Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part 3-3
…German military limitations were something that were fairly easy to negotiate, at least in comparison to the other major issues at the Paris Peace Conference. Both Britain and France felt that Germany had to be totally defanged, and neither the United States nor Italy saw any real reason not to agree with them. That said there were some issues in the implementation…

…Britain insisted that Germany be banned from having any submarines, and that nothing like the High Seas Fleet could be allowed to exist. This was agreed upon without issue, the discussion quickly turned to what Navy the Germans would be allowed. They could not be limited to a mere Coast Guard, but could not be a significant threat to France or Italy on their own…

…After much debate it was decided to limit Germany to 8 “Armored Ships” of up to 15,000 tons, this would allow them to deploy two squadrons of four and defend both of their coasts. The ships would be large enough to be more than just mere coastal defense ships, but small enough that they could not be adequate as raiders or line warships. They would be supported by 12 light cruisers of up to 6,000 tons, 18 destroyers of up to 1,000 tons, and 18 torpedo boats of up to 300 tons, with a total of 30,000 men at most, include shore personnel and marines. Vessels could not be replaced before they were 20 years old for capital ships and 15 for escorts…

…Germany was banned from having an air force or a naval air arm, either heavier than air or lighter than air. The German aviation industry would be shut down for six months after the signing of the treaty to help ensure compliance…

…The German Land forces were a thornier question. France wanted a German Army as small as possible in order to never be a threat to France again. However Germany still needed an Army, for there were active communist revolts in progress and the Soviet Union was not particularly far away. As such a reasonable sized Army had to be allowed to Germany….

…The German Army was to be capped at 120,000 men, though an additional 50,000 men could be maintained in East Prussia for three years as a guarantee against Communist aggression. These men would have to be organized as laid out by the Entente. No more than 3000 machine guns, 360 Mortars and 450 artillery pieces would be allowed for the field army, and no artillery over 105mm. An Entente Commission would determine what fortifications and fortress artillery pieces could be maintained and what were to be destroyed or turned over. Stocks of ammunition were to be highly limited…

…Officers in the German Army and Navy would serve for at least 25 years, with enlisted for at least 12 years. Only limited provisions were allowed for ending terms of service early and former service members were banned from military exercises and military related activities, in order to prevent the formation of a trained reserve. Military education was similarly limited, as was the size of German police, forestry services, coast guards and customs agents to prevent paramilitary forces from being created. German Nationals were forbidden from serving in the armed forces of other countries, with an exception for the French Foreign Legion…

…Germany was forbidden the manufacturing arms and warlike materials for export. She was further forbidden from possessing armored vehicles and chemical weapons…

…Surplus Arms, Ammunition, planes, ships, tanks and other equipment was to be turned over to the Entente for either use or scrapping. The Entente would determine what the Germans would be allowed to retain and would take the best for themselves. This equipment would not count against the reparations imposed on Germany…

…A system of control boards with temporary supervisory powers were established to ensure Germany abided by the terms of the treaty …

…The matter of Reparations, second only to the question of territory proved the thorniest issue and one that even caused divisions within national delegations…

…The first issue to deal with was in allocation. France and Belgium wanted for reparations to be allocated based on damages from the war, a view that was supported by Italy and the United States. Britain, and Lloyd George in particular, wanted to add widows pensions and the cost of care for the disabled, which would give Britain a greater share of the money. The United States would not let themselves be convinced, with the delegation considering the matter to be absurd.

As such George was forced to turn to horse trading, and in exchange for supporting a harder line than he preferred regarding German territorial losses, convinced Clemenceau to come around to his view. Combined with supporting Japan in the matter of Tsingtao and he managed to convince three of the Big Five to support this measure. Finding himself outvoted Lansing agreed to accept the British way for allocating reparations…

…Both Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau did not actually want ruinous reparations to be inflicted on Germany, they viewed her value as a trade partner greater than squeezing more blood from her stone. The British Treasury as represented by John Maynard Keynes, determined that Germany could pay 60 billion Goldmarks, and that receiving 40 billion would be satisfactory from the point of view of the Treasury. Both George and Clemenceau though 40 billion was a sufficient number and matters should have ended there…

…The new British Parliament had seen the Treasury’s report on Germany’s ability to pay and rejected it. They appointed a commission under Lords Sumner and Cunliffe to study the matter, the so called “Heavenly Twins” determined that Germany could pay at least 500 billion Goldmarks, and that 1 Trillion Goldmarks was not out of the question. Parliament much preferred this answer and mandated that Sumner and Cunliffe would handle financial matters for the British delegation, with the Treasury officially excluded from high level talks…

…Upon hearing the British proposal for a half trillion Goldmarks in reparations, the other representatives were dumbstruck. No one had thought Germany could pay such sums. In the case of the American delegation it was one more proposal that they thought patently absurd, the US treasury estimated a maximum of 100 billion Goldmarks. The French delegation had the opposite reaction.

The possibility of such a financial windfall, at a time when France was broke and devastated, proved irresistible. With the Chamber of Deputies right there in Paris, the French quickly became the biggest supporter of the 500 billion Goldmark number. Lloyd George was forced to publicly go along with it lest he face a vote of no confidence from Parliament.

The Americans however were adamantly opposed. As the United States was the primary creditor for both Britain and France, in this financial matter she held a greater hand than elsewhere in the treaty. After consulting with the American treasury representatives they reduced their figure to a “mere” 175 billion Goldmarks.

This was still too high for the Americans, and indeed still too high for Llyod George, Clemenceau and the French Treasury. A secret committee was set up between the three nations, which returned a similar 100 billion Goldmark figure to the one the US Treasury came up with. However neither the British, nor the French delegation could publicly support this number, having to support the revised 175 billion number as a minimum, those advocating for less, such as Keynes were already being smeared as German lovers or worse. The Americans for their part would not accept the 175 billion Goldmark number. The deadlock looked fair to wreck the whole conference.

In the end Lloyd George proposed a compromise. Namely that the Peace Treaty would not have a final number for reparations, but merely an interim amount to last a few years. A committee would be set up as part of the Peace Treaty that would determine the final amount. This would be done after passions had cooled and a reasonable number for reparations could be arrived at. The compromise worked and was included in the final treaty. George and Clemenceau could argue that they were getting 175 billion marks or more from the committee, while Lansing could argue the committee would produce a rational figure for Germany to pay…

…The reparations committee, despite the hopes of the leaders at the Paris Peace Conference did not produce a rational number. Or rather it did and it did not. Officially Germany was required to pay 155 billion Goldmarks of reparations either in Gold or in Goods. However this number was divided into class A, B and C bonds, and the latter were dependent on Germany’s ability to pay, with no real expectation of that occurring among those in the know. Only 60 billion Goldmarks were set in stone as reparations, the other 95 billion were included for domestic consumption in France and Britain. However the 155 billion number also gained traction among the German far right as part of all that was wrong with the Peace Agreement and the Weimar Republic…

…Along with Reparations as a form of recompense Germany would be required to grant the victorious Entente most favored Nation status as well as fishing rights within her waters for the duration of the repayment term. This increased competition would make it more difficult for her to pay off her reparations, yet was not offset against them…

…In addition to direct reparations Germany was to be forced to recognize the wartime seizure of German property in the belligerent nations, including intellectual property. The value of this lost property exceeded 4 billion Goldmarks in the United States alone. This further hurt Germany’s ability to pay reparations…

-Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007



A/N May have to preempt next week's update again and probably the week after that as well, tis booksale time for me

Also edited an older update slightly as I realized I had some tense issues resulting in my intent being mistaken, I won't say which one
 
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Wow, if such all the treaties are going to be such harsh, I would a lot more revolts if every defeated party will treated as such. I guess the Public at large will be blamed for world war 2 than any leaders.

…Officers in the German Army and Navy would serve for at least 25 years, with enlisted for at least 12 years. Only limited provisions were allowed for ending terms of service early and former service members were banned from military exercises and military related activities, in order to prevent the formation of a trained reserve. Military education was similarly limited, as was the size of German police, forestry services, coast guards and customs agents to prevent paramilitary forces from being created. German Nationals were forbidden from serving in the armed forces of other countries, with an exception for the French Foreign Legion…
Sneaky France, while it looks like France is merely ensuring Germany is weak their making them the one legal option for them as a ally to train their army in the foreign legion.
 
I don't quite get how the thing about A B and C bonds work, but otherwise it sounds like the big differnece from OTL is that the size of the reparations is directly included (at least in part) into the treaty directly, instead of being wholly indeterminate- so Germany isn't exactly signing a "blank cheque". Am interpreting that right?
…Germany was banned from having an air force or a naval air arm, either heavier than air or lighter than air. The German aviation industry would be shut down for six months after the signing of the treaty to help ensure compliance…
Oh, a total ban on having an aviation industry? That is HARSH. No avenue of disguising bombers as cargo aircraft this time!
 
I don't quite get how the thing about A B and C bonds work, but otherwise it sounds like the big differnece from OTL is that the size of the reparations is directly included (at least in part) into the treaty directly, instead of being wholly indeterminate- so Germany isn't exactly signing a "blank cheque". Am interpreting that right?

Oh, a total ban on having an aviation industry? That is HARSH. No avenue of disguising bombers as cargo aircraft this time!
No the size was not specified in the peace treaty, as in OTL the treaty set up a reparations committee that determined it later. Basically A and B class bonds had specified interest rates and schedules, class C was interest free with no set schedule

It is exactly what happened OTL, the German aviation industry was shut down for 6 months after the peace treaty
 
Ah, sorry about the misinterpretation. Not that familiar with the details of the OTL treaty. What if any are the main differences from OTL here?

Why was Germany aviation shut down for only 6 months? Doesn't sound like it would have a lasting impact, unless the plan is to complely dismantle/loot everything related to it in that time so all the aircraft designers and such won't have anywhere to go and restart it.
 
Ah, sorry about the misinterpretation. Not that familiar with the details of the OTL treaty. What if any are the main differences from OTL here?

Why was Germany aviation shut down for only 6 months? Doesn't sound like it would have a lasting impact, unless the plan is to complely dismantle/loot everything related to it in that time so all the aircraft designers and such won't have anywhere to go and restart it.
Main differences rather larger Navy limits, because no scuttling at Scapa Flow, slightly larger army limits, 10 billion more in class A&B bonds to pay off, 13 billion in class C

I can't tell you why
 
Interesting. Nothing about the eastern conquests - nor do we know exactly what territory germany loses. None of it good, I'm sure.

Really, though, part of the reason why Versailles was such a mess is that you had leaders thinking in 19th century terms, and elected bodies thinking in 20th century terms.
 

ferdi254

Banned
The question remains what about the other OTL provisions. Many people do not see this as relevant but they were.

Germany loosing all (!!!!!!) it‘s trademarks and patents.

Germany having to pay reparations in gold dollars.

Germany having to accept the confiscation of all foreign investments without that getting calculated against the reparations.

Ditto for 90% of the merchant fleet directly reducing German GDP by 5-10%.

France having total right over the water of the Rhine.

And another 100 pages of clauses.
 
<SNIP>

And another 100 pages of clauses.
Yeah. A significant part of the treaty OTL (and why it lead to WWII) could be summarised as 'here are all the ways we're going to make it harder for Germany to actually pay the already-ruinous reparations we're demanding of them.' It's one of the ways history shows us that humans with political power are not rational actors by default, something that needs to be considered when writing (or critiquing) fiction that includes them. Put something like the OTL Treaty of Versailles into a novel, and many who didn't know about the historical reality would complain that it's ridiculous, because they expect people negotiating a peace treaty to be logical about it.
 
The question remains what about the other OTL provisions. Many people do not see this as relevant but they were.

Germany loosing all (!!!!!!) it‘s trademarks and patents.

Germany having to pay reparations in gold dollars.

Germany having to accept the confiscation of all foreign investments without that getting calculated against the reparations.
Basically these three were already mentioned in the update. Reparations were mentioned as in kind or in gold. Having read the Treaty Germany did not actually sign something that says they lose all its trademarks and patents, they were just seized during the war and were included in with the foreign investments that were lost, as Germany was required to accept the wartime seizures by the belligerents, which included patents/trademarks. Its worth noting they kept those with regards to neutral countries, ie Bayer lost the trademark for Aspirin in the US but kept it in most of Latin America

Interesting. Nothing about the eastern conquests - nor do we know exactly what territory germany loses. None of it good, I'm sure.

Really, though, part of the reason why Versailles was such a mess is that you had leaders thinking in 19th century terms, and elected bodies thinking in 20th century terms.
I'm pretty sure I basically did say what territory Germany lost to a relevant enough degree, though I won't get into the weeds of every single village and farm





In any case after the issues with moving books today, this week and next weeks updates for this TL are cancelled
 
Part 3-4
…Separate from reparations Germany was required to furnish replacements for certain property, such as farm animals and equipment, that had been used or destroyed in France and Belgium…The loss of Germany’s merchant fleet, once again not written off against the value of her reparations, was the capstone in reducing her ability to actually pay them back…

…Germany was to be required to join the League of Nations, once it had formed and assuming that happened. It had been proposed to make the creation of the League of Nations part of the peace treaty with Germany itself. However the American delegation balked, while Lansing was for it the senators quickly realized the difficulty in that getting two thirds of the vote in the US Senate and did not want to jeopardize the peace treaty. Therefore the creation of the League of Nations would be a separate treaty…

…The French and British delegations attempted to include a clause requiring Germany and her allies take sole responsibility for starting the war. This would provide a moral justification for demanding such absurd terms from Germany.

The American delegation, upon seeing the proposed clause saw it as a joke in poor taste. Upon being told it was serious, they dismissed it as ridiculous. Neither the Germans, nor the Bulgarian Romanians or Ottomans were responsible for killing the Archduke and his party, and no one could think Franz Joseph had his own nephew and heir killed. No, the Americans claimed, it was patently obvious that the Serbs had started the war and that no country would have reacted any differently than the Austrians had given the circumstances. They were not going to sign the Treaty with such a clause.

That left the French and British looking for a justification for why they could impose such high terms and be in the moral right. After a few nights they decided that Germany and her allies would bear the sole blame for making the war as terrible as it was through novel and immoral methods of making war.

On the face of things this made more sense. It was the Germans who first used poison gas, who launched unrestricted submarine warfare and first conducted aerial bombing of civilians. It was the Austrians who first conducted naval bombardment of civilians during this war. The Turks had made themselves quite easy to blame with their crimes against minorities, most prominently but not limited to the Armenians.

This ignored however that the Entente used far more gas, and deadlier gasses than the Central Powers ever did. That the Entente conducted unrestricted submarine warfare in the Baltic and Black Seas, and that the distant blockade was both unprecedented and starved to death more neutral civilians than the U-Boat campaign killed merchant seamen. That the British bombers dropped more tons of bombs on Germany than German bombers and Zeppelins had on Britain. That the Entente too had committed horrible crimes, if less visible than the Ottoman Genocides.

The American delegation was however content to ignore all these things and agreed that the modified war guilt clause would stand…

…Further Clauses gave the Entente powers the right to accuse Germans of crimes committed against them, with trials to occur in the Entente nation in question. The German state was required to support this, and any previous trails conducted by Germany, and penalties levied, would be considered void, violating the principle of double jeopardy. The first person so named was included in the text of the Treaty itself, Kaiser Wilhelm II…

…When a German delegation was summoned by the Big Four in Mid-November they expected to begin the final set of negotiations for the peace treaty. They had already worked out a strategy, the Americans were viewed as most sympathetic so they would target their lobbying there, while the Italians had the smallest grudge against them so they would focus the horse trading there for maximum result. What they did not expect was that they would be presented with a Diktat. They were to sign the treaty, or the war would resume.

The head of the German delegation, the Foreign Minister the Count of Brockdorf-Rantzau, attempted to negotiate with the Big Four in order to get a better treaty. When they refused to meet with him, he attempted to negotiate via letter. However the Big Four were adamant, Germany would sign the Treaty as it stood. Soon after the news of the consistent refusal of the Big Four to significantly negotiate arrived in Berlin, Minister-President Scheideman, who had replaced Ebert upon his election as president, resigned along with the most of his cabinet including the Foreign Minister.

President Ebert had to threaten to resign in order to have Gustav Bauer, the minister of Labor replace Scheideman and to find sufficient ministers to fill the cabinet, with the center left German Democratic Party refusing to join a cabinet that might have to sign the proposed treaty. Bauer only agreed as he believed he could convince the Entente to moderate their terms, in particular remove the clauses related to guilt and the punishment of criminals, the moral blow of these clauses creating greater indignation than the loss of territory or reparations.

The latter terms at least were accepted parts of war, the former terms were a new humiliation created just for Germany. Even Napoleon, oft called the Antichrist in his own time, was never placed on trial for what he did as Emperor of the French, merely exiled and the only Frenchmen who were tried for their actions under him were those the restored French government tried themselves. Even in defeat nations were still to be sovereign was the ironclad precedent set at Westphalia, yet the Entente were throwing out 280 years of diplomatic norms to punish Germany.

Bauer and Ebert sent a communique to the Entente, of acceptance of the terms of the treaty save the five clauses regarding war criminals and war guilt. The Entente’s response was that he had five days to communicate the full acceptance of the Treaty or the War would resume.

Bauer and Ebert asked the military for their analysis of the situation. General Wilhelm Groener, who had just taken over as chief of the General Staff from von Hindenburg, told them that the military situation was hopeless. The Army would not hold together he said and even if it did the disparity in forces was too great. Groener’s view contradicted that of his fellow officers, a substantial majority of which claimed that resistance was still possible. Whether Groener was a designated scapegoat for the rest of the military, a clear eyed realist or a hopeless defeatist cannot be known but Bauer and Ebert believed him.

With ten minutes to spare Bauer and Ebert announced their intention to agree to the Terms of the Treaty of Versailles in full. In doing so they became the most hated men in Germany…

…That the Entente was in little position to actually move on Germany was unknown at the time to both the Germans and the public at large. They had bridgeheads over the Rhine and occupation troops, yes, along with a superiority in troop numbers and crushing superiority in equipment too, but the Entente was then in the process of rapidly demobilizing. Many near mutinies had broken out among the Entente among troops who felt the demobilization was unacceptably slow and outright mutiny was not particularly far off. Foch, Haig and Pershing all expressed concerns about what would happen if they had to halt demobilization and invade Germany. With the Germans demobilizing slower, due to the threat of the Soviets to their east and Communist rebels within, the formations assigned to occupation duties alone would be insufficient. It was feared that if they tried to bring in other formations without a clear moral reason, that they would have mutinies on their hands, a fear later events would prove quite justified…

-Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007


…Efforts to shade history to favor the German point of view began almost as soon as the war ended. In particular the Weimar government looked to influence American views of the war to be more favorable to them as a road to revising the Versailles Treaty. Scholars with a pro-German bent got access to the German archives and official aid, while those with an Anti-German bent were shut out. Only those scholars whom the Weimar government thought were appropriate had their work translated into German…

…Orthodox history makes heavy use of these Weimar approved scholars as they are some of the very few sources who had access to German records of the First World War while they were intact. While arguably necessary this produces a pronounced slant to the points of view of the era…

-Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XX, University of California Press: Berkley, 2010





Okay update later than I planned, July was a busy month for me, this was written 12 days ago but computer issues happened that the computer repair place could not figure out, no update Sunday, doing other TL
 
So Germany had succesfully pulled a 'Lost Cause'...and with the unwitting help of the americans, i expect that Orthodox history is not really seen as Orthodox in the entente nations
 
So Germany had succesfully pulled a 'Lost Cause'...and with the unwitting help of the americans, i expect that Orthodox history is not really seen as Orthodox in the entente nations
From what we seen in prior updates, almost all Europe's archives were lost in the next war. So while in theory something of a German "Lost Cause" myth had made it into the orthodox history, what else can they base the history off? With primary data lost, and from the sounds of it a metric shit ton of primary data lost bias data is all they have.
 
So Germany had succesfully pulled a 'Lost Cause'...and with the unwitting help of the americans, i expect that Orthodox history is not really seen as Orthodox in the entente nations
From what we seen in prior updates, almost all Europe's archives were lost in the next war. So while in theory something of a German "Lost Cause" myth had made it into the orthodox history, what else can they base the history off? With primary data lost, and from the sounds of it a metric shit ton of primary data lost bias data is all they have.
I can't really comment without spoiling things but I left hints that may allow someone to guess certain things. However I will point out I had one article published outside the US, and I picked that particular country to represent non-American historiography for a reason
 
yeah, well, honestly, the war guilt clause is just... unnecessary? Woe to the Conquered is a perfectly normal justification for demanding reparations - they didn't need to come up with some arcane and ridiculous claim of 'guilt' to justify reparations. You lose, you pay, moving on.

It's another part of the way that the Allies obsession with painting themselves as 'the pure goody good guys' blew up in theif faces.
 
If it happens, Germany being forced to join the League of Nations immediately would be an interesting butterfly.

Given the comments at the end of the update, I wonder how much of Germany's TTL "good guy-ness" is deserved, and how much will be due to the archives getting destroyed by the time people seriously start questioning that.

. That the Entente conducted unrestricted submarine warfare in the Baltic and Black Seas, and that the distant blockade was both unprecedented and starved to death more neutral civilians than the U-Boat campaign killed merchant seamen.
Do you know anywhere I could read up on the OTL course of this? Normally you only ever hear about German submarine raiding in WW1, I'm curious how the entente used their submarines.
Even in defeat nations were still to be sovereign was the ironclad precedent set at Westphalia, yet the Entente were throwing out 280 years of diplomatic norms to punish Germany.
Maybe I am reading too much into this, but the idea of Versailles rendering the Treaty of Westphalia and its ideas of sovereignty a dead letter seems it could have interesting and chaotic effects.
 
With how things are being talked about in the American sources about Germany I'm beginning to think they end up co-belligerent's at worst during WW2.
 
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