The USA and WW1: interesting thread

David Davis


I have personally-strong views about this topic, being English. What the Mises thread (and article) forgets to deal with at all of course, as is natural, is the role of (1) Woodrow Wilson and (2) the extreme reluctance of the Kaiser to go to unrestricted U-Boat warfare despite the indignant response of his Navy and his General Staff, who knew the German Empire could win if the weapon was used mercilessly, as was right and proper for them in war. I believe that Tirpitz even resigned, but who now cares?

If the USA had not entered WW1 in 1917, or even at all, on anybody’s side, I do not think the eventual result would have been very different: it would merely have been more expensive for The Empire and would have taken longer – but I am prepared to be contradicted.

2 responses to “The USA and WW1: interesting thread

  1. Yes. A good article and the book looks like a must read. My understanding of WWI is also that the intervention of the USA was largely inconsequential. I’ve seen it written that the only real impact the arrival of American troops had on the Allied advance was to slow it due to their lack of familiarity with trench warfare. Whatever the truth of that the USA should have maintained its isolationist stance.

  2. It depressed the German General Staff very much, though. It also opened the Kaiser’s eyes (an autistic psychopath but not stupid) to how right he would have been to continue to forbid his enraged Naval Staff (Tirpitz, Hipper, Scheer et al) to use the U-boats unrestricted.

    Hindenberg and Ludendorff were thus forced into gambling all on the kaiserschlacht of March 1918 – despite having effectively got for Germany what the war was all about – Russia in the bag – and they lost.

    That is the only historical legacy really, of the USA entering the war: ultimate German gloom about its prospects. The Americans had also no artillery, not having been a warlike nation in the abroad sense, and no modern warcraft, so their casualties were disproportionately high and would have remained so into 1919 had the war gone on.