Second Mexican American War in 1919

Discussions on alternate history, including events up to 20 years before today. Hosted by Terry Duncan.
History Learner
Member
Posts: 226
Joined: 19 Jan 2019 09:39
Location: United States

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by History Learner » 13 Jan 2021 05:55

So, the PoD is easy: Wilson recovers a few days later, by which point Secretary of State Lansing and Senator Fall have forced the conflict with Mexico and Wilson has no choice but to persecute it.

Planning done over the course of 1919 suggested about 400,000 troops were needed for the operation, which due to the recent World War were readily available along with large equipment stocks. The direct war planning for the campaign was more embryonic in nation, but was later refined into War Plan Green in the late 1920s quite easily. Basically, the conflict would be a replay of 1846-1848, in that there would be an amphibious landing in Veracruz before commencing an overland invasion from there to Mexico City. In the borderlands to the North, the U.S. would mainly stay static and prevent any Mexican incursions (Think 1916 Columbus Raid) while also probably doing raiding of their own; that strategic points/cities might be occupied too is probably a given.

All together, I wouldn't be surprised if the conflict wraps up within the course of 1920, at least the conventional phase of it. Once Mexico City falls to the U.S. Army, however, it gets difficult. In 1848, the U.S. wasn't seeking to replace the existing Government so they could cut a deal and then get out; here, they are doing the opposite and thus must hunt down officials or sufficiently cut them down that they can install their own replacement. Installing a puppet and then bailing out just isn't going to work here, because the moment they do the original one will overthrow it. As a result, they will need to occupy the whole country and conduct an Anti-Insurgency campaign.

As stated earlier, the U.S. has the advantage of sufficient numbers and a fair amount of institutional memory in this. The Philippine War is recent with lots of officers with experience there, and historically we saw the U.S. do this type of warfare quite well in the Banana Wars. Hell, 1920 isn't that far removed from the last of the Indian Wars either. As an added final bonus, the Mexican populace as a whole is pretty tired; they've just come out of a decade long Civil War with up to 2.7 million casualties, or roughly the same amount of casualties the USSR took in WWII. Over time, any insurgency will wither and die, and the U.S. can gradually reduce its presence over the course of the 1920s. Unlike, say, South Vietnam IOTL I'd imagine a favorable disposition would ultimately come towards the occupation; after a decade of civil war, the U.S. Army would be providing real stability and security, while American investment would likely flood into Mexico in a way it didn't until the late 20th Century or so, creating jobs. That American soldiers would also be major customers for many Mexican products is a bonus.

In the background of all of this, the First Red Scare is probably going strong all 1920 long and probably carries Leonard Wood to the GOP nomination as a result. By the time he's sworn into office in March of 1921, the conventional phase will have ended and the anti-partisan phase will have begun and like carry on for most of his Presidency. As cited earlier, Wood was an Imperialist and the need to build a new government from scratch would likely see a "Commonwealth of Mexico" established, with a nominal national Government in place but backed up by force of American arms and a Governor-General in de facto command. Obviously, a lot of changes are going to be occurring domestically within the United States at the same time too. For one, with Wood as a President, it's very likely the Pershing Plan gets implemented on the basis of national defense and the obvious economic benefits. Perhaps more important, however, is that the U.S. is unlikely to disarm as much as it did historically. In our historical 1919, Army Chief of Staff Peyton Marsh proposed a standing force of 500,000 men, a National Guard of an additional 500,000, and 100,000 reserve officers to be used as a cadre for additional following divisions. Obviously this went nowhere in our world, but here President Wood has the bully pulpit and the occupation of Mexico/extended Red Scare, at least to me, makes it likely due to sheer need.

There's also obviously more mundane political considerations to be taken into account as well. For one, there's no Harding as President, which means no Teapot Dome scandal and this is likely enough to carry Theodore Roosevelt Jr to the Governor's office in New York, which means no Al Smith in 1928 and likely no FDR either in 1932. I'd suspect Coolidge would still be Vice President under Wood, his popularity pre-dating the divergence, and I expect him to not run for a term of his own in 1928 thus paving the way for Herbert Hoover. I don't see the Great Depression being avoided with the given specifics of the scenario (It's possible, if Wood picked Senator Lenroot as his VP in 1920 IMHO), which likely means a President McAdoo in 1932. I'd imagine McAdoo would do several things from the First New Deal just as FDR is, in particular the banking holiday; he had done that previously in 1914 and prevented the Anglo-French from collapsing the U.S. economy during the early days of World War I. I'd imagine by this point the U.S. occupation force in Mexico would be more skeletal in nature in general and defense cuts would be inevitable. However, the floor is higher here given the earlier actions, which means even deep cuts would still leave the U.S. Armed Forces better off relative to our own history.

Otherwise, however, the situation is more murky because I don't see McAdoo or the "traditional" Democrats going for what FDR did with the Second New Deal and things like the Wagner Act. There might also be more aversion to deficit spending from the onset and impacting sooner. Historically, this probably resulted in the Recession in 1937, and so we may see that occur in 1936 or even 1935 here. That, combined with Labor not backing McAdoo without a Wagner Act analogue leaves the President very, very vulnerable to a primary or even third party challenge by Huey Long. One irony of a Red Scare induced Mexican War in 1919/1920 might be a more Social Democratic United States in the long run as a result.

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1909
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by maltesefalcon » 13 Jan 2021 15:47

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 00:55
maltesefalcon wrote:
11 Jan 2021 02:54
Per the title, this thread is supposed to be focused on 1919. The Mexican Communist party did not exist until November of that year. I'd like to see a citation that indicates the Communists had enough power to seriously form a government at that time, let alone overthrow the existing one.

For what it's worth the Bolsheviks didn't even have full control of Russia in 1919.
Such wasn't the claim, though, because I was talking about American perceptions and thinking on the ground rather than any realistic prospect of a Communist Mexico. To quote from 1919: William Jenkins, Robert Lansing, and the Mexican Interlude:
To this was added, as 1919 progressed, a growing mass of evidence purporting to show the extent of pro-German sympathy which had
existed in Mexico during the war, as well as the degree to which Bolshevik and anarchist agitators were at that moment using the Republic as a haven from which to spread their revolutionary propaganda throughout the United States.' Although this information was largely disseminated by the notoriously prejudiced Fall Committee, primarily to discredit the Wilson administration, it received wide publicity.

Under these circumstances American attention naturally returned to Mexico at the end of the European conflict. In Paris Woodrow Wilson sought a just peace for Europe; at home the New York Times speculated upon conditions in Mexico and the possibility of intervention now that the war with Germany was over.'" As a result, when Woodrow Wilson returned home from Paris in June, 1919, he found congressional leaders voicing a demand for a "cleaning up" of the Mexican mess. Chief among them was Senator Albert B. Fall, long an advocator of such a policy and known as
"Petroleum Fall" because of his oil interests in Mexico. Also influential was freshman Congressman C. B. Hudspeth of Texas. After an incident in which American troops had been forced to cross from El Paso, Texas, into JuArez, Mexico, in order to protect American lives, he stated:

"Mr. Speaker, the clock has struck the hour, and it has been striking that same hour for eight long years, when this government should say to both Carranza and Villa, "You must keep your unholy hands off our citizens, and if another American life is sacrificed at your hands I will put my armies into your country, and visit upon you the wrath of a long suffering and outraged people."

In conjunction with this attitude, by mid-July of 1919 American troops had been massed along the border 60,000 strong, and a squadron of airplanes and 100 small tanks had been sent to the Southwest to assist in preparing for any event
And from Woodrow Wilson and the Mexican Interventionist Movement of 1919:
IN December 1919 Chairman Henry Cabot Lodge of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations wrote two significant letters defending the members of a controversial subcommittee which had issued a report accusing the Mexican government of circulating Bolshevistic propaganda in the United States. In both letters Lodge especially praised Senator Albert B. Fall of New Mexico, the chairman of the three man subcommittee and the author of a concurrent resolution which had called for the United States to break off diplomatic relations with Mexico Introduced on December 3, during the crisis over the arrest of Consular Agent William 0. Jenkins in Mexico, the Fall resolution died five days later in the Committee on Foreign Relations when President Woodrow Wilson indicated that he would be "gravely concerned" to see any such resolution pass Congress.
Further, from the same:
Financed at a cost of approximately $20,000 a month, mostly contributed by the big oil companies, NAPARIM employed Charles Boynton, a former manager of the Associated Press, as its executive director and established a New York office in the same building which housed the Association of Oil Producers in Mexico.23 With regional offices in Washington, El Paso, and Los Angeles and a mounting membership of over 2,000 by the summer of 1919, NAPARIM published and distributed sensational anti-Carrancista materials which pointed out abuses to Americans in Mexico, underscored disorder and chaos in that country, and branded its government as pro-German and its Constitution as "Bolshevistic." In addition, the Association maintained constant and friendly contact with the state department, encouraged American Legion posts, local chambers of commerce, and other organizations throughout the nation to send resolutions to Congress and to the administration calling for the United States to protect the lives and property of Americans in Mexico. NAPARIM may also have subsidized the outpouring of anti-Carrancista books and articles which inundated the country during 1919.24
Further:
With substantial aid from the Murray Hill group, from NAPARIM, from the Association of Oil Producers in Mexico, and, after the illness of President Wilson, from the state department, the subcommittee settled down during the autumn and winter of 1919 to prepare and publicize its case against the Carranza government. The Murray Hill group coordinated subcommittee activities in New York, maintained contact with Mexican counterrevolutionaries, ran preliminary investigations on witnesses, and handled such confidential information as documents related to the conspiratorial "Plan of San Diego" and to the charges that the Mexican government was spreading Bolshevistic propaganda in the United States.30 NAPARIM supplied witnesses, prepared "disorder" and "murder" maps to be included in the subcommittee's report and released to the press, and employed journalist E. R. Sartwell to prepare press releases about the sensational hearings of the subcommittee.31 The large oil companies, which dominated the Association of Oil Producers in Mexico, worked largely through Walker to advise the subcommittee and to smooth its way so that cooperation would be possible with departments of the executive branch of the government.32 Beginning in October 1919, the state department provided the subcommittee with needed documentary evidence pertaining to certain instances of the Carranza government's hostility toward the United States, to the controversies related to the petroleum situation, and to the Jenkins affair, which nearly became the cause ce'le'bre of a war with Mexico.
Futurist wrote:
11 Jan 2021 08:22
When did the US begin exhibiting a fear of a Japanese Philippines?

Also, off-topic, but could you please also take a look at and respond to this thread of mine? :

viewtopic.php?f=11&t=254630

Thank you. :)
To that, I have no idea; I was mainly using it as a hypothetical example to the points raised.
Well researched. This is the kind of citation I was asking for. I tip my hat and apologize for doubting. :D

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1909
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by maltesefalcon » 13 Jan 2021 15:53

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 05:55
As an added final bonus, the Mexican populace as a whole is pretty tired; they've just come out of a decade long Civil War with up to 2.7 million casualties, or roughly the same amount of casualties the USSR took in WWII.
Um...2.7 million? In terms of casualties, USSR suffered between 20-30 million dead in WWII, depending on which source you use. At least 8 million military and the balance civilian. Add to that wounded and missing...
I'm assuming you did in fact mean WWII not WWI, as the USSR did not exist in WWI.

History Learner
Member
Posts: 226
Joined: 19 Jan 2019 09:39
Location: United States

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by History Learner » 13 Jan 2021 21:44

maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:47
Well researched. This is the kind of citation I was asking for. I tip my hat and apologize for doubting. :D
No problem at all; I'm currently unemployed, so these conversations keep me from going stir crazy.
maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:53
Um...2.7 million? In terms of casualties, USSR suffered between 20-30 million dead in WWII, depending on which source you use. At least 8 million military and the balance civilian. Add to that wounded and missing...
I'm assuming you did in fact mean WWII not WWI, as the USSR did not exist in WWI.
In raw terms, yes, they are vastly different but in terms of % of population it's about the same:

2.7 million out of 15 Million in 1910 is 18% of the Pre-Civil War population
26.6 Million out of 194 Million in 1940 is 14% of the Pre-WWII population

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by Futurist » 13 Jan 2021 22:03

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 05:55
So, the PoD is easy: Wilson recovers a few days later, by which point Secretary of State Lansing and Senator Fall have forced the conflict with Mexico and Wilson has no choice but to persecute it.
Wilson's wife will have to run the US war effort since AFAIK even after he "recovered", Wilson was still a shell of what he previously used to be.
Planning done over the course of 1919 suggested about 400,000 troops were needed for the operation, which due to the recent World War were readily available along with large equipment stocks. The direct war planning for the campaign was more embryonic in nation, but was later refined into War Plan Green in the late 1920s quite easily. Basically, the conflict would be a replay of 1846-1848, in that there would be an amphibious landing in Veracruz before commencing an overland invasion from there to Mexico City. In the borderlands to the North, the U.S. would mainly stay static and prevent any Mexican incursions (Think 1916 Columbus Raid) while also probably doing raiding of their own; that strategic points/cities might be occupied too is probably a given.
Sounds reasonable.
All together, I wouldn't be surprised if the conflict wraps up within the course of 1920, at least the conventional phase of it. Once Mexico City falls to the U.S. Army, however, it gets difficult. In 1848, the U.S. wasn't seeking to replace the existing Government so they could cut a deal and then get out; here, they are doing the opposite and thus must hunt down officials or sufficiently cut them down that they can install their own replacement. Installing a puppet and then bailing out just isn't going to work here, because the moment they do the original one will overthrow it. As a result, they will need to occupy the whole country and conduct an Anti-Insurgency campaign.

As stated earlier, the U.S. has the advantage of sufficient numbers and a fair amount of institutional memory in this. The Philippine War is recent with lots of officers with experience there, and historically we saw the U.S. do this type of warfare quite well in the Banana Wars. Hell, 1920 isn't that far removed from the last of the Indian Wars either. As an added final bonus, the Mexican populace as a whole is pretty tired; they've just come out of a decade long Civil War with up to 2.7 million casualties, or roughly the same amount of casualties the USSR took in WWII. Over time, any insurgency will wither and die, and the U.S. can gradually reduce its presence over the course of the 1920s. Unlike, say, South Vietnam IOTL I'd imagine a favorable disposition would ultimately come towards the occupation; after a decade of civil war, the U.S. Army would be providing real stability and security, while American investment would likely flood into Mexico in a way it didn't until the late 20th Century or so, creating jobs. That American soldiers would also be major customers for many Mexican products is a bonus.

In the background of all of this, the First Red Scare is probably going strong all 1920 long and probably carries Leonard Wood to the GOP nomination as a result. By the time he's sworn into office in March of 1921, the conventional phase will have ended and the anti-partisan phase will have begun and like carry on for most of his Presidency. As cited earlier, Wood was an Imperialist and the need to build a new government from scratch would likely see a "Commonwealth of Mexico" established, with a nominal national Government in place but backed up by force of American arms and a Governor-General in de facto command. Obviously, a lot of changes are going to be occurring domestically within the United States at the same time too. For one, with Wood as a President, it's very likely the Pershing Plan gets implemented on the basis of national defense and the obvious economic benefits. Perhaps more important, however, is that the U.S. is unlikely to disarm as much as it did historically. In our historical 1919, Army Chief of Staff Peyton Marsh proposed a standing force of 500,000 men, a National Guard of an additional 500,000, and 100,000 reserve officers to be used as a cadre for additional following divisions. Obviously this went nowhere in our world, but here President Wood has the bully pulpit and the occupation of Mexico/extended Red Scare, at least to me, makes it likely due to sheer need.

There's also obviously more mundane political considerations to be taken into account as well. For one, there's no Harding as President, which means no Teapot Dome scandal and this is likely enough to carry Theodore Roosevelt Jr to the Governor's office in New York, which means no Al Smith in 1928 and likely no FDR either in 1932. I'd suspect Coolidge would still be Vice President under Wood, his popularity pre-dating the divergence, and I expect him to not run for a term of his own in 1928 thus paving the way for Herbert Hoover. I don't see the Great Depression being avoided with the given specifics of the scenario (It's possible, if Wood picked Senator Lenroot as his VP in 1920 IMHO), which likely means a President McAdoo in 1932. I'd imagine McAdoo would do several things from the First New Deal just as FDR is, in particular the banking holiday; he had done that previously in 1914 and prevented the Anglo-French from collapsing the U.S. economy during the early days of World War I. I'd imagine by this point the U.S. occupation force in Mexico would be more skeletal in nature in general and defense cuts would be inevitable. However, the floor is higher here given the earlier actions, which means even deep cuts would still leave the U.S. Armed Forces better off relative to our own history.
Why would the Great Depression be avoided with a US President Irvine Lenroot in 1929-1933?

Also, just how would President McAdoo have handled Hitler's rise in Germany?
Otherwise, however, the situation is more murky because I don't see McAdoo or the "traditional" Democrats going for what FDR did with the Second New Deal and things like the Wagner Act. There might also be more aversion to deficit spending from the onset and impacting sooner. Historically, this probably resulted in the Recession in 1937, and so we may see that occur in 1936 or even 1935 here. That, combined with Labor not backing McAdoo without a Wagner Act analogue leaves the President very, very vulnerable to a primary or even third party challenge by Huey Long. One irony of a Red Scare induced Mexican War in 1919/1920 might be a more Social Democratic United States in the long run as a result.
Does Huey Long still get assassinated in this TL, though?

maltesefalcon
Member
Posts: 1909
Joined: 03 Sep 2003 18:15
Location: Canada

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by maltesefalcon » 13 Jan 2021 22:51

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 21:44
maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:47
Well researched. This is the kind of citation I was asking for. I tip my hat and apologize for doubting. :D
No problem at all; I'm currently unemployed, so these conversations keep me from going stir crazy.
maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:53
Um...2.7 million? In terms of casualties, USSR suffered between 20-30 million dead in WWII, depending on which source you use. At least 8 million military and the balance civilian. Add to that wounded and missing...
I'm assuming you did in fact mean WWII not WWI, as the USSR did not exist in WWI.
In raw terms, yes, they are vastly different but in terms of % of population it's about the same:

2.7 million out of 15 Million in 1910 is 18% of the Pre-Civil War population
26.6 Million out of 194 Million in 1940 is 14% of the Pre-WWII population
Okay fine, but your post did not reference you meant per capita.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by Futurist » 13 Jan 2021 23:35

maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 22:51
History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 21:44
maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:47
Well researched. This is the kind of citation I was asking for. I tip my hat and apologize for doubting. :D
No problem at all; I'm currently unemployed, so these conversations keep me from going stir crazy.
maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:53
Um...2.7 million? In terms of casualties, USSR suffered between 20-30 million dead in WWII, depending on which source you use. At least 8 million military and the balance civilian. Add to that wounded and missing...
I'm assuming you did in fact mean WWII not WWI, as the USSR did not exist in WWI.
In raw terms, yes, they are vastly different but in terms of % of population it's about the same:

2.7 million out of 15 Million in 1910 is 18% of the Pre-Civil War population
26.6 Million out of 194 Million in 1940 is 14% of the Pre-WWII population
Okay fine, but your post did not reference you meant per capita.
Yep, HL should have been clearer in regards to this.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by Futurist » 13 Jan 2021 23:35

History Learner wrote:
13 Jan 2021 21:44
maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:47
Well researched. This is the kind of citation I was asking for. I tip my hat and apologize for doubting. :D
No problem at all; I'm currently unemployed, so these conversations keep me from going stir crazy.
maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 15:53
Um...2.7 million? In terms of casualties, USSR suffered between 20-30 million dead in WWII, depending on which source you use. At least 8 million military and the balance civilian. Add to that wounded and missing...
I'm assuming you did in fact mean WWII not WWI, as the USSR did not exist in WWI.
In raw terms, yes, they are vastly different but in terms of % of population it's about the same:

2.7 million out of 15 Million in 1910 is 18% of the Pre-Civil War population
26.6 Million out of 194 Million in 1940 is 14% of the Pre-WWII population
Were the Mexican losses as heavily slanted towards men as the Soviet World War II losses were?

History Learner
Member
Posts: 226
Joined: 19 Jan 2019 09:39
Location: United States

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by History Learner » 14 Jan 2021 01:07

maltesefalcon wrote:
13 Jan 2021 22:51
Okay fine, but your post did not reference you meant per capita.
My apologies for being insufficiently clear in my initial post.
Futurist wrote:
13 Jan 2021 23:35
Were the Mexican losses as heavily slanted towards men as the Soviet World War II losses were?
I wouldn't doubt it, although I don't have much in the way of data to confirm it. Overall estimates range from about 1.5 million to 3 million deaths, with a demographic analysis looking at the 1.5 figure suggesting an excess of 350,000 deaths among the male population over the female. I suspect it was much deeper than that, and said analysis also looked at the lower end of casualties too.

Given what happened after World War I with French war brides and then German/Japanese in WWII, I wouldn't be surprised for the same here too.

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by Futurist » 21 Jan 2021 01:17

Interesting. Anyway, I've got a question--just how well do you think that Mexicans were capable of waging insurgent warfare during this time in comparison to 1960s and 1970s Vietnamese and 21st century Afghans and Iraqis?

nuyt
Member
Posts: 1368
Joined: 29 Dec 2004 13:39
Location: The Netherlands

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by nuyt » 22 Jan 2021 21:41

Capable not sure, but in terms of passion, emotions, revenge, honor, availability of weapons and trained shooters, well, that could be interesting...

Futurist
Member
Posts: 3079
Joined: 24 Dec 2015 00:02
Location: SoCal

Re: Second Mexican American War in 1919

Post by Futurist » 22 Jan 2021 22:34

Sounds pretty capable to me.

Return to “What if”