Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Yeah spelling error. PacFleets subs are based in San Diego and were in OTL until 1940, Pearl Harbors sub basing facilities were not complete until the 30's both here and OTL

I'm saying this OOC because nobody in the timeline actual knows what was behind their reasoning. OTL there was a harebrained scheme by the USSR in the early 20's to try and ferment war between the US and Japan which included selling parts of the Russian Far East to the US, this is the ATL variant. They also tried selling territory to the US ITTL, but that's still classified and not public knowledge

Borodino class battlecruisers, Izmail keeps the original 4x3 14", Borodino gets 4x2 16" and Kinburn gets the 1925 carrier conversion planned for Izmail OTL

Might I ask for a source on this information as I would like to dig a bit deeper as I never heard of this before.
I would also like a source for this. If it its real that seems like a PoD with a lot of potential.
 
I would also like a source for this. If it its real that seems like a PoD with a lot of potential.
My source was a documentary that quoted an apparently mistaken source, I can't tell you which documentary, was awhile back

I can give you a JSTOR article about the proposal to lease Kamchatka to the United States in order to generate friction with Japan: https://www.jstor.org/stable/3634259

Admittedly that occurred earlier than this, 1920, but again rough equivalent ITL, same motivation but different timing. Lenin actually approved of the OTL plan with the pretty explicit goal to trigger a war between the US and Japan, the hare-brained ness was all on the American side of things, the Russians thought they were talking with a surrogate for Harding, they were actually talking to the surrogates cousin who was running a private scheme
 
Part 3-22
… For the election of 1926, citing trouble with the Communists, Socialists and Anarchists Sanna used his position as prime minister to force through a new election law. Rather than a straight proportional election the largest party would receive two thirds of the seats at stake, with the rest divided proportionally. Sanna argued this was necessary for him to stabilize the country. Given the turmoil that followed Giolattis death he was granted this, with a condition that the law would only cover the 1926 election and that new ones would be held in 1928. Sanna accepted and the Fascist controlled National List fairly easily won the largest share of the vote in 1926.

Sanna used this victory to overhaul the electoral system and entrench his supporters in the government. By the election of 1928 he had absorbed the Combatants Party into the Fascists and dissolved the National List with the Fascists running alone. In the 1928 elections the fascists won 63% of the seats on 51% of the vote according to the official results. This was likely fraudulent, though to an unknown degree, and relied on gerrymandering, voter suppression and the banning of the Communist Party. Nonetheless Sanna achieved a superficially legitimate electoral victory that he would use to keep control of the Italian State…

…Sanna’s largest priority was modernizing the Italian Economy. For the most part he was hands off as the previous liberal policies were showing considerable growth and recovery. His main contribution was the so called “Battle for Land” where the government provided interest free loans and arranged for owners of worthless swampland to reclaim it, provided the owners would implement mechanized agriculture using domestic Italian machinery.

A lesser contribution was his usurping control over the Italian Trade Unions with an Associations of Fascist Trade Unions. This became a tool to remove the influence of the socialists from the Unions and as leverage against the major industrial concerns…

…Sanna was odd in that unlike any other Fascist leader he cut military spending early in his tenure as Italy’s leader. This was due to his recognition that Italy’s greatest weakness was economic, and that money spent there would do more good in the long term than that spent on the army. Thus he instituted a Twelve Year rule in 1927, that the Italian military was to operate on the assumption of no major war before 1939. Unlike the British Ten Year Rule Sanna’s rule was not an excuse to underfund the military, but rather to only spend on what would be useful twelve years from now…

…Part of Sanna’s military preparations was his policy of exporting military equipment at cost. This encouraged other nations to buy Italian, which kept the Italian arms industry running at a higher pace than purely domestic orders would. It also brought in money as the value of the arms was less than that of the material imported to purchase them…

…Following the election of 1925 the string of minority governments that had ran the Weimar Republic since 1921 finally ended. In an attempt to restore stability it was decided by the leaderships of the DVP, DDP and Zentrum that they needed to join with one of the two largest parties in the Reichstag, the DNVP or the SPD. The SPD was larger, but the DVP and elements of Zentrum were unwilling to work with them given their perceived closeness to the Communists and perceived complicity in the communists coups in Saxony and Thuringia. Thus the DNVP was chosen to form a government under Zentrums Heinrich Brüning, the first under newly elected President Hindenburg, bringing with them the Agricultural League.

The DNVP was formed from the old Conservative, Free Conservative and National Liberal Parties and primarily represented the old Wilhelmine establishment. That it wasn’t the largest party in the Reichstag after the tumult of the early 20’s mainly came down to a lack of organization. However the party was increasingly influenced by the Volkish Right, a far more radical movement represented in the German Socialist Party and the lesser known National Socialist German Workers Party.

Working with the DNVP did not sit well for the DDP and the leftmost elements of Zentrum. Many still preferred to work with their old partners in the SPD. As such the Von Papen government was fought with tension from the beginning that only increased over time…

…1925 saw the German Communist party taken over by the staunchly Stalinist Ernst Thalmann. At Moscow’s command Thalmann began a policy of Stalinization to bring the organization more in line with Moscow’s dictates. This did not sit well with certain elements of the KPD, who were used to charting a more independent course and sympathized with Trotsky and other opposition figures. There was an abortive movement in 1926 to form an opposition party, but it fell into bickering about whether the party should be more ore less radical than the KPD. Instead a small group under the young firebrand Hans Moller decided that they would provide an example that would force the KPD to follow the course they set.

In doing so Moller would become almost as important as Muhamed Mehmedbašić in contributing to the madness of the early 20th century…

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







Moller is not a historical figure, just some random German casualty of OTL who survived ITTL and became a mid level KPD member by 1926
 
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that had ran the Weimar Republic since 1921. In an attempt
missing end of sentence

Certainly a meaty Sunday dinner to digest all these changes, I particularly like how Sanna is going for economic expansion instead of military; this could really change the Ethiopian War if the soldiers have proper logistics to advance on a regular basis; along with the Libyan front if he treats it as a core part of Italy like France did/attempted for Algeria .
 
Part 3-23
…The efforts by the Army Air Corps to get a dedicated branch of service were stymied by staunch opposition both from within the Army and without. Other branches of the Army saw the fixation of the higher ups of the Air Corps on long range bombers to the exclusion of other types as a problem in the making, desiring a more balanced mix of aircraft than the Air Corps wanted. The Navy and Marines were quite concerned by proposals for an Independent Air Force to control all military aviation and jealousy guarded their own aviation.

The effects of this on the coming war are still hotly debated. Proponents of aviation say that an independent air service would have seen more money devoted to aviation R&D, pushing ahead aircraft design as much as several years from what happened. Opponents argue it would have simply meant a lot of poorly employed heavy bombers at the expense of other more vital programs, both aviation and otherwise…

…After considerable testing it was determined that a .276 cartridge was the optimum solution for a shorter ranged mobilization rifle. However plans to issue the rifle to the National Guard during peacetime were scuppered by concerns of ammunition sharing between the Guard and Regulars. Instead it was determined that a stock of .276 caliber weapons and ammo would be maintained to reequip the Guard and Regulars in case of a Second World War upon which production would switch entirely to the mobilization rifle…

…Testing and experience determined that the new semi-automatic rifle under development should utilize detachable box magazines rather than en-bloc clips in order to enable the use of a higher capacity magazine for assaults…

…One deficiency the artillery branch noticed in their plans by the end of the 20’s was a lack of a dedicated anti-tank weapon. Lacking a domestic weapons efforts were made to find one abroad. Contacts in France revealed that Hotchkiss had been working on a weapon for the French Army since 1928 that would fit American needs…

…The Chemical Corps found its prototype 4.7” mortar acceptable, however its 6.1” and 9.4” weapons were found to be unsatisfactory. They were too short ranged for the role envisioned, having range less than a 75mm field gun while being less mobile. For providing support at higher echelons something either longer ranged or more mobile was needed. While the former proved elusive without intruding on the territory of the Air Corps the latter did not. The 3” rocket being adopted by the infantry as a replacement for the much maligned 37mm infantry guns showed that one could get a relatively high payload weapon that was mobile if one accepted the penalties in ammunition weight…

…The Infantry’s colonial tank program was based on a 12 ton chassis, with prototypes varying in engine and suspension. All were armed with a unique turreted weapons system, 5 .30 caliber machine guns attached together in an adjustable manner, so the spread of the weapons could be adjusted depending on the range to target to suppress a wider area.

In practice the concept was highly flawed, the adjustment system was prone to breaking down from the recoil of the guns and managing five machine guns proved difficult for the two men in the turret. Most were refitted with either a pair of .50 caliber heavy machine guns, or a .50 caliber, .30 caliber and a flamethrower. This abandonment of the primary feature of the Colonial Tank saw the project abandoned and replaced with the cheaper light tanks developed by International Harvester for export…

…The Infantry’s European Tank program was similar to the colonial tank program in that it produced a number of unique prototypes. In addition to varying engine and suspension configurations the ET series varied number and arrangement of the machine guns that accompanied the 75mm mountain gun that was its main armament. Mountings included secondary turrets, sponsons, fixed mounts and various locations within the main turret. The ET was however much larger at 30 tons and up for most prototypes compared to the 12 ton CT.

No agreement had been made to standardize on a design for production before requirements for a Mark II were established. With the growing prevalence of tanks, it was clear that the European tank would be facing enemy tanks. Thus a new requirement was established for carrying front armor proof against the common 37mm tank guns of the Great War and a 25mm Anti-Tank gun, in addition to its current loadout. This would push the design to over 40 tons…

…The most significant tank development was arguably private. International Harvester had in house designed a 5 ton two man vehicle capable of 30mph in service and carrying either two medium machine guns or a machine gun and an anti-tank rifle in a turret. Several vehicles were purchased by the USMC for use in the Banana wars and after the failure of the CT program the Army adopted the cheaper International Harvester design as the basis for a replacement.

The Army variant was a ton larger to fit third crewmember and a .50 caliber M2 in place of one of the medium machine guns…

…The Cavalry Branch experimented with half tracks to get around the infantry branch’s monopoly on tanks, having greater rough terrain performance than armored cars while not qualifying as tanks to congress.

Two basic designs were developed. The first was based on an existing truck chassis and weighed 8 tons, carrying a .50 and a .30 caliber machine gun in a turret. The second was larger and based on a private tank design by Walter Christie, weighing 15 tons it had a 4 pounder and a .30 machine gun in a turret. Both vehicles were capable of about 35mph in service.

Both would be influential in their own way, the former design was recognized as having great potential as a supplement to conventional trucks in off road conditions. In the case of the latter tank it was noticed that before they could pry the 4 pounders out of the navy, that with the signal gun mock up they were using there was room for a third man in the turret, which provided a marked improvement in situational awareness…

-Excerpt from Forging Columbia’s Sword, The United States Army between the Wars, Norwich University Press, Northfield, 2009
 
Ok that's different. The US Army has more than two rusty nickels to rub together for funding in peace time. Most unexpected but welcomed surprise. Now I'm just wondering how much more all this is going to be needed in the next war.
 
Curious what the impact on the air force will be- sounds like we won't be seeing the B-17 in this timeline?
I don't think its implying no B-17 here. The fact of the matter is given who the potential enemies of the US are they'll need a long range heavy bomber in basically every scenario possible. Likely what's gonna happen is a smaller heavy bomber force but one that's not under the "bomber will always get through" assumption. Which of course would help fighter development as they'd be looking for a long-range escort from the start.
 
Part 3-24
…The next major event to disrupt the Versailles order came not from Europe but rather the far east. The Qing dynasty had fallen in 1912, replaced by a fledgling republic under first Sun Yat-Sen of the KMT party, quickly taken over by General Yuan Shikai, who controlled the only modern military force in China. Shikai ruled as an autocrat despite only nominally being president and briefly tried to make himself emperor, before being forced to return to his status as a mere president. His death in 1916 saw the Beiyang army, the only effective military force in China fracture. A debate over whether to enter WWI in exchange for Entente loans splintered the political system and a brief putsch by Qing loyalists shattered the government’s reputation and forced the KMT party to flee to Canton.

After several years the KMT party established a rival government in Canton, as well as a secure base of operations. They then began the process of building up an Army to take over the rest of the country from the warlords who dominated the corpse of the previous government in Peking. The first step of this was to create a truly professional officer corps trained on western models at a new officer academy. The second was to find a supplier of arms, given that the KMT was broke and not recognized by any major power this proved difficult. Only through a devils bargain with the Soviet Union, requiring them to share power with the Chinese Communist Party in exchange for military support.

By 1927 the KMT was ready to attack. Under the brilliant general Chiang Kai-Shek the KMT was able to exploit divisions among the warlords nominally loyal to Peking to turn many to his side, and engage others one at a time. By spring of 1928 Chiang and his allies had conquered almost all of China south of the Hwai River, with only Nanking and the surrounding areas holding out. By the beginning of April the noose around that city was tightening and the warlord coalition of the NPA decided to pull out of Nanking to save their best troops for holding the Hwai against the KMT. The KMT forces entered Nanking on April 20th and trouble immediately ensued.

While better disciplined than most, the KMT’s National Revolutionary Army was by objective standards poorly disciplined. Upon entering such a large city without resistance it degenerated into an unruly mob, with raping, looting and murder rampant. The latter proved most troublesome for the KMT, as their soldiers, or their communist “allies” murdered many prominent foreigners including an American University President and the Japanese Consul. This spurred large scale foreign intervention and warships from six navies ended up firing on KMT troops in order to evacuate their citizens.

Chiang and the KMT were forced to make huge concessions in order to avoid a foreign intervention, damages were paid and the offensive was stopped in order to avoid provoking the Japanese who were on the edge of war. Chiang blamed the incident, probably correctly, on the Communists in the Army. The Communists and Left Wing parts of the KMT blamed Chiang. The latter view won out and Chiang was removed as leader of the KMT in favor of Wang Jingwei and sent into exile.

Jingwei however soon learned that Chiang was correct in not trusting the communists, as in August the Communists attempted to seize Canton in a coup. The KMT loyal NRA was able to crush it quickly, but other revolts broke out and were not crushed so easily. By November Chaing was back and the devils alliance with the Communists was over. The limited support the USSR provided was replaced with the ability to purchase supplies on the work market, thanks to diplomatic recognition from the US and UK in the wake of the Nanking incident.

In 1929 the KMT was able to resume their offensive against the remaining warlords and crossed the Hwai in force. The warlord forces of the NPA were quickly routed. Peking fell in August and the warlords of the NPA were forced to flee to Manchuria. The Manchurian Warlords of the Zhang family in an effort to save their hides from the KMT invited the Japanese in for protection. China had almost been completely reunited …

…Arguably more important than the capture of Peking in August was the offensive into Shantung in June. During the offensive KMT troops approached the provincial capital of Tsinan, which was garrisoned by Japanese troops to protect Japanese interests in the province. Things began peacefully as the Chinese were studious in avoiding another Nanking incident. However on June 23rd KMT forces began setting up a field battery on a hill located above the city. The Colonel in command of the Japanese regiment garrisoning Tsinan complained about it in the presence of his troops.

Two company commanders took it in their own initiative to act and remove the battery. On the 24th at dawn two companies of Japanese infantry arrived and demanded the battery be removed. The Chinese refused an a confrontation occurred between the Chinse captain and his Japanese counterparts. Words were said and after ten minutes someone drew a sword. From there the Japanese infantry stormed the battery after first blood broke out among the officers.

The Chinese sent a counterattack to retake the battery while the Japanese sent reinforcements. The commanders on both sides called for further reinforcements and over the next three days the battle escalated to the point of involving a full division on each side before the Chinese backed down…

…On the Japanese side the civilian government was furious at the actions of the Captains who started the incident. However the Prime Minister had campaigned on being tough on the Chinese after the Nanking incident and was trapped by his rhetoric. This led to his eventual dismissal by Emperor Hirohito for his inability to punish the officers in question. Hirohito wanted to punish them himself, but was convinced by his military advisors that doing so would be disadvantageous to maintaining a strong position in China.

Thus the precedent was set, junior officers would not be punished for taking matters into their own hands in China…

-Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007
 
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Okay, so despite some attempts to do research, my own lack of familiarity with the details of this era of Chinese history hurts me here - how much of this happened OTL, or is it all new?
 
Welp, seems the Sino-Japanese mess and the tendency of junior officers to dictate foreign policy has started even earlier in TTL. The military advisors convincing Hirohito not to punish the officers is also quite the blow to the Emperor's power.
 
Part 3-25
…The Republican convention of 1928 was a foregone conclusion. With a booming economy and a successful record of handling the Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 President Curtis saw no opposition to renomination. For a Vice President, former governor Channing Cox of Massachusetts was chosen as a Progressive and Easterner to balance the ticket…

…The Democratic Convention of 1928 saw the final destruction of the Wilson wing of the Democratic Party. Not one Wilson man was in serious contention for the top spot. Instead it was merely a question of whether Al Smith of New York would receive the nomination or not. Smith was an unusual candidate for the party and time, being both a wet and a catholic, things which did not endear him to the Democratic base in the Solid South.

Smith did have rock solid support from the urban political machines and the increasingly wet northern delegations. Furthermore he had the advantage that his opposition was lacking. With Curtiss’s popularity and advantages of incumbency and a booming economy, his victory seemed inevitable, thus the heavyweights of the party decided to stay out of the race. Because of this no clear leader of either the progressive or conservative opposition to Smith emerged and he was elected on the first ballot. As a balance to the ticket Senator Duncan Fletcher of Florida was chosen as Vice President…

…Smith performed better than any democrat since Wilson in 1916. However his Catholicism held him back, with the religion being seen as foreign and unamerican by many at the time. Similarly despite an openly dry platform, his wet sympathies cost him many votes as many thought he would backdoor an end to prohibition. Finally of course the general prosperity of the period induced a don’t rock the boat attitude in voters, Curtis had done well so why change things now?

Smith managed 39% of the vote compared to Curtis’s 59%, but only won six southern states and Massachusetts. This saw Curtis win 449 to 87 in the electoral college as a candidate in his own right…

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



…On the eve of the Depression there were few indeed who would believe that the United States might again enter a world war. For many of course the horrors of another World War were simply too horrible to contemplate. Surely no one would dare risk a repeat of such butchery. For those who could contemplate such occurring, the thought was that the United States would stay out.

The US felt burned by its participation in the First World War, as the elation of the so called victory faded the costs were clearly seen alongside the lack of benefits. The United States had gained nothing from the war, while her cobelligerents had profited mightily. Claims of making the world Safe for Democracy rang hollow as nation after nation in Europe fell into dictatorship. Entente propaganda was seen for the lies it was. The Central Powers were seen as little better, with Prussian militarists, Austrian tyrants and Ottoman genocides coloring opinions. The general feeling was “a pox on both their houses,” let the Europeans kill each other if they want, we will stay out of this.

That this would change in less than a decade and a half was impossible to foresee…

-Excerpt From Deals with Devils: Diplomacy before and During the Second World War, Johnstone Press, Seattle, 2005



…PODs involving the Great Depression are significantly harder to manage. For all the temptation to blame matters on Curtis, the fact is the situation was already baked in by the time he took office as Vice President, let alone became president. The nature of WWI saw an enormous inflow of capital into the United States, turning the nation from a debtor to a creditor. While much of this was lent back out, enough was retained to increase the amount available for lending within the United States considerably. This saw credit terms loosened to insane degrees.

As long as there was a Great War such a thing is inevitable. Actions could have been done to avoid it. Increased taxation and greater government spending on things other than debt repayment would have mitigated the impact. A surviving Leonard Wood, or a different Vice President than Curtis might have done that, on the other hand there were influential voices such as Andrew Mellon calling for much greater tax cuts and others calling for less government spending.

Curtis did actually attempt to react to the warning signs present, however he did so within what he saw as the limits of executive power. He thus pressured the federal reserve to rescue rural banks, who were failing one a day, and to raise interest rates to avoid excess borrowing. He endorsed a statement by the treasury department warning against buying stock on margin and provided informal support for a rural bank rescue bill that died in committee. Another may have been more vigorous, yet another may have ignored the warning signs altogether.

Curtis’s actions after the outbreak of the Depression were orthodox for the time and according to the advice of then reputable economists. Most other possible president candidates in 1928 would have done the same in his shoes, and the others based on their expressed views would have done worse. Thus it is very hard to avoid the depression purely through changing the top man in the office…

…The effects of the depression world wide were to create a class of angry unemployed people who would vote for whoever promised a solution to the issue. In many countries the established parties were unable to provide such and the electorate began turning to the far left and right. This saw the latter take power in many fragile democracies in Eastern and Southern Europe, seeing Sanna’s Italy as a success and seeing the communists as a greater threat. It further exacerbated the instability in France and contributed to the takeover of the SVP in Germany. In doing so it set the geopolitical stage for the Second World War.

It further made a long war possible. The democratic powers were compelled to cut arms spending by the Depression, giving a chance for the Fascists and Communists to catch up and achieve near parity if not superiority…

…Avoiding the Depression would likely avoid WWII as we know it, without the Depression the nature of the Emergency coalition in Germany is different and the SVP is not formed and Germany retains sane leadership. Germany is still likely to eventually unite with Austria in a peaceful manner, and may fight either Czechoslovakia or Poland for territory. No plausible alternative government however would be willing to take a risk and start a war that may lead to the involvement of Britain or France.

Similarly Sanna would start a war with Greece or Yugoslavia if he was certain they were diplomatically isolated and there would be not intervention. At the same time he would not risk a possible confrontation with Britain or France on his own.

Stalin was a monster, but he was a cautious and patient one, he may start a war, but like Sanna would not risk coming in conflict with one of the Great European powers, and thus would not start a world war.

Japan is the most likely to start a major war, given the tendencies of her junior army officers, but events in Asia are unlikely to cause an outbreak of war in Europe. Even if the French and British battle fleets were drawn off, their armies and air forces would still be mostly at home and remain a powerful deterrent. Japan at best could cause a large regional war.

Thus without the Great Depression the world would avoid the Second World War and all the horrors that came with and followed it…

-Excerpt from Sideways: An Examination of Common Divergences in Counterfactual History, Gate Publishing, Atlanta, 2016

This Concludes Part III of Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part IV: Dark Depression will begin shortly





Yes this is a day late, I spent three and a half hours yesterday sitting in my car waiting for a Covid test with the highest fever I'd had in ten years. I should have ignored that clerk and gone home for two hours, would have been much less miserable and maybe updated on time
 
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Sounds like the US government isn't totally useless in responding to the depression, but is not willing to take serious measures like FDR used.
Yes this is a day late, I spent three and a half hours yesterday sitting in my car waiting for a Covid test with the highest fever I'd had in ten years. I should have ignored that clerk and gone home for two hours, would have been much less miserable and maybe updated on time
Jeez, sorry to hear that. Hope you don't actually have the virus.

The Central Powers were seen as little better, with Prussian militarists, Austrian tyrants and Ottoman genocides coloring opinions. The general feeling was “a pox on both their houses,” let the Europeans kill each other if they want, we will stay out of this.
Huh, I must've missed something. What happened in Austria?

Amyways, the "both sides suck" attitude in this section seems at odds with the mild kaiserbooism/fuck the entente-ism found in many of the other historical documents we've seen so far. I wonder if the former entente is going to do something very stupid in WW2 that will make the USA's population really hate them compared to the former CP.
 
Well then I wonder how hard the depression is going to hit this TL. From the sounds of it, its going to be brutal.

Hopefully all is well with that test.
 
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