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The Edith Keeler scenario

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  • The Edith Keeler scenario

    This past Labour Day weekend Canada's science fiction channel ("Space") had a marathon of the 10 best original Star Trek episodes. Not surprisingly, "The City on the Edge of Forever" was one (2nd only to "Mirror Mirror").

    One of the premises of the show is that a social activist named Edith Keeler had such an effect on US policy during the 30's that she delayed the US entry into WWII. This gives NAZI Germany the time to build the atom bomb and go on to rule the world.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Cit...dge_of_Forever

    Poppycock!

    However ... Is it conceivable that a charismatic leader, bent on isolationism and a peace movement in the 30's could have kept the US out of the war?

    Among other things, I believe this leader would need to alter US policy towards Japan. It's also likely that they would recieve help from the pro-German lobby, Henry Ford and the senior Kennedy come to mind.

    A US bent on isolationism doesn't cut the Lend-Lease arrangement, doesn't escort ships in the North Atlantic and adopts a concilliatory attitude toward Japan.

    How much would the US need to give away to stay out of the war?
    Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

  • #2
    FDR was seriously worried about Huey Long. I doubt he'd be a threat in
    1936 but 1940...the isolationists with a charismatic populist like him, and
    if Republicans desperately embraced him (and, hey, recently they became Sarah palin fans ) who knows.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post

      A US bent on isolationism doesn't cut the Lend-Lease arrangement, doesn't escort ships in the North Atlantic and adopts a concilliatory attitude toward Japan.

      How much would the US need to give away to stay out of the war?
      Quite a bit economically. One of the reasons the isolationists were losing traction is that a increasing number of their financial supporters were discovering nazi economic policies were of little benefit to the US. nazi policy towards South America proposed dominance there, threatening US business interests in Latin America. In Asia Japans control of the principle cities and ports of China, and the occupation of French Indochina was clearly cutting the US out of direct trade there. US businesses in the China trade were now required to deal with Japanese middlemen at disadvantages terms.

      In Europe the nazis still had the confidence of some of the most powerfull US businessmen like; Ford with automotive factories in Germany, Dupont with a partnership with IG Farben in several European countries, or Rockefeller with investments or partnerships in the Rumanian and Hungarian oil industry. For the smaller businessmen of little political value the nazis had decreasing use for.

      In China few if any US businesss in 1940 or 41 found themselves anywhere near the same position as in 1930 or 1935. This had clear implications for the future were Japan able to establish control over greater Asia.

      The arrogance and pure greed of the Japanese and nazi leaders of 1941 placed them squarely on a collision course with the US economically. How that would play out would depend on the various personalities of the leaders and their miscalculations.

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      • #4
        A more outgoing Lindbergh, perhaps?

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        • #5
          In WWI, America could have stayed out of the conflict and would have suffered very little economically. However, by WWII the "Global Economy" was already growing. America was already too dependent on international trade. American isolation would have meant a prolonging and deepening of the already old depression. It also would have been a tremendous loss of prestige among our international partners. Finally, it would have meant the loss of all overseas holdings, including the Philippines and possibly Midway and likely the Panama Canal.

          Worse, there would have been a rift between America and Britain that likely would never have healed.

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          • #6
            Polls taken in the late 1930s and into 1940 suggest that upwards 90% of US citizens would not fight to defend the US...even if the US was attacked. So one person or a small group of people could have prevented the US going to war.
            FDR conducted a two year program to get the US population ready to fight

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            • #7
              The only thing that saved FDR politically was that he was a consummate liar. He was actively putting the United States on the road to war with both Japan and Germany while telling the American people that he was solidly neutral. FDR committed brazenly illegal acts in order to support Great Britain.

              So, the American people thought they were being kept out of the war, when i in fact they were being pulled into the war.

              Had one of FDR's political opponents made all of this very public, FDR would have been toast. That is assuming that these political opponents had some way of figuring out what FDR was doing.

              Now, how does WW2 change if the United States stays "neutral"? If the "neutrality" includes renewed trade with Japan instead of a trade embargo then perhaps the US stays out of the war. Japan still attacks the British and Dutch territories in the southwest pacific, but with the US totally isolationist there is no reason to attack the US.

              Keeping US neutral doesn't mean the NAZIs win though. The US will still become Great Britain and the USSR's factory for WW2, the only difference is that now the US makes them pay for the supplies they receive. Perhaps not in cash, but what about some nice islands like Bahamas, Bermuda, Trinidad, or some nice beachfront property like British Honduras and Guyana? The Soviet Union can pay for US armaments with raw materials like gold, silver, uranium, chrome, nickel, platinum, etc., etc.

              The British still beat Rommel in North Africa. The Soviets still smash the Germans, it just takes a bit longer, and they don't stop at Berlin, they press on to the English Channel. So, instead of having a Berlin wall, we have an English Channel wall.

              The Soviets still launch their invasion of Manchuria and Outer Mongolia, but this time they don't stop until they have taken all of China. Then they take over the Japanese territories in Indo-China, Malaya, Singapore, Siam, and Burma.

              If the Soviets capture the Nazi scientists working on the atomic bomb it is the Soviets who drop two bombs on Japanese cities.

              The only wild card is what happens to the German scientists who defected to the US originally who gave the US the atom bomb? If they still defect, does the US government realize the seriousness of the problem and do the Manhattan project?

              So, in this timeline the US faces a nuclear armed USSR with ballistic missiles controlling Europe and Asia sometime in '46 or '47.

              I think the result of total American isolationism is the realization of the communists plan for a one global communist government.

              Comment


              • #8
                While generally correct, a sentence in the above post
                has an obvious error. It clearly was meant to say:

                The only thing that saved George Bush politically was that he was a consummate liar
                Last edited by Tuor; 22 Sep 09, 13:11.

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                • #9
                  Then George Bush might be a remembered as a great president in 65 years, just like FDR.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by LtCol View Post
                    Then George Bush might be a remembered as a great president in 65 years, just like FDR.
                    Bush will be remebered as a man who did the best he could realistically do with the shitstorm the War on Terror (which will be the prelude to the Final Crusade). Bush may very well mark the last of the good times.

                    And don't kid yourselves, Briton would have gotten Lend-Lease, but the Soviet Union wouldn't. Hiter would have smashed the Soviet Union and broken his teeth trying to cleanse it for German colonists.
                    How many Allied tanks it would take to destroy a Maus?
                    275. Because that's how many shells there are in the Maus. Then it could probably crush some more until it ran out of gas. - Surfinbird

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                    • #11
                      One of my students asked me a few semesters ago..."How long before the United States, as we know it, no longer exist?"
                      I thought about it for a couple of weeks and must answer 'no less than five years and no more than 25'
                      Pax Americania was doomed from the start...by the very people who should have support it.
                      There is a number of books out dealing with what will the world be like once the USA is no longer the "bright shining city on the hill." Not a one see things better, not one.
                      Last edited by LtCol; 29 Sep 09, 15:59.

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                      • #12
                        FDR was doing all he could to get the USA into the war. The policy toward Japan in 1940 and 1941 made an attack an almost certainty. Japan could never agree to our demands to withdraw from China

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