”What if the US Joined the Central Powers in the Great War?”

An Educated Speculation on What Could Have Been

Context:

In real history the United States joined the Allies in the first Weltkrieg because of President Woodrow Wilson and Allied Propaganda. Here this is not the case, for in this alternated reality, Theodore Roosevelt gets the Republican Party nomination and is hence elected to a 2nd term as President of the United States by a massive margin in 1912. Two years into his second term however, Arch-Duke Franz Ferdinand of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is assassinated, marking the first fallen domino in the spiral of events that led to the Great War, and so all of Europe is once again at war. The US goes a year into the war as a neutral nation that trades with all for profit.

Sinking of the USS Birmingham

On August 17, 1915, the British Royal Navy’s His Majesty’s Submarine (HMS) E-22 torpedoes and sinks an unarmed American merchant vessel that was en route to Danzig for international trade with the German Empire, the United States Ship (USS) Birmingham in the Danish Belts. Americans are outraged!

Aftermath

The public in the US demand war! Roosevelt knows he must address congress, but also knows if he gets into a global war, it might be more than 1 man alone can plan for. So, on April 20th, 1916, he gathers his best generals together and forms them into the Joint Chiefs of Staff Committee by use of his executive power. Their purpose is to devise plans for the perceived war on the horizon. The very next day, Roosevelt addresses congress to call for reparations from the British Empire for the attack or else it is war! The reply from England arrives a week later. The demand for reparations has been denied, so congress votes for war with England, Italy, and France (including their colonies/territories) which is decided by a total margin. All members of congress voted for war. America enters the Great War as a new contestant.

June 1915

Kaiser Wilhelm II, the monarch of the German Empire, publicly condemns the desperate, unrestricted submarine warfare tactics pioneered by the British Empire as yet another attempt to undermine the sovereignty and neutrality of non-combatant nations, even citing British troop stationing and military action in Greece whom was also neutral earlier in the war. The Kaiser sends a request to the President to meet and discuss a possible alliance against England by way of telegraph.

July 1, 1915

War Plan Crimson, created by the Chiefs of Staff, is enacted, the US invades Canada in a preemptive strike! Attacking from the Northern United States, troops under the command of Major General John J. Pershing march into Canada, destroying the dominion militia, police, garrison troops as well as anyone else who dared try to halt the onslaught. He quickly subjugates Montreal, Ottawa, Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Quebec City, as many French-Canadians joined the advancing American armies because of the conscription crisis caused by them not wanting to fight the King’s false war. Meanwhile, Brigadier General Douglas MacArthur and his army undertake a brilliant naval landing in Halifax, covered by the shore bombardment provided by the naval fleet under the command of Admiral Dewey in the eastern campaigns. The US Alaska Command under General Leslie McNair take Vancouver, which falls to them in days. Hence, within a week, the British Empire is wiped from the continent, with their other territorial possessions declaring independence under US protection provided by the Monroe Doctrine.

December 1915

Battered and demoralized Canadian servicemen stranded on the Western Front in Europe desert from and revolt against the Imperial Military in an effort to return to their homeland, as do the Irish. This turn of events is welcome news to the United States Government, who encourages them to return home and join the US military if they wish to take revenge on their former masters, who did nothing to aid in the defense of Canada and oppressed the Irish.

January 1916

After being escorted to the US by the United States and German Navy, Kaiser Wilhelm II and President Roosevelt meet in newly taken Halifax. Shortly thereafter the meeting is concluded and the 2 leaders issue a joint statement that the US will be joining the Central Powers, pledging that the British Empire will be shattered and then held accountable for their innumerable crimes.

February 1916

American-German naval cooperation allows the first US troops to successfully cross the Atlantic and arrive in Germany at their port in Hamburg. Upon arrival there, German Field Marshal Paul Von Hindenburg sets out personally to meet them as well as their recently promoted commander General of the Armies Pershing and congratulate him on his promotion. After the pleasantries preside, the 2 generals discuss how and where the American Expeditionary Force (AEF) will be deployed. It is soon agreed upon that AEF servicemen will be trained by German officers in the arts of drills, modern warfare, flaying, trench warfare as well as a new concept of how to fight war; armoured warfare wit the US officers training the Germans in Guerrilla tactics and hit-and-runs. US and German engineers create plans for the first tank; the A7V, which are quickly put into mass production.

March 1916

War Plan Red-Gold, coupled with German plans for the Somme Offensive, result in a totally new plan, codenamed Operation Kaiserlacht (Kaiser’s Battle). This ambitious operation deploys newly retrained US troops along German lines from the northern edge of Belgium, all the way to their southern border with France. Verdun is quickly overwhelmed by the new firepower from the Americans and their troops, giving the worn Germans time to recover. At the River Somme, the desperate English defenders fail to halt the tidal wave of US Marines storming across the river, even with their new Mark IV tanks. Much like the French failure to hold the abhorrently fortified Verdun against the superior might of the US Army’s superior artillery and the elite German infantry, they too were hopelessly doomed from the start.

April 1916

US troops reclaim Alsace-Lorraine for the German Empire, as simultaneously Strasbourg, Amiens and Reims fall to the joint force. However, Marshal of France Joffre once again halts them there from advancing any further with his second defensive miracle of the war, using hastily scrambled together militias and last ditch fortifications. This buys him time to reorganize what’s left of the main allied force, which had been thrown into chaos under the pretext of the previous month’s breakthrough. Elsewhere, Brigadier General Billy Mitchell heads the USAAF. He sees the Royal Navy as being the last and greatest threat to victory in Europe, as the RFC had been completely annihilated earlier in the war by new American fighter planes. So he devise a counter-tactic to British naval dominance; destroy them from the air, a plan which the president soon endorses. The effect of this counter-tactic is devastating, as ship after ship is destroyed by Mitchell’s naval bombers. Hence the royal fleet, once the most powerful in the world, is brought low, after being rendered defenseless from air attacks. What’s left of the decimated fleet is easy prey for German U-Boats, who travel in packs, and pick off the remnants, one by one.

May 1916

President Roosevelt, frustrated by the stalemate, decides to put the squeeze on the British through authorization of a new plan made by the Joint Chiefs of Staff; Operation Kindred Spirit. This plan entails arming the Irish Republican Army, then intervention into the Irish War of Independence from British rule which is in full swing. It’s name is derived from the 2 nations similar histories. The propaganda value of such an action draws in immense support from droves Irish-Americans who flock to enlistment centers, eager to free their homeland and families who were fighting there for freedom from the oppressive yoke of British Rule. The undertaking of this plan is entrusted to General MacArthur, who lands in Belfast, the last British stronghold in Ireland by this time, and decimates the garrison, banishing the British Empire from the island for good. After this great victory, he is greeted by the IRA and Irish citizens who welcome him as a liberator.

June 1916

With American funding, weapons, supplies and training, the Boers in South Africa provoke the 3rd Boer War, 2nd Maritz Rebellion, to throw off the chains of servitude from the British and be free of their influence. The leaders of the original revolts are freed as the US Navy bombards the shoreline. As a direct result of American support, the rebels are able to attain total victory and link up with German Mittel-Afrika.

November 1916

The loss 2 more allied nations ruptures morale, which inevitably leads to the fall of Paris, and the end of the War to End All Wars with the Treaty of Versailles signed on November 11th, 1916. Germany gains most of Afrika and reclaims Alsace Lorraine. The United States annexes Canada, connecting Alaska to the rest of the mainland US, and is ceded French Indochina. So begins the trials for war criminals like British Field Marshal Douglas ”Butcher” Haig, who is sentenced to death and executed, after having not only POWs but also his own men for no reason in particular. The panel of judges are from the US, Britain, Italy, France, Germany and Austro-Hungary. Meanwhile, Italian-Americans and Italians alike are outraged by Marshal of Italy Luigi Cadorna’s barbarity, which was to a point where he brought back the Ancient Roman practice of Decimation, and horrific casualties during the war, as calls for him to be tried become louder and louder, with even Roosevelt himself demanding Cadorna be held accountable, as he sees him as an honorless coward that was disloyal to both his government and his own men. Happy to oblige the people, the German and Austro-Hungarian Empires answer the calls. On his way to court however, he is viciously hacked apart by an angry mob consisting of his former soldiers as well as some civilians, who’s friends and family were slain or sent to be slain by the malignant General Cadorna. Roosevelt is elected again by another record margin of votes due to his victory in the Great War and minimal casualties suffered in the aforementioned.

Reasoning

The reasoning is based on the cultural norms, attitudes as well as behaviors of the people and governments of the time. Politically, the Kaiser would have condemned acts of neutrality violation, and Roosevelt wanted to be the world police. These conclusions are supported by the actions of leaders both in other timelines and our own. Regardless, in every timeline, the might of the US Military is difficult to exaggerate, and it shows out in war.

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