Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

I'll admit things are more convergent than they should be, this TL is really notes I had from 3 TLs awkwardly shoehorned together, so I needed to drive things a certain way, most importantly the first of those was a WWI TL, the Second was a Pacific War TL, so I needed to set up for the latter despite changes that should arguably come from the former

I'm trying to balance hints about the future without giving the whole game away, though that will become obvious eventually
Guess that does confirm that the US will end up fighting Japan
 
Organizations such as the Public Works Administration, Civil Works Administration, and the Tennessee Valley Authority. The latter in particular was important beyond its limited size in its role as an integrated development agency for a whole region.
veterans march asking for early payment of their pensions authorized in 1922 was dispersed by the Army with excessive force after its infiltration by Communists, with the latter not generally known at the time.
If you have 2 items, they are former & latter. If there are 3 items, they are 1st, 2nd & 3rd, or 1st, middle & last. It should be The last in particular was important beyond its limited size in its role as an integrated development agency for a whole region.

Nor can one have the latter of 1 item. It should be was dispersed by the Army with excessive force after its infiltration by Communists, with the fact not generally known at the time.
Rather than cow the Irish this had the opposite effect.
This is a very common mistake. I'm not sure that I don't read it in nearly every timeline. It should be Rather than cower the Irish.
 
If you have 2 items, they are former & latter. If there are 3 items, they are 1st, 2nd & 3rd, or 1st, middle & last. It should be The last in particular was important beyond its limited size in its role as an integrated development agency for a whole region.
The latter in a list can refer to the last one.
Nor can one have the latter of 1 item. It should be was dispersed by the Army with excessive force after its infiltration by Communists, with the fact not generally known at the time.

This is a very common mistake. I'm not sure that I don't read it in nearly every timeline. It should be Rather than cower the Irish.
"cow" is correctly used here.
 
I disagree with you. It's like better & best. You have the better of 2 & the best of 3 or more. Equally, you have the latter of 2 and the last of 3 or more. Grammarly's opinion is here.

I also don't believe you can cow someone unless you want them to moove. Dictionary.com does not mention this usage of the word, but cower it does.
My two cents:

Cow (transitive verb) :to destroy the resolve or courage of ; to frighten someone into doing something, using threats or violence;

Sources (please scroll down to verb):
Merriam - Webster
Cambridge Dictionary
 
I disagree with you. It's like better & best. You have the better of 2 & the best of 3 or more. Equally, you have the latter of 2 and the last of 3 or more. Grammarly's opinion is here.

I also don't believe you can cow someone unless you want them to moove. Dictionary.com does not mention this usage of the word, but cower it does.
I'm not going to take Grammarly as gospel, and Webster does state it can be used for the last in a list of more than two items

Dictionary dot com does, if you scroll down far enough on the page you linked to, have cow as a verb, where it functions

Edit in either case since it's not in one of the sections written to be an academic source I'm not going to change them
 
Part 5-12 European Wars and Revisionist Viewpoints
…To understand the Spanish Civil War, which shaped the leadup to WWII, we have to understand the Rif War. After their loss to the US in the Spanish American War, the Spanish acquired control over the portion of Morocco known as the Rif through negotiations with France as a bid to restore national pride through colonial expansion. Spanish Iron mining in the territory, while profitable for Spanish elites displaced the natives and caused environmental damage. The natives were justifiably angry and in 1921 under the leadership of a former civil servant and judge Abd el-Krim they rose in revolt.

El-Krim proved a military genius, while his Spanish counterpart Silvestre one of the worst generals of the age in a time that produced Douglas Haig and Liugi Cadorna. Outnumbered by more than seven to one el-Krim routed the Spanish in the initial campaign inflicting almost 15,000 casualties and driving the Spanish out of over a decade of territorial gains in the so called Disaster of Annual. Only large scale reinforcements and use of chemical weapons allowed the Spanish to maintain a series of footholds in North Africa. It was a debacle on par with Adowa or the retreat from Kabul, though exceeding either in scale and arguably humiliation.

With use of heavy artillery the Spanish were slowly able to inch forwards from their few coastal redoubts, however the situation remained a costly stalemate in large part. Spanish support for the war was lukewarm, even before the war African expansion was a divisive project, with such a high cost in blood and treasure Spain was nearing a civil war. After a mutiny among African bound troops in fall of 1923 decisive action was needed to avert one. Thus a month later General Miguel Primo de Rivera launched a coup and seized power as a “moderate dictator”. De Rivera withdrew back to a more defensible position and waited for el-Krim to make a mistake.

El-Krim promptly did, attacking the French held portion of the Rif in 1924. Despite an initial success inflicting 6,000 losses on the French, the French did not rout as the Spanish did. The French brought in reinforcements and counter attacked alongside the Spanish. A quarter million Franco-Spanish troops took almost four years to then grind down 12,000 Riffian irregulars, a testimony to the genius of el-Krim. However in the end the Riffians were defeated and Spanish control restored.

The war however had been exceptionally costly for Spain. For De Rivera this was a problem, as he used a Fascist inspired program of public works to remain in power. The cost of the Rif War had tapped out Spain’s lines of credit, the Great Depression and a poor harvest in 1929 ruined her current accounts. Public discontent mounted as pressure grew for De Rivera to give up power, however the increased stress did him in before that could happen, with him dying in March of 1930.

Without De Rivera to insulate him King Alfonso was blamed for the ongoing economic crisis. Already unpopular due his policies having led to the disaster of the early Rif war, the incredibly incompetent general Silvestre having been a particular favorite of the king, the added unpopularity saw a spike in anti-monarchical sentiment. Barely a year after De Rivera resigned the King abdicated and Spain became a Republic.

The Constitution of the new Republic however was a problem. It was drawn up by a provisional assembly far more liberal than the Spanish people, and aroused much opposition. It functionally declared war on the Catholic Church in a very Catholic country, and explicitly weakened protections for private property, resulting in many losing their land. When moderates wished to revise this Constitution, the far left refused, and the provisional assembly denied elections for two years to prevent any changes in policy.

In 1933 the provisional assembly was forced to hold regular elections, and the Conservative Confederation of Autonomous Right Wing Groups (CEDA) won the most seats. The current assembly of primarily socialists and radicals tried to have President Zamora annul the results of the election, in order to preserve many of the reforms they valued more than the democratic process, but he refused. He did however refuse to allow the CEDA to form a government, instead having the center right Radical Republican Party do so. In doing so he achieved the worst of both worlds, he weakened the democratic process and alienated both the left and the right, the latter for shutting them out and the former for letting the right have any power.

When the Radical Republicans let members of CEDA into the government in 1934 it triggered a major uprising of socialists and communists that briefly seized control of Asturias. The revolt was crushed within two weeks, but it convinced many that the Spanish left was not interested in political power.

A year later in 1935 when it looked like the CEDA would form a government following discord in the Radical Republicans president Zamora called a new election specifically to prevent this from happening. The parties on the Spanish left joined together in a so called popular front, officially led by the socialist PSOE but with Communist PCE and thus Moscow pulling the strings. This resulted in the Right doing the same, forming an Italian style National Front.

When the elections were held in early 1936 the Popular front won through blatant vote rigging, tolerated by President Zamora. Zamora however was not left wing enough for the new government and was quickly replaced by Manuel Azana, the leader of the popular front and architect of the 1931 constitution and the provisional assembly.

Azana looked the other way when socialists and communists began seizing farms, burning churches and killing political opponents. Instead he focused on his political opponents, oppressing the Fascist Falangist party in April and having its leader murdered under the guise of arrest.

The situation rapidly became intolerable and multiple groups began plotting to overthrow the tyrannical government before it became worse. These disparate plots were woven together by General Emilio Mola, who soon attained Italian, German and Portuguese backing for his endeavor. Working with other generals and leaders of various conservative parties he established an organization with General Jose de Sanjurjo as a figurehead off a vast movement that spanned across Spain and her colonies.

On July 31st an uprising in Morocco was planned, followed by one in Spain the next day, the former to ensure the elite Army of Africa was available for the latter.

When President Azana sent police to illegally arrest the parliamentary opposition and murder chief of the CEDA Jose Gil-Robles on July 20th, the planned uprising was forced to move more quickly than planned…

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


…While one cannot deny that the Spanish Election of 1936 saw widespread electoral fraud, the official explanation of the Spanish government that only widespread electoral fraud allowed the Popular Front to win the 1936 elections is. While the Spanish government continues to prove uncooperative on this subject, research by Latin American scholars piecing together disparate non-government sources seems to indicate that the Popular Front may have won a narrow victory even without the electoral fraud…

…There are of course several reasons why the official Spanish government narrative of the events of Spanish Republic’s political history has become the dominant narrative of the period…

…Evidence that Manuel Azana and Niceto Zamora had anything to do with the fraud in the 1936 election is thus on further examination lacking in both quality, quantity and reliability, making this premise most likely as great a fabrication as Azana explicitly ordering extrajudicial actions against his political opponents…

…It is quite clear from this evidence that the National Front conducted electoral fraud on a scale almost as great, if not as great as that of the Popular Front…

-Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XXXII, University of California Press: Berkley, 2022
 
Or at least still fond of their fascist past. Even if the Nationalist dictatorship dies down, a conservative republic born from it could prefer to gloss their forebears.
 
My gut says the Italians aren't going to put boots on the ground and that is what the fiction point between Italy and Germany is.
 
Could also be possible Spain got exploded along with the rest of continental europe in whatever disaster destroyed everyone's records, and whatever rose from the ashes wasn't anarchist-friendly enough to bother challenging the myths of electoral fraud.
 
Part 5-13 European Wars, Into the Abyss, Historical Madness
…The murder of the moderate rightist Gil-Robles was bound to arouse some sort of violence in the heavily charged environment of the Spanish Republic. This violence would force the Spanish Communists, Socialists and Anarchists to mobilize, and thus nullify many of the advantages General Mola was counting on. Thus he moved up the revolt by a week to July 24th.

The operation went of as planned in Morocco, General Franco, the youngest General in the Spanish Army and a noted hero of the Rif War, took control of the Army of Africa with ease and had the colony under control by nightfall. The Canary islands were taken as well.

The Twenty Fifth saw the revolt against the Popular front in mainland Spain occur. Seven of the eight divisions in mainland Spain immediately joined the Nationalist revolt, the exception being the 3rd Division in Valencia which dithered for a week. The major cities of five of the eight military districts of mainland Spain were taken by the Nationalists within a few days. In Madrid and Barcelona armed anarchist, communist and socialist militias fought back, eventually overrunning the army forces after two weeks and ten days respectively. However Seville was captured in the initial revolt, which provided a base which the Army of Africa could be airlifted to using leased German and Italian planes.

About three quarters of the Spanish Army had joined the Nationalists, with a similar proportion of the heavy equipment and ninety percent of the officers. Around half of the paramilitary security forces also joined the nationalist cause. The Navy was split about 50/50, with the Popular Front having more hulls, but the Nationalists controlling both Battlecruisers and Heavy Cruisers, and the Popular Front ships generally being disorganized due to most officers joining the nationalists. Only in the air did the Popular Front have a small advantage, mitigated by the poor state of the Spanish Air Force.

After the first few days the Nationalists controlled Old Castile, Leon, and Galicia, as well as parts of the surrounding territories, enclaves around Seville, Cordoba, Cadiz and Valencia and most of the Balearic Islands. The Popular Front controlled the remainder, with actual control belonging to anarchists, communists or socialists depending on the exact territory. The

Nationalists set up a governing junta in Burgos with General Sanjurjo as the nominal head and General Franco as overall commander of the military. The Popular Front remained based in Madrid, though in practice decision making was highly decentralized with certain areas effectively independent. The Popular Front further lacked a central military command in more than just name, being heavily reliant on militias.

Both sides immediately started receiving external help. For the Nationalists it was from Italy, Germany and Portugal. For the Popular Front it was from France, Mexico and the USSR. French support for the Popular Front only lasted a month and a half before the British pressured the French to end official aid to Spain in the interests of preventing the situation from escalating into a general European War. Unofficial French aid would continue for several months, and France would ignore aid from other countries passing through its territories to various degrees for the remainder of the war…

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


…Sanna’s price for a resumption of the Florentine front was an end to unofficial French aid to the Popular Front, and a free hand to support the Nationalists. With a free hand Sanna could dominate whatever Fascist government emerged from the Spanish Civil War and thus begin wresting the leadership of the international fascist movement back from Hitler. Furthermore an Italain ally in Spain would discourage France from intervening if Italy chose to redeem certain territories in the Eastern Mediterranean.

This compromise was broadly acceptable to the British establishment, provided of course they could have a fig-leaf of non-interventionism to sell the British population on. This was seen as acceptable by Sanna, requiring only a bare minimum of subterfuge to implement. The problem proved to be the French.

While Prime Minister Blum was willing to work with Sanna, even if he would vastly prefer not to, the same could not be said for all of his governing coalition. In particular the communists would veto anything more than strict neutrality, and that only because exercising their ability to bring down the government would likely lead to a right wing one. Given that Blum could not govern without the Communists, he could not allow Italy a free hand in Spain.

Thus when Sanna sent volunteer troops into Spain to counter the growing influence of Germany with the Nationalists, it served to drive Italy closer to the Germans, however much Sanna would have wished otherwise…

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


…Sanna biggest flaw in the years leading up to WWII proved to be his transactional nature. He would rarely do something on the international scene without expecting a commiserate reward for doing so unless he saw a direct threat to his position. As a result despite a strong dislike of Hitler, and a preference for a more rational German government, he refused to act because no one would compensate him for it.

Instead he ended up supporting Hitler, who would offer him something…

-Excerpt from Why did they do THAT!?! Historical Madness in Context: Volume III, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2015
 
Last edited:
Part 5-14 European Wars, Steel Talons, Airpower, Historiography
…The Nationalists opened with offensives in the south under General Franco to link up the disparate pockets, followed by a thrust to link up with nationalist territory in the North. Meanwhile General Mola was crushing Popular Front pockets in the northwestern part of the country. Both moves proved highly successful and were completed by the end of August.

By contrast the Popular Front attempt to crush the isolated Nationalist position in Valencia and regain control of the Balearic islands. The former was a partial success, having mostly ground down the Nationalist garrison by the end of August while the latter was an unmitigated disaster. Poor coordination meant that the landing was delayed until September 1st, misunderstanding of the tides saw troops have to land too far offshore, provision for gunfire support was inadequate and over the beach logistics was bungled. Worse was what happened after the Nationalist heavies forced the straits of Gibraltar. Not being able to cover their naval supply line against the modern Castila and Canarias class warships, the Popular Front attempted a withdrawal. This was bungled with almost 2,000 men left behind and forced to surrender, worse an Italian “volunteer” squadron of torpedo bombers struck the anchorage, sinking the battleship Jaime I and forcing the fleet to scatter and allowing two transports to be killed by Nationalists submarines…

…In September the Nationalists launched three assaults. The first and smallest targeted the area around Malaga to the south. The second smallest assault was Mola’s campaign in the north to capture the western half of the Pyrenees and cut supply routes to the Popular front from France. The largest nationalist offensive was Franco’s campaign to first relieve Toledo, under Popular Front siege, then to take Madrid. The Popular Front for their part lacked the organization to conduct any more major offensives and was limited to local attacks and responding to Nationalist moves.

The Malaga campaign and Mola’s Pyrenees campaign both proved to be completely successful, achieving their objectives by the end of November. Franco’s campaign was not as successful, while he relieved the siege of Toledo by September 16th, Madrid proved more difficult. Its symbolic importance was such that the disorganized individual commanders of the popular front saw that it needed to be defended and rushed to reinforce it. Thus Franco’s four attacking columns, plus an internal rising that spawned the term “fifth column,” found themselves facing a never-ending fountain of enemy reinforcements.

After failing to take the city on the march in September, or in a preplanned deliberate attack in October, Franco chose to surround the city and attempt to starve it out. Fierce WWI style trench warfare thus sprang up northeast and southeast of the city as Franco attempted to cut the eastern supply routes. This bloody stalemate continued for the rest of fall and winter, while Nationalist forces made minor gains elsewhere, taking advantage of the popular front preoccupation with Madrid and lack of coordination and leadership…

…Both sides of the war received considerable foreign troops as volunteers. Italy, Germany and Portugal sent what were effectively organized and equipped military units to the Nationalists while the USSR did the same for the Popular front. Similarly Catholic, Fascist and Volkist organizations raised volunteers for the Nationalist cause, while the Communists did the same for the Popular front. While never constituting a significant portion of the numerical strength of either side, the organized units proved of outside importance. The Soviet units proved to be the only Popular Front forces equipped to a reasonable standard, thus were the only effective mobile reserve they had. On the other side the professional foreign troops were able to spearhead assaults and allow the Nationalists to break WWI style stalemates to a much greater degree than they would have otherwise been able to…

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


…The experience of their volunteer troops in Spain proved to be invaluable for Germany and Italy. Using their new equipment and doctrine in a wartime environment allowed them to see flaws that were not apparent in testing or wargames. The Italy and Germany made major changes in armor design and organization, among other things, thanks to the war in Spain that put them comfortably ahead of most of the world in some ways…

…The USSR also learned a considerable amount of lessons from its firsthand participation in Spain. Unlike in Germany and Italy, most of this knowledge was lost due to Stalin’s paranoia, as officers who had served in Spain were held in greater suspicion during Stalin’s purges…

-Excerpt from Steel Talons: Armed Forces of the Interwar, Dewitt Publishing, Los Angeles, 2011


…The Spanish Civil War had two different impacts on air forces around the world, depending on if they had actually sent volunteer squadrons or not.

In those countries which had not participated it was used by airpower advocates and bomber barons as a vindication of their views. The fast bombers used by both sides proved difficult to intercept, with Popular Front Barcelona suffering under constant raids by Nationalist bombers that they could do nothing about. Thus it was argued that the bomber will always get through, fighters and air defenses were pointless, better to spend the money on more bombers. This of course ignored the fact that the Popular Front lacked the radars that were becoming more common in first tier states, had insufficient heavy AA and a perennial shortage of fighters.

Airpower advocates further misinterpreted one of the most controversial incidents of the war for their own benefit. The attack on Alcarras, a deliberate massacre according to the Popular Front, a navigation error during a bombing of an HQ in Lleida according to the postwar Spanish government, saw between 300 and 1200 die in an aerial attack involving 20 tons of bombs. Air Power advocates used deliberately inflated numbers of dead to oversell the effects of the attack, getting ratios in excess of 60 dead per ton of bomb, where outside the use of biological, chemical or nuclear weapons, WWII experience would show that anything above 12 deaths per ton of bombs on an urban area was an outlier…

…Among those air forces who actually participated in the Spanish Civil War different lessons were learned. Namely that morale bombing, as advocated by airpower advocates, did not work, civilian morale would not break under air attack. What was effective was using airpower in an operational role, attacking targets supporting the frontline such as headquarters, reserves and transportation infrastructure.

Furthermore the Italians and Germans learned that their biplane turn fighters were inadequate against Soviet monoplane energy fighters. This would give them a definite leg up in adapting energy fighter monoplanes over the other western European states…

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


…Use of the term Popular Front to represent a side of the Spanish Civil War, rather than just a political alliance, originated with the post-Civil War Spanish Government. This was part of a concerted campaign by the Spanish government to strengthen their legitimacy by denying it to their former opponents. Thus they did not use the term “Republicans” as that term implied they were the legitimate government of the Spanish republic. For similar reasons they did not use the term Loyalists or Government faction. The term Popular Front was used as something more formal than their preferred terminology of Reds that did not imply legitimacy in the same way.

This terminology was for the period following the end of the Spanish Civil War to 1965 generally only used by Fascist, Volkist and other extremely conservative sources, with Republicans being the standard terminology outside of that . Following 1965 there was a rapid adoption of the official Spanish government terminology due to…

…This adoption was functionally complete by 1980 in the English speaking world, with only far left sources continuing to use the term “Republicans” when describing the Spanish Civil War…

-Excerpt from Historiography of the 20th Century, Columbia University Press, New York, 2020
 
Top