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"If Pershing Had Sparked An All Out War With Mexico, 1916?" Topic

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1,072 hits since 13 Apr 2018
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Cacique Caribe13 Apr 2018 8:37 p.m. PST

What if, while pursuing Pancho Villa during the US Punitive Expedition, Pershing inadvertently started a war with the Mexican government?

A) Would Mexico have joined World War One on the side of Germany/Axis?

B) Or would a full blown war with Mexico have delayed or perhaps even kept the US from joining the Allies?


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Bunkermeister Supporting Member of TMP13 Apr 2018 8:41 p.m. PST

A full blown war with Mexico would have caused the US to mobilize much sooner and we would have been in better shape to join the allies when we went to war in Europe.

Mike Bunkermeister Creek

attilathepun4713 Apr 2018 9:34 p.m. PST

Mexico was in the middle of a bitter civil war. However much the Mexican government may have resented the U.S. intervention, it was hardly in a position to engage in a full-fledged war with the United States. After all, they did not exactly jump at the bait of an alliance with Germany, when the latter sent the infamous Zimmerman telegram.

Cacique Caribe13 Apr 2018 9:59 p.m. PST

Attila: "they did not exactly jump at the bait of an alliance with Germany, when the latter sent the infamous Zimmerman telegram"

Zimmerman telegram? When was that? Before WW1 broke out, or during?


EDIT – Found it: link
Fascinating stuff!

ancientsgamer13 Apr 2018 10:16 p.m. PST

Mexico had a dismal army too. It may have ended with a lot more stars on our flag. Then again, racism was very strong then. Even among the so called more "enlightened" northern states.

I can't for the life of me understand why we didn't do more as a contingency plan regarding military build up. Supplying Germany's enemies in both World Wars probably wasn't us being exactly neutral either.

TGerritsen14 Apr 2018 5:09 a.m. PST

Don't kid yourself. In World War One we would have happily supplied the Central Powers as well, but the Allies had them pretty well bottled up and threatened to seize or sink our ships if we tried it. Free navigation of the seas was one of Wilson's points because of this. We wanted to profit off of both sides, and Wilson ran on keeping us out of foreign wars. However events like the Zimmerman telegram and Lusitania and a redline we drew around unrestricted submarine warfare as a result led to the US joining the conflict on the side of the allies. We were a very reluctant ally in WWI until our troops were finally committed, and then we did a full 180 and became over eager. It's amazing how quickly public sentiment shifted. There were even fears that all those German descended kids from the US would be a security risk, but that proved completely unfounded as they volunteered in droves.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2018 6:11 a.m. PST

One point your are missing TGeritsen. We loan vast sums to the Allies and Nothing to the central Powers. We went to war because Wilson was told if we didn't join the war. The Allies would loss and not be able to pay the debt off.

Wilson got reelected because he keep us out of the War and Six months later declared war. Unrestricted Sub-mariner War and the Zimmerman Telegraph were stupid reasons to go to war.

Cacique Caribe14 Apr 2018 7:15 a.m. PST


I thought we loaned to both, but more to the Allies than to the Central Powers.

As for going to war with Mexico over the Zimmerman telegram, it might not seem probable, but it was still a real possibility if it looked as if Mexico was actually contemplating accepting the terms offered by Germany. I think that alone would have set off a preemptive strike from the US, which would lead to war between the two nations.

It would have given Mexico a chance to regain half of the territory they officially relinquished at the end of the Mexican American War. Check out these maps:



Now, whether they could have managed all that territory and population is another story altogether. Perhaps they didn't accept the terms because they felt that the newly acquired subjects would breathe new life into the Revolution. Who knows, right?


Shagnasty Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2018 7:16 a.m. PST

As it turned out, the Allies couldn't pay their debt when they won the war.

Wackmole9 Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2018 7:21 a.m. PST

Yes but the German couldn't give Mexico any of the Military aid in the telegram or Support. It was a poor reason to get lots of sons of IMmigrants kill saving the nation they all fled from.

Legion 414 Apr 2018 7:46 a.m. PST

Yes, the Zimmerman Telegram/letter sent before the US was involved in WWI. Stating the Germans would support Mexico in a war against the USA. To "regain" territory lost previously to the Americans. Obviously to keep the US busy and possibly out of WWI in support of the Allies.

And unrestricted U-Boat warfare were 2 of the main reasons for the USA going to war against the Central Powers.

As we see … if things keep going, those former pieces of Mexico which have been part of the USA for many decades now. May once again be "de facto" Mexican/Central & South American territory ! wink Ole' ! evil grin

Cacique Caribe14 Apr 2018 7:47 a.m. PST


Some people didn't exactly flee Mexico. Some never moved at all, like my wife's family who have been in Texas (in Seguín and other towns) since before the Texas War of Independence.

However, once the border shifted South, some some of those former Mexican subjects made their new allegiance very clear, fighting for Texas' freedom and later fighting for the US in the Mexican American War. Her family has fought for the US in every major war since then.*

Mexico would have had to try an extremely rigorous propaganda campaign to even tempt any of them to reconsider their allegiance. Maybe they would have tried the "la raza" approach, and assumed that people believe and behave the same way simply based on their race or ethnicity.

* Mexican nationals probably called them traitors back then, the same way they try to shame them into siding with Mexico's issues today.

Legion 414 Apr 2018 7:51 a.m. PST

On the other hand with all the Italian pizzerias, restaurants, eateries, etc. in and around my home town. It may well be a de facto piece of Italy ! pizza

Cacique Caribe14 Apr 2018 7:54 a.m. PST

Legion 4

It's all about their allegiance, not their provenance. :)


Legion 414 Apr 2018 7:57 a.m. PST

Very much so … as in the US ARMY … we were all OD Green and US Soldiers. Regardless of where you or your ancestors came from.

And as you posted, I think some forget, many ethnic Mexicans fought along Sam Houston's forces, etc., against Santa Anna, etc. People wanting freedom in many cases exceeds all else.

Cacique Caribe14 Apr 2018 8:03 a.m. PST

Yes. Many.


Frederick Supporting Member of TMP14 Apr 2018 10:52 a.m. PST

Even with the relatively small US military just pre-WWI (in 1916 the US Army was 108,000 strong, the US Navy 60,000 and the USMC 10,000) the Mexican government – which was in the middle of a civil war that lasted from 1910 to 1920 – would be interested

The Mexican Navy was tiny and the Mexican Federal Army had been disbanded in 1914 and was replaced by the Constitutional Army, which was about three corps strong – I believe it was about 60,000 strong; even counting in the 70,000 or so other armed fractions, no way Mexico was going to voluntarily go to war with the US

Major Mike14 Apr 2018 11:46 a.m. PST

Villa had been the darling of the Washington inner circle until a deal was struck with Carranza that left Villa on the outside. With his Division del Norte defeated twice by Carranza's troops. Carranza was more than happy to let his northern neighbors come into Mexico to run down the burr under his behind that Villa had become.

Lion in the Stars14 Apr 2018 3:56 p.m. PST

I can't for the life of me understand why we didn't do more as a contingency plan regarding military build up.

The rural US was strongly isolationist. Still is, really. Sure, if you attack the US you will get a very quick turn-around, but there's a strong streak of "you're not bothering me, so I'm not going to bother you."

Supplying Germany's enemies in both World Wars probably wasn't us being exactly neutral either.

Ironically, I read this in a fictional story about a guy who got sent to a parallel world, but if you supply the weaker side against the stronger, you get both of them to burn out. So you can take over the position as 'strongest'.

AussieAndy Supporting Member of TMP16 Apr 2018 4:25 a.m. PST

Maybe the Mexicans would have built a wall and made the US pay for it.

Legion 418 Apr 2018 3:55 p.m. PST

Only if it was sci-fi Andy … evil grin

Cacique Caribe19 Apr 2018 6:13 p.m. PST

LOL. Seriously? With their ridiculous public works "system"?

The money would have gotten "diverted" and funneled right into their own pockets, and the thing would have never gotten built. Or … it would have taken ten times as long to build, with a thousand stoppages because the workers are getting paid late*, and the whole thing would have ended up being just two feet high. And they would have still found a way to blame the US for their fiasco. :)

* I know personally about those government stoppages and unpaid labor, even when the US payer has paid in full.

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