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  • Had the U.S joined the Central Powers

    How would the war have went if the U.S had joined the Central powers in WWI.
    "You can tell a lot about a fella's character by whether he picks out all of one color or just grabs a handful." -explaining why Reagan liked to have a jar of jelly beans on hand for important meetings

    CO for 1st S.INC Shock Security Troop

  • #2
    If the U.S. could get supplies to Germany, a Central powers Victory. The U.S. supplies would have to get through somehow--a combined U.S./German vs. British fleet action to get a route thru the North Sea? A Mediterranean push to get supplies through Turkey or Austria?

    The problem is getting through the allied navies to support the other Central Powers.

    I don't think a D-Day type invasion of either Britain or France was doable from the U.S. in those days.

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    • #3
      The loss of US raw materials & grain would have been catastrophic for the Allies. Aside from cutting off items from the US itself it would be increasingly difficult to sustain shipments from Canada and Central & South America.

      Uboats based in the US would vastly complicate the British ASW. The British problem of guarding against German surface raiders and sorties by US raiders and fleet groups is not a simple one.

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      • #4
        Granted Britain would suffer, but Germany was suffering already, so the U.S. is not helping Germany and the Uboats aren't built to get all the way across the Atlantic.

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        • #5
          Actually the German submairnes could cross the Atlantic so as to base in US ports. For most models a base transfer would not be a problem. US supply ships could also aid them on patrols.

          Germany was suffering, but the Allies were on the edge in many ways. Chemicals & other raw materials from overseas were critical to the Allied war effort. I've been told there were no reserves of of nitrates in Britian or France for explosives production & local supplies were susposedly suffcient for only one third of Allied ammuntion production. Similar situations existed for criical aloys for weapons manufactor. I've no idea what the food reserves were in Britian or France were in 1917. Could they sustain a winter of reduced imports from North & South america?

          Another question is the effect on the Allied finances. By 1917 US guarntees and loans were sustaining the payroll for the Allied war. US support for the Germans implies this financial support would not occur, damaging Allied finances long before the US actually joined the war. Were an abrupt change in finacial policy to occur in 1917, with acess to US cash suddenly ceasing the finances of the Allies would become chaotic.

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          • #6
            World War I U-boats could cross the Atlantic even though early WW-II boats were short range and couldn't? Can you give a source for this?

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            • #7
              Certainly. Here are two, an old book on my shelf & a web site I found.

              From ‘The Killing Time (Edwyn A Gray - Schribners) U53 Captained by Hans Rose made a “pironering raid” on American waters in October 1916. Here is a link to stats on the U53. Note the theoretical crusing range of 9,400 miles for this class

              http://uboat.net/wwi/types/index.html?type=U+51

              The larger Deutchland type, of which seven were built had a crusing range double that of the U53.

              http://uboat.net/wwi/types/index.html?type=U+151

              These were converted from the merchant configuration to warship from late 1916 & were able to make raids in US waters from May 1917. Three more large purpose built war subs were built in 1917. Long range raids south of the Azores to the sea lanes to the Cape of Good Hope were made. One of these cruises by the U151 totaled a little over 12,000 miles.

              http://uboat.net/wwi/types/index.html?type=U+139

              The U117, an example of the Mittel-U type or class was lost off the US coast in late 1917. This is an example of a intermeadiate size patroling off the US coast.

              http://uboat.net/wwi/types/index.html?type=Mittel+U

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              • #8
                in the very far-fetched what it that the US finaly joined the Central Powers (perhaps recognizing that they were a much better guarant of democracy and stability, and a barrier against communism) the Entente would have been immediately demoralized and sent into surrender for fear of lack of supply (from it's empires) and having to fight a naval war against a superior Navy (the US navy was quite powerfull by 1917).

                end game there and then.
                "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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                • #9
                  Thanks for the U-boat info--that makes it evewn better for the US?German combo.

                  End games are not simple--no nation surrenders just because the odds look bad but the U.S. Germany etc. combo could win, despite a lack of supplies to Germany.

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                  • #10
                    The Brits were still a nasty opponent. No guarantees US taking the German side is a automatic win.

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                    • #11
                      How well supplied where the US armed forces before WW1?

                      I mean, what was the state of the US navy in 1914, and how well equiped weas the army?

                      Because when the US arrived in Europe, whern't they mostly equipped with British/French equipment?

                      Of course, the US would likely recieve plans from Germany for producing airplanes, etc.


                      And if the US sided with Germany, would Japan follow suit and anne British/French holdings in the Far East like they did with Germany's holdings?

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                      • #12
                        Japan would have decided where's its advantage was and chose accordingly.

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                        • #13
                          How well supplied where the US armed forces before WW1?

                          I mean, what was the state of the US navy in 1914, and how well equiped weas the army?

                          The US Army was little more than a training cadre. The reserve consisted of state militias that were equipped for riot control. Equipment for a field army was sufficient for a weak corps, and scattered across the continent. The Quartermaster corps was particularly badly organized & dominted by beurcrats & corrupt contractors. The coastal artillery corps was technically capable & had some heavy cannon, but these were incapable of covering more than a few key ports on the vast US coast.

                          The US Navy was large, reasonablly organized, technically proficient and reasonablly equipped. By 1915 (if not in 1914) the Brit Navy had some technical and training advantage. War plan Red (Yes there was a plan for fighting Britian. Plan Black was for Germany) contemplated keeping the US battle fleet near the US coast, where it had the advantage in terms of operational range. Raiders, mostly cruisiers & the short legged US subs, would intercept Allied cargo ships throughout the Atlantic. When Allied squadrons sortied to secure the sea lanes the US battle fleet would watch for opportunities to sortie & destroy them. Combined ops with a German fleet were considered but thought difficult since neither fleet really had the tactical range. Until a base for one or the other was established in the Atlantic the limits of combined fleet ops would be coordinating raiders.

                          Unlike the German crusier raiders of 1914 the US raiders would have secure bases to sortie from on the Eastern Coast. & a battle fleet to cover them.

                          "Japan would have decided where's its advantage was and chose accordingly."

                          Japan committed to the Allied cause in 1914. The idea of Japan taking the German side rolls the political considerations back to that year. Thisis probablly appropriate since the commitment of the US to the German side also reaches back to then & earlier in political terms.

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                          • #14
                            If the U.S. joined Germany in 1914 Japan may have decided to go after Russia again or try for French/Britian possessions in Asia and the Pacific.

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                            • #15
                              What scenario are we dealing with here? Is it that a more interventionist US is a member of the Quadruple Alliance in 1914, persuaded to join perhaps by a border incident with Canada or a diplomatic incident with Japan? In that case, the BEF may well be forced to split its troops between Belgium and Canada in order to reinforce the frontier. The Royal Navy, meanwhile, finds its force of capital ships divided between the North Sea and the Atlantic, reversing Fisher's attempt to concentrate in home waters and perhaps making it weak enough for the German navy to attempt a breakout in 1914 rather than 1916.

                              On the other hand, we might be dealing with American entry into WWI on the side of the Central Powers, some time around 1917. Presumably, in order to achieve this, the French were the first to use gas and the British introduce flamethrowers to help capture Neuve Chapelle. The Lusitania is sunk by HMS Queen Elizabeth, who in a moment of confusion assumes she's a German commerce raider. The British sound out Mexico about an alliance- the Balfour telegram?- which leads to war. In this highly unlikely case, the Allies are forced onto the defensive due to a lack of supplies, although there's no guarantee that the Germans and US combined could have broken the blockade.

                              In any case, I can't see Japan sitting idle during this war. However, since they've been allied to the British since 1902, and since all they've had to do is mop up a few German colonies, it most likely means bad news for America. Every island within their reach, including Hawaii and the Phillippines, would probably have a Japanese flag on it, and people on the western seaboard would have been making plans to move.
                              Fere libenter homines id quod volunt credunt

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