(TL-191) Without the Population Reduction, could the CSA have won the Second Great War?

Discussion in 'Alternate History Books and Media' started by Nathan Bernacki, Mar 24, 2019.

  1. Nathan Bernacki Well-Known Member

    Dec 18, 2016
    While I was reading the Settling Accounts trilogy, I noticed a theme popping up throughout the books. The Confederate States, even 70 years after the War of Secession, still lacked the population of the North, so they didn't have much manpower to draw on. This causes a situation in which the manpower pool is stretched between the front lines and those conscripted into factory work.

    The large population of blacks could've helped the Confederacy solve that issue by taking the place of whites in the factories, but alas, the Freedom Party decided to exterminate them instead of putting them to good use in the factories, which prevented the Confederacy from being able to keep up with the United States in critical areas of production such as the creation of barrels (which is another common complaint in the books. The US not only has more advanced barrels than the CSA, they have more of them in general)

    Also, much like our timeline's Nazis, the Freedom Party decides to devote more resources (trucks and trains, especially) to the extermination of their racial enemy than to the war in the field. Featherston even says in one book that the war against the US and the extermination of the Negroes in the CSA are part of the same war. (I may be paraphrasing). This diverts crucial means of supply from the front lines, where they could've made a difference.

    So, here's my question. If the Freedom Party-controlled CSA did not initiate the Population Reduction (or maybe kept it confined to gassing black rebels), would the CSA have stood a better chance at winning the war or maybe extending the war beyond 1944 in North America?
    Odinson likes this.
  2. Allochronian Well-Known Member

    May 28, 2018
    Glad someone asked this question to start of a thread.

    Here's my take on it:

    While true, using the differences in population is overused as an excuse for why the CSA could not win through sheer numbers alone. Technology, Military tactics, and Fuel do play a part in this.

    It's bizarre that Dr. Turtledove made nearly all of the camps used to house Blacks be extermination camps. If he did it to make me emotional, then it worked, but it was such a "shooting-yourself-in-the-foot-with-a-shotgun" idea. When I first read the books, I naturally assumed that some of the camps would have been labor camps in which all the material made for the war effort would have been made by Black prisoners. There's even a line in Return Engagement when Goldman (or was it Koenig?) is talking to Featherston about this same idea, only he also adds that they should be killed off when they couldn't work anymore!

    If there wasn't a population reduction and had there been a re-emergence of modern slavery (using the legal excuse of treating prisoners like slaves for punishment), there would have been more material to use against the United States, but there would have been fewer men to use it. So... the CSA would probably still loose, but they would have lasted longer in the war, perhaps ending either in 1945 or 1946.

    However, maybe all those extra resources could have helped the CSA to have more and better weapons, possibly tilting the odds of victory toward the Confederates had they achieved in making a better superbomb. But I do think this idea is really stretching its plausibility.
  3. Roosevelt 26th President

    Apr 6, 2019
    Charleston, South Carolina
    I've thought about this myself, and truth be told, the Population Reduction absolutely destroyed the chance for Freedomite success. If Featherston had any brains, his smartest (and yet still evil) move would have been to institute industrial slavery. The black population of the Confederacy would still be rounded up, not to be exterminated, but to work in factories to assemble munitions, vehicles, weapons, etc. This program would've freed up more whites to fight against the north and make the Confederacy a significantly more formidable force. I'm not 100% sure if the Confederacy would still have the power to defeat the United States, but with a bigger fighting force and free labor, they stand a much better chance.

    If they lose the war, they might stand more of a chance retaining their sovereignty under U.S. influence.
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