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Old August 28th, 2015, 03:45 PM   #121
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"which was motivated by the success of the British blockade against Germany that was literally starving German civilians to death. But that unrestricted submarine warfare was the result of American businesspeople violating the rules of neutrality by trading unrestrictedly with Britain while using the excuse of the British blockade to not trade with Germany"

False - no Germans were starving to death in 1916.
False - US businesses did not violate any rule of neutrality by trading with Britian,
False - US business were willing to trade with Germany and indeed did, the British blockade just stopped it happening in volume.

And going back to some other post there was NO food rationing in the US in WW!. meatless days etc were a voluntary thing promoted by Hoover. THere was plenty of meat available,
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Old August 28th, 2015, 06:43 PM   #122
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Ref the British Blockade of Germany in WW1 & the famine situation in 1918/1919.

Germany could actually feed itself without the need to import food (and unlike France, Belgium & Poland its fields were not being fought over). What really caused German agricultural production to collapse was the mass call of of farm workers and as important farm horses for war service.

The German Army/Govt was aware that if they called up farmers/farm horses food production would be hit and that they would have limited ability to import due to cost and the blockade. But they decided to take the risk anyway probably in the belief that the war would be fairly short.

In the event this decision went badly wrong when the war lasted rather longer than the plan and also Germany had a couple of would have been bad harvests even if half its farmers and farm horses were not dieing at the front.

Earlier poster said that German could have won WWI if it had not rushed its 1918 offensive. I think this rather ignores the fact that by 1918 even without the Americans showing up Germany either had to win quickly or surrender so it could redeploy men and horses back to agriculture. Any delay would lead to Starvation and Revolution such as hit Russia in 1917 for much the same reasons.

And would have no doubt hit France & the UK but they were able to keep going for longer to to imports.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:13 PM   #123
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Originally Posted by Futurist View Post
Even without all of this knowledge, though, was the Entente really "getting the better of it" in early 1917? After all, Germany was already able to occupy Russia up to the Riga area and was also able to stop the Brusilov Offensive in its tracks at Lake Naroch. Plus, France and Britain were unable to make significant advances on the Western Front since 1914 (when they pushed the Germans back at the Marne).

Indeed, even without all of this knowledge, World War I appears to have been a stalemate (a stalemate which the Allies might not have been able to tip in their favor) in 1917.

I didn't say they were getting the better of it - only that to outward appearances they seemed to be.

1916 had been an "Annus Horribilis" for the Germans. Their army had had to fight both Verdun and the Somme, while also scraping up troops to help Austria fight off the Brusilov Offensive. They had made it through, but seemingly only just.

And 1917 promised to be worse. Though Brusilov had in the end failed, the Russian armies had performed considerably better in 1916 than in 1915, and seemed to have overcome the worst of their munitions problems. There seemed every likelihood that they would be even more formidable next year.

Ditto the British Army. The Somme had been awful, but with conscription, the losses would soon be replaced, while the survivors (the large majority) would be far more seasoned and experienced next year. In short, 1917 promised to be a rerun of 1916, but with the Entente getting inexorably stronger vis a vis Germany. Add to that the fact that the blockade was finally starting to bite, and German prospects for 1917 looked very grim indeed.

This, of course, is why Germany went for USW at this point, and sent that silly telegram to Mexico. They were discounting US intervention because it no longer seemed to matter. US forces could not reach Europe in any strength before 1918, and if things went on as they were, Germany was unlikely to last that long - unless the U-boats could pull victory from the jaws of defeat. This no doubt is why Von Holtzendorff's highly questionable promises didn't receive more critical examination. His listeners desperately wanted to believe him, as it seemed their only hope.

This, of course, was also how it seemed to the Allies (save a few in HM Treasury who knew how bad Britain's finances were) and to the neutrals. There was no reason for Wilson to be an exception - and no evidence that he was.


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To be fair, though, this desire of Wilson's certainly wasn't a bad thing; however, I wish that there was a way for the U.S. to get a seat at the post-World War I peace table without it enduring so many military casualties beforehand.
So did Wilson. What actually happened wasn't at all what he planned.



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Do you have a source that states that Wilson expected the Entente to win World War I in 1917?
I can't see much sign that he gave the matter much thought. On the available information he had no reason to think anything else, and his War Message expresses no concern about the consequences of a German victory, presumably because there was no expectation of one.

Those around him certainly overestimated the Entente. At the time of his Dec 1916 peace moves, House and Lansing expressed concern that should Germany accept his proposals and the Entente reject them, America might "drift into a sympathetic alliance with Germany" which might cause the Allies to 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, they believed (or said they believed) that the Allies could not only beat Germany, but even take on the US as well.

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Out of curiosity, though--do you think that the Democrats would have performed (much) better in the 1918 midterm elections if World War I would have ended a week or two earlier? After all, didn't World War I end shortly after the 1918 midterm elections in real life?
Not hugely. It only had six days left to run. People already knew that all Germany's allies had quit and that her position was hopeless. She had sought an armistice as far back as October 4, and there were already premature rumours of one being agreed. That didn't stop the Democrats being clobbered. Americans were tired and fed up.

It is conceivable that the Democrats might have retained control of the Senate - even if only by Vice-President Marshall's casting vote - as some of the races were very close. But given the voting figures on the Treaty of Versailles, I can't see that being anywhere near enough to save it.

Last edited by Mikestone8; August 28th, 2015 at 11:25 PM.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:21 PM   #124
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[QUOTE=pugsville;2286985And going back to some other post there was NO food rationing in the US in WW!. meatless days etc were a voluntary thing promoted by Hoover. THere was plenty of meat available,[/QUOTE]


It wasn't compulsory on paper, but the pressure to comply was pretty strong.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:25 PM   #125

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Originally Posted by Mikestone8 View Post
I didn't say they were getting the better of it - only that to outward appearances they seemed to be.

1916 had been an "Annus Horribilis" for the Germans. Their army had had to fight both Verdun and the Somme, while also scraping up troops to help Austria fight off the Brusilov Offensive. They had made it through, but seemingly only just.

And 1917 promised to be worse. Though Brusilov had in the end failed, the Russian armies had performed considerably better in 1916 than in 1915, and seemed to have overcome the worst of their munitions problems. There seemed every likelihood that they would be even more formidable next year.

Ditto the British Army. The Somme had been awful, but with conscription, the losses would soon be replaced, while the survivors (the large majority) would be far more seasoned and experienced next year. In short, 1917 promised to be a rerun of 1916, but with the Entente getting inexorably stronger vis a vis Germany. Add to that the fact that the blockade was finally starting to bite, and German prospects for 1917 looked very grim indeed.

This, of course, is why Germany went for USW at this point, and sent that silly telegram to Mexico. They were discounting US intervention because it no longer seemed to matter. US forces could not reach Europe in any strength before 1918, and if things went on as they were, Germany was unlikely to last that long - unless the U-boats could pull victory from the jaws of defeat. This no doubt is why Von Holtzendorff's highly questionable promises didn't receive more critical examination. His listeners desperately wanted to believe him, as it seemed their only hope.

This, of course, was also how it seemed to the Allies (save a few in HM Treasury who knew how bad Britain's finances were) and to the neutrals. There was no reason for Wilson to be an exception - and no evidence that he was.
Fair enough, I suppose. Of course, this raises the question--if Tsar Nicholas II's regime in Russia hypothetically collapses several months earlier than it did in real life, does Germany still make the decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare?

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So did Wilson. What actually happened wasn't at all what he planned.
OK.

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I can't see much sign that he gave the matter much thought. On the available information he had no reason to think anything else, and his War Message expresses no concern about the consequences of a German victory, presumably because there was no expectation of one.
Didn't Wilson say that the U.S. needs to make the world safe for democracy, though? If so, then why exactly would the U.S. need to do this if the Entente are already quite capable of doing this themselves?

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Those around him certainly overestimated the Entente. At the time of his Dec 1916 peace moves, House and Lansing expressed concern that should Germany accept his proposals and the Entente reject hem, America might "drift into a sympathetic alliance with Germany" which might cause the Allies to 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, they believed (or said they believed) that the Allies could not only beat Germany, but even take on the US as well.
I honestly find it hard to imagine that House and Lansing were serious when they said this. After all, the Entente would need to be utter idiots in order to declare war on the U.S. (a.k.a. their creditor)!

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Not hugely. It only had six days left to run. People already knew that all Germany's allies had quit and that her position was hopeless. She had sought an armistice as far back as October 4, and there were already premature rumours of one being agreed. That didn't stop the Democrats being clobbered. Americans were tired and fed up.

It is conceivable that the Democrats might have retained control of the Senate - even if only by Vice-President Marshall's casting vote - as some of the races were very close. But given the voting figures on the Treaty of Versailles, I can't see that being anywhere near enough to save it.
OK.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:25 PM   #126

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It wasn't compulsory on paper, but the pressure to comply was pretty strong.
What's wrong with being a vegetarian, though?
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:26 PM   #127

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Also, for what it's worth, I consider the (partial) victory of national self-determination to be one of the best, if not the best, consequences of the Entente/Allied victory in World War I in real life.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:28 PM   #128

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The issues with the Austrian and Sudeten Germans could have been resolved later on, though. After all, both Austria and the Sudetenland would have probably still been a part of Germany today had Adolf Hitler not overreached and gone to war with Poland in late 1939.

Yes, the Versailles settlement certainly had some flaws, but diplomacy could have dealt with and fixed these flaws later on.
Also, it is worth noting that, unlike the Sudetenland itself, the overwhelming majority of the Sudeten Germans are already a part of the German Reich right now.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:53 PM   #129
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Fair enough, I suppose. Of course, this raises the question--if Tsar Nicholas II's regime in Russia hypothetically collapses several months earlier than it did in real life, does Germany still make the decision to resume unrestricted submarine warfare?
Quite possibly not - a point which Churchill noted in his World Crisis only a couple of years later.

And it came darned close to happening. In late October, 1916, there was a general strike in St Petersburg, and at one extremely hairy moment, troops were ordered to open fire on the strikers, but fired on the police instead!.

Cossacks were hastily called in and restored order, but had they taken longer to show up (or had the rebellious troops been able to hold them off) things could easily have spiralled out of control, and the Tsar fallen four or five months earlier.

This could well have "aborted" the decision for USW.

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Didn't Wilson say that the U.S. needs to make the world safe for democracy, though? If so, then why exactly would the U.S. need to do this if the Entente are already quite capable of doing this themselves?
In Wilson's opinion they weren't. He didn't see them as fighting for democracy or for a just peace, which is why he was anxious to be in at the peace conference. He had convinced himself that he and only he could obtain the right sort of peace, which was a factor in his decision to abandon neutrality.



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I honestly find it hard to imagine that House and Lansing were serious when they said this. After all, the Entente would need to be utter idiots in order to declare war on the U.S. (a.k.a. their creditor)!
I too find it hard to know what to make of this business. If they were just trying to bamboozle the President in the hope of stopping his peace feelers, he should have gotten rid of them both.
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Old August 28th, 2015, 11:59 PM   #130
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Are you really an isolationist?

I'm not even an American. I just call the shots as I see them.

The economic things you mention might be an added reason tor Wilson to want to be at the peace table, but I can't see much sign that he would have gone to war for that reason (he was still dithering as late as March 19) had the Germans not all but kicked him into it.
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