Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

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.

I think that's not as hard as we can think about that. Maybe Great Britain went communist in the TL, fascist or a Nazi-level neo-pagan insanity that repulses other nations.
 
I think that's not as hard as we can think about that. Maybe Great Britain went communist in the TL, fascist or a Nazi-level neo-pagan insanity that repulses other nations.
The only thing I can of pushing the British towards either ends of the spectrum is the depression hitting them way worse then OTL alongside whatever the major parties are at the time fucking up the response just as bad.
 
That's not impossible. Britain could have had a much worse experience in the depression than they did. And if the US is feeling spiteful towards britain, perhaps they contribute to the problem.
 
Another possibility for Britain would be a stronger socialist movement - one with open ties to the Labour Party - leading to a counter-revolution and the establishment of a dictatorship... one that then went drunk on imperialism and tried to subjugate everyone.
 
Part 3-5
…Eastern Europe proved a thorny issue at the Paris Conference. While they had agreed to armistices and demobilized part of their forces, Romania and Bulgaria were undefeated in the field and had large armies remaining with no nearby Entente forces that could threaten them. While some in the British and French governments wanted to punish them for siding with the wrong side, and the Yugoslav and Russian delegations were especially vocal on this point, they had no effective way to do so. What’s more the US had not declared war on them, having only done so to Germany and Austria-Hungary as practitioners of unrestricted submarine warfare, giving them a sympathetic voice at the negotiating table.

Rather than waste effort on trying to punish nations that their populations did not really care about, the British and French decided not to fight hard on this matter. Bulgaria and Romania would be limited to an army of 250,000 men each, with equipment in proportion to Germany though without a limit on artillery caliber. Surplus equipment would be used to equip former Russian POWs to form a new Russian army to fight the communists. Neither side was restricted in its naval forces or paramilitiaries, and were merely restricted from multi-engine military aircraft. Bulgaria would be required to replace animals and agricultural equipment seized or destroyed in their operations in Serbia, while Romania would be required to do that with Russia. Both parties were required to support the forces of the Russian Provisional government as it fought the communists…

…Both Romania and Bulgaria were assigned reparations payments in gold or in kind, but these were both small and rapidly forgiven…

…Romania was allowed to continue occupying Bessarabia until the Russian Civil War was over, at which point it was to be returned to the Provisional Government…

…Hungary was a somewhat thornier problem, as it was one of the de facto successors to the Dual Monarchy. However the provisional Hungarian government had a large force in the field, and Entente Armies were not positioned to easily assault the core of Hungary. Still the Hungarians were in a worse position than either the Bulgarians or the Romanians…

…Proposals by the Hungarians to retain all the lands of the Hungarian crown were laughed at. If nothing else the Italians were occupying much of Croatia-Slavonia and weren’t about to give up anything they were promised. The Kingdom of Coratia-Slavonia was stripped from Hungary as a first step, to be divided between Italy and Yugoslavia. Next Upper Hungary and Carpathian Ruthenia were allocated to the new State of Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia was further given the territories of Banat, Backa and Baranja. It was proposed by the French that Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia be given additional lands on the Austro-Hungarian border so that they would have a corridor to each other, but the other members of the Big Four rejected that as being too likely to cause strife. Similarly France proposed to give Romania Transylvania, in order to create a powerful ally, as apart of plans for a Little Entente against the USSR and Germany, however none of the others wished to reward Romania for her role in the Central Powers…

…It was decided that due to its German minority the territory of Burgenland be given a choice between Hungary and Austria. Most of the territory went to Austria, but the area around Sopron remained with Hungary…

…Hungary was scheduled to pay a great deal of reparations, however by 1923 these were forgiven as the economies of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed. The Empire had been a single unit and areas specialized in various goods, with the customs barriers erected by the newly independent nations the traditional economic relationships that gave Austria-Hungary the best growth in Europe before the war became impossible. As such Hungary only supplied a limited amount of Coal and Timber before the payment requirements were forgiven…

…Hungary was placed under the exact same arms limitations as Germany. Anything less was considered too little with the proximity of the USSR and communist agitation within Hungary…

…Austria and the Ottoman Empire proved to be, after Germany the most difficult of the six countries to deal with. Both were weak enough that they could not resist any Entente demands. However the most recent elections in Britain and France had changed the legislative balance of power, and neither the British nor French populaces were happy with the secret Treaty of London dividing up the Austrian and Ottoman Empires. The British especially were publicly adamant that Italy was not going to receive Cyprus, no matter what the Treaty of London said, and the idea of compelling Greece to give up the island of Corcyra with force, or allowing Italy to do so was flat-out dead-on arrival in both countries…

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


Yeah managed to write most of the update yesterday in the Car and Henri shifted east a good bit, so actual update today
 
Somehow I doubt Romania will give Bessarabia back so quickly when (or if!) the Russian Civil War ends.

Interesting to see how Hungary's terms are different with Romania in the Central Powers. They're probably going to see ethnic strife in the future though, with Transylvania's Romanian population.
 
Part 3-6
…Limiting Austria to a mere 30,000 men, with equivalent equipment allowances to Germany was an easy decision. As was requiring Austria to pay reparations, both in cash and moveable property…

..Austria, due to the immediate economic collapse that followed the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the ended paid almost nothing with regards to reparations, as the decision was made to forgive them…

…The new Austrian Republic was required to change its name from the Republic of German-Austria to simply Austria, in order to make it clear that the Austrians were not to join with Germany…

…Giving the Austrian concession at Tianjin to China was an easy matter. As was giving the lands of the Bohemian Crown to the new Czechoslovak state, with the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, as well as Bukovina going to Poland. Austrian Silesia was divided between Poland and Czechoslovakia, mostly based on facts on the ground based on whose militias had seized what. The decision to give Italy Tyrol up to the Brenner Pass, the Carinthian Canal Valley, Goriza, Gradisca and Trieste was non controversial. Neither was the decision to give the new Yugoslavia Bosnia-Herezgovina, Carinola and Lower Syria, as well as the Gemiende Seeland from Carinthia.

The controversial parts proved to be the coastal areas of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire…

…Italy had been promised the entirety of the Austrian Littoral, Northern Dalmatia, and most of the islands of Austria-Hungary in the Treaty of London of 1915. This territory however was ethnically divided. Some parts were Italian, but others were Slavic and did not want to be part of Italy. Furthermore Italy had been promised the British island of Cyprus, with British consent, and the Greek Island of Corfu, without Greek consent

Italy had already occupied most of the disputed territory however and was adamant they receive all of it. The Yugoslav delegation was equally adamant that they not. In this they were supported by all of the Big Three. The United States had never been party to the Treaty of London and was wedded to the principle of self-determination, or at least as it applied to Europeans. Britain while a party had found itself with a new government quite ready to repudiate a treaty that would see one of its most important overseas possessions ceded to Italy. As for France, the new French government already saw Italy as their biggest threat in the postwar era and was not eager to make them any stronger. Greece, while not part of the Big Three/Four/Five, was not about to give up part of its territory to one of its erstwhile Allies without a diplomatic fight and weighed in against Italy.

However, with the exception of Yugoslavia and Greece none of these nations were exactly eager to go to war with Italy over the matter of the Adriatic coastline and its attendant islands. Greece and Yugoslavia together could not afford to fight Italy, not with the former occupying parts of Turkey and the latter just forming. However the Big Three did have cards they were willing to play.

Italy had been ravaged by the losses of Caporetto and the Piave, and the subsequent plundering of Northeastern Italy by the Austrians. Only enormous loans from Britain and America allowed Italy to rebuild and launch new offensives to reclaim their lost territory and eventually push the Austrians over the edge. Italy was still in fact in need of loans to keep rebuilding even after the war had ended, loans only the United States could provide. Furthermore Italy was dependent on imported coal to an enormous degree, coal that could only come from Britain, America or Germany, whose exports were controlled by the Big Three. If Italy was too stubborn, it would face financial collapse and a very cold winter…

…Despite their leverage, the Big Three knew that they could not deny Italy everything, as Yugoslavia wanted. Istria and Fiume certainly had to go to Italy, as did the city of Zara. Beyond that an American commission looked at the ethnic facts on the ground, as well as geographic, economic and military realities…

…The American commission recommended that the Islands of Arbe, Veglia and Pago be given to Yugoslavia to ensure their ports on the Croatian Coast had access to the Adriatic. Likewise Brazza and Solta, along with smaller islands nearby, were necessary for Spalato for similar reasons. The remaining islands promised to Italy could safely be given to Italy. Yugoslavia would be forbidden to fortify these particular islands or station military forces there…

…To protect Zara a hinterland was carved out, from roughly Novigrad Bay to Sebenik Bay. The rest of Dalmatia was given to Yugoslavia…

…To partially compensate Italy, it was decided to increase the size of the territory they would receive in Adalia. Furthermore for not ceding Cyprus Britain would pay Italy an indemnity. France for its part would cancel a certain amount of debt for turning Corfu to Greece rather than Italy. Yugoslavia would grant Italy most favored Nation status. Other terms of the Treaty of London would still stand…

…Italy was not happy about the changes, however Vittorio Orlando saw little choice but to accept them. The potential economic costs were too great to do otherwise. Besides from his perspective Italy had done very well at the peace table. Italy had made substantial gains in the Adriatic, less than they were promised, but still substantial ones all the same. Likewise Italy made reasonable colonial gains in Africa and Asia Minor. Italy’s largest rival, Austria-Hungary was destroyed, and likewise the Ottoman Empire, who they had fought in 1911. The seizure of the Hapsburg Navy allowed Italy to succeed France as the strongest naval power in the Mediterranean.

However this was not enough for some. Famed poet Gabriele D’Annunzio called the victory a mutilated one, and the term spread among the nationalist right. Italy had not been given all that had been promised her and thus their victory was incomplete. So much had been sacrificed by Italy, yet her so called allies had taken this away from her…

…The Fate of the Ottoman Empire was somewhat easier to deal with than that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was quickly agreed the Ottoman Army be restricted to 60,000 men, no artillery over 100mm, and other terms similar to Germany. The Ottoman Navy would be restricted to 9 torpedo boats and 9 gunboats and there would be no Ottoman Air Force. The Entente would take control of all aspects of the Empire’s Finances, and the Empire would become a free trade zone. Property owned by citizens of the former Central Powers within the Empire would be liquidated and the proceeds turned over to the Entente as reparations. War Crimes trials for the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide would occur under Entente jurisdiction. The Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire, repudiated in 1914 would return to force…

…The Vilayet of Hejaz would be given independence as a Kingdom, to reward the Arabs who revolted against the Empire, under the house of Hashim…

…The Vilayets of Bitlis, Erzurum, Trabzon and Van were to form an Independent Armenian Republic. This Republic was to recognize Pontic Greeks with their own autonomous region in Trabzon, necessary as they were too small for a state of their own…

…Britain was given the areas of Transjordan and Mesopotamia agreed on in the Sykes-Picot agreement as League of Nations Mandates. In addition France agreed that Britain would receive Mosul and Palestine, for reasons known only to Clemenceau…

…France was given the areas of Syria and Lebanon, as well as parts of Southeast Anatolia, agreed upon in the Sykes-Picot Agreement as League of Nations Mandates. She was further given a substantial zone of influence from Cicilia to Adana to Diyarbakir to Sivas and Tokat…

…Kurdish speaking areas not part of the French or British mandates would be subject to a plebiscite to determine whether they wanted to be an independent state, or to remain part of the Ottoman Empire…

…Italy was given formal possession of the Dodecanese, which she had been occupying since 1912 in contravention of the treaty of Ouchy. Italy also gained full legal sovereignty over Libya. Finally Italy received the Vilayet of Konya and the Sanjaks of Mentese and Denizli…

…Greece received the Islands of Imbros, Imrali and Tenedos as well as the Sanjaks of Aydin, Balikesir, Biga, Izmir and Saruhan. Greece would be required to allow free passage through the Dardanelles and to refrain from constructing coastal fortifications in the Dardanelles and the approaches thereof…

…The area around the Bosporus, Dardanelles and Sea of Marmara not given to Greece would become an international zone, remaining under Ottoman Sovereignty but demilitarized and with the League of Nations having ultimate oversight…

…The Treaty was presented to the Ottoman government as a diktat, like all the other treaties that came out of the Paris Peace Conference. Like with those Treaties the Ottoman government saw little choice but to accept the terms. Unlike the other five states, while the Ottoman government accepted the terms, the Ottoman Army did not and decided to take matters into its own hands…

-Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007
 
…The Treaty was presented to the Ottoman government as a diktat, like all the other treaties that came out of the Paris Peace Conference. Like with those Treaties the Ottoman government saw little choice but to accept the terms. Unlike the other five states, while the Ottoman government accepted the terms, the Ottoman Army did not and decided to take matters into its own hands…
Yeah, it would be too much to hope that the shooting had stopped, and that is one of the big risks of presenting an enemy (that can still resist to a noticeable degree) with a harsh diktat.
 
Well, not bad, little more of OTL but without much drama, no retreat and later humilating return of the italian delegation and honestly the financial and commerical compensation at this stage are much more important that getting the promised territory...after all Italy already control the best ports and can close the Adriatic as will, plus nobody cares about Cyprus and Corfù on the irredente list of territory to get is not very high probably below Savoy and Corsica.
Regarding Turkey, i think that in the end the italian goverment will try to simply obtain a lot of very favorable economic concession and let the place go
 
Part 3-7
…The Armistice that ended the First World War included immediate provisions for the release of hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners of war in Central Powers hands. These forces were lavishly reequipped with surplus German arms and were to be the tool for the defeat of the Bolshevik menace. However they were not immediately ready for action, having needed to be organized and moved into position, by which point winter weather precluded their deployment. Thus it would be Spring of 1920 before they could be employed against the Bolsheviks…

…In order to have routes to deploy their new forces the Provisional Government was forced to recognize the German established Kingdoms of Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as independent. This move, while necessary from a realpolitik point of view, was a minor political disaster. Much of their support came from Russian nationalists who, already outraged by the loss of Congress Poland were even further alienated. This led to many of the newly raised forces effectively ignoring the government in Omsk…

…The Bolsheviks were well aware of the forces being raised against them and during the summer of 1919 made an attempt to destroy their current foes before new ones entered the fray. Offensives were launched against Omsk, the Republics in the Caucuses and the provisional state of Ukraine. Against Omsk and the Caucuses these late summer offensives turned into disasters, having effectively outrun the Bolshevik logistic network centered around Moscow the undersupplied forces took excess casualties and were forced to pull back.

In the Ukraine however the Bolsheviks were successful in crushing the Provisional State based in Kiev. Based on the collaboration government set up by the Austrians the Provisional State was the primary moderate opposition to the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine. The Provisional State of Ukraine was, thanks to the influence of the Provisional Government in Omsk, unable to gain foreign recognition, and thus foreign aid. Its ability to fight off the Bolshevik menace was limited and by the outbreak of Winter Kiev had fallen, with the state collapsing in its entirety by Spring. This left opposition to the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine to exist primarily in the form of the Anarchist Black Army, which was as unpalatable as the Bolsheviks to the Entente and killed any hope of an anti-Bolshevik Ukraine…

…With actions against external threats mostly defeated by midwinter, the Bolsheviks turned to internal enemies. The Bolshevik’s Cheka secret police had by the end of 1919 exceeded the size of the prewar Czarist Okhrana twenty-fold and set about the task with gusto. Within weeks the Bolsheviks executed thrice as many people as the Russian Empire had in almost a century. By the outbreak of fighting in the Spring over 50,000 were slain in the Red Terror with many more thrown into the early proto-Gulags.

Perhaps most relevantly alongside prosperous peasants, foreigners, clergy, political rivals and the unlucky, the Red Terror targeted former Czarist officers serving in the Red Army. Having needed a scapegoat for insufficient performance and with members of the Politburo suspicious that these officers might not be willing to fight their former comrades in the coming months they were targeted for removal and imprisonment on the flimsiest of charges.

In what is seen as the start of Trotsky’s split with the mainstream of the Bolshevik party he opposed the expansion of the Red Terror into the Red Army. This was, contrary to what his later defenders claim, on purely pragmatic grounds. Trotsky was a vocal supporter of other aspects of the Red Terror, but feared that the removal of trained officers, and increasing the power of political commissars would have a negative effect on the fighting power of the Red Army at a time it could not afford it…

…In May of 1920 the Great White Counteroffensive began. The Primary thrusts were out of the Baltic States and the Karelian Isthmus as a way of taking St. Petersburg by encirclement. Supporting attacks were to be conducted out of Poland, Romania, Archangel and via the Black Sea…

…The Entente powers, with Germany defeated, prepared their own intervention into the Russian Civil War. Attempts to get the United States and the British Dominions to intervene proved fruitless, as they wanted no part of the mess, having had more than enough war already. Italy found herself too stretched for troops garrisoning her new conquests to send anything of note, leaving only Britain, France and Japan to send significant amounts of troops.

The Japanese limited their intervention to sending troops to repress revolts in Siberia, officially on behalf of the Provisional Government. In practice the Japanese were hoping for the opportunity to either seize or detach portions of the Russian Far East and Siberia if the Provisional Government collapsed. With 85,000 troops the Japanese provided the largest of the foreign contingents.

The French, having experienced mutinies already during the war and knowing that the Army was not far from doing so sent only 20,000, consisting almost entirely of colonial troops and members of the French Foreign Legion who were little more than mercenaries. The French primarily acted in the Black Sea area, starting with the seizure of Odessa.

The British attempted to send a force even larger than the French to intervene in Archangel. However the 25th Division which was earmarked for the task mutinied upon learning of their orders and refused to board transports. Sufficient discontent was found in attempts to substitute for the 25th that the Northern intervention was scaled back to only 5,000 troops from more reliable units. However like the French the British were able to make better use of their colonial troops and 40,000 of them were sent to the Caucuses. Officially this was to support the Caucasian Republics in their fight against the Bolsheviks, in practice it was to secure British oil interests in Mesopotamia…

…The Irish War of Independence arguably began on June 9th, 1919. The first election of the devolved Irish Parliament in November 1918 had, thanks to the unpopularity of the imposition of conscription, returned a Sinn Fein plurality. Given than per their Republican values Sinn Fein members refused to take their seats, as that would require swearing an oath to the monarch, this left the next largest party in control of the Irish Parliament. This was the Unionists, who were opposed to the concept of a separate Irish Parliament at all. Having a majority in the Parliament despite being a minority, they passed laws meant to weaken their opposition while they still could.

On June 9th the Unionist Parliament attempted to pass a voting bill that would effectively ensure long term Unionist control of the Irish Parliament in the absence of Sinn Fein. Members of the Irish Parliamentary Party, effectively the sole opposition within the Irish Parliament saw this as the very last straw. While the leadership remained committed to the Parliamentary process, increasingly many of the backbenchers saw the matter as pointless. Thus on June 9th about 40% of the Irish Parliamentary Party walked out of Dublin Castle.

On Friday the 13th they met with Sinn Fein and formed what became the First Dail Eireann. A week later the Dail declared the Independence of Ireland and send a message asking the nations of the world to recognize the new state…

…The War did not start out as much of a war, and indeed neither Sinn Fein nor the former IPP wanted a shooting war. Rather civil disobedience was their means of achieving independence, by rendering the British government in Ireland impotent and irrelevant nonviolently. However as Britain attempted to crack down on the formation of an Irish state within a state government, Irish Volunteers responded with raids to secure arms and free prisoners, soon escalating to assassination of British officials. These actions proved unpopular with the Irish public at large and threatened to end the Irish independence movement.

However by the end of 1919 British reprisals reversed the trend. British forces in Ireland reacted disproportionately, targeting the public at large for the actions of a few volunteers. Sympathy for the cause skyrocketed and the newly renamed Irish Republican Army found itself having public support for its actions. Meanwhile strikes crippled British responses as stevedores refused to handle war materials and railroad men would not ship British troops or supplies. Still by Summer of 1920 relatively little violence had occurred.

This would change as Britain deployed 5,000 Auxiliary Constables to reinforce the Royal Irish Constabulary. The RIC was proving increasingly ineffective due to IRA infiltration and intimidation, public ostracism and mass resignation of local recruits. The new Auxiliary Constables were recruited from demobilized veterans and would not be subject to local pressures…

…With the Treaty of Sevres accepted by the Ottoman Government elements of the Ottoman Army mutinied. Led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, perhaps the greatest of the Ottomans native generals, they gathered at Ankara. There he asked for elected representatives from throughout Turkey to gather and form a new government, which occurred by April 1920. The new Government rejected the Treaty of Sevres and ordered Kemal to lead an Army to resist it. Attempts by the official government in Constantinople to crush the mutiny resulted in the defection of the troops in question and very quickly Kemal had more troops at his disposal than the Sultan.

As Spring ended and Summer began Kemal launched his campaign to reverse the Treaty of Sevres. He was beset by many enemies, yet he did not let that intimidate him. The Armenians were busy resisting the Soviets and despite their strong interest in upholding the treaty they could do relatively little. The British, French and Italians had limited interests in Turkey, they had more vital gains elsewhere to garrison and war weary populations. They would not fight hard to keep their Turkish colonies, and Kemal had no intention of attempting to restore the Arab lands of the Empire, so they would likely be willing to accept a revision of the Treaty of Sevres.

No it was the Greeks who were Kemal’s target. They had only brief involvement during the war, and the Ionian territories they captured were their only gains. A strong Turkey was a threat to the reclaimed Greek territory in Ionia and they had every interest of ensuring that did not come to pass Greece alone had both the willingness, interest and the ability to fight to enforce Sevres. If they could be defeated then Turkey could be saved from humiliation and mutilation …

-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004
 
With the war ending later, I am uncertain if Greece is in a better or worse position than OTL for fighting the turks.
Given how little the Greeks fought in this war they are in a better position. They can get a crap ton of surplus equipment cheap if not free plus their manpower pool hasn't been beat to hell and back.
 
I don't know much about the Russian Civil War...but this already sounds like the Whites will hold on a little longer than OTL as the Bolsheviks stumble and squabble.

On the other hand, the Allied intervention is smaller(I think?). On the gripping hand, Japan's contribution is larger and it clearly sees opportunity.

The Soviet Union is going to enter the 1930s wobblier than in OTL, and a little more paranoid about the Far East. Assuming Japan doesn't just seize Vladivostok as the Whites collapse.
 
Given how little the Greeks fought in this war they are in a better position. They can get a crap ton of surplus equipment cheap if not free plus their manpower pool hasn't been beat to hell and back.

For this war the real important part is if the Turks receive help from the SOviets, the italians and IRC the French, without it they can hardly wage war for long.
 
For this war the real important part is if the Turks receive help from the SOviets, the italians and IRC the French, without it they can hardly wage war for long.
From what we have seen the French and Italians aren't in a position to help as they are broker than OTL and both suffered far more damaged to their industrialized zones. So I doubt they are helping this go around. With the Soviets in a circling firing squad I doubt they are helping either. So its going ot be fun to see how this goes for the Greeks and if they hold on to the defensive terrain they might have a chance of holding on. With the Greeks holding an enclave in Asia Minor its going to great a bloody nightmare in the region and I see the whole area being a major theater of operations in the second world war.
 
Part 3-8
…With the peace terms to be imposed on the defeated Central Powers finalized, the time had come to work on creating a League of Nations as had been proposed by Wilson and agreed upon by most nations. While its existence was agreed upon, its exact form would be the source of nearly as much controversy as the peace treaties ending the First World War…

…It was easily agreed upon to headquarter the new body in Geneva. Similarly the creation of a permanent secretariat and the division of power between a League Council of the Great Powers, with a few rotating extras, and the League Assembly of all members, was uncontroversial….

…Exactly what counted as a member of the League of Nations proved a thorny issue. The British Dominions insisted that they be given separate votes, as befitting their self-governing status, and Britain was forced to follow along. The United States was adamantly opposed to this, viewing it as a lever for Britain to exercise multiple votes. France and Japan went along with the Dominion view, believing they could manipulate the system. In the end it was added to the proposed Covenant after much debate.

The United States response to this was start formulating reservations…

…New members would be admitted after a two thirds vote of the League Assembly on their approval. Existing members would be allowed to leave only if they had fulfilled their obligations under the League of Nations to that point in order to avoid dodging responsibility…

…That the League of Nations should act as a deterrent to war was agreed upon. Some nations, France and Belgium most prominent among them, wanted the League to serve as a mutual defense pact, war with one party would automatically mean war with all the others. This saw approval from many small nations and disapproval from others, who saw they could be dragged into having to deal with other nations messes. The mutual defense portion was thus watered down so that the League would merely make it a matter of concern that the League would decide upon how to deal with. Even this was too much for the United States to allow…

…That the League of Nations would be a vehicle to facilitate international disarmament was agreed upon by all present. Rather than attempt to define that now, the League Council was to formulate plans that would be voted on by the assembly, and only after full adoption would be enforced. These could be withdrawn from for no consequence on 18 months notice by a member state and new plans would be drawn up. To facilitate this, nations were required to give relevant details of their arms and industries to the League for creation of those plans…

…France proposed that the League have a military of its own to enforce its rulings. The French expected to dominate any such arrangement and thus have a say over its use. Therefore Britain opposed the matter and thought of a League military beyond a few officers retained to advise the League Council, Assembly and Secretariat was removed…

…League members were required to submit all international disputes with each other to arbitration by the League Council or a Court created by the League for the purpose of arbitration. Members would be forbidden from going to war until after the League has delivered its verdict or reward, and to only do so if the verdict was inconclusive. Members would otherwise be required to obey the decisions of the judges or arbitrators.

To enforce this all members would be required to embargo and sanction the violations nation and all of their nationals, while the League Council determined appropriate military responses to the matter, to which members would be required to contribute…

…At American insistence a provision was inserted to state that the League Covenant did not invalidate existing treaties or understandings, with the Monroe Doctrine specifically named…

…Most of the colonial territories acquired by the victors of the First World War were to be made Mandates of the League of Nations. The Mandate Holders were to be custodians of the territories until the inhabitants were ready for self-government and were under requirements to treat the inhabitants in a certain manner. The League was to have supervisory authority under these mandates…

…A clause requiring member states to recognize religious equality was inserted. Japan attempted to insert a similar clause regarding racial equality and through adroit maneuvering managed to secure a majority of the delegations. The United States and the British Dominions were adamantly opposed to such a clause and convinced Britain to join in opposition. They were successfully able to get the clauses involving religion and racial equality removed from the draft of the Covenant.

The Japanese then had the Racial Equality clause proposed as a separate amendment. Fearing the loss of the United States making the League useless, Britain used a set of parliamentary maneuvers to prevent it from passing. Using their position as the chair for this matter, they delayed the vote as much as possible. Then they set a high quorum requirement for the vote. When the delegates came together to vote on the amendment, delegates from the United States, Britain, the Dominions, Portugal and Belgium were absent, making the unanimous vote for approval null and void.

Attempts by Japan to add the proposal again were stymied by the rest of the Covenant being ready to vote on and wishes not to delay that…

…The failure of the Racial Equality Proposal was a key factor in Japan’s turn against the postwar order. If the status quo would not treat them equally, then why should they uphold it?...

…Most Nations agreed to the League Covenant as it stood and it entered into force on June 1st, 1920. In the United States however it had a thorny path ahead of it. Secretary of state Lansing had found twelve major disagreements between the United States and the League of Nations Covenant. Therefore he asked President Marshall to submit the treaty to the Senate with the following Reservations:

1) Only the United States would be allowed to judge if its obligations under the League were fulfilled before leaving and it could do that with a concurrent resolution from Congress

2) Nothing would compel the United States to military action without a declaration of war from Congress

3) The United States would have the power to reject any mandates assigned to it by the League

4) The United States reserves the right to determine what matters are within its domestic affairs and that those are solely a matter for the United States government and the League

5) The US interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine was not to be questioned

6) Only the US Congress would have the power to appoint representatives to the League of Nations from the United States

7) The United States is under no obligation to pay any money to the League of Nations

8) If the United States consents to a League Arms Limitation Agreement it reserves the right to rearm immediately rather than waiting 18 months

9) The United States reserves the right to not sanction nationals of a League Covenant violating nation within the United States

10) Nothing in this treaty shall be considered as condoning acts against the rights of citizens of the United States

11) If the League of Nations creates future organizations the United States is not compelled to join them automatically with Congress having the power to do so

12) The United States will not consider itself bound by any decision made by the League where one member has voted twice through use of colonial possessions, including self-governing dominions, or where the decision involved the United States being in dispute with another member and that member having voted

These reservations were meant to allow the United States to join the League by soothing the fears of the US Senate…

…After two months of debate on the Covenant of the League the United States Senate voted to invoke cloture for the first time in its history to end debate and vote on the treaty with Lansing’s reservations. The motion failed to attain the two thirds majority, being 59 yes vote to 35 no votes. An attempt to pass the treaty without reservations died 29 to 65, showing the necessity of including them. Many of the no votes on the treaty with reservations were not firm and Majority leader Henry Cabot Lodge Sr. began the process of horse trading to buy the necessary votes.

While this was going on however an ill-considered remark by Georges Clemenceau torpedoed the Covenant’s chance of senate ratification when he claimed that the United States should be required to join the League under the same restrictions as everyone else and the League Assembly should vote no for their admission as long as the reservations stood. While he almost immediately regretted the comment and went back on it, the damage was done. Newspapers had carried it and the American public turned against it. The second attempt to ratify the League failed 52 to 43.

A third and final attempt to ratify the League Covenant occurred in summer 1921 after the seating of a new Congress. However the Japanese attempt to get the assembly to approve the Racial Equality Proposal and amend the League Covenant sparked opposition along with race riots in the South and West. This attempt failed 50 to 48 and the idea of American participation in the League of Nations was buried. So to was any hope of the League being relevant…

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