what if? - Page 2 - Politics Forum.org | PoFo

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The First World War (1914-1918).
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By Section Leader
#13965952
Dave wrote:Germany was superior to France in population, industrial output, technical sophistication, and in military arts. It also directly bordered France.

The Treaty of Versailles had castrated Germany, they were limited to an army of 100,000 men and were not allowed to keep their submarines or large battleships, they just went back to the drawing board and started again. They built superiority, as superiority can be built in any field. Complacency is probably the single most major cause of military defeat in human history.

With the (arguable) exception of military arts, the exact opposite is true with respect to Britain and America. There is no common border (not counting Canada, a 10% version of America) and America was superior in manpower and industry.

And you think this superiority couldn't be beaten no matter what? Overconfidence in your own ability is what loses wars. The Germans thought defeating the Soviet Union would be a simple matter, and then Stalin rebounded and ended up at the gates of Berlin.

America would simply invade Canada (cutting off an important source of manpower and food), embargo the Entente (cutting off American supplies of food, industrial production, and loans), attack British possessions in the Caribbean and Pacific, and support the Kaiserliche Marine in the North Atlantic. The established powers you refer to, with the exception of the Russian Empire (which lost), all had less manpower than America so I don't know what you're talking about. The British Empire in total had significantly more manpower than America, but good luck attempting to impose conscription in India and Africa given that it wasn't even possible in Canada.

I think it's amusing how you think the US could overextend itself to this degree, the Japanese fell into the same trap in WWII.
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By Dave
#13965957
Section Leader wrote:The Treaty of Versailles had castrated Germany, they were limited to an army of 100,000 men and were not allowed to keep their submarines or large battleships, they just went back to the drawing board and started again. They built superiority, as superiority can be built in any field. Complacency is probably the single most major cause of military defeat in human history.

That's all true, but you're just not understanding my basic point. The United States was superior to Britain in demographic, industrial, and technical terms. Similarly, Germany was superior to France in the same aspects.

This basic superiority Germany enjoyed over France--and Britain for that matter--made rearming a tempting prospect. And not only that, but Germany bordered France. Who does Britain border?

If you want to project this into the future, the America of 1939 had even more superiority over Britain than the terms in 1914. Britain's population wasn't greater at all in 1939, but America's had increased to 140m.

Section Leader wrote:And you think this superiority couldn't be beaten no matter what? Overconfidence in your own ability is what loses wars. The Germans thought defeating the Soviet Union would be a simple matter, and then Stalin rebounded and ended up at the gates of Berlin.

Of course I don't think it was unbeatable no matter what. But you posited a silly scenario in which a revanchist Britain in the future invaded Canada and America, a dubious proposition given American economic and demographic superiority. What would Britain do, build up a massive navy with imported raw materials unnoticed and then blitzkrieg across North America? Silly.

Your choice of the Soviet Union is a poor analogy. The USSR outnumbered Germany and was not dependent on imported raw materials. Its industrial output was comparable to Germany. Britain is a lot more like Germany than the Soviet Union, except it didn't enjoy technical superiority over America (or industrial parity) like Germany did over the USSR.

Section Leader wrote:I think it's amusing how you think the US could overextend itself to this degree, the Japanese fell into the same trap in WWII.

What over-extension? Canada directly borders America and was sparsely populated. The RN was primarily deployed in the North Sea to face the world's (then) second largest navy. The USN was in turn slightly smaller than the Kaiserliche Marine, with an ongoing ambitious building program which would see it reach parity with the Royal Navy by 1920.

Japan attacked two superior powers both with larger navies (Britain and America) and its allies had weak navies. Additionally, Japan was far weaker in industrial and technical terms than Britain and America and weaker than America in manpower.

Japan was also nearly totally dependent on imports for raw materials.

The situations are not comparable at all.
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By Section Leader
#13965962
Dave wrote:Of course I don't think it was unbeatable no matter what. But you posited a silly scenario in which a revanchist Britain in the future invaded Canada and America, a dubious proposition given American economic and demographic superiority. What would Britain do, build up a massive navy with imported raw materials unnoticed and then blitzkrieg across North America? Silly.

Not as silly as the United States trying to dominate the entire Pacific AND occupying Canada, supply lines are needed for fighting far away from home against hostile powers don'tcha know, as the Germans learned.

Your entire argument hinges on "America was superior, hurr", your figures may or may not be accurate, but there was a time was there not when US steel output (for example) was inferior to Britain's? Thus demolishing this beam your entire argument is leaning on, superiority can be built. I would not be surprised if a defeated Britain embarked on a Lebensborn style project to increase the white population of the British Empire to more than the population of the United States. Australia would probably end up as the home of the majority of the British population since it can support a higher population than the UK proper and has the vital resources necessary.
Last edited by Section Leader on 20 May 2012 21:32, edited 1 time in total.
User avatar
By Dave
#13965967
USN strength in the Pacific overwhelmingly exceeded RN strength in peacetime, unsurprisingly as the US is a Pacific Power. Britain was allied with Japan during WWI, but the IJN was at that time nothing like the force it was in 1941 as was quite weak compared to the USN. During WWI, the bulk of the RN was in the North Sea to contain the Kaiserliche Marine and blockade Germany.

So the US dominating the Pacific in this scenario is not only realistic, it is all but assured.

I don't know why you think the USA invading Canada, a country with 10% America's population and 90% of said population within 100 miles of the US border is unrealistic...especially with most Canadian forces in France fighting the Germans.

America's steel output surpassed Britain's in the 1880s. America is naturally industrially superior to Britain owing to its larger population and vastly richer endowment of raw materials, given that both countries were endowed with high quality populations. It was simply a matter of "catching up" to Britain's early lead.

I suspect your patriotism is simply blinding you to the obvious.
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By Section Leader
#13965970
Dave wrote:USN strength in the Pacific overwhelmingly exceeded RN strength in peacetime, unsurprisingly as the US is a Pacific Power. Britain was allied with Japan during WWI, but the IJN was at that time nothing like the force it was in 1941 as was quite weak compared to the USN. During WWI, the bulk of the RN was in the North Sea to contain the Kaiserliche Marine and blockade Germany.

So the US dominating the Pacific in this scenario is not only realistic, it is all but assured.

And if this scenario looked likely, the RN would give up on winning the war in Europe and head out to smash the USN. Military strategists are not stupid, defence of the empire would be seen as far more important than containing Germany.

I don't know why you think the USA invading Canada, a country with 10% America's population and 90% of said population within 100 miles of the US border is unrealistic...especially with most Canadian forces in France fighting the Germans.

America's steel output surpassed Britain's in the 1880s. America is naturally industrially superior to Britain owing to its larger population and vastly richer endowment of raw materials, given that both countries were endowed with high quality populations. It was simply a matter of "catching up" to Britain's early lead.

And the territories possessed by the British Empire didn't offer the opportunity to match and exceed that? It would be a simple matter especially in Africa, to sweep the natives out of the way and into Bantustans and turn almost all the colonies into white majority states with a population density almost equal to the UK mainland.

I suspect your patriotism is simply blinding you to the obvious.

I suspect much the same with your obsession with American "superiority".
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By Cookie Monster
#13966033
Dave wrote:That's all true, but you're just not understanding my basic point. The United States was superior to Britain in demographic, industrial, and technical terms. Similarly, Germany was superior to France in the same aspects.
To add, the US also had the advantage of a strategic depth; both in terms of the oceans protracting any potential troop movement from the Eurasian continent and in terms of America's continental span, protecting its inner lands from maritime powers. Moreover the US had most of its forces concentrated within North America as opposed to the Brits who had their forces spread across Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. Overall the US would be in a clear advantage but I suspect the Brits could perhaps exploit Canada's vastness as an advantage by perhaps reverting to guerilla warfare.

And if this scenario looked likely, the RN would give up on winning the war in Europe and head out to smash the USN. Military strategists are not stupid, defence of the empire would be seen as far more important than containing Germany.
And which forces would stop the Germans from eventually crossing the Channel? :eh:
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By Red_Army
#13966060
Its funny that Section Leader is using the potential for US soldiers to be too far spread as a negative, when he's talking about the British Empire...

The US would not have to go too far outside of its sphere of influence in the Caribbean, Canada, and the Pacific, to give the UK something to worry about. This would make their ability to contain the Central Powers much more precarious at least, and since they didn't have a guaranteed dominance at all throughout the whole conflict, I find it hard to understand how you could claim any hope for victory. Granted, an invasion of the UK would be difficult, but not ultimately necessary for either the US or the Central Powers to achieve huge gains.

Just think, if this had happened then the USSR would have been stripped of the Ukraine, and possibly completely prevented.

It is an interesting scenario, and one that I can't say that I would really have a problem with from the American perspective. There was nothing objectively better about the British Empire than the German one. The strangling of the Russian revolution would be unfortunate, but who can say what would have happened instead? Also, the Nazis wouldn't have happened.

All in all, this just goes to show that the UK and France were responsible for the Holodomor, the Holocaust, the Great Purges, and every death that occurred during the second world war, way to go you gang of dicks :roll:
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By Dave
#13966526
Section Leader wrote:And if this scenario looked likely, the RN would give up on winning the war in Europe and head out to smash the USN. Military strategists are not stupid, defence of the empire would be seen as far more important than containing Germany.

Abandoning the North Sea would end the blockade of Germany (a critical factor in Germany's defeat), unleash the Kaiserliche Marine into the North Atlantic, and even expose mainland Britain to invasion.

Section Leader wrote:And the territories possessed by the British Empire didn't offer the opportunity to match and exceed that? It would be a simple matter especially in Africa, to sweep the natives out of the way and into Bantustans and turn almost all the colonies into white majority states with a population density almost equal to the UK mainland.

This is all true and it is something Britain should have done with its empire, but sadly it did not. I also liked your earlier suggestion of a "Lebensborn" program for Australia.

I suggest you read Correlli Barnett's The Pride and the Fall sequence to see why this is highly unlikely. Britain's leadership in that period (and today for that matter) was highly moralistic and influenced by attitudes from nonconformist, evangelical Christianity--hence why they were so easily duped by Hitler. Your suggestions would be seen as wrong. Of course a major military defeat could've changed those attitudes.

In any case the breeding program you suggest would require several generations to bring the advantage you desire.
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By The Immortal Goon
#13966700
It might also be pointed out that Canadians were hardly flag waving British imperialists at the time. Up until about WWI there was a massive amount of correspondence between Canada and London about the prospect of Canadians organizing to join the US.

We tend to think of the line being static, and the idea of Canadian nationalism having always existed. But it didn't—the vast majority of people didn't move to Canada to be Canadian, but to not be in Europe.

Those hard copies of letters virtually disappear around 1914, which makes sense as censorship of this kind of thing greatly increased and the governments had better things to worry about, but while there certainly would have been some kind of patriotic frenzy amongst some in Canada—most of those people would be a thousand miles away. There would still be some native resistance, and certainly some people who thought the US was overstepping its bounds, but a significant portion Canadian population—especially in Quebec and the west—would have greeted an American invasion with a shrug of the shoulders at worst. It probably wouldn't have garnered anywhere near the enthusiasm of the populace that Belgium did.

More money, more enthusiasm, more supplies, more resources, more military, more veteran units—I just don't see how Great Britain would have been able to hold on to Canada.
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By Dave
#13966775
Great Britain agreed with you, which is why the policy of the Foreign Office was good relations with America and a tacit ceding of primacy in the Western Hemisphere to the United States. Britain understood very well that Canada was not militarily defensible in the face of determined belligerence from south of the 49th.
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By Demosthenes
#13966785
Lets not forget a few other things, and to preface I'm in basic agreement with FRS, Dave, and TiG.

The US, via Wilson's idiot dreams, was supplying the UK and France with a fair amount of weapons and other war materials via civilian ships. This is what eventually got the ire of the Germans going. I have read accounts that the Lusitania was carrying a pretty heavy cargo of arms bound for the UK.

As FRS noted in the beginning the elites in the US were who they've always been: The descendents of the Puritans and a few Johnny-come-latelys (including some Texans). The elite, the wall street bunch, had the ties FRS talked about to the UK. The people of the US were hardly tied to the the UK in any measurable way and certainly had far more enmity for the nation than Germany. (I know, this was said already mostly).

At any rate, the idea that the UK was in any position to challenge a coalition that included Germany and the US is quite silly, and fanciful. Germany fought three (well, with some second tier help) powers to a stand still while they were being supplied with US war materials. Had the US come in the other way (But say, stayed away from fighting France, which even I admit was not in US interests at all), this wouldn't even be a discussion. Further, they defeated one of those powers (mostly) in knocking Russia out of the war.

Let's not forget the cutting of the trans-Atlantic cables by the British in order to control news of the war going to the US as well. That event helped keep the US public in the dark, and created a very pro-UK bent to the events going on over there.

I assure you Section Leader, I am no nationalist, and secondly that I am more than willing to challenge Dave if I think he's wrong, but in this particular arena the agreement is nearly universally against the... far fetched scenario you are suggesting.
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By R_G
#14178928
As has been said, I think Canada becomes part of the United States. I do not think America ventures deeper into Mexico.

In terms of cross-atlantic intervention in Europe? I don't think it happens. The United States entered the war just over a year before its end due to financial ties to France and Britain and prolonged warfare. I personally don't think the war lasts as long if the United States offers no support to Britain and France, although the friendship between the French and Americans was rather high, so it's hard to see them not siding with France.



What would have been interesting is if the United States truly maintained neutrality between France and Germany and just conquered Canada.

Then Germany wins WWI...........
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