wasn't interested.
          From 36 to 40 you made a big jump. You mix rl into a what if. Even with only one inf reg in place and a few supporting aircraft, Hitler would have known that if he attacked he would also be at war with the US as well as France and the CW. The question is would that have stopped him from invading France.
          "Ask not what your country can do for you"

          Left wing, Right Wing same bird that they are killing.

          youíre entitled to your own opinion but not your own facts.

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
            I'm thinking more in terms of the resolve of the US and the two big allies (obviously Italy is now on Germany's side)being shown to Hitler, and probably more importantly to the German military and industrial and aristocratic power centers. Certainly the military and industrial classes understand the industrial strength of the US, and they realize they didn't even really encounter it full-bore in WW I.

            I think perhaps also through backchannels word is sent to Germany that, look, no matter what we might say, we don't we really care how you act on your eastern front.
            Interesting. I see your point.

            A lot would depend on the quality of intelligence the Germans had on the USA. In RL, the isolationist movement had a lot of power-FDR was forced to promise that 'no American boy would die in a European war'.

            While FDR wanted into the fight, he needed a broad base of support.
            Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

            Comment


            • #7
              I agree, that Roosevelt needed that broad base of support, and it was hard enough to get it in later years. It is a real stretch to see the US public as a whole and the power structure agreeing to this. The only way I can see it all, is more or less the way I presented it, that somehow Roosevelt saw this as the issue of his presidency all of a sudden because of Einstein's 3 year early letter (which in fact would have anticipated the science in a big way), and he called in much of his capital by backing off on the new deal, etc.

              If SOMEHOW that happened, I actually see Germany being stopped, or at least stopped for a number of years, while it looks east, against the USSR which we know was much hated and feared by the Western ruling classes.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
                I agree, that Roosevelt needed that broad base of support, and it was hard enough to get it in later years. It is a real stretch to see the US public as a whole and the power structure agreeing to this. The only way I can see it all, is more or less the way I presented it, that somehow Roosevelt saw this as the issue of his presidency all of a sudden because of Einstein's 3 year early letter (which in fact would have anticipated the science in a big way), and he called in much of his capital by backing off on the new deal, etc.

                If SOMEHOW that happened, I actually see Germany being stopped, or at least stopped for a number of years, while it looks east, against the USSR which we know was much hated and feared by the Western ruling classes.
                I don't know.

                Without a treaty US forces in France on training are a non-event. As the Rueben James proved, Congress and the voters weren't about to go to war over a few dead servicemen.

                And I can't see Hitler going east with France to his back, and France was the obvious easier knock-out, simply because of depth of land.

                Plus I believe Hitler had a significant emotional issue with France.

                If FDR really got that motivated, I would think a better plan would be to work to counter the Soviet-German Non-Aggression Pact, which made the war possible. If FDR could ensure a better economic package than Germany, Hitler would not have moved in '39. He either needed Stalin on the sidelines or a much more developed military.
                Any man can hold his place when the bands play and women throw flowers; it is when the enemy presses close and metal shears through the ranks that one can acertain which are soldiers, and which are not.

                Comment


                • #9
                  I might add another "random event" into my timeline: in this (the alternate) timeline, a month or two before Roosevelt suffers a minor stroke or "shock" as they used to call them, which has made him quite aware of his mortality. This would perhaps cause him to focus on foreign affairs, and attempt to to put into permanent place some of the New Deal programs he felt were non-negotiable, such as Social Security.

                  I think it inevitable that at some point Germany and the USSR/Russia were going to have it out in the greatest land war of all time.

                  I think it inevitable that at some point the US and Japan were going to have it out in the greatest naval war of all time.

                  EDIT: I don't take it as a given that Stalin's purge of his Generals and others would necessarily take place to the extent it actually did. Wikipedia says "The Great Purge" took place from 1934-1940, with the worst in 1937-1938. He may have seen a more immediate threat from the Germans, or maybe his power might have been in some way checked, or....

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Purge

                  EDIT: Certainly if the USSR/Russia lost a war/lost power, the Japanese "Strike North" proponents may have had their way in the short term, but I still see the US and Japanese navies battling it out at some point.

                  Regarding "Strike North"
                  http://worldatwarmagazine.com/wp-con...eadarticle.pdf

                  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battles_of_Khalkhin_Gol
                  Last edited by lakechampainer; 12 Jun 14, 18:22.

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    The first actual deployment the US does is it deploys a squadron of Martin B-10s from the 2nd Bomb Group at Langley Field. The unit flies from Langley to Newfoundland to Ireland to France, via a route which in reality was more or less the World War II North Atlantic Air Ferry Route. The squadron is the 97th Bombardment Squadron commanded by Captain Richard E Nugent.

                    The USAAF etc. don't make a very big attempt to hide landings, etc. from Luftwaffe intelligence.

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Martin_B-10

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langley_Field

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2d_Operations_Group

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bombardment_group

                    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/North_A...n_World_War_II

                    ----------------------------

                    A question I have - how many bombers in a squadron in 1936? I don't think it is the 15 or so of the WW II USAAF. I'm thinking maybe 7 to 10.

                    Another question - what would be a good location in France in 1936 for the squadron's "training exercise?"

                    Captain Nugent was a real person - an excerpt from the 2nd Operations Group wikipedia article.

                    excerpt
                    To further attest the groupís capabilities, three 97th Bombardment Squadron Martin B-10B aircraft commanded by Capt. Richard E. Nugent departed Langley Field, Va., and successfully bombed a target 600 miles away in Michigan during the Second Army Maneuvers. This mission, flown almost entirely in inclement weather, garnered the squadron the 1936 Mackay Trophy.
                    Last edited by lakechampainer; 12 Jun 14, 19:41.

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                    • #11
                      About the actual US post WW I occupation of The Rhineland

                      http://www.history.army.mil/books/AM...2/chapter2.htm

                      OCCUPATION OF THE RHINELAND
                      Pursuant to the terms of the Armi-
                      stice ending Western Front hostilities
                      on November 11, 1918, the Allies (Belgium, France, Great Britain, and
                      the United States) constituted forces
                      that would occupy the German Rhine-
                      land. British forces occupied the area
                      on its left, with French forces on its
                      right. The Third Army entered Luxem-bourg on November 20 and was
                      surprised by the warm reception from
                      the German-speaking Luxembourgers.
                      Proceeding to the Rhine, Third Army
                      forces entered Germany on Decem-
                      ber 1 and again were greeted with
                      some warmth by most Germans, who
                      for the most part were relieved not to be under the sway of the French. The American occupation of German territory proceeded largely without incident, though German attitudes toward the occupiers cooled after the
                      Peace Conference at Versailles. Political disagreements between the American and French commanders led General Pershing to comply willingly with U.S. government desires to return American forces to the United States as rapidly as possible. The last U.S. troops on the Rhine departed for home in January 1923.



                      Luxembourgers Greeting the American Army of Occupation, 1918

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                      • #12
                        Regarding shipping a regiment to France, the US decides to send an infantry regiment from the 1st Infantry Division, along with appropriate support troops. The division was one of only four divisions at full strength. It was assigned to the 2nd Corps area, which was headquartered at Fort Jay, New York. The commander of the deployment would be the divisional commander. A battalion each of National Guard troops were called up from NY, NJ, and PA to replace the departed regiment, which was part of the deal made to get political support.

                        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/1st_Inf...ited_States%29

                        Again, there was no great attempt to keep preparations hidden from German or German-American eyes. And plans were made to lease US liners to transport the personnel and US freighters to move equipment. Again, done with gaining support/buying support in mind.
                        (Any thoughts if better done by the US Navy directly?)
                        (Any thoughts on the make-up of the supporting navy escorts?)

                        excerpt on the division during the interwar period.

                        Interwar period


                        This article needs additional citations for verification. Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed. (December 2011) The 1st Division returned to the Continental U.S. in September 1919, demobilized its war-time TO&E at Camp Zachary Taylor at Louisville, Kentucky, and then returned to New York, with its headquarters located at Fort Hamilton in Brooklyn.

                        The First Division Monument located in President's Park, Washington, D.C.


                        On 7 October 1920, the 1st Division organized under the peacetime TO&E, which included two organic infantry brigades of two infantry regiments each, one engineer regiment; one observation squadron; one field artillery brigade of two field artillery regiments; one medical regiment; one division quartermaster train; and a special troops command replacing the remainder of the division train. The total authorized strength of this TO&E was 19,385. 1st Division was one of three infantry divisions and one cavalry division that was authorized to remain at full peacetime strength, and it was the only Regular Army division assigned to the Second Corps Area, which also included the 27th Infantry Division of the New York National Guard; the 44th Infantry Division of the New Jersey, New York, and Delaware National Guards; the 21st Cavalry Division of the New York, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, and New Jersey National Guards; and the 77th, 78th, and 98th Infantry Divisions and the 61st Cavalry Division of the Organized Reserves. This was the organization that existed in the Second Corps Area for the duration of the peace period.
                        1st Division adopted a new peacetime TO&E in preparation for war on 8 January 1940, which included three infantry regiments, one military police company, one engineer battalion, one signal company, one light field artillery regiment of three field artillery battalions and one medium field artillery regiment of two field artillery battalions, one medical battalion, and one quartermaster battalion. The authorized strength of this TO&E was 9,057 officers and enlisted men. 1st Infantry Division reorganized again on 1 November 1940 to a new TO&E, which added a reconnaissance troop, and organized the two field artillery regiments into a division artillery command, and beefed up the strength to a total authorized strength of 15,245 officers and enlisted men.
                        Last edited by lakechampainer; 12 Jun 14, 20:31.

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by lakechampainer View Post
                          The first actual deployment the US does is it deploys a squadron of Martin B-10s from the 2nd Bomb Group at Langley Field. The unit flies from Langley to Newfoundland to Ireland to France, via a route which in reality was more or less the World War II North Atlantic Air Ferry Route. The squadron is the 97th Bombardment Squadron commanded by Captain Richard E Nugent.
                          You might add a Captain Maitland to the squadrons staff. Maitland had a strong technical background in long distance flight, and had engineered the first USAC flight from Hawaii to the US mainland in the 1920s.

                          Unfortunatly 1st Lt Doolittle was not in active service at this time. He had quit active duty a few years earlier and was working for a oil company.

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                          • #14
                            My guess is if Roosevelt proposed U. S. troops to occupy the German Rhineland (note proposed, it would have been defeated overwhelmingly in Congress), there is a chance we see Alf Landon beating him in the fall 1936 presidential election. People had had enough of war in the Great war, they would not want interference in Europe especially with an action that would be considered an act of war.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Foxwood20 View Post
                              My guess is if Roosevelt proposed U. S. troops to occupy the German Rhineland (note proposed, it would have been defeated overwhelmingly in Congress), there is a chance we see Alf Landon beating him in the fall 1936 presidential election. People had had enough of war in the Great war, they would not want interference in Europe especially with an action that would be considered an act of war.
                              Certainly a good possibility that he would be not be re-elected. If it were to have had any chance of happening, Roosevelt would have had to have sold the idea in "Fireside Chats".

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fireside_chats

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_...election,_1936

                              Just from glancing at the article on the election, it does seem safe to assume that Landon would still have been the republican candidate.

                              Edit: Wikipedia article on Herbert Hoover, who was of course as the past president still a major player in the republican party, although at this time still quite unpopular (popularity would start to rise again in 1937/38). He and Roosevelt did not get along well. In the event the Democrats ran as much against Hoover as the candidate Landon. Hoover also could have been important regarding the Rhineland, as he was the driving force behind Belgian relief efforts during WW I.

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Herbert_Hoover
                              Last edited by lakechampainer; 13 Jun 14, 21:39.

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