What If the United States Had Stayed Out of World War I?
Compromise peace agreements that recognize the vital security interests of all great powers are the key to achieving the long-term resolution of major conflicts.
This treaty would have amounted to a separate peace between the Western Allies and Germany after the Bolsheviks took power in November 1917 and agreed to an armistice with Germany, allowing the March 1918 Treaty of Brest-Litovsk to be implemented in the east and made permanent. Thus, Germany would have effectively conceded defeat in the west in exchange for victory in the east.
Had such a compromise peace treaty been signed, Hitler and the Nazis could have possibly been prevented from coming to power in Germany, and the Holocaust could have possibly been averted. Germany would have remained a satisfied power interested in maintaining the peace rather than a revanchist one. The Soviet Union might never have existed had Germany helped the White Russian forces defeat the Soviets in the Russian Civil War. Even if it had, it would have been constricted and counterbalanced by Imperial Germany in the west and Imperial Japan in the east. The Second World War would likely have started with Soviet, rather than German, aggression, with the Soviets attempting to recover lost territory just as they did from September 1939 to July 1940. But in this counterfactual historical timeline, there would have been no Hitler-Stalin Pact and no unholy alliance with the United States and Britain to help them do so. In fact, it is even possible that Britain and France would have joined an increasingly democratic Germany in opposing one or more of these aggressions.
The Pacific War between the United States and Imperial Japan, which was sparked by a crushing U.S.-led oil embargo on Japan imposed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt as a “back door to war” with Germany, likely would never have occurred. Without the German conquest of France in 1940, Roosevelt likely would have accepted the Japanese offer to withdraw from Indochina and mainland China, excepting Manchuria and Jehol province, in exchange for lifting the oil embargo. Without Soviet involvement in a U.S.-led Pacific War against Japan, the Nationalist Chinese would likely have defeated Mao’s Red Army in the Chinese Civil War and Communist China and North Korea would likely never have existed. The world would be far safer, more secure, and much freer than it is today if a Nationalist-led China fought on the Western side during the Cold War against the Soviet Union.
History has proven that negotiated, compromise peace agreements that recognize the vital security interests of all great powers are the key to achieving the long-term resolution of major conflicts. Were the United States to negotiate a similar compromise peace agreement with Russia that recognizes Russia’s legitimate security interests as well as our own, it could end the war in Ukraine and prevent the conflict from escalating into an unnecessary, and potentially nuclear, Third World War.
David T. Pyne, Esq. is a former U.S. Army combat arms and H.Q. staff officer with an M.A. in National Security Studies from Georgetown University. He currently serves as Deputy Director of National Operations for the EMP Task Force on National and Homeland Security and is a contributor to Dr. Peter Pry’s new book Blackout Warfare. He may be reached at [email protected].
Image: Wikimedia Commons.