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What if the US had gone to war in 1939?

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  • #46
    Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
    FDR probably would have lost the 1940 Presidential election. His Republican successor would almost certainly have been an isolationist...

    I think the war would have gone very badly...Particularly if it US intervention lead Hitler and Stalin to extend their non-aggression pact.



    In 1939-1940, the US public sentiment was still very isolationist. Had FDR gone to war in 1939...the Republicans would have run an isolationist candidate. The 1940 race was much closer than FDR's 1936 re-election...An unpopular decision to go to war and an isolationist opponent might have been enough to unseat FDR and cause the USA to become even more isolationist.
    Isolationism? Is that possible when you still conduct trade with other Countries? It's certainly hard to call yourself isolated when you still take money.... I recently was told to throw out my notes on America as Isolationist.....
    "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

    BoRG

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    • #47
      Originally posted by The Doctor View Post
      FDR probably would have lost the 1940 Presidential election. His Republican successor would almost certainly have been an isolationist...

      I think the war would have gone very badly...Particularly if it US intervention lead Hitler and Stalin to extend their non-aggression pact.



      In 1939-1940, the US public sentiment was still very isolationist. Had FDR gone to war in 1939...the Republicans would have run an isolationist candidate. The 1940 race was much closer than FDR's 1936 re-election...An unpopular decision to go to war and an isolationist opponent might have been enough to unseat FDR and cause the USA to become even more isolationist.
      A US declaration of war is made by Congress, not the President. So if the US declares war on Germany it is only because the various isolationist factions had become to weak to oppose such a action in Congress.

      Why would a US DoW against Germany cause the USSR to extend a nonagression pact? Into 1939 Stalin actively sought a alliance with France against Germany. The negotiations broke down for several reasons, including the Soviets thinking Britian and France too weak. US participation does not counter any of the reasons the USSR sought a alliance against Germany. In any case it was Hitlers decision in 1941 to break the non agression treaty and attack the USSR, and to declare war on the US. So if he sought war vs the US why would a earlier US entry change his decision as to attacking the USSR?

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      • #48
        Originally posted by Paul Mann III View Post
        Isolationism? Is that possible when you still conduct trade with other Countries? It's certainly hard to call yourself isolated when you still take money.... I recently was told to throw out my notes on America as Isolationist.....
        Dont throw them out. But neither take it as gospel that the US voters would automaticly react against any forigen entanglements.

        Much of the lack of ethusiasim for supporting the European democracys in 1939 had to do with their lacklustre leaders. Chamberlain and Daladier, Halifax and Reynaud wore funny suits and had bad haircuts and did not grab the US population the same way Churchill or Stalin did.

        The isolationists were not a monolithic bloc, but a complex mix of differing agendas. Many who argued against joining a European war would abruptly argue for war if the enemy were Japan. Others had no sympathy for the Chinese, but were quite ethusiastic about fighting Facists in Europe.

        The America First organization and other groups were bankrolled by many prominent buisnesmen. Those found less incentive to support the isolationist politicians as nazi economic policys took hold over Europe, forcing US companys into doing business in Europe on increasingly less favorable terms.

        The complications in the US forigen policy debate of that era are endless and the sense of the US public not nearly as certain as some folks imagine.

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        • #49
          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
          If the US is backing France prior to Sep 1, 1939 there would be no war. I don't think even Hitler would have been so stupid as to risk war with Britain,
          He was certaily stupid enough to opt for war with the US in December 1941. The books tell us Hilter called the US population a mogrelized race and thought the US incapable of serious war as the Europeans fought it. (In one sense I suspose he was right )

          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
          France and the US over Poland. If the US is "undeclared" and Hitler makes the historical moves and is not waved off by the US name on the ultimatum then the US would be trounced along with the French and Brits in May 40.
          Yes certainly. The historical US military potiential for 1940 changes very little in the battle of France.

          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
          On the positive side, by 1941 Hitler would have already lost the U-boat war and Britain would have a large US force based on the isalnd for a 1942 invasion or the US army could have been available for operations in Africa, tghus destroying the Italians early and preventing any worthwhile intervention by Rommel. It is questionable whether Hitler would have been able to invade the USSR with as large a force as he did. If he goes ahead with a smaller force the German military is probably nearly shattered in Russia and not able to recover its position by Mar 42.
          Worst case for Germany is US participation leads to the French government retreating to Africa. US & eventually British reinforcements go straight through NW African ports and on to Tripoli.

          Meanwhile several hundred US pilots and aircraft are added to the Battle of Britian, killing even more of Goerings aircrew even faster than they can be replaced.

          Originally posted by The Purist View Post
          If the eastern front cannot be stabalised in the summer of 1942 and the allies land in France Germany is finished by the end of the year or early 1943 at the latest.
          I'm sure Brooke would have something to say about a 1942 invasion of occupied France, and there would Balkan or Italian adventures to distract from the big event. You are correct tho. The crisis is over much sooner, and the end for the Facist dream happens quicker.

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          • #50
            War would have been over much faster, as they would mobilized faster. Keep in mind however, the military sucked back then due to the Depression, and the war helped us get out of it. So it sucking back then is a mute point, as the increased production would have brought the army (and economy) up to speed.

            However, there would have been less motivation. No Pearl Harbor means it was another person's problem. So morale may have been lower, however the material/physical goods would have reached the same/higher levels.
            http://chickencrap.com/images/1472.jpg

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            • #51
              I wonder just how much the combat experince of 1940-41 (however limited) would have improved the quality of the US Military?

              Obviously direct & early fighting with the German submarines would be better than waiting until 1942 to make some serious mistakes.

              The flaws of the earlier aircraft designs would be better revealed. Ditto for tactics and doctrine.

              Participation in the 1940 European campaing and the subsequent African campaigns would percipitate many differences in US Army ground forces doctrine and training. Certainly dicipline and toughness of training would be less haphazard, with the Patton style of hard training much more common. Plus the tactics of techniques would be less theoretical and oriented more towards current combat experince.

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