France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 22 Apr 2020 02:32

History Learner wrote:
10 Mar 2020 23:39
Futurist wrote:
04 Mar 2020 00:34
History Learner wrote:
03 Mar 2020 19:56
Roughly 75% of Americans in November of 1941 opposed declaring war on Germany. Given that, I don't see the U.S. entering the war in 1940.
That was in the context of the US having previously endured 20 years of relative isolationism, though. Had Woodrow Wilson died of his stroke in 1919 and the new US President Thomas Marshall would have actually been able to get the US into the League of Nations with reservations and also, much more importantly, gotten the US Senate to ratify the Security Treaty with Britain and France, then the US would have established a peacetime post-WWI alliance with Britain and France in either 1919 or 1920. This could have had effects--maybe even significant effects--on the 1920s and 1930s in this scenario--possibly making them a bit different than they were in real life, with a bit less of an isolationist flavor in this scenario. This could perhaps result in more US support for going to war in 1939 in this scenario--though even then the Americans are very likely going to expect Britain and France to actually do the lion's share of fighting Nazi Germany--with the US role largely limited to technological and logistical support and aid along with the US having no actual draft but sending all of the volunteers that it can (which might not be too much) to fight in Europe.

As I said, significantly altering events back in 1919-1920 could perhaps have a significant impact on the next 20-25 years.
Treaty or not, by 1936 vast majorities of Americans considered their involvement in the Great War to have been wrong and even into November of 1941 most Americans opposed entry into the Second World War. I don't see a piece of paper preventing this anymore than a piece of paper kept Hitler out of Prague.
Interestingly enough, there was one more favorable poll in late 1939:

https://ibiblio.org/pha/Gallup/Gallup%201939.htm

Interviewing Date 8/30-9/5/39

Survey #167-S Question #3

If it looks within the next few months as if England and France might be defeated, should the United States declare war on Germany and send our troops abroad?

Yes................................44%

No................................ 56

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Apr 2020 02:32

Your OP sets up two conditions that are in tension: (1) U.S. enters the war at some time before the OTL Fall of France and (2) France still falls.

With the U.S. in the war, the BEF will be under tremendous pressure not to retreat from the battlefield after the breakthroughs around Sedan.
Depending on when the U.S. has entered, there will be U.S. forces on the ground in May 1940.

If the BEF doesn't retreat, and if the Wallies have a few more American divisions, then a successful counterattack against the Sichelschnitt is viable.

Even if that counterattack fails to keep Kleist from the coast, the Dunkirk pocket contains more powerful forces and can be supported better logistically via U.S. resources.

For the Wallies to evacuate at that point doesn't make any sense. Of course given Churchill's general aversion to land war, he may still want to evacuate. But FDR (or whoever is president in this scenario) will want to fight it out. At that point, even in the event of Paris's fall, one could view the Dunkirk pocket as the beachhead that the Wallies would have to establish someday anyway - why give it up in '40 only to have to take it back in few years. Especially when you've still got a large French army in the field.

Unlike in OTL, the U.S. in this ATL would have less reason to adopt its air-heavy, army-light strategy. That strategy was based on a planning assumption that Germany would beat Russia and that US/UK would have to face Germany alone, after Germany had integrated all the resources of Europe. As most military professionals of the time recognized, building an army to confront Germany's one-on-one was a task so enormous that almost anything else should be tried first. Thus the plan was to wreck Germany's economy with strategic bombing, do some peripheral ops, and only confont the Heer once it was weakened.

That strategy never made much sense IMO, and would have failed had Germany beaten the USSR.

That strategy makes even less sense if the French Army is still in the field (albeit wounded), and perhaps its nonsense would have become sufficiently clear to force Wallied leaders not to adopt it (then again, England really didn't want a land war and the US wasn't super gung-ho either).

But let's credit the Wallies in this ATL with at least enough bloodlust to recognize the opportunity to force a long land war in 1940 instead of abandoning France and hoping the bomber solves the world's problems.

In that case, the Wallies can probably hold the line in France throughout 1940 - Dunkirk pocket or no - and start driving Germany back in '41.
By '42 at the latest, the world's largest army will be perched in Germany's rear, meaning that even if Stalin doesn't move, Hitler has to keep strong forces in Poland/Romania just to be safe (assuming for now that Romania seeks German protection as in OTL despite Germany's worse fortunes in this ATL).

This is one of the reasons I find Allied ATL's so much less interesting. There's no serious argument that the US-inclusive Wallies lacked the resources to crush Germany had they the political will from '39. Any of these ATL types is 100% about the politics, the military issues are easy.

German ATL's, by contrast, are far closer military. If you let Germany knock out France (as it did) and the SU (as it should have given Western cowardice up to that point), then there's a good argument that the Reich could have survived WW2 in some truly terrifying form. There's no good argument, however, that Hitler could have beaten a UK, France, SU, and USA that were united from 1939 (or any combination of 3 of those powers, or even just France and SU).

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Andy H » 24 Apr 2020 19:26

Hi TMP

What would be your imagined US strength in France come 1940?

Regards

Andy H

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 24 Apr 2020 21:31

Andy H wrote:
24 Apr 2020 19:26
Hi TMP

What would be your imagined US strength in France come 1940?

Regards

Andy H
Hi Andy,

This is a good question but IMO it's another basically political issue. If the ATL is a NATO-like commitment to collective European defense based on decades-long prewar policy then sky's the limit on American strength - 200 divisions? If the ATL is a sudden epiphany in 1939 about the need to fight Hitler then more like 5-10 divisions.

Regardless of American strength at the time of Sichelschnitt, so long as the US is committed to a bloody European war to kill Hitler there will be sufficient forces in the pipeline to hold bridgeheads in France and, from there, to smash a Nazi state that has a burgeoning and expansionist SU in its rear.

Just from a morale point of view, the French are much more willing to keep fighting even after losing Paris (a la 1870) if they know the US is mobilizing on its behalf. And as already mentioned, no U.S. president will approve of Churchill/Gort's decision to retreat rather than counterattack once the Germans break through Sedan. As in OTL, Churchill needs the US and can't do something as brazen as to abandon whatever US forces are standing with the BEF in France.

So I think even if the initial US land commitment is small, its mere existence is enough to preclude Anglo evacuation, and even a small American force, combined with a collective decision to fight rather than evacuate, precludes a decision in France in 1940. And absent that quick decision the German fate is sealed just as in 1914.

Of course if the initial US land commitment is large then Sichelschnitt fails completely and the vastly-superior Wallied forces are across the Rhine in 1940. Maybe in that ATL the Germans come to their senses and get rid of Hitler quickly, and the SU doesn't even get involved and much of Eastern Europe remains beyond Stalin's grasp. Absent the fall of France/Netherlands, and with the SU un-Barbarossa'd, Japan cools its heels, eventually giving in to overwhelming Western pressure to leave China. Maybe with the extraordinary levels of industrial investment Japan was making in pre-war Manchukuo, Korea, and Taiwan, its remaining domain rises to superpower status in the latter '40's or '50's and challenges the Western Powers effectively. Maybe absent the Holocaust and the need for the West to virtue signal against an SU that is less threatening in this ATL, the appallingly racist/imperialist policies of America and Britain continue indefinitely. Maybe the world is a worse place after all. Too much up in the air if we suppose an internationalist/imperialist US from the '20's as the OP mentions.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 26 Jul 2020 21:21

I thought that the US was largely anti-imperialist even back in the 1920s and 1930s, though?

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 26 Jul 2020 21:22

History Learner wrote:
10 Mar 2020 23:39
Futurist wrote:
04 Mar 2020 00:34
History Learner wrote:
03 Mar 2020 19:56
Roughly 75% of Americans in November of 1941 opposed declaring war on Germany. Given that, I don't see the U.S. entering the war in 1940.
That was in the context of the US having previously endured 20 years of relative isolationism, though. Had Woodrow Wilson died of his stroke in 1919 and the new US President Thomas Marshall would have actually been able to get the US into the League of Nations with reservations and also, much more importantly, gotten the US Senate to ratify the Security Treaty with Britain and France, then the US would have established a peacetime post-WWI alliance with Britain and France in either 1919 or 1920. This could have had effects--maybe even significant effects--on the 1920s and 1930s in this scenario--possibly making them a bit different than they were in real life, with a bit less of an isolationist flavor in this scenario. This could perhaps result in more US support for going to war in 1939 in this scenario--though even then the Americans are very likely going to expect Britain and France to actually do the lion's share of fighting Nazi Germany--with the US role largely limited to technological and logistical support and aid along with the US having no actual draft but sending all of the volunteers that it can (which might not be too much) to fight in Europe.

As I said, significantly altering events back in 1919-1920 could perhaps have a significant impact on the next 20-25 years.
Treaty or not, by 1936 vast majorities of Americans considered their involvement in the Great War to have been wrong and even into November of 1941 most Americans opposed entry into the Second World War. I don't see a piece of paper preventing this anymore than a piece of paper kept Hitler out of Prague.
I have a question for you, HL:

Why did the US become much more supportive of military alliances after the end of WWII, with NATO? Heck, NATO was able to survive for decades after its creation even after the Soviet threat disappeared.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Jul 2020 07:55

Futurist wrote:
26 Jul 2020 21:21
I thought that the US was largely anti-imperialist even back in the 1920s and 1930s, though?
Your question to History Learner, and this question as well, reflects the basic paradox of American - and of democratic - politics: there is no coherent, stable definition of "what the people want."

The best theoretical treatment of this paradox is Arrow's theorem: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrow%27s ... ty_theorem.

As Arrow says, any 3+ choice in a democracy can present insoluble problems regarding what the public will is. In these circumstances, the power structure will produce the decision that accords with the preferences of those who control the immediate levers of power.

In the context of 1940-41 America, Isolationist Senators arguably held a majority - depending on how you define isolationist - such that public opinion didn't matter much until after the '42 elections and the assumption of the next Congress several months later.

Even had these Senators reflected perfectly the will of the People, it's still not guaranteed that the intensity of their preferences would track that of the People: higher intensity for the isolationist faction (which was generally true historically) could have trumped the majoritarian - but lower-intensity - sentiments of everybody else (see, e.g., gun control in America for the last couple generations).

In short the political determinants of human historical actions are, IMO, far more complex than those underlying our military decisions. If the Wehrmacht doesn't win a quick victory in France, for example, then Hitler is a brief coda to WW1. If Hitler wins a couple more battles on the Eastern Front in 1941, however, then the best case is probably a Nazi-Anglo Cold War. These are relatively simple map exercises compared to the myriad factors of political analysis.

To the extent this sub-forum - and its intellectual subgenre of alternative history - has any merit (I think it has a lot), it's to the extent that it should remind us all of the contingent nature of massively complex political events on relatively simple military events.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by TheMarcksPlan » 27 Jul 2020 08:02

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
27 Jul 2020 07:55
it should remind us all of the contingent nature of massively complex political events on relatively simple military events.
...which is reflected in the prestige of military history as a sub-discipline. Those of us concerned with military history (I count myself among your number) are of lower status generally; the more complex political questions are left to the more sophisticated interpreters of stuff people did/do.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by History Learner » 27 Jul 2020 12:12

Futurist wrote:
26 Jul 2020 21:22
History Learner wrote:
10 Mar 2020 23:39
Futurist wrote:
04 Mar 2020 00:34
History Learner wrote:
03 Mar 2020 19:56
Roughly 75% of Americans in November of 1941 opposed declaring war on Germany. Given that, I don't see the U.S. entering the war in 1940.
That was in the context of the US having previously endured 20 years of relative isolationism, though. Had Woodrow Wilson died of his stroke in 1919 and the new US President Thomas Marshall would have actually been able to get the US into the League of Nations with reservations and also, much more importantly, gotten the US Senate to ratify the Security Treaty with Britain and France, then the US would have established a peacetime post-WWI alliance with Britain and France in either 1919 or 1920. This could have had effects--maybe even significant effects--on the 1920s and 1930s in this scenario--possibly making them a bit different than they were in real life, with a bit less of an isolationist flavor in this scenario. This could perhaps result in more US support for going to war in 1939 in this scenario--though even then the Americans are very likely going to expect Britain and France to actually do the lion's share of fighting Nazi Germany--with the US role largely limited to technological and logistical support and aid along with the US having no actual draft but sending all of the volunteers that it can (which might not be too much) to fight in Europe.

As I said, significantly altering events back in 1919-1920 could perhaps have a significant impact on the next 20-25 years.
Treaty or not, by 1936 vast majorities of Americans considered their involvement in the Great War to have been wrong and even into November of 1941 most Americans opposed entry into the Second World War. I don't see a piece of paper preventing this anymore than a piece of paper kept Hitler out of Prague.
I have a question for you, HL:

Why did the US become much more supportive of military alliances after the end of WWII, with NATO? Heck, NATO was able to survive for decades after its creation even after the Soviet threat disappeared.
World War II and the Soviet threat. By the time the Soviet threat ended, the mindsets it had engendered were ingrained after 45 years; as it were, I would think the last few years should show it's brittle nowadays.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Futurist » 27 Jul 2020 21:34

History Learner wrote:
27 Jul 2020 12:12
Futurist wrote:
26 Jul 2020 21:22
History Learner wrote:
10 Mar 2020 23:39
Futurist wrote:
04 Mar 2020 00:34
History Learner wrote:
03 Mar 2020 19:56
Roughly 75% of Americans in November of 1941 opposed declaring war on Germany. Given that, I don't see the U.S. entering the war in 1940.
That was in the context of the US having previously endured 20 years of relative isolationism, though. Had Woodrow Wilson died of his stroke in 1919 and the new US President Thomas Marshall would have actually been able to get the US into the League of Nations with reservations and also, much more importantly, gotten the US Senate to ratify the Security Treaty with Britain and France, then the US would have established a peacetime post-WWI alliance with Britain and France in either 1919 or 1920. This could have had effects--maybe even significant effects--on the 1920s and 1930s in this scenario--possibly making them a bit different than they were in real life, with a bit less of an isolationist flavor in this scenario. This could perhaps result in more US support for going to war in 1939 in this scenario--though even then the Americans are very likely going to expect Britain and France to actually do the lion's share of fighting Nazi Germany--with the US role largely limited to technological and logistical support and aid along with the US having no actual draft but sending all of the volunteers that it can (which might not be too much) to fight in Europe.

As I said, significantly altering events back in 1919-1920 could perhaps have a significant impact on the next 20-25 years.
Treaty or not, by 1936 vast majorities of Americans considered their involvement in the Great War to have been wrong and even into November of 1941 most Americans opposed entry into the Second World War. I don't see a piece of paper preventing this anymore than a piece of paper kept Hitler out of Prague.
I have a question for you, HL:

Why did the US become much more supportive of military alliances after the end of WWII, with NATO? Heck, NATO was able to survive for decades after its creation even after the Soviet threat disappeared.
World War II and the Soviet threat. By the time the Soviet threat ended, the mindsets it had engendered were ingrained after 45 years; as it were, I would think the last few years should show it's brittle nowadays.
It's interesting that US participation in World War I did not produce a similar attitude shift on the part of the US towards foreign alliances. Could this be because Americans came to view their participation in World War I as a mistake but continued to view their participation in World War II as justified?

As for the NATO alliance being brittle nowadays, Yes, it might be a bit brittle, but I honestly don't see it going away anytime soon. The outrage against such a move would simply be too great.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by glenn239 » 28 Jul 2020 17:13

TheMarcksPlan wrote:
24 Apr 2020 21:31
Regardless of American strength at the time of Sichelschnitt, so long as the US is committed to a bloody European war to kill Hitler there will be sufficient forces in the pipeline to hold bridgeheads in France and, from there, to smash a Nazi state that has a burgeoning and expansionist SU in its rear.
American intervention in May 1940 might allow the Allies to hold in Southern France into 1941, but there wasn't a chance of holding in the north, Americans or no.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 27 Aug 2020 22:09

The US entering this war in 1939 or 1940 means a far earlier mobilization. OTL true industrial mobilization did not come until after 1941. It took legislation to allow a proper organization of industry, a command economy. That was politically impossible previous to the Axis nations declaring war on the US. The Free Market of 1940-41 had civilian consumers outbidding the War & Navy departments for factory output & industry under no legal obligation to take government contracts. The market also made it impractical to prioritize resources to military production, & to specific types of production. It took laws and much of 1942 to sort out the chaos and get to a useful industrial output of military goods.

This means that instead of 104,000 aircraft built in the US in 1944, something close to that number is reached in 1942. vs the 20 - 30 k actually built that year. In other words the Aluminum Overcast occurs nearly two years earlier.

Ditto for things like ASW forces, landing craft, cargo ships, trucks, radar transceivers... & the US reaches 8,000,000+ trained men in military service sooner.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by T. A. Gardner » 28 Aug 2020 03:50

While the US with an earlier entry into the European war would have accelerated mobilization, it wouldn't have made a great deal of difference until 1941. I could see the effects of a US entry in mid 1940 being:

A faster mobilization and equipping the Philippines. This seems counter intuitive but the US would have used the war declaration to move the intended build up in troops and material to the PI much faster than in peacetime.
The USN mobilizing to build an ASW fleet while now fully cooperating with the British in the Atlantic.
Shipyards going to wartime production meaning things like the Essex class coming out 6 months to a year earlier.
Massive orders for existing aircraft to fill the gaps until new designs are available. The P-43 sees far more service than historical for example.

With the French holding N. Africa and still actively fighting the US sends one or more National Guard divisions along with a regular Army division to N. Africa and civilian and military personnel to build lots of infrastructure.
This would also likely mean the Italians lose in N. Africa before the Germans can intervene. That makes the war in the Med a whole new ball game. Crete probably doesn't fall.

There is no massacre of US coastal shipping as the Germans have far fewer Type IX boats available for service.

How things would go with Russia is a guess. Would the Germans facing continued French fighting and having the US in the war still turn east? That might not happen in this scenario. If so, Lend-Lease in Europe goes entirely to the British and French.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by Carl Schwamberger » 28 Aug 2020 13:32

T. A. Gardner wrote:
28 Aug 2020 03:50
...
This would also likely mean the Italians lose in N. Africa before the Germans can intervene. That makes the war in the Med a whole new ball game. Crete probably doesn't fall. ...
I seriously doubt Mussolini would jump into the war in this circumstance. But, if he did then yes, just the presence of the US and French navies & their air power reinforcing the Brits would guarantee the Italians lose everything off the mainland in a few months or a year.

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Re: France fights on in 1940 *and* the US already enters WWII on the Anglo-French side

Post by T. A. Gardner » 29 Aug 2020 16:54

Carl Schwamberger wrote:
28 Aug 2020 13:32
T. A. Gardner wrote:
28 Aug 2020 03:50
...
This would also likely mean the Italians lose in N. Africa before the Germans can intervene. That makes the war in the Med a whole new ball game. Crete probably doesn't fall. ...
I seriously doubt Mussolini would jump into the war in this circumstance. But, if he did then yes, just the presence of the US and French navies & their air power reinforcing the Brits would guarantee the Italians lose everything off the mainland in a few months or a year.
That just makes it easier for the Allies. The big question in this scenario is Would Germany still invade Russia?

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