Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part 3-19
…The Bolshevik Civil War is a difficult conflict to cover due to the paucity of reliable sources about it. Written documentation of the conflict and events leading up to it, while it still existed, was confined to Soviet archives with no access to outsiders. No defectors with reliable firsthand knowledge of the higher level events managed to make it out of the USSR. Thus for much of the key events we are left with communist propaganda as a sole source, though given the nature of the conflict we at least have two contrasting sets of propaganda to analyze.

The official Soviet party line was that the war was a result of the ambitions of Leon Trotsky. Trotsky the record goes was using his position as Peoples Commissar for Military and Naval Affairs to prepare for a coup attempt to place itself at the head of the USSR. The war was a result of Trotsky launching his coup before it was ready due to the impending disbandment of several military units loyal to him. Trotsky here is portrayed as a would be Napoleon Bonaparte using the Bolshevik Revolution for his own ends.

The propaganda put out by the followers of Trotsky claimed the war was a result of Stalin’s paranoia and betrayal of the Revolution. Stalin they claimed saw Trotsky and his followers as a threat to his heterodox visions for the Soviet Union and his absolute power. Stalin’s actions in preemptively trying to silence his opposition triggered an outbreak of violence which was blamed on Trotsky. Trotsky was thus given no choice but to fight or die. Stalin here is portrayed as a ruthless, murderous, and paranoid dictator in the making.

The truth is probably somewhere between the two, though closer to the Trotskyist version. It is pretty hard to argue that Stalin was not paranoid, ruthless, and murderous given what we know about him. However the Trotskyist version cannot be taken as truth, being communist propaganda and both lionizing Trotsky and blaming everything on Stalin. Trotsky while not as bad as Stalin was from what we know about him certainly no saint, and from what evidence we had made high level enemies of his own in the Bolshevik upper echelons without Stalin’s interference.

What we do know about the Bolshevik Civil War is this. Sometime in April 1923 Vladimir Lenin suffered a debilitating stroke that left him in a very poor condition. Joseph Stalin used his position as General Secretary to monopolize his communications and take de facto control over him. By July Stalin was using his position to effectively run things in Lenin’s name while creating the illusion that Lenin was in charge through careful stage management of the very ill man. At this point he started moving against those he saw as potential enemies in the Bolshevik Party, demoting, dismissing or transferring them out of the way. Trotsky in particular was sent to Central Asia in August to put down the Basmachi revolts.

In November 1923 Stalin ordered the dissolution of the Red Sailors, a formation of hardcore communist former members of the Imperial Russian Navy. The Red Sailors, along with units such the Red Riflemen, foreign communist volunteers, and the Red Cossacks were used to control less fervent members of the Red Army. However by this point with the war over, the OPGU, the successor to the Cheka and predecessor to the NKVD under Stalin’s ally “Iron Felix” Dzerzhinsky was able to do that without their aid. Thus Stalin saw them as a threat to his power, being effectively more communist than the Central Committee he thought they might take offense at his plans.

For the Red Riflemen and Red Cossacks Stalin’s solution was to have them deployed to Central Asia to deal with the Islamic rebels there. In Central Asia they could not threaten Stalin or his plans, and every one of them who died fighting the Basmachi was a victory for him. The Red Sailors however were less of a field force than their counterparts in the other Red Guard units and were not meant for chasing rebels in the boonies. For them Stalin wanted those with skills returned to the regular Red Navy while those without would be discharged.

When the orders to disband arrived the Red Sailors refused. From here things get murky. What most likely happened was after a brief standoff with troops meant to disarm them in preparation for their dissolution someone got nervous and opened fire. From there an actual battle broke out and the Red Sailors defeated the forces sent to disarm them. Afterwards they published a manifesto denouncing what the Bolsheviks had become and wanted a return to a less bureaucratic and authoritarian form of communism as had originally been implemented.

At this point Stalin panicked and sent men to preemptively arrest the leadership of the Red Cossacks and Red Riflemen as he assembled forces to crush the Red Sailors. However things did not go as planned and those units found themselves mutinying in support of their comrades. At this point Stalin really panicked and took the opportunity to have certain of his opponents arrested while mobilizing the Red Army.

Trotsky, from what we have confirmed from second and thirdhand accounts was reluctant to join the brewing conflict. However with the arrest of many of his allies on false charges and the outbreak of unrelated revolts the revolt of the Red Sailors unleashed Trotsky was convinced to lead a movement to dethrone Stalin as the lesser evil. Gathering forces in Central Asia that would obey his orders, save for those absolutely necessary to contain the Basmachi Trotsky marched on Omsk.

The garrison of Omsk resisted for several weeks, but surrendered after Trotsky defeated a relief attempt. He then paused to integrate volunteers and plead his case to the Central Committee in Moscow. In this time period the Red Sailors were crushed in Petrograd, as was a smaller mutiny by elements of the Red Navy. However all over the USSR every remaining group with a grudge against the Bolsheviks seemed to be coming out of the woodworks and revolting.

Moscow was not sympathetic to Trotsky’s pleas. Despite a growing suspicion of Stalin, Trotsky’s taking up of arms seemed to confirm for most of the Bolshevik higher ups that Stalin’s fears were correct and Trotsky was trying to overthrow them. Stalin was given further powers and an army was gathered at Tyumen to crush Trotsky.

Rather than sit and wait Trotsky marched on Tyumen to preempt the offensive. The two sides met just outside the city. Most formations on both sides skirmished in a desultory manner for the first day of fighting, and on dawn of the second Trotsky’s Red Guards launched a ferocious attack, they took heavy losses, especially among the leaderships, but broke the enemy forces. The Central Government forces then withdrew to Yekaterinburg, leaving Tyumen without a fight.

Several units defected to Trotsky in the aftermath of the battle and his ranks were swollen with volunteers. In some ways he was stronger than before the battle, but in others he was weaker. Several key subordinates were killed and he was forced to replace them with less committed replacements. It was this that would be his undoing. Several weeks later outside Yekaterinburg he was taken into custody by a group of former Czarist officers among his forces and executed while the Red Guards were purged and volunteers were scattered.

As a rebel Trotsky had been unable to rely on the methods he used earlier to ensure the loyalty of his former Czarist officers, namely holding their families hostage. Stalin and Iron Felix by contrast could and would do the same, and to preserve their families the former Czarist officers took care of Trotsky. With him dead the main resistance to the Central Bolshevik Government collapsed. Order in Central Asia was quickly restored, and in the rest of the USSR by early 1925.

In the end the Bolshevik Civil War was more a disorganized series of revolts against the centralizing authoritarian tendencies of the Bolsheviks, the Central Asian military revolt being the only notable one. The War saw Stalin concentrate his power, ensuring that when Lenin died in January 1926 he took absolute power, and the leftmost elements of the Bolshevik party were purged. Internationally the far left was split between those who followed the party line form Moscow and those influenced by the martyr Trotsky. In absolute terms the most significant impact of the war was to set back the Soviet Unions recovery from the Russian Civil War and subsequent growth by effectively two or three years, something that would be deeply felt during and leading up to the Second World War…

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

 
I just had a thought: is this timeline going to lead to a nuclear war? Because I'm having a hard time imagining anything else that could cause the level of destruction implied here.
 
I just had a thought: is this timeline going to lead to a nuclear war? Because I'm having a hard time imagining anything else that could cause the level of destruction implied here.
We could see mutually assured destruction through anthrax attacks similar to operation vegetarian between the warring powers. This would cause the deaths of millions and render large regions uninhabitable
 
Great so instead of the New Economic Policy the USSR gets another2 years of civil war. That's not going to be good for their economy.

We could see mutually assured destruction through anthrax attacks similar to operation vegetarian between the warring powers. This would cause the deaths of millions and render large regions uninhabitable
Mass anthrax and gas attacks would kill a lot of people, but that alone doesn't cause the extreme destruction of records that has been hinted at.
 
I really hope Germany and the US team up to take on Russia. That would be a interesting divergence from OTL. It seems a possibility considering some statements about how Russia is now blamed for WW1 in the modern day
 
I really hope Germany and the US team up to take on Russia. That would be a interesting divergence from OTL. It seems a possibility considering some statements about how Russia is now blamed for WW1 in the modern day
I remain convinced that the US stays out of Europe in the second go around.
 

Beatriz

Gone Fishin'
Great so instead of the New Economic Policy the USSR gets another2 years of civil war. That's not going to be good for their economy.


Mass anthrax and gas attacks would kill a lot of people, but that alone doesn't cause the extreme destruction of records that has been hinted at.
Victorious *Nazis?
 
It is Intresting to know what Happens with the Most modern sieht Military tacticns ans generell. Schokov ant the Others genios for the war in deep. When they whas on trotzkis Side than ist the sieht Military realy weak. An Other question. Works zur Sowjetunion and Germany together on the reserch for modern weapons and Tanks?
 
However the Bauer government, upon arriving in Stuttgart after fleeing Berlin, called for a general strike to suppress the coup. This was soon joined by the USPD and the Communist KDP and within a day the country was paralyzed. The Putsch government in Berlin soon found itself without electricity, gas or running water, unable to even make proclamations with the newspapers not running and the bureaucrats at home. Over 12 million workers joined what remains the largest strike in German history.
Ominous...

…The M1903 was considered fine for the moment, but it was still a bolt action rifle, when semi-automatic rifles had already been deployed in the closing days of the war to great success. The Pedersen device was insufficient, being both awkward, heavy and required a second set of ammo to use. A new semi-automatic rifle was needed, for the regular army it was to remain in .30-06 as it was determined that the full range of the rifle was usable by long service regulars in a colonial environment. A version in a smaller caliber, determined to be .24-.28, was proposed to equip the National Guard and newly raised units for a second Great War. In such a scenario the marksmanship training to make use of the greater than 1000-yard range of .30-06 would be unavailable, and a lighter cartridge that used less brass and propellant would serve as well for the less trained troops in a more constrained heavy weapon dominated environment…
I don't think the two-rifle system will fly. National Guard units won't be able to draw from Army stockpiles, and visa-versa, plus you now need to juggle two sets of rifles, automatic rifles, clips, belts, ammunition boxes...

It'd be neat to have something like a .276 Pederson rifle cartridge adopted--as it very nearly was OTL--but more likely the Armed Forces will stick to the proven .30-06. (Although you can probably do something neat with a .276 service rifle and BAR, and converted M1903s in .30-6 for squad sniper rifles.)
…The Infantry, having received the Tank Corps found the requirements for two types of tank to replace their existing stock. One was a large tank with a 75mm field gun equivalent in a turret with several machine guns, armored against 13.2mm machine gun fire. It was not required to be fast but was required to be able to cross trench lines. It would have a gun large enough to destroy infantry strong points, previous 57 and 37mm guns being found inadequate for this task, and machine guns to suppress enemy infantry.

The other was a small tank for colonial service, armored against armor piercing rifles and armed with many machine guns for suppressing infantry. It would again not have to be fast, but would need to be very reliable…
It would be tempting to call this an early Sherman...

But it isn't. Obviously it's not as well armored, but more than that it hasn't had the twenty years of further engine/transmission development that even the Lee has to work with. In every sense of the word it's an interwar heavy tank.

Also, machine gun spam. That's going to be problematic, albeit it fits with the time period.
 
Part 3-20
…The presidential election of 1924 was not a particularly worrying one for President Wood. With a strong economy and a slight progressive bump in the 1922 midterms, he was in a favorable position, with no serious opposition to his nomination for a second term. Frank Lowden was floated as a possible challenger from the conservative wing, but he was uninterested in what he saw as an unwinnable contest. Instead the Republicans focused on who would succeed the deceased Warren Harding as Wood’s Vice President.

Wood preferred a progressive running mate, with Irvine Lenroot of Wisconsin as his choice, having been recommended by Harding while he was on his death bed. Opposition to this coalesced around Albert Cummins of Iowa after Lowden declined the opportunity to play second fiddle to Wood. However when Senator Charles Curtiss was floated as a compromise candidate, the party coalesced around him. While a conservative, Curtiss was well known for working across the aisle with progressives. Curtiss would be the first native American nominated for the Vice Presidency, being a member of the Kaw Nation…

…The Democratic field was far more competitive than the Republican one. William McAdoo had taken over the former Wilsonian faction of the party, aided by Wilson’s death. Senator Oscar Underwood of Alabama meanwhile took over the non-Wilsonian Progressives. The conservative wing of the Democrats was once more led by Furnifold Simmons of North Carolina. In theory McAdoo had the weakest position of the three, being chained to Wilson’s negative legacy. In practice McAdoo had two key advantages.

First he was a Dry, while Underwood was a Wet, given the party as a whole was still Dry, this was a major disadvantage for Underwood. Secondly McAdoo was the preferred candidate for the Ku Klux Klan. The KKK was at its relative zenith in 1924 and its support allowed him to match Simmons even in conservative areas. McAdoo took a clear but not commanding lead in the early rounds of voting.

McAdoo however had many enemies. In particular the urban political machines were opposed to the man, their Catholic constituents were against anyone endorsed by the anti-Catholic KKK. The machines, and elements of the progressive faction, were backing a candidacy by New York governor Al Smith. Taking votes from Underwood and minor candidates, they hoped to drag things out long enough for hotel bills to get too much for many of the country delegates. Then they would be able to force Al Smith through.

This trend was noticed after the 72nd ballot by Simmons and his organizers. Simmons recognized that Smith was liable to displace Underwood as the lead non-Wilsonian progressive. While Smith was unlikely to win the nomination, it was quite possible that he could become vice president to a compromise candidate, such as John Davis of West Virginia who was already being floated as a possibility. This was unacceptable to Simmons as it risked a Catholic becoming president should Davis die. Simmons thus withdrew and endorsed McAdoo on the .79th ballot.

This gave McAdoo a commanding lead, but the urban machines managed to draw things out until the 108th ballot, when McAdoo finally received two thirds.

For a vice president John Davis of West Virginia was floated as a conservative who was not too conservative, and an easterner to McAdoo’s westerner. Davis was elected on the first ballot and the ticket was complete…

…McAdoo attempted a vigorous campaign as opposed to Wood’s more traditional front porch campaign. Wood called for keeping things more or less as they were, a minor cut in taxes and some limited progressive reforms. McAdoo called for a minor raise in taxes and some slightly greater progressive reforms. The two campaigns differed mainly in the details, outside of racism where Wood supported an anti-Lynching bill while McAdoo wanted immigration restrictions.

In the end relative turnout dropped compared to previous years despite an overall increase. Urban catholic populations, traditional democratic stalwarts, either continued to stay home or to some degree voted Socialist rather than for a KKK endorsed candidate. In the general election the KKK endorsement proved more of a liability than an aid for McAdoo, as the electorate at large viewed the KKK as a group of dangerous thugs. The Republicans won 405 electoral votes compared to 126 for the Democrats, with the latter carrying no state outside the old Confederacy. In the popular vote the margin was 60% to 35%, not quite the landslide of 1920 but not far off. The Republicans remained in comfortable control of both the House and Senate as well…

…With the death of Leonard Wood on July 4th 1925 Charles Curtiss became President of the United States, the first Native American to hold the office. One of his first acts was to sign a bill reducing taxes, dropping the top tax rate from 42.5% to 35%...

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



…That the Britain was the first country to breach the sanitary cordon around the Soviet Union, even as they were still fighting, is little known and highly questioned. Why in early 1922 would the British start negotiating with the Soviets when they were at war with them?

In truth even at that point the British had realized that war with the Soviets to reinstate the provisional government was over. Even during the previous year victory would have only been possible with a commitment of forces far greater than Britain was willing to commit. Given threats of mutiny on the part of several units Britain’s ability to commit was thus questionable. In this case a desire to end such a war was a perfectly logical thing

However they wanted to do more than just cut their losses. They wanted the USSR to stop messing in what they saw as their Colonial sphere of influence and internal British politics, as well as a return of British prisoners. That this was worth legitimizing the USSR for is questionable. In hindsight the answer is probably no, given that legitimizing the USSR allowed it to recover and grow, becoming a threat that would distort European politics and through that lead to the next world war and…

…At the time however this was not apparent. The USSR was dealing with multiple rebellions and having serious troubles, that it could become a threat in a short period was seen as very unlikely. Meanwhile Britain was dealing with considerable unrest at home in the form of strikes, more unrest in India and revolts in the Middle East. A reduction in Soviet meddling in the form of propaganda would bring immediate concrete benefits to Britain at a time when they were struggling. Furthermore the release of British prisoners, while insignificant economically or militarily, did briefly boost the Prime Minister’s popularity at a time it was flagging for a number of reasons.

That a British trade agreement would soon lead to massive investment by American industrialists and covert military cooperation by German militarists was impossible to predict…

-Excerpt from Why did they do THAT!?! Historical Madness in Context: Volume III, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2015



Edit: Minor typo on tax rates fixed
 
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…With the death of Leonard Wood on July 4th 1925 Charles Curtiss became President of the United States, the first Native American to hold the office. One of his first acts was to sign a bill reducing taxes, dropping the top tax rate from 32.5% to 30.5%...
This is the first genuinely better (as in 'more desirable outcome') than OTL thing that's happened in this TL. It's refreshing, given how terribly everything's gone in Europe. 🤣

An excellent chapter.
 
This is the first genuinely better (as in 'more desirable outcome') than OTL thing that's happened in this TL. It's refreshing, given how terribly everything's gone in Europe. 🤣
I dunno about that top rate tax cut, boss...

However they wanted to do more than just cut their losses. They wanted the USSR to stop messing in what they saw as their Colonial sphere of influence and internal British politics, as well as a return of British prisoners. That this was worth legitimizing the USSR for is questionable. In hindsight the answer is probably no, given that legitimizing the USSR allowed it to recover and grow, becoming a threat that would distort European politics and through that lead to the next world war and…
That basically confirms USA vs. USSR in WW2, given the source.

The question now being which side Germany ends up on--with the apparantly boosted Socialist Party, it could go either way, or split right down the middle.
 
Red Alert confirmed?
Consider: under the right circumstances--circumstances which RamscoopRaider has been building up to inexorably--the United States could be going to war against the USSR as part of an Anti-Communist League with the Nazis.

Now how's that for a ghastly victory?
 
Consider: under the right circumstances--circumstances which RamscoopRaider has been building up to inexorably--the United States could be going to war against the USSR as part of an Anti-Communist League with the Nazis.

Now how's that for a ghastly victory?
I mean the German's are a going to be a repressive dictatorship TTL but I'm pretty sure they aren't Nazi's IIRC.
 
I dunno about that top rate tax cut, boss...


That basically confirms USA vs. USSR in WW2, given the source.

The question now being which side Germany ends up on--with the apparantly boosted Socialist Party, it could go either way, or split right down the middle.
I was talking about the native american president.
 
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