What if the South would won the Civil War?

Armed conflicts in the history of humanity from the ancient times to the 20th Century.
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Karl Heidenreich
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What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:26 pm

Not being absolutely naval, but an alternative scenario:

The South wins, let´s say Gettysburg and Lee marches to Washington. LIncoln is forced to surrender and the Union is divided, definetely, in two separate states. The years passed and both countries split their western conquests but the South possess all the land conquered from Mexico in 1847-48.

The came the wars against Spain: a common enemy for the new empires. After that the South tries, without any success, to capture Pancho Villa but by then WWI erupts.

It seems to me that the US will be, as historically, alongside the allies, being Wilson an anglophile. But what about the South? Neutral? Pro German? Let´s say they also sided with the Brits and the WWI ends as in History.

But then came Hitler with nazism. And nazism will have a great deal of support in the South, specially when racial issues will be raised, again, by the industrial and liberal North. Here, a war that was in Europe can have consequences in America. A Second Civil War in the middle of WWII? And this time the South would have developed their natural military traditions alongiside a stronger industry.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby yellowtail3 » Sat Dec 12, 2009 11:51 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:But then came Hitler with nazism. And nazism will have a great deal of support in the South

you think so, do you? Why would nazism appeal to southerners?
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Sun Dec 13, 2009 12:31 am

yellowtail3:

you think so, do you? Why would nazism appeal to southerners?


First because, ideologically, the North, let´s say a FDR North, will be leftist to Southern standards and in a friendly mood to England. The rivalry between the North and the South will be extended to foreing policy. The South will be more to the right of the North and will not see anything pretty in Roosevelt´s inclination to Stalin´s commies and, then, will try to seek the oposite: in this case Hitler, Mussolini and Franco.

Second because the South was based in slave labor and, ergo, will stand upon the belief of the difference in human races. And we know the nazis believed in such a thing. Nowaday the KKK idiots and the nazis are "white pride" friends in the US, so it seems to me that the goverments of countries run by them will be attracted as "brethen".

Third, if industrial might of the North persists and dominate comercial relations between America and Europe then the South will like to diminish it´s influence taking side with the enemies of such might.

I do believe those three reasons are strong enough.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Bgile » Sun Dec 13, 2009 3:58 pm

If the South had won the civil war, I don't think WWI would have ended the same way, and there would have no Treaty of Versailles, and no Hitler. No WWII, either. Both sides in WWI would have been completely exhausted and drained of manpower, with a very strong peace movement.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Legend » Sun Dec 13, 2009 5:45 pm

I live in the south. Due to the long time since the ending of slavery, many people here have developed a slightly less racial standpoint... though many do still keep their racial family traits. I am strong to believe that if the Confederate States had won out and become a solitary nation, the leaders and people by WWII would be very willing to aid Hitler with whatever evil stew he was brewing up.

The North however, still has all the naval power of the American States, divided or not. Maine, New York, Philadelphia, California... assumingly Hawaii. All holding major naval bases and responsible for the construction for all or most of the United States' battleships.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby hammy » Sun Dec 13, 2009 7:11 pm

You are not saying what changes would have occurred in the South following a victory and independence after the Civil war .

The war nowadays is presented as being wholly about Slavery , North Anti , South Pro , but this is a complete distortion of history , and though it is true to say that the North was generally pro -abolitionist in attitude , this was not made policy by Lincoln until well into the war , and was in the face of active racist civil unrest in the Northern Industrialised cities .
Most people did not own slaves in the south , and of those that did , most owned only one or two , and I would suggest that the eyewitness Samuel Longhorne Clemens , better known as the author Mark Twain , has much to tell us in passing about how the institution was actually regarded by the community , prior to the war , rather than some of the accounts given by those with axes to grind at the time .
The Large Slaveowners were few and were mostly engaged in large scale farming or industrial enterprises . As proto-capitalists their unfortunate bonded workforce was pretty mercilessly exploited , but then so were the free workers in the labour intensive enterprises of the time .
Many leading figures in the South had some abolitionist sympathies on simple Religious moral grounds , and several Confederate Generals were of the view that Slavery could not and should not endure much longer , indeed by 1865 some were calling for the enlistment of coloured troops for Confederate service .

As the Southern states actually seceeded from the Union largely over the general issue of whether the Federal Government had the right and powers to tell the states what to do , or whether the Union was simply a grouping of fully independent nations , I would guess that the South , following a victory in the Civil war , would soon disagree among themselves over many issues , slavery included , and that in time to come you would have seen a variety of more or less liberal and illiberal states emerge , held together , if at all , by a weak central organisation . I see little chance of a coherent Foreign policy emerging out of that ,nor any willingness to get involved in foriegn wars , unless forced to it by circumstances , nor a very expansionist drive to the west and south of the continental US , at the expence of Mexico .

The war had created a capacity in the south for Industries which it had not had before , and so the economy must have altered from the ante-bellum farming base to that of a mixed one , which infers a shift of population towards urban living .

Oddly enough , at about 1900 or so you would see in my view something like the present state of the European Union !
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby RF » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:22 pm

I don't think the Confederacy or indeed the US as a whole has any similarity to the European Union. A better comparison would be the Austro-Hungarian Empire, with the Hapsburg's taking the role of the EU nomenklatura.

A Confederate victory can only be evaluated, for both the Confederacy and the rump Union, in terms of how that victory was achieved - a long, bloody conflict, leaving alasting legacy of hatred and rivalry on both sides, or a shorter war, in which the concept of states rights has to be accepted by the Union. By definition any acceptance of States Rights means each state can make its own choice over slavery. I think that would mean that abolition of slavery would happen eventually, but not in 1865.
The other context that the question that hammy poses is that you potentially have a three dimensional United States - the CSA, rump USA and the as yet unclaimed, uncolonised and undeveloped western hinterland between the west coast and the Mississippi. Now the competition between the two American states to occuppy and develop that before the other would be intense, and would create further conflict. And the USA would win.
Naval sacenarios wouldn't really come into any of this, unless Britain was involved in the Civil War and later as an ally of the Confederacy.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby RF » Tue Dec 15, 2009 12:27 pm

hammy wrote:
As the Southern states actually seceeded from the Union largely over the general issue of whether the Federal Government had the right and powers to tell the states what to do , or whether the Union was simply a grouping of fully independent nations , I would guess that the South , following a victory in the Civil war , would soon disagree among themselves over many issues , slavery included , and that in time to come you would have seen a variety of more or less liberal and illiberal states emerge , held together , if at all , by a weak central organisation . I see little chance of a coherent Foreign policy emerging out of that


Would they necessarily need one - the only foreign power that mattered would be the Union.

If the Union accepted States Rights then some border states such as Missouri, Kentucky might also leter secede and join the Confederacy on the grounds of economic interest. And if the CSA remained a loose federation, it could survive initially on that basis for another fifty years.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:28 pm

I think that Bgile has a point, there, claiming that if the US is divided by WWI then it´s unlikely an allied favorable result.

By 1918 the european powers were tired and worn out. The German summer ofensive was the last cartridge that they could fire. If, by then, the US was not reinforcing the Western Front I don´t think the ofensive would have failed as it did historically. Neither a counter offensive could have taken place, and if had happened then it would not be as succesfull as it was.
Revolt and social problems were not inherent to the German Empire, only, but as historically also the French were in problems. By November-December 1918 all warring states would have tried to reach a honorable peace... which of course would not have taken in account the rights of countries as Belgium, Poland or the Serbs. Peace would be settled but, in this I disagree with Bgile, not for long. Maybe not with a Hitler but there will be a lot of non resolved issues and war will re start again.

Anyway, the original issue was to have an allied winning WWI and to explore the "what if" of a WWII which is more of our interest.
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Bgile » Tue Dec 15, 2009 2:41 pm

Karl Heidenreich wrote:Anyway, the original issue was to have an allied winning WWI and to explore the "what if" of a WWII which is more of our interest.


In that case, there would probably not have been a war with Spain by either "US", so Cuba and the Philippines would still belong to Spain. The USN would be much less significant and in general the US as a military power would not be of great consequence. Apartheid would exist in the south well into the 20th century. Hitler only came to power as a result of the Versailles repercussions, but if you assume he comes to power anyway and there is still the German bitterness over the war and eagerness for renewed military power, then who can say what would happen.

I think the greatest beneficiary would be Japan, because they would be in a position to carve out their empire as they originally conceived without any interference from Americans.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby lwd » Tue Dec 15, 2009 3:57 pm

Bgile wrote:
Karl Heidenreich wrote:Anyway, the original issue was to have an allied winning WWI and to explore the "what if" of a WWII which is more of our interest.


In that case, there would probably not have been a war with Spain by either "US", so Cuba and the Philippines would still belong to Spain. The USN would be much less significant and in general the US as a military power would not be of great consequence. Apartheid would exist in the south well into the 20th century. Hitler only came to power as a result of the Versailles repercussions, but if you assume he comes to power anyway and there is still the German bitterness over the war and eagerness for renewed military power, then who can say what would happen.

I think the greatest beneficiary would be Japan, because they would be in a position to carve out their empire as they originally conceived without any interference from Americans.

I'm not at all sure that's the case. There are indications that the South would have been interested in expanding into the Carribean and perhaps cenral America. The question becomes would the Union ignore this, compete, or oppose the Southern expansion? I could see Spain and the South engaged in a war even earlier than the Spanish American one. On the otherhand economic factors might drive a reconciliation if not between the Union and the entire South between the Union and some of the sourthern states.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Karl Heidenreich » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:21 pm

I think both, Bgile and lwd have raised interesting points here.

Lwd says that the South will have interest in expand in the Caribbean and I agree. As a matter of fact some philibusters from the South, under William Walker, attacked and tried to dominate Central America in 1856-1857 but they were a small bunch of amateurs and were eventually repelled. But a southern expedicionary force with guys as Longstreet or Pickett would have been something very different. I agree here that the South would try to go all the way to Central America and try to capitalize Panamá, even in a join venture with the Northerners.

About Bgile´s assertion of Spain I don´t understand what would avoid a conflict between the US and Spain, or CSA and Spain. Maybe a temporary alliance of US and CSA will split influential zones: Cuba for the South, Philipines for the North.

I do agree with Bgile that such division will be favorable to Japan.

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby Bgile » Tue Dec 15, 2009 9:50 pm

It is hard for me to imagine a Southern victory that wouldn't result in lasting bitterness and antagonism between the North and South lasting a century or more, as the Southern states continued to repress their Slaves and freed black population, just as they did up until the last 50 years or so, but much more so if there is no Federal restriction. Many of them would try to escape and flee north, causing further alienation there.

I believe most southern officers and men fought for State's Rights, opposing a strong central government. When Lee turned down command of the Union army, it's said he voiced the belief that his first loyalty was always to Virginia. Once they win the Civil War, they will go back to their farms and plantations. Since they don't believe in a strong union, there will be a very weak national army with strong state militias. Lee would probably command the Army of Virginia for a time, but any semblance of a "national" army of the South would become very weak. The states will bicker a lot over various policies and each one will tend to go it's own way in that regard.

The above beliefs are why I don't think the Southern "Nation" would attempt to expand. They wouldn't be able to agree on what to do, and would lack a strong central govt to formulate a common policy. The only thing holding them together was a common interest in preventing central control from Washington in what they considered to be their own affairs.

If Texas tried to grab part of Mexico or Florida wanted Cuba, Virginia wouldn't see any good reason to send their boys there to fight so another state could grab more land. It would be like France and Italy trying to grab Spain. Who would it belong to?

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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby RF » Wed Dec 16, 2009 11:58 am

Karl Heidenreich wrote:I think that Bgile has a point, there, claiming that if the US is divided by WWI then it´s unlikely an allied favorable result.

By 1918 the european powers were tired and worn out. The German summer ofensive was the last cartridge that they could fire. If, by then, the US was not reinforcing the Western Front I don´t think the ofensive would have failed as it did historically. Neither a counter offensive could have taken place, and if had happened then it would not be as succesfull as it was.
Revolt and social problems were not inherent to the German Empire, only, but as historically also the French were in problems. By November-December 1918 all warring states would have tried to reach a honorable peace...


I think this is wrong.

The Americans had a substantial number of men in France by the summer of 1918, but only one division was fully front line, Pershing held the rest back until he was ready. The German offensives were checked without the Americans, and partly due to German supply logistics running out.

Karl is right in saying that the French had virtually nothing left. But he ignores the strategic plan already prepared in 1918 by General Martell for winning the war in 1919. Called Plan 1919 this called for an armoured offensive to smash through the Hindenburg Line and immediately penetrating deep behind the German lines and isolating vast numbers of their front line troops bypassed by British tanks. Essentially Plan 1919 was a blueprint for blitzkrieg that was later used as an example by Guderian in his work that led up to the publication of ''Achtung! Panzer.''
Unlike the French the British had the war industry and manpower to carry out Plan 1919; they didn't need the French or Americans and given the state of the Germans I think Plan 1919 would have swept through the Germans as easily as Patton did in 1944 and 1945
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Re: What if the South would won the Civil War?

Postby RF » Wed Dec 16, 2009 12:30 pm

The future of a victorious Confederacy and how it influences WW1 and the expansion of Japan is very largely going to be determined, as I have already said, by the circumstances in which the conflict is won. This is iteslf difficult to evaluate because there is little scope for a Confederate victory without substantially changing the parameters of the Civil War itself, such as more states joining the Confederacy at the outset, and/or British involvement, and/or a more favourable split in naval forces to the South such that Lincoln is unable to impose a blockade of Southern ports.
But if the Confederacy did win, especially a long conflict, there would be long standing bitterness, and in turn this would create rivalry. This would threaten the survival of the Confederacy, to which a response would be needed. This would override to some extent the rights of individual states and again confront the southern leadership with the problems of federal versus state primacy. To survive the South could not operate as a loose federation. There would be a much greater synthesis of economic interests between the southern states than between the south and north, so the economic issues that fuelled southern secession would not exist within the Confederacy itself; this would permit a greater degree of federalism than perhaps the southern political leaders would admit to but I could see it working as a pragmatic solution to an outside threat.
The South would have to be expansionist to survive and successfully compete with the north. I have already posed the scenario of a three dimension US post Confederate Civil War victory - the rump North, the South and the largely uncolonised and undeveloped west. During the Civil War itself attemts were made by individuals to expand Confederate efforts westward into the Indian territories such as Kansas and New Mexico. Expansion southward into the Carribean and Mexico would be a virtual certainty, as well as a ''race to the Pacific coast.''
Now any expansion southward requires a strong navy, and it is likely both of the US's would develop strong naval forces. After 50 years we are into the WW1 period, by which time we have new generations post Civil War with very similar political ideologies of free trade, small government and big business. So I could imagine a charismatic president of the North such as Theodore Roosevelt forging a reapproachment with the South, accepting states rights, combining the forces of north and south into one, just as England and Scotland combined in the early eighteenth century.
In such an eventuality it would be perfectly feasible for a new USA to be forged at the start of the twentieth century and be involved in WW1, possibly a bigger USA in terms of territory with most of northern and western modern day Mexico as part of the US, including Baja California.
Japan would be blocked and defeated as in WW2.

The main differeance in this scenario would be felt today - the USA would be substantially more hispanic ethnically and possibly bi-lingual with Spanish and English in equal prominance. And the US would be a bigger super-power as a result.
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