Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Admiral Matt

Gone Fishin'
Would eugenics laws really be abolished if they staid in place till early 2000s? It should’ve become a normalized practice with minimal outrage if they were in place for a century. Especially if American never went as far as Hitler.
Also considering German Eugenics is what caused outrage and is so prominent does that mean Holocaust doesn’t happen in this timeline or that it’s never found out?

Rolled back mid-century, actual abolition 40 years later. Almost as if there were something that could temporarily legitimize eugenic policies, that happened in the same period as the much-alluded-to "events" of the fifth, sixth, and seventh decades of the 20th century.

Hmm....
 
Also considering German Eugenics is what caused outrage and is so prominent does that mean Holocaust doesn’t happen in this timeline or that it’s never found out?
Or the victims simply fought back in a more visible and violent form than OTL, which might have diminished sympathy for them. Or that the victims were politically inconvenient...

It's not a logical train of reasoning but a common one all the same, one that's so ingrained that it shaped the narrative and our perception of many independence and civil rights movements of the 20th century.

Or to be more blunt: Victims are supposed to be passive and helpless. If they fought back "too early" they had it coming then...
 
Last edited:
Part 5-2
…Hitler’s exit from the Versailles regime forced the German armed forces to do a massive rethink of their long term plans. No longer being bound to a restrictive regime of arms control and with a militarist leader demanding a massive rearmament campaign they had to create a new plan. The Reichsmarine, the 1935 reorganization into the Kriegsmarine having not yet occurred, was no different.

There were three major views on what this plan should be, two from within the navy, and one from without. These were a Balanced Fleet Plan, a Commerce Raiding Plan and a Minimal Navy Plan. The first was to build a conventional navy, a core of battleships supported by appropriate numbers of cruisers, destroyers, submarines and lesser vessels. The Second was to build more Panzerschiffs and heavy surface raiders along with large numbers of long range submarines. The last was to build just enough light units to defend the German coast and spend the rest of the money on the Heer and Luftwaffe.

All of the plans made certain arguments. The Commerce Raiding plan argued that the High Seas Fleet, despite all the money spent on it did not significantly aid the German war effort against Britain and France, while the U-Boats and Surface raiders did have a measurable negative impact on the Entente War effort. Britain in particular as an island required seaborne imports that could be disrupted by commerce raiding. Thus from that perspective a large surface fleet was a waste of money, and that a commerce raiding fleet had the potential to bring Britain to its knees and win a war.

The Minimal Fleet advocates argued that neither Commerce Raiding nor the High Seas Fleet won the last war. Arguably the U-Boats lost the war by driving the United States into the war. A commerce raiding campaign could not be successful without risking doing the same given the relative naval geography of Europe highly limited Germany’s ability to attack British commerce. Therefore investing in commerce raiding was a waste of money likely to make things worse. Attempting to build a balanced fleet to challenge the British was even more so than the High Seas Fleet a fools errand. Thus the logical thing was to spend money on the Heer and Luftwaffe to defeat France on the continent, once France fell the UK would naturally make peace.

The Balanced Fleet advocates argued that their approach was best for the situation Germany actually faced. France and Britain were on the outs and the USSR was a pariah. Against either France or the USSR Germany could easily win a naval race and maintain control of the sea. They had managed that against Russia in the previous war and were able to perform amphibious flanking maneuvers, and had forced France to neutralize the channel in any conflict not involving Britain. Building a fleet on the assumption that all naval wars would involve Britain risked leaving them dangerously underprepared for facing other foes.

It was the last view that prevailed for several reasons. Most important was national prestige, big ships were considered central to this and Hitler was unwilling to go without them. Secondly was the fact that a balanced fleet of a certain size was need for the other two plans. A fleet larger than the Soviet Baltic fleet was considered necessary to protect vital iron ore imports from Sweden, and further necessary to prevent a close blockade in event of war with Britain and allow a commerce raiding campaign any room to begin…

…This approach was vindicated by diplomatic reality. German plans to build a balanced fleet fit into the British desire for Germany not to build a commerce raiding fleet. Thus Britain was willing to look the other way to Germany’s behavior in Europe to a large degree provided they did not build a fleet larger than France’s, something codified in a 1935 diplomatic agreement…

-Excerpt from Naval History Between the Wars, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2007



…With the shackles of Versailles thrown off Germany now had the ability to match the desire for an airforce. The choice of a leader for that airforce was obvious, Germany’s most prominent aviator, the Red Baron himself. Von Richthofen had been involved in the efforts by the Reichswehr to get around the Versailles treaty, a great deal of public acclaim and was part of the Prussian aristocracy that dominated the Reichswehr.

Von Richthofen soon oversaw the rapid growth of a formidable air force. A key difference between the German Luftwaffe and most air arms was its focus. Von Richthofen insisted that the Luftwaffe focus on achieving air superiority on the frontline, then supporting the Heer with reconnaissance, close air support and bombing of operational targets. This was in contrast with most air arms, who disproportionately focused resources on strategic bombing. Based on WWI experiences with Zeppelins and the big Gotha bombers Von Richthofen was convinced that it was not worth the resources to rely on it as a primary weapon…

-Excerpt from Airpower!, Dewitt Publishing, Los Angeles, 2010



…The German Army like most in the interwar saw armored warfare as the future of combat. Working both from British theorist like Lidell-Hart and Fuller and their own such as Guderian and Lutz. Their doctrine called for tank heavy Panzer divisions to break through enemy frontlines and attack their lines of communication while motorized infantry Panzergrenadier units would trap isolated units into pockets to be reduced by regular infantry.

Like most nations of the period the German army though it needed a number of different tank varieties. Common to most was the need for a light scout tank, a fast cavalry tank that could fight other tanks and an armored infantry tank to support the infantry. Additionally the Germans had a desire for a superheavy fortress busting tank. Of course the Germans realized that they could not go from having no tanks to a modern and powerful tank arm from scratch and began work on a series of developmental models…

…Unlike everyone else the Germans still saw a significant place for superheavy artillery and began the process of building up a powerful arm of superheavy siege guns. This would culminate in the monstrous 80cm Gustav guns…

…Germany saw the impact gas had in the last days of the Great War and looked to try and replicate that effect. Unconstrained by wartime shortages they could truly leverage the best chemical industry to produce something revolutionary. And in the organophosphate family of compounds they found that revolution…

…Unlike in the majority of ground air force relationships in the world the relationship between the Heer and the Luftwaffe was if not truly friendly at least cordial. Thus when Heer observers in Russia noticed the Soviet exercises with parachute troops the Luftwaffe was ready to help the Heer to develop an airborne warfare capability…

-Excerpt from Steel Talons: Armed Forces of the Interwar, Dewitt Publishing, Los Angeles, 2011
 
Von Richthofen insisted that the Luftwaffe focus on achieving air superiority on the frontline,
This rings true with Richthofen's nature, his first maxim was "Find the enemy and shoot him down, anything else is nonsense".
he had other maxims on air war strategy but that was number one.
 
Hoo boy, gas weapons. Otl Hitler’s experiences with gas led to him refusing to use it on the allies iirc. If he’s using it in World War II ttl…
 
Oh boy, a Nazi Gemany willing to enthusiastically use gas weapons? This is going to be a nasty WW2.

As for the air force, what led to the other powers focusing on strategic bombing so much?
 
Oh boy, a Nazi Gemany willing to enthusiastically use gas weapons? This is going to be a nasty WW2.

As for the air force, what led to the other powers focusing on strategic bombing so much?
There was a book written between the wars by an Italian general named Giulio Douhet titled "The Command of the Air" (Il dominio dell'aria), in which Douhet stressed that the bomber would always get thru.
A lot of military people like Bomber Harris, and Göring took his book to heart and so did a lot of other nations.
I believe von Richthofen would have stressed that fighters were equally important.
 
There was a book written between the wars by an Italian general named Giulio Douhet titled "The Command of the Air" (Il dominio dell'aria), in which Douhet stressed that the bomber would always get thru.
A lot of military people like Bomber Harris, and Göring took his book to heart and so did a lot of other nations.
I believe von Richthofen would have stressed that fighters were equally important.
They also overestimated the destructive capacity of bombing. So even if the bomber did get through, it didn't do much use.

German close air support was crucial in France for instance, so a Luftwaffe that sticks to that which it was very good at otl should have a great impact.
 
As for the air force, what led to the other powers focusing on strategic bombing so much?
What the previous posters have mentioned and also politics. Strategic bombing promised a way for the air force to win the war by themselves, thus an argument why they should be/continue to be independent and receive as large a slice of the budget as possible. Bombing in support of the army and navy still meant the army and navy needed to be paid for, if the air force could win the war without them, then the air force could get all that money. Or as the air force claimed get less money as they could do it more cheaply and thus save taxpayers money

There was also the fact that for a brief period in the mid 30's OTL there was no radar and bombers were faster than fighters, thus they could not be effectively stopped. Combine this with basically using a single incident, Guernica, to base projections on, assuming the ratio of deaths to tons of bombs would remain the same, and bombers looked extremely threatening

For the US at least part of it was the USAAC believed based on their projections that they could disable enemy industry fairly easily, their problem was that they were assuming factories still were powered via belts off a roof mounted lineshaft connected to a stationary engine, rather than shifting to electric power as occurred over the 20's and 30's. A single medium bomb could knock out a lineshaft based factory completely for weeks, whereas it would cause only a minor inconvenience to an electrified factory
 
For the US at least part of it was the USAAC believed based on their projections that they could disable enemy industry fairly easily, their problem was that they were assuming factories still were powered via belts off a roof mounted lineshaft connected to a stationary engine, rather than shifting to electric power as occurred over the 20's and 30's. A single medium bomb could knock out a lineshaft based factory completely for weeks, whereas it would cause only a minor inconvenience to an electrified factory
Funnily I read a book on this. The Bomber Mafia.

Basically, they wanted a more "humane" way of ending the war, and were inspired when a factory in the US, one of the few I think that made screws for propellers, got flooded out and basically stopped all aviation work in the US.
 
For the US at least part of it was the USAAC believed based on their projections that they could disable enemy industry fairly easily, their problem was that they were assuming factories still were powered via belts off a roof mounted lineshaft connected to a stationary engine, rather than shifting to electric power as occurred over the 20's and 30's. A single medium bomb could knock out a lineshaft based factory completely for weeks, whereas it would cause only a minor inconvenience to an electrified factory
They also neglected to consider fighting an enemy who's military industry is in another country and get it's equipment via their own version of Lend and Lease. Unlike with Germany and Japan no air force could ever destroy the factories supplying the North Korean and North Vietnamese armies.
 
They also neglected to consider fighting an enemy who's military industry is in another country and get it's equipment via their own version of Lend and Lease. Unlike with Germany and Japan no air force could ever destroy the factories supplying the North Korean and North Vietnamese armies.
That wasn't neglect, the political situation of 1926-1941 did not really allow for that sort of thing being relevant to the US
 
That wasn't neglect, the political situation of 1926-1941 did not really allow for that sort of thing being relevant to the US
I agree. The post OTL WW2 political situation didn't allow for it Also the U.S. didn't want to start WW3 and the general who did (MacArthur) was fired for suggesting it.
 
For the US at least part of it was the USAAC believed based on their projections that they could disable enemy industry fairly easily, their problem was that they were assuming factories still were powered via belts off a roof mounted lineshaft connected to a stationary engine, rather than shifting to electric power as occurred over the 20's and 30's. A single medium bomb could knock out a lineshaft based factory completely for weeks, whereas it would cause only a minor inconvenience to an electrified factory
Hmm... they've certainly got a point there. If you manage to drop a bomb directly on the main steam engine driving things, you have indeed knocked the entire thing out for weeks or months until you can replace that iron beast. But that looks like a big if, it seems a bomb hit anywhere else wouldn't be so bad: maybe you'd need to replace a shaft or two, probably at most a couple day's work if they have spare parts which I'd expect them to have in wartime. With the crap accuracy of 1920s/30s high-altitude bombing, I would guess you'd need to carpet bomb the whole thing with dozens of bombs anyway to reliable score a kill.
 
Hmm... they've certainly got a point there. If you manage to drop a bomb directly on the main steam engine driving things, you have indeed knocked the entire thing out for weeks or months until you can replace that iron beast. But that looks like a big if, it seems a bomb hit anywhere else wouldn't be so bad: maybe you'd need to replace a shaft or two, probably at most a couple day's work if they have spare parts which I'd expect them to have in wartime. With the crap accuracy of 1920s/30s high-altitude bombing, I would guess you'd need to carpet bomb the whole thing with dozens of bombs anyway to reliable score a kill.
The belt drive, central power systems were complicated, delicate (relatively) and maintenance intensive to keep running. While arguably 'modular' the fact was that one high explosive bomb would wreck a major portion of the belt and support system which could take weeks to repair and replace. Several bombs anywhere nearby and you're looking to replace and repair the whole system even if the central power unit isn't damaged at all.

Once you had decentralized and distributed power without those direct mechanical connections factories got a LOT more 'survivable and it took a lot more bombs on target to effectively take them out. And yes due to that very inaccurate high altitude bombing which the USAAF insisted on calling "precision" the number of bombs and therefore bombers needed to take out a factory went up vastly.

"The Command of the Air" made a LOT of assumptions based on limited data from WWI and did not take into account a lot of the new technology and other trends that were assumed to be 'static' against the 'dynamic' nature of air power. The main issue was there was no major 'war' in the inter-war period where those theories could be put into practice to see how they really faired. The problem the Air Power advocates' faced was that they were mostly aimed literally at offensive operations because the basic premise of the book and doctrine was offensive in nature. Even the 'defensive' nature was more offensive patrolling and attack than actual defense against air power itself. (Given the issues with spotting and intercepting an attack with nothing but essentially the Mark 1 eyeball to work with)

It didn't help that the advocates would quite often "cheat" for media effect such as Mitchell's battleship attacks and long distance 'at-sea' intercepts where the ships own radio was used to help find the ship. Now add in gas bombing, (which was a big part of "The Command of the Air" as an offensive tactic) and things change quite a bit, which is why it was so feared prior to and early in WWII.

Randy
 
Part 5-3
…Following the German-Polish Non-Aggression Pact the next major blow to the interwar security order came in the Balkans. Yugoslavia, along with Czechoslovakia, had entered into an alliance with the French in the early 1920’s. For the French this was considered key to containing the Germans, along with their alliance with Belgium. The three minor nations they hoped could make up for the lack of the British against a diminished Germany.

The German rapprochement with Poland under Hitler and the Volkists had changed that. With Poland and Germany having temporarily set aside their differences Germany both had a secure border and Czechoslovakia a threat from the north. The Poles had designs on territory in Slovakia with Polish minorities and in the absence of a German threat to their borders could present a strong threat to the Czechoslovaks. This in turn led to the Czechoslovaks being less willing to guarantee Yugoslavia against nations other than Hungary, who also had designs on them.

This would not necessarily have been relevant save for events in Yugoslavia. The Yugoslav state had been formed as a federation with a relatively weak central government due to compromises made in late WWI. This did not sit well with King Arsen, who had imbibed a strong dose of absolutism during his military service in the Imperial Russian Army, nor did it sit well with the political elite of the former Kingdom of Serbia, who had expected any Yugoslav state would be in essence a Greater Serbia. Attempts to tighten control under governments led by the People’s Radical Party during the 1920’s ended when the Depression put into power a coalition government led by the strongly Federalist Croatian People's Peasants Party.

This displeased both the King and the strong Serbian Nationalist movement. This displeasure increased as the government of Prime Minister Radić began working to decentralize the country again. This displeasure reached a head in 1934 when the Prime Minister vetoed the use for public funds to construct a monument to the “St. Vitus Day Martyrs,” a grandiose way of describing the assassins who started WWI, after a petition drive by Serbian Nationalists. This led to days of rioting in Srajevo and Belgrade. With the Riots as an excuse King Arsen declared Martial Law and sent in the Army. He then dismissed the Prime Minister and the legislature and began ruling by decree with the support of the military and Serb paramilitaries.

King Arsen’s actions drove away the French and Czechoslovaks from associating with Yugoslavia. As a result the alliance between them was not renewed, placing a critical hole in the European Security order…

…King Arsen’s death in 1935 saw his son Paul ascend to the throne. Paul was an Oxford educated Anglophile and consistently on the outs with his father, but was nonetheless the heir due to being the only adult option. King Paul ended the martial law that the country had been other, called new elections, dispersed the Serb paramilitaries and moved to enforce the Unity Constitution as it was written. A strong Federalist he aroused great hatred among the Serbian nationalists by declaring himself a Yugoslav first and a Serb second and meaning what he said.

His ascension to the throne was too late however to fix the alliance broken by his father’s coup. Sanna had successfully been able to maneuver himself as the best Anglo-French option for containing Germany, and presented Italy and Yugoslavia as binary choices. Given that Italy was vastly stronger the Anglo-French chose Italy, preventing a glaring whole in the European security order from being patched…

…Sanna’s sub rosa fermenting of unrest in Yugoslavia’s Serb population proved to be one of the most successful covert operations taken in the interwar period. Yugoslavia was forced from its alliance with the French into a relatively isolated position where Sanna could deal with it at his leisure. Or at least he would have been able to had events in Northern Europe turned out differently…

-Into the Abyss: The leadup to the Second World War, Harper and Brothers, New York, 2009




…The next major reported sighting of Apis was during the Sarajevo Protests of 1934. It is claimed that a man resembling his description killed a police officer with a revolver, triggering the escalation of the protests and leading to the subsequent coup by King Arsen and the diplomatic isolation of the Yugoslav state. This sighting was at least close to his homeland and what he is doing fits with the real man’s goals…

-Excerpt from Wild Conspiracies, Urban Myths and Tall Tales, American Youth Press, New York, 2010
 
Top