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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany?

 
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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/22/2019 11:39:34 PM   
Chickenboy


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quote:

ORIGINAL: warspite1
that it can be argued "one discussion [not] look like the other"?


Yeah. I can.

By not narrowing the topic of conversation to that which is germane to the OP's question, threads like this one quickly become a laundry list of non-sequitor talking points. Your need for deep background discussion quickly becomes someone else's need to point to Goering as a nutjob that cost the Third Reich the victory becomes discussion of the number of Middle Eastern wars that are allegedly caused by European meddling in Middle Eastern affairs. Eventually it becomes unfair to the OP and too difficult to follow the circuitous or fallacious logic connecting point A (the OP question) and point B (whatever point du jour gets layered onto sub-responses).

Sorry, altipueri, but I'm going to bow out of this conversation at this point. This thread-like many others here-has ceased to be relevant to the question asked by yourself. PM me if you'd like to discuss this further.

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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/23/2019 3:21:04 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Chickenboy

By not narrowing the topic of conversation to that which is germane to the OP's question, threads like this one quickly become a laundry list of non-sequitor talking points. Your need for deep background discussion quickly becomes someone else's need to point to Goering as a nutjob that cost the Third Reich the victory becomes discussion of the number of Middle Eastern wars that are allegedly caused by European meddling in Middle Eastern affairs. Eventually it becomes unfair to the OP and too difficult to follow the circuitous or fallacious logic connecting point A (the OP question) and point B (whatever point du jour gets layered onto sub-responses).

Sorry, altipueri, but I'm going to bow out of this conversation at this point. This thread-like many others here-has ceased to be relevant to the question asked by yourself. PM me if you'd like to discuss this further.
warspite1

Then we can agree to disagree. I say that in order to come up with a reasoned view on what would have happened had Hitler not declared war, one needs to understand what actually happened (and so from there, view possibilities about what may have happened). It’s kind of how a reasoned answer (right or wrong) is formed. You say that is not necessary. Okay, one can always flip a coin I suppose. To the OP’s question – Heads its yes and Tails its no.

As for the rest of the post, this is just disingenuous because you have a beef with me.

In your response to Capt. Harlock you refer specifically to my post being tangential (despite the fact I was answering the question). You now state it is “[my] need for deep background discussion becomes someone else’s need to point to Goering as a nutjob”. Why did you not mention that post then previously? That was before my first post. You think that my comments (which, I repeat, were completely germane to the OP’s question) are to blame for everyone else that took this thread off track? So why didn’t you comment when said post from IslandInland was responded to directly by Curtis Lemay? That had precisely nothing to do with me. When MrsWargamer said Hitler was the Allies secret weapon, and was responded to by Lobster, why not comment then?

If you have a problem with the direction this thread has taken then pick it up with those posting – don’t keep posting directly to others Capt. Harlock or altipueri or whoever, in order to make your points about other people. I mean you could have simply said “guys and gals, can we keep this on topic please?”




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Post #: 32
RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/23/2019 8:16:30 AM   
altipueri

 

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Well that took off in a somewhat different direction than expected, but thanks for your replies to my original post.

An early post mentioned a plane crash which reminded me of a couple incidents that led to different appointments that had far reaching consequences in history.

The two that come to mind are:

Franco became head of the Spanish Nationalists when the designated leader Sanjuro was killed in a plane crash.

Montgomery was appointed Commander of the Eighth Army after the death of General Gott on the way to take up that appointment. (I thought it was an accident but on just checking his plane was shot down)

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Post #: 33
RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/23/2019 9:07:18 AM   
Simulacra53


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https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/Framework/ch05.htm
https://history.army.mil/books/wwii/Framework/ch06.htm

Some interesting reading regarding 1941 and your original question.
Share with us if you think the situation was as simple as in your original question.

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Post #: 34
RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/23/2019 10:06:24 AM   
altipueri

 

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Thanks for those links simulacra.

From the first:

"The real impact of the German invasion of the Soviet Union on the security of the Western Hemisphere derived not from the immediate but from the longer range development of the situation. Instead of a breathing space of one to three months duration, the United States and the rest of the New World were to be free henceforth from any great danger of German surface or air aggression in the western Atlantic. The Nazi-Soviet conflict had a contrary effect in the Pacific. Japanese decisions and actions from early July 1941 onward showed that the Japanese also considered this conflict a "providential occurrence," and they proceeded to take full advantage of it by pushing the erection by force of a "Greater East Asia Co-prosperity Sphere" with all speed. The United States in consequence was to be brought fully into the war not as a result of measures taken to combat the Nazi menace in the Atlantic, but by Japanese aggression in the Pacific."

Both Barbarossa and Pearl Harbor were spectacular blunders which is good for us war nerds.

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Post #: 35
RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/23/2019 3:23:23 PM   
Simulacra53


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That would not be my primary choice of quote, but interesting nonetheless.

IMO the decisions made by Germany and Japan were not made in a vacuum and have their own logic.
They may appear to be blunders with 20/20 hindsight, but that’s not the luxury available then.

The alternatives in both cases are not as straightforward.

Japan would have had to concede defeat in China and its government would have to swallow being humiliated by Washington’s economic boycot. If there was a time to change the balance in Asia it was 1940/41.

Germany would have had to prepare for strategic warfare in the west, including an increasingly piwerful and active US, while losing its optimal window of opportunity to defeat the Soviet Union, not only that but the latter would continue to grow more powerful and threaten Germany and its allies in the East (although I do not believe that Stalin was planning an attack as later claimed by the Germans and again in the books like Icebreaker).

Back to the article it clearly documents the active role the US played against Germany to the point of waging an undeclared naval war in the Atlantic.
With that in mind, what difference did the official declaration make, other free the rules of engagement and speed up events?


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Post #: 36
RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/23/2019 10:59:07 PM   
philabos

 

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There was little interest in the European War either before or after PH. Supply convoys and their escorts fall far short of the efforts employed after Germany declared war. The Germany first strategy was agreed upon in joint UK US discussions shortly after PH, but in a matter of months was adjusted because of the absolute debacles in the Pacific.
King and Roosevelt convinced Churchill that transports earmarked for Europe would have to be diverted to the Pacific.
Given the state of the IJN in 1940/41, no western power was in a position to seriously challenge them. That would change after Midway and Guadalcanal, but at a high cost.
I do not think the late to the party claim is either stated or implied here.
Roosevelt may have tempted the Axis powers with the destroyers in the Atlantic and sanctions on Japan, but always knew he would have to wait for them to make the first move. He could not lead an unwilling country to war, despite his accurate vision.
The war in all but fact theory before PH is quite an over statement, just IMHO. The chances of Congress agreeing to a declaration of war before PH were nil. As long as Germany and Japan stayed in their respective neighborhoods.

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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/24/2019 4:14:05 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: philabos

Supply convoys and their escorts fall far short of the efforts employed after Germany declared war.

I do not think the late to the party claim is either stated or implied here.

Roosevelt may have tempted the Axis powers with the destroyers in the Atlantic and sanctions on Japan, but always knew he would have to wait for them to make the first move. He could not lead an unwilling country to war, despite his accurate vision.

The war in all but fact theory before PH is quite an over statement, just IMHO. The chances of Congress agreeing to a declaration of war before PH were nil. As long as Germany and Japan stayed in their respective neighborhoods.
warspite1

+1


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Post #: 38
RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/24/2019 6:18:25 AM   
Simulacra53


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There was an undeclared war in practice and preparation, both in the East and West.
That congress and the American people were not aware or receptive is something else - there are parallels even today.

The US was a non-belligerent participating in the war against Germany by supporting Britain actively to the point of fighting an undeclared war in the Atlantic.
Neutrality patrols etc were like many of today’s humanitarian missions. They are euphemisms for being involved in an undeclared war.

Neutrality Patrols
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neutrality_Patrol

Roosevelt's initiation of the Neutrality Patrol, which in fact also escorted British ships, as well as orders to U.S. Navy destroyers first to actively report U-boats, then "shoot on sight", meant American neutrality was honored more in the breach than observance.[2]


Battle of the Atlantic
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_the_Atlantic

By 1941, the United States was taking an increasing part in the war, despite its nominal neutrality. In April 1941 President Roosevelt extended the Pan-American Security Zone east almost as far as Iceland. British forces occupied Iceland when Denmark fell to the Germans in 1940; the US was persuaded to provide forces to relieve British troops on the island. American warships began escorting Allied convoys in the western Atlantic as far as Iceland, and had several hostile encounters with U-boats.


Atlantic Charter
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_Charter

The Atlantic Charter made clear that the United States was supporting the United Kingdom in the war. Both the US and UK wanted to present their unity, regarding their mutual principles and hopes for a peaceful post-war world and the policies they agreed to follow once the Nazis had been defeated.


USS Niblack
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Niblack_(DD-424)

On 10 April 1941, as she was nearing the coast, the ship picked up three boatloads of survivors from a torpedoed merchantman. When a submarine was detected, the division commander, Denis L. Ryan, ordered a depth charge attack which drove off the U-52. This bloodless battle apparently was the first action between American and German forces in World War II.


USCGC Northland
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USCGC_Northland_(WPG-49)

The first American hostile action against Axis forces that resulted in physical destruction was on 14 September 1941, when USCGC Northland destroyed a German weather station in northeast Greenland.


USS Greer
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Greer_(DD-145)

The incident led President Franklin D. Roosevelt to issue what became known as his "shoot-on-sight" order. Roosevelt publicly confirmed the "shoot on sight" order on 11 September 1941, effectively declaring naval war against Germany and Italy in the Battle of the Atlantic.


USS Kearny
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Kearny_(DD-432)

In October 1941, while the U.S. was still officially neutral in World War II, Kearny was docked at Reykjavík, in U.S.-occupied Iceland. A "wolfpack" of German U-boats attacked a nearby British convoy, and overwhelmed her Canadian escorts. Kearny and three other U.S. destroyers were summoned to assist.


USS Reuben James
https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/USS_Reuben_James_(DD-245)

On 23 October, she sailed from Naval Station Argentia, Newfoundland with four other destroyers, escorting eastbound Convoy HX 156. At daybreak on 31 October, she was torpedoed near Iceland[2] by U-552 commanded by Kapitänleutnant Erich Topp. Reuben James had positioned herself between an ammunition ship in the convoy and the known position of a German "wolfpack", a group of submarines poised to attack the convoy.


So how many Reuben James incidents does it take to sway the people and congress?
The war in the atlantic would have escalated, albeit at a slower pace.

When peace and neutrality are actually war.

< Message edited by Simulacra53 -- 12/24/2019 6:34:08 AM >

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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/24/2019 6:35:24 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Simulacra53

There was an undeclared war in practice and preparation, both in the East and West.

That congress and the American people were not aware or receptive is something else - there are parallels even today.

The US was a non-belligerent participating in the war against Germany by supporting Britain actively to the point of fighting an undeclared war in the Atlantic.

So how many Reuben James incidents does it take the sway the people and congress?

The war in the atlantic would have escalated, albeit at a slower pace.

When peace and neutrality are actually war.

warspite1

Sorry it is unclear to me what point you are trying to make?

We appear in agreement that a few more 'Reuben James' type incidents would bring the US into the war with a declaration.

There is no disagreement about the 'facts' that the US were on the side of the Commonwealth and the USSR in terms of support being given.


But in addition to the above previously you said

"With that in mind, what difference did the official declaration make, other free the rules of engagement and speed up events?"

There is a MASSIVE difference between a declaration of war and what was happening in the Atlantic and with the supply of Lend-Lease to the Commonwealth and the USSR prior to the declaration. MASSIVE.

Without the US being at war with Germany there would have been no Torch, no VIII Bomber Command strikes, no build up of troops in the UK in preparation for D-Day (and certainly no D-Day), no Husky let alone the invasion of mainland Italy, no USN ships assisting the RN in the Arctic or Mediterranean. no US aircraft in North Africa.


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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/24/2019 7:01:54 AM   
Simulacra53


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You can discuss the judgement of German strategic planning, misjudging US industrial output etc.
OTOH America did manage to join in 1917 just in time to have a significant impact on the Western Front.

The US would have entered the war eventually, as it was preparing for war - both its industry and military.
It was already participating indirectly, by the support you mention, and directly by protecting convoys in the Western Atlantic.

From a German in perspective 1941 it mattered little at that point if they were facing the RN or USN.
By declaring war after Pearl Harbor they freed up the U-Boots - directly leading to the albeit short term success of Paukenschlag.

Other decisions, other events, other timelines...and endless talk.

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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/24/2019 7:08:29 AM   
warspite1


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Simulacra53

Other decisions, other events, other timelines...and endless talk.

warspite1

What do you mean?


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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/24/2019 7:57:03 AM   
Simulacra53


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What ifs

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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/24/2019 10:35:55 PM   
philabos

 

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There are two possible reactions to more Reuben James attacks.
One is a declaration of war - maybe.
The other is Roosevelt put his chin out there, which he assuredly did, and what did everyone expect?
Given the state of public opinion, either is possible. Remember, FDR campaigned in 1940 on NOT taking America to war.


< Message edited by philabos -- 12/24/2019 10:51:05 PM >

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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/28/2019 4:03:30 AM   
IslandInland


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quote:

ORIGINAL: MrsWargamer

Hitler was the Allies secret weapon.

His actions were never reliably smart. Most of his choices would never occur to a wargamer. North Africa a side show, never going to happen. Stalingrad, nope not doing that either. Jets as bombers, give me a break. Kursh, nope. Battle of the Bulge, nope.

The Germans lost, because Hitler thought he was a great military mind. He wasn't. Great politician, great orator. Lousy general.


Lousy humanitarian?



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I saw generals create imaginary "masses of manoeuvre" with a crayon and dispose of enemy concentrations, that were on the ground and on the map, with an eraser. Who was I to criticise them, hero as I was of a hundred "Chinagraph wars" of make-believe?

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RE: Would the US have declared war on Germany? - 12/28/2019 1:42:46 PM   
Lobster


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quote:

ORIGINAL: Simulacra53

You can discuss the judgement of German strategic planning, misjudging US industrial output etc.



In Hitlers second book, Zweites Buch , (from wiki) "In contrast to Mein Kampf, in Zweites Buch Hitler added a fourth stage to the Stufenplan. He insinuated that in the far future a struggle for world domination might take place between the United States and a European alliance comprising a new association of nations, consisting of individual states with high national value. Zweites Buch also offers a different perspective on the U.S. than that outlined in Mein Kampf. In the latter, Hitler declared that Germany's most dangerous opponent on the international scene was the Soviet Union; in Zweites Buch, Hitler declared that for immediate purposes, the Soviet Union was still the most dangerous opponent, but that in the long-term, the most dangerous potential opponent was the United States."

That does not sound like a misjudging of the U.S. Hitler never wanted a World War in 1941. He wanted to keep it a European War and bring that to a successful conclusion before going on to conquer the rest of the planet. Hitler's opinion of the U.S. did a complete turn around between 1924 and 1928. He went from the U.S. imploding due to it's racial inequities (in his opinion) to being admired for it's racial policies (segregation, forced sterilization of the mentally ill, etc) and it's industrial power and prosperity. Hitler considered the U.S. as the most dangerous Allied power.

Regardless of what Hitler thought of the U.S. when the Japanese, an Axis power, attacked the U.S. the writing was on the wall. A World War was going to happen regardless of what Hitler wanted. I'm fairly certain he knew in his gut that his plans were shot after 7 December 1941. Declaring against the U.S. was simply a formality and he likely knew it. Too bad he didn't let Japan in on his plans for the Soviet Union. Things would have gone a bit differently I'm sure.

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