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

Sailing willingly into a active warzone, subsequently refusing to stop when questioned and then trying to outrun RN ships isnt really a diplomatic incident, its a person being an idiot. The Royal Navy didn't tend to blow ships up but if they for some reason had to instead of just buying the cargo, the US would probably write that captain off as a belligerent unfortunate. Shit happens in war, hardly grounds for ending support to the Entente.
If it's headed for a German port yes. If it's bound for a Dutch or Danish one that's another matter. Americans weren't happy about Britain blockading neutral ports, particularly since their definition of contraband was constantly expanding. Sinking a vessel bound for Amsterdam would absolutely create a diplomatic incident, but it would be more likely to lead to cutting off support, not a declaration of war.

Itd have to be a big passenger liner that maybe ends up at the wrong place at the wrong time, is misidentified as a German warship and is sunk. Even then the British would like apologize, offer compensation and maybe try the captain involved to appease the US. The US didn't need war to apply pressure either, they could do it financially and they certainly don't want to start a war along the Canadian border.
Absolutely.
 
... a somewhat to be expected comment from you ...
Yes, because we have had a seemingly endless stream of bizarre, implausible, downright irrational threads lately. I mean the OP might as well have asked, 'what if the Royal Navy bombarded New York would that be enough for the US to join the CP?' The answer is yes but both premises rather beg the question, why on Earth would they do that?

Some claim of omnipotent,bottomless money-coffers operating british agents all over the world I as often as it had been made never saw any evidence or sourcing (i.e. lists of what goods of what worth were buyed 'away' from CP traders or similar) for.
I would be delighted if any such evicence/source could be shown.
You probably didn't find it because that's not how it worked. Intercepted ships would be taken to British ports and 'contraband' would be removed. In some cases they would be paid for the seized cargoes. The British could also exercise soft power through their dominance of the maritime insurance markets.
 
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McPherson

Kicked
An old post of mine:

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My favorite POD for the admittedly very unlikely prospect of the US going to war with the Entente (and even that is not quite the same thing as "joining the Central Powers" as I note below) is the Ship Purchase Bill.

Four accounts of the struggle over Woodrow Wilson's (actually William McAdoo's) Ship Purchase Bill in 1915, raising the question of whether the bill could have led to a US clash with the UK and France:

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(1) "In his annual message, Wilson set off an even more bitter political fight with his legislation that the United States purchase German ships that had been caught in American harbors at the beginning of the war and could not return home without being intercepted by the British navy. The money would be paid to the German government and the ship would be added to the merchant marine. The initiative outraged Republican senators and an intense battle ensued in the upper house in the winter of 1915. More than any other single event of Wilson's first term, the ship purchase controversy foreshadowed the ideological struggle the 1916 election would become.

"There was much in the bill to provoke Republican opposition. The money would go to Germany, an unneutral act. The scheme could bring on a confrontation with Britain and France if those countries treated the purchased ships as belligerent vessels. [my emphasis--DT] The greatest ideological objection was to the very character of what Wilson and McAdoo sought to do. 'It means a departure on the lines of government more important and more fateful in its results than any act passed by this Congress since I became a member,' said Elihu Root." A British observer found Republican opposition fascinating. 'Isn't it astonishing that the two great political parties in America exchange positions? Root who is a great leader of the party of protection and paternalism is now the leader of the opposition to state socialism, while Wilson, the successor of Jefferson and Cleveland, both as President and leader of the party of individualism, has become the champion of a state owned merchant marine.'...

Lewis L. Gould, The First Modern Clash Over Federal Power: Wilson Versus Hughes in the Presidential Election of 1916, p. 32.

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(2) "The administration's most important effort to meet the economic needs created by the war situation was its vigorous, almost frantic campaign to obtain passage of a bill to provide $30 million for the purchase of a governmentally owned and operated shipping line. The author of the ship purchase bill introduced in August, 1914, was McAdoo, who brought the President to his side and led the fight for its adoption. As the bill provided for the purchase, not for the construction, of ships, the question of what ships would be purchased immediately arose. Obviously, the only vessels available in quantity were the German ships, totaling half a million tons, lying in American harbors. Wilson was reluctant to take the step, but McAdoo convinced him there was no other way to get the ships quickly. Moreover, as McAdoo pointed out, the government 'would not ... be confined to the purchase of German ships only.'

"Wilson's insistence on pushing the measure provoked a bitter fight in Congress. The Republicans, led by Henry Cabot Lodge and Elihu Root, opposed the bill because it would project the government into the business field. They opposed it, also, because they suspected the administration planned to buy the German ships and operate them in the Atlantic trade; and this, they asserted, would inevitably involve the United States in a serious and entirely needless dispute with the British government. Administration spokesmen were not frank with Congress and refused to affirm or deny the charge that they contemplated purchasing the German ships. Like most other leaders, Bryan saw the issue clearly and begged the President to come out frankly and tell the American people and the Allies that he had no intention of buying the disputed vessels. But Wilson would not surrender. On the contrary, he grew sullen and bitter and privately charged Lodge and Root with lack of conscience and with using 'insincere and contemptible methods of fighting.' After the defeat of the bill in early March, 1915, moreover, he wrote a long and bitter indictment of the Republican senators and the seven Democrats who had joined them in defeating the measure. Someone must have persuaded him to withhold the statement, for it was never published....

"Lodge's and Root's fear was well grounded, as was evidenced by the bitter protest of the British Foreign Secretary, Sir Edward Grey, against the ship purchase bill (Grey to Spring Rice, Jan. 22, 1915, House Papers). It is certain the British would not have acknowledged the legality of the American government's purchase of the German vessels. Moreover, the British would probably have seized the ships if the government shipping corporation had tried to use them in the Atlantic trade. This action, in turn, would have compelled the United States either to abandon its shipping venture or else to resort to strong diplomacy or force to maintain its illegal position..."

Arthur S. Link, Woodrow Wilson and the Progressive Era, 1910-1917, pp. 152-3 https://archive.org/stream/woodrowwilsonand007665mbp#page/n195

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(3) Bryan had urged Wilson to allay the fears of Root and Lodge by giving assurances that the proposed government shipping company would not buy belligerent ships. But "The President, alas, could not give any such assurances. To begin with, he and McAdoo did intend to purchase German vessels (and British and French ships too, if they could be found) as there simply seemed to be no other way to assemble a merchant fleet quickly. Precisely what Wilson proposed to do with the ships once he got them—that is, whether he intended to use them in the European trade or only in commerce with Latin America-is not at all clear. Wilson would not heed Bryan's suggestion, in the second place, because he believed that the United States had a right in international law to purchase belligerent ships, and it would be unneutral for him publicly to abandon the right." And, as Link notes, the third and most important reason Wilson would not yield on this point is that he was stubborn, saw the bill as a test of his leadership abilities, and would concede nothing to appease Lodge and Root, whom he saw as evil reactionaries. Arthur S. Link, Wilson, Volume III: The Struggle for Neutrality, 1914-1915, p. 150. https://books.google.com/books?id=dRfWCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA150

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(4) "'The ship purchase bill,' he [Lodge] told Roosevelt, '. . . is one of the most dangerous things internationally--I say nothing of its viciousness economically--which could be imagined. The plan is to buy the German ships. If this is done and the Allies refuse to recognize the transfer of the flag, which France and Russia certainly will do ... we shall find ourselves with Government-owned ships afloat which the Allies regard as German ships and therefore good prize and which are liable to be fired on and sunk. In the case of a private transaction this would not be very dangerous, but when it comes to dealing with Government-owned ships . . . they bring us within measurable distance of war.' He warned his friend that 'this incompetent Administration may flounder into war, just as they blundered and floundered into bloodshed at Vera Cruz..'..." Karl Schriftgiesser, The Gentleman from Massachusetts: Henry Cabot Lodge, p. 267. https://archive.org/stream/gentlemanfrommas001537mbp#page/n279

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Even if the Ship Purchase Bill had passed (and without the Lodge Amendment prohibiting the purchase of belligerent ships) I doubt that the US would have gone to war against the Entente, but it's the most plausible path to such a war I can see. (Of course even such a war wouldn't technically mean the US joining the Central Powers--the US could just be a "co-belligerent"...)

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Footnote to the above post: I now doubt that there would be a US-British war even if Britain seized the ships--I think Wilson would be more likely to resort to diplomacy and economic pressure.
Wilson was one of the most stupid evil egotistical braindead imbeciles to ever occupy the American presidency. I could easily see a way he could stumble into a war (as he did defacto with Mexico) with a foreign government over something as idiotic as this issue, just because "his feelings got hurt".
 

CalBear

Moderator
Donor
Monthly Donor
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?
Stop with these one liner POD. Instead of throwing 10 threads at the wall and seeing if any of them stick actually craft one and then actively participate.
 
Having Bismark not start a trend by thumbing his nose at the Monroe Doctrine might not make the USA pro-German, but it would ce
Poking at Monroe Doctrine was not initiated by Bismarck but by the Weltpolitik faction backed by the Kaiser. In fact, Bismarck was sacked because he opposed aggressive foreign policy.
 
Poking at Monroe Doctrine was not initiated by Bismarck but by the Weltpolitik faction backed by the Kaiser. In fact, Bismarck was sacked because he opposed aggressive foreign policy.
Oh, Bismarck thumbed his nose at the Monroe Doctrine. Granted that was after Wilhelm had fired him, but even then it had an effect on American public opinion, because of the press it received at the time.
 
Oh, Bismarck thumbed his nose at the Monroe Doctrine. Granted that was after Wilhelm had fired him, but even then it had an effect on American public opinion, because of the press it received at the time.
A retired Bismarck's opinions did not matter much, and if it was just about giving opinions he was not the only one who did so.

But when he was in power, it was him who blocked a German plan to established a coal station in the Caribbeans because he did not want to piss off the US.
 
A retired Bismarck's opinions did not matter much, and if it was just about giving opinions he was not the only one who did so.

But when he was in power, it was him who blocked a German plan to established a coal station in the Caribbeans because he did not want to piss off the US.
It didn't decide German policy, but it certainly influenced the American press. Sure, as chancellor, he focused on Europe rather than on establishing colonies, but even in retirement if you're public figure words matter. A retired chancellor, especially one as big as Bismark, denouncing the Monroe doctrine as "international impertinence" in 1897 was not good for Germany's image in the USA, even though it didn't result in Germany doing anything.
 

NoMommsen

Donor
....
You probably didn't find it because that's not how it worked. Intercepted ships would be taken to British ports and 'contraband' would be removed. In some cases they would be paid for the seized cargoes.
...
... once again arguing with an unproven/unsourced/unevidenced allegation ... okay ...
The British could also exercise soft power through their dominance of the maritime insurance markets.
... quite the argument I made already ...
 
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McPherson

Kicked
nope, Wilson is so Anglophile might not care, even accept was an accident
VIII. The British Government's Reactions to President ...

Text of that note here.

May I quote it, in part?

"He takes the liberty of calling attention to the fact that the objects
which the statesmen of the belligerents on both sides have in mind in
this war are virtually the same, as stated in general terms to their
own people and to the world. Each side desires to make the rights
and privileges of weak peoples and small States as secure against
aggression or denial in the future as the rights and privileges of the
great and powerful States now at war. Each wishes itself to be made
secure in the future, along with all other nations and peoples, against
the recurrence of wars like this and against aggression of selfish in-
terference of any kind. Each would be jealous of the formation of
any more rival leagues to preserve an uncertain balance of power
amidst multiplying suspicions ; but each is ready to consider the forma-
tion of a league of nations to insure peace and justice throughout the
world
. Before that final step can be taken, however, each deems it
necessary first to settle the issues of the present war upon terms which
will certainly safeguard the independence, the territorial integrity,
and the political and commercial freedom of the nations involved.
I think I have never read such gobbledegook obfuscatory language in a more senseless useless proposal in my life. Also the egotism on display is monumental.

When FDR addressed a head of state, the language was not so convoluted. it was direct and it was government to government no-nonsense declaration of intent and purpose to specific case such as the letter to Hitler, putting that fool on notice that the USG would hold him accountable for starting the European War, or just so the same in a letter to the alleged god-emperor about his governments shenanigans in southeast Asia. (^^^) This CRAP was Wilson trying to impose his vision of a world onto European combatants in the midst of a huge war.

The goofball had bollixed up US relations with Mexico and broken international law thereby with his own war of colonialist imperialist aggression based on his own diseased racist view of "inferior peoples" who must be taught good government by their betters. Who was this hypocritical evil person to make "suggestions" to anybody?

Yes, Anglophile or not, he could stumble into a war with the UK, because he was that stupidly evil, narcissistic and clueless, that he equates the United States government with himself.

McP.
 
US flagged vessel refuses to accede to inspection by the (illegal) British "Distant Blockade", ignores orders to stop et cetera. Things escalate.
And the British would backpedal and bend over backwards to appease the US. This "escalation" would require the British to be stupid beyond belief.
Probably, but that most catastrophes require the swiss cheese effect.

Yep it takes two to tango here, for even the kind of scenario in the first post to trigger a war both the US and the UK would want to fight a war with each other. And frankly neither one does.

The US might not have liked the UK blockade in abstract, but in reality they pretty much acquiesced to it at the governmental level (they understood the necessity of teh blockade for the UK and more tangentially realised that should they ever need to do one they'll need the UK to support them as well, aka 'friends help friends maintain blockades'). So even in the above scenario I'd expect to see lots of:

"look we're really sorry we fired upon and sunk a US flagged blockade runner, of course we will compensate those involved but how can we ensure such a tragic, unfortunate action doesn't re-occur" from the British,

but also a lot of:

"obviously we can't have you sinking US flagged ships and we appreciate the offer of compensation as sign of you sincerity in this, but I agree we will do our best to ensure no more US flagged ships try and run the blockade" from the US.

the net result will likely be US ships will be advised do not try and run the UK blockade but abide by the RN's instructions.

One other point there is a range of measures a surface fleet can go with when it comes to a ship ignoring instructions to halt and receive inspection, that are higher up the escalation ladder than asking nicely, but lower down than blowing them clean out the water. So in reality barring some weird mistake or bad luck any ship that actually forces the RN to blow it out of the water has likely done something really extreme and thus likely mitigating.
 
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