Who should win the 1920 election?

  • Charles Evans Hughes (Republican)

    Votes: 35 87.5%
  • James Cox (OTL Democratic nominee)

    Votes: 4 10.0%
  • Other Democratic nominee (please specify who!)

    Votes: 1 2.5%

  • Total voters
    40
The one thing I'll chime in with here is that the Italian success at the end of the war must be qualified somewhat. The Queen Elizabeth was a lucky stroke, and was really just me trying to give the British a kick where they wanted it least on the way down. The Bardonnechia Offensive and capture of Grenoble can be seen as analogues to the Vittorio Veneto offensive of OTL- France was already collapsing at that point and the Italians just needed to waltz in and take what was there for them. Cadorna is still viewed, if better than OTL, as an okay commander at best. Although they didn't get much air-time, there were at least half a dozen Battles of Menton, which captured about seventeen square feet each and killed tens of thousands of Italians and Frenchmen.

Italy's role in TTL can best be summed up as like a leech on France's leg: they slowly drained enough blood and energy so that France couldn't resist the main opponent, rather than actively engaging the French. (Similar to how in OTL, the Italian front did nothing more than drain thousands of Austro-Hungarian soldiers from more pressing tasks... but that still had an impact over time).
Since we're talking in detail about that front, I wonder if Italy managed to capture Nice before the Bardonecchia Offensive... (like how Gorizia was captured during the Battles of the Isonzo IOTL).
Anyway, can't wait for the next update!
 
and it also sounds more historic correct, as a contemporary phrase
That was what I was going for
Since we're talking in detail about that front, I wonder if Italy managed to capture Nice before the Bardonecchia Offensive... (like how Gorizia was captured during the Battles of the Isonzo IOTL).
Anyway, can't wait for the next update!
Ah, no. Nice only fell at the eleventh hour.

I'm actually glad you brought up updates. It gives me a nice segway into an announcement:
From now on, this TL will update once-weekly, on Sundays. This way, I have a weekly deadline which forces me to write something every day, but is also reasonable in terms of balancing the stuff I do IRL. So, we'll have Mexico tomorrow, then the 18th and 25th will both be France.
 
That was what I was going for

Ah, no. Nice only fell at the eleventh hour.

I'm actually glad you brought up updates. It gives me a nice segway into an announcement:
From now on, this TL will update once-weekly, on Sundays. This way, I have a weekly deadline which forces me to write something every day, but is also reasonable in terms of balancing the stuff I do IRL. So, we'll have Mexico tomorrow, then the 18th and 25th will both be France.
Anyway, I do have to ask, have tanks been introduced yet? I know that they weren't during TTL Great War, but given that Germany is now involved in two major and bloody conflicts with trench warfare that the idea and development of an armored breakthrough vehicle should be floating around.

I remember Austria Hungary having quite an advanced design before the war that was never built in the form of the Burstyn tank. Perhaps Danubia would be given some ideas and at the very least the Germans would be inspired by such a design.
 
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Anyway, I do have to ask, have tanks been introduced yet? I know that they weren't during TTL Great War, but given that Germany is now involved in two major and bloody conflicts with trench warfare that the idea and development of an armored breakthrough vehicle should be floating around.

I remember Austria Hungary having quite an advanced before the war that was never built in the fprm of burstyn tank. Perhaps Danubia would be given some ideas and at the very least the Germans would be inspired by such a design.
Those both sound like reasonable possibilities. Thanks for sharing those!
Tanks were briefly used in India, but certainly aren't main-stream.
 
Chapter 42: So Far From God, So Close to America
Chapter Forty-Two: So Far From God, So Close to America


San Diego didn’t feel like it was sixty miles from the fighting. Even on the third of March 1918, with what Californians called winter barely gone, the city felt like a scene from a postcard. Palm trees twirled in a lazy breeze, the sun shone on golden sand and blue waves, and shipping titans shared the sea with fishing-boats. But for a few more Navy ships and shore patrolmen than usual, there was no way to tell there was a war on. A posting where the enemy was a stone’s throw away but still harmless was the best kind of posting. The pitcher of reinforced lemonade stared alluringly from across the room. His hand was inches from the glass when the telephone rang.

“Admiral Caperton.” The Commander-in-Chief, US Pacific Fleet glanced at the map on his wall. Mexico and the Gulf were spread out over sixty square feet; every hamlet with more than three people was shown, along with tides, navigational lines, and depth charts. Red pins were spread throughout Sonora province and along the Rio Grande; Veracruz appeared to have come down with spotted fever. Caperton cleared his throat. “With whom am I speaking and what can I do for you?”

The commander of the 3rd Submarine Division gave his name. (1) “Sir, at approximately 1200 hours two days ago San Diego time, one of our submarines, the K-7, intercepted a vessel some 5.2 nautical miles from the island of Isla Altamura, off the coast of Sinaloa.”

“Isla Altamura.” Caperton’s Tennessee tongue wasn’t suited to pronouncing the Spanish name. The wall map told him the island was six miles away from the enemy coast- nautical miles being fifteen percent smaller than their everyday counterparts. “Inside enemy territorial waters, then. Well, what’s the meaning of this call, then?” Why are you wasting my time? would have been impolitic. America’s blockade of Mexico was centred in the Caribbean, and the occasional ship snuck through and landed on the Pacific coast. With Baja California and the western seaboard unoccupied, there were too many miles for the US Navy to enforce an airtight blockade in the Pacific. There was nothing unusual about the odd privately owned ship being destroyed while trying to land in the west.

“This ship was sailing under a false flag, sir.” Caperton sat up a little straighter. “It was registered legitimately enough, as the MGP Prospero. (2) The K-7’s skipper- Parsons is his name, sir, Captain Larry Parsons- stopped the ship properly. Full surfacing, plenty of warning, everything. Only problem was, sir”, the commander whispered excitedly, “the captain wasn’t no Panamanian. You must understand, sir, that I’m just basing what I’m about to say off of the skipper’s log. We simply can’t tell if or what he omitted from that without a full enquiry, and that's not something I'm authorised to do.”

“Get to the point, Commander.” Admiral Caperton lit a cigar.

“Yessir. You see, well, the Captain sent a boarding party onto the Prospero, right and proper. And he found that, well, the ship was really sailing out of Stettin, Stettin on the Baltic coast of-”

“Yup, know where Stettin is, Commander. I learned me a thing or two at Newport, too.” Admiral Caperton was proud of graduating from the Rhode Island naval academy. “And let me guess, these here Panamanians were working for a fellow named Schmidt who answered to Kaiser Wilhelm?”

The commander chuckled. “Yes sir. From what we found in the log, this here so-called ‘Prospero’ was really a German merchant mariner, SMS Wohlstand- means the same thing, ‘prosperity’, just different languages- under a false flag. Owned by a German guy, docked at Colon two weeks ago. He hired an all-new crew, all Panamanians. Somehow- probably through bribery- he managed to change the registry on his ship.”

“Bribery?” Admiral Caperton slammed the desk. “How the hell did that get through?”

“You know how it is, sir. Half these Panamanians don’t give a damn what they see as long as they get a piece of the action. Pay the right guy a few thousand, he’ll make a mistake on a form for you. That’s just a guess, mind- nothing in the log there.” Caperton seethed. Someone’s head would roll because of this. He counted his blessings he wasn’t in command of the Panama Canal. “Well, go on.”

“Yessir. Like I was saying, someone greased palms and, according to his log, got through the Panama Canal on 18 February. Lied about his destination, too- said he was going to Lima. Had fudged papers and everything. The boarding party apprehended his ship, like I said sir, at 1200 on the 1st, where we found all this stuff in the ship’s log.” His sigh told Caperton something else was coming. And sure enough: “Sir, this is where it gets hairy. There… there was more in that ship. It’s now sitting on the bottom, but it was bound for Carranza.” Fear lurked in the commander’s voice, and Admiral Caperton heard him swallow. “Weapons, sir. French and British, mostly. Maxims, Hotchkisses, Lee-Enfields… Entente stuff, sir, most likely captured in the Great War... and which has been killing American boys down in Vera Cruz for months.”

“Shit.” A moment later, Caperton turned red. “You didn’t hear that, Commander.” His subordinate chuckled as Caperton cleared his throat. “Anyhow. My God, are you sure, Commander? I mean, if this is true…” Admiral Caperton envied the commander and Captain Larry Parsons for having less room to fail. If something went wrong, if another apprehended German smuggler sought help from his government, the responsibility for a diplomatic incident would fall squarely on the shoulders of Admiral William Caperton, Commander-in-Chief, Pacific Fleet. “If this is true”, he breathed, “then it’s too big for your division to handle. Continue...continue with your current method of operations. Take absolute care to follow international law with regards to everything, you hear me? Everything. The last thing we need is for the damn Krauts to have a pretext to complain about ill-treatment. Understood?”

“Yes sir.”

“Dismissed. Good day.” Caperton put the receiver down. My God, what will all this mean? I must speak with the President. Yes, kick the can up to the one man who can do more damage than me. How did President Hughes handle it all? He touched the telephone again, but stopped. The spiked lemonade looked more alluring than ever before.

* * *

“...and in conclusion, Admiral, I want that blockade water-tight, do you hear? Nothing should be able to reach the Mexican Pacific coast without facing the full might of the United States Navy… Admiral Caperton, I could not care less if our Navy destroys innocent traders. For a start, provided we heed international law like the Sunday Gospel, no one will have a right to complain under said law. Surely they taught you this at Newport?” If it brought sarcasm out of Charles Evans Hughes, it had to be bad. “And at any rate, I would much rather have a diplomatic incident with, say, Peru, than the German Empire. Peru, by God, is ours- Theodore Roosevelt made that plain. All those so-called countries are. (3) Germany… best not to contemplate that idea. Should you fish up any more smugglers, take them into custody as is proper. The Foreign Service will take care of the rest. Do I make myself plain, Admiral?”

“Yes, Mr. President.” His meek Tennessee twang- odd combination, the President thought- was replaced by a dull buzzing. Hughes set the receiver down.

“Oh, for the love of God!” President Charles Evans Hughes stared accusingly at the green telephone before offering his detailed opinion of Kaiser Wilhelm II, Venustiano Carranza, the deceased Pancho Villa, and for good measure, Admiral Caperton. “Get me something to wet m’throat!”, he screamed into the black telephone. A moment later, a butler in white tie and tails slid into the Oval Office, his shoes as polished as mirrors. He bowed his head, handed the President a glass of iced lemonade with a bit of scotch, and vanished. Just like America, the drink wasn’t as strong as he’d like. “How did we get into this mess? What possessed that, that maniac with the moustache to do this?” The late Theodore Roosevelt, slain in southern Sonora, glared at him from the wall. Hughes stroked his voluminous beard- Mrs. Hughes said it made him look like Zeus. Wouldn’t mind a bloody lightning bolt to throw at the Kraut. He picked up the green telephone. “Get me the Secretary of State!”

Frank B. Kellogg sat erect before the President, his heavy jaw and cropped blond hair contrasting with Hughes’ snowy mane. “Mr. President, this is... This is an outrage, sir. What justification could Berlin have for what is effectively a conspiracy against this nation’s war effort?”

“Damn good question, Frank.” Hughes puffed on a cigar. “Best I can see is that Kaiser Wilhelm wants to show the world how strong he really is. Now that he doesn’t have to worry about France or even England, he wants to remind this country to stay on our end of the Atlantic.” The damn cheek. “So, what could be better than tossing Carranza just enough to keep us busy, tie us up?”

Kellogg nodded. “It’s all gone into my notes, sir.” The Secretary of State turned pale. “Do… do you think this could mean…” Hughes knew what he was thinking. The unspeakable three-letter word, with all it meant, hung in the air.

Hughes broke the silence. “We’d certainly have a fine casus belli. For heaven’s sake, this tramples all norms. Great Powers do not damn well fool about with one another like that!” What about your predecessor selling arms to Britain and France, the cynical voice in the back of his head asked. That was different, Hughes told himself. Great Powers surely could help one another. And besides, what happened in Wilson’s term stayed in Wilson’s term. “Damnit Frank- I never should have trusted him. If only we’d been a little smarter, if only we’d given the limeys and the French just a little bit more, you and I wouldn’t be dealing with that silly kraut emperor now!” The President sighed. His rant had exhumed the bile- now fear took its place. “Frank”, he said slowly, “can you see it happening? Can you really see us going to war with the Krauts over this? Because that’s how it’ll play out if we fail in this. It’d… it’d be the biggest thing this Union has seen in fifty years.” The idea chilled his spine.

A trace of fear penetrated Kellogg’s diplomatic mask. “Which makes it all the more imperative, Mr. President, that we do not fail here. Being half-hearted will only send the wrong message. Mr. President, I believe we should let Ambassador von Bernstorff know just how serious we are. If there are no consequences here, sir, then the Kaiser will develop the misapprehension that he can do what he will. Let them know we aren’t a threat and don’t want war, but draw a red line.”

“Of course, Frank.” Hughes sighed. “All right- thank you. As ever, I appreciate your counsel. I know I chose wisely when I requested you for Secretary of State. I will entrust you with speaking to von Bernstorff- he should be in his office now. And see to it that our Mr. Gerard in Berlin is fully informed- doubtless, we shall have him protest to the officials there. Perhaps some of it will seep through Kaiser Wilhelm’s infernally thick skull.” Hughes smiled to himself. “Best not to include that phrase in the report, eh?” Chuckling, he carried on. “And no attention until we’re ready, do you hear me? Don’t want the bloody press getting ahold of this and calling me a lame duck. Well, good day, Frank.”
“Mr. President.” Kellogg retreated from the Oval Office, and President Hughes picked up the telephone. “Get me my speechwriter- I want him here ten minutes ago! And while you’re at it, a bit more of that reinforced lemonade would be most welcome.”

* * *


Secretary of State Frank Kellogg
FrankKellogg.jpeg


Frank B. Kellogg smiled at the reporters. Cameras left green rings pulsating before his eyes. Accents from New York, Boston, Atlanta, and Detroit assaulted his ears. Oh God, he thought. I haven’t got a bit of fluff on my jacket, have I? The question seemed very important as the press examined him like a specimen under a microscope.

“Good day, gentlemen. I speak on behalf of not just this Administration, but of the entire United States of America. I most sincerely wish that what I am about to say was unnecessary. This is a serious matter pertaining not just to our rights and honour as a sovereign nation, but of the war our Republic finds itself embroiled in. The lives of many thousands of American soldiers may hinge upon the decisions taken here.

“When Venustiano Carranza established a state of war with this nation, we resolved to prosecute said war within the fullest extent of our powers. Such was, and continues to be, our right as a sovereign nation. As is within our rights under the Hague and Geneva Conventions- this nation being a signatory thereof- our Navy established a blockade not over the enemy coast line, but rather over individual ports as per international law. However, our submarines have continued to patrol such waters as are internationally permitted to them. In both cases, the object is to deprive the enemy of such raw materials and international trade as was necessary to maintain hostilities, and thereby secure a resolution to the conflict. A great number of nations have attempted to continue normal peace-time trade with the enemy. This is their right under the aforementioned international treaties, and this nation’s ability to restrict it is constrained by both treaty and decency. Neutral shipping to the enemy, while at times a licit objective for our blockade, must be and has been treated with the utmost respect for international law and human life, as per Section VI of the 1907 Hague Convention. I shall not pursue the details, but suffice it to say that those shipping-vessels fallen afoul of our blockade have, without respect to flag, received absolutely proper treatment. In this, our nation’s scrupulous adherence to the twin Conventions has won us much international respect and advanced the legitimacy of our cause. Likewise, until a very brief time ago, it was believed to the fullest extent of this country’s knowledge that the Mexican regime adhered to the same Conventions with equal scrupulosity.

“It is with the utmost regret that I must inform the American public and its government that such a view was mistaken. Only days ago, it was discovered that a vessel registered under the Panamanian flag and attempting to licitly engage in trade with the Mexican government, was not what it appeared to be. Stopped by an American submarine in enemy territorial waters, the crew of this vessel was permitted to disembark and its cargo examined prior to sinking, in full accordance with legitimate protocols. In examining the vessel, however, several irregularities so severe as to amount to a contradiction of international law were immediately noticed. For a start, as the captain’s log revealed, it belonged to the Imperial German Merchant Marines and was registered under a false flag. Second, the cargo was not legitimate goods such as foodstuffs, medical supplies, and the like, but rather weapons.

“The situation is thus. The German Government, in flagrant disregard of the relevant protocols vis-a-vis the rights and restrictions of neutrals in wartime, specifically Hague XIII, Article VI (4), has been shipping weapons to Venustiano Carranza’s regime. This has cost thousands of American soldiers their lives and prolonged the war.

“Speaking on behalf of the United States Government, I call upon Kaiser Wilhelm II to cease and desist. Should further action of this type be taken, I can promise that the United States Government will retaliate to the fullest extent of its power. The actions of the German Government run counter to that most fundamental principle of our foreign policy- President Monroe’s Doctrine of 1823. For ninety-five years, we have endeavoured with tremendous success to keep the Western Hemisphere free of influences from Europe. Knowingly or not, in violating said Doctrine Germany’s actions have caused the gravest offence to the American government and people. This could lead to a severe deterioration of German-American relations, the ramifications of which would have such dire consequences for the peoples of our two nations that it is a deeply unpleasant thing to dwell upon them. Suffice it to say that a calamity could ensue if responsible action is not taken by the leaders of our two States.

“Speaking on behalf of the United States Government and of President Hughes, I propose this to the German Government. Cease your illegal support for Venustiano Carranza and we shall not endeavour to trouble you. The United States and Germany share the status of Great Powers, and furthermore possess an immense commonly held heritage. For acrimony to be the dominant feature of our relationship would be a most unfortunate incidence. The American people and their government are desirous of peace. A formal note of apology from Prime Minister von Heydebrand (5) or another official designated by the German Government, would most certainly suffice. Then, this Government will most certainly be willing to place this matter aside as a brief point of discord in what I- and in this I speak not just as a representative of my Government and people, but on my own personal accord- most sincerely hope will be a long era of unity between our two nations and peoples.

“To the Mexican people, I say this. I am authorised by President Hughes to speak of the matter of peace, and consequently shall devote a few words to it now. Magnanimity is very much within the American tradition. Our republic has never coveted undue glory, nor held the desire to oppress its neighbours. Though we have from time to time found it necessary to take up arms in accordance with our status as a great and rising power, our intent has always been benign, to spread the twin gifts of democracy and civilisation. (6) Only one man stands in the way of this fine objective. (7) Venustiano Carranza brought a form of unity to the Mexican nation, but he did so at the point of a sword, using force as his weapon and disregarding the popular democratic mandate necessary for legitimate rule. In flagrant defiance of prior American agreements with Mexico, Carranza proceeded to declare war on our great republic, following an incident provoked by his own soldiers in the midst of a routine operation designed to suppress banditry- a task which ought to have fallen to him- and secure our stable border. (8) I have absolute confidence that the Mexican people do not desire this war any more than the people of the American state. Upon news of Carranza’s resignation or removal from office, President Hughes will move with the utmost speed to seek a secure and just peace for the good of all parties. Thank you, gentlemen, and good day.”


Another wave of bulbs exploded in his face, and he froze his mouth into an awkward smile. That bit of fluff on his jacket seemed far more important than the fate of nations. Frank B. Kellogg walked off the podium as though he had a pole rammed up against his spine, every muscle tense. Thank God that’s over.

* * *

Venustiano Carranza was arrested on 11 March 1918, ten days after SMS Wohlstadt was sunk. The war had not been easy on the Mexican president. Carranza had spent the first two months of 1918 in a secret bunker a hundred miles west of the capital. This was for his own safety, but it left him terribly isolated. The subterranean Presidential Bunker was a long way from the rest of the world. Sunlight was a rare commodity while security concerns limited the number of people Carranza saw daily. Just as no assassin could peer through a window to plan a shot, Carranza couldn’t look out on the world. El Presidente spent twelve hours a day hunched over his desk, subsisting on coffee, cigars, and rice. His beard grew longer and greyer while his frame thinned and his temper shortened- the physical signs of strain.

Mexico couldn’t win. The previous August, President Hughes had ordered John J. Pershing to cross the Rio Grande in pursuit of Pancho Villa. Carranza may have been Villa’s foe, but he was also a fierce nationalist who couldn’t stomach Americans crossing the border without permission. “A massed crossing of one nation’s border by the soldiers of another, without the slightest permission from said nation, is an act of war by any measure!” However, a just cause was no substitute for an industrial base or modern army. Despite his best efforts, Carranza had been unable to dislodge the Americans from Veracruz or Tampico. Alvaro Obregon, previously a key lieutenant and something of a friend, had turned traitor and was now helping US troops through his Sonoran fiefdom. Having reached a modus vivendi with the foe, Emiliano Zapata dominated Oaxaca. American ‘dollar diplomacy’ had lured Guatemala, Cuba, Haiti, and the Dominican Republic into the war; Nicaragua and Panama had since joined. Day after day, the pressure grew on the Veracruz perimeter. Los Yanquis hadn’t tried to break out yet for fear of the high casualties that would ensue, but neither could Mexicans crush the beach-head. Carranza knew the front was a ticking time-bomb, but there was nothing more he could do.

America’s blockade had killed Mexico’s prewar export industry. In a bitter twist of irony, Mexican products were replaced mainly by American ones on the world stage. Small farmers, the backbone of Mexico’s agricultural sector, were needed in two places at once. Young men had to put the uniform on, but without them the harvest couldn’t be properly collected. In the end, many rural boys dodged conscription to work on the family farm, placing the burden of service on urban residents. Years of civil strife had birthed a widespread feeling that if the government couldn’t directly help them, they didn’t owe it much. Thus, farmers began cutting themselves off from the cities, eating their goods rather than selling them. Urban Mexicans blamed Carranza and the war for the rising food prices.

The elite saw the damage done by the war. All were Mexican patriots who hated to see their country brought low, but they were also realists. Revolutionary Mexico’s first commandment was to live by the sword and die by the sword. If Carranza couldn’t lead his country, he had to be removed. The fate of Mexico- and, equally importantly, their own careers- hung in the balance. When Frank Kellogg promised a just peace to Mexico, the last domino fell.



The Triunvirato who removed Venustiano Carranza's regime. From top to bottom: Felix Diaz, Adolfo de la Huerta, and Francisco Mugica
felix diaz.jpg
Adolfo_de_la_Huerta.png

Francisco Mugica.jpeg


Felix Diaz had been born in 1868 in Oaxaca province, and entered revolutionary politics after his uncle’s regime was toppled in 1910. Outmatched by his wilier foes, Diaz had spent time abroad before returning to Mexico just as the guns quietened in Europe. (9) Despite opposing Carranza’s regime, Diaz was a patriot and placed himself at Carranza’s disposal in September 1917. Not trusting Diaz, El Presidente gave him a junior command on the Guatemalan front. His connections to the ancien regime won Diaz few friends, and he took an “extended leave of absence” at Christmas. While on leave, he secretly conferred with two others: Adolfo de la Huerta and General Francisco Mugica. All concurred that the war was going nowhere and despaired for Mexico’s fate, and gradually decided to do something about it. Mugica and Diaz were both military men while de la Huerta occupied a key spot in Carranza’s administration. That de la Huerta was a long-time ally of Alvaro Obregon, who enjoyed America’s good graces, didn’t hurt. With Carranza holed up in his bunker west of the capital, no one noticed the minor changes being made in early 1918. Elite units were pulled from Veracruz and sent to the capital; they were replaced at the front by pro-regime commanders.

As soon as Kellogg declared Carranza the sole obstacle to peace, the Triunvirato- triumvirate, as it was dubbed- moved into action. Troops commanded by Mugica stormed the Presidential Palace and other government buildings in the small hours of 8 March 1918. Since Carranza had kept his whereabouts secret, only a handful of people knew he wasn’t in the capital. As such, much damage was done and many lives taken by soldiers trying to find him. Otherwise, the coup was as clean as possible. There were no hitmen murdering Carrancistas en masse, and those arrested were largely spared their lives. Things were only improved when a large granary was captured by soldiers loyal to the Triunvirato and its contents distributed amongst the public. At five PM, de la Huerta declared Carranza ‘incapacitated’ over Mexican radio. He called on officers to obey directives from the capital and soldiers to follow all orders. Nothing less than the “stability and fabric of the Mexican state which you have laboured for so long to construct” was at stake.

Venustiano Carranza, meanwhile, was cursing a blue streak. Just as he’d predicted, traitors had surrounded him! El Presidente had to act fast if he wanted to retain his title… to say nothing of his life. Four hours after de la Huerta addressed the nation, he spoke from his bunker. Rumours that he was ‘incapacitated’, he told the nation, were lies. The Triunvirato- who, he emphasised, were Yankee sellouts- would be crushed “swiftly and mercilessly”. Men who, only hours before, had declared for the plotters now repented and turned on those who disagreed, while provincial governors picked sides. There was unrest in all of Mexico’s major cities. Officers in Veracruz were too busy resisting the Americans to worry much, but skirmishes broke out elsewhere. The worst confusion came from those who’d heard one broadcast but not the other, or those in rural areas who hadn’t heard at all.

For a few hours, Mexico appeared on the brink of civil war.

The Triunvirato moved quickly to prevent such a thing. 24 hours after they’d first struck, five hundred men rode west, having discovered Carranza’s whereabouts while rifling through the Presidential Palace. Two days later, they reached the mountain hamlet of Macho de Agua, where El Presidente was holed up. After a three-hour battle with guards chosen for their fervent loyalty, General Mugica and his men entered the bunker and, stepping over the corpses, persuaded Venustiano Carranza to surrender. A pistol at the back of his head, Carranza spoke one last time to the Mexican people. A ‘compromise’ had been reached, he ad-libbed, whereby ‘the Triunvirato will assist me in securing a peaceful settlement with the Americans.”

* * *

“Yes, General Pershing. Of course, General Pershing. As soon as you can get it signed, please! Get Mr. de la Huerta into the perimeter as soon as possible under flag of truce…. Of course, of course… And do send my personal thanks to the three gentlemen. Yes… good-day, General.” Charles Evans Hughes set the green telephone down. A smile crossed his weary, white face. “It’s over”, he murmured, staring at the ceiling. “Praise God, but it’s finally over!” The lemonade stared at him again. Why not celebrate, Mr. President? Hughes grinned.
“To Uncle Sam!” Down the hatch it went.

* * *


Lieutenant Patton at the signing of the Treaty of Mexico City
george patton.jpg

First Lieutenant George Patton allowed himself the luxury of a smile. (10) Six months had passed since the Veracruz Armistice, and he wanted to get back Stateside. Beatrice couldn’t wait forever! You’ve been down here for so long, George. You can damn well hold out a bit longer. He glanced at himself. Dress uniform felt like a second skin made of plastic and glue. His field uniform was covered in dirt and blood and everything else a dismounted cavalryman found in the trenches. It was his, it made him feel like he was doing something worthwhile. Standing around in a Goddamned penguin suit was another matter. Perhaps to compensate for having lost, the Mexican officers were even more ornate, with all manner of red, green, and white on their uniforms. No neckties, though, Patton thought scornfully. Makes ‘em look like a bunch of damn peacocks.

“Atten-shun!” Two companies of Americans and a handful of Mexican officers clicked their heels and saluted. The unremarkable delegations from the smaller Caribbean states entered Mexico City’s town hall. They’d done next to nothing in this war and would get next to nothing. Besides, he thought scornfully, they ain’t real countries anyhow. Only one real country between Canada and the South Pole. (11) Then came the Mexicans. Patton recognised the porky one in grey- he was Alvaro Obregon. The sole man in uniform had to have been General Francisco Mugica. The other two were Adolfo de la Huerta and Felix Diaz, though he couldn’t have said which was which.

Frank B. Kellogg looked like he’d been a prizefighter in his younger days. His heavy jaw and deep eyes made clear that there was a real man under all that cloth. As to the last man-

“Mr. President!”, Patton whispered. Yes, that was Charles Evans Hughes. He didn’t carry himself like Kellogg- the first word which entered Patton’s mind was librarian- but his eyes spoke of ruthless self-confidence. An interpreter who surely hadn’t reached twenty lurked behind Huerta, trying not to stare at the President. Taking every step carefully and deliberately, Hughes walked past and saluted the honor guard. Patton’s fellow lieutenant, a grey-eyed Missourian with the world’ biggest glasses, looked fit to burst with pride. (12) US troops fought frantically to keep the press away. “Mr. President!”s and “Senor!”s flew like rockets; the flash-bulbs were as blinding as any explosion. Patton blinked the green rings away.

"You will be so kind, I trust”, Hughes said, “to read it out in our respective languages?” The interpreter nodded.


“Whereas the Contracting Powers of this Treaty on the one hand:
The United States of America, the Republic of Cuba, the Republic of Guatemala, the Republic of Haiti, the Dominican Republic, the Republic of Nicaragua, the Republic of Panama,

And the Government of the United Mexican States on the other,

Having entered into a state of war as of 11 August 1917, and having established a temporary cessation of hostilities as of 11 March 1918, are now desirous of a firm and just peace, in which the status of all signatories is given the utmost consideration within the codification of the peace, and in which the sacrifices of those who ceded their lives are given equal weight, do from this date agree to adopt the following, that they shall be legally binding upon the Contracting Powers and constitute a formal cessation of the state of war henceforth:

  • Article I: The state of war between the United Mexican States on the one hand and the other Contracting Powers shall be brought to an immediate conclusion.
  • Article II: All forces belonging to the United States of America and associated powers shall vacate the territory of the United Mexican States, but for the following listed territories, no later than 1 January 1919.
    • II.I: The province of Tamaulipas is to remain under occupation by forces of the United States until 31 December 1923.
  • Article III: In the course of this retreat, the United States of America and associated powers shall abide by the following principles:
    • III.I Forcible evacuation of the inhabitants shall be forbidden; no damage or harm shall be done to the persons or property of the inhabitants.
    • III.II No person shall be prosecuted for having taken part in any military measures previous to the signing of the armistice.
    • III.III No destruction of property of any kind to be committed.
      • III.III.I The above shall not apply to the demolition of facilities of a military nature; eg, coastal guns, pill-boxes, etc, but not including facilities of an industrial nature with the capacity to produce military goods.
    • III.IV Stores of food of all kinds for the civil population, cattle, etc., shall be left in situ.
    • III.V No measure of a general character shall be taken, and no official order shall be given which would have as a consequence the depreciation of industrial establishments or a reduction in their personnel.
    • III.VI Roads and means of communications of every kind, railroads, waterways, roads, bridges, telegraphs, telephones, shall be in no manner impaired. All civil and military personnel at present employed on them shall remain.
  • Article IV: The blockade of the Mexican coastline shall terminate as soon as is practical; all vessels in said blockade shall depart for ports dictated by officers of the United States.
  • Article V: All vessels of the Mexican Navy are to proceed to New Orleans, whence they shall be disarmed by authorities of the United States Navy.
  • Article VI: An agreement concerning the size and capacities of the Mexican Navy shall be signed at the choosing of the United States Government, but not on or after 1 January 1920.
  • Article VII: The land forces of the United Mexican States shall not exceed 100,000 men, of which no more than 15,000 may be cavalry.
    • VII.I: Mexico shall be forbidden from producing or importing any make of machine-gun or land mine until 1 January 1923.
  • Article VIII: The United Mexican States are forbidden from stationing Regular Army units within ten (10) miles of the border with the Republic of Guatemala.
    • VIII.I: All fortifications along said border are to be destroyed not after 1 January 1919 . Guatemalan officers shall have the right to conduct an inspection of said border at the discretion of the Guatemalan Government to ensure compliance.
  • Article IX: The Government of the United Mexican States hereby renounces any and all claim to the oil reserves of Tamaulipas Province. Said oil reserves are from this moment forward the sovereign property of the United States Government.
    • IX.I: Even after the period of occupation has elapsed, the United States Government shall retain the right of free movement throughout Tamaulipas Province. Agents of the United States Government shall be subject to neither tariffs nor customs inspection.
  • Article X: Article Twenty-Seven of the present Constitution of the United Mexican States is to be abolished. (13)
  • Article XI: The autonomy of Sonora Province is to be codified into the Mexican constitution.
  • Article XII: The Mexican regime with which this Treaty was contracted is henceforth to be seen as the only legitimate one.
  • Article XIII: The United States Government commits to guaranteeing the present frontiers of the United Mexican States against external and internal alterations.”

One by one, the men signed.
We won, of course we did! Americans love a winner and will not tolerate a loser. Hell, we play to win all the time. That's why we damn well won here, and that’s why Americans have never lost and will never lose a war. George Patton twisted his mouth into a cold smile.

Comments?

  1. Which the Good Old Internet™ doesn’t want to tell me. Any information would go a long way…
  2. Fictitious; didn’t want to spend an hour combing for a real name.
  3. He may not be Wilson, but he’s still an imperialist.
  4. Here's the link I used to help write this. International law is a tricky bastard to get a handle on and if I’ve flubbed something… please say so!
  5. See chapter 26
  6. My middle school history textbook says hello.
  7. Charles Evans Hughes? ;)
  8. See the end of chapter 15
  9. All OTL.
  10. @BiteNibbleChomp this one’s for you…
  11. That’s his opinion. Very fashionable 100+ years ago.
  12. Any guesses? Here’s a hint…
  13. Providing for nationalisation of the oil industry.
 
ah typical american hypocrisy (if we do it, it is something different), but one german trader (and probably a civilian who saw a good trade, and with no connection to the german govt) and the whole german empire attacks.
(and they are also nicely forgetting the british arms trader that was supplying pancho villa
 
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Btw some time ago i read smth that said south tyrol wasnt realy desired by the italian goverment and i dont see why they would want south tyrol anyways as it waa often just seen as smth the entente threw at italy for not getting dalmatia. So are ye very sure about south tyrol? (btw it always realy bugged me how south tyrol was italian in otl lmao)
 
ah typical american hypocrisy (if we do it, it is something different), but one german trader (and probably a civilian who saw a good trade, and with no connection to the german govt) and the whole german empire attacks.
(and they are also nicely forgetting the british arms trader that was supplying pancho villa
Afraid you're right there.
Curious what the final casualties list would like like compared to the US Great War rates OTL. I cant imagine it is as bloody as that.
Not especially bloody- the Veracruz perimeter saw some hard fighting but elsewhere it wasn't too intense. If I had to guess, I'd say (for the Americans), probably a bit higher than the Spanish-American War. The impact on the American public wasn't too intense either. Mexico... they suffered.
 
Btw some time ago i read smth that said south tyrol wasnt realy desired by the italian goverment and i dont see why they would want south tyrol anyways as it waa often just seen as smth the entente threw at italy for not getting dalmatia. So are ye very sure about south tyrol? (btw it always realy bugged me how south tyrol was italian in otl lmao)
I don't really understand the desire for it either, but they wanted it OTL....
 
i wonder if a situation might develop where being pro-british (or anti-german) is connected to 1 party
Interesting but doubtful. The Triunvirato will last about as long as most Mexican governments of the period, but the new rule is that you can have any government you like, but only one foreign policy: pro-American.
 
i was talking about american politics
Oh, sorry! That's actually a really interesting idea and not one I'd fully considered. America in TTL continues to be pretty neutral and would ideally like good relations with both Washington and Berlin- but we've already seen that start to break down in both cases. Provided they respect the Monroe Doctrine (which Germany's already not doing) and American empire... the USA doesn't really care (yet). Of course, individuals have their preferences (both Wilson and Hughes are pro-British), but the war hasn't brought changes to US policy.
 
Oh, sorry! That's actually a really interesting idea and not one I'd fully considered. America in TTL continues to be pretty neutral and would ideally like good relations with both Washington and Berlin- but we've already seen that start to break down in both cases. Provided they respect the Monroe Doctrine (which Germany's already not doing) and American empire... the USA doesn't really care (yet). Of course, individuals have their preferences (both Wilson and Hughes are pro-British), but the war hasn't brought changes to US policy.
You mean London and Berlin?
 

bguy

Donor
“Whereas the Contracting Powers of this Treaty on the one hand:
  • Article IX: The Government of the United Mexican States hereby renounces any and all claim to the oil reserves of Tamaulipas Province. Said oil reserves are from this moment forward the sovereign property of the United States Government.

Treaty looks pretty good. The one question I have is in regards to the US claiming control over the oil fields in Tamaulipas. British oil companies had a substantial presence in the Tamaulipas oil fields. Is the US claiming ownership of the British owned oil fields as well? (Which will definitely further damage US-British relations if it happens.)

Otherwise it's interesting that Hughes didn't require the Mexicans to abolish the various anti-clerical provisions in the 1917 Constitution as part of the treaty. I can certainly understand why he wouldn't want to touch Mexican religious politics with a ten foot pole, but it will likely cost him with Catholic voters come 1920.
 
I'm surprised the US didn't annex any territory. I'd have expected them to demand at least Baja California given how perfect it's situated to facilitate blockading the Mexican West Coast or to interfere with such a one depending on who owns it.
 
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