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America doesn't fight.

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by harolds, Jan 12, 2018.

  1. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The ABC-1 talks established the "Germany First" policy, the US and British would place first priority on ending the German threat in Europe. The Atlantic Conference confirmed the policy at the highest level. And, after some discussion, the policy was announced at Casablanca.

    There were never any plans for a "backdoor" entry into the war.
     
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  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Plans are wonderful things, but as Napoleon was reputed to say, no battle plan survives contact with the enemy. As you said the best route to this is if FDR is not in office after the 1940 election and if he is not then perhaps a Pacific first policy might overtake the path FDR might have preferred. There are times when the NCA sets policy and times when the will of the public wins out.
     
  3. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    A policy allows you to make plans, it's not a plan in itself.

    And Napoleon was a Sith?
     
  4. Carronade

    Carronade Ace Patron  

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    They also referred to is as "Second Front", on the grounds that that was our contribution to the war effort.
     
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  5. harolds

    harolds Member

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    All good I suppose, but my original question was: How would Britain prosecute the war if the USA stayed out of the European conflict? In other words the USA says, "Don't worry about the Japanese-we'll take care of those. You (Britain) and the USSR will have all you can do to take out Germany. We'll supply you as much as we can."
     
  6. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    More information on the how and why the US stays out is necessary for a reasonable answer...
    If FDR somehow dies, Wallace is likely to continue his policies pro forma. If FDR dies and Willkie is elected, as a supporter of Britain, the Germany First policy will likely continue. Even if the US decides on a Pacific First policy, there is only so much the US can do in the Pacific with it's ground forces. There are only so many large ports capable of handling massive amounts of cargo, there are only so many islands where you can station large numbers of ground troops, and there are only so many suitable air fields to handle the untold number of aircraft. So, realistically, the Pacific theater cannot handle what went to the Pacific historically PLUS the massive buildup of men and material that went to England/Europe. Could Australia cope with another 500,000 men in September, 1943, rising to one million in January, 1944, and topping a mill five in April, 1944? And that is not including the US forces in the Med...

    Further, What posters seem to be missing is that the US did not get into the war because we were not ready to get into a war. Up and down the chain of command, everyone knew that the US was in no position to fight a war - regardless of who is President. Without some major overt act on the part of the Axis, the US did not expect to be reasonably prepared to go to war until sometime in 1943. So, regardless of who is President in 1940, by 1943 a good deal will have changed.
     
  7. harolds

    harolds Member

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    OK Takao, so let's say that Hitler does NOT declare war on the USA and Roosevelt realizes that while public sentiment is solidly behind a war with Japan, it wasn't sold yet on a war with Germany. Roosevelt, being the canny politician that he was, realizes that he doesn't have enough public backing yet for war on Germany, declares war on Japan only. Hitler, in a rare demonstration of sanity, distances himself from Japan's attack, chokes down his anger and vows to continue to respect the USA's "neutrality".
    The USA puts more resources into the navy and the build-up of the air force (USAAF) while slowly building and training the army for not only taking on the Japanese but also to fight Germany IF the public ever gets behind such a war. Lend-lease would continue as per history.

    Still, that's only one scenario. You could have it that Roosevelt is defeated in 1940 and an anglo-phobe president gets in office. What I'm trying to get at is how the European war would go, especially for Britain, if the USA didn't get directly involved.
     
  8. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Context is everything. If FDR is President and Hitler does not declare war on December 11th then it would not be more than 9 months and probably under 6 months before FDR finds a pretext to go to war with Germany. It is possible then that some units like the 1st Infantry goes to the Pacific rather than Europe. American involvement is probably a little slower, but not excessively so. The one area where it might really hurt is in late war infantry replacements. The US guessed wrong on how nanny they might need once large scale combat in Europe began leading to shortfalls in replacement troops. It is possible that another 6 months of peace with Germany might have lead to a even greater miscalculation, but that could only be speculation.

    In the scenario where FDR dies prior to Pearl Harbor and Wallace replaces him I agree with Opana that he would likely try to follow FDR's policies, but in no way could be considered a carbon copy FDR. Against a formidable intellect and voice like Churchill (and Stalin for that matter) he would be greatly over matched. This might lead to a more British-centric focus to the war that might produce a larger effort into Italy or even to a 'Balkan' Front. Then again he might have been swayed by Stalin (and some of his own commanders) to initiate a Second Front in France sooner than we were ready for it. Wallace was replaced as VP in 1944 because he lost any trust he had in the Democratic Party as a whole, so we must also question how supportive Congress would be in his individual policies. FDR had the stature to pretty much run the war the way he wanted, Wallace would have much less.

    In the scenario where FDR does not run for a third term or is defeated the effort might look more like a Wallace administration than a FDR one. The harsh truth is sometimes it does matter who is at the center of events. If a De Gualle like figure was running France after German breakout then WWII might have been a very different animal if he had led the French Overseas Empire after the fall of France, or if Neville Chamberlain not been forced out after Norway.
     
  9. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    We need to keep in mind that the 1940 presidential campaign had TWO interventionist candidates, FDR and Willkie. Non-interventionism was on it's way out. The non-interventionists in Congress did not get a single bill they wanted through Congress and they never stopped a bill they didn't like. The Committee to Defend America First never had 1,000,000 members on the books and had less than 100,000 active members at any one time. America First was so ineffectual that Wayne Cole, official historian, wrote a 600+ page book on "Roosevelt and the Non-interventionists" and didn't manage to write 100 pages on his organization.
     
  10. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    As you say "That is only one scenario."
    Some other scenarios...

    1. One of the deciding "Oh my God, oh my God" moments for the American public that turned them to favoring a war with Germany was the collapse of France and the British being kicked off the continent in May-June, 1940. It also put a fright into US military planners. Now how would WW2 in Europe go if America stayed out, but France stayed in.

    2. Probably "The" deciding factor was British survival...Now, how would a WW2 in Europe go if America was out and Britain was out.

    As I said, the "America stays out" needs to be better defined, as there are probably well over 100 reasons for America to stay out, and each one would lead to a vastly different outcomes.

    Even if you put an Anglophobe as President, said Anglophobe will still see that it is in his own(and the United States) best interests to defeat Germany first. I believe that Admiral Harold Stark put it best
    Even an Anglophobe will see that if Germany wins, not only will the US be at risk, but so will her economy, as most foreign trade will dry up. So, hobbled, the US economy will unlikely be able to support continued rearmament necessary to protect her from a now threatening Nazi Germany.
    This probably should be required reading...Admiral Stark's Plan Dog Memo.
    Plan Dog, 26 pages
     
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  11. RichTO90

    RichTO90 Well-Known Member

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    Some may not realize that the "first" U.S. amphibious corps was the 1st ID and the 1st MARDIV.

    Actually, the opposite is likely to occur.

    It wasn't a bad guess (on nannies or replacements :D) that led to a shortfall in replacements. It was the too early commitment of Army divisions and other factors, which disrupted the planning expectations. Each Branch had a Replacement Training Center, but the decision was made early on to make the division the primary training center for new recruits in order to accelerate mobilization. That led to atrophy of the replacement training system, made worse by constant changes in the length of training mandated by the War Department as well as the inability of the Selective Service system to allocate troops according to constantly changing mobilization schedules. On top of that it was mandated by the War Department that all divisions deploying did so at full-strength, which usually meant they were actually made up to a slight overstrength at the last moment before embarking. The source used for those personnel was the RTC, which began a process of stripping out trained or partly trained personnel early. Things were settling down, a bit in late 1942 after the initial early deployments...and then those divisions began entering combat in a serious way in both the Pacific and North Africa. Critically, most of those casualties were infantry and since the expectation was that in a modern mechanized war infantry casualties would be less, the Infantry RTC's quickly became depleted. That led to the decision to strip personnel from units still in training of personnel as replacements. From there, as combat intensity increased, the situation spiraled out of control. Now add in misconceived ideas like the Army Specialized Training Program, which took the best and brightest OUT of the Army and put them into college, training them as potential officers or NCO specialists, until the need became too great and they were dumped back into units.

    The end result was that of 57 infantry divisions mobilized, all but 8 were delayed in readiness. Instead of deploying in 16 months as planned, 49 divisions deployed an average of 9 months late.One division, the 44th, lost a calculated 28 months! It lost 16 months when it was stripped of over half its personnel when it had nearly completed training, 4 more months when it was stripped of its ASTP personnel, and 8 months from other personnel turbulence those events caused. The end result was the division, mobilized 1 April 1942 was not ready for deployment until 1 August 1944 and did not deploy until 24 August 1944.

    So if war in Europe gets delayed, its quite possible much of that disruption might not occur.
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    In the historical timeline you are correct, but in a scenario where FDR holds to tradition and does not run for a 3rd term, Wilkie likely remains a Democrat and runs as such. This leaves the Republican candidate a open question. Even so either would not be FDR and America's participation could quite different even if they tried as hard as they could to follow in FDR's foot steps.
     
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2018
  13. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    The Republican party was interventionist.
     
  14. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    You have to look closely at all the questions. The quite reasonably didn't want to go to war but they also realized that a German victory was not in their interest. As long as they were sure that GB would win they didn't feel too much pressure to join in but once they were allied with Great Britain against Japan (which they clearly would be) then there would be considerable pressure to carry their weight in Europe as well. The US might stay out of the European war for a few more months as that's what the military wanted but I just don't see them not being all in by the end of 42.
     
  15. mcoffee

    mcoffee Son-of-a-Gun(ner)

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    Additionally, the US Daylight Bombing Campaign was the primary force that allowed the Allies to achieve air superiority over Western Europe and air supremacy over the invasion beaches. During the phony war the RAF had tried various methods to get the Luftwaffe to engage in a war of attrition without success. Without a real threat to their territory, the Luftwaffe could choose to engage only when it was to their advantage. Daylight bombing forced the Luftwaffe to defend and allowed Allied fighters to wear them down while forcing the Luftwaffe to pull back toward the Reich and away from the beaches. Without the Daylight Bombing Campaign, how does the UK achieve air superiority? An invasion attempt without prior air superiority would have been brutal.
     
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  16. harolds

    harolds Member

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    That could well be, or not. We'll never know. I'm just asking ya'll to take a flight of fancy (which is what "what ifs" are) and think of how Britain would have coped if a state of war didn't exist between Germany and the USA. Imagine what Churchill would do if the USA said, "We'll take care of Japan but won't put American blood on European soil again! We will, however, support you materially."
     
  17. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    To be a reasonable "What if" you need a clearly defined POD. You don't have one yet. Indeed if you look at the trends in the Gallup Polls its pretty clear that the US was ready for war by the time of PH. Indeed FDR would have had a decent chance of getting a declaration of war vs Germany in Nov of 41 if he had tried for it. It wouldn't have been overwhelming and his military advisors wanted another 6 months or so at the least so he didn't try but if you want to keep the US out of the war in Europe you are going to have to give some more background, otherwise it just doesn't make sense.
     
  18. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Twice during 1941 FDR's cabinet was unanimous in the opinion that FDR could get a declaration of war through Congress if the Japanese attacked British or Dutch possessions in the Pacific area. (Last time was July 5th, recorded in Stimson's diary on July 7th.)
     
  19. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Roughly at the same time as Pearl Harbor German forces had been halted short of Moscow and over the next couple of months would be pushed back. That being said had their been no attack on US forces/possessions till the spring of 1942 or later there is a argument that the American public would not reach a critical mass to support a war of choice as they would a war forced upon them.
     
  20. OpanaPointer

    OpanaPointer I Point at Opana Staff Member Patron   WW2|ORG Editor

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    Did the world know the Heer was stopped, or was there some doubt about that?

    And for the public, I'm comfortable saying that we would have gone to war when FDR asked us to, even if there was no attack.
     
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