Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

Part 2-31
  • #82 The Battle of the Eastern Approaches, May 15th through 16th 1919


    …With the war well and truly lost and not prospect of the victors allowing a retention of the High Seas fleet Admiral Reinhard Scheer decided that he had nothing to lose. If that was the case, then far better for the HSF to go out like the Ottoman Fleet, than suffer the ignominy of mutiny in port like the Hapsburg Fleet. Scheer knew that Admiral Franz Von Hipper, who replaced him in command of the HSF agreed, as did a number of senior admirals and most of the senior officers. He was certain that Kaiser Wilhelm did not agree with this, along with the majority of the enlisted.

    With regards to the former, it was decided to better ask forgiveness than permission, if nothing else his personal honor could be sacrificed for that of the fleet. For the latter a ruse was necessary. While the worst of the troublemakers had been transferred to the Baltic or shore positions, the crews of the HSF would not accept a suicide mission. However they were not yet at the point of mutiny, and would likely go along with a low risk mission.

    On the morning of May 13th Scheer personally contacted Hipper and gave the orders to prepare for a sortie. Hipper was to tell his officers that they were going to make a sortie along the Danish coast in order to provide a distraction for an Army line straightening withdrawal. The officers were told to keep this secret, but it was expected that it would get out. Indeed by the end of the day rumors of the planned Danish sortie were all over Wilhelmshaven and had reached the ears of several British intelligence operatives.

    That night Hipper gathered with several of his absolutely most trusted subordinates to discuss the planned operation. Here he revealed the true plan, once the fleet was clear of the Jade Bight they would turn West, skirt the Frisian islands and cut through Dutch territorial waters to arrive off Flanders. Then the fleet would split, the Battlecruisers would cover the entry of a force of light cruisers into the Thames Estuary to hunt merchant shipping, while the battleships would engage the monitors and old battleships conducting fire support for the British in Flanders. The major elements would then converge and sail to a position off the Dutch coast to better engage the British as they arrived during the night and early morning.

    In a perfect world the British would be strung out by an overwhelming need to respond as fast as possible, and thus each squadron could be faced and destroyed in turn, with an actual possibility of a victory. Neither Hipper nor Scheer saw that as at all realistic, they merely hoped to give the Grand Fleet a fight it would remember so that the Honor of the High Seas Fleet remained unstained. If they were lucky they could perhaps do enough damage to hurt the British position at the negotiating table in favor of the American one, or reduce the gap the Germans would have to close when they could throw off whatever constraints were imposed at the peace treaty. In order to prevent the operation form being a complete suicide mission a pair of minelayers were attached, who would lay minefields off the Dutch coast. These along with U-Boats were meant to provide enough hazards that the HSF would have a chance to escape, though expectations were that the majority would not.

    Whatever Hipper and Scheer thought, when the HSF finally began to slip its moorings on the night of the 14th, the British were well aware of the supposed plan. A total of 21 Dreadnought battleships, 4 with 38cm guns, 13 with 30.5cm guns and 4 with 28cm guns and 7 battlecruisers, 2 with 35cm guns, 3 with 30.5 and 2 with 28cm guns sortied supported by 20 light cruisers, 71 torpedo boats and 2 minelayers. 30 U-Boats were either sortieing ahead of them or called from stations in the North Sea, there having been no time to preposition them.

    As before the British left their moorings just before the Germans did and headed East, hoping to intercept the Germans before they turned for home. This would be the last chance to get at the HSF, a final chance for glory and justifying their place in the postwar budgetary environment, a final chance to wipe away the stain of Cleaver Bank. The Grand Fleet brought 30 Dreadnought Battleships, 8 with 15” guns, 4 with 14” guns, 10 with 13.5” guns and 8 with 12” guns, screened by 19 light cruisers and 61 destroyers with 3 crude aircraft carriers for scouting. The Battlecruiser force added 7 Battlecruisers, 2 15”, 2 13.5” and 3 12”, along with 3 Large Light Cruisers with 15” guns, 13 Light Cruisers and 33 Destroyers.

    As the British continued to speed East, at about 3:00 in the morning and just north of Heligoland the HSF turned West-South-West. It was not immediately noticeable to most of the crews that they did so, but over the course of hours rumors spread from the bridge to the rest of the ship. However the die was cast, it was too late for any mutineers to organize themselves between ships. Even onboard ships communications and coordination was difficult for prospective mutineers. Furthermore there was an innate fear that while the coming battle may lead to death, mutiny might make that more likely. Apart from a few isolated events, the sailors of the HSF did their duties.

    Around 8:00 in the morning the first British and Dutch patrols sighted the HSF west of Terschelling. However this information took time to disseminate and did not reach Admiral Sturdee, who had succeeded Jellicoe in command of the Grand Fleet, until around noon, when they had passed Ijmuiden. At this point both the Battlecruisers and Grand Fleet were at Fisher Bank, 3000 nautical miles north-north-east of the Germans, the closest forces being the American squadron which had fallen behind due to their less reliable engines. It would take them almost 16 hours to arrive at their best sustained speed, the battlecrusiers could get there faster, but still not in time to save the monitors at Flanders or the merchants in the Thames. Rather than risk defeat in detail Sturdee took the time to consolidate his forces and to advance south to cut oof and destroy the Germans at first light the next day.

    At noon the German forces split into their planned detachments, a force to lay mines to cover their rear, the battlecruisers to the Thames and the Battleships to go to Flanders. Both detachments arrived at their destinations around six, with about two hours of daylight left.

    The first force to engage was the Battlecrusier led group. Opposing them were the six light cruisers of Harwich force that were available along with 20 destroyers. Heavily outgunned the cruisers of Harwich force did an excellent job over the course of 45 minutes of distracting the German heavies while the destroyers entered range, with four being sunk and two grounded in the process. By that point the British destroyers entered range and launched their torpedoes. The German screen was able to keep them at a distance, but two light cruisers and two torpedo boats were sunk, with another cruiser crippled, and four torpedo boats were crippled by gunfire, in exchange for the destruction of ten British destroyers.

    With darkness approaching the Battlecruisers turned to make their rendezvous while four light cruisers detached to hunt British merchantmen in the darkness. For a brief period they reaped a dreadful toll, sinking 13 merchantmen of various size before eight thirty. Then the Thames other defender arrived. Assigned as part of the anti-aircraft force protecting London, HMS Dreadnought was the first of her kind, and considered almost obsolete, hence her posting at Sheerness. However she was still a battleship, and late as she was her appearance was decisive. Within half an hour of point-blank range fighting she drove off the German cruisers, sinking two and crippling a third so that the minesweeper destroyers from Immingham could finish her.

    To the south the main body of the High Seas fleet had made contact with the destroyers of the Dover patrol at just after six o clock. The ten available destroyers had sortied to provide what cover they could for the monitors, painfully slow as they were, with the fastest capable of 11 knots, and the slowest a mere five. The Dover Patrol did their best but evaporated under the guns of 20 battleships before they could enter torpedo range.

    They did however force the German battleships to deploy into line and bought valuable time for the monitors to flee further. While in theory possessing the firepower to hurt the German battleships with guns of 12”, 14”, 15” and even 18”, they had neither the number of barrels for effective salvo fire nor the sophisticated range finding and fire control systems to make use of them against moving targets. Despite this 2 14”, 3 15” and 1 18” round managed to strike, doing minor damage to four German Battleships. However in return, by the time darkness fell seven monitors had been destroyed and two more damaged.

    With their task done the German Battleships turned to rendezvous with the battlecruisers and the light cruisers that had screened the minelayers, which now empty were heading for home. The force would rendezvous at midnight and would be prepared for action just before first light.

    To the North the British continued to slowly close the distance, slowed by the presence of the American squadron with their less reliable machinery. Despite this they were well on track to intercept the Germans across their line of retreat by daybreak. Even the torpedoing of HMS Warspite by a lucky U-Boat did not slow down the fleet, the unlucky battleship was sent to limp home for repairs with a minor escort as the fleet continued on.

    Just after daybreak HMS New Zealand struck a freshly laid set of mines. The explosion was clearly heard aboard the outer members of Hipper’s screen and the last great naval battle of WWI had truly begun…



    -Excerpt from 101 Great Naval Battles, American Youth Press, New York 2010





    Okay this had to be split up into two pieces, rest should be next week. Yeah I know it stretches plausibility
     
    Part 2-32
  • …Sturdee’s Grand fleet was forming up in the orthodox manner as it transitioned from column to line, the battlecruisers and large light cruisers were out in front, followed by the fast battleships then the 15”, 13.5” and 12” battleships of the Royal Navy with the six slower American Battleships at the rear. His plan was also fairly simply, have the battleships sail alongside in line of battle formation to pound their German counterparts in the line while the battlecrusiers hooked ahead to engage the German van from two sides.

    Hipper already had his ships in line formation and had since two o clock when he started sailing for him. His ships were laid out his formation in the opposite manner of the BRitish. His oldest and slowest battleships were at the front, with his newest and fastest behind them and his battlecruisers were taking up the rear. The reasoning was that the faster ships had a better chance of keeping up if they suffered an engineering casualty, being able to keep power in reserve, while the slow ships would have no chance of doing so without slowing down the fleet, which was not something Hipper could afford if he was to have any hope of getting home. By placing the slow ships to the front, they would have a chance to regain power and rejoin the line as it passed to port at a later point.

    Tactically Hipper however had few options but to allow Sturdee to close. If he attempted to disrupt Sturdee’s formation with torpedo boats at this point, Sturdee would simply increase his lead on the German force as he was already between them and home. If Hipper could survive until he reached Vlieland, then he might have options. That however was hours away, until then he had no choice but to take whatever the British threw at him.

    Fortunately his mines had bought time. With the loss of New Zealand and a pair of destroyers trying to chart the minefield, Sturdee had ordered his fleet to turn to the west briefly before diverting around the mines to the Northeast. This bought Hipper almost an hour, in which he made a further 16 nautical miles towards his goal.

    Around 10:00 the two battle lines entered sight of each other and at about 10:30 the lead elements of the British force opened fire at extreme range. Fifteen minutes later the Germans began returning fire and the mismatch rapidly became apparent. Under attack by both the battlecruiser fleet and the fast battleships with their 15” and 14” guns the first generation Nassau class were proving inadequate with their 28cm guns and proportional protection. Heavy damage had begun to mount by 11:00 and at 11:15 Nassau exploded as a 14” shell from Eagle reached her magazines.

    It was now apparent to Hipper that something had to be done to prevent his position from totally unravelling, and he ordered half his torpedo boats to make an attack on the British van. It was a massacre, with eleven lost and twelve heavily damaged in exchange for a British light cruiser and destroyer sunk and four destroyers heavily damaged. It did however force the British capital ships to turn away and bought his line an hours reprieve.

    Hipper used the reprieve well, the crippled Rheinland was ordered to beach, or if possible intern herself, while Westfalen was to leave the line while she attempted to restore power. Damage control was done, ready ammunition replenished and tired gunners given a brief break.

    After the German torpedo boats were driven off the British fleet turned back. Here they made their first major mistake of the battle. Admiral Phillmore in command of the Battlecruiser Fleet made the decision to extend his line in order to start engaging the German fleet earlier. This necessitated the large light cruisers, which had hitherto been hiding behind the battlecrusiers and engaging with indirect fire, take a place in line behind Repulse and Renown.

    The folly of this was not immediately apparent as Posen was very quickly forced to pull out of line as the forces reengaged, with Helgoland set aflame soon after. However just after 12:30 one of Posen’s parting shots struck Glorious and punched clear through her inadequate armor into her magazines. Her loss forced Courageous to make a hard turn she was unprepared for to avoid striking her flaming wreck and ended with a collision between Courageous and Furious.

    With his most fragile remaining ships crippled and helpless Phillmore ordered his battlecrusiers to close the range and distract the Germans as they withdrew. They were joined in this by the fast battleships under admiral Leveson. In the chaotic action that followed Helgoland, Oldenburg and the recovered Westfalen were lost as Ostfriesland was forced to pull out of line and beach. However heavy damage was done as the British closed the range and Repulse had to flood her magazines while HMS Malaya was hit by a torpedo from a torpedo boat aiding Oldenburg as she strayed too close.

    It was here that the Second Major British mistake was made as Sturdee ordered that the fleet withdraw to prevent the sort of carnage to the detached force as seen at Fisher Bank. This prevented them from taking advantage of the disruption that was breaking out among the German line as damage accumulated among the ships further back, and gave Hipper a chance to reorganize after Kronprinz lost steering and had to be beached.

    At 2:00 the fleets engaged once again. This time there would be no reprieve for the Germans. Under the cover of the battle line guns Sturdee ordered a massed destroyer attack on the German line. The outnumbered German screen did what they could but were too heavily outnumbered. Bayern, Seydlitz, Hindenburg,and Prinzregent Luitpold were lost and Lutzow, Sachsen and Wurttemburg forced to beach while Mackensen, Koenig, Thuringen and Markgraf were crippled. However Vanguard and Ramilles were hit by stray torpedoes launched into the melee, the former sunk outright, while the latter had her rudder jammed full starboard and forced to circle right into the melee where she was torpedoed again and lost.

    The torpedo attack effectively broke the German line due to the need to dodge torpedoes and flaming wrecks. Realizing that any chance of getting the majority of his fleet home was lost, Hipper ordered that the remaining undamaged Battlecruisers, light cruisers and torpedo boats head for home as his battleships covered them. Anything not capable of making at least 24 knots was to make for Dutch waters, to be interned whether afloat or on the beach.

    The chaotic action took time, during which Thuringen and Kaiserin were lost as Koenig was forced to beach. However the battlecruisers were able to punch a hole in the British destroyers and cruisers screening the front of the German line, at a cost of a torpedo hit on Graf Spee that would ultimately doom her. The British battlecruisers gave chase and Moltke was crippled early on and forced to beach. Later on as the chase continued Derfflinger was hit and lost half her boilers. In order to give her companions a chance to escape the Kaiser’s Iron Bitch charged the British line and inflicted heavy damage before being put down. By the time darkness fell only Graf Spee, five cruisers and eleven torpedo boats remained, by which point they had reached close enough to German waters for their pursuers to turn back. However that would not save Graf Spee as the torpedo hit she had taken earlier caused progressive flooding, as her rushed wartime construction meant many of her watertight seals weren’t. She would finally be beached off Wangerooge, barely twenty nautical miles from home. Her smaller consorts would join the two minelayers as the only escaped German surface units.

    Behind the escaping light units the battle continued. Now bereft of their escorts, it was only the previous expenditure of torpedoes that saved Hipper’s force from being delivered the coup de grace by the British screen. Instead it would fall to the guns of the battle line, with Koenig Albert and Mackensen falling in short succession, taking Hercules with them. It was then that Baden’s bridge took a hit that killed Admiral Hipper. Command then transferred to Friedrich der Grosse and Vice Admiral Nordmann.

    Nordmann, recognizing the hopeless situation ordered his ships to strike their colors and surrendered the six remaining battleships of the High Seas Fleet, all greatly damaged, to Sturdee. The surface portion of the battle was over.

    However the funeral pyres of so many ships proved a beacon to U-Boats. St. Vincent was torpedoed and sunk as she headed for home. Furious and Malaya were hit by the same U-Boat shortly afterwards, with Furious sunk outright, and Malaya exploding after ninety minutes, taking with her Renown who had pulled alongside to aide her. Finally Monarch had her bow blown off by a third U-Boat early the next morning in the last action of the battle.

    In total the HSF had effectively ceased to exist. Six battleships were surrendered to the Grand Fleet, two of which would sink before making port of their own accord. Four more were beached along the Dutch coastline and a fifth interned in a Dutch port with the other ten lost. Of the battlecruisers four had been sunk and three beached, one of which was in German waters, the other two in Dutch. 11 light cruisers had been lost, two had beached and two interned themselves in the Netherlands while five escaped. Of the torpedo boats 3 had been captured by the British, 45 had been destroyed, 5 had beached, 7 interned themselves in the Netherlands and 11 escaped to join the pair of minelayers. Three U-Boats had also been lost over the course of the operation, alongside countless lives.

    However they had reaped a deadly toll. Two of the most modern Royal Navy battleships had been lost, along with one of their newest battlecruisers. Three older battleships and a battlecruiser joined them, along with two large light cruisers, seven monitors, nine light cruisers, twenty-nine destroyers sunk and two beached in the Netherlands, thirteen merchantmen lost and one British and one American submarine mistaken for U-Boats. Most of the remaining capital ships were damaged to greater or lesser degrees, with only two of the American battleships having escaped unscathed…

    -Excerpt from 101 Great Naval Battles, American Youth Press, New York 2010



    …From one perspective the Battles of the Eastern Approaches were a senseless waste of lives. Germany was going to lose the war no matter what happened. There was no significant effect on the Peace Treaty that came of the battle.

    However from another perspective it was quite successful. Ignoring unquantifiable arguments about honor, from a material perspective it was a success. The HSF could have been considered lost already, it being expended in combat lost Germany nothing in terms of ships it would retain after the war. From a personnel perspective, many trained officers and sailors were lost, however callous it may sound they were expendable as the German Navy would have had to severely downsize and lose their expertise in any case, so it could be argued from personnel perspective again nothing was lost here.

    In contrast the British took losses they would feel for decades. In terms of battleships the British had 33 Dreadnought battleships before the battle, afterwards they had 28. Two of those would have to be returned to Chile after the war, and two more that were not built to RN specs, leaving 24 for the post war world. Of these 7 were 12” armed units that were obsolescent if not obsolete, 11 were 13.5” ships that were acceptable for the next decade and barely passable for the 30’s, and 6 were 15” ships that could serve into the 40’s. The loss of 2 15” ships in the battle thus reduced the number of second line battleships available in the 40’s by 25%.

    In battlecruisers it was a similar story. Before the Battle they had 8 battlecruisers, with 4 more building, afterwards it was 6. Of those the 4 building were the excellent 15” armed Admirals, 1 was Repulse with 15” guns, 2 had 13.5” guns, and 2 12”, one of which was actually owned by Australia. The story with the Battlecruisers was similar to the battleships, except the need for fast capital ships to chase raiders was even greater than slow battleships for convoy escort and shore bombardment and a 15% reduction there was felt even more keenly.

    The biggest loss may actually have been the large light cruisers. While marginal as surface combatants even when used properly, they had already been identified as excellent candidates for conversion to aircraft carriers. The loss of Glorious and Furious, and severe damage to Courageous that made conversion uneconomical, thus proved to be an expensive one. The RN took longer to start learning carrier operations than otherwise and had to build her flawed first generation carriers from scratch.

    Losses in lighter units and personnel, while agonizing did not have that sort of material effect. The loss of potential coastal guns and turrets with the monitors was felt, as was the loss of the most modern light cruisers and destroyers, but these were minor compared to those of the larger units. Personnel losses while tragic did not materially affect the RN, given the size of the postwar cutbacks in end strength.

    In total however the RN was put at a noticeable disadvantage compared to where it could have been. Thus one can make the argument that Scheer was correct, the last sortie of the HSF did make the position of the German navy better when it would again clash with the Royal Navy…

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



    Okay update here, still not the most plausible. Somewhat delayed due to school work and totally not work on an SI that well never see the light of AH.com I swear
     
    Last edited:
    Part 2-33
  • …On May 9th the Italians resumed the offensive. The floods had mostly ended and they were ready to cross the Tagliamento. As usual parties of boatmen and Arditi infiltrated under the cover of a firewall and gas attack. Lodgments were made and pontoon bridges were thrown up. Unlike previous assaults there was not even an attempt at a major counterattack. Small local forces attempted attacks, but nothing larger than a battalion did so. The Austrian Army had been shattered in the previous offensive and its remnants could not effectively resist.

    The front collapsed within 24 hours, with 20,000 prisoners taken and the Italians securing no less than six beachheads over the river. The only real hope the Austrians had to break the Italian offensive was the mountains surrounding the Venetian plain. Therefore the Austrians ordered a retreat while they tried some to establish some semblance of a defensive line on the alpine foothills. Italian pursuit was vigorous, but limited by the exhaustion of their air and motorized units, that had still not made good the losses from the earlier campaign. Despite that another 100,000 prisoners were taken before the Austrians reached the foothills on the 16th.

    However that front was only one of their worries, Italian forces out of Albania had already liberated Montenegro on the 30th and captured Ragusa on the 8th. There were no forces available to stop them from heading inland to take Sarajevo where this all started or even to press on into Serbia and liberate that country. However given the relative distances involved and the infrastructure of the areas in question this front was of lesser importance, it could not threaten Austria. It could threaten Hungary, but already high command and the Kaiser were concerned about the loyalty of the Hungarians, and the logistics of attacking Hungary through Albania were difficult.

    In any case the Italians had no interest in moving inland, they wanted to capture territory that was promised to them, not territory that would belong to Yugoslavia. Hence, they moved on to take Spoleto on the 13th, and Zara on the 18th, with naval elements moving to secure the islands behind them. Sarajevo was captured on the 19th as much for reasons of personal glory on the part of several mid-ranking officers than any real strategy.

    In the north however the situation had turned critical. The Italians continued their pursuit even as the Austrians reached the foothills, with the ramshackle defense line that had been established not even being noticed by the advancing Italians. By the 18th it was clear that even the forces in the Alps were beginning to buckle, and the invasion of Austria proper was only days away.

    Help was requested from Germany; however the Germans were in poor shape themselves. The Germans offered the transfer of the remaining Austrian forces on the Western front, however a half dozen heavily understrength divisions were not enough to turn the tide, even if they could be delivered quickly, which was no sure thing. There were German reserves in Bavaria that could potentially be enough to stop the Italians in concert with the Austrian troops from the Western front. However the Germans made it clear that one or the other would happen, but not both.

    Without a promise of German help there would be no halting the Italian momentum. Things would only get worse from a perspective of their negotiating strength. Therefore on May 20th the Kaiser sent a request for an armistice to the Italians.

    The Italians took almost 72 hours to respond to this message. Partially this was due to the internal political matters, but mostly in order to organize the occupation of the city of Trieste and the islands of Veglia, Cherso and Arbe by naval forces. On May 23rd the guns fell silent between Austria and Italy. Germany now stood alone.

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



    Short but the end is nigh
     
    Part 2-34
  • …The German high command had resolved that an armistice would be necessary as early as May 13th, contrary to what many of them would later write. However they did not want to be the ones to deliver the armistice, as was traditionally the case. Instead they insisted that role go to the civilian government, most particularly to the more liberal parties of the Reichstag. To lead this new government Georg von Hertling would resign and Wilhelm Solf would become chancellor, being someone the Kaiser was willing to appoint, unconnected to the military and acceptable to the Reichstag.

    Von Hertling resigned on the 16th and Solf took over as Chancellor and Minister President of Prussia, presiding over a coalition of the SDP, Centre Part and FVP. Negotiations began with the Entente for an Armistice immediately…

    …The sticking point for the negotiations soon proved to be the Kaiser. President Marshall insisted on the abdication of the Kaiser as a condition for an armistice. In part this was out of loyalty to Wilson, who had said such before, indicating the Kaiser as the supreme threat to peace. In part this was also due to American public opinion, the Kaiser had been painted as the enemy by propaganda and Marshall thought that maintaining him would not be acceptable.

    However, for the German Army and certain members of the German government the abdication of the Kaiser was unacceptable. Rather it was hoped that changing the German Constitution into something closely resembling the British system would be enough to mollify Marshall and the Entente…

    …The decision of Austria to exit the war on the 20th changed the German situation enormously. German troops in Austria, a mix of detachments that had been supporting the Austrians, and those evacuated from the other members of the Central Powers as they left the war, were forced to withdraw into Germany. However there was no plan for a rapid withdrawal, and they were ordered to withdraw on their own at their best speed.

    During this withdrawal the officers lost control of the men. Morale was at its weakest in these units, having been exposed to defeatist and revolutionary rhetoric in Austria and not subject to the tight information control of the troops on the Western front. When many of these troops arrived in Munich on the 22nd, and when the local military leadership attempted to reorganize them into provisional formations to secure the southern flank, mutiny broke out.

    Local military command focused primarily on preventing the spread of the mutiny to the reserve forces gathered elsewhere in Bavaria, rather than attempting to immediately crush the mutiny. As such the mutineers were able to send delegations to the factories and industrial areas of Munich, and inspired by the events in Russia, formed workers and soldier’s councils. These councils, with the support of the railway workers sent delegations to the other cities of Germany. By the 27th the revolution had reached Berlin.

    With this the situation of the government was truly desperate. Seeing no other option to prevent revolution from totally overtaking the country, on the 28th Solf, after consultation with the rest of the government and other prominent politicians and civil servants, announced both the abdication of the Kaiser, and his own resignation as Chancellor and Minister President in favor of Friedrich Ebert of the SPD…

    …The Kaiser had not been consulted on his abdication, being at Army headquarters in Spa, Belgium. At first, he intended to play for time and return at the head of the army when an armistice was signed. After being convinced by Hindenburg that would not work, he attempted to abdicate only as Kaiser and remain the King of Prussia in order to steer the country that way, however that was constitutionally impossible. Eventually he was convinced to abdicate, in mid-June long after it had become an accomplished fact…

    …Solf’s resignation and replacement with Ebert was what Marshall had been waiting for. On the 30th he approved an armistice to go into effect at noon on June 1st. At 12:00 on the fateful day the guns of WWI fell silent. The War was over.

    Or was it?

    There were still an enormous number of sticking points and issues that remained to be dealt with before the war could truly be called over…

    …Ebert’s replacement of Solf gave the German Army High Command exactly what they wanted. It would be Ebert and the SPD who would be associated with the peace agreement and the end of the war, not them. It would be Ebert and the SPD who would be associated with the current chaos in Germany, not them. And it would be Ebert and the SPD who would be discredited from the aftermath of the war, and not them…

    -Excerpt from The Loss of Innocence: America in the Great War, Harper & Brothers, New York 2014
     
    Part 2-35
  • He’s a coming home to Mother, the old man gently said, he’s coming home in a casket sir, he’s coming to us dead-Gussie L. Davis, The Express Office



    …World War I was arguably the most deadly war so far fought. Depending on the estimates involved the Taiping Rebellion, Qing conquest of China, and the Mongol Conquests may have been larger. However of these the Mongol Conquests were not a single war and took place over two centuries, by the same standards one would have to count the World Wars as a whole. The Taiping Rebellion lasted 14 years and the Qing conquest 65, whereas the first World War lasted less than 5. That the margin for error in the death toll estimates place all three in the same rough numerical bracket shows that the First World War was if nothing else fought with unprecedented intensity…

    …WWI is notable as the first major war where the majority of deaths were by combat, rather than disease. Despite the outbreak of the Spanish flu pandemic approximately two thirds of the war’s death toll was directly attributable to death in action…

    …Casualty figures outside the United States, British Commonwealth and Japan are difficult to calculate due to subsequent destruction of records belonging to the belligerents. Older estimates using flawed methodology from the 20’s and 30’s must therefore be used…

    …Russia unquestionably suffered the most deaths of any of the Great Powers engaged in the conflict, not counting colonial losses. However it is difficult to provide an accurate estimate for two very major reasons, the first is that the Russian Civil War muddled many of the figures, making demographic estimates inviable as it is impossible to separate the dead from the latter. The second is that there was no access to the Russian records of the conflict by reputable scholars at any point before their loss, what Russian sources one has are what was chosen to be released by the Soviet government and must therefore be considered unreliable. Estimation must therefore be done from secondary sources…

    …We therefore conclude that Russia suffered 1.3 million dead in combat, 600,000 dead from illness, accidents and wounds, 250,000 missing and presumed dead and 250,000 POWs dead in captivity out of a total of 3 million POWs. This is a total of approximately 2.4 million military dead, with a further 1.6 million crippled. To this one adds approximately 1.7 million estimated civilian dead, for an estimated total death toll of 4.1 million or 2.34% of the prewar population…

    …Of the great powers France can suffered among the highest proportional losses. France lost 800,000 killed in combat, 225,000 dead of disease and accident, 300,000 dead of wounds, 200,000 missing and presumed dead, and 50,000 POWs dead of 500,000 total. This is a total of approximately 1.575 million military dead and 1 million military crippled. Added to this are 675,000 civilian dead, calculated at roughly 60% from wartime privation and 40% from disease. This is a total of 2.25 million dead or 5.75% of the prewar population. This figure may be slightly high as the death from French Colonial Troops and the French Foreign Legion are included, however civilian deaths in the French colonies are not…

    …Italy suffered very heavily proportionally as well. Italy lost 475,000 dead in combat or of wounds during the war, 100,000 dead of wounds after the war, 225,000 due to disease and 150,000 POW dead of 750,000 taken. This produces a total of 950,000 military dead and 600,000 military crippled. 1.2 million civilians are estimated to have died in the war, 700,000 due to wartime privation and 500,000 due to the Spanish flu, though there are arguments that this is an overcounting. This is a total of 2.15 million dead or 6.04% of the population dead…

    …Britain suffered less proportionately than her continental allies. Approximately 975,000 military dead are listed of all causes, including combat deaths, deaths form disease and wounds, deaths of POWs, of which 325,000 were taken, and other causes, along with 675,000 crippled. Despite better records the most accessible sources of data did not break down deaths by cause. This figure also includes deaths of colonial, but not dominion troops. To this are added 350,000 civilian deaths, 150,000 due to wartime privation and 200,000 due to the Spanish flu. This is a total of 1.325 million dead or 2.94% of the prewar population.

    This does not count deaths of foreign wartime laborers under the British aegis, of whom at least 150,000 died….

    …The Dominions of Canada and Newfoundland suffered a combined 90,000 dead of all causes. Another 55,000 were crippled, and 40,000 were taken prisoner at some point or other. 937 Civilians of both Dominions died of various wartime causes. This totals to about 91,000 dead or 1.23% of the prewar population. The dead were disproportionately Anglophone, as Francophones volunteered at a much lower rate and conscripts only reached the front in numbers in the last five months of the war…

    …Australia and New Zealand suffered a combined 93,000 military dead and 53,000 crippled. Approximately 6,000 soldiers from both countries were taken as POWs at some point or another. Neither suffered significant civilian deaths, outside of those lost due to the Spanish flu. This translates to a loss of 1.52% of the population…

    …South Africa suffered about 10,000 dead of all causes, with an unknown number crippled. Approximately 2,000 POWs were captured. Outside of the Spanish flu no significant number of civilian deaths occurred. While only a loss of .17% of the prewar population, it is notable that these deaths were almost exclusively from the white population, as only two of 26 infantry and cavalry battalions and two labor units were open to black individuals…

    …British India suffered roughly 85,000 military dead of all causes. This number includes 3,000 members of the British Army assigned to the Indian Army, resulting in an adjusted total of 82,000 war dead. 12,000 members of the Indian Army were taken as prisoners, including 400 British. No significant civilian deaths occurred outside the Spanish flu and the number of military dead is insignificant relative to the Indian population. This said the Indian Army recruited disproportionately from certain ethnic groups who suffered at a higher rate…

    …Japan suffered 5243 military dead during the war, however most of these deaths cannot be attributed to the war, but rather peacetime attrition. 561 actual deaths from combat or wounds sustained in combat were recorded, along with 5 Prisoners and missing presumed dead. This is the lowest butchers bill of any of the great powers, and a key component of the argument that Japan was the only real winner of the war…

    …Serbia and Montenegro are among the more difficult countries to estimate casualties for due to the complete occupation of their countries. Furthermore the internal violence within the militaries in exile in 1917 contributed to the difficulty in estimating losses. That said estimates are 450,000 military deaths on the part of both countries due to all causes. Included in this are the 50,000 POWs of 150,000 who died in captivity. Added to this are the estimated 500,000 civilians who perished during the occupation of both countries due to war related causes. This makes the two sone of the few countries to suffer more civilian than military deaths. The total of 950,000 dead is approximately 19% of the prewar population, making them the worse sufferers…

    …Belgium lost about 75,000 military dead of all causes, though this includes 20,000 African porters who will be subtracted. The actual dead break down to 30,000 dead in combat or of wounds and 25,000 of disease, missing or POWs in captivity, of which 15,000 were taken. About 150,000 civilians died in Belgium, 100,000 from wartime privation and 50,000 from the Spanish flu. The total dead of 205,000 comes out to 2.77% of the population…

    …Greece during WWI itself came off fairly lightly. About 4,000 soldiers were killed or missing of all causes during their brief involvement in the war itself. They did suffer about 20,000 civilian dead due to the Entente blockade and occupation of certain parts of the country. Still only .5% of the population was lost….

    …Portugal lost 15,000 military dead roughly half due to combat, wounds and disease, and the other half missing or dead among the 15,000 prisoners. It is estimated 90,000 civilians in Portugal died due to wartime privation and 160,000 due to the Spanish flu for a total of 250,000. The total 265,000 dead add up to 4.41% of the population, however this is almost two thirds due to the Spanish flu and there are indications that the wartime privation may have been over estimated…

    …Approximately 125,000 Americans died in direct combat and a further 90,000 died of wounds received in combat. 95,000 soldiers are estimated to have died of the Spanish flu and 25,000 of other diseases and about 25,000 were missing, dead as POWs, of which 25,000 were taken, or died due to accident. This is a total of 360,000 dead and 255,000 crippled. Outside of the Spanish flu about 1,000 civilian casualties occurred, mainly due to U-Boats. This adds up to about .39% of the population dead in the war, excluding the Spanish flu deaths during the war…

    …Figures for the Central Powers are notably complicated in that two of them no longer existed after the war. This complicates record keeping and assigning the casualties…

    …A further issue is that due to the interethnic nature of conflict in the Balkans and Ottoman Empire a number of those dead who were fighting against the Austro-Hungarian and Ottoman Empires are included in the death toll of those states due to matters of geography…

    …Germany suffered an estimated 2.3 million military dead due to all causes during the war, inclusive of colonial troops. About 1.1 million German POWs were captured over the course of the war and an estimated 1.5 million Germans were crippled. This figure, in addition to colonial troops, includes troops from areas that would be detached from Germany after the war, and includes concripts from Luxembourg in Germany’s total. An estimated 600,000 German civilians died due to the war, 350,000 from wartime privation and 250,000 from the Spanish flu. The total of 2.9 million dead is about 4.47% of the German population…

    …Austria-Hungary lost about 1.7 million military dead. Of this about 1.1 million died in combat or of wounds suffered thereof. About 400,000 died of disease and 200,000 of the 1 million prisoners taken died. Added to this are about 600,000 civilians dead of wartime privation and military activity. This 2.3 million dead is about 4.48% of the population of the prewar realm…

    …Romania is estimated to have suffered 75,000 military dead due to all causes during its involvement in the war. To this is added an estimated 130,000 civilian dead due to wartime privation. The total of 205,000 dead is about 2.73% of the prewar population…

    …Bulgaria lost about 65,000 military dead due to all causes during the war. Added to this are an estimated 100,000 civilian dead due to wartime privation for a total of 165,000 or 3.67% of the prewar population…

    …The Ottomans undoubtably suffered the worst of the Central Powers. About 1 million soldiers are estimated to have died, 125,000 in combat, 65,000 of wounds, 550,000 of disease, 150,000 of 750,000 POWs dead in captivity and 110,000 missing or lost due to causes unknown. This estimate is perhaps the least accurate of the belligerent powers. Added to this are an estimated 4 million civilian deaths, 1.5 million due to wartime privation and 2.5 million due to genocides and ethnic cleansing conducted by the Ottomans. The total of 5 million dead is about 23.47% of the prewar population, but this has a large margin of error and may have overcounted the dead severely and undercounted population…

    …In total the Central powers lost about 10.6 million dead, the Entente 12.1 million. To this can be added at least 2 million Persians due to wartime famines, and 1 million Africans due to famine, disease and overwork of porters. The total of dead is thus here estimated at 25.7 million, with errors more likely on the side of too high than too low, comparable with the standard estimate of 24-26 million. Outlying estimates by other historians as low as 18 million and as high as 45 million exist, but the majority of other estimates range from 21 million to 27 million…

    -Excerpt from The Butcher’s Bill: An Incomplete History of Wartime Casualties, New American Press, Chicago, 1996



    Okay so here's the second most depressing thing I wrote today, enjoy
     
    Last edited:
    Part 2-36
  • …The end of the First World War saw the Entente victorious in Italy, in the West and the Middle East. However their victory was slight, none of the three continental Entente powers could maintain a full scale war past the end of 1920 and they knew it, France would start having trouble by the end of summer and Italy would not be far behind. Of the others Japan had no interest in Europe, they had taken the German colonies in East Asia and events in Europe were of no concern with them. Only the United States had both an interest in the European status quo and the ability to enforce it, yet they had no desire to do so.

    The departure from the traditional American aloofness from Europe had cost more than every one of their foreign wars put together for issues that were all together minor. The American public wanted the war to be over, they wanted their sons to come home, an end to wartime restrictions and a return to normalcy. Fighting to impose the will of Britain, France and Italy on Europe was not something the American populace would even consider and the politicians were aware of that fact.

    This left the options of the Entente at the peace table as quite limited. The Bulgarians and Romanians were undefeated in the field, and there was no viable way to compel them with force. The future Poland was completely occupied by troops from Germany and those pledging loyalty to a newly organized Hungarian Government in Budapest. Finland and the Baltic states had organized themselves into Constitutional Monarchies with German Monarchs and wanted the German troops in country to stay right where they were. And there was the elephant in the room, for while the Provisional Government of Russia was still recognized by the Entente, it was increasingly losing ground to the Soviet Union.

    Other problems were taking up Entente energy as well. Britain had a revolt in Ireland and a border war Afghanistan that had just broken out. France and Italy had revolts in their North African colonies that had taken large parts of the countryside there that needed to be put down. Troops and money were needed to deal with these as well. The ability of the Entente to impose terms was thus further limited.

    However while the ability was limited, the desire was not. France in particular was vengeful for all the damage that had been done and proposals to completely dismember Germany were taken seriously there. Britain was not as angered but suffered enough loss they wished to ensure Germany could never do the same again and for Germany to repay what had been done to Britain. Italy, arguably even more damaged than France, wanted all that had been promised to her in the early days of 1915, despite British and French second thoughts. The populations demanded a great deal of their politicians, even if there was not the ability to carry them out

    And of course there was also Germany to consider. As far as she was concerned, she had asked for an armistice, but that did not mean she had surrendered and she expected to be involved in the determination of her fate, as France had after Napoleon. This was something the Entente powers were not about to give her and arguably the root of the Second World War…

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


    …PODs in the latter half of WWI are rarer than those in the earlier half. Most American writers of counterfactuals desire to avoid American entry completely, while non-American writers generally want a much shorter war. However they are common enough to analyze.

    In general Central Powers victory through a purely tactical POD is possible through to Mid-Summer of 1918 given the nearness of complete collapse by the Entente at a number of points. However such a victory would be pyrrhic, arguably more so than the Entente victory in the Original Timeline. Germany has already suffered enormous casualties, lost almost all of their colonies, and had to take economically difficult actions to sustain the war effort, the Hapsburgs have suffered enormous strain and the Ottomans have basically lost their Arab territories. Germany would be better off than France or Italy, but rather worse off than Britain.

    The perception that Germany could break the Entente lines in Spring or early to midsummer 1918, would lead to the Central Powers being able to dictate to the Entente like Versailles in reverse, or even to a greater degree is pure fantasy. There was no real way for them to force Britain to agree to massively unfavorable demands, much less the United States and Japan, not with Britain an island, the complete naval superiority of the Entente and the general ineffectiveness of the submarine war. Germany might actually be forced to lose colonies or Alsace-Lorraine in order to preserve her massive gains in the East, and Austria would have minor gains at best while the Ottoman Empire would be shorn of her Arab territories.

    Less looked at is the possibility of a faster Entente victory. While the chance for the Entente to defeat the Central Powers before the end of 1918 was probably gone by American entry into the war, a quicker and less costly Entente victory could have been won. Arguably the results of this are harder to predict than a Central Power victory, because the changes are narrow rather than broad, and thus the prediction has to be more specific.

    Other significant changes include not altering the length of the war, but simply events during it. The Death Ride of the High Seas Fleet is probably the most talked about, while it did not effect the length of the war, it certainly effected the interwar era…

    …The most common motivation for a late WWI POD is of course to avoid WWII the far greater horrors that followed, without making the entire world completely unrecognizable. The most common POD for that is of course ensuring that a particular scar-faced madman does not manage to live through the last days of the war and lead the world into the abyss for a second time…

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


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


    Part III: Upon Both of Your Houses will begin shortly




    Okay so I am going to continue this for now, rather than try something else
     
    Part 3-1
  • Ghastly Victories: The United States in the World Wars

    A TL by RamscoopRaider

    Part III: Upon Both of Your Houses



    A Plague o’ both the houses!-William Shakespeare, Romeo and Juliet Act III Scene i

    It must be a Peace without victory…Only a peace between equals can last. Only a peace the very principle of which is equality and a common participation to a common benefit-Woodrow Wilson, January 22nd 1917

    Even War is better than a wretched peace-Tacitus, Annales

    A peace may be so wretched as not to be ill exchanged for war-Tacitus, Annales

    It was rather a cessation of war than a beginning of peace-Tacitus, Annales

    A severe war lurks under the show of peace-Claudianus, De Sexto Consulatu Honorii Augusti Panegyris

    This is not a peace. It is an armistice for 20 years-Ferdinand Foch

    Why can’t they both lose?-Anonymous




    …It is popular in mainstream histories to speak of a postwar disconnect between the United States and the other victors of the First World War. The narrative of having won the war the idealistic United States immediately finding itself clashing with the cynical power grabbing of the other victors has a powerful attraction. It places the blame for the Second World War squarely on the shoulders of the European nations for having not learned their lessons from the First World War like the United States had.

    This view is however unnuanced and as will be shown in this paper is a product of events of the sixth, seventh and eighth decades of the twentieth century. At the close of the First World War the American public, and especially the political elites, were in agreement with their counterparts in Britain and France on most matters. They too blamed Germany for the war and wanted them to be punished. What differences there were between the two were primarily matters of form, degree, severity and priority, rather than of substance. Had the United States truly been as opposed to the other Great Powers as is popularly believed, then the Second World War would have likely been averted, however that is not how it was.

    That is not to say that there were not severe points of contention and friction between the United States and the other Entente powers. And certainly there were very heated arguments over even minor points. However as a whole the United States, at least in the immediate post First World War era, was in large part in agreement with the other Entente powers…

    -Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XX, University of California Press: Berkley, 2010


    …The Seeds of the Second World War, it is said, were planted in Paris. Beginning on June 28th 1919 delegates from 27 nations met to discuss the end of the First World War. Of these however only five, arguably four or even only three actually mattered, with the majority merely able to listen to what was decided by the important members and providing suggestions to the subcommittees that wrote most of the treaty provisions. The Big Five were the United States, the United Kingdom, France, Italy and Japan. Japan was excluded on many matters, leaving the remainder as the Big Four. The occasional absence of the Italians left the United States, France and Britain as the Big Three who decided the most important issues…

    …The United States delegation was led by Secretary of State Robert Lansing. Along with Lansing four senators, Henry Cabot Lodge of Massachusetts (Rep.), Hiram Johnson of California (Rep.), Gilbert Hitchcock of Nebraska (Dem.), and James Reed of Missouri (Dem.), representing both the internationalist and isolationist wings of both parties. The delegation was under instruction from President Marshall to seek a peace treaty under the guidance of Wilson’s Fourteen Points. Lansing however had reservations about the elements of the Fourteen Points, and with the presence of the senatorial delegation was inclined to take a more pragmatic view of things…

    …In general the objective of the US delegation was to achieve stability and self determination in the post war world, without either infringing on American Sovereignty or at the risk of embroiling the United States in another War in Europe…

    …The British delegation was led by Prime Minister David Lloyd George. Their goal was the maintenance of the interests of the British Empire. However, George had made a list of specific goals in order of priority. First was ensuring the security of France as an ally on the European continent. Second was removing Germany as a naval threat to Britain and weakening the ability of other powers to replace her. Third was settling the territorial disputes created by the war so that they would not cause another. Fourth was supporting the creation and maintenance of a League of Nations…

    …Lloyd George’s position was complicated by the matter of the Dominions. They had not been given separate invitations, but rather had been expected to send representatives as part of the British delegation. This was unacceptable to the Canadian Prime Minister Robert Borden, who demanded that Canada receive separate representation, a position supported by Australian prime Minister William Hughes. This was opposed by George, who saw it as undermining his authority, and by Lansing who saw the Dominions receiving separate delegations as Britain receiving extra votes. In order to preserve harmony within the British Empire Lloyd George conceded to the Dominions receiving separate representation, and convinced Lansing to accept it in a secret agreement brokered by Clemenceau to keep their representatives off the important sub committees…

    …Lloyd George had another issue in his delegation. Namely the presence of Lords Sumner and Cunliffe. Sent by the cabinet in order to exclude the Treasury’s chosen representative, John Maynard Keynes, they were there for the sole purpose of extracting as much as possible in reparations from Germany. Lloyd George, who wanted German finances intact so that she could continue to be a valuable trading partner could not remove them due to their influence with the newly elected MPs in Parliament that were baying for blood…

    …The French delegation was led by Georges Clemenceau. Clemenceau had seen the Germans attack France twice in forty years and had no intention of allowing the Germans to be in a position to do the same. He wanted to weaken Germany militarily, strategically, industrially and economically. Among his goals was moving the Franco-German border to the Rhine, to give France a natural barrier similar to the one the Channel provided Britain and to absorb important mining and industrial areas. Furthermore he wanted the creation of strong states bordering Germany in Poland and Czechoslovakia, detachment of as much territory as possible and prevention of an Anschluss between Germany and Austria as was already being proposed in Berlin and Vienna.

    Clemenceau also supported the League of Nations, however he felt that was not enough for France’s security. As such he wanted more formalized defense treaties with Britain and the United States to go along with that…

    …Clemenceau however had a second plan in the works in case the first failed. In case the first failed he sent a diplomat, Rene Massagli to Berlin to conduct secret meetings with the Germans. Massagli was to leak details of the negotiations and offer revision in favor of Germany. In exchange he would ask for practical Franco-German cooperation against the Anglo-Saxon powers that the French government claimed were the primary threat to both countries…

    …Italy’s delegation was led by Prime Minister Vittorio Orlando. His goal was simple, implementation of the Treaty of London in full. Beyond that he was under pressure to wring out whatever additional concessions could be managed from the other powers, as was demanded by his constituency…

    …Japan’s delegation was led by former prime Minister Saionji Kinmochi. The Japanese had little interest in European Affairs so voluntarily abrogated their role in the Big Five for most of the conference. However they were active in pursuing two goals, acquisition of the formerly German territories in the Pacific, and ensuring that a Racial Equality Clause entered the League of Nations Covenant…

    …The former Central Powers were pointedly not present at the Conference as it begun and conducted its work. They would be invited when the relevant treaties were completed and ready to be signed. That would be their only contribution to the Conference, which was something that sat well with none of them…

    …Also excluded from the Conference were many delegations that showed up uninvited. Delegations from Ukraine, Belarus, the Baltics, the Caucuses and Finland were rebuffed, as the Entente continued to recognize the provisional government in Omsk as the sole authority for Russia. Similar occurred with delegations from Lebanon and Arabia, who were excluded as the French and British had already decided the fate of the Middle East. Also excluded were representatives from Korea and Vietnam, which were recognized as belonging to Japan and France respectively…

    …Along with national representatives, meeting in Paris were the 1st Pan African Congress, the Inter-Allied Women’s Congress and the World Zionist Organization. The groups intended to use their meeting to bring their issues to the attention of the Conference members…

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

     
    Part 3-2
  • …The most prominent question to be discussed at the Paris Peace Conference was that of territory, namely what territories would Germany lose. The Japanese excluded themselves from most of these talks, having no interest in European borders or African colonies. The Italians spent a greater degree of time, but primarily the matter was settled between the big three…

    …Georges Clemenceau at the opening of the conference presented a plan to partition Germany into between 4 and 7 states in order to ensure it could never threaten the European order again. The other members of the Big Five refused to even consider the proposal and it was quickly forgotten…

    …The easiest questions to settle on was that of Alsace-Lorraine. All the big three agreed that it was legitimately French territory that had been taken by Prussia in 1871. Furthermore under the terms of the ceasefire it had already been occupied, with administration turned over to the French military, who suppressed the few outbursts of communist revolt in the area. The local Landtag, supported by members of the Reichstag from the region, voted for incorporation of the territory into France. The matter was effectively an established fact that merely needed official recognition.

    This alone of the European territorial concessions involving Germany evoked no great dissatisfaction in Germany. The area had long been part of France and many did not see it as really German. The territory had only been annexed to simplify the defense of the Reich by putting the entire Franco-German border area under direct control of Berlin, rather than having to delegate most of it to Stuttgart and Karlsruhe, and the French produced documents from Bismarck and . Its loss was considered a reasonable price to pay for losing the war…

    …The Big Three were in agreement that Belgium should have some territorial compensation for its devastation during the German occupation. This agreement was almost derailed by Belgian demands that the compensation should include territory from the neutral Netherlands, demands that were solidly rebuffed by Lansing and George. However there was enough public support for detaching territory from Germany, that they agreed with Clemenceau that the area of the districts of Eupen and Malmedy, along with formerly neutral Moresnet, should be awarded to Belgium. At Lansing’s insistence on the principal of self determination this would be conditional on a plebiscite voting for union with Belgium.

    Clemenceau further proposed that Belgium enter union with Luxembourg, as the larger state would be better able to resist German aggression. There was not any interest in that matter in Luxembourg or Belgium and it was quietly dropped…

    …The plebiscite in Eupen-Malmedy was probably the most peaceful of all the Paris Plebiscites, even if it was no more representative. It was conducted under direct supervision of the Belgian Army, with public ballots and required no voters to publicly register their objections with Belgian authorities. As such an area which was considered foreign by most Belgians was accepted into the union with a mere 1% voting no…

    …Clemenceau presented a case that France needed a natural border against German aggression, and that the Rhine was the only possible solution. Lansing refused to consider the matter, the territory was indisputably German and doing so would violate all principals of self-determination. Lloyd George was more sympathetic, but still saw it as a step too far that would force them to wage further war on Germany at an unacceptable cost.

    A suggestion of an independent Rhenish state was likewise shot down, as Lansing had intelligence from American occupation troops that there was no prospect of such a state working out.

    Clemenceau was however adamant that France get something and in the interest of French security it was agreed that the Rhineland would be demilitarized. Furthermore Britain and the United States would sign treaties to defend France if she was attacked by Germany again. In the event this did not happen however, France would be allowed to occupy the country for 15 years as a guarantee of good behavior on the part of Germany…

    …Failing to secure the Rhine Clemenceau at the very least tried to secure the Saar, as compensation for the damage to French coalfields by German occupiers. Lansing quipped that this was not 1813 and that ship had sailed, viewing the territory as undoubtably German. The two men almost reached a loggerheads, until Llyod George came up with a compromise, France would be allowed to occupy the territory for 15 years under the auspices of the League of Nations and receive the output of the Saar coal mines as additional reparations. At the end of 15 years there would be a plebiscite on whether to return to Germany, stay an independent territory, or join France. This was acceptable to both parties…

    …Clemenceau suggested that the territories of Schleswig-Holstein be given to Denmark. Despite the personal sympathies of the Danish King towards the Entente feelers to Denmark were rejected. The Danish government had no interest in potentially getting on Germany’s bad side, and the public sympathy was with Germany, after all it was not the Germans who starved their children….

    …During the conference word came of attempts by the new governments in Berlin and Vienna to unify. While Lansing was ambivalent on the matter, being something he viewed as a matter of self determination, the other members of the big 4 were not. France was doing their best to weaken Germany, and the admission of Austria would more than reverse all that they did. Britain likewise saw it as a potentially destabilizing factor. As for Italy, they were promised territory from Austria, and felt that had a much better chance of keeping that territory if it was a small Austria that had the claims to it, rather than a larger Germany. Outvoted 3 to 1 Lansing agreed on adding a prohibition on an Austro-German unification to the Treaty…

    …It was agreed by the Big Three that a Polish State should be created. They were able to twist the arms of the Provisional Government in Omsk to cede the area known as Congress Poland as the basis of the new State, something that had already de facto happened with a German puppet government. However that was not viable as a state on its own, and the Big Three demanded more.

    The end of the war saw an uprising of oppressed Poles begin. With the armistice forcing Germany to withdraw troops outside areas immediately threatened by the Soviets, Polish insurgents were able to take over large chunks of the Province of Posen. Based on this it was decided that 90% of the territory, with 93% of the population would go to Poland.

    However the French did not think this was viable, they wanted a large powerful Poland as a counterbalance to Germany. They wanted to transfer most of West Prussia and a large chunk of East Prussia, along with Upper Silesia to the new state to make it viable and give it sea access. Lansing however wanted nothing to do with this, fearing it could draw the United States into having to fight Germany to force it to accept this. Instead he proposed plebiscites, which he was well aware would mostly go to Germany.

    The two delegations remained at loggerheads for quite some time until Lloyd George proposed a compromise. Poland would receive a corridor to the sea from Pomerelia, though smaller than France intended and based on the 1772 borders. Furthermore the city of Danzig would be under LoN control as an independent Free City, and Germany would receive and extraterritorial highway to connect with the disconnected territory. Prussia’s southern border would also be based on that of 1772, with minor modifications to allow for giving the Polish access to rail lines necessary for the polish state. Upper Silesia and other parts of Prussia would be subject to Plebiscates.

    George’s compromise would be the basis for the treaty based borders of Poland…

    …The Prussian plebiscites were completely rigged by German authorities and none voted in favor of Poland. The Plebiscite in Silesia turned into a small scale irregular war, which eventually resulted into matters going to the League of Nations. Based on the lines at the end of the fighting, about 80% of Upper Silesia remained German, while 18% went to Poland and 2% had been seized by Czechoslovakia…

    …The German colonies were easier to dispose of. All were classed as League of Nations Mandates. After minor negotiation Belgium received the Districts of Ruanda-Urundi from German East Africa while Britain received the rest. South Africa was to receive German West Africa. German Togo and Cameroon were divided between France and Britain, with France receiving the larger share of both.

    In the Pacific Britain received Nauru, Australia German New Guinea, New Zealand German Samoa and the Carolines, Marianas and Marshall Islands to Japan. This proved somewhat thorny as Japan had secretly been promised more by Britain, however the Dominions were insistent…

    …Most thorny of the German colonies was the German concession at Tsingtao, which went to Japan. China fervently protested, backed by the United States, however Japan had conquered the territory and was occupying it, and had the support of Britain and France. China and the United States were forced to concede the issue, but they would not forget…

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

    …Many of Clemenceau’s more infamous demands, taken as a sign of the disconnect between France and America were not actually his own. Rather he was pressured by advisers and elements in the French Parliament to make harsh demands. Clemenceau recognized that a France allied with America and Britain was in a better place than an isolated France with borders on the Rhine. However he had to press for the latter or failing that a Rhenish buffer state. Likewise he had to present a partition plan, even though he thought such a thing was foolish. It is a similar story behind many of his decisions at the negotiating table…

    -Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XX, University of California Press: Berkley, 2010




    Okay just to warn you no update next two weeks, will be updating my other TL as I have to cover on Friday for the guy in Ecuador and that one is higher priority
     
    Part 3-3
  • …German military limitations were something that were fairly easy to negotiate, at least in comparison to the other major issues at the Paris Peace Conference. Both Britain and France felt that Germany had to be totally defanged, and neither the United States nor Italy saw any real reason not to agree with them. That said there were some issues in the implementation…

    …Britain insisted that Germany be banned from having any submarines, and that nothing like the High Seas Fleet could be allowed to exist. This was agreed upon without issue, the discussion quickly turned to what Navy the Germans would be allowed. They could not be limited to a mere Coast Guard, but could not be a significant threat to France or Italy on their own…

    …After much debate it was decided to limit Germany to 8 “Armored Ships” of up to 15,000 tons, this would allow them to deploy two squadrons of four and defend both of their coasts. The ships would be large enough to be more than just mere coastal defense ships, but small enough that they could not be adequate as raiders or line warships. They would be supported by 12 light cruisers of up to 6,000 tons, 18 destroyers of up to 1,000 tons, and 18 torpedo boats of up to 300 tons, with a total of 30,000 men at most, include shore personnel and marines. Vessels could not be replaced before they were 20 years old for capital ships and 15 for escorts…

    …Germany was banned from having an air force or a naval air arm, either heavier than air or lighter than air. The German aviation industry would be shut down for six months after the signing of the treaty to help ensure compliance…

    …The German Land forces were a thornier question. France wanted a German Army as small as possible in order to never be a threat to France again. However Germany still needed an Army, for there were active communist revolts in progress and the Soviet Union was not particularly far away. As such a reasonable sized Army had to be allowed to Germany….

    …The German Army was to be capped at 120,000 men, though an additional 50,000 men could be maintained in East Prussia for three years as a guarantee against Communist aggression. These men would have to be organized as laid out by the Entente. No more than 3000 machine guns, 360 Mortars and 450 artillery pieces would be allowed for the field army, and no artillery over 105mm. An Entente Commission would determine what fortifications and fortress artillery pieces could be maintained and what were to be destroyed or turned over. Stocks of ammunition were to be highly limited…

    …Officers in the German Army and Navy would serve for at least 25 years, with enlisted for at least 12 years. Only limited provisions were allowed for ending terms of service early and former service members were banned from military exercises and military related activities, in order to prevent the formation of a trained reserve. Military education was similarly limited, as was the size of German police, forestry services, coast guards and customs agents to prevent paramilitary forces from being created. German Nationals were forbidden from serving in the armed forces of other countries, with an exception for the French Foreign Legion…

    …Germany was forbidden the manufacturing arms and warlike materials for export. She was further forbidden from possessing armored vehicles and chemical weapons…

    …Surplus Arms, Ammunition, planes, ships, tanks and other equipment was to be turned over to the Entente for either use or scrapping. The Entente would determine what the Germans would be allowed to retain and would take the best for themselves. This equipment would not count against the reparations imposed on Germany…

    …A system of control boards with temporary supervisory powers were established to ensure Germany abided by the terms of the treaty …

    …The matter of Reparations, second only to the question of territory proved the thorniest issue and one that even caused divisions within national delegations…

    …The first issue to deal with was in allocation. France and Belgium wanted for reparations to be allocated based on damages from the war, a view that was supported by Italy and the United States. Britain, and Lloyd George in particular, wanted to add widows pensions and the cost of care for the disabled, which would give Britain a greater share of the money. The United States would not let themselves be convinced, with the delegation considering the matter to be absurd.

    As such George was forced to turn to horse trading, and in exchange for supporting a harder line than he preferred regarding German territorial losses, convinced Clemenceau to come around to his view. Combined with supporting Japan in the matter of Tsingtao and he managed to convince three of the Big Five to support this measure. Finding himself outvoted Lansing agreed to accept the British way for allocating reparations…

    …Both Lloyd George and Georges Clemenceau did not actually want ruinous reparations to be inflicted on Germany, they viewed her value as a trade partner greater than squeezing more blood from her stone. The British Treasury as represented by John Maynard Keynes, determined that Germany could pay 60 billion Goldmarks, and that receiving 40 billion would be satisfactory from the point of view of the Treasury. Both George and Clemenceau though 40 billion was a sufficient number and matters should have ended there…

    …The new British Parliament had seen the Treasury’s report on Germany’s ability to pay and rejected it. They appointed a commission under Lords Sumner and Cunliffe to study the matter, the so called “Heavenly Twins” determined that Germany could pay at least 500 billion Goldmarks, and that 1 Trillion Goldmarks was not out of the question. Parliament much preferred this answer and mandated that Sumner and Cunliffe would handle financial matters for the British delegation, with the Treasury officially excluded from high level talks…

    …Upon hearing the British proposal for a half trillion Goldmarks in reparations, the other representatives were dumbstruck. No one had thought Germany could pay such sums. In the case of the American delegation it was one more proposal that they thought patently absurd, the US treasury estimated a maximum of 100 billion Goldmarks. The French delegation had the opposite reaction.

    The possibility of such a financial windfall, at a time when France was broke and devastated, proved irresistible. With the Chamber of Deputies right there in Paris, the French quickly became the biggest supporter of the 500 billion Goldmark number. Lloyd George was forced to publicly go along with it lest he face a vote of no confidence from Parliament.

    The Americans however were adamantly opposed. As the United States was the primary creditor for both Britain and France, in this financial matter she held a greater hand than elsewhere in the treaty. After consulting with the American treasury representatives they reduced their figure to a “mere” 175 billion Goldmarks.

    This was still too high for the Americans, and indeed still too high for Llyod George, Clemenceau and the French Treasury. A secret committee was set up between the three nations, which returned a similar 100 billion Goldmark figure to the one the US Treasury came up with. However neither the British, nor the French delegation could publicly support this number, having to support the revised 175 billion number as a minimum, those advocating for less, such as Keynes were already being smeared as German lovers or worse. The Americans for their part would not accept the 175 billion Goldmark number. The deadlock looked fair to wreck the whole conference.

    In the end Lloyd George proposed a compromise. Namely that the Peace Treaty would not have a final number for reparations, but merely an interim amount to last a few years. A committee would be set up as part of the Peace Treaty that would determine the final amount. This would be done after passions had cooled and a reasonable number for reparations could be arrived at. The compromise worked and was included in the final treaty. George and Clemenceau could argue that they were getting 175 billion marks or more from the committee, while Lansing could argue the committee would produce a rational figure for Germany to pay…

    …The reparations committee, despite the hopes of the leaders at the Paris Peace Conference did not produce a rational number. Or rather it did and it did not. Officially Germany was required to pay 155 billion Goldmarks of reparations either in Gold or in Goods. However this number was divided into class A, B and C bonds, and the latter were dependent on Germany’s ability to pay, with no real expectation of that occurring among those in the know. Only 60 billion Goldmarks were set in stone as reparations, the other 95 billion were included for domestic consumption in France and Britain. However the 155 billion number also gained traction among the German far right as part of all that was wrong with the Peace Agreement and the Weimar Republic…

    …Along with Reparations as a form of recompense Germany would be required to grant the victorious Entente most favored Nation status as well as fishing rights within her waters for the duration of the repayment term. This increased competition would make it more difficult for her to pay off her reparations, yet was not offset against them…

    …In addition to direct reparations Germany was to be forced to recognize the wartime seizure of German property in the belligerent nations, including intellectual property. The value of this lost property exceeded 4 billion Goldmarks in the United States alone. This further hurt Germany’s ability to pay reparations…

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



    A/N May have to preempt next week's update again and probably the week after that as well, tis booksale time for me

    Also edited an older update slightly as I realized I had some tense issues resulting in my intent being mistaken, I won't say which one
     
    Last edited:
    Part 3-4
  • …Separate from reparations Germany was required to furnish replacements for certain property, such as farm animals and equipment, that had been used or destroyed in France and Belgium…The loss of Germany’s merchant fleet, once again not written off against the value of her reparations, was the capstone in reducing her ability to actually pay them back…

    …Germany was to be required to join the League of Nations, once it had formed and assuming that happened. It had been proposed to make the creation of the League of Nations part of the peace treaty with Germany itself. However the American delegation balked, while Lansing was for it the senators quickly realized the difficulty in that getting two thirds of the vote in the US Senate and did not want to jeopardize the peace treaty. Therefore the creation of the League of Nations would be a separate treaty…

    …The French and British delegations attempted to include a clause requiring Germany and her allies take sole responsibility for starting the war. This would provide a moral justification for demanding such absurd terms from Germany.

    The American delegation, upon seeing the proposed clause saw it as a joke in poor taste. Upon being told it was serious, they dismissed it as ridiculous. Neither the Germans, nor the Bulgarian Romanians or Ottomans were responsible for killing the Archduke and his party, and no one could think Franz Joseph had his own nephew and heir killed. No, the Americans claimed, it was patently obvious that the Serbs had started the war and that no country would have reacted any differently than the Austrians had given the circumstances. They were not going to sign the Treaty with such a clause.

    That left the French and British looking for a justification for why they could impose such high terms and be in the moral right. After a few nights they decided that Germany and her allies would bear the sole blame for making the war as terrible as it was through novel and immoral methods of making war.

    On the face of things this made more sense. It was the Germans who first used poison gas, who launched unrestricted submarine warfare and first conducted aerial bombing of civilians. It was the Austrians who first conducted naval bombardment of civilians during this war. The Turks had made themselves quite easy to blame with their crimes against minorities, most prominently but not limited to the Armenians.

    This ignored however that the Entente used far more gas, and deadlier gasses than the Central Powers ever did. That the Entente conducted unrestricted submarine warfare in the Baltic and Black Seas, and that the distant blockade was both unprecedented and starved to death more neutral civilians than the U-Boat campaign killed merchant seamen. That the British bombers dropped more tons of bombs on Germany than German bombers and Zeppelins had on Britain. That the Entente too had committed horrible crimes, if less visible than the Ottoman Genocides.

    The American delegation was however content to ignore all these things and agreed that the modified war guilt clause would stand…

    …Further Clauses gave the Entente powers the right to accuse Germans of crimes committed against them, with trials to occur in the Entente nation in question. The German state was required to support this, and any previous trails conducted by Germany, and penalties levied, would be considered void, violating the principle of double jeopardy. The first person so named was included in the text of the Treaty itself, Kaiser Wilhelm II…

    …When a German delegation was summoned by the Big Four in Mid-November they expected to begin the final set of negotiations for the peace treaty. They had already worked out a strategy, the Americans were viewed as most sympathetic so they would target their lobbying there, while the Italians had the smallest grudge against them so they would focus the horse trading there for maximum result. What they did not expect was that they would be presented with a Diktat. They were to sign the treaty, or the war would resume.

    The head of the German delegation, the Foreign Minister the Count of Brockdorf-Rantzau, attempted to negotiate with the Big Four in order to get a better treaty. When they refused to meet with him, he attempted to negotiate via letter. However the Big Four were adamant, Germany would sign the Treaty as it stood. Soon after the news of the consistent refusal of the Big Four to significantly negotiate arrived in Berlin, Minister-President Scheideman, who had replaced Ebert upon his election as president, resigned along with the most of his cabinet including the Foreign Minister.

    President Ebert had to threaten to resign in order to have Gustav Bauer, the minister of Labor replace Scheideman and to find sufficient ministers to fill the cabinet, with the center left German Democratic Party refusing to join a cabinet that might have to sign the proposed treaty. Bauer only agreed as he believed he could convince the Entente to moderate their terms, in particular remove the clauses related to guilt and the punishment of criminals, the moral blow of these clauses creating greater indignation than the loss of territory or reparations.

    The latter terms at least were accepted parts of war, the former terms were a new humiliation created just for Germany. Even Napoleon, oft called the Antichrist in his own time, was never placed on trial for what he did as Emperor of the French, merely exiled and the only Frenchmen who were tried for their actions under him were those the restored French government tried themselves. Even in defeat nations were still to be sovereign was the ironclad precedent set at Westphalia, yet the Entente were throwing out 280 years of diplomatic norms to punish Germany.

    Bauer and Ebert sent a communique to the Entente, of acceptance of the terms of the treaty save the five clauses regarding war criminals and war guilt. The Entente’s response was that he had five days to communicate the full acceptance of the Treaty or the War would resume.

    Bauer and Ebert asked the military for their analysis of the situation. General Wilhelm Groener, who had just taken over as chief of the General Staff from von Hindenburg, told them that the military situation was hopeless. The Army would not hold together he said and even if it did the disparity in forces was too great. Groener’s view contradicted that of his fellow officers, a substantial majority of which claimed that resistance was still possible. Whether Groener was a designated scapegoat for the rest of the military, a clear eyed realist or a hopeless defeatist cannot be known but Bauer and Ebert believed him.

    With ten minutes to spare Bauer and Ebert announced their intention to agree to the Terms of the Treaty of Versailles in full. In doing so they became the most hated men in Germany…

    …That the Entente was in little position to actually move on Germany was unknown at the time to both the Germans and the public at large. They had bridgeheads over the Rhine and occupation troops, yes, along with a superiority in troop numbers and crushing superiority in equipment too, but the Entente was then in the process of rapidly demobilizing. Many near mutinies had broken out among the Entente among troops who felt the demobilization was unacceptably slow and outright mutiny was not particularly far off. Foch, Haig and Pershing all expressed concerns about what would happen if they had to halt demobilization and invade Germany. With the Germans demobilizing slower, due to the threat of the Soviets to their east and Communist rebels within, the formations assigned to occupation duties alone would be insufficient. It was feared that if they tried to bring in other formations without a clear moral reason, that they would have mutinies on their hands, a fear later events would prove quite justified…

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


    …Efforts to shade history to favor the German point of view began almost as soon as the war ended. In particular the Weimar government looked to influence American views of the war to be more favorable to them as a road to revising the Versailles Treaty. Scholars with a pro-German bent got access to the German archives and official aid, while those with an Anti-German bent were shut out. Only those scholars whom the Weimar government thought were appropriate had their work translated into German…

    …Orthodox history makes heavy use of these Weimar approved scholars as they are some of the very few sources who had access to German records of the First World War while they were intact. While arguably necessary this produces a pronounced slant to the points of view of the era…

    -Excerpt from Revisionist Viewpoints in History Volume XX, University of California Press: Berkley, 2010





    Okay update later than I planned, July was a busy month for me, this was written 12 days ago but computer issues happened that the computer repair place could not figure out, no update Sunday, doing other TL
     
    Part 3-5
  • …Eastern Europe proved a thorny issue at the Paris Conference. While they had agreed to armistices and demobilized part of their forces, Romania and Bulgaria were undefeated in the field and had large armies remaining with no nearby Entente forces that could threaten them. While some in the British and French governments wanted to punish them for siding with the wrong side, and the Yugoslav and Russian delegations were especially vocal on this point, they had no effective way to do so. What’s more the US had not declared war on them, having only done so to Germany and Austria-Hungary as practitioners of unrestricted submarine warfare, giving them a sympathetic voice at the negotiating table.

    Rather than waste effort on trying to punish nations that their populations did not really care about, the British and French decided not to fight hard on this matter. Bulgaria and Romania would be limited to an army of 250,000 men each, with equipment in proportion to Germany though without a limit on artillery caliber. Surplus equipment would be used to equip former Russian POWs to form a new Russian army to fight the communists. Neither side was restricted in its naval forces or paramilitiaries, and were merely restricted from multi-engine military aircraft. Bulgaria would be required to replace animals and agricultural equipment seized or destroyed in their operations in Serbia, while Romania would be required to do that with Russia. Both parties were required to support the forces of the Russian Provisional government as it fought the communists…

    …Both Romania and Bulgaria were assigned reparations payments in gold or in kind, but these were both small and rapidly forgiven…

    …Romania was allowed to continue occupying Bessarabia until the Russian Civil War was over, at which point it was to be returned to the Provisional Government…

    …Hungary was a somewhat thornier problem, as it was one of the de facto successors to the Dual Monarchy. However the provisional Hungarian government had a large force in the field, and Entente Armies were not positioned to easily assault the core of Hungary. Still the Hungarians were in a worse position than either the Bulgarians or the Romanians…

    …Proposals by the Hungarians to retain all the lands of the Hungarian crown were laughed at. If nothing else the Italians were occupying much of Croatia-Slavonia and weren’t about to give up anything they were promised. The Kingdom of Coratia-Slavonia was stripped from Hungary as a first step, to be divided between Italy and Yugoslavia. Next Upper Hungary and Carpathian Ruthenia were allocated to the new State of Czechoslovakia. Yugoslavia was further given the territories of Banat, Backa and Baranja. It was proposed by the French that Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia be given additional lands on the Austro-Hungarian border so that they would have a corridor to each other, but the other members of the Big Four rejected that as being too likely to cause strife. Similarly France proposed to give Romania Transylvania, in order to create a powerful ally, as apart of plans for a Little Entente against the USSR and Germany, however none of the others wished to reward Romania for her role in the Central Powers…

    …It was decided that due to its German minority the territory of Burgenland be given a choice between Hungary and Austria. Most of the territory went to Austria, but the area around Sopron remained with Hungary…

    …Hungary was scheduled to pay a great deal of reparations, however by 1923 these were forgiven as the economies of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire collapsed. The Empire had been a single unit and areas specialized in various goods, with the customs barriers erected by the newly independent nations the traditional economic relationships that gave Austria-Hungary the best growth in Europe before the war became impossible. As such Hungary only supplied a limited amount of Coal and Timber before the payment requirements were forgiven…

    …Hungary was placed under the exact same arms limitations as Germany. Anything less was considered too little with the proximity of the USSR and communist agitation within Hungary…

    …Austria and the Ottoman Empire proved to be, after Germany the most difficult of the six countries to deal with. Both were weak enough that they could not resist any Entente demands. However the most recent elections in Britain and France had changed the legislative balance of power, and neither the British nor French populaces were happy with the secret Treaty of London dividing up the Austrian and Ottoman Empires. The British especially were publicly adamant that Italy was not going to receive Cyprus, no matter what the Treaty of London said, and the idea of compelling Greece to give up the island of Corcyra with force, or allowing Italy to do so was flat-out dead-on arrival in both countries…

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


    Yeah managed to write most of the update yesterday in the Car and Henri shifted east a good bit, so actual update today
     
    Part 3-6
  • …Limiting Austria to a mere 30,000 men, with equivalent equipment allowances to Germany was an easy decision. As was requiring Austria to pay reparations, both in cash and moveable property…

    ..Austria, due to the immediate economic collapse that followed the breakup of the Austro-Hungarian Empire in the ended paid almost nothing with regards to reparations, as the decision was made to forgive them…

    …The new Austrian Republic was required to change its name from the Republic of German-Austria to simply Austria, in order to make it clear that the Austrians were not to join with Germany…

    …Giving the Austrian concession at Tianjin to China was an easy matter. As was giving the lands of the Bohemian Crown to the new Czechoslovak state, with the Kingdom of Galicia and Lodomeria, as well as Bukovina going to Poland. Austrian Silesia was divided between Poland and Czechoslovakia, mostly based on facts on the ground based on whose militias had seized what. The decision to give Italy Tyrol up to the Brenner Pass, the Carinthian Canal Valley, Goriza, Gradisca and Trieste was non controversial. Neither was the decision to give the new Yugoslavia Bosnia-Herezgovina, Carinola and Lower Syria, as well as the Gemiende Seeland from Carinthia.

    The controversial parts proved to be the coastal areas of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire…

    …Italy had been promised the entirety of the Austrian Littoral, Northern Dalmatia, and most of the islands of Austria-Hungary in the Treaty of London of 1915. This territory however was ethnically divided. Some parts were Italian, but others were Slavic and did not want to be part of Italy. Furthermore Italy had been promised the British island of Cyprus, with British consent, and the Greek Island of Corfu, without Greek consent

    Italy had already occupied most of the disputed territory however and was adamant they receive all of it. The Yugoslav delegation was equally adamant that they not. In this they were supported by all of the Big Three. The United States had never been party to the Treaty of London and was wedded to the principle of self-determination, or at least as it applied to Europeans. Britain while a party had found itself with a new government quite ready to repudiate a treaty that would see one of its most important overseas possessions ceded to Italy. As for France, the new French government already saw Italy as their biggest threat in the postwar era and was not eager to make them any stronger. Greece, while not part of the Big Three/Four/Five, was not about to give up part of its territory to one of its erstwhile Allies without a diplomatic fight and weighed in against Italy.

    However, with the exception of Yugoslavia and Greece none of these nations were exactly eager to go to war with Italy over the matter of the Adriatic coastline and its attendant islands. Greece and Yugoslavia together could not afford to fight Italy, not with the former occupying parts of Turkey and the latter just forming. However the Big Three did have cards they were willing to play.

    Italy had been ravaged by the losses of Caporetto and the Piave, and the subsequent plundering of Northeastern Italy by the Austrians. Only enormous loans from Britain and America allowed Italy to rebuild and launch new offensives to reclaim their lost territory and eventually push the Austrians over the edge. Italy was still in fact in need of loans to keep rebuilding even after the war had ended, loans only the United States could provide. Furthermore Italy was dependent on imported coal to an enormous degree, coal that could only come from Britain, America or Germany, whose exports were controlled by the Big Three. If Italy was too stubborn, it would face financial collapse and a very cold winter…

    …Despite their leverage, the Big Three knew that they could not deny Italy everything, as Yugoslavia wanted. Istria and Fiume certainly had to go to Italy, as did the city of Zara. Beyond that an American commission looked at the ethnic facts on the ground, as well as geographic, economic and military realities…

    …The American commission recommended that the Islands of Arbe, Veglia and Pago be given to Yugoslavia to ensure their ports on the Croatian Coast had access to the Adriatic. Likewise Brazza and Solta, along with smaller islands nearby, were necessary for Spalato for similar reasons. The remaining islands promised to Italy could safely be given to Italy. Yugoslavia would be forbidden to fortify these particular islands or station military forces there…

    …To protect Zara a hinterland was carved out, from roughly Novigrad Bay to Sebenik Bay. The rest of Dalmatia was given to Yugoslavia…

    …To partially compensate Italy, it was decided to increase the size of the territory they would receive in Adalia. Furthermore for not ceding Cyprus Britain would pay Italy an indemnity. France for its part would cancel a certain amount of debt for turning Corfu to Greece rather than Italy. Yugoslavia would grant Italy most favored Nation status. Other terms of the Treaty of London would still stand…

    …Italy was not happy about the changes, however Vittorio Orlando saw little choice but to accept them. The potential economic costs were too great to do otherwise. Besides from his perspective Italy had done very well at the peace table. Italy had made substantial gains in the Adriatic, less than they were promised, but still substantial ones all the same. Likewise Italy made reasonable colonial gains in Africa and Asia Minor. Italy’s largest rival, Austria-Hungary was destroyed, and likewise the Ottoman Empire, who they had fought in 1911. The seizure of the Hapsburg Navy allowed Italy to succeed France as the strongest naval power in the Mediterranean.

    However this was not enough for some. Famed poet Gabriele D’Annunzio called the victory a mutilated one, and the term spread among the nationalist right. Italy had not been given all that had been promised her and thus their victory was incomplete. So much had been sacrificed by Italy, yet her so called allies had taken this away from her…

    …The Fate of the Ottoman Empire was somewhat easier to deal with than that of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. It was quickly agreed the Ottoman Army be restricted to 60,000 men, no artillery over 100mm, and other terms similar to Germany. The Ottoman Navy would be restricted to 9 torpedo boats and 9 gunboats and there would be no Ottoman Air Force. The Entente would take control of all aspects of the Empire’s Finances, and the Empire would become a free trade zone. Property owned by citizens of the former Central Powers within the Empire would be liquidated and the proceeds turned over to the Entente as reparations. War Crimes trials for the perpetrators of the Armenian Genocide would occur under Entente jurisdiction. The Capitulations of the Ottoman Empire, repudiated in 1914 would return to force…

    …The Vilayet of Hejaz would be given independence as a Kingdom, to reward the Arabs who revolted against the Empire, under the house of Hashim…

    …The Vilayets of Bitlis, Erzurum, Trabzon and Van were to form an Independent Armenian Republic. This Republic was to recognize Pontic Greeks with their own autonomous region in Trabzon, necessary as they were too small for a state of their own…

    …Britain was given the areas of Transjordan and Mesopotamia agreed on in the Sykes-Picot agreement as League of Nations Mandates. In addition France agreed that Britain would receive Mosul and Palestine, for reasons known only to Clemenceau…

    …France was given the areas of Syria and Lebanon, as well as parts of Southeast Anatolia, agreed upon in the Sykes-Picot Agreement as League of Nations Mandates. She was further given a substantial zone of influence from Cicilia to Adana to Diyarbakir to Sivas and Tokat…

    …Kurdish speaking areas not part of the French or British mandates would be subject to a plebiscite to determine whether they wanted to be an independent state, or to remain part of the Ottoman Empire…

    …Italy was given formal possession of the Dodecanese, which she had been occupying since 1912 in contravention of the treaty of Ouchy. Italy also gained full legal sovereignty over Libya. Finally Italy received the Vilayet of Konya and the Sanjaks of Mentese and Denizli…

    …Greece received the Islands of Imbros, Imrali and Tenedos as well as the Sanjaks of Aydin, Balikesir, Biga, Izmir and Saruhan. Greece would be required to allow free passage through the Dardanelles and to refrain from constructing coastal fortifications in the Dardanelles and the approaches thereof…

    …The area around the Bosporus, Dardanelles and Sea of Marmara not given to Greece would become an international zone, remaining under Ottoman Sovereignty but demilitarized and with the League of Nations having ultimate oversight…

    …The Treaty was presented to the Ottoman government as a diktat, like all the other treaties that came out of the Paris Peace Conference. Like with those Treaties the Ottoman government saw little choice but to accept the terms. Unlike the other five states, while the Ottoman government accepted the terms, the Ottoman Army did not and decided to take matters into its own hands…

    -Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007
     
    Part 3-7
  • …The Armistice that ended the First World War included immediate provisions for the release of hundreds of thousands of Russian prisoners of war in Central Powers hands. These forces were lavishly reequipped with surplus German arms and were to be the tool for the defeat of the Bolshevik menace. However they were not immediately ready for action, having needed to be organized and moved into position, by which point winter weather precluded their deployment. Thus it would be Spring of 1920 before they could be employed against the Bolsheviks…

    …In order to have routes to deploy their new forces the Provisional Government was forced to recognize the German established Kingdoms of Finland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia as independent. This move, while necessary from a realpolitik point of view, was a minor political disaster. Much of their support came from Russian nationalists who, already outraged by the loss of Congress Poland were even further alienated. This led to many of the newly raised forces effectively ignoring the government in Omsk…

    …The Bolsheviks were well aware of the forces being raised against them and during the summer of 1919 made an attempt to destroy their current foes before new ones entered the fray. Offensives were launched against Omsk, the Republics in the Caucuses and the provisional state of Ukraine. Against Omsk and the Caucuses these late summer offensives turned into disasters, having effectively outrun the Bolshevik logistic network centered around Moscow the undersupplied forces took excess casualties and were forced to pull back.

    In the Ukraine however the Bolsheviks were successful in crushing the Provisional State based in Kiev. Based on the collaboration government set up by the Austrians the Provisional State was the primary moderate opposition to the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine. The Provisional State of Ukraine was, thanks to the influence of the Provisional Government in Omsk, unable to gain foreign recognition, and thus foreign aid. Its ability to fight off the Bolshevik menace was limited and by the outbreak of Winter Kiev had fallen, with the state collapsing in its entirety by Spring. This left opposition to the Bolsheviks in the Ukraine to exist primarily in the form of the Anarchist Black Army, which was as unpalatable as the Bolsheviks to the Entente and killed any hope of an anti-Bolshevik Ukraine…

    …With actions against external threats mostly defeated by midwinter, the Bolsheviks turned to internal enemies. The Bolshevik’s Cheka secret police had by the end of 1919 exceeded the size of the prewar Czarist Okhrana twenty-fold and set about the task with gusto. Within weeks the Bolsheviks executed thrice as many people as the Russian Empire had in almost a century. By the outbreak of fighting in the Spring over 50,000 were slain in the Red Terror with many more thrown into the early proto-Gulags.

    Perhaps most relevantly alongside prosperous peasants, foreigners, clergy, political rivals and the unlucky, the Red Terror targeted former Czarist officers serving in the Red Army. Having needed a scapegoat for insufficient performance and with members of the Politburo suspicious that these officers might not be willing to fight their former comrades in the coming months they were targeted for removal and imprisonment on the flimsiest of charges.

    In what is seen as the start of Trotsky’s split with the mainstream of the Bolshevik party he opposed the expansion of the Red Terror into the Red Army. This was, contrary to what his later defenders claim, on purely pragmatic grounds. Trotsky was a vocal supporter of other aspects of the Red Terror, but feared that the removal of trained officers, and increasing the power of political commissars would have a negative effect on the fighting power of the Red Army at a time it could not afford it…

    …In May of 1920 the Great White Counteroffensive began. The Primary thrusts were out of the Baltic States and the Karelian Isthmus as a way of taking St. Petersburg by encirclement. Supporting attacks were to be conducted out of Poland, Romania, Archangel and via the Black Sea…

    …The Entente powers, with Germany defeated, prepared their own intervention into the Russian Civil War. Attempts to get the United States and the British Dominions to intervene proved fruitless, as they wanted no part of the mess, having had more than enough war already. Italy found herself too stretched for troops garrisoning her new conquests to send anything of note, leaving only Britain, France and Japan to send significant amounts of troops.

    The Japanese limited their intervention to sending troops to repress revolts in Siberia, officially on behalf of the Provisional Government. In practice the Japanese were hoping for the opportunity to either seize or detach portions of the Russian Far East and Siberia if the Provisional Government collapsed. With 85,000 troops the Japanese provided the largest of the foreign contingents.

    The French, having experienced mutinies already during the war and knowing that the Army was not far from doing so sent only 20,000, consisting almost entirely of colonial troops and members of the French Foreign Legion who were little more than mercenaries. The French primarily acted in the Black Sea area, starting with the seizure of Odessa.

    The British attempted to send a force even larger than the French to intervene in Archangel. However the 25th Division which was earmarked for the task mutinied upon learning of their orders and refused to board transports. Sufficient discontent was found in attempts to substitute for the 25th that the Northern intervention was scaled back to only 5,000 troops from more reliable units. However like the French the British were able to make better use of their colonial troops and 40,000 of them were sent to the Caucuses. Officially this was to support the Caucasian Republics in their fight against the Bolsheviks, in practice it was to secure British oil interests in Mesopotamia…

    …The Irish War of Independence arguably began on June 9th, 1919. The first election of the devolved Irish Parliament in November 1918 had, thanks to the unpopularity of the imposition of conscription, returned a Sinn Fein plurality. Given than per their Republican values Sinn Fein members refused to take their seats, as that would require swearing an oath to the monarch, this left the next largest party in control of the Irish Parliament. This was the Unionists, who were opposed to the concept of a separate Irish Parliament at all. Having a majority in the Parliament despite being a minority, they passed laws meant to weaken their opposition while they still could.

    On June 9th the Unionist Parliament attempted to pass a voting bill that would effectively ensure long term Unionist control of the Irish Parliament in the absence of Sinn Fein. Members of the Irish Parliamentary Party, effectively the sole opposition within the Irish Parliament saw this as the very last straw. While the leadership remained committed to the Parliamentary process, increasingly many of the backbenchers saw the matter as pointless. Thus on June 9th about 40% of the Irish Parliamentary Party walked out of Dublin Castle.

    On Friday the 13th they met with Sinn Fein and formed what became the First Dail Eireann. A week later the Dail declared the Independence of Ireland and send a message asking the nations of the world to recognize the new state…

    …The War did not start out as much of a war, and indeed neither Sinn Fein nor the former IPP wanted a shooting war. Rather civil disobedience was their means of achieving independence, by rendering the British government in Ireland impotent and irrelevant nonviolently. However as Britain attempted to crack down on the formation of an Irish state within a state government, Irish Volunteers responded with raids to secure arms and free prisoners, soon escalating to assassination of British officials. These actions proved unpopular with the Irish public at large and threatened to end the Irish independence movement.

    However by the end of 1919 British reprisals reversed the trend. British forces in Ireland reacted disproportionately, targeting the public at large for the actions of a few volunteers. Sympathy for the cause skyrocketed and the newly renamed Irish Republican Army found itself having public support for its actions. Meanwhile strikes crippled British responses as stevedores refused to handle war materials and railroad men would not ship British troops or supplies. Still by Summer of 1920 relatively little violence had occurred.

    This would change as Britain deployed 5,000 Auxiliary Constables to reinforce the Royal Irish Constabulary. The RIC was proving increasingly ineffective due to IRA infiltration and intimidation, public ostracism and mass resignation of local recruits. The new Auxiliary Constables were recruited from demobilized veterans and would not be subject to local pressures…

    …With the Treaty of Sevres accepted by the Ottoman Government elements of the Ottoman Army mutinied. Led by Mustafa Kemal Pasha, perhaps the greatest of the Ottomans native generals, they gathered at Ankara. There he asked for elected representatives from throughout Turkey to gather and form a new government, which occurred by April 1920. The new Government rejected the Treaty of Sevres and ordered Kemal to lead an Army to resist it. Attempts by the official government in Constantinople to crush the mutiny resulted in the defection of the troops in question and very quickly Kemal had more troops at his disposal than the Sultan.

    As Spring ended and Summer began Kemal launched his campaign to reverse the Treaty of Sevres. He was beset by many enemies, yet he did not let that intimidate him. The Armenians were busy resisting the Soviets and despite their strong interest in upholding the treaty they could do relatively little. The British, French and Italians had limited interests in Turkey, they had more vital gains elsewhere to garrison and war weary populations. They would not fight hard to keep their Turkish colonies, and Kemal had no intention of attempting to restore the Arab lands of the Empire, so they would likely be willing to accept a revision of the Treaty of Sevres.

    No it was the Greeks who were Kemal’s target. They had only brief involvement during the war, and the Ionian territories they captured were their only gains. A strong Turkey was a threat to the reclaimed Greek territory in Ionia and they had every interest of ensuring that did not come to pass Greece alone had both the willingness, interest and the ability to fight to enforce Sevres. If they could be defeated then Turkey could be saved from humiliation and mutilation …

    -Excerpt from European Wars for Americans, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2004
     
    Part 3-8
  • …With the peace terms to be imposed on the defeated Central Powers finalized, the time had come to work on creating a League of Nations as had been proposed by Wilson and agreed upon by most nations. While its existence was agreed upon, its exact form would be the source of nearly as much controversy as the peace treaties ending the First World War…

    …It was easily agreed upon to headquarter the new body in Geneva. Similarly the creation of a permanent secretariat and the division of power between a League Council of the Great Powers, with a few rotating extras, and the League Assembly of all members, was uncontroversial….

    …Exactly what counted as a member of the League of Nations proved a thorny issue. The British Dominions insisted that they be given separate votes, as befitting their self-governing status, and Britain was forced to follow along. The United States was adamantly opposed to this, viewing it as a lever for Britain to exercise multiple votes. France and Japan went along with the Dominion view, believing they could manipulate the system. In the end it was added to the proposed Covenant after much debate.

    The United States response to this was start formulating reservations…

    …New members would be admitted after a two thirds vote of the League Assembly on their approval. Existing members would be allowed to leave only if they had fulfilled their obligations under the League of Nations to that point in order to avoid dodging responsibility…

    …That the League of Nations should act as a deterrent to war was agreed upon. Some nations, France and Belgium most prominent among them, wanted the League to serve as a mutual defense pact, war with one party would automatically mean war with all the others. This saw approval from many small nations and disapproval from others, who saw they could be dragged into having to deal with other nations messes. The mutual defense portion was thus watered down so that the League would merely make it a matter of concern that the League would decide upon how to deal with. Even this was too much for the United States to allow…

    …That the League of Nations would be a vehicle to facilitate international disarmament was agreed upon by all present. Rather than attempt to define that now, the League Council was to formulate plans that would be voted on by the assembly, and only after full adoption would be enforced. These could be withdrawn from for no consequence on 18 months notice by a member state and new plans would be drawn up. To facilitate this, nations were required to give relevant details of their arms and industries to the League for creation of those plans…

    …France proposed that the League have a military of its own to enforce its rulings. The French expected to dominate any such arrangement and thus have a say over its use. Therefore Britain opposed the matter and thought of a League military beyond a few officers retained to advise the League Council, Assembly and Secretariat was removed…

    …League members were required to submit all international disputes with each other to arbitration by the League Council or a Court created by the League for the purpose of arbitration. Members would be forbidden from going to war until after the League has delivered its verdict or reward, and to only do so if the verdict was inconclusive. Members would otherwise be required to obey the decisions of the judges or arbitrators.

    To enforce this all members would be required to embargo and sanction the violations nation and all of their nationals, while the League Council determined appropriate military responses to the matter, to which members would be required to contribute…

    …At American insistence a provision was inserted to state that the League Covenant did not invalidate existing treaties or understandings, with the Monroe Doctrine specifically named…

    …Most of the colonial territories acquired by the victors of the First World War were to be made Mandates of the League of Nations. The Mandate Holders were to be custodians of the territories until the inhabitants were ready for self-government and were under requirements to treat the inhabitants in a certain manner. The League was to have supervisory authority under these mandates…

    …A clause requiring member states to recognize religious equality was inserted. Japan attempted to insert a similar clause regarding racial equality and through adroit maneuvering managed to secure a majority of the delegations. The United States and the British Dominions were adamantly opposed to such a clause and convinced Britain to join in opposition. They were successfully able to get the clauses involving religion and racial equality removed from the draft of the Covenant.

    The Japanese then had the Racial Equality clause proposed as a separate amendment. Fearing the loss of the United States making the League useless, Britain used a set of parliamentary maneuvers to prevent it from passing. Using their position as the chair for this matter, they delayed the vote as much as possible. Then they set a high quorum requirement for the vote. When the delegates came together to vote on the amendment, delegates from the United States, Britain, the Dominions, Portugal and Belgium were absent, making the unanimous vote for approval null and void.

    Attempts by Japan to add the proposal again were stymied by the rest of the Covenant being ready to vote on and wishes not to delay that…

    …The failure of the Racial Equality Proposal was a key factor in Japan’s turn against the postwar order. If the status quo would not treat them equally, then why should they uphold it?...

    …Most Nations agreed to the League Covenant as it stood and it entered into force on June 1st, 1920. In the United States however it had a thorny path ahead of it. Secretary of state Lansing had found twelve major disagreements between the United States and the League of Nations Covenant. Therefore he asked President Marshall to submit the treaty to the Senate with the following Reservations:

    1) Only the United States would be allowed to judge if its obligations under the League were fulfilled before leaving and it could do that with a concurrent resolution from Congress

    2) Nothing would compel the United States to military action without a declaration of war from Congress

    3) The United States would have the power to reject any mandates assigned to it by the League

    4) The United States reserves the right to determine what matters are within its domestic affairs and that those are solely a matter for the United States government and the League

    5) The US interpretation of the Monroe Doctrine was not to be questioned

    6) Only the US Congress would have the power to appoint representatives to the League of Nations from the United States

    7) The United States is under no obligation to pay any money to the League of Nations

    8) If the United States consents to a League Arms Limitation Agreement it reserves the right to rearm immediately rather than waiting 18 months

    9) The United States reserves the right to not sanction nationals of a League Covenant violating nation within the United States

    10) Nothing in this treaty shall be considered as condoning acts against the rights of citizens of the United States

    11) If the League of Nations creates future organizations the United States is not compelled to join them automatically with Congress having the power to do so

    12) The United States will not consider itself bound by any decision made by the League where one member has voted twice through use of colonial possessions, including self-governing dominions, or where the decision involved the United States being in dispute with another member and that member having voted

    These reservations were meant to allow the United States to join the League by soothing the fears of the US Senate…

    …After two months of debate on the Covenant of the League the United States Senate voted to invoke cloture for the first time in its history to end debate and vote on the treaty with Lansing’s reservations. The motion failed to attain the two thirds majority, being 59 yes vote to 35 no votes. An attempt to pass the treaty without reservations died 29 to 65, showing the necessity of including them. Many of the no votes on the treaty with reservations were not firm and Majority leader Henry Cabot Lodge Sr. began the process of horse trading to buy the necessary votes.

    While this was going on however an ill-considered remark by Georges Clemenceau torpedoed the Covenant’s chance of senate ratification when he claimed that the United States should be required to join the League under the same restrictions as everyone else and the League Assembly should vote no for their admission as long as the reservations stood. While he almost immediately regretted the comment and went back on it, the damage was done. Newspapers had carried it and the American public turned against it. The second attempt to ratify the League failed 52 to 43.

    A third and final attempt to ratify the League Covenant occurred in summer 1921 after the seating of a new Congress. However the Japanese attempt to get the assembly to approve the Racial Equality Proposal and amend the League Covenant sparked opposition along with race riots in the South and West. This attempt failed 50 to 48 and the idea of American participation in the League of Nations was buried. So to was any hope of the League being relevant…

    -Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007
     
    Part 3-9
  • …The Russian Counteroffensives against the Bolsheviks started in the Summer of 1920. Even before then things went wrong, friction between the Russian Army in the Baltic States resulted from arrogant officers opposed to the idea of independent Baltic Nations. As a result the attack there did not go off until August 1st, leaving a two-pronged attack to isolate St. Petersburg with only one prong.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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



    This would have been longer, but computer trouble and an arts festival intervened
     
    Part 3-10
  • …Italy had been promised a protectorate over Albania in the Treaty of London. Having occupied the whole of the country over the course of the war, the Italian Occupation was confirmed based on facts on the ground at the Paris Peace Conference. An Albanian delegation, from a meeting of a provisional Albanian Government at Durres, had traveled to Paris, but had been refused recognition. This fact outraged the Albanian populace, who began organizing against the Italians.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    -Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007
     
    Part 3-11
  • …By Summer of 1920 the Weimar Republic had dealt with the majority of the unrest in the country. However that meant that the Reichstag elections scheduled for August could not be delayed, outside of Silesia and Prussia where Plebiscites would determine whether or not they would remain German.

    The results of the election were troubling for the Weimar Republic, the current coalition needed 234 votes to control the Reichstag, they had 230. Internally there was a debate between the Social Democrats, the SPD, and their partners on how it would go about getting those 4 votes. Zentrum and the German Democratic Party, the DDP, looked at bringing in the Bavarian Peples Party, or BVP, or the German Peoples Party, the DVP, into the coalition, the former having split from Zentrum to tread a more conservative, Bavarian path, and the latter came out of the National Liberal Party just as the DDP but was more conservative. Such a broadening of the coalition would require concessions be made to the Right Wing.

    The SPD by contrast wanted to get those votes by reaching out to their brothers in the Independent Social Democrats, the USPD. The USPD had split from the SPD over the latter’s support for the War effort in WWI and remained thoroughly Marxist in character. Enticing them to join would require significant concessions on the left side of the political spectrum. However as they were the largest party not in the government, just barely beating out the far right German National Peoples Party, the DNVP, them joining would allow the DDP to be removed from the government.

    With the SPD being larger than its two partners combined, there was a distinct possibility that it would get its way. For many this was intolerable, as the USDP was closely aligned with those behind the Communist Revolts and was in active talks about joining the Communist International. Conservative forces in Germany began talks on how to prevent such an unfavorable outcome, however action would require a spark.

    On September 2nd, 1920, Defense Minister Gustav Noske ordered the dissolution of the Volunteer Division of the Horse Guards. The unit along with other volunteer Freikorps had been key in suppressing the Communist revolts that had wracked Germany in the previous year, however with the improved security situation Noske felt it was time to begin dissolving them. The Volunteer Division of the Horse Guards was first on the list because its commander Waldemar Pabst had threatened to kill Noske.

    General von Lütwittz, the commander of the German forces around Berlin refused to allow the dissolution of such an important unit. Some of his officers set up a meeting with members of the DNVP and DVP to try and dissuade von Lütwittz from his course of action, being horrified at the possibility of a civil war. Von Lütwittz was not persuaded and a meeting with President Ebert was set up. At the meeting von Lütwittz presented a list of demands to Ebert, including the resignation of several ministers, Noske among them, arrest of several members of the USPD, his promotion to commander and chief and the maintenance of all of the Freikorps. Ebert refused and demanded his immediate resignation. When he refused to resign a warrant was immediately issued for his arrest.

    Von Lütwittz refused to come quietly and within two days organized a Coup using a mixture of Freikorps and regular troops. The garrison of Berlin refused orders from the Bauer government to fire on the coup plotters in order to prevent a civil war. The Bauer government fled the city and Von Lütwittz installed a government around DNVP politician Wolfgang Kapp. This new government was recognized by the military as well as the state of Bavaria.

    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.

    Two days into the coup the plotters entered negotiations with remaining members of the Bauer government in Berlin. After two days of negotiations they had a deal, the plotters would resign, and the Freikorps could be dissolved with only moderate recriminations among those who participated in the coup, save for a few extreme cases of excessive force. In exchange Noske would resign and the USPD would not be brought into the new government.

    While many in the SPD opposed this deal, the leadership along with their coalition partners felt it was necessary to keep the army on sides. For while in most of Germany the strike remained as such, in the Ruhr it had been hijacked by communists and radicals in the USPD who wanted to use the strike as the first step in a renewed communist revolution, with similar but less successful attempts in Saxony and Thuringia. Thus the coup plotters were allowed to voluntarily step down.

    Once the plotters stepped down, the Bauer government called for the strike to end and for arms to be put down. In most of Germany this was followed, in the Ruhr the striking workers organized a Red Army and went on the offensive. Regular forces and units of the Freikorps were sent to put down the uprising and within a week made great strides in attacking from the North, first halting, then pushing back the red forces. However they were forced to at the Ruhr River stop as the British threatened an invasion, and the French sent troops into Hesse, treating the action as a violation of the Treaty of Versailles. The remaining fighting had to be done by the Security Police, who were less well equipped and suffered heavily in ending the revolt.

    The remnants of the Red Ruhr Army were allowed shelter in the French occupied Rhineland as part of the doomed French plan to create a separate Rhenish state…

    …The September Putsch in the short term provided a boost to the Weimar government. It showed that a majority of the country supported the government and that it could act in a crisis. In the longer term it prevented the possible reunification of the SPD and the USPD, the latter of which mostly went over to the KPD after joining the Comintern, and thus fractured the left. The Army was allowed considerable autonomy and became a de facto state within a state. The extreme right was emboldened by the lack of consequences that were suffered, and strengthened by the result of the Ruhr Revolt and the foreign meddling therein…

    …Having survived the Putsch, the Bauer government fell within in a year. In the Summer of 1921 the Entente announced the final totals of the reparations at 155 Billion Goldmarks. Germany was given an ultimatum to accept this value in full, fully comply with the required disarmament and immediately begin trials of war criminals.

    The first and last of these provisions proved highly unpopular. 155 billion Goldmarks was considered an impossible sum and the Reichstag had earlier established a bureau for the defense of those accused of warcrimes with much popular support.

    The DVP refused to go along with the ultimatum, withdrawing from the government over the matter. With the government having lost its majority Gustav Bauer resigned in the hopes of starting afresh. Joseph Wirth attempted to form a new governing coalition by bringing in the USPD, however the USPD refused to work with the staunchly Catholic Zentrum. Attempting to replace the DVP with the BVP failed, as did attempts to bring in the Guelphs or the Bavarian Peasants League. This left Wirth with only a minority in the Reichstag, however the coalition of the SPD, Zentrum and DDP was still the largest bloc, and there was not chance of either the DNVP or USPD being able to form a coalition. Thus Wirth was forced to lead a minority government.

    The ultimatum was ultimately accepted when the USPD agreed to allow members to vote their conscience on the matters, while the DDP did so as well, weakening the government, the votes of the USPD allowed the acceptance of the ultimatum…

    …The Wirth government was able to negotiate one concession out of the Entente, rather than hand over German citizens to be tried by Entente military tribunals, they were allowed to try the cases themselves within the German civil court system. This became the Leipzig War Crimes trials.

    The Entente handed the Weimar Republic a list of 1200 German war criminals to try, the Weimar Republic fired back by threatening to publish a list of 6,000 Entente war criminals, gathered by the work of the Warcrimes Defense Bureau and its army of dedicated volunteers. The Entente thus returned a list of 50, of whom 15 ended up tried. The Kaiser was not among them as the Entente had long ceased trying to get the Dutch to extradite him.

    Seven were found not guilty, with three more found not guilty on appeal, and the five remaining were sentenced to between six months and four years in a civilian prison, along with being stripped of the right to wear a uniform

    Reactions to this were harsh on both sides. For the Entente this was seen as far too little and there were calls for the trials to be moved to Britain or France. For the Germans this was seen as a humiliation, the men involved were soldiers it was dishonorable in the extreme for them to be sent to civilian prisons, rather than tried as soldiers and confined within fortresses. Furthermore the German populace saw much of the allied evidence as limited or spurious, and that in many cases the accused were merely following orders. Finally the hypocrisy of the Entente in not prosecuting their own soldiers was seen as insulting.

    The trials ultimately only strengthened the German hatred of the Versailles regime…

    -Excerpt from Unfinished Business: The Making of the Second World War, New American Press, Chicago, 2007
     
    Part 3-12
  • …With the Great War over the Navies of the World were able to focus on the longer term, rather than the immediate needs of the war, subject to certain limitations. Germany under the straight jacket of Versailles was incapable of major changes for years. Russia still had a civil war to fight, with her capital units sitting dockside. France and Italy were beggared and thoughts of completing units delayed by the war were immediately dismissed on financial grounds. Britain while not as destitute as France and Italy still had to accept that financial limitations would mean lean times for the Royal Navy. Only the United States and Japan were truly able to think about the long term, not that the war had stopped Japan from doing so anyways…

    …By war’s end both the United States and Japan were building or had ordered four 16” armed battleships. Japan however had during the war ordered an additional 4 battlecruisers of the Amagi class, with 10 16” guns. This, along with the possession of 10 16” guns on Kaga and Tosa rather than 8 on the American Battleships, left the USN at a potentially large disadvantage in modern units. Thus President Marshall, as part of his desire to carry out Wilson’s intentions, was successfully able to lobby Congress to finally order the remaining 12 capital ships of the 1916 program in the fall of 1919, along with 6 large scout cruisers to replace the old armored cruisers as station flagships and the conversion of a second collier into an aircraft carrier.

    The Battleships of the South Dakota class and Battlecruisers of the Lexington class had both seen significant changes since authorization. Both classes had grown to nearly 45,000 tons, held there mainly be a desire to avoid spooking congress. The South Dakota class gained a knot of speed, lost the 600 ton gyrostabilizer, torpedo tubes and 4 6” secondaries and gained 4 additional AA guns and improvements to her TDS and deck armor. The Lexington class lost 3 knots of speed, her torpedo tubes and two 6” guns, and gained substantially increased amounts of belt and deck armor.

    The Scout cruisers were a 12,000 ton, 34 knot design with 8 8” guns and well protected against 8” fire…

    …The ordering of 12 new Capital ships with 16” guns moved the shoe to the other foot, now it was Japan who looked to be facing a deficit in the number of modern ships. The IJN and the Japanese government knew that they could not afford to match the United States in pure numbers. However they had determined that a fleet 70% that of the USN would be sufficient, thus they needed 12 ships for parity, 16 was desired as a number to account for American follow-ons to the South Dakota and Lexington class. In early 1920 the Diet authorized the additional ships, 4 uparmored battleship versions of the Amagi class as the Kii class, and 4 18” armed, 30 knot, 50,000 ton super battlecrusiers as the projected #13 class. This made the Eight-Eight fleet a reality once more…

    …The passage of the Eight-Eight Fleet did not go without a response in the United States. The USN proposed that starting in FY ’23 a five-year building program similar to the 1916 program be put into place. The USN desired for 6 Battlecruisers, 8 Battleships and 2 large Aircraft Carriers, along with 9 large scout cruisers, 9 light cruisers, 10 destroyer leaders, 20 destroyers, 30 submarines, 12 gunboats and 20 auxiliaries. The Battlecrusiers were to be a 55,000 ton design, only capable of 30 knots but with armor superior to the British Admirals and 12 16” guns. The Battleships were to be split between 4 48,000 ton slightly improved South Dakotas, with turreted secondaries and 26 knots of speed, and 4 substantially improved 18” armed vessels of 52,000 tons with greater armor.

    With the election of President Wood the Navy presented the plan to him. However to win his support they offered to trade certain parts of the plan for enlargements to the army budget, if the whole plan was approved by Congress and Wood’s army budget was not. This middle case plan dropped 2 of the 18” Battleships, 3 large scout cruisers, 10 destroyers, 6 submarines 2 gunboats and 2 auxiliaries.

    A minimum requirement of 4 16” battleships, 4 Battlecruisers, 2 large aircraft carriers, 3 large scout cruisers, 6 light cruisers, 10 destroyer leaders, 15 submarines, 6 gunboats and 12 auxiliaries was established. This was what the USN though necessary to keep an adequate lead over Japan and discharge its current requirements. It would be a variant of this plan that was ultimately approved by Congress in 1922…

    …Britain looked on the race between the United States and Japan with alarm. Both powers were ordering 16” ships when Britain had none on order. Furthermore ship size had increased from just over 30,000 tons to almost 45,000 tons in the new orders, with rumors of super battlecruisers of 50,000 and 55,000 tons in the works. The Royal Navy was afraid of being left in the dust. Only the 4 Battlecruisers of the Admiral class promised to be relevant in this new world, everything else they had was obsolescent if not obsolete.

    Overtures to join this race were firmly rebuffed by the Treasury. Funding would be found for 4 battleships to replace wartime losses, with a possibility of another pair of battleships and a pair of battlecruisers in the second half of the decade. This was considered it as far as the treasury was concerned, any further capital ships would require a sea change in public opinion or deep cuts to other parts of the Royal Navy. Almost as importantly those capital ships would be limited to 50,000 tons or less, the most current British naval infrastructure could handle without undue difficulty, as the money was not there for expansion.

    Almost as important was the developing aircraft carrier race. Japan had laid down a purpose built one, the Houshou, and was planning a second preliminarily named the Eishou. The United States had one collier conversion under construction, another authorized and was planning two large purpose-built vessels of almost 40,000 tons. Britain for her part had a conversion of the Italian liner Conte Rosso, HMS Argus, two cruiser conversions, the 10,000 ton Cavendish and 8,000 ton Egeria and the purpose-built 11,000 ton Hermes on the way. Plans to convert the large light cruiser Courageous foundered on the costs of repairing her structural damage from the last battle of the war. While Britain might be able to afford more carriers in the mid-term, it would only be a few more and not particularly large ones.

    Thus it behooved Britain that if she could not win the coming naval races, to ensure that they were not run…

    …With the war ended Chile was allowed to purchase back her two Almirante Latorre class Battleships, along with the two surviving Almirante Lynch class destroyers. The possession of two superdreadnought battleships in some way made the Chilean Navy the most powerful in South America, being superior to the pair of 12” Dreadnoughts operated by Argentina and Brazil. Not wanting to be outgunned both sides looked to try and acquire another battleship.

    Brazil went to her traditional naval supplier of Great Britain. Some thought was made on restarting Riachuelo, however the Brazilian government balked at the cost. Britain was however willing to offer them their choice of 10 of the Royal Navy’s dreadnought capital ships. Focus quickly turned to the most powerful of the ten, HMS Erin and HMS Agincourt. HMS Erin’s 10 13.5” gun armament was judged weaker than the 10 14” guns carried by the Chilean ships, whereas HMS Agincourt’s 14 12” gun armament was considered equal or better by the Brazilian Navy. Agincourt also had the advantage that Brazil already used 12” guns, and that she was perfectly adapted to the Brazilian Navy, having been ordered to Brazilian specs as the Rio de Janeiro. Thus Brazil agreed to purchase her, for less than her incomplete hull was sold to the Ottomans for.

    Argentina meanwhile briefly considered exercising her option for a third American built battleship, but the American yards were full of their own ships. However her traditional naval supplier of Italy approached her with an offer. Italy had started building 4 15” armed 31,000 ton battleships of the Francesco Caracciolo class during the war. The needs of the war had prevented their completion, but work had already progressed to a degree. Completing Francesco Caracciolo would cost less than building a new ship from scratch and end up with a vessel far superior to the Chilean ships. Thus Argentina agreed to buy and complete her as Veinticinco de Mayo, with an option put out for her sister Cristoforo Colombo…

    …Flush from the glory at Kandira the Hellenic Navy looked for a replacement to the armored cruiser Georgios Averhof as their flagship. Proposals to complete the battleships Salamis or Vasilefs Konstantinos were not considered due to the fact that materials for both ships had been cannibalized during the war, thus resulting the cost of doing so too great. The Hellenic Navy thus turned to Britain to see if they could get a used capital ship at a reasonable cost, alongside buying back the two cruisers and four destroyers Britain had compulsorily purchased from them during the war. Britain for her part had a non-standard battleship that she was looking to get rid of, and an agreement was quickly made to purchase one her. Thus HMS Erin became HS Nika, named after the recent victory against the Turks…

    …The Great War had been very disruptive to Spain’s building program. The third of the Espana class battleships had taken until 1920 to complete due to delays and the three larger battleships of the Reina Victoria Eugenia class had to be cancelled due to inability to acquire key materials from abroad. With the end of the war Spain’s neutrality had left her in a position to afford new construction. A plan for four 30,000-ton battlecruisers was considered to replace the three cancelled 25,000-ton battleships. This was ruled as too expensive.

    However talks with France had produced an alternative. France had found itself unable to afford the completion of its five Normandie class battleships, but certain items had been ordered. Among these were the quad 340mm gun turrets. France proposed a discount sale of these weapons to arm new Spanish construction. Plans were thus made for three 28,000-ton battlecruisers with two turrets each. Realities with the Cortes soon made it two 26,000-ton ships, with the turrets both located forward to save weight. The outbreak of the Rif War would delay the completion of the Castila and Aragon to 1931…

    -Excerpt from Naval History Between the Wars, Harper & Brothers, New York, 2007
     
    Part 3-13
  • …The expanded Red Army first launched its offensive against the stalled out White Armies in early December of 1920. The target was the Army operating out of Finland. Using tactics more sophisticated than the Red Arm had used since 1919, it took the White forces north of St. Petersburg by surprise. Despite that they were able to put up a strong resistance for almost a month. Despite calls from both the commander of the Finnish front and the government in Omsk the Baltic Army did not move, preferring to husband resources for their own decisive offensive against St. Petersburg.

    Denied reinforcements and supplies, or even a diversion, the remains of the Finnish prong of the White offensive were forced to retreat into Finland by mid-January. Trotsky attempted to pursue into Finland, but was met by substantial resistance from the German trained Finnish Army and orders from Lenin not to provoke them. Instead Trotsky pivoted to the South. The Baltic Army, having refused to help the Finnish based White Army found itself facing three times the forces it had previously and was overrun by the Spring thaw. Again the impetuous Trotsky attempted to advance, and was again restrained by Lenin.

    The White forces out of Poland attempted to go on the offensive as soon as the snows melted, but found themselves unable to advance due to the spring mud. This gave the Bolsheviks time to move Trotsky’s Army from the Baltics to Belarus. It also gave them time to amp up their propaganda efforts to such levels that by the time the mud dried out whole formations simply defected to the Reds. The third White army evaporated upon contact with the Red Army and with it any hopes of even a limited White Victory.

    Trotsky and the Bolsheviks followed this up by a Summer Offensive against Omsk, taking the city by September they continued to advance along the Trans-Siberian railroad. Only the winter snows and contact with the IJA stopped them from further advances along the shores of Lake Baikal…

    …Despite the hay made of it in Soviet Propaganda the thrust up the Don was only a secondary White effort. That it managed to advance up to Kalach on the Don and advance on Tsarityn occurred only because of the lack of effort made by the Bolsheviks in the secondary theatre. Stalin’s presence at Tsarityn, rather than being a decisive factor preventing the city from falling, was merely a matter of propaganda made from a secure city during his brief falling out with Lenin. Notably the so called siege was abandoned as soon as the Bolsheviks were able to send in a cavalry division to harry the White supply lines in August…

    …With the core parts of Russia no longer threatened the Bolsheviks were able to free up forces to use in lesser theatres. The Caucuses were one such example. While fighting had never really stopped there it was usually left to local forces to put pressure on the Armenian, Georgian and Azeri states. When significant forces arrived in September of 1921 the Caucasian states were rapidly overrun, forming the Armenian, Azeri, Georgian and Pontic Soviet Socialist Republics…

    …Violence in Ireland continued to escalate after the New Year. Lloyd George was increasingly determined to win the war without negotiating with the Irish and resorted to progressively heavier handed means. Trials by Jury were replaced with military courts. Military Court Martials were allowed to use execution and internment without trial. All payment to local governments not firmly supportive of the crown were ended. Martial Law was expanded to all the island save Ulster.

    Rather than cow the Irish this had the opposite effect. Executions merely hardened resolves and IRA actions only increased. This culminated in the brief seizure of Dublin Castle in April, the British recapture of which leveled much of central Dublin.

    Violence continued at a high pitch until July when moderation came from an unexpected source. King George V, speaking at the Imperial Conference, made a call for negotiations and a peaceful end to the conflict in Ireland. In this he was supported by the opposition, the trade unions and most of the Dominion leadership. Under intense pressure Lloyd George was forced to give in and announce a ceasefire in preparation for peace talks.

    The Irish Republicans were enthused, having been near the end of their logistical tether this was exactly what they needed. However Ulster was on the edge of rioting as the Protestants were enraged that the government was giving up like that, and worse possibly having them subject to an Independent Irish Republic. Thus a month into the peace talks Parliament passed an act governmentally separating six of the nine counties of Ulster from the rest of Ireland.

    This immediately caused peace talks to collapse, as the Irish found it unacceptable for the unity of the island to be violated in this manner. The fighting quickly resumed, if with less intensity than before. The IRA however knew that it could not afford to fight conventionally for much longer and began to strike at targets in Britain with asymmetric tactics. The upper echelons of the IRA, along with certain members of Sinn Fein, started to worry that much of the leadership of the Irish Republic might agree to a treaty that would see part of Ireland become a British Dominion while Ulster remained part of the UK.

    The President of the Dail, Sinn Fein leader Eamon de Valera organized a meeting with others opposed to a compromise with Britain in Waterford on September 11th to plan political strategy. Among the attendees were Liam Lynch, Cathal Bruga, Austin Stack, Frank Aiken, Rory O’Connor, Todd Andrews and Sean Lemass. Unaware of the purpose of the gathering, British Army intelligence found out about the number of Republican Army commanders meeting in Waterford. Determined to retaliate for IRA bombing in Britain, the British decided to respond with a bomb of their own.

    Approximately a ton and a half of TNT was loaded into a van and parked in front of the pub where the meeting was taking place. Roughly 200 died in the blast, most of them civilians, but among them were the highest echelon of the opponents to a compromise peace. The bombing inspired outrange in Ireland, sympathy abroad and galvanized domestic opposition to the war in Britain. The IRA retaliated with a wave of attacks, most famously the assassination of James Craig and Henry Hughes Wilson.

    Outrage could only bring the IRA so far, and with supplies running out they recommended the Dail ask for peace again in October. In a weak position the Dail was forced to accept a hugely unfavorable compromise for peace. The Irish Republic was forced to dissolve and accept a Free State of only 26 counties that was to be a British Dominion. Members of the Irish Parliament were required to swear an oath to the King and the treaty was to supersede Irish law where relevant. The British would be allowed to occupy a number of Irish ports for military purposes and Ireland would have to assume a portion of the British debt.

    Under threat of a renewed war from Lloyd George the Dail reluctantly agreed to the treaty. There was a great deal of scattered violence against both the British and the new Irish government, but without coherent leadership it amounted to nothing in the long run. However the Irish would neither forgive nor forget the bombing of September 11th and the ratification of an unfavorable treaty at swordpoint…

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

     
    Part 3-14
  • …With the end of the War the US Army looked to the future. Having been ill prepared to fight in the Great War, the leadership of the Army wanted to avoid a repeat of that fiasco. Thus with the support of newly elected President Leonard Wood a massive transformation in the nature of the US Army was proposed. Rather than a prewar skeleton force of under a hundred thousand as before the war, the Army wanted 400,000 Active Duty Personnel, 500,000 National Guardsmen and 100,000 Reserve Officers. The Active Duty forces would handle anything less than a repeat of the Great War, and serve as a first echelon and training center therein. The National Guard would be the second echelon in such a war, and the Reserve Officers would be the skeleton a third echelon could be raised around, allowing a million-and-a-half-man expeditionary force to be raised in a year.

    Included in this would be a robust R&D budget to develop the weapons to fight the next war, rather than have to rely on others. To build them an industrial planning apparatus was made to smooth industrial mobilization and funds were laid out to subsidize firms in creating the capacity to rapidly fill wartime orders. This was combined with an oversized management apparatus to handle a massive expansion in scale. A robust staff was set up to develop and write the doctrine that would govern the new force…

    …Congress of course, despite the urging of President Wood, thought this was unnecessary, far too expensive and Unamerican in character. Congress had no intention of getting dragged into another Great War and saw funds spent on preparing for one to be worse than useless in that by being prepared they may increase the likeliness of America being involved in one. Certainly the founders had warned of the dangers of large standing armies, preferring to rely on citizen soldiers of the militia. Such an approach was both cheaper and less politically risky, making it natural for Congress to look at.

    When all the Congressional wrangling and compromises were done the Active-Duty strength of the Army would hover between 150,000 and 190,000 for most of the interwar, usually at just under 170,000. The size of the Reserve Officer Corps was set at 50,000. Finally the National Guard was authorized to be at the full 500,000, though never reached more than 300,000.

    Despite the great loss in strength the important parts remained. The large R&D, industrial planning, management, and doctrine development apparatuses remained, as did the industrial subsidies. The Army could still lay the long term groundwork needed to prepare for another Great War…

    …The most important achievement of the Army in the immediate postwar period was the reorganization of the Quartermaster Corps into the Logistics Service. This change broke up the old Congressional fiefdoms that had a stranglehold on US Army procurement…

    …The Army primarily looked at planning and procurement for two very different scenarios. The first and more likely was a colonial conflict, either a conflict in Latin America or with Japan in the Pacific. The Second was a repeat of the Great War, with the United States forced to deploy large numbers of troops to fight one or more of the Great Powers. For the former it was expected that it would be fought by the peacetime Regular Army and with predominantly smaller and lighter formations. The latter would require both the National Guard and newly raised divisions and was envisioned to need multiple Armies if not Army Groups…

    …For Small Arms the Army had determined that the M1911 Pistol needed only minor modifications and should replace the current revolvers in service. Similarly the M1897 and M1912 Trench guns were found sufficient for the task with only modest changes desired. For most other small arms this was not so…

    …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…

    …The Thompson Sub-Machine Gun was found to have several flaws. It was heavy, prone to excessive recoil and difficult to manufacture. A simpler, lighter submachine gun with a muzzle brake was judged to be necessary…

    …The Army’s light machine guns were found to be totally inadequate. The Chauchat and Benet-Mercie were considered excessively unreliable and were much hated by everyone. The BAR was adequate in a limited sense but still needed improvement. Rather than adopt the Lewis used by the Navy and Army Air Corps it was recommended that the BAR be modified into two versions. The first would be a shorter, lighter version for use in colonial conflicts. The second would be a version with a heavier, quickly changeable barrel and a larger magazine for replacing the Chauchat and Benet-Mercie in the infantry support role…

    …The Army’s M1917 and M1919 machine guns were found to need only minor changes and should fully replace the M1915, M1914 and M1895 machine guns remaining. The development of larger variants of the two in .50 caliber were to continue to produce weapons that could adequately engage tanks and armored aircraft that .30-06 had proven insufficient to deal with…

    …The development of a new bolt action rifle in the new .50 caliber cartridge under development was recommended to deal with the proliferation of tanks…

    …The final phases of the war had shown that the French designed 37mm infantry guns that the US Army used were both too heavy to keep up with an attack and too weak to provide adequate support. Similarly the US flamethrowers were found to be too heavy and too short ranged for the purpose. To replace them further development of Robert Goddard’s infantry rocket, briefly deployed in May 1919 was recommended, with the primary requirement being an increase in caliber to 3” to fire an adequate explosive round for demolishing infantry strongpoints…

    …The British Stokes Mortar used by the Army was seen as adequate, but a lighter 2”-2.5” version was thought necessary for Colonial conflicts in difficult terrain…

    …United States Artillery was found to be inadequate. The mixture of American, French and British calibers proved difficult to supply and coordinate. As French calibers were the most common they would be standardized on. Furthermore development of prime movers and carriages to handle high speed road towing and low speed rough terrain crossing was to be conducted. The new carriages would also have higher elevation to extend range…

    …For a mountain gun the British 2.95 inch would be replaced with a 75mm design. This alone among the new guns would have a provision for animal towing. It would be a lightweight high elevation weapon firing a low velocity shell that could be easily moved and disassembled…

    …The Great War had shown that for destroying fortifications, outside of short-range direct fire, 75-85mm rounds were inadequate. A minimum caliber of 95mm was determined by US experimentation to be required for field guns. As 105mm was in limited service this was chosen as the basis for a new field gun. It was to also double as a howitzer and be the divisional weapon for US artillery…

    …For higher echelons the army requested a 120mm gun and 155mm Howitzer on a common carriage for Corps Support, a 155mm Gun and 203mm Howitzer for Army support and a 203mm gun and a 240mm Howitzer for Army group level support…

    …For heavy siege work a rail mobile version of the M1919 16” coast gun was recommended. This was ideally to be supplemented by a short barreled howitzer version, possibly bored out, and a long barreled version sleeved down to 8”-10” for extreme range shelling…

    …The 3” AA gun was considered adequate for anti aircraft work at present…

    …The Chemical Corps determined that it needed a better way to deploy gas than canisters, Livens Projectors and Conventional Artillery shells. Mortars were thought the best compromise between range and efficiency. They recommended the development of mortars in the 4”-5” range, 5.5”-7’ range and 8”-10” range for providing various levels of support…

    …In general the Army wanted to replace horses with motor transport. Shipping fodder was both volume and mass inefficient compared to fuel and horses had been shown to suffer excessive attrition in modern combat…

    …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…

    …The Cavalry branch, not being allowed true tanks, wanted a rough terrain capable armored car. It would need multiple machine guns for fighting infantry and a turreted gun for destroying enemy tanks and armored cars while scouting. It would need armor against rifle caliber bullets and a fairly high speed for scouting as well as an onboard radio…

    …The biggest issue within the Army was the Air Service. Its membership chafed at the restrictions of the Army and wanted an independent Air Force in the model of the RAF, one that would include not just the Army Air Service, but the Navy’s as well…

    -Excerpt from Forging Columbia’s Sword, The United States Army between the Wars, Norwich University Press, Northfield, 2009
     
    Top