A weird Rhodesian thing I saw...

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by MacCaulay, Jan 8, 2011.

  1. MacCaulay Banned

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    ...from Wiki:

    Just wondering: suppose (let's handwave the why for a moment) that the Portuguese government decides to go whole hog and support Rhodesia. What the heck could they do for/with each other?
     
  2. Uriel undead young cold warrior

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    Not much change. They were allready trade-partners, Portugal was kind of a paria too and had little money to spare to support them.

    Maybe some arms deals or joint military operations.

    But the Estado Novo fell before Rhodesia anyway. This was a major blow to Rhodesia OTL as the new goverments of Angola and Mos. allowed the guerillas to use their countries as staging areas and it made Rhodesia totally dependent on SA for its trade.
     
  3. Riain Well-Known Member

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    Formal diplomatic recognition is an important step, if Portugal gave it then others could follow and give it also, for a variety of reasons. Then all of a sudden you have a country recognised by a bunch of others and therefore giving both de facto and de jure independence.
     
  4. Cook Support iCAN

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    Up until ’75 when the Portuguese say ‘Adios Comrades!’ and do a runner.
     
  5. Julius Vogel A rascal's rascal

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    There must be a pretty good reason why Portugal did not recognise Rhodesia in the first place and I'd think pressure from Britain/other European states and the US would be a big part of that.
     
  6. Cook Support iCAN

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    Did anyone?

    And recognising the unilateral declarations of other country’s colonies probably isn’t a good idea when you own colonies; sets a bad precedent.
     
  7. MerryPrankster Donor

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    The Rhodesian SAS were really hard-core guys, who at one point got into Mozambique later on and wiped out a government force multiple times their size in a surprise attack.

    They might make the colonial wars go more in Portugal's favor, which in turn might delay the Carnation Revolution, which was IIRC caused by Portuguese soldiers sick of the endless colonial wars.
     
  8. Archangel Battery-powered Bureaucrat

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    That is a good assessment. There's also the fact that less troubling colonial wars would mean less middle-class students fighting there and less penetration of the far-left in the conscripts, resulting in a different Carnation Revolution analogue, and possibly no Hot Summer equivalent.
    It would also bolster Rhodesia.
     
  9. Wendell Wendell

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    But in this case, where's the blowback? Can Britain get Portugal expelled from NATO? Is the issue worth pressing for London?
     
  10. MacCaulay Banned

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    I wouldn't think so. Why start knicking away at the NATO alliance over a bush war in Africa? There's plenty of other diplomatic and economic channels to apply pressure with.
     
  11. Workable Goblin Spacepony Gone Fishin'

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    Yeah, it doesn't seem worth it to lose the Azores over a rogue colony frankly no one (should have particularly) cared about by that point, anyways.
     
  12. The_Duke Member

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    From a political point of view I agree that Portuguese recognition of UDI could have created a ripple effect and led to other countries recognising Rhodesia. However, this is unlikely as the only other country friendly towards Rhodesia, South Africa, would never have followed suit. SA prime minister John Vorster was far too concerned with his detente program and gaining acceptance of apartheid SA to care about Rhodesia. The Rhodesians were infromed of this. In fact as it turns out Vorster was actively working behind the scenes to "settle" the Rhodesia question which of course meant ending white rule. He seems to have been oblivious of the fact that within a decade despite his attempts, SA would have virtually no friends left.

    The question that intrigues me is what would have happened if PW Botha was in power in SA in the early 70's if and when the Portuguese recognised UDI. His attitude toward Rhodesia's fate is unknown but unlike Vorster he recognised the value of the Rhodesia-SA-Portugal military alliance. More active military support to Rhodesia (and as a result more support to Portugal seeing as Rhodesia was doing the Portuguese's dirty work anyway) by the most powerful of the three nations could perhaps have stabilised Mozambique (which was the colony giving Portugal the most difficulty) which might have led to less unrest in metropolitan Portugal (unlikely) and the Carnation Revolution might have been avoided.

    Even if that was not avoided, with an active SA-Rhodesia alliance the independence process in Moz. could have been influenced to Rhodesia's benefit which might have bought them time. With SA support Rhodesia would have been able to go on if not indefinetely then at least until the 90's. SA proved that a parriah state could survive.
     
  13. Dr. Strangelove a very bad, bad person Banned

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    The war in Angola and Mozambique was going in Portugal's favor -IIRC, only Guinea was seen as irrecuperable.
     
  14. Thande What do you mean 'there's no last page'? Donor

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    But if you don't, you alienate the entire Black Commonwealth. A lot of the problems in Africa today stem from the fact that the Black Commonwealth viewed Britain as being insufficiently hard on Rhodesia (and South Africa) in the 1960s and 70s, that's part of the reason so many of the new independent African countries embraced Eastern Bloc ideologies with disastrous results.
     
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  15. Julius Vogel A rascal's rascal

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    Indeed. The Commonwealth lobby was pretty important then and the issue of the two white minority states was pretty much number one.

    New Zealand actually caused a huge degree of trouble on this matter as we continued with a rugby tour to SA, which resulted in 28 African countries boycotting the 176 Olympics, after the IOC wouldn't censure NZ. Then the Commonwealth Games of 1986 had a similar boycott after we again had allowed a tour to SA in 1985.
     
  16. Uriel undead young cold warrior

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    I'm currently reading a book about the Bush War.
    It seems that Rhodesian forces actually fought inside Mosambique during the Portugese era.
    But it is also startling how small the Rhodesian army actually was. (orders of battle)
    I think that there is little chance that they could ever spare enough troops to dramaticly change the situation in the Portuges colonies.

    As for the breakthrough effect of portugese recognition: I think that would only happen if other states were undecided / "in favour but hesitating to come out of the closet" (like it was the case with Ex-Jugoslavia & Kosovo).
    But the states that mattered to Rhodesia (its African neighbours and the wealthy western states) were commited never to recognize it.
    Rhodesia might get recognized by Taiwan & the Phillipienes & similar countries but that wouldn't really do them much good. (What is Abchasia geting from being recognized by Venezuela, niceragua and nauru?)
     
  17. MacCaulay Banned

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    Apparently the Rhodesian Light Infantry made up to three airborne drops a day in some cases, with some men racking up over 50 combat drops; at least one guy had over 70.

    When you look at those numbers, the fact is that they probably weren't jumping because they were so good: they were jumping because there literally was no one else to do it.

    Really I was pitching the question to fill in what (if any) wiggle room the Rhodesian military and economy may get from a Portuguese decision to aid them.
     
  18. Wendell Wendell

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    The same Black Commonwealth that survives on aid from the White Commonwealth?
     
  19. Thande What do you mean 'there's no last page'? Donor

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    The same Black Commonwealth whose leaders almost to a man displayed no understanding of economic logic.
     
  20. Viriato Member

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    I doubt the Portuguese government would have formally recognised Rhodesian independence without other countries doing so first. The Portuguese government was was uneasy with UDI because it brought unwanted international attention to Southern Africa.

    However, Portugal did have more formal links with Rhodesia than most other states did. Portugal did maintain a diplomatic mission in Salisbury that was an embassy in all but name. Portugal had also accepted an independent Rhodesian representative against the wishes of the British government in September of 1965 (just before UDI). Also, Portugal's national airline TAP was the sole European carrier to serve Salisbury between 1965-1975 (making it one of the airline's most lucrative routes).

    Another country that had somewhat close relations with Rhodesia was Greece. The Greek government refused to close its consulate in Salisbury due to the country's large Greek community of 15,000. Also, many of the tankers that ignored the oil embargo against the Rhodesia Pipeline were Greek vessels. Also, Greece was a military dictatorship at during the 1967-1974 so its government was not too concerned with human rights.