Timeline-191 is a fan name given to a series of Harry Turtledove alternate history novels, including How Few Remain as well as the Great War, American Empire, and Settling Accounts series. The name is derived from Robert E. Lee's Special Order 191, which detailed the Army of Northern Virginia's invasion of the Union in September 1862 during the American Civil War. The divergence occurs when Union forces do not find a copy of Special Order 191, on September 10, 1862. The novels detail the consequences of this up until 1944 in the alternate world.
In reality, before the Battle of Antietam, Federal troops accidentally recovered a copy of Special Order 191 (used as wrapping around a number of cigars), which spelled out in detail Lee's plan for the invasion of Maryland. Using this intelligence, Federal forces, under George B. McClellan, moved north and forced the battle at Antietam, ending the invasion.
In this alternate timeline, Lee's orders are recovered by trailing Confederate troops before they were allowed to fall into Union hands. The resulting Confederate advance catches McClellan and the U.S. by surprise. Instead of fighting at Antietam, General Lee forces McClellan into a battle on the banks of the Susquehanna River in Pennsylvania and destroys the Army of the Potomac in the Battle of Camp Hill on October 1, 1862.
After the decisive Confederate victory, Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia move eastward to occupy Philadelphia. As a direct result, the Confederate States of America earn diplomatic recognition from the UK and France. Both European nations then force mediation on the United States; this action results in full independence for the Confederate States. In less than two years, the War of Secession had ended.
While considering the mediation offer, Abraham Lincoln mentions to the British ambassador Richard Lyons that he has in his desk drawer a proclamation that would have freed slaves in the rebellious Confederacy. Lincoln has discussed the proclamation's viability with his cabinet, but after the U.S. defeat at Camp Hill, he decided against issuing it. He was warned by Lyons that if the proclamation were issued, he would have been perceived as acting in desperation, since the U.S. was about to officially concede defeat and that issuing such an order would amount to nothing more than an attempt to raise insurrection inside what was now another country, and doing so would be seen as a directly hostile act.
Shortly after the conclusion of Camp Hill, Confederate general Braxton Bragg completes the conquest of Kentucky; sometime after the U.S. agreed to mediation, Kentucky becomes the twelfth state to enter the Confederacy. In addition, the pro-Confederate Five Civilized Tribes of the Indian Territory are given territory of their own in the C.S., later to become the State of Sequoyah. The Caribbean island of Cuba is subsequently purchased by the Confederate States from Spain in 1878, becoming the 14th Confederate State.
Lincoln and his vice president Hannibal Hamlin are defeated in the 1864 elections by Horatio Seymour, and another Republican president will not be elected until 1880. The Republicans also become the minority in Congress but in 1880 voters--tired of the Democrats' soft line against the Confederate States--opt to return the Republicans to the majority.
In the 1860s, Russia offers Alaska to the United States with a purchase price of seven million dollars (the real-life Alaska purchase occurred in 1867, during Andrew Johnson's tenure in office, for a price of $7,200,000). However the U.S., financially drained from its losing war effort, does not have the necessary funding to complete the purchase. Since the U.S. cannot buy Alaska, it remains a Russian colony.
The United States, probably in reaction to their defeat in the War of Secession, appears to have sped up the conquest and settlement of the Great Plains relative to our timeline. George Armstrong Custer and his brother Thomas Custer are still alive in 1881 because there were (presumably) no Sioux Indians around in 1876 to fight him at Little Bighorn. In reaction to the (historical) Sioux uprising of 1862, the Army conducts a war of extermination against them. Prior to the Great War, Dakota itself enters the Union as a single state, possibly either as a result of the swiftness with which the Army (necessarily larger than in this timeline because of the Confederate threat) pacifies the Dakota Territory and allows settlers to move in. (In our timeline the Dakota territory split because of an ongoing debate about the placement of the capital.)
In addition, the USA may have had a significant and victorious Indian War prior to the Second Mexican War, suggesting that massive firepower and a national need for some kind of martial victory propelled the United States to a much quicker and clear-cut answer to their Native American question, namely the extermination or deportation of the Natives.
In the Presidential election of 1880, Republican James G. Blaine defeats the incumbent Democrat Samuel J. Tilden. Blaine runs on a hard-line platform, which ultimately precipitates another war against the Confederate States over the latter nation's purchase of the Mexican provinces Sonora and Chihuahua.
Because of spectacular leadership from Confederate general Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson against his counterpart William Rosecrans, and the assistance of Britain and France and their Canadian and Mexican proxies, the United States is once again defeated. The U.S. officially surrenders on April 22, 1882, ending the Second Mexican War. Confederate President James Longstreet, in an attempt to appear the conciliator, offers generous terms to end the war, limited only to the USA's acknowledgment of the Confederate acquisition of the two purchased Mexican provinces. The most humiliating term is the annexation of most of northern Maine to Canada, forced by the British as the cost of their participation in the war. Regardless of the generous nature of the Confederacy's terms, and most likely inspired by Britain's partial annexation of his home state, and the defeat overall, President Blaine takes the end of the war hard.
Both American nations experience major changes after the war. In the United States, many Republicans are voted out of Congress in the 1882 elections. Stung with the loss in the Second Mexican War, Blaine is ousted as president two years later. The elections of 1882 and 1884 begin Democratic control over Congress and the White House, which will last 36 years.
The defeated United States, realizing it needs powerful allies to counter the Confederate alliances with Britain and France, begins an alliance with the German Empire and adopts many of its military and economic practices.
One of the few victories for the United States in the war, a battle in the Montana Territory against the British, produces two U.S. heroes who will be rivals for the next forty years: Brigadier General George Armstrong Custer and Theodore Roosevelt, Colonel of the Unauthorized Regiment.
Witnessing the collapse of the Republican Party, former President Abraham Lincoln, now an orator, allies with U.S. socialists and leads left-wing Republicans into their fledgling Socialist party. The Republicans soon begin a long descent into the general obscurity of becoming a solely Midwestern regional party, never again winning the presidency or a Congressional majority, losing around a third of its supporters to the Democrats, and all of its left-wingers (around one third) to the Socialists.
The Austro-Hungarian Imperial Crown Prince Franz Ferdinand and his wife are killed by a terrorist bomb while touring the town of Sarajevo in June 1914. The Austrian government quickly learns that a Serb group was responsible, and accuses the government of nearby Serbia of colluding with the terrorists. Tsar Nicholas II of Russia backs Serbia, while Kaiser Wilhelm II of Germany backs Austria-Hungary. The major powers of each system mobilize their militaries, effectively signifying their intent to go to war. In August 1914, the Great War begins, initially pitting Great Britain, France, and Russia against Germany and Austria-Hungary (this is exactly how the real-life World War I started, except that in reality Franz Ferdinand survived the bomb attack and was killed by an assassin's bullet).
Across the Atlantic, Democratic President Theodore Roosevelt orders the U.S. military to mobilize in late July, following Germany's lead. In response, Confederate President Woodrow Wilson orders the C.S. military to do the same, and fighting soon breaks out on their common border and the high seas.
The United States officially brings the war to North America when Roosevelt declares war on the Confederate States in early August 1914. Confederate President Wilson responds in kind, although he had hoped to avoid a war. Wilson's speech, given in a tightly-packed public square of Richmond, Virginia decorated with statues of southern war heroes George Washington and Albert Sidney Johnston, becomes particularly famous.
Hoping to emulate General Lee, the Confederate Army of Northern Virginia launches a massive invasion of Maryland and Pennsylvania in August, targeting the northern de facto capital of Philadelphia. The ANV quickly overruns the de jure capital of Washington, D.C. and pushes on through Maryland.
The U.S. Army takes a different approach, and orders the US First Army under Lieutenant General George Custer and the US Second Army under Major General John Pershing to cross the Ohio River and invade Kentucky. Although Confederate resistance is high, especially from river gunboats modeled after the original USS Monitor, the U.S. succeeds in establishing a bridgehead on the southern bank. U.S forces also invade western Virginia, aiming for the rail junction at Big Lick, Virginia (Roanoke in our timeline).
A separate U.S. invasion of Sonora, intended to capture the Confederacy's sole Pacific port of Guaymas, soon becomes bogged down. A young army captain named Irving Morrell is wounded in this venture, and spends much of the next six months in Tucson, New Mexico recuperating.
The U.S. also launches attacks on the British Dominion of Canada, specifically in Manitoba, Ontario, and Quebec. Perhaps the most successful maneuver during these early stages of war is the U.S. Navy's capture of the British base at Pearl Harbor in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in a surprise attack.
Both American offensives soon stall, however; the U.S. armies find it difficult to push south, and the Army of Northern Virginia is slowed by the winter of 1914–15. The Confederate invasion of Pennsylvania soon grinds to a halt at the Susquehanna River, only 50 miles from Philadelphia. From that high-water–mark, U.S. forces slowly start to push the Confederates back into Maryland.
Although the U.S. forces easily conquer the southern bank of the St. Lawrence River, crossing it proves another matter. The geography of the Niagara Peninsula soon bottlenecks the invading army. Though Winnipeg, Manitoba, a major rail junction, lies relatively close to the U.S. border, the War Department allocates too few troops to capture it.
Trench warfare becomes ubiquitous as each side digs in for protection from machine-gun fire. Troops huddle in these trenches as heavy artillery in their rear pounds the enemy lines night and day. They dread the order "Over the top!" which means they have to leave the safety of their lines to charge into No man's land, in the hope of capturing the enemy trenches on the other side. The U.S., drawing on German chemical expertise, seeks to push forward using chemical warfare. The use of chlorine gas, however, makes only minor gains. Far from the quick, glorious conquest each side had imagined, the Great War becomes a long, bloody stalemate.
Early in 1915, another front opens when the Utah Mormons secede from the United States and declare themselves the independent nation of Deseret. Mormon relations with the rest of the country had been hostile since the Utah War of the 1850s and the brief uprising during the Second Mexican War. They wrongly believe that the distracted U.S. government will be unable to subdue them. Utah sits on one of the major transcontinental rail lines and President Roosevelt states the U.S. will not tolerate unlawful rebellion. The Mormon rebellion rages until mid-1916, when it is finally crushed and Salt Lake City is captured. Utah is then placed under military rule by Roosevelt, a situation that will continue until the 1930s.
In the autumn of 1915, as the armies of the Confederacy are fighting those of the United States along the border regions, the CSA's blacks rise up in revolt. Bitter over their treatment by the whites, and fueled by a rhetoric of Marxism and the teachings of Abraham Lincoln, the blacks declare Red revolution in several areas across the CSA and establish "socialist republics," while massacring whites and seeking justice against their former white masters; most trials are shams, however, and the executions brutal. These rebellions are gradually crushed by 1916, although white justice mellows out somewhat as thoughts are preoccupied with winning the war. Ironically, the lasting effect of the Red revolt is to make white people start to believe in the military potential of blacks.
Taking advantage of the Confederacy's plight, the U.S. First Army marches into western Tennessee after slogging through western Kentucky, while the C.S. Army of Northern Virginia is pushed south toward Washington. In mid-spring of 1916, a new armored technical advance called the "barrel" (referred to as a tank by the British) is introduced to combat for the first time by US forces operating in the Roanoke Valley.
In this case, as in our time line, the name of the vehicle comes from the cover name used. In Britain, those assembling the vehicle were told they were mobile water tanks; in this time line, they are coded 'barrel,' though there is some indication something called a 'barrel' was coming. Private Reginald Bartlett, escaping with a Confederate naval officer, heard U.S. soldiers singing a song, "Roll Out the Barrel" (not related to our timeline's Czech polka Rosalinda, which became popular in 1938 and was given the English-language lyrics Roll Out the Barrel).
While in Tennessee, Lieutenant General Custer transforms his tactics for cavalry into a doctrine for the new barrels, but the War Department is not interested. When Custer's summer offensive begins, tens of thousands of U.S. soldiers are lost attacking Confederate lines, and the new barrels, deployed singly in an infantry support role rather than massed as an armored fist, break down in the hilly terrain to little effect.
The lack of British troops in Canada means that the USA, while initially held back by the Canadians, slowly advances toward their triple objectives of Quebec City, Toronto, and Winnipeg. Largely thanks to the efforts of Irving Morrell, U.S. forces push up to Banff in the Canadian Rockies and cut off the second of three mountain passes that connect the Pacific coast to the rest of Canada.
At sea, the great Battle of the Three Navies between the USA on one side, and the United Kingdom and Japan on the other, prevents the Entente from recapturing the Sandwich Islands. With the Central Pacific in U.S. hands, a U.S. Navy flotilla makes its way south toward the Cape of South America and the Atlantic on the other side, with the intent of cutting off Argentine grain and beef shipments to Great Britain.
On the Maryland front, the state is cleared of Confederate soldiers, save for those holding Washington, the de jure U.S. capital. In the autumn, the U.S. continues to attack Nashville, Tennessee to no avail, raising the spectre of a possible Democratic loss at the polls, and the possibility that a Socialist President will seek peace with the CSA and renounce all the bloody gains. Except for a local attack on the Roanoke Front that pushes the U.S. out of western Virginia, the Confederates stay on the defensive through the autumn, attempting to drain the USA dry in the hope that the U.S. population will become sick of the war.
Nevertheless, for all the wishes of the Socialist Party and the Confederates, Theodore Roosevelt easily beats Socialist Eugene V. Debs in the November election. In Richmond, however, the hopes of new President Gabriel Semmes (elected in 1915) and his Cabinet are dashed. At this stage, the U.S. government has another four years to crush the CSA before needing to seek re-election, while the Confederates are running out of white men to fight. Semmes successfully proposes a bill to authorize the training and arming of Negro troops to serve in the lines, with civil rights (excepting interracial marriage) to follow after the war, including citizenship in the CSA. Meanwhile the U.S. begins the process of formally returning Kentucky to the union.
In Europe, the war seems little changed from our timeline, with the exception of Verdun's capture by the Germans, and an apparently heavier use of North African infantry by the French Army. In addition, Italy remains neutral in the conflict and the Easter Rising in Dublin is not put down, spreading to the rest of Ireland.
Lieutenant General Custer secretly develops a scheme for the U.S. to quickly win the war, using a massed-barrel formation forbidden by the War Department. Disguising his true intentions to all but his adjutant, Major Abner Dowling, and Lieutenant Colonel Irving Morrell, and lying to President Roosevelt, Custer launches his Barrel Roll Offensive on Remembrance Day — April 22, 1917 — and quickly breaks through the Confederate trench lines north of the Tennessee capital of Nashville.
The Confederates withdraw to a line centered on Nashville, where Custer hits them again three weeks later by outflanking the city using a plan concocted by Morrell. Nashville soon falls, despite the best efforts of the newly formed C.S. colored regiments to stave off Custer's barrels, and the state capital becomes First Army headquarters.
From Nashville, in July, Custer attacks the C.S. lines in the direction of Murfreesboro. Near Nolensville the U.S. receives a Confederate request for a local armistice. President Roosevelt assents, and peace on the North American front comes to Tennessee a week before the rest of the U.S.–C.S. frontline. Custer is outraged at the halt, but Roosevelt explains that it would be difficult for the USA to defend the large salient into Tennessee it has captured, and at the same time, the southeastern chunk of Kentucky that still remains in Confederate hands would prove a nuisance in postwar years as Kentuckians elected to the Confederate Congress would constantly demand a new war against the USA to recapture lost territory in their state. Thus, Roosevelt's plan involves a bit of horse-trading whereby the USA withdraws from the parts of Tennessee it has captured in exchange for all remaining parts of Kentucky.
At the same time, in Europe, mutinies in the French Army prove serious enough to lead to France's exit from the war. (In reality, these mutinies—caused by French soldiers' disgust at being ordered into suicidal and utterly pointless attacks across no-man's land—resulted in the French Army command agreeing to order no more offensives in exchange for French soldiers continuing to fight defensively.) Without the addition of U.S, troops, it causes France to surrender. Russia collapses into revolution and anarchy (similarly to reality), leaving only the Confederate States and Great Britain to fight against the United States, Germany, and Austria-Hungary. Italy remains neutral and the Ottoman Empire joins the war on the side of the Central Powers. In South America, Brazil abandons the neutrality it had held since the beginning of the war and allies with Chile (which supports the Central Powers) against Argentina (which supports the Allies), threatening the supply line to Britain.
On the same day the Barrel Roll Offensive began in Tennessee, the U.S. Army in northern Virginia attacks southward toward Manassas at the same time that U.S. troops enter occupied Washington, D.C. The de jure U.S. capital is recaptured after several days of intense street fighting, which levels the city and its famous landmarks (such as the Washington Monument and the White House).
In northern Virginia, several U.S. attacks force the C.S. Army of Northern Virginia to retreat south. In battles at Round Hill, Centreville, and Bull Run creek, rear-guard actions led by a few battered batteries of the First Richmond Howitzers prevent the complete destruction of the latest incarnation of Robert E. Lee's fabled army. However, it is obvious the war is on the verge of being lost; this is a notion that does not bode well with several Confederate soldiers, who reckoned the war was won only months before.
The Confederate States of America started sending peace feelers to Philadelphia as early as the fall of Nashville, but Theodore Roosevelt refused to grant a cease-fire until certain the CSA was severely hammered elsewhere. The last hammers on the Confederate Army come in late July, when fighting reaches the town of Fredericksburg, Virginia, only fifty miles from the Confederate States capital. With a cease-fire already in effect in Tennessee, Sequoyah overrun, and fighting out west in Texas and Arkansas sputtering down, the CSA agrees to a general armistice on land and at sea. For the first time since August 1914, the guns fall silent in North America.
At sea, however, the submarine CSS Bonefish, led by Confederate Navy man Roger Kimball, carries out a sneak attack on the USS Ericsson despite being fully aware of the war's end. For a few years after the war, both the U.S. and C.S. believe that the ship's destruction was the work of the Royal Navy, the war between the USA and the British Empire at sea still not over at this point.
In Canada, Custer's barrel methods are used to break through the Anglo-Canadian lines, leading to the fall of Quebec City, Quebec and Winnipeg, Manitoba. The United States establishes the Republic of Quebec out of the Canadian province, and American and Quebecois forces charge towards Toronto, Ontario. By this point the CS has been defeated, and with all the US soldiers on the US-CS Front now ready to head to Canada the British Empire requests a cease-fire, which is granted in early June. With U.S.–German-Brazilian naval operations cutting off Great Britain from its Argentine and Australian food suppliers, the United Kingdom sues for peace later that summer; the UK was the last opponent of the Quadruple Alliance that was still in the war.
The United States celebrates hard during 1918, revelling in the euphoria of having finally won revenge on the Confederate States, with parades and parties lasting well into the autumn. President Roosevelt and General Custer (General being his true rank now, Roosevelt having promoted the aging officer in Nashville towards the end of the war) ride together in the Philadelphia Remembrance Day Parade, the biggest to date. The tradition of showing the national flag upside down to show distress is put aside to show that the USA had reversed the outcomes of both 1862 and 1882.
Longer term ramifications of war begin to be felt, and both the U.S. and C.S. navies have to deploy minesweepers to clear their harbors, an activity which continues through to the late 1930s and early 1940s.
Not everyone in the victorious United States shares in the celebration of the victory, however. Returning veterans find scabs working for cheaper wages in the factories and mines they worked at before going away to fight. More veterans find themselves being put down by capitalists and factory owners, and go on strike in industrial centers like Pittsburgh and Toledo. The owners deploy the Pinkertons and police against the strikers, but the war veterans, who had faced far worse challenges in the trenches, repel them. The country seems to be on the verge of revolution, and the Socialist Party capitalizes on gains among the lower classes. In November 1918, they capture the House of Representatives for the first time, disrupting Theodore Roosevelt's plans for domestic and foreign affairs.
Meanwhile, citizens of the defeated and truncated Confederacy are hardly in a mood to celebrate. President Roosevelt forced humiliating terms upon them in return for peace, President Semmes having no choice but to agree to them. Significant amounts of territory were lost: Kentucky had already rejoined the Union in 1916; western Texas had been admitted into the Union in 1917 as the state of Houston, with its capital at Lubbock, and Sequoyah was under occupation. Pieces of Arkansas, Sonora, and Virginia held by US troops at the armistice were also annexed into Missouri, New Mexico (a state that comprises our New Mexico and Arizona), and West Virginia respectively.
In addition, the post-war settlement severely curtails the size of the C.S. Army and Navy, and demands the payment of massive reparations to Philadelphia. These terms contribute further to Confederate anger. The reparations cause the Confederate dollar to spiral out of control, as hyperinflation ruins the CSA economy (this is directly analogous to the situation in Weimar Germany after the signing of the Treaty of Versailles).
As a result, anti-USA sentiment among the white population increases, and several reactionary political parties form across the Confederate States. One of these fringe groups is the Freedom Party, founded by Anthony Dresser in Richmond, Virginia, sometime after the end of the Great War. (Note: in our history, the original founder of the then-fringe German Nazi Party — later ousted by Hitler — was named Anton Drexler.).
As for the British Empire, President Roosevelt forces London to recognize the Republic of Quebec (established in April 1917 as the war in Canada was drawing to a close) and the Republic of Ireland (including all of Ulster), and to relinquish claims to the Bahamas, Bermuda, the Sandwich Islands, and all of the Dominion of Canada.
In Canada, the Dominion government is declared an illegal assembly. The U.S. Army sets up its occupation headquarters in Winnipeg and turns each province into a military district. Occupied Canada is declared US territory as part of the new American Empire, "stretching from the Gulf of California to the Arctic Ocean." In 1919, General George Custer requests and is granted the post of governor-general of Occupied Canada in retribution for what he perceives to be the Canadian "murder" of his brother Tom in the fighting of 1881.
The Freedom Party finds itself achieving successes in Richmond. Its chief speaker — a vengeful, spiteful, and bitter ex-sergeant named Jake Featherston — harangues crowds at public meetings and squares about how the Confederacy has been "stabbed in the back" by the Whig Party, the War Department, and, most of all, the black minority, who rose up in Red rebellion in 1915. Featherston's angry mannerisms connect him and his Party to the masses, and soon the Freedom Party becomes the white man's proto-version of the Socialists popular with Confederate blacks and Northerners in the USA. Featherston comes to be seen as the Party's true leader, and the "Sarge" wins the Party's leadership in a power struggle against Dresser in mid-1919. Once comfortably settled in his new office, Featherston reorganizes the Freedom Party into a political party revolving around his goals and ambitions, and white-shirted "stalwarts" are soon elected into the Confederate Congress, while their assault squads take on Featherston's enemies.
(The "stab in the back" was a common trope employed by conservative Germans in real life to explain Germany's defeat. Influential figures such as Erich Ludendorff blamed the Kaiserreich's defeat squarely on leftists and Jews. This rhetoric later became the bread and butter of the Nazi Party as led by former corporal Adolf Hitler.)
The victorious United States, with its American Empire, ignores political events occurring in the CSA. Most members of Congress pay no attention to the rise of the Freedom Party, save for Flora Hamburger, a worried Socialist Representative from New York City. Despite her calls for action, her party takes no notice, instead focusing on voting President Roosevelt out of office in 1920. The Socialists succeed, their candidate Upton Sinclair defeating Roosevelt in the election that November — the first time since the election of 1880 that a Democrat has lost a presidential race. Sinclair is inaugurated president of the United States on March 4, 1921 to much rejoicing from the Socialist party.
Later in 1921, Jake Featherston runs for office against Wade Hampton V of the Whigs and Ainsworth Layne of the Radical Liberals. Featherston loses by a narrow margin to Hampton, but resolves to fight on. In 1923, Grady Calkins, a deranged Freedom Party stalwart, assassinates the president at a Birmingham, Alabama rally. The Freedom Party immediately begins to lose support, suffering losses in the elections of 1923 and 1925. Another factor limiting the Freedom Party's chances for success is U.S. President Sinclair's lifting of the war reparations (requested by Hampton's successor, Burton Mitchel), which removes a key plank from the Freedom Party's platform. Featherston and his most ardent stalwarts spend the next several years in the political wilderness.
(It may be of note that historically, France, to whom the bulk of German reparations were owed, offered to forgive Weimar Germany's debts if the United States offered to forgive debts owed to the United States by France. President Herbert Hoover rejected the plan, since many (if not most) of the loans to be forgiven were made by private banks. Reparations continued to be a defining issue in Weimar politics.)
In Canada, Governor-General Custer rules the former dominion with an iron-felt glove, surviving several assassination attempts by Manitoban farmer Arthur McGregor. Custer kills McGregor in the farmer's final attempt as he is parading through McGregor's town of Rosenfeld, Manitoba. At this point, the war hero is retiring, having been forced out by the new Socialist administration. Sinclair aims to return the U.S. to the days of peace, hoping that by treating its neighbors with respect there will never be another war. He is popular enough to win re-election in 1924 — the same year the Freedom Party begins to involve its stalwarts in the Mexican Civil War (compare to the real-world Spanish Civil War), an action where the U.S. supported the republican rebels, but its support was limited compared to the supplies, weapons, and barrels that the C.S.A. gave to Emperor Maximilian's army.
As in the real world, the new medium of radio offers novel ways for politicians to reach the people. Jake Featherston is the first politician to realize its potential, and soon people sitting in their homes can hear his raspy, thundery voice shouting from their radio sets, telling them the "truth" about the Yankees, Whigs, and blacks. Even with this broadened appeal to the masses, the Freedom Party's hopes ebb further with Featherston's defeat at the polls in 1927 against incumbent Burton Mitchel III. The Confederate people are just starting to enjoy the fruits of peace and prosperity, and the war and black uprisings are coming to be seen as part of the past, despite Featherston and his stalwarts doing their utmost to keep them alive in the collective memory. Things change when, in early 1929, the world's stock markets crash.
In the CSA, Burton Mitchel III is blamed. In the USA, which came out of the 1920s with a booming economy and a Canadian revolt having been crushed in 1925, newly elected President Hosea Blackford takes the heat, with shantytowns being named Blackfordburghs (in imitation of our timeline's "Hoovervilles"). Millions lose their jobs, and in Utah, occupied since 1916, Mormon fanatics gun down Governor-General John Pershing. When Japan and the USA go to war in 1932 after Japan is caught smuggling weapons to the occupied Canadian province of British Columbia by the USS Remembrance, and Japanese bombers attack Los Angeles, Blackford is easily turned out of office by the Democratic ticket of Calvin Coolidge and Herbert Hoover. On January 5, 1933, Coolidge dies before he could take office. Hoover assumes the presidency, practicing Coolidge's campaign policy of government non-intervention in the economy.
At the same time in the CSA, whole cities are echoing to the boot-steps of marching Freedom Party stalwarts, their ranks flowing once more with the angry and the wrathful, preparing for Election Day 1933. Jake Featherston attacks the Mitchel Administration with the most vulgar venom and hate, blaming Mitchel for the crash, and condemning his ineffectual response to the (historical) floods that devastated the Mississippi River valley in 1927. Millions of Confederates lap it up and shout for more, which Featherston provided. On taking the oath of office on March 4, 1934, the world holds its breath: "Freedom" is on the march.
In Europe, the storm clouds are also beginning to gather. The final vestiges of the Bolshevik revolution were crushed by 1927; among the last holdouts was the Volga town of Tsaritsyn under the "Man of Steel" (Joseph Stalin) and his second in command "The Hammer" (Vyacheslav Molotov). Under Tsar Michael, Russia remains a primarily agricultural, backward country. Frequent anti-Semitic pogroms and foreign loans manage to deflect further restlessness but the latter were a contributing factor in the 1929 crash when Austria-Hungary demanded the repayment of a loan that Russia was unable to fulfill.
Austria-Hungary itself remains a united empire but only the Austrians and Hungarians feel any loyalty to the Habsburg monarchs. In fact, the multi-ethnic federation seems to be held together only by German aid and bayonets. The Ottoman Empire also appears to be in the same boat, undertaking the genocide of its Armenian population. Despite strong censure from the United States, and more lukewarm protests from Berlin, the Turks continue the genocide until the Ottoman Empire is mostly devoid of Armenians. (In our timeline, the genocide occurred during World War I, ending shortly after the war.)
Kaiser Wilhelm II rules a strong Germany and his troops continue to occupy Belgium, the Ukraine, and the puppet Kingdom of Poland but post-war relations with the U.S. have soured to the point that many people on both sides of the Atlantic believed that Germany and the United States will someday be engaged in a full-fledged war. The Business Collapse puts an end to that, however, and the old allies reassert themselves once more.
After the Collapse, France finds itself under Action Française and its king Charles XI, who begins talking about the return of Alsace-Lorraine to French rule. In Britain, the Silver Shirts under Oswald Mosley hold similar views, and support Action Française, though they never become more than a minority in Parliament. Italy never comes under Mussolini's rule but, other than this, little information is provided about its history in this timeline.
In the Pacific, Japan is far from quiet. Prior to the Pacific War with the United States, Japan pressured both France and Holland to cede Indochina and the East Indies respectively, with proper compensation. Great Britain fears that its Pacific colonies of Hong Kong, Malaya, Singapore and possibly India will also be annexed by Japan; however, Japan shows no interest in doing so. Japan also gains much influence in China during this period and seems to have established a puppet state of Manchukuo as well. This empire is in addition to Japan's possessions in the Philippines which it "liberated" from Spain in the early years of the 20th century.
The Depression lingers on in the USA and Occupied Canada through 1934 and 1935, with millions of men out of work and productivity down. President Hoover's only highlight during this time is ending the war with Japan but many people continue to question why it was fought in the first place. In Congress, Flora Hamburger Blackford questions why Hoover and the Democrats are allowing the Confederate States to enlarge its army in violation of the peace treaty. At the same time, Congress has to deal with several Freedom Party congressmen from the former Confederate states of Kentucky and Houston (formerly part of Texas), who disrupt Congressional sessions with calls for a plebiscite in their home states. When Socialist Al Smith is elected over Hoover in 1936, the Freedom Party's shouts start to be heeded.
The Freedom Party in the Confederate States has begun to turn the country into a one-party state, with the Confederate Congress passing laws proposed by President Jake Featherston. He faces no opposition from the Confederate Supreme Court, having maneuvered the high court into making its position vulnerable, whereupon he merely extended executive power and abolished the judicial branch. Forced elections in 1935 and 1937 solidify and confirm Freedom Party control of the House and Senate, with state legislatures and governorships captured as well. The Army is purged in 1936 and conscription recommences in 1938. The troublesome Vice President Willy Knight is removed from office after his attempt on Featherston's life later that year and soon imprisoned. The police force is slowly padded with stalwarts and soon, with a nod from the national administration and Attorney General Ferdinand Koenig, the states are installing correctional camps for "riotous" and "unruly" Whigs and Radical Liberals.
Radical Liberal Louisiana is toppled by Freedom stalwarts, with Governor Huey Long assassinated in 1938, his regime being replaced by an administration more compliant with Featherston's interests. With black rebellions flaring up all over the CSA, Featherston has begun looking for quiet and suitable places to exact revenge for real or imagined (mostly imagined) wrongs that the blacks have committed. Louisiana is the perfect place to begin "reducing population."
In late 1940, Al Smith finally agrees to hear Jake Featherston's demands for the former Confederate states of Houston, Kentucky and Sequoyah. In the resulting plebiscites of January 7, 1941, Kentucky and west Texas (Houston) vote to return to the CSA. Featherston promises not to remilitarize them, or to ask for Sequoyah (which votes pro-USA) or other former CSA territory such as the annexed areas of Virginia, Arkansas and Sonora. Within weeks, Featherston breaks his promise and plants his modernized and expanded Confederate Army on the Ohio River, convincing Smith that the time to face Featherston down has finally come.
Tensions rise in Europe when Germany's longtime ruler dies. The new Kaiser Friedrich Wilhelm V refuses to return the former French territory of Alsace-Lorraine that France's ruling party had demanded. Britain, France and the CSA soon declare war on Germany, with Russia joining in days later.
With war breaking out in Europe, Jake Featherston feels it is time to have his revenge against his greatest enemy: the United States of America. On the first day of summer in 1941, he orders Operation Blackbeard to begin. The next day — June 22, 1941 — the Confederate States of America bring the war to North America with a surprise attack on Philadelphia and southern Ohio.
(The Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union—in our timeline—occurred on the same day. The name of the German invasion plan was Operation Barbarossa, named after a well-known German Emperor in the Middle Ages who had according to legend, 'a great red beard', thus the CSA's operation's name.)
At 3:30 am on June 22, 1941 (the same time that Nazi Germany invaded the USSR in our real timeline), the North American war kicks off with massive bombing raids on Philadelphia and military installations all over southern Ohio. In an immediate joint session of Congress, President Smith calls for — and receives — a unanimous declaration of war against the Confederate States. Soon afterwards, Winston Churchill and the rest of the Entente announce hostilities against the USA.
Philadelphia expects Featherston to strike in the east, following the pattern of the last war. Brigadier General Abner Dowling and Colonel Irving Morrell know better and have prepared for the coming strike as best they could, but U.S. forces in Ohio simply do not have the equipment or manpower needed to halt the Confederate army under George Patton.
Within two months, Sandusky on Lake Erie falls to Confederate soldiers, preventing raw materials in the west from reaching the factories of the east. Just before Sandusky fell, radical Mormons armed with Confederate weapons begin a new drive for independence in Utah, capturing the settlement belt from Ogden in the north to Provo in the south; see Utah Troubles.
At sea, the U.S. fares little better although neither side wins control of the sea lanes. In July, the Royal Navy lures the carriers USS Remembrance and Sandwich Islands away from Bermuda. The island, a strategically valuable submarine and air base, falls to a joint Anglo-Confederate task force as a result. The Bahamas are next to fall, the U.S. Marines being forced to fight island by island before surrendering.
Stalemate characterizes the war in the Pacific throughout most of 1941. The first major clash between Japan and the U.S. comes at the Battle of Midway (which takes place, ironically, on a Sunday morning two and a half weeks before Christmas: December 7, 1941, the date of the attack on Pearl Harbor in reality). During the battle the USS Remembrance, transferred to the Pacific after the loss of Bermuda, is sunk and the island itself taken. Although Japan suffers one carrier sunk and another damaged, the U.S. Pacific Fleet is now left devoid of aircraft carriers and reliant upon land-based air cover.
The war in Europe spawns early triumphs for the Entente. In Ukraine, the local soldiers and population welcome the arriving Russians as liberators, ensuring that most of the German satellite is lost. Elsewhere the manpower-swarming tactics of the Russians, unchanged from the last war, ensure that they suffer heavy losses for small gains. The Kaiser's army, particularly its panzers and 88mm flak cannons, prove instrumental in preventing the loss of East Prussia and Poland.
In the West, the French Army swiftly recaptures Alsace-Lorraine (and possibly captures the Rhineland) and stands on the Rhine. Ireland is overrun by the British, while the Anglo-French thrust through the Low Countries succeeds beyond all expectations. The Belgians welcome the Entente as liberators. The Dutch, though more pro-German, are brushed aside, and some of the North German Plain was overrun.
Yet victory does not follow. A British end-run through Norway, made for unclear reasons — possibly for either Swedish iron ore through Narvik or Norwegian naval bases (or both) — fails spectacularly. Churchill's bright idea does nothing more than drive the furious Norwegians into the Central Powers' camp. France proves unable to cross the Rhine and the Germans on that front soon rally. Austria-Hungary, despite its clear weakness, remains united, and though Bulgaria wavers as a German ally she never abandons Berlin entirely. Only the Low Countries campaign still shows promise for the Entente by the end of 1941, but Hamburg still remains unconquered. By February 1942, the German Army feels confident enough to launch counter-offensives against the British outside Hamburg and the Russians in the Ukraine.
In North America, the post-Blackbeard season proves uninspiring for both sides. Shortly after Sandusky fell, Jake Featherston declares that he will make peace with the U.S. if his 'reasonable' demands are met. All the 'unredeemed territory' is to be handed back, the post-Great War reparations that destroyed the C.S. economy are to be repaid and the Northern (but not Southern) side of the border is to be demilitarized. Smith replies that night with the heaviest air raid on Richmond yet, but not before announcing on the wireless "I have not yet begun to fight!"
Yet despite Smith's bravado, the situation for the U.S. seemed bleak into February 1942. A counter-attack in northern Virginia under Daniel MacArthur soon bogs down. With too many men sandwiched between the Appalachians and the Atlantic, the U.S. Army crosses the Rappahannock River but is held at the Rapidan line. A subsequent Confederate counterattack under Patton fails to dislodge the U.S., and both sides settle in for the winter.
After the stalling of the Virginia front, Featherston realizes that another knock-out blow is needed, and begins planning for a drive eastwards in the spring of 1942. Ohio remains quiet, with nothing more than local offensives. The revolt in Utah shows no signs of ending; by Christmas 1941 U.S. forces are stalled within Provo.
Neither side achieves a decisive advantage in the air war, which is characterized by Clarence Potter as a "duel with machine guns at a pace and a half." Both air forces soon resort to only night attacks on the east coast, as flak and fighters make daylight raids too costly. Farther west, daytime raids continue. On a tactical level, dive bombers prove effective at hitting ground targets and hideously vulnerable to fighters and flak; Confederate "Asskickers" suffer enormously from both. Neither U.S. Wright-27s nor Confederate "Hound Dog" fighters have any great advantage over the other.
It is during this time that the "population reductions" in the South begin in earnest. Any black man whose passbook is out of order is immediately arrested and shipped out to a camp; in the cities Negroes are used as war plant labor while suffering reprisals for black car bombs and other terrorist acts.
In the Louisiana camps, the slaughter begins with submachine guns, a method that proved inefficient. The camps simmer at the edge of rebellion, while most guards cannot stomach the job and some commit suicide. Soon poison gas is found to be superior for the guards' minds and is more efficient. Sealed trucks are ostensibly used to transfer blacks between camps; in practice the fumes would leave them dead and ready for disposal in mass graves.
Despite the Freedom Party's best efforts, news of the killings reached Philadelphia. Congresswoman Flora Blackford announces the Confederacy's crimes to the world, only to receive scathing comparisons with Utah from the Entente and sympathetic but indifferent reactions from U.S. citizens.
In February 1942, Confederate bombers, which have been bombarding Philadelphia since the war's beginning, manage to hit the Powell House, destroying the building and its underground bunker. Al Smith is in the bunker during the bombing and is killed. His vice president Charles La Follette is sworn in as president shortly afterward. In his first speech as president, La Follette vows to continue the war and win it for the United States.
The U.S. determination to keep fighting, even though it is now separated into two pieces of territory after the Ohio campaign, is a major setback to Confederate plans; the CSA are relying on a short war and quick victory. The Confederates decide to concentrate troops in Ohio for an attack into western Pennsylvania to capture Pittsburgh, a major industrial center for the United States. In order to have enough troops, the CSA is forced to pull troops from other fronts and bring in under-equipped allied forces from the Empire of Mexico.
The campaign succeeds in reaching Pittsburgh but is unable to fully occupy the city. General Nathan Bedford Forrest III, the head of the Confederate military, advises that the fighting in Pittsburgh has achieved its strategic aim of destroying the city's industrial capacity and recommends pulling the Confederate troops out. However, President Featherston refuses to allow any withdrawal. U.S. forces under Brigadier General Morrell next attack and surround Pittsburgh, destroying the light Mexican screening force. Still, Featherston refuses to allow the encircled forces to attempt a breakout. The Confederate Army is whittled down to a few ragged survivors by determined U.S. resistance and brutal house-to-house fighting. On February 2, 1943, the Confederates still inside Pittsburgh are forced to surrender. As a result of this defeat, General Forrest begins to discuss with Clarence Potter the possibility of overthrowing Featherston. (This is likely a reference to the Battle of Stalingrad in our own timeline.)
In other plotlines, Flora Blackford becomes more hawkish on the war, opposing the administration's attempt to negotiate a settlement in Utah, where the Mormon uprising continues. She finds herself frequently agreeing with Robert Taft, the Democratic Senator from Ohio.
In Utah, the Mormon rebels have realized that they cannot achieve a conventional military victory and so resort to a series of suicide bombings throughout the United States, first with car bombs and then with humans strapped with explosives. Blacks in the CSA soon begin imitating these attacks.
The extermination campaign against the CSA's black population continues and is expanded, with Jefferson Pinkard remaining a pivotal figure. However, the Confederates are worried when a diversionary attack, launched at the same time as the Pittsburgh campaign and led by Major General Dowling, threatens to capture the main extermination camp in Texas and expose its operations to the world.
The naval war remains inconclusive. The U.S. beats off a Japanese attack against the Sandwich Islands and achieves an advantage in the Pacific. In the Atlantic, the main activity is preventing British convoys from bringing supplies to the Canadian underground. The Royal Navy and the German High Seas Fleet meet in battle late in 1942, with both sides claiming victory.
Britain and France are still bogged down in western Germany, while Confederate newspapers report that the Russians are driving on Warsaw. Partisan resistance is a large problem for both sides: Britain contends with Irish rebellion, Russia fights Jews, Finns, Chechens and Azerbaijanis, while Austria-Hungary bleeds from (amongst others) Serb, Bosnian, and Romanian rebels.
By 1943 both the United States and the Confederacy, along with other countries, have initiated programs to develop atomic weapons. While no power has developed a weapon yet, it appears that the United States and German programs are ahead of the Confederate one, with Germany the closest to completion. Around the turn of the New Year in 1943, the U.S. achieves its first sustaining chain reaction at its plant in Hanford, Washington. The British and the French are also rumored to be working on atomic weapons.
Following the defeat of the Confederate Army at Pittsburgh, the Confederate forces find themselves on the defensive in Ohio. Neither the U.S. nor the Confederate forces have adequate supplies for a major push; however, the U.S. position is getting stronger daily. After sufficient buildup, a massive invasion from Indiana crosses the Ohio River and enters Kentucky. General Morrell employs blitzkrieg-like tactics, surrounding and bypassing any center of Confederate resistance.
Meanwhile, the Mormon rebellion in Utah is finally suppressed. Mormons outside of the ruins of Salt Lake City surrender to occupying U.S. troops. Plans are put forth in Congress to expel the rebels from Utah, possibly to the Sandwich Islands. These same soldiers are sent to put down the flames of revolt in Canada. In mid-1943, Winnipeg is surrounded and under siege by the U.S. and Québécois armies.
Mexican Army forces begin to be deployed to provide internal security in the Confederacy, replacing white Confederate soldiers sent to the front lines. Their efficiency against experienced guerrilla bands is limited, and the guerrillas' hit-and-run attacks become more and more brash.
To the surprise of the U.S. Navy, an assault on Midway Island reveals the Japanese have completely abandoned their garrison there. Many suspect that the Japanese are concentrating their resources for an assault on British-held Malaya and Singapore. An amphibious assault on Wake Island some months later regains U.S. control of the island but also finds no signs of the Japanese.
C.S.A. President Featherston demands more progress from the Confederate nuclear program, fearing that the U.S. will develop the weapon first. In an attempt to slow down the U.S. nuclear program, C.S. bombers fly a long-range mission to bomb the "uranium works" in Hanford, Washington. No serious damage is incurred, and the program continues under heightened security. A later U.S. bombing raid on the Confederate atomic program in Lexington, Virginia, kills several prominent Confederate nuclear physicists.
The U.S. conquest of Baja California takes place soon after the beginning of the lull in Pacific operations. Marines land midway down the peninsula and take Cabo San Lucas on the southern tip, while the U.S. Army pushes from San Diego deep into the territory, seizing control of the remainder of Baja. Harassment operations soon begin against the Confederate forces in Guaymas and the Sonoran coast.
A seaborne operation led by the U.S. to re-recapture Bermuda from British and C.S. forces succeeds. The United States begins running guns to Irish rebels fighting against the British occupiers. As these operations continue, the U.S. also sends arms to anti-Freedom Party rebels in Confederate Cuba.
General Dowling's Eleventh Army continues to put pressure on Lubbock, Texas, the linchpin of Confederate defenses in the west. After Lubbock is captured, and the state of Houston subsequently revived, Brigade Leader Jefferson Pinkard destroys records and gas chambers at Camp Determination before the Yankees break through. Freedom Party Guard Units are deployed to slow down the U.S. advance, delaying the capture of Camp Determination for a time. Pinkard is put in charge of Camp Humble, not far from Houston, Texas, to continue population reductions. The United States use the mass graves at Camp Determination as a propaganda theme.
In Europe, the German Army drive British forces out of their territory and over the Dutch border. Subsequent operations are undertaken to free the Netherlands and "liberate" Belgium from Franco-British forces. In the east, German armored units deal a decisive blow to Russian forces outside of Kiev, tightening German control in the area. Another thrust is aimed at the capital of Petrograd, which the Russians unsuccessfully try to turn back. Russia is no longer able to mount offensive operations, now trying to defend their Motherland with a battered and wounded army. Austria-Hungary is wracked by terrorist attacks but continues reprisals against the Serbians.
Facing off against Confederate General Patton, Morrell grinds down through Tennessee to capture the railroad junction of Chattanooga. In August 1943, United States airborne forces seize Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge, overlooking Chattanooga, Tennessee, forcing the collapse of the Confederate defenses of the city; General Patton plans to treat the city as a second Pittsburgh, forcing a bloody attrition battle on the U.S. Instead, Confederate forces are forced to retreat to northwest Georgia. After several more counterattacks by the ill-equipped Confederate forces, the United States is poised to capture Atlanta, the last major transportation hub still linking both halves of the Confederacy.
As the U.S. Army moves through Tennessee (and even when that state is not even halfway occupied by the U.S.), plans are put forth in Congress to return Kentucky and Tennessee to the United States (under martial law), along with a revived Houston.
With the surprising success in its war effort, U.S. President La Follette, in a speech to U.S. Congress in fall 1943, demands that Confederate President Featherston surrender unconditionally, with him and his inner circle being banished to a distant island. Paralleling Al Smith's refusal of a similar demand in 1941, Featherston refuses this latest demand, responding to it by ordering two rockets to be fired into Philadelphia, proving to the United States that he is unwilling to give up so easily.
U.S. forces continue to advance on all fronts into 1944. Major General Irving Morrell mostly surrounds Atlanta, forcing the Confederate army there to escape to the south and east. Next, irregular units of the U.S. Army penetrate deep into eastern Georgia and South Carolina, eventually reaching the sea and cutting the Confederacy in half. Major General Abner Dowling is recalled to Philadelphia from the newly created state of Houston to assist in the attack on Richmond, which proceeds despite the fearsome Confederate defenses, which have been stripped of men to support doomed Atlanta.
While the U.S. advances towards the Atlantic Ocean, Germany uses its first superbomb on Petrograd. Meanwhile, Featherston and Potter use a jury-rigged plutonium truck bomb (the element is called jovium by the Confederates in the Turtledove series) and captured US uniforms and equipment to strike at the edge of Philadelphia, though the attack does not affect the government buildings in the city. Soon after, Featherston is forced to flee Richmond, while at the same time General George Patton is forced to flee to Alabama. U.S. forces use an atomic bomb on Newport News, Virginia, narrowly missing Featherston, who is giving a speech in nearby Hampton Roads at the time. The U.S. later use a second superbomb, this time on Charleston, in apparent revenge for South Carolina being the first state to secede from the Union back in 1860.
Germany uses its next superbomb against Paris, while Britain strikes Hamburg with its own superbomb. Germany retaliates with three superbombs on English cities, London being the most prominent, along with Norwich and Brighton. Winston Churchill promises a swift response, but a German turbo airplane shoots down the British bomber containing the second British bomb in Belgium, sparing Germany.
In the wake of German atomic attacks, Russia, France and Britain, after a change of government, request armistices, while the U.S. continues to gain territory and further squeeze the Confederacy. The U.S. revives the nation of Texas to split the Confederacy yet again, cutting off Sonora and Chihuahua from the rest of the C.S. and placing the camps under U.S. (rather than Texan) administration.
Patton's army surrenders to the U.S. in Alabama under threat of atomic attack, while Featherston is shot attempting to escape to what remains of the Confederacy by the black guerrilla Cassius. Confederate Vice President Donald Partridge thus becomes President long enough to sign a statement of unconditional surrender, which is accepted by General Morrell on behalf of the United States. With this, the Confederate States, after 83 years of independence, ceases to exist.
U.S. troops move in for the long occupation, shooting tens or hundreds of Confederate civilians for every attack against U.S. forces. (There is mention of 1,500 random hostages being shot at Miami on a single day). The final dispensation of the defeated warring powers' territory is unclear, though the U.S. makes it clear that it plans to eventually absorb the entire Confederacy into the Union. The U.S. also holds criminal trials to punish crimes against humanity in a similar manner to the Nuremberg Trials of our timeline, executing the deposed Attorney General and Director of Communications, as well as numerous camp guards.