Updated Sunday 15 May, 2011 12:18 PM

   Headlines  |  Alternate Histories  |  International Edition

Home Page


Alternate Histories

International Edition

List of Updates

Want to join?

Join Writer Development Section

Writer Development Member Section

Join Club ChangerS


Chris Comments

Book Reviews


Letters To The Editor


Links Page

Terms and Conditions



Alternate Histories

International Edition

Alison Brooks



Other Stuff


If Baseball Integrated Early


Today in Alternate History

This Day in Alternate History Blog









When people consider the possibility of foreign intervention during the USCW, they tend to consider, as both Harry Turtledove and Harry Harrison did, the British and French supporting the confederacy.  Their support, some consider, would have broken the United States, left the CSA with it’s independence and allowed the two powers major concessions from the US.

I am going to take the unlikely tack that the British support the United States instead.  There were in fact strong reasons for doing that; the south were slaveholders, which the British had campaigned against, the south’s cotton was a major competitor with Britain and a broken US would have invited in other powers to the American continent, as France was already trying in Mexico.  Further, a war with the US would probably mean the loss of Canada and the West Indies.  Finally, a war that dragged on for a long time or ended in a shocking defeat would have a grim effect on both the British financial markets and British trade. 

For a POD I am going to remove the Trent Affair.  A US captain had boarded a British ship and removed two CS dignitaries under his guns.  This infuriated Britain and made supporting the North impossible.  The US delivered an apology that prevented a US/UK war. 

However, it seems that neither of the two CS ambassadors were impressive to the British or French establishment.  If they did not have the fame attached by their capture, would they have been even that impressive?  Add in the strong anti-slavery lobby and the UK might have declared war on the South. 

The UK had a strong naval squadron in the West Indies.  If the US agreed to cooperate, they could have joined the blockade and made any French supplies to the CSA far more difficult.  If not, the British could still deny the south their supplies, send them to the north and intercept CSA commence raiders.  The British might also launch a few operations against southern ports (we could have one of them at Biloxi, just for laughs) and perhaps send a few supplies to union supports and black slaves within the confederacy. 

Further, if the US does cooperate, the British might send a regiment or two to join the union forces.  The British forces might play a role in the Battle of Antietam, fighting bravely perhaps, and working with their American counterparts.  The British might learn a few valuable lesions about modern warfare from them.   The British would probably be quicker to use, train and deploy black regiments.

The addition of the British should end the USCW sooner.  The British forces and bases would make attacks directed against Texas, Mississippi and the rest of the Mexican coast far easier.  That would knock some states out of the CSA, while Lee would be far shorter on supplies and men if the CSA’s rear were haemorrhaging.  Presume that the CSA surrenders in 1863. 

US politics would probably be unwilling to allow the British any share in occupation and reconstruction.  The British would probably claim a moral need to ensure that the slaves are not reenslaved, which might lead to the blacks getting a couple of states of their own, or equal rights sooner.  The British would probably leave the blacks what weapons and encouragement they could. 

Long-Term, the British and Americans would have a long-lasting alliance.  The two powers were bound together anyway, so have a formal agreement.  The British and Americans share the China trade and resist any attempt to partition china.  UK and US forces train together.  The US blacks send a regiment to the Boer War.  The British take the Spanish East Indies and allow the US to use British bases.  The US joins WW1, at least the naval aspect, from the start. 

FeedBack Form

Hit Counter