Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part 2-34
…The German high command had resolved that an armistice would be necessary as early as May 13th, contrary to what many of them would later write. However they did not want to be the ones to deliver the armistice, as was traditionally the case. Instead they insisted that role go to the civilian government, most particularly to the more liberal parties of the Reichstag. To lead this new government Georg von Hertling would resign and Wilhelm Solf would become chancellor, being someone the Kaiser was willing to appoint, unconnected to the military and acceptable to the Reichstag.

Von Hertling resigned on the 16th and Solf took over as Chancellor and Minister President of Prussia, presiding over a coalition of the SDP, Centre Part and FVP. Negotiations began with the Entente for an Armistice immediately…

…The sticking point for the negotiations soon proved to be the Kaiser. President Marshall insisted on the abdication of the Kaiser as a condition for an armistice. In part this was out of loyalty to Wilson, who had said such before, indicating the Kaiser as the supreme threat to peace. In part this was also due to American public opinion, the Kaiser had been painted as the enemy by propaganda and Marshall thought that maintaining him would not be acceptable.

However, for the German Army and certain members of the German government the abdication of the Kaiser was unacceptable. Rather it was hoped that changing the German Constitution into something closely resembling the British system would be enough to mollify Marshall and the Entente…

…The decision of Austria to exit the war on the 20th changed the German situation enormously. German troops in Austria, a mix of detachments that had been supporting the Austrians, and those evacuated from the other members of the Central Powers as they left the war, were forced to withdraw into Germany. However there was no plan for a rapid withdrawal, and they were ordered to withdraw on their own at their best speed.

During this withdrawal the officers lost control of the men. Morale was at its weakest in these units, having been exposed to defeatist and revolutionary rhetoric in Austria and not subject to the tight information control of the troops on the Western front. When many of these troops arrived in Munich on the 22nd, and when the local military leadership attempted to reorganize them into provisional formations to secure the southern flank, mutiny broke out.

Local military command focused primarily on preventing the spread of the mutiny to the reserve forces gathered elsewhere in Bavaria, rather than attempting to immediately crush the mutiny. As such the mutineers were able to send delegations to the factories and industrial areas of Munich, and inspired by the events in Russia, formed workers and soldier’s councils. These councils, with the support of the railway workers sent delegations to the other cities of Germany. By the 27th the revolution had reached Berlin.

With this the situation of the government was truly desperate. Seeing no other option to prevent revolution from totally overtaking the country, on the 28th Solf, after consultation with the rest of the government and other prominent politicians and civil servants, announced both the abdication of the Kaiser, and his own resignation as Chancellor and Minister President in favor of Friedrich Ebert of the SPD…

…The Kaiser had not been consulted on his abdication, being at Army headquarters in Spa, Belgium. At first, he intended to play for time and return at the head of the army when an armistice was signed. After being convinced by Hindenburg that would not work, he attempted to abdicate only as Kaiser and remain the King of Prussia in order to steer the country that way, however that was constitutionally impossible. Eventually he was convinced to abdicate, in mid-June long after it had become an accomplished fact…

…Solf’s resignation and replacement with Ebert was what Marshall had been waiting for. On the 30th he approved an armistice to go into effect at noon on June 1st. At 12:00 on the fateful day the guns of WWI fell silent. The War was over.

Or was it?

There were still an enormous number of sticking points and issues that remained to be dealt with before the war could truly be called over…

…Ebert’s replacement of Solf gave the German Army High Command exactly what they wanted. It would be Ebert and the SPD who would be associated with the peace agreement and the end of the war, not them. It would be Ebert and the SPD who would be associated with the current chaos in Germany, not them. And it would be Ebert and the SPD who would be discredited from the aftermath of the war, and not them…

-Excerpt from The Loss of Innocence: America in the Great War, Harper & Brothers, New York 2014
 
Did the Kaisar abdicate in favor of his heir, or is Germany (boringly)* becoming a Republic now?

*I mean boringly in the sense that from a reader of history standpoint republics tend to be more boring, at least for me, not as a knock on your writing choices/story/etc.
 
Looking at the time, well soon Marshall will need to deal with the election and while he is the president...well it's not a given he get the nomination as he had the position due to Wilson stroke so unlike him i don't see the current president leave the USA for months to partecipate at the negotiation table at Versailles and frankly except for the creation of the League of the Nations (at the time every partecipant at the war was ok with a international body where discuss and attempt to resolve peacefully any dispute) and while attempting to follow his predecessor objective i will not see so interested in foreign policy or so stubbornly attached at his ideological position, add the american pubblic opinion turning sour over all this european adventure (and the various european nation starting to point that they don't have the money to repay the debt) and so there is the strong possibility that the USA delegation want just close this matter as soon as possible and go back on their version of 'splendid isolation'. *

* and as italian and looking to the consequence of Wilson attitude i'm not really unhappy about this
 
Did the Kaisar abdicate in favor of his heir, or is Germany (boringly)* becoming a Republic now?

*I mean boringly in the sense that from a reader of history standpoint republics tend to be more boring, at least for me, not as a knock on your writing choices/story/etc.
He tried the former but given the situation the latter is functionally inevitable, the monarchy is stronger than OTL, but not that much stronger

Anyways I have plans for interwar Germany's politics don't you worry
 
I personally like the idea of Richthofen surviving the war to later lead the German air force.

Could it be that in one of these battles the casualties included a certain Austrian corporal? Because while WWII is basically inevitable it'd be more interesting to see who'd come to power in the absence of ol' Adolf.
 
But earlier, you say "even shot down the famed Red Baron, who would be hospitalized for the remainder of the war".
Is he flying the entire hospital, perhaps?
I do like the mental image, though.

Red Baron: Enough! I am needed at the front!
Nurse: Herr von Richtofen, you are not leaving this hospital until you are healed!
Red Baron: Then I'll fly the damn hospital!
 
Nah. I bet it's for Huey Long to become president of the US and wage war against the Anarchist Communal Federation of Greater Central Europe 🤣
Since we all seem to be throwing our hats in:

Trotsky attempts to prop up a Communist revolution in Germany, France and Britain attempt to prop up the moribund government, and it all spirals into open warfare.
 
Is the plan for a right-wing government to rise in Germany and start another war?
Honestly, I'd love to see someone on here have the SPD fucking call the Generals on their BS plan to shuffle all the blame onto them, and demand that as the idiots who dragged them into the war, they can sign the peace deal.

Simply for the sheer value of "We're not that stupid, dumbkoffs."
 
Honestly, I'd love to see someone on here have the SPD fucking call the Generals on their BS plan to shuffle all the blame onto them, and demand that as the idiots who dragged them into the war, they can sign the peace deal.

Simply for the sheer value of "We're not that stupid, dumbkoffs."
Yeah well the world seems to show that a lot of people are naive enough to believe in the best of people. The truth seems to be people who are evil or cynical to an extreme will always win.
 
Part 2-35
He’s a coming home to Mother, the old man gently said, he’s coming home in a casket sir, he’s coming to us dead-Gussie L. Davis, The Express Office



…World War I was arguably the most deadly war so far fought. Depending on the estimates involved the Taiping Rebellion, Qing conquest of China, and the Mongol Conquests may have been larger. However of these the Mongol Conquests were not a single war and took place over two centuries, by the same standards one would have to count the World Wars as a whole. The Taiping Rebellion lasted 14 years and the Qing conquest 65, whereas the first World War lasted less than 5. That the margin for error in the death toll estimates place all three in the same rough numerical bracket shows that the First World War was if nothing else fought with unprecedented intensity…

…WWI is notable as the first major war where the majority of deaths were by combat, rather than disease. Despite the outbreak of the Spanish flu pandemic approximately two thirds of the war’s death toll was directly attributable to death in action…

…Casualty figures outside the United States, British Commonwealth and Japan are difficult to calculate due to subsequent destruction of records belonging to the belligerents. Older estimates using flawed methodology from the 20’s and 30’s must therefore be used…

…Russia unquestionably suffered the most deaths of any of the Great Powers engaged in the conflict, not counting colonial losses. However it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate for two very major reasons, the first is that the Russian Civil War muddled many of the figures, making demographic estimates inviable as it is impossible to separate the dead from the latter. The second is that there was no access to the Russian records of the conflict by reputable scholars at any point before their loss, what Russian sources one has are what was chosen to be released by the Soviet government and must therefore be considered unreliable. Estimation must therefore be done from secondary sources…

…We therefore conclude that Russia suffered 1.3 million dead in combat, 600,000 dead from illness, accidents and wounds, 250,000 missing and presumed dead and 250,000 POWs dead in captivity out of a total of 3 million POWs. This is a total of approximately 2.4 million military dead, with a further 1.6 million crippled. To this one adds approximately 1.7 million estimated civilian dead, for an estimated total death toll of 4.1 million or 2.34% of the prewar population…

…Of the great powers France can suffered among the highest proportional losses. France lost 800,000 killed in combat, 225,000 dead of disease and accident, 300,000 dead of wounds, 200,000 missing and presumed dead, and 50,000 POWs dead of 500,000 total. This is a total of approximately 1.575 million military dead and 1 million military crippled. Added to this are 675,000 civilian dead, calculated at roughly 60% from wartime privation and 40% from disease. This is a total of 2.25 million dead or 5.75% of the prewar population. This figure may be slightly high as the death from French Colonial Troops and the French Foreign Legion are included, however civilian deaths in the French colonies are not…

…Italy suffered very heavily proportionally as well. Italy lost 475,000 dead in combat or of wounds during the war, 100,000 dead of wounds after the war, 225,000 due to disease and 150,000 POW dead of 750,000 taken. This produces a total of 950,000 military dead and 600,000 military crippled. 1.2 million civilians are estimated to have died in the war, 700,000 due to wartime privation and 500,000 due to the Spanish flu, though there are arguments that this is an overcounting. This is a total of 2.15 million dead or 6.04% of the population dead…

…Britain suffered less proportionately than her continental allies. Approximately 975,000 military dead are listed of all causes, including combat deaths, deaths form disease and wounds, deaths of POWs, of which 325,000 were taken, and other causes, along with 675,000 crippled. Despite better records the most accessible sources of data did not break down deaths by cause. This figure also includes deaths of colonial, but not dominion troops. To this are added 350,000 civilian deaths, 150,000 due to wartime privation and 200,000 due to the Spanish flu. This is a total of 1.325 million dead or 2.94% of the prewar population.

This does not count deaths of foreign wartime laborers under the British aegis, of whom at least 150,000 died….

…The Dominions of Canada and Newfoundland suffered a combined 90,000 dead of all causes. Another 55,000 were crippled, and 40,000 were taken prisoner at some point or other. 937 Civilians of both Dominions died of various wartime causes. This totals to about 91,000 dead or 1.23% of the prewar population. The dead were disproportionately Anglophone, as Francophones volunteered at a much lower rate and conscripts only reached the front in numbers in the last five months of the war…

…Australia and New Zealand suffered a combined 93,000 military dead and 53,000 crippled. Approximately 6,000 soldiers from both countries were taken as POWs at some point or another. Neither suffered significant civilian deaths, outside of those lost due to the Spanish flu. This translates to a loss of 1.52% of the population…

…South Africa suffered about 10,000 dead of all causes, with an unknown number crippled. Approximately 2,000 POWs were captured. Outside of the Spanish flu no significant number of civilian deaths occurred. While only a loss of .17% of the prewar population, it is notable that these deaths were almost exclusively from the white population, as only two of 26 infantry and cavalry battalions and two labor units were open to black individuals…

…British India suffered roughly 85,000 military dead of all causes. This number includes 3,000 members of the British Army assigned to the Indian Army, resulting in an adjusted total of 82,000 war dead. 12,000 members of the Indian Army were taken as prisoners, including 400 British. No significant civilian deaths occurred outside the Spanish flu and the number of military dead is insignificant relative to the Indian population. This said the Indian Army recruited disproportionately from certain ethnic groups who suffered at a higher rate…

…Japan suffered 5243 military dead during the war, however most of these deaths cannot be attributed to the war, but rather peacetime attrition. 561 actual deaths from combat or wounds sustained in combat were recorded, along with 5 Prisoners and missing presumed dead. This is the lowest butchers bill of any of the great powers, and a key component of the argument that Japan was the only real winner of the war…

…Serbia and Montenegro are among the more difficult countries to estimate casualties for due to the complete occupation of their countries. Furthermore the internal violence within the militaries in exile in 1917 contributed to the difficulty in estimating losses. That said estimates are 450,000 military deaths on the part of both countries due to all causes. Included in this are the 50,000 POWs of 150,000 who died in captivity. Added to this are the estimated 500,000 civilians who perished during the occupation of both countries due to war related causes. This makes the two sone of the few countries to suffer more civilian than military deaths. The total of 950,000 dead is approximately 19% of the prewar population, making them the worse sufferers…

…Belgium lost about 75,000 military dead of all causes, though this includes 20,000 African porters who will be subtracted. The actual dead break down to 30,000 dead in combat or of wounds and 25,000 of disease, missing or POWs in captivity, of which 15,000 were taken. About 150,000 civilians died in Belgium, 100,000 from wartime privation and 50,000 from the Spanish flu. The total dead of 205,000 comes out to 2.77% of the population…

…Greece during WWI itself came off fairly lightly. About 4,000 soldiers were killed or missing of all causes during their brief involvement in the war itself. They did suffer about 20,000 civilian dead due to the Entente blockade and occupation of certain parts of the country. Still only .5% of the population was lost….

…Portugal lost 15,000 military dead roughly half due to combat, wounds and disease, and the other half missing or dead among the 15,000 prisoners. It is estimated 90,000 civilians in Portugal died due to wartime privation and 160,000 due to the Spanish flu for a total of 250,000. The total 265,000 dead add up to 4.41% of the population, however this is almost two thirds due to the Spanish flu and there are indications that the wartime privation may have been over estimated…

…Approximately 125,000 Americans died in direct combat and a further 90,000 died of wounds received in combat. 95,000 soldiers are estimated to have died of the Spanish flu and 25,000 of other diseases and about 25,000 were missing, dead as POWs, of which 25,000 were taken, or died due to accident. This is a total of 360,000 dead and 255,000 crippled. Outside of the Spanish flu about 1,000 civilian casualties occurred, mainly due to U-Boats. This adds up to about .39% of the population dead in the war, excluding the Spanish flu deaths during the war…

…Figures for the Central Powers are notably complicated in that two of them no longer existed after the war. This complicates record keeping and assigning the casualties…

…A further issue is that due to the interethnic nature of conflict in the Balkans and Ottoman Empire a number of those dead who were fighting against the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires are included in the death toll of those states due to matters of geography…

…Germany suffered an estimated 2.3 million military dead due to all causes during the war, inclusive of colonial troops. About 1.1 million German POWs were captured over the course of the war and an estimated 1.5 million Germans were crippled. This figure, in addition to colonial troops, includes troops from areas that would be detached from Germany after the war, and includes concripts from Luxembourg in Germany’s total. An estimated 600,000 German civilians died due to the war, 350,000 from wartime privation and 250,000 from the Spanish flu. The total of 2.9 million dead is about 4.47% of the German population…

…Austria-Hungary lost about 1.7 million military dead. Of this about 1.1 million died in combat or of wounds suffered thereof. About 400,000 died of disease and 200,000 of the 1 million prisoners taken died. Added to this are about 600,000 civilians dead of wartime privation and military activity. This 2.3 million dead is about 4.48% of the population of the prewar realm…

…Romania is estimated to have suffered 75,000 military dead due to all causes during its involvement in the war. To this is added an estimated 130,000 civilian dead due to wartime privation. The total of 205,000 dead is about 2.73% of the prewar population…

…Bulgaria lost about 65,000 military dead due to all causes during the war. Added to this are an estimated 100,000 civilian dead due to wartime privation for a total of 165,000 or 3.67% of the prewar population…

…The Ottomans undoubtably suffered the worst of the Central Powers. About 1 million soldiers are estimated to have died, 125,000 in combat, 65,000 of wounds, 550,000 of disease, 150,000 of 750,000 POWs dead in captivity and 110,000 missing or lost due to causes unknown. This estimate is perhaps the least accurate of the belligerent powers. Added to this are an estimated 4 million civilian deaths, 1.5 million due to wartime privation and 2.5 million due to genocides and ethnic cleansing conducted by the Ottomans. The total of 5 million dead is about 23.47% of the prewar population, but this has a large margin of error and may have overcounted the dead severely and undercounted population…

…In total the Central powers lost about 10.6 million dead, the Entente 12.1 million. To this can be added at least 2 million Persians due to wartime famines, and 1 million Africans due to famine, disease and overwork of porters. The total of dead is thus here estimated at 25.7 million, with errors more likely on the side of too high than too low, comparable with the standard estimate of 24-26 million. Outlying estimates by other historians as low as 18 million and as high as 45 million exist, but the majority of other estimates range from 21 million to 27 million…

-Excerpt from The Butcher’s Bill: An Incomplete History of Wartime Casualties, New American Press, Chicago, 1996



Okay so here's the second most depressing thing I wrote today, enjoy
 
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…Casualty figures outside the United States, British Commonwealth and Japan are difficult to calculate due to subsequent destruction of records belonging to the belligerents. Older estimates using flawed methodology from the 20’s and 30’s must therefore be used…
Oh.

Oh fuck.
 
Oh.

Oh fuck.
That's...France, Italy, and all of the former Central Powers or successor states thereof at a minimum.

We know that Tsarist Russia collapsed and was replaced by the Soviet Union, so that's accounted for.

We can infer from the text that the Soviets survive into the 1990s:
The second is that there has been no access to the Russian records of the conflict by reputable scholars, what Russian sources one has are what was chosen to be released by the Soviet government and must therefore be considered unreliable. Estimation must therefore be done from secondary sources…
So there's that.

But, yeah, we can reasonably assume societal collapse across the breadth of Europe. Mere conquest would not have destroyed these records so totally.
 
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