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This timeline follows a different course of actions during the Venezuelan Crisis of 1902-03. Long story short: Venezuela owed Great Britain, Germany and Italy money. These countries decided to blockade Venezuela to force them to repay the money. Theodore Roosevelt didn't invoke the Monroe Doctrine as he felt it didn't apply with the circumstances. Eventually, Venezuela repaid most of the debt, causing the European fleets to withdraw. But, on the table for the Europeans during the planning of the blockade was landing troops and occupying Venezuelan cities. If this was chosen, Roosevelt would have most likely invoked the Monroe Doctrine. Would the US be able to stop them, or would Europeans get control of the defenseless South American country?
Build up (1898-1902)
The United States of America emerge victorious after a brief war with Spain. The conflict demonstrates that the US is capable of crossing oceans and fighting on foreign soil. America is now a real world power. Meanwhile, Venezuela falls into deep debt with Great Britain, Germany and Italy. Investors in those countries press their governments to do something about it. Leaders begin drafting plans to force Venezuela to repay them. Some propose a small invasion, occupying some territory. Cooler heads would prefer only conducting a naval blockade, citing the American Monroe Doctrine and that a blockade may draw less attention. But most appear to be leaning towards the former of the two. President Theodore Roosevelt, well aware of Venezuela's finical situation, contacts their governments. He tells them that if they plan on landing European troops on South American soil, he will stop them. Great Britain, the historically master of the high seas, shrugs it off as an empty threat. Germany, however, is more concern, and many heads are becoming cooler. In June 1902, Venezuela seizes a British vessel suspected of aiding rebels. This action is the tipping point and Prime Minister Robert Gascoyne-Cecil approves the invasion plan. Germany agrees reluctantly, and Italy backs out altogether. The invasion itself will be conducted by troops of the German army, famous for its victory over France in the last century. The British will provide naval support, as they have the more powerful navy.
Sailing to war
President Roosevelt hears that the British and Germans have set sail for Venezuela. Within an hour, he announces that he will invoke the Monroe Doctrine. He says that in Venezuela's weakened state, they won't be able to resist, and opening the door to another round of colonization. He orders the Navy to mobilize all available ships and sail to intercept the European fleet. Upon hearing this, the British and German fleets continue the invasion plan. Britain still believes that Roosevelt is bluffing and continues, besides his war against trusts are far different than a war against the British and German Empires. The troop ships sail a few hours behind the British ships, giving them time to establish naval dominance. The Royal Navy sails far around to the east of America's new possession, Puerto Rico. This move buys the American navy time to catch up by cutting in between Hispaniola and Puerto Rico. The navies are set to engage in the Caribbean Sea.
The US Navy group comprises of nine vessels: Battleships Iowa, Kearsarge, Oregon and Indiana. Protected cruisers Olympia, Columbia and Minneapolis. And armored cruisers New York and Brooklyn. They faced a British fleet of fourteen ships: battleships Renown, Jupiter, Magnificent, Mars, Barfleur and Prince George. Protected cruisers Andromeda, Argonaut, Powerful, Terrible and Vindictive. And armored cruisers Cressy, Hogue and Leviathan.
At 1023 hours local time, lookouts for both navies almost simultaneously spot the smoke from the opposing ships. At 1024 American Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, from the bridge of Iowa, ordered his ships into battle formation, mirrored by the British.
At 1031, he crossed the point of not return. With the British still closing, he gave the now-famous order, "Pick out the biggest one and fire." As expected, neither side scored a hit in the opening salvo as each tried to find the range.
At 1040, a shell from HMS Vindictive hit USS Brooklyn, the Brooklyn veered to starboard, showing its broadside. Several more hits left it disabled.
Around 1059, Schley was told that the USS Kearsarge had fallen put of formation due to damage, this was followed by said ship exploding from the fires reaching the powder magazine. Schley panicked and irrationally ordered a general attack, having the ships in no formation shooting at targets of opportunity. This confused the British, who still was in their battle lines.
By 1137 the Kearsarge, Columbia and New York were sunk, with Olympia, Oregon, and Minneapolis, in addition to the Brooklyn, heavily damaged. The British have taken significantly less; Hogue sunk, Leviathan and Jupiter moderately damaged. The larger British fleet bore down on the Americans, intent on finishing their mission. The amount of munitions coming down destroyed the already crippled Oregon.
Around 1200, somehow the tide began to turn against the British. Well aimed shots detonated the powder magazines of three cruisers. The battleship HMS Mars took an impact to the stern, locking its rudder into its last position, hard to port, leaving it in a perpetual circular course. Soon after, Olympia and Minneapolis, however weakened, returned to the fray. HMS Andromeda and Prince George fell to the emboldened Americans. Seeing his losses mount, the admiral of the British fleet decided that they have officially lost more than they'll gain. The surviving ships turn and head home. HMS Mars is scuttled due to its locked rudder. Admiral Schley does not order a pursuit. Around 1340, President Roosevelt is told that the British have turned and abandoned the invasion.
Following the battle, the American navy was decimated, only three ships remained seaworthy. But the British Atlantic Fleet was not only equally hurt, it was embarrassed, the premier navy of the world was stood up to and defeated. Parliament immediately scolded the United States for starting an unnecessary battle. The Anglo-German alliance falls apart shortly after.
Germany, always being an opportunist, begins putting more funding into their navy after the defeat of the Royal Atlantic Fleet left a power vacuum in the area. In America, the Navy approves the design for the new Connecticut class battleships. But these efforts are almost immediately rendered obsolete as the British launch HMS Dreadnought, the first modern battleship. This starts a new naval arms race.
Seeing growing hostilities from Great Britain, Kaiser Wilhelm II extended an offer to President Roosevelt, join Germany, Italy, and Austria-Hungary's military alliance, the Triple Alliance. He accepted, this caused a furious response from the British government. Trade relations were cut, and most diplomats were ready to go home. In 1912, Roosevelt was elected over his successor to a third presidential term. He was elected on a pro-Germany platform over his opponent, Woodrow Wilson, who ran in favor of a reconciliation with Britain. With his reelection and the continued militarization of the countries, tensions rise more. Tensions will rise until 1914, when an assassins bullet cuts it.
The Great War
On June 28, 1914 the Archduke Franz Ferdinand, heir to the throne of Austria-Hungary, is assassinated in Sarajevo. Although the assassin is apprehended on the scene, intense anger towards Serbia billows in Austria-Hungary. Russia announces that it will support Serbia in the event of war. This guarantees that the allies of Austria and Russia will go to war with them. In an effort to prevent war, Austria-Hungary gives Serbia an ultimatum: including attempting to eliminate the assassin group, and being annexed by Austria-Hungary, Serbia refuses. Austria declares war on Serbia the next day, followed by Russia on them, Germany on Russia, France on Germany, The Ottoman Empire on France, Britain on Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottomans, within a few days, war is declared between all these nations. The United States is the last to do so, when the US Senate voted 89-7 in favor of declaration of war against the Triple Entente on August 26, 1914.
In Europe, Germany initiated their Schlieffen Plan and invaded France through the neutral country of Belgium. France's armies were beaten at every turn, but finally stopped the Germans in the outskirts of Paris. In North America, the British army attempted an invasion of New England, but barely got south of the border and were forced back into Canada. United States troops in Minnesota invaded, aiming to take the city of Winnipeg. The final wing, staged from Washington state, push into British Columbia and towards Vancouver. But by late September, advanced weapons coupled with outdated tactics have caused the deaths of thousands.
The German army never reached Paris and was pushed back before holding at a line of defensive trenches centered around Amiens. The French and small number of British Expeditionary Force troops were stopped and forced to dig trenches of their own. Within weeks, the trenches stretched miles along the front. After the German army retreated, the Russian army crossed into east Germany. They were held a few miles west. A similar story has played out in the North American Front. Initial American gains towards the St. Lawrence River were stopped. Brutal Canadian resistance south of Winnipeg stalled the advance to the city. And even with the total control of Vancouver Island, the city itself remained in enemy hands.
In November, Russia invaded the Alaska Territory. They captured the Seward Peninsula, including Nome, before being halted by the limited US military presence. The Aleutian Islands up to Dutch Harbor were also taken, forcing the US Navy to operate out of Kodiak.
In the week leading up to Christmas, troops on the European Western Front and the North American Southern Front began to become more friendly towards each other. Units would sing Christmas carols and send greetings to each other. On Christmas Eve, hostilities reduced to the point that they climbed over the top of their trenches and mingled with those from the other side. Impromptu gifts were exchanged, and games of soccer were commonplace. The feelings lasted for almost a week after Christmas. Then after number of artillery bombardments and snipings, things returned to normal.
In January American forces in the east launched a renewed offensive into New Brunswick and Quebec south of the St. Lawrence. Canadian machine guns mow down men by the hundreds as they attempted to cross no-mans land. Once in the opposing trenches, though, the Americans made more headway. Some Americans were armed with Winchester M1897 shotguns, a pump action weapon far superior to the more common double barreled shotgun. Its effectiveness would give it the nickname "the trench gun". But it would take weeks before New Brunswick is subdued.
By this time the major powers were fully engaged in a battle to control the Atlantic shipping routes. The Alliance powers had a far tougher time as supply ships had to either go through the English Channel between Great Britain and France, or run the gauntlet of Gibraltar. The dreadnought battleships of their navies often dueled as they were escorting a convoy or trying to destroy one. In April, the first major naval battle occurred. In the Battle of Newfoundland (Venezuelan Intervention), a British fleet ambushed what they thought was a merchant convoy. In fact, they had been fed false information, two squadrons of the American Atlantic Fleet were waiting for them. In the ensuing battle, the Royal Navy lost two of its prized battlecruisers. It was unsettling as it could have turned into a second Caribbean Sea.
Around the one-year anniversary, the German army attacked a trench line manned by the B.E.F. With its forces divided between Europe and North America, they were not able to repel the Kaisers army. The Germans lost steam after taking Ypres and Dunkirk.
In the North Pacific, the Russian and American fleets battled for control of Dutch harbor. In the month of August, the US Navy attacked twice, and was repulsed both times. On mainland Alaska, the US Army was eager to retake Nome before winter fully set in. But the Russians had built a vast system of trenches. A plan arose from a young captain, extend the trenches towards the Russians so there is little of no-man's land needed for crossing. Trenches were dug up to fifty yards from the Russian lines. In early September, they attacked. American troops crossed what little of no-mans land there was and surprised the Russians. Caught off guard, the fled through Nome before regrouping. When they tried to retaken the town, the American forces successfully defended it. But by winter 1915, there were little major gains on any front.
In early December, the Japanese, who had allied themselves with the Entente but haven't fully entered the war, finally did so when their navy attacked Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, the American Pacific Fleets base of operations. Three American ships are destroyed at their piers. The surviving ships leave Pearl a few days later, after hearing that the US possessions of Guam and the Philippines were attacked. The US and Japanese navies run into each other off a small Pacific island called Midway. The battle was essentially a draw, with neither decisively defeating the other. After Christmas, word came that Japanese forces had re-inforced the Russian army in Alaska.
By the start of 1916, the war industries of the combating nation were operating at peak output. Somewhere, at least one battleship, cruiser, or submarine was launched, and aeroplanes and artillery rolled off up to one every fifteen minutes. Despite this, the front lines hardly moved. On Europe's Western Front, the armies of the Kaiser were deep into France, capturing several Channel ports including Dunkirk and Calais. In the east, the combine forces of Germany and Austria-Hungary drove back the Russian army as communists plot an uprising. It was a similar story in North America, US and Canadian-British troops huddled in trenches. And in Alaska, the czar's armies are re-inforced by fresh Japanese units, as the US Navy continues to try to retake Dutch Harbor.
In the Atlantic, German Admiral Reinhard Scheer let America know that the High Seas Fleet will try to break out of the North Sea, where they have been bottled up by the bruised but still formidable Royal Navy. Vice Admiral William Sims decides to lead a force to assist. The plan is set to start on May 31st. On that day, the High Seas Fleet sails from Windhelmshaven and Keil, and into the North Sea. The Royal Navy sends units of the Grand Fleet to stop them, while US ships use the early morning fog in the English Channel to slip through. The battle moves slowly for the first part, as the two navies were almost equal. The first casualty is the HMS Queen Mary, then followed by the German battlecruiser Lützow. Then the Americans showed up. They sandwiched the Royal Navy between them and the German navy. A retreat was signaled to the ships of the British fleet from the flagship, but only a handful were able. Nineteen of the twenty-eight British battleships were sunk, with four battlecruisers, and all eight armored cruisers. American and German losses were substantially smaller, the Germans lost three battleships and a battlecruiser, and the Americans lost none. It was the biggest loss of men and ships the Royal Navy ever had in its history, and from which it will never recover.
On the first of July, British forces attack German lines on the River Somme. After initial success, repeated advances were thrown back. On the first day alone, twenty five thousand British troops were killed. The plan would be called off by mid July. Towards the southern end of the front, the German army have been attacking the town of Verdun. It was brutal fighting, but the French held through the summer. The persistence of the Germans would overwhelm the defenders in November.
Coinciding with the fall of Verdun, the United States gained complete control of the Canadian land south of the St. Lawrence River. Shelling of Quebec City will become commonplace, in preparation for an attack. On the West Coast, the American army finally entered Vancouver, but urban warfare has the advance at a crawl.
In Alaska, Russian and Japanese troops attack the Americans around Nome. Both sides suffer heavy casualties, but the Americans hold. And after almost two years, the US Navy breaks through the Russian fleet in Dutch Harbor. The victory is a huge morale boost for the Americans in the Northern Front, who have locked in a cold, miserable stalemate.
1917As the Great War drew close to its three year anniversary, troops from the warring nations were still stuck in their trenches. But things were about to change. Starting the previous year, both sides have been developing armored vehicles, immune to machine guns and capable of crushing barbed wire and crossing trenches. The British, eager to regain their losses at Somme and Vancouver, deploy newly made tanks to the front first. They sight of the massive, steel monsters scare the American soldiers into retreat. They flee into Vancouver's northern outskirts before stopping to fight. By this time, all but one of them had either broken down, or had gotten stuck. With most of the artillery focusing on the lone tank, it is quickly destroyed. The Americans counterattack, retaking most of their lost ground. The Germans have a similar experience, as the British attack towards Ypres and Calais. The Alliance powers expedite their own tank programs.
In the Pacific, at the Battle of the Four Navies, the US Pacific Fleet is attacked by a joint British-Russian-Japanese armada. The battle sees heroic actions from the Americans, outnumbered over two-to-one. One such action included the USS Nevada who had its rudder locked to port but continued to engage. Despite massive casualties, the Entente fleet is forced to retreat. On the Alaskan Front, gains are made against the Russian and Japanese armies. And the Americans close in to put Winnipeg under their guns.
In July, US troops, aided by ships from the Atlantic, landed on the north side of the St Lawrence river. Quebec City falls in weeks. Units push in and move on Toronto, which has been under barrage since the wars outbreak. Their progress is then slowed as they move inland.
By September, the Germans unleash their own version of the tank, the panzer. They first use them against the French in the south. Technical issues minimize their effectiveness, and the line moves only a few miles. With the Royal Navy badly hurt after Newfoundland and Jutland, shipping increases between Germany and America. Among the cargo are a small number of German A7V tanks. Upon reaching the States, on American remarked, "They look like a big ol' pickle barrel knocked over on its side." The term will stick and tanks and panzers will be regarded as "barrels" to Americans. With the blueprints in their possession, the A7V is put into production as the M-X Pope.
At the end of October, the communist forces in Russia begin a rebellion against the Czarist government. At first, the attacks are minor. But in time they will force more action.
The communist rebels in Russia kill Czar Nicholas II. With the czarist government in disarray, the newly formed Red Army begin to topple the government. Word spreads to the Russian armies in Europe and Alaska, and units loyal to one side or the other begin fighting. Often, the Germans, Americans and Japanese are caught in the crossfire. What's left of the government brokers a peace treaty with the Alliance, ceding territory in Eastern Europe and pulling out of Alaska. Within weeks of the withdraw, and with the Japanese standing alone, the last of the Ententes troops are pushed out of Alaska. Japan is forced to call for a cease-fire. The Alaskan armies then turn to the Canadian border. The Yukon Territory is swept through due to little military presence. Forced to divert troops, the British-Canadian armies are stretched thin, and the Americans break out of Vancouver. Winnipeg finally falls, greatly reducing the flow of supplies between east and west. Squeezed between two American armies, the Canadians in British Columbia are decimated, and the Canadian west coast is taken. Aided by their new barrels, the lines in Quebec are broken, causing a full scale retreat across the front.
In France, with the arrival of the Germans from the eastern front, the French armies mutiny. It is this time that the Germans attack, with more panzers than the Entente believed the Germans had. The French lines crumble and the Germans swing around behind the remain B.E.F. units, forcing them back and into withdrawing from France via the beaches around Normandy. In a controversial decision, the French army commanders move south of Paris to make their stand. In July, the armies of the Kaiser march unopposed into Paris. German army divisions then move to take more of France. Some head to the north, where the miss they last British soldiers leaving the falling country. Others move to take the Atlantic coast, where the French have no presence. By the end of August, the Germans reach the Pyrenees Mountains, the Spanish border. At this point, the Entente finally sue for peace. The Alliance agree and will hold the conference at Nuremberg.
Treaty of Nuremberg
Due to a number of factors, the conference doesn't start until early October. When it does, the remaining Entente powers of Great Britain, France and Japan sit down across from the United States, Germany, Austria-Hungary, and the Ottoman Empire of the Quadruple Alliance. Germany insists that France take the blame for the war, and pay reparations as such. After some debate, the other Alliance nations agree on this. France wants to get most of their pre-war territory back with some cesesions. This is refused, and instead Germany will keep control over their current gains. The ceded land from Russia will fall under the jurisdiction of Germany and Austria-Hungary. Austria-Hungary will annex both Serbia and Romania. The Ottoman Empire controls its land ceded by Russia. The United States will keep control over Canada. Finally, France, will pay reparations close to 50 billion francs, and Britain will pay 20 billion pounds. The treaty will be signed on Christmas Day, 1918, thus ending the Great War.