Saturday, October 4, 2008

Yes, the Past 100 Years Were the Fault of Russia

Or rather of one Russia, Tsar Alexander II, who let his feelings of anger lead him into the worst decision in the past 500 years of history and a decision that would cost over 100 million lives. That fateful decision was made in 1861.

What was the main event of 1861, that so drew a decision whose results would not only reverberate through but shape to the core the 20th century? Was it the conquest of Mexico City by Porfirio Diaz? Or the patenting of the flush toilet by Thomas Crapper? Or maybe the abolishment of serfdom by the very same Alexander II? No, not that or the dozen other such events, but the opening of the American Civil War.

The fateful and short sighted decision of the tsar was to side with the Federal US government instead of the Confederacy. If all truth be told, Imperial Russian culture was much closer to gentile Confederacy than the industrialized, indentured North. However, the Confederacy had to benefactors who were unpalatable to Russia at that time: England and France. While mostly on rather than off Russian allies, at that point, only 5 years had passed since the end of the Crimean War, where both of these powers had allied with the Islamic and blood thirsty Turks against the Orthodox Christians and the Russian Empire in particular.

It can be understood that the Tsar had much angst about finding himself on the same side as these two enemies and thus made the decision that would doom the Empire and several others and would lead humanity to the sorry state that it is in today, on the brink of yet another global financial disaster and possible multiple wars.

No other decision made by foreigners had such a powerful influence on the out come of the American Civil War. By siding with the North and placing his fleets into New York and San Fransico harbors, Tsar Alexander II issued a direct threat to both England and France that intervention, that is recognition or more, of the Confederacy would lead to war with Russia. This doomed the Southern effort in the long run and thus also the Russian, French, British and German Empires with it.

But what would have happened if Russia had stayed at worst neutral or at best allied with the Confederacy?

Well for one, the Confederacy would have won her freedom. The North would have been morally and politically defeated and economically damaged, damage that would have taken a several decades to recover from. During this time frame, more than likely, the weakened Union would have been drawn into the orbit of the rising German star, as the Union would have needed allies against the combined might of the Confederacy to the south, Mexico also to the south, Britain and her Canadian holdings to the north, Russia to the west and France to the east.

Spain would have still lost her last Carri bean holdings, Cuba and Puerto Rico, to the Confederacy which would have annexed them. But Spain would have continued to hold Guam and the Philippines, at least until the rising star of Japan ripped them away from it.

The main question, though, would have been: what would have happened when World War 1, the Great War, started? Well obvious enough, Germany and the Central Powers would have won. But would that have been such a terrible thing? To begin with, this was not a war of ideology and this was not Germany under Hitler of the late 1930s.

The Union would have more than likely been allied to the Kaiser and would have found itself in a two front war, with British Canada in the north and the Confederacy and more than likely Mexico to the South. Russian fleets out of Alaska would have raided too. Thus though, not only would the Allies not receive fresh Yank reinforcements in 1916, but instead would have been fighting them. Britain would not have been able to draw on Canadian support either and would have had to instead divert troops to defend it. As such, the Central Powers would have surely won.

So now what? What would have happened? In North America, Canada would have more than likely fallen to the North, but the Confederacy would have survived. With the technology of the day, the Confederacy on the defensive, with powerful rivers and mountain ranges and deep forests as barriers would have ground the North to a stand still.

In Europe, Germany and Austro-Hungary as well as their Bulgarian and Turkish allies would have gained land, mostly at the expense of north eastern France, an annexed Belgium and Netherlands, parts of northern Italy and southern Romania and Russian Poland.

Key to everything would have been the avoided collapse of the Russian Empire and the destruction of the Marxists. The Russian civil war would never have gotten nearly as far. With Wall Street allied to Germany and much much poorer than what was the reality of 1917, the Bolsheviks would have been hard pressed for funds. At the same time, there is absolutely no way that the Kaiser would have allowed the Marxists to sit on Russia's throne. That would be reserved for either one of the Kaiser's Romanov cousins or for some Germany prince who would have become a Russian nationalist anyways.

Thus the whole foundation of World War 2, the Cold War and the various wars and crusades since, would have collapsed. As well the Islamic Arabs and their Jihads would never have been started either and Islam would have been kept in check both in the Middle East and in Europe, where nationalistic and Christian Kings, Kaisers and Tsars would have been loath to allow them in, unlike the Trotskyte Marxists who are the masters of the modern and dieing West.

Yes, Union victory was the worst of all things to happen to the world and Alexander II in his shortsightedness on the subject, more than anyone facilitated it's happening.

17 comments:

VN69 said...

All the time machine movies usually emphasise when you go back and change what happened you can mess up something else worse. Reason enough for me not to go back and make Sputnik crash. History is awash with these associations of convenience and why not...it is good at the time for the one's who sign the papers...later if it goes bad, someone else usually pays. Que sera sera.

taken said...

Interesting counterfactual scenario, but I find it hard to believe that the South could have won, even with substantial foreign help, which the Europeans were reluctant to extend anyhow. Consider the following:

The entire industrial capacity of the South was comparable to that of a single Norther city, New York.
The total population of the North was 22 Millions, to 9 Millions in the south including 3 Million slaves.
About a third of the south’s losses were inflicted by other Southerners. Some many Southerners were disloyal to it than they had to maneuver their armies around areas that had effectively seceded from the south.
When Sherman invaded the south, so many southerners volunteered to join him that he had to turn some down.

It is only surprising that the South lasted so long, but there was never a serious chance of victory.

Stanislav said...

In any long grudge match the South would have lost, however, at the outset of the war the South was winning, destroying one demoralized Union force after another. The war was always very unpopular in the Union and at that point in 1861 and 1862, pressure by France and England and maybe even Russia and threat of war would have caused the North to seek a ceasefire.

Pervych said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Kury de Barcelona said...

hey! and what about russia helping argentina in the flaklands war? then margareth thatcher falls, no thatcherism, no reganomics, no democracy in argentina or other southa american country... time machine movies are a very tempting game, very funny, but just a game, not a serious analisys. I did enjoy your text though

Robert Maier said...

What grand Russian fiction! Dostoyevsky lives!

Sandra said...

Your prism through which you view your static model of history is obviously not realistic. Peoples and nations are not things that cannot adjust to an ongoing action. For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction (That's in physics and ideally applicable to peoples lives) but even for a moderate and not equal and opposite reaction your model falls apart.

Stanislav said...

Sandra, care to elaborate..past the "it all falls apart"? It's easy to shoot something down off handedly while offering no alternatives...so lets hear your educated view on how things would have turned out.

Stanislav said...

Robert, the grand fiction has been the foundation upon which the whole of Iraq was built upon and the victory in Afghanistan that was proclaimed before anything was settled. The grand fiction was the total lack of understanding in the American elites of what they were getting into or with whom it was dealing and that goes back the middle of the century.

So, aside from all this, care to elaborate on your comments?

hospitaled said...

According to Ellen G White messenger of the Lord.The Lord caused the North to win.By the way I am not ashamed of her ministry.It's time for the whole world to benefit from her ministry.Now if God wanted the north to win,who are we to argue with that.Let's take a closer look not at an outward government,but at the power behind the governmemt.That's where all of the evil is coming from.ed wright

Todd Owens said...

Wow. Leaving aside the HUGE assumptions you make, I noticed you failed to speculate on how long the horrid institution of slavery would have endured. I am fairly certain that all the newly emancipated Americans are pretty happy Russia didn't support the South.

The Rambler said...

Commenter Taken is mistaken. Most accounts of the Civil War period agree that once the war began it's outcome was in serious question. Especially after the battle of Chancellorsville when a Confederate victory actually seemed most likely.
I will take issue with a couple of things the original poster said though...
First... Britain did not join the war beacuse of the Emancipation Proclamation. Russia was not the reason, by the time Russia entered American waters in 1863 British sentiment had decided against assisting in the war. In 1861 the British almost joined after the Trent Affair...but that was as close as it got.
Secondly, I highly doubt the Union or the Confederacy would have joined in WWI. Americans were very much isolationists until the 1950 - 60's. We had to be dragged into both WWI and WWII. And in WWI sentiment was much divided... many Americans (north and south) supported Germany and many supported Britain. In a divided America...I think it is much more likely that neither the Union nor the Confederacy would have joined in either WWI or WWII.
I do not think however, that my second objection has much bearing on the rest of your piece. Because I believe that your assumptions after that are mostly correct. I think without American help the Germans would have won WWI... and a German victory in WWI would have meant no Nazi rise. Though I believe Canada would have remained British, as I do not believe the Union would have chosen to take part in the war.
Lastly, the issue of slavery is not raised. I think this is quite important. I do believe that slavery would have eventually been outlawed but as we have seen in South Africa issues like apartheid, segregation, and Jim Crow laws might still be very much alive in a Confederate south today...were it not for the Union victory.
All in all, this was an enjoyable piece. Interesting to consider!

Daniel said...

A fascinating piece, filled with interesting thoughts on what might have been. Equally interesting is the fact that Pope Pius IX was very sympathetic to the Confederacy, something that speaks volumes.

Some of those who responded have at the same time ridiculed the thesis of the author while stating categorically that the South couldn't have won. Which makes they themselves guilty of the same fantasizing they accuse the writer of.

Regarding the whole slavery episode I do believe that once we get past all the ludicrous caricatures of the Southern slavery system and start looking at it realistically we will then be spared all the grandstanding from those who "violently oppose" this "horrid institution". Yes, slavery is an evil, but let's look carefully at how the slaves were actually treated in the antebellum South before we start beating our breasts over the institution.

I would gladly trade the utter degradation of humanity that is going on all around us now for the typical existence of families, white or black, experienced prior to the 1861 war.

Gray Falcon said...

I'd like to point out several things here. The CSA did not seek to destroy the USA, merely to separate from it; so if it could have obtained international recognition, it would have, for all intents and purposes, won the war. (Lincoln, on the other hand, needed an absolute victory.) But was it Russian support for the Union that influenced Britain and France to sit and wait, or the failure of Lee's 1862 invasion? One could just as well blame the officer who wrapped his cigars in a top secret order as Tsar Alexander II.

Nonetheless, the scenario presented here is not implausible; Harry Turtledove posited a very similar turn of events in his alternate-history series "Great War".

I wonder, though, whether in such an alternate history Russia would have allied itself with Britain and France against Wilhelmine Germany. It's a moot point, though. What happened, happened, and we've got to deal with the world that is, not the one we wish would have been. The latter is, after all, a habit of the American imperialists.

Carl said...

"Taken" had better find himself some more reliable sources as an antidote to his outlandish assertions. As a Southerner, and a student of history since 1970, I can assure you that there is not a grain of factual truth to ANYTHING he said about native support for Sherman.
As for me, I would support ANY change in the alignment of nations which would have given a different result at the end of Lincoln's immoral and illegal war.

macatac7692 said...

this war was only won as a war of attrition. That is why the north stopped prisoner exchanges, and started starving prisoners of war. They were merciless and cruel, like all communists, there was plenty of food in the north. Starvation in southern prisons, on the other hand, was because they had the same rations as southern soldiers. The communism of the republican party is well known, and that is why Lee said ;
'Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse ; no, sir, not by me.' Then, with rising color, throwing back his head like an old war-horse, he added these words, 'Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand.'

He then dropped his head, and, with a sad look, added: 'This, of course, is for your ear only. My friend, good-morning;' and with that he opened the door and I took my leave.


Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, page 499-500

macatac7692 said...

this war was only won as a war of attrition. That is why the north stopped prisoner exchanges, and started starving prisoners of war. They were merciless and cruel, like all communists, there was plenty of food in the north. Starvation in southern prisons, on the other hand, was because they had the same rations as southern soldiers. The communism of the republican party is well known, and that is why Lee said ;
'Governor, if I had foreseen the use those people designed to make of their victory, there would have been no surrender at Appomattox Courthouse ; no, sir, not by me.' Then, with rising color, throwing back his head like an old war-horse, he added these words, 'Had I foreseen these results of subjugation, I would have preferred to die at Appomattox with my brave men, my sword in this right hand.'

He then dropped his head, and, with a sad look, added: 'This, of course, is for your ear only. My friend, good-morning;' and with that he opened the door and I took my leave.


Life and Letters of Robert Lewis Dabney, page 499-500