Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

So the USA are not part of the League, not even with the provision: sure we are part of the club and will reap any benefit but remember we do as we please and you must accept it so kiss our b..t because we are so special and awesome
 
So the USA are not part of the League, not even with the provision: sure we are part of the club and will reap any benefit but remember we do as we please and you must accept it so kiss our b..t because we are so special and awesome
More realistically 'because we have the economic and military strength to make not accepting it too expensive.' Practically every nation has a 'because we are so special and awesome' viewpoint, it's just that whichever nations have the best combination of economy and military at a given time are able to enforce that.
 
More realistically 'because we have the economic and military strength to make not accepting it too expensive.' Practically every nation has a 'because we are so special and awesome' viewpoint, it's just that whichever nations have the best combination of economy and military at a given time are able to enforce that.
Sure but in this specific case the fact was that with all this provision, basically the USA got all the political and diplomatic advantage of being in the League and at the same time, legally say: f..k it i can do as i want and still it was not ok or it was not enough
 
Sure but in this specific case the fact was that with all this provision, basically the USA got all the political and diplomatic advantage of being in the League and at the same time, legally say: f..k it i can do as i want and still it was not ok or it was not enough
Yes? That does not appear to contradict what I wrote.
 
Yes? That does not appear to contradict what I wrote.

Because what the USA has done is much worse, to make an contemporary example, it's like the United Kingdom had obtained from the EU all what demanded and more because they really needed her and in the end showed to them the middle finger and saying 'i'm too cool for you'. It's basically destroying a vast amount of soft power for shit and giggle and while the USA retain the upper hand due to the financial need of the europeans, it fail to consider that : while if you own to the bank 1000 dollar you have a problem with the bank, if youf own the bank 1000000 it's the bank that have a problem with you and OTL Great Depression showed that in the end the Europeans don't have a lot of problem in stopping paying the war debt.
To cite Londo Mollari: Arrogance and stupidity in the same package, very efficient
 
I'm not saying that it's a good thing, I'm saying that suggesting that the US is unusual for being willing to do it, rather than for being able, is inaccurate.
 
Part 3-9
…The Russian Counteroffensives against the Bolsheviks started in the Summer of 1920. Even before then things went wrong, friction between the Russian Army in the Baltic States resulted from arrogant officers opposed to the idea of independent Baltic Nations. As a result the attack there did not go off until August 1st, leaving a two-pronged attack to isolate St. Petersburg with only one prong.

The offensive out of Finland did well enough, defeating the Bolshevik forces at the border and slowly advancing. Yet faced with only one attack the Bolsheviks were able to throw enough men at it to grind it to a bloody halt well outside St. Petersburg by the end of July.

The Southern prong then launched and again did well against the Bolshevik border forces before it was again stopped by Bolshevik reserves in mid-September. In doing so most of the central reserves available to the Bolsheviks had been depleted. The purging of experienced army officers resulted in underperformance compared to the previous year.

However despite these shortcomings the Bolsheviks were able to deal with both forces, using their rivalry against each other. A renewed push in the north had already been delayed by refusal to release supplies by the southern force. Continued competition between the forces for supplies and refusal to cooperate allowed Trotsky to rush reinforcements between the two fronts on interior lines to deal with them separately.

Elsewhere things had been going worse for the Bolsheviks, the thrust out of Poland captured Minsk in late August and was advancing on Smolensk with only limited opposition. In the North a British backed force was moving south from Archangel, stopped more by lack of troops than active opposition. In the Black Sea Odessa and Sevastopol had already fallen to French backed forces that were now advancing up the Don in order to avoid the Anarchist mess in Ukraine.

The Bolsheviks were raising more forces however their effectiveness was in question. Trotsky was the de facto leader of the Bolshevik Red Army and he was insistent that the former Tsarist officers be reinstated and the authority of commissars reduced or else the Red Army would be unable to stop the counter attacks. Trotsky’s measure was agreed upon, yet he made a number of enemies and suspicions of Bonapartism were increasingly voiced among the Bolshevik higher ups…

…In Ireland the arrival of the Auxiliary Constables poured gasoline on the flames. The so named Black and Tans lacked the discipline and police training of the RIC men they were replacing, as well as the immersion in the local culture. They were outsiders disdainful of the Irish and prone to overreacting. Reprisals began with beatings and soon escalated to robbery, arson and murder of suspected Republican sympathizers.

At first these reprisals by Auxiliary Constables and British Army men were launched on their own initiative, but by December of 1920 they became official policy. Irish Republicans had won control of most of the local offices in Southern and Western Ireland, resulting in a collapse of British government authority in the area. The British responded by declaring Martial Law in Munster and Leinster and launching a campaign of terror to intimidate the Irish.

This proved unsuccessful and things reached a head on Sunday December 5th, Bloody Sunday as it was known where in reprisal for an IRA Raid on a British intelligence office, British forces fired into a funeral procession using an armored car’s mounted machine gun and killed 43 civilians, including a priest. IRA counterattacks led to even greater reprisals with the burning of Cork, Irelands 3rd largest city on Christmas Eve.

Despite minor victories in breaking the railway strikes, by threatening the railways with bankruptcy, the British were increasingly losing the PR War…

…Mustafa Kemal knew he had very little time, his forces had little in the way of supplies or ability to gain more. He had to move fast and defeat the Greeks before he ran out of resources. On June 29th he launched his campaign, focusing on crossing the Sakarya River as quickly as possible. He quickly convinced the loyalist army sent to stop him at Polatli to change sides before crossing the River.

Realizing the potential danger, the Greeks sent Cavalry units ahead to try and stop the Turkish advance. While unsuccessful they did slow the Kemalists down and allow Greek infantry to reach Kutahya and dig in. A Kemalist attempt to break the lines was easily repulsed. Kemal then worked to get Loyalist garrisons elsewhere in Turkey to change sides while coming up with an alternative plan.

If he could not take the Greeks on the bounce, perhaps he could outflank them. The Italian zone to the South had seen the Ottoman forces within go over to Kemal en masse and defeat many of the outlying Italian garrisons made up of demoralized, poorly supplied third rate troops. The Greeks were already shifting forces to prevent such an attack. In doing so they had stripped forces from the North. While he could not bash through the defenses established on the lower reaches of the Sakarya, he could go around them.

For various geopolitical reasons the British, French and Italians were keeping the Greek Navy out of the Black Sea, and not interfering in any use by Kemalist ships. While Kemal only had a few hastily armed steamers, that would be enough for him to outflank the Greeks by sea, unhinge their lines and take Izmit and the Asian portion of Constantinople. The latter was especially important as doing so would give him the legitimacy to possibly make inroads in getting the major powers of Europe to revise the Treaty of Sevres.

Kemal set off on his flanking maneuver personally aboard the armed steamer Bandirma. With him on a number of commandeered steamers, barges, fishing ships and tugs were 10,000 of his best troops. The Greeks had no knowledge of the operation until almost two days after the flotilla had sailed from Zonguldak on the 18th of October. By this point it was too late for the Army to move ground forces to the landing site at Kandira and there were no armed Army aviation aircraft in the area.

The Greek Navy however was in a position to intervene. The Navy did not want the army to get all of the glory, and with naval vessels shut from the Black Sea, they turned to the naval air service. Bomber and torpedo aircraft had been stationed nearby in Kaynarca to try and hunt the armed steamers used by the Kemalists. Now they were presented with a golden opportunity.

As the Kemalist flotilla was preparing to unload 17 Greek naval aircraft attacked the flotilla. Unprepared for an air attack the Kemalists were unable to respond with more than small arms, letting the Greek aviators take their time. Only 4 vessels were hit, and only two were sunk, the tug Alemdar and the steamer Bandira. However that was enough, as Kemal was killed when the Bandira went under. The captains of the impressed vessels scattered upon the loss of the flagship, fearful of further air attack. The landing at Kandira was averted and with it any hope for a Kemalist victory…

…With the death of Kemal the Turkish nationalist movement fragmented as no clear leader was able to succeed him. The Greeks were thus able to take Ankara in Spring 1921 against only mild resistance, and basically end the Turkish nationalist revolt…

-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004



This would have been longer, but computer trouble and an arts festival intervened
 
Wow, you're certainly living up to the title of this work; Ghastly Victories indeed - that sheer amount of conflict is leading to almost a 1990s Balkan level of conflicts over a wide world of ethnic wars and nationalism depredations on civilians.
 
HOLY SNAP Ataturk getting sunk by a greek air raid was not what I expected to happen! Turks got dunked on, between that and the Bolsheviks doing worse than OTL (I think?) I wonder if there's any hope of an independent interwar Armenia?

I know it was only converted civilian steamers, but the Greeks just decisively changed the course of a war via aerial attacks on enemy combat ships. This seems like something that could have a major legacy and impact on the roles of aircraft in the minds of naval thinkers.

What models of aircraft did the Greeks have, actually? Surprised they have their own torpedo bombers. EDIT: in general, how much use did Greece get out of aircraft in the OTL war, for comparison?
 
Something I just realized. One of the reasons in OTL that led to Japan conclude that they could defeat the US in a Pacific war was that they assumed that the US has the mentality of traditional European power: namely that by striking at their peripherals (i.e. colonies and territories rather than heartland and states) it would not willing to mobilize its full might into said war (of course that's prewar thought, by the time the war did drawn out they were too hyped up on their own delusions). The greater bloodletting of the US forces in this timeline might make the Japanese military more appreciative of American willingness to fight (though probably not enough once they get desperate, but it might delay things)
I know it was only converted civilian steamers, but the Greeks just decisively changed the course of a war via aerial attacks on enemy combat ships. This seems like something that could have a major legacy and impact on the roles of aircraft in the minds of naval thinkers.
That's still hindsight talking. Chances are most military thinkers (especially those on the winning side) will dismiss it as minor flukes. On the other hand some of the weaker nations and lowers of the war might grasp that simply because it's a cheaper way of quickly regaining military relevancy.
 
Last edited:
That's still hindsight talking. Chances are most military thinkers (especially those on the winning side) will dismiss it as minor flukes. ON the other hand some of the weaker nations and lowers of the war might grasp that simply because it's a cheaper way of quickly regaining military relevancy.
One lesson I could see people taking from this is that aircraft are effective against civilian ships, even if they obviously couldn't threaten a battleship. Light carriers might become the weapon of choice for a navy intent on convoy raiding, and nations fearing an amphibious invasion might invest more in aircraft than surface ships or coastal defenses. I'm especially imagining Norway or Sweden going in for this.

And of course, it's almost a given that Greece will be building its air power. The Royal Hellenic Air Force has basically just won the war for them, and they will likely capitalize on that prestige. Someone will probably propose that Greece should build airstrips on as many islands as possible to completely dominate the Aegean. Even if the project isn't fully implemented, a powerful RHAF based in the Aegean (presumably with its primary base on Crete) could be a very tough nut to crack, especially if Greece also ends up controlling part of Anatolia.
 
Part 3-10
…Italy had been promised a protectorate over Albania in the Treaty of London. Having occupied the whole of the country over the course of the war, the Italian Occupation was confirmed based on facts on the ground at the Paris Peace Conference. An Albanian delegation, from a meeting of a provisional Albanian Government at Durres, had traveled to Paris, but had been refused recognition. This fact outraged the Albanian populace, who began organizing against the Italians.

The Italians at the same time found themselves in a bind. They could not maintain their wartime strength given the need to release men to the civilian economy even without the huge economic devastation of the war. Furthermore there were large demands on the remaining troops, Libya had revolted during the war and troops were needed to pacify it again. The new Yugoslavia was unhappy in the extreme with the Italian gains on the Adriatic and forces were needed to deter them from any adventurism. Finally given the war in Turkey, Adalia could not be abandoned. This left Albania at close to the bottom of Italy’s priority in troop allocation getting the dregs of the Italain ARmy.

Thus the Italians withdrew from the vast majority of the country, leaving only a garrison of 25,000 in and around Valona. The Albanians of course wanted the Italians out completely and demanded they leave entirely, though were willing to compromise on the island of Saseno. The Italians predictably refused.

Lacking an army, the Albanians organized a force of irregulars, theoretically numbering 10,000 in total once all was said and done and including volunteers from as far afield as the United States. These troops were poorly armed, some with only sticks and stones, and many would not actively participate in the fighting.

The Albanians began by attacking outlying detachments of the Italian Army. Despite being heavily outnumbered, by forces armed with artillery and machine guns the Albanians won victories. Many of the Italian troops were down with Malaria, and morale among the remainder was at rock bottom due to communist infiltration, lack of leadership and poor conditions. Fights that should have been easily winnable for the Italians became routs. Within a month of fighting the Italian forces refused to leave their defense lines, with many refusing to leave their barracks. A force of 4,000 irregulars was effectively besieging 25,000 regulars.

The Italian Army attempted to gather reinforcements, but when ordered to take ship at Ancona for Valona elements of the elite Bersagliere mutinied. Additional forces had to be called in to put down the Bersagliere. It was quickly determined that any forces likely to obey orders to go to Albania were needed elsewhere too badly, given the fighting in Libya and the Communist Agitation within Italy.

After a month of standoff the Italian government agreed to withdraw from mainland Albania. Diverting loyal forces from elsewhere would lead to reverses in Libya or possible revolt at home. Sending in questionable forces would likely result in large scale mutinies that could break out into civil war. Allowing the forces in Valona to be destroyed or surrender would do the same and humiliate Italy at the same time. A peace treaty was sen as the least bad decision that could be made

Albania quickly leveraged this into full recognition by the states of Western Europe.

At home news of the withdrawal generated outrage among the Italian far right. That Italy was forced to withdraw by Albanian Irregulars was seen as an intolerable humiliation. The withdrawal was called an Albanian Caporetto by the new leader of the Fascist Party, who used it as a rallying cry in the coming days…

-Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004

…The US presidential election of 1920 was controversial from the start. Despite being the incumbent President Thomas Marshall faced an uphill battle. Marshall was heavily associated with Wilson and his unpopularity, leading to strong challenges. From the Progressive side he faced former secretary of the Treasury William McAdoo, along with Governor James Cox of Ohio. From the conservative side he faced the opportunistic senator Furnifold Simmons of North Carolina.

The first ballot at the DNC in San Francisco saw Simmons take a surprising lead as the other 3 candidates having tapped into a groundswell of backlash against progressive politics as typified by Woodrow Wilson. Simmons however had relatively little support of the party bosses. His lead remained narrow as support shifted from the minor candidates to the big four.

After 46 rounds of voting negotiations between Marshall and McAdoo bore fruit, and McAdoo agreed to support Marshall in exchange for the vice presidency. Senator Simmons decided to shift support to Marshall on the next round as a way to buy influence and on the 48th ballot Thomas Marshall was selected as the Democratic candidate for the presidency…

…The Republican National convention started off as a contest between General Leonard Wood and Governor Frank Lowden of Indiana. Wood embodied the progressive faction while Lowden the conservative faction. At the opening of the convention it was widely speculated that a dark horse candidate could take the nomination, such as senators Warren Harding of Ohio or Philander Knox of Pennsylvania.

General Wood took an early lead at the convention, having been an outspoken critic of Wilson he was fairly popular in the anti-Wilson backlash and was considered the heir to the Roosevelt wing of the party. He remained in the lead over Lowden for six ballots, lost on the seventh and drew on the eighth. During this time Warren Harding was gaining strength, as a moderate conservative compromise candidate. With his steady increase in delegate count and strong lobbying Harding looked to take the lead on the next ballot and ultimately win the nomination.

To Senator Hiram Johnson of California this was unacceptable. Johnson while progressive was an isolationist, putting him at odds with both Lowden and Wood. However he also had a strong personal dislike of Harding. He had been the third-place candidate for the first six ballots before Harding overtook him and still had significant influence. Thus he threw his support behind his personal friend Philander Knox on the Ninth ballot.

Knox’s entry into the race halted Harding’s growth and allowed Wood to retake the lead. Over the next several ballots Wood remained in the lead while Knox and Harding cannibalized Lowden’s delegates.

The fourteenth ballot saw Senator Robert “Fighting Bob” Lafollete of Wisconsin bring his delegates over to Wood, the outspoken progressive deciding Wood was the lesser of three evils. This kept Wood with a narrow lead in the next few ballots, however Harding was increasingly picking away at the supporters of Knox. Given Harding’s well-known popularity among the rank and file he would probably win over time.

Given his dislike of Harding, Johnson reached out to Wood. After an assurance that Wood would not actively support entry into the League of Nations or equivalent organization, Johnson shifted his delegates support to Wood. On the twentieth ballot, to the surprise of many Leonard Wood received 472 votes and clinched the nomination.

To balance the ticket with a conservative Warren Harding was nominated as Vice President on the first ballot, the other leading candidate being Governor Calvin Coolidge of Massachusetts who was ruled out as being another New Englander…

…The contest between Marshall and Wood was fought not on issues in the main, as both were progressive, but on feelings. Marshall had inherited Wilson’s legacy while Wood was able to make a new legacy. Using the slogan “America First,” coined by VP Harding, Wood evoked nationalistic feelings in an electorate weary from the war. Marshall attempted to point to his success in shepherding the passage of the 18th, 19th and 20th amendments, covering presidential incapacity, prohibition and women’s suffrage, but his more sophisticated arguments made little headway…

…Wood and Harding ran a traditional “front porch” campaign, relying on a well-developed campaign infrastructure to gain support. Marshall and McAdoo by contrast launched a vigorous whistle-stop campaign, touring the country to build support. However their infrastructure was lackluster, the Republicans outspent them 5 to 1 in advertising…

…Two traditional bulwarks of the democratic party failed them. Irish Americans had been a key Democratic constituency for decades, yet Wilson’s favoritism of Britain and Marshall’s refusal to support the Irish revolutionaries cost them. The Irish did not defect to the Republicans, but they stayed home en masse.

The German Americans were another story. Wilson and the Democrats had massively alienated them during the war, accusing them of not being patriotic, being potential spies and general disloyalty. Immense indignities had been suffered by them and they blamed the Democrats. Not a single German American newspaper failed to endorse the Republicans…

…On Election night 1920 Wood and Harding won perhaps the greatest landslide in American history. 61% of the popular vote was for them, compared to 34% for Marshall and McAdoo. Electorally they won 417 to 114, with the Democrats not winning a single state outside the borders of the old Confederacy. Tennessee had gone Republican for the first time since 1868. The Republicans had further brought their majorities up to 60 and 310 in the senate and house respectively…

-Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007
 
Well, that was obvious the moment the DNC nominated the Wilson VP. What on earth were they thinking?
Excellent chapter.

Albania will figure prominently in the next war, I'm sure.
 
as will be the war trials against the generals and the German kaiser, of what crimes they can be judged that France or England have not committed.
 
Well, that was obvious the moment the DNC nominated the Wilson VP. What on earth were they thinking?
Excellent chapter.

Albania will figure prominently in the next war, I'm sure.
Probably gambling on his legacy being enough to draw in voters.

as will be the war trials against the generals and the German kaiser, of what crimes they can be judged that France or England have not committed.
That is one of the issues behind the WW1 trials (And a few of the WW2 ones, Donitz in particular got off on some charges because Nimitz pointed out he did much the same in the Pacific).
 
Top