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Old March 13th, 2015, 09:26 AM   #101
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They were certainly indebted to US creditors - iirc to the tune of around $2.2 billion at th time America entered the war - but as I said, these were all secured loans, so the lenders would not lost their money whatever the outcome of the war.

Their would of course have been a recession when the war ended and all those munitions etc orders ceased - but that would happen whoever won, and indeed did happen in 1919/20 and gave Harding an added boost to his Presidential campaign - not that he needed it.

With all due respect, the other stuff is 20/20 hindsight. The Russian collapse and the French army mutinies were still in the future when America declared war, and Britain's financial woes were still secret. Indeed, even when they were revealed, the US Treasury at first did not believe them, suspecting GB of exaggerating her woes to get Uncle Sucker to pay for the British war effort. It was necessary to send Balfour to the US with (in effect) a begging bowl, before the financial taps were turned on.

As far as anyone could see, Germany had barely made it through 1916, and 1917 was going to be even worse. Washington's concern was not a German win, but being left out of the peace settlement following the anticipated Entente one.
Russia never really recovered from Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes. They were never able to adequately supply or arm their forces and had been getting pushed steadily backward well before their collapse.

I agree that Britain did manage to hide their economic/financial woes until after American entry....at least the massive extent of their financial woes. I think fears of being left out of the peace settlement were more Wilson's than America's in general. Ironically, the only thing Wilson got was the League of Nations which most Americans did not want and were not interested in.
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Old March 14th, 2015, 02:03 AM   #102
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Russia never really recovered from Tannenberg and Masurian Lakes. They were never able to adequately supply or arm their forces and had been getting pushed steadily backward well before their collapse.
How do you mean "pushed steadily back"?

The Eastern Front in April 1917 was still pretty much where it had been since the end of 1915. The Russian army was indeed demoralised by the failure of the Brusilov offensive, but this wasn't obvious to outside observers. Indeed, after the February Revolution you got a lot of people fantasising about how a free Russia would fight all the harder against "autocracy".


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I agree that Britain did manage to hide their economic/financial woes until after American entry....at least the massive extent of their financial woes. I think fears of being left out of the peace settlement were more Wilson's than America's in general. Ironically, the only thing Wilson got was the League of Nations which most Americans did not want and were not interested in.
I quite agree that it was Wilson rather than Americans in general who wanted to be in at the Peace Conference. But since it was Wilson who made the decision, that was still pretty important.

That said, though, I don't believe he would have gone to war for that reason alone. His back pedalling in late 1916 over the sinking of armed merchantmen (see Devlin) clearly indicates that he was anxious to avoid war unless the Germans kicked him into it - which of course they proceeded to do.

Devlin, incidentally, recounts an incredible conversation between Wilson and Colonel House and Secretary Lansing. Trying desperately to talk him out of his attempt at mediation, they expressed the fear that Germany might accept his proposals whilst the Allies refused them, and that this might cause America to "drift into a sympathetic alliance with Germany", with the result that the Allies might declare war on her. When Wilson responded that they would never dare to do this, House suggested that they might land Japanese troops after destroying the US fleet. IOW, the most pro-Allied members of the Administration apparently believed that the Entente, far from being in danger of defeat, were in a position to take on the US as well as the CPs.

In Nov 1916, Lansing, despite his pro-Entente views, also advised that the Federal Reserve, should bee "slow" to approve loans without collateral. Given his attitude to the war, he would hardly have taken this position had he believed The Allies to be facing financial collapse. He though America likely to be drawn into the war, but (like just about everyone) had no idea that the Allies particularly needed rescuing. That just didn't figure in either his thinking or Wilson's.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 08:02 PM   #103

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Hello there, since my thread here did not seem to attract a lot of attention I am gonna try here by creating a debate, if that is alright.

Should the United States of America have joined the first world war on the side of the entente, or should it have stayed passive?
If enough Americans would have been willing to volunteer to fight in World War I, then Yes, the U.S. certainly should have entered World War I on the side of the Entente/Allies in order to help implement the concept of national self-determination in various parts of Europe.
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Old August 27th, 2015, 09:40 PM   #104
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If enough Americans would have been willing to volunteer to fight in World War I, then Yes, the U.S. certainly should have entered World War I on the side of the Entente/Allies in order to help implement the concept of national self-determination in various parts of Europe.

Was "national self-determination" in Europe really worth the lives of over 100,000 young Americans? How did it benefit them, or the US?

And of course if the principle were applied even-handedly it would mean Austrian and Sudeten Germans being allowed to join Germany - making her a bigger power than ever. A strange reason for going too war against her.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 12:09 AM   #105

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Yes, all Germans need to be confined to their containment zone.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 06:53 AM   #106

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Hello there, since my thread here did not seem to attract a lot of attention I am gonna try here by creating a debate, if that is alright.

Should the United States of America have joined the first world war on the side of the entente, or should it have stayed passive?
Long before Germany introduced unrestricted submarine warfare, Britain systematically violated neutral shipping, including that of the United States. Also, the Entente Powers were fighting for territorial expansion, the Central Powers to consolidate and defend their position in Europe.

In anything, the Americans should have joined the Central Powers.

Last edited by Gaius Julius Civilis; August 28th, 2015 at 07:01 AM.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 07:13 AM   #107
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British violations were not killing Americans, an very important propaganda difference. US trade with the entente was extremely valuable m and the central powers simply could not have been anywhere near as good. (they lacked the ready cash and shipping)
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Old August 28th, 2015, 08:06 AM   #108

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Long before Germany introduced unrestricted submarine warfare, Britain systematically violated neutral shipping, including that of the United States.
But the British did it in a nice gentlemanly way, playing by the rules and paying for all cargos taken, especially with the Americans.

If not they'd simply buy all the war materials Germany wanted themselves.

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Also, the Entente Powers were fighting for territorial expansion, the Central Powers to consolidate and defend their position in Europe.

You'll have to explain that.

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In anything, the Americans should have joined the Central Powers.
Why?
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Old August 28th, 2015, 08:09 AM   #109
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Originally Posted by Gaius Julius Civilis View Post
Long before Germany introduced unrestricted submarine warfare, Britain systematically violated neutral shipping, including that of the United States. Also, the Entente Powers were fighting for territorial expansion, the Central Powers to consolidate and defend their position in Europe.

In anything, the Americans should have joined the Central Powers.
German hegemony on the continent was not in America's interest.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 08:11 AM   #110

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Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
Was "national self-determination" in Europe really worth the lives of over 100,000 young Americans? How did it benefit them, or the US?

And of course if the principle were applied even-handedly it would mean Austrian and Sudeten Germans being allowed to join Germany - making her a bigger power than ever. A strange reason for going too war against her.
No, we had no business getting involved in that war over there. European powers flung themselves into that bed, and they should have slept in it alone. If US businesses wanted to make a few clams selling stuff to those nations, fine. There was no reason to pluck young American men off their farms and out of their towns to train them, corral them, and then ship them overseas to fight with and against European armies.
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