Would the sinking of American ships by the British be enough for the U.S. to join the CP?

Would the sinking of American ships by the British, accidentally or intentionally, be enough of a POD for the U.S. to join the CP? Would the Anglophile elite try to diffuse the hostilities?
 
BTW, even in the unlikely event of a US-British war, why this "join the Central Powers" business one sees here so often? The US didn't sign an alliance with Napoleon in 1812...
 
The Trent Affair never provoked a war because Lincoln was smart enough to realize that adding the British to the Confederacy, even as co-belligerents, was madness, and so he went to great lengths to address the diplomatic issues. Britain wasn't interested in a war, so it worked.

If the British accidentally sink an American ship, the British are going to likewise bend over backwards to diplomatically placate the US, because adding the US as a co-belligerent to the Central Powers would be madness. The Americans aren't interested in a war, so it'd work.

If a Royal Navy ship intentionally fires on an American ship, everyone involved in that decision is going to be trussed up and handed over to the Americans as a sacrifice, and only somewhat figuratively.
 
Even if it was intentional, I don't think it would be enough to get the US joining the Central Powers. Before entering the war, the United States were split but more obviously leaning to the British argument thanks to the greater presence of English speakers. That said, if the Lusitania gets intentionally destroyed by the Brits, I see many Americans of British ancestry souring on the UK and the view of Central Powers would be more sympathetic and become louder due to the German diaspora being almost as big as the Anglo American population. This would, in my opinion, all but cement American neutrality in World War 1 and not do anything beyond selling arms.
 
CP USA is basically ASB imo. Incidents between the IS and UK would just lead to harder neutrality, not the US entering war against one of its most important trade and cultural partners.
 
Why would the British ever sink American shipping? The same American shipping providing them with all kinds of produce and industrial goods. The British weren't the ones waging a war on shipping. Their blockade was enough.
 
Even if it was intentional, I don't think it would be enough to get the US joining the Central Powers. Before entering the war, the United States were split but more obviously leaning to the British argument thanks to the greater presence of English speakers. That said, if the Lusitania gets intentionally destroyed by the Brits, I see many Americans of British ancestry souring on the UK and the view of Central Powers would be more sympathetic and become louder due to the German diaspora being almost as big as the Anglo American population. This would, in my opinion, all but cement American neutrality in World War 1 and not do anything beyond selling arms.
The German diaspora is different from others, though. Many Germans emigrated at least partly for political reasons, or for closely related religious reasons, rather than for economic reasons. Many, such as the Mennonites, were pacifists who lived in communities isolated from the rest of the US. Many were Jewish. German-Americans who weren't part of an isolated community tended to assimilate rapidly. They either adopted American values, or retained values of their own which were not the Kaiser's.

Overall, I think Americans favored the British not because they saw themselves as British, but because they saw Britain as more American. Neutrality is a possibility, if the US gets soured on the Entente, but America would never go to war to defend the divine right of the Hohenzollerns and Habsburgs.
 
It wouldn't be too difficult to steer the US towards the Central Powers, provided you start with the right POD. In OTL, until about 1890-1900, GB was the old enemy of the US. After the war of 1812, the US almost went to war with GB two more times. The first was in the 1840s over the Yukon territory. The second was in 1862 during the Trent affair.

I'd start your TL in 1841 or 1842 with Polk deciding to Manifest Destiny north instead of South. This means Texas is never admitted, no Mexican-American War. It also means no civil war in 1861. Have the US defeat GB during a Yukon War. GB is forced to give US western Canada and now you have a bitter and angry GB who has lost 3 major wars against their rebellious colonies.
 
CP USA is basically ASB imo. Incidents between the IS and UK would just lead to harder neutrality, not the US entering war against one of its most important trade and cultural partners.
You'd need a POD in the 19th century for the USA as a CP. If the Great Rapprochement is averted it could be done; though even then I don't see the Royal Navy starting it by sinking American ships. If the POD is the Royal Navy blockade, well it's hard to see them being that stupid. Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty until May 1915. He was well aware of the diplomatic implications of the blockade including from studying the history of the War of 1812. He also wanted to bring the USA into the war. I can't see any of his successors being that stupid either. The advantage of a blockade by surface vessels is you can just seize the ship or force it to turn around. They knew this would annoy the Americans, but that the USA would be far angrier about the u-boat blockade, since the latter would involve an American body count. The thing is even if America gets angry at Britain for using civilians as human shields in the Lusitania incident, that's not going to lead to an alliance with Germany, especially as the Germans would still be the ones who sank it. It would just be a ban on exports of arms and munitions to belligerent powers.
The German diaspora is different from others, though. Many Germans emigrated at least partly for political reasons, or for closely related religious reasons, rather than for economic reasons. Many, such as the Mennonites, were pacifists who lived in communities isolated from the rest of the US. Many were Jewish. German-Americans who weren't part of an isolated community tended to assimilate rapidly. They either adopted American values, or retained values of their own which were not the Kaiser's.
There was a sizeable Germanophone population, but those tended to be bilingual people rather than some German equivalent of the Quebecois. They definitely weren't pro-Kaiser though. Those who were more sympathetic towards Germany tended to favor neutrality, banning arms exports, and putting more into humanitarian relief.
Even if it was intentional, I don't think it would be enough to get the US joining the Central Powers. Before entering the war, the United States were split but more obviously leaning to the British argument thanks to the greater presence of English speakers. That said, if the Lusitania gets intentionally destroyed by the Brits, I see many Americans of British ancestry souring on the UK and the view of Central Powers would be more sympathetic and become louder due to the German diaspora being almost as big as the Anglo American population. This would, in my opinion, all but cement American neutrality in World War 1 and not do anything beyond selling arms.
Oh, if the Royal Navy washes down enough lead paint chips with enough mercury dye to make them start intentionally sinking lots of ships with American civilians, that could eventually lead to American entry, but it's ASB to have them be that stupid. As for the English speaker point, that made it easier for Americans and Brits to befriend eachother because they could communicate without having a language barrier, but the USA was not in the throws of some linguistic nationalism. The shared history was a two-edged sword. The USA was a former British colony, or rather formed from 13 British colonies, but it was also formed by waging a war to break away from the British Empire. Britain played its cards better than Germany. Germany wanted to challenge Britain for the rule of the waves. Well to do that it would help to have allies. The only powers in a position to help would have been France and the USA (and to a lesser extent Italy, Russia, and Austria-Hungary). France was off the table because of the Franco-Prussian War. Russia was off the table because it had realigned toward France and because its pan-Slavism would cause issues with Austria-Hungary. Italy was off the table, despite the Triple Alliance, because of territorial disputes with Austria. Austria-Hungary alone wasn't enough. That left the USA. There were plenty of cases of both Britain and Germany doing things or making noises about doing things that could violate the Monroe Doctrine, but from December 1895 onwards the British made much more of a diplomatic effort to spin it so as to avoid inflaming tensions with the USA. German Chancellors from Bismark onwards thumbing their noses at the Monroe Doctrine did not gain anything for Germany and only served to piss the USA off.
 
The German diaspora is different from others, though. Many Germans emigrated at least partly for political reasons, or for closely related religious reasons, rather than for economic reasons. Many, such as the Mennonites, were pacifists who lived in communities isolated from the rest of the US. Many were Jewish. German-Americans who weren't part of an isolated community tended to assimilate rapidly. They either adopted American values, or retained values of their own which were not the Kaiser's.

Overall, I think Americans favored the British not because they saw themselves as British, but because they saw Britain as more American. Neutrality is a possibility, if the US gets soured on the Entente, but America would never go to war to defend the divine right of the Hohenzollerns and Habsburgs.
I don't think anybody really believed in "the divine right of kings" anymore in 1914... except maybe Rasputin.
Willy II may have liked the idea, but even he would admit he was a constitutional monarch, with the limitations that that implied... and old Franz Josef probably didn't know anymore...
 
I don't think anybody really believed in "the divine right of kings" anymore in 1914... except maybe Rasputin.
Willy II may have liked the idea, but even he would admit he was a constitutional monarch, with the limitations that that implied... and old Franz Josef probably didn't know anymore...
Cousin Nicky did. He might as well have been the reincarnation of Charles I given how repeated all of his mistakes.
 
You'd need a POD in the 19th century for the USA as a CP. If the Great Rapprochement is averted it could be done; though even then I don't see the Royal Navy starting it by sinking American ships. If the POD is the Royal Navy blockade, well it's hard to see them being that stupid. Winston Churchill was First Lord of the Admiralty until May 1915. He was well aware of the diplomatic implications of the blockade including from studying the history of the War of 1812. He also wanted to bring the USA into the war. I can't see any of his successors being that stupid either. The advantage of a blockade by surface vessels is you can just seize the ship or force it to turn around. They knew this would annoy the Americans, but that the USA would be far angrier about the u-boat blockade, since the latter would involve an American body count. The thing is even if America gets angry at Britain for using civilians as human shields in the Lusitania incident, that's not going to lead to an alliance with Germany, especially as the Germans would still be the ones who sank it. It would just be a ban on exports of arms and munitions to belligerent powers.

There was a sizeable Germanophone population, but those tended to be bilingual people rather than some German equivalent of the Quebecois. They definitely weren't pro-Kaiser though. Those who were more sympathetic towards Germany tended to favor neutrality, banning arms exports, and putting more into humanitarian relief.

Oh, if the Royal Navy washes down enough lead paint chips with enough mercury dye to make them start intentionally sinking lots of ships with American civilians, that could eventually lead to American entry, but it's ASB to have them be that stupid. As for the English speaker point, that made it easier for Americans and Brits to befriend eachother because they could communicate without having a language barrier, but the USA was not in the throws of some linguistic nationalism. The shared history was a two-edged sword. The USA was a former British colony, or rather formed from 13 British colonies, but it was also formed by waging a war to break away from the British Empire. Britain played its cards better than Germany. Germany wanted to challenge Britain for the rule of the waves. Well to do that it would help to have allies. The only powers in a position to help would have been France and the USA (and to a lesser extent Italy, Russia, and Austria-Hungary). France was off the table because of the Franco-Prussian War. Russia was off the table because it had realigned toward France and because its pan-Slavism would cause issues with Austria-Hungary. Italy was off the table, despite the Triple Alliance, because of territorial disputes with Austria. Austria-Hungary alone wasn't enough. That left the USA. There were plenty of cases of both Britain and Germany doing things or making noises about doing things that could violate the Monroe Doctrine, but from December 1895 onwards the British made much more of a diplomatic effort to spin it so as to avoid inflaming tensions with the USA. German Chancellors from Bismark onwards thumbing their noses at the Monroe Doctrine did not gain anything for Germany and only served to piss the USA off.
My issue with such a POD is that a 19th century POD is going to have so many effects that expecting a recognizable World War I is a bit off.
 
Cousin Nicky did. He might as well have been the reincarnation of Charles I given how repeated all of his mistakes.
I think Nicky was a bit simple-minded.... he had been spoon-fed that shit since birth practically, so of course he believed it... of course he also was taught the history of Russian Tsardom, so he knew (or should have known) that even the divinely-favored could meet with an untimely dagger, cudgel, bullet or bomb at a moment's notice ;)
 
What ship under what conditions? A clapped out old tramp steamer sunk after refusing to stop for inspection while attempting to run the blockage? A tramp steamer running into a British minefield? An Ocean Liner torpedoed by the British vessel without warning? An American cruiser or battleship torpedoed without warning?

The first two are unlikely to drive the US into the CPs, even if repeated, but can plausibly happen (hell, I'd suspect such incidents happened IOTL). The latter two situation could drive the US into the CP, but require unlikely, if not out and out implausible, actions by the British. And then there's any number of cases in between...
 
I don't expect the US to replicate their OTL behaviour but against the British in this scenario.
To fight Germany Americans had to cross the Atlantic. To fight Britain they don't need to do that.
Canada will be threatened and a war on the seas is likely, along with coordination with Germany.
 
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