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Old August 12th, 2018, 03:14 PM   #1

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Hughes wins in 1916; is the US as isolationist in the 1920s & 1930s as in real life?


Would the US have been as isolationist in the 1920s and 1930s if Charles Evans Hughes rather than Woodrow Wilson won the US Presidency in 1916?

Had Hughes won, I would imagine that he'd still take the US into WWI in 1917 and be more willing to compromise in the US Senate (which, in this TL, will probably be controlled by Democrats after the 1918 election) than Wilson was in real life. In turn, this could mean that the US would join something resembling the league of Nations (I don't know if it would have the exact same format as in real life, but I suspect that it would be pretty similar) and also possibly ratify a treaty of alliance (the security treaty) with Britain and France after the end of World War I.

Now, the question is this--would the US have still returned to a state of semi-isolationism in the 1920s and 1930s in this scenario? For instance, would isolationists in the US Congress (and please keep in mind that if the Republican Hughes wins in 1916, the Democrats probably win control of Congress in 1918 and control of the Presidency in 1920) try to end the US alliance with Britain and France at the earliest possible opportunity? If so, would they actually succeed in doing this?

Also, would the US be more alert and prepared for the threat of Nazism in Germany in the 1930s in this scenario if Hitler and the Nazis still come to power in Germany in the early 1930s in this scenario? Would the US be prepared to form an anti-Hitler coalition with Britain and France in the late 1930s in this scenario, or would the US insist on staying on the sidelines as in real life but trying to help Britain and France in any way that it can short of war?

Any thoughts on all of this?
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Old August 12th, 2018, 03:49 PM   #2
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It's funny cause Hughes was the more interventionist choice and the voters went with mr "he kept us out of war".

The main thing that would be missing is Wilson's academic blueprint to transform the international system. The settlement for WWI would probably be far more within traditional boundaries. Likely would be no League of Nations(something that was all Wilson) and no 13 points, no advocacy for self determination as anything more than a talking point coinciding with American interests. With no League of Nations and no fear of loss of sovereignty there would thus be really no need for Henry Lodge and co to block the Treaty of Versailles.

"Now, the question is this--would the US have still returned to a state of semi-isolationism in the 1920s and 1930s in this scenario? For instance, would isolationists in the US Congress (and please keep in mind that if the Republican Hughes wins in 1916, the Democrats probably win control of Congress in 1918 and control of the Presidency in 1920) try to end the US alliance with Britain and France at the earliest possible opportunity? If so, would they actually succeed in doing this?"

Yes I do think so. I think something similar to Washington Naval Treaty happens no matter what and the US would have no desire to change the status quo and would try to disengage. I would bet heavily on Hughes getting a second term given Republicans overwhelming electoral advantage between the civil war and 1932. Not so sure Democrats would try to use isolationism against Hughes and I'm not so sure Hughes would be so opposed to this as Wilson which means it would be less of an issue.

With no Wilson, I see the rise of Mussolini being directly prevented as Wilson's disdain of secret treaties and self determination was a huge factor in the Italians being upset and thus going Fascist. Honestly I have no idea how this would effect anything else and I think stuff not attached to the US and US demands at Versailles largely remain unchanged. So everything caused because of Mussolini goes away IMO but that's largely it. This would make Hitler more difficult to defeat long term as he'd likely only be facing a war on two rather than three fronts. Maybe the Italians would join the Allies anyway though if they weren't Fascist, maybe Hitler would conquer them in a separate confrontation in the early years of WWII. Hard to say since we don't really know what would happen. Maybe the Italians actually deter Hitler from attacking France. I think Italy is the key to the change in this scenario though, US would largely be in the same place because Wilson's vision was not implemented and I don't see a reason why things would go any different on the US end of things.

Last edited by Emperor of Wurttemburg 43; August 12th, 2018 at 03:53 PM.
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