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Unjust Peace, Part 1 - "Hampton Roads, Redux" by Michael N. Ryan, David Atwell & Steve Payne

Author says: what if the former belligerents of the American Civil War clashed at the Versailles Peace Conference over the same issues? Please note that the opinions expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect the views of the author(s).

In 1919, January 18th - the first day of the Great Power negotiations in the Salle de l'Horloge at the French Foreign Ministry ran into immediate trouble with the Union and the Confederacy sharply disagreeing over territory and self-determination, the very same disputes that had raged at the conclusion of the American Civil War.

Because at that same stage at Hampton Roads, the Union was expected to press the South to accept the loss of the States of Delaware, Maryland and Missouri. Instead, not only had Washington demanded that East Tennessee, North and West Virginia join the Union as new Northern States, but they wanted a few West North Carolina counties too because they had strong Unionist populations there. Somewhat disingenuously, Washington had also let Southern delegates discover that the White House had resisted calls for Arkansas, Mississippi, Louisiana and Alabama plus parts of the Carolinas coastline.

Almost sixty years later, the Confederate delegates on the Quai d'Orsay in Paris sensed the same victor's logic in French Plans to dismember the German Reich. Then, like now, the net result of acquiescence to those requests for more than the "occupied territories" would be to make the defeated nation ungovernable. Because the Western Allies demands represented a barely disguised attempt to prevent future conflict by cutting the country in half, making sure the economy would no longer be viable.

And thus the Confederates objected on principle to the French demands using the same language they had forcefully articulated at Hampton Roads in rejecting the Union's outline proposals. Due to the insistence of her British allies, under the final settlement the CSA "only" lost the "occupied territories" comprising a northern strip in Virginia, Western Virginia, plus the northern half of Arkansas and also parts of the coastline of the Carolinas and the Southern tip of Florida which the Union had occupied as part of their amphibious operations. And the Confederates were banking on her old allies pressing the same logic at Versailles.

Author says to view guest historian's comments on this post please visit the Today in Alternate History web site.

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Steve Payne

Editor of Today in Alternate History, a Daily Updating Blog of Important Events In History That Never Occurred Today. Follow us on Facebook, Myspace and Twitter.

Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.


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