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  #51  
Old 05-14-2019, 09:57 AM
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Yeah, I'd say that's got a certain amount of truth to it. From this angle, with our greater understanding of economics, we can evaluate the south's effort as insane. At the time, though, they were following a pretty basic plan in attempting to break the north's spirit. Lincoln and his team determined to break the south economically and degrade the CSAs very ability to fight.

In terms of railroads, as UrbanRedneck laid out above, I'd say it's not railroads per se, it was the entire manufacturing base that allowed greater materiel to be produced that the rails were a sign. Hell, the south going to war with just one major iron works - Tredegar Iron Works in Richmond - would now be seen as insane. TIW produced - just 90 miles from Maryland - half the confederate artillery and most of the rail stock. When such were destroyed in the war they had a hell of a time replacing them.

Look, it's easy - and wrong - to treat economics as deterministic in anything because there are too many human factors at play. But production and economics do put a pretty significant thumb on the scale of most human endeavors.

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  #52  
Old 05-14-2019, 10:31 AM
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Both were prepared and ready to fight a different war than the ones they ended up fighting.

Before the Civil War people believed in the big battle theory. At Waterloo Napoleon lost one battle and that caused France to lose the war. The planners of the day thought the Civil War was going to be like that. One huge battle and whoever wins that battle wins the war.

In a case like that, the Union's vast manpower and industrial advantages don't matter. The south had the most professional soldiers and their people were mostly rural farmers who knew how to use guns. No one was prepared for the kind of carnage both sides were willing to put up with. The Mexican war had cost the defeated side 15,000 soldiers killed and they had surrendered.

The Union suffered horrible defeats early in the war but never relented and the south was forced to fight a war of attrition which they could not hope to win.

Likewise the Nazis thought that they were going to be fighting a war like they did against France. France had one of the best militaries in the world and some of the best weapons. However it did not matter because tactically the Germans were so superior. They were able to use combined arms and the element of surprise to defeat a large force with low casualties. Once the french army was defeated the government capitulated quickly.

Against the USSR they were planning to do the same thing. They would attack with a surprise combined assault, capture or destroy the Soviet army and then the government would capitulate quickly. It worked very well at first and they captured or destroyed a larger amount of troops then they thought the russians had. However after handing the USSR some of the largest defeats in the history of warfare, the USSR kept fighting.

Once the initial attack was blunted they ended up fighting a war of attrition versus a foe that had a huge manpower advantage and once the US got into the war an ally with a huge industrial advantage. This type of war they had no chance of winning.
This is the correct answer. Basically the Germans didn't set out in 1939 saying "Yep, we're going to take on the Poles, the Russians, the French, the British, AND the Americans, because X, Y and Z."

It was very much more a "We'll whip Poland in a month", and then once the British and French were in the war, the thinking was "We'll whip France quickly as well, and move on to Britain". And then a year later, "So far, our ground forces haven't failed to defeat our opponents in record time, so we'll whip the Soviets by Xmas"

Then starting around December 1941, things got ugly for them- the Russians were NOT beaten by Xmas, and for some bizarre reason, pre-emptively declared war on the US after Pearl Harbor. At this point, they'd achieved domination of continental Europe, but still had the Free French and British warring against them, and managed to invade a huge and populous nation (Soviet Union), and antagonize the world's pre-eminent industrial power (the US), who happened to be unusually close as nations go, with the British. They had the tiger by the tail at that point- there wasn't any sueing for peace; the Soviets were going to grind them down, regardless of what the US/British did.

In the case of the Confederates, I think it was even more shambolic in terms of planning/strategy. Once the states had seceded and the Federal government had declared the secessions invalid, and that they were in a state of rebellion, war was pretty much the only choice. But it's not like they got together in Richmond and said "IF we secede, how are we going to prosecute the inevitable war?" I think it was more of a thing that moved faster than anyone was really prepared for, considering the speed/state of communications in those days. I mean, Lincoln was elected in November 1860, and by the end of February, the Confederacy was born. The war started in April, and by the end of July, the first battle had been fought.

Combine that with military thinking that was very outdated- most senior officers still clung to the idea that the war was effectively going to be fought Napoleonic-style, and that big decisive battles were what was going to force the issue, not the long, grinding war of attrition that actually happened. We see this in the South especially- between their general unpreparedness to fight a modern war, and the sort of thinking that led to Pickett's Charge.

My personal belief is that even had Lee won at Gettysburg, that would have only delayed things, but that's not how they were thinking at the time- the thought that the Union could replace the soldiers and formations lost and keep on fighting and win through sheer mass was a concept that was really being developed at the time. Prior to that, armies were organizations that were formed up, and used fairly quickly, because they tend to disintegrate when in the field- disease, accidents, etc... all take their toll. So as a result, wars tended to be fought with what they had, and not in the context of ongoing production, recruiting, etc...

But in the Civil War, that changed. The US put a huge army in the field AND supported it for years far from home through the use of railways. That's fundamentally different than what had been done until that time.
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Old 05-14-2019, 10:56 AM
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How close to a total war was the Civil War? Large scale, sustained conscription was rather new, taking the example from the wars that followed the French revolution. Instead of geographic depth, it gave the North a "demographic depth" to keep going after losses because the North could recruit equip and train soldiers father than the South could take them out.


Since it came down to grinding down the opponent, what shortages most hampered the Old South or the Nazis?
  #54  
Old 05-14-2019, 12:41 PM
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Also many higher ups like Rommel wanted to sign a seperate peace agreement with the western allies and concentrate on Russia. They had sent a deal that if they would remove Hitler they would agree to many concessions such as pulling out of occupied nations. The allies wouldnt agree though so the planned coup failed.
When did this happen?
  #55  
Old 05-14-2019, 01:06 PM
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When did this happen?
Rudolph Hess, Hitler's Deputy Fuhrer, flew to Scotland in May 1941 to try to negotiate a peace with Britain. That was a month BEFORE the Nazi's broke their treaty and invaded the USSR.
  #56  
Old 05-14-2019, 03:21 PM
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Rudolph Hess, Hitler's Deputy Fuhrer, flew to Scotland in May 1941 to try to negotiate a peace with Britain. That was a month BEFORE the Nazi's broke their treaty and invaded the USSR.
I'm not aware that Hess was the representative of any larger group of Germans. He claimed he was acting on Hitler's behalf, not as part of a coup aimed at overthrowing Hitler. The likeliest reality is that Hess was representing nobody other than himself.
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Old 05-14-2019, 04:34 PM
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In the 1860s was the idea that wars were (or even could be ) won by the side with the most resources, not the side with the bravest, best drilled, troops and best generals, even be a thing?

We've have century or two of industrial warfare to the get used to the idea. But IMO I think may anachronistic to assume people in that era thought that way.
This is true. I think it was Dan Carlin I heard talking about how even the armies of WWI were laughably out of date from the perspective of WWII armies just 20 years later, but it's very likely a Roman Legion could take out a medieval army from a thousand years after its time, and Alexander's army could probably have beaten Rome from hundreds of years later.

So, before the Civil War, it was possible to be "decades behind" an opponent, and still win. Not long after that, though, it was clear to everyone that you had to be up to date with the extreme bleeding edge of military technology and logistics to even stand a fighting chance.
  #58  
Old 05-14-2019, 04:36 PM
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I'm not aware that Hess was the representative of any larger group of Germans. He claimed he was acting on Hitler's behalf, not as part of a coup aimed at overthrowing Hitler. The likeliest reality is that Hess was representing nobody other than himself.
I'm not aware that Rommel et al represented anyone other than themselves, either.
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Old 05-14-2019, 09:07 PM
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This is true. I think it was Dan Carlin I heard talking about how even the armies of WWI were laughably out of date from the perspective of WWII armies just 20 years later, but it's very likely a Roman Legion could take out a medieval army from a thousand years after its time, and Alexander's army could probably have beaten Rome from hundreds of years later.

So, before the Civil War, it was possible to be "decades behind" an opponent, and still win. Not long after that, though, it was clear to everyone that you had to be up to date with the extreme bleeding edge of military technology and logistics to even stand a fighting chance.
I think there's a distinction between understanding the importance of weapons technology, which the opposing sides in the US civil war did (going back to the early days of artillery that was understood to some degree), and understanding that what ultimately won wars was having an industrialized country that could produce more troops, muskets, cannons, boots, rations, etc. than the opposition, which wasn't AFAIK.

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  #60  
Old 05-14-2019, 11:30 PM
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I'm not aware that Rommel et al represented anyone other than themselves, either.
What do you think? That Rommel called up a few thousand friends and said "Hey, guys, let's invade North Africa this weekend!"

Rommel was an officer in the German army. He was given assignments and orders by his superiors in the German command structure. So it wasn't Rommel who invaded North Africa; it was the German army (which was carrying out the directives of the German government) and Rommel just happened to be commanding the troops. Rommel was acting as a representative of Germany in that role.

Hess, on the other hand, did not represent anyone in a similar manner when he flew to England. Nobody had told him to go there.

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  #61  
Old 05-15-2019, 04:44 AM
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Both the Old South and Nazi Germany proved to be have overestimated their ability to win the war. What factors did they think would enable them to win? For what factual, philosophical or psychological reasons did they believe that?

If we draw a Venn Diagram of the factors they thought would give them victory, what kind of overlap or difference do we see between the Old South and Nazi Germany? If we look at the reasons why they believed that, how much overlap or difference?
I am of the opinion that Nazi Germany would have won the war if Rundstedt pushed at Dunkirk. Without those troops I believe the Battle of Britain would be lost, Spain would join the Axis and invade Gibraltar, the Allied positions in the Mediterranean would wither and die, then Britain negotiates peace and Russia suddenly finds herself surrounded by enemies.

The Nazis mentality was that Britain and the US were natural allies and would team up against the Bolshevik menace.

The Confederacy never had a chance, not with the Union blockade. Davis's only hope at actual independence was through foreign support, and the whole slavery thing already put the Confederacy at ideological odds with Britain and France. The blockade killed any hope of an economic alliance. Meanwhile Mexico was too busy defaulting on loans from its own civil war to offer any assistance.

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Old 05-15-2019, 07:54 AM
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On the civil War, yeah usually wars back then were over in maybe a year or so or less with just a few major battles. The later Franco-Prussian war in 1874 for example, only lasted about 9 months.

So the south thought that a few early quick victories (which they had at Bull Run) and the union would give up.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:09 AM
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When did this happen?
I dont have an exact cite but as I understand it, sometime in 43 or 44 some German resistance groups (which included high members of the German military like Rommel) had sent out some messages to the western allies looking for support if they replaced Hitler.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:24 AM
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I am of the opinion that Nazi Germany would have won the war if Rundstedt pushed at Dunkirk. Without those troops I believe the Battle of Britain would be lost
I do not understand how the loss of infantry would have changed the outcome of the Battle of Britain.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:50 AM
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I don't think that the OP (or this thread for that matter) has accurately considered how close the South actually came to winning the war. If it wasn't for Lincoln, the North very well could have given up on the war, and allowed the South to secede. As has accurately been pointed out, the South didn't have to defeat the North, they just had to not lose and outlast the North. They could have accomplished that, and there were times when it appeared it might be the case.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:54 AM
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The South couldn't have won the war. They could have made the North lose, but that's not the same thing. If the North had lost, then within a generation, North America would have had no polity larger than a city, between Canada and Mexico.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:54 AM
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I don't think that the OP (or this thread for that matter) has accurately considered how close the South actually came to winning the war. If it wasn't for Lincoln, the North very well could have given up on the war, and allowed the South to secede. As has accurately been pointed out, the South didn't have to defeat the North, they just had to not lose and outlast the North. They could have accomplished that, and there were times when it appeared it might be the case.
What’s the closest the Confederates got to taking DC?
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:06 AM
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What’s the closest the Confederates got to taking DC?
If it weren't for Lincoln, South Carolina would have never tried to leave the Union, so the war would never have happened in the first place.

And I believe the closest they came to DC was looking across the Potomac and saying "There it is. Do you think that army heading right for us is going to occupy Arlington for the entirety of the war? Ouch, I've been shot."
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:07 AM
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I dont have an exact cite but as I understand it, sometime in 43 or 44 some German resistance groups (which included high members of the German military like Rommel) had sent out some messages to the western allies looking for support if they replaced Hitler.

Yeah, the Valkyrie guys had the same idea (and might even be the people you're talking about). The thing is, they weren't good guys even though they planned on offing Hitler. They were still Nazis, who still wanted lebensraum and to kill lots and lots of Slavs. The peace terms they were seeking with the Allies were along the lines of a white peace allowing them to keep much if not all of the land they'd seized, oh and betraying Stalin of course, all in exchange for... something ? I'm sure ? I mean it's not like they were doing much damage to Britain at this point. Even the submarine warfare was quickly going pear-shaped thanks to advances in huff duff and sonar.
So, yeah, even if they had succeeded in killing Hitler Churchill ; De Gaulle & al. would probably have told them to go fuck themselves with a rusty saw.
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Old 05-15-2019, 10:42 AM
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The South couldn't have won the war. They could have made the North lose, but that's not the same thing. If the North had lost, then within a generation, North America would have had no polity larger than a city, between Canada and Mexico.
Could you flesh this out some for those of us who are a little denser than others?
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:29 AM
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The South couldn't have won the war. They could have made the North lose, but that's not the same thing.
The South not losing the war is exactly the same thing as winning the war from a strategic level. The South didn't have any military aspirations in the North. They merely wanted to left alone.

If Lincoln had just let the Confederacy leave the union without a fight in 1861 would the Confederacy attacked the North? Of course not. That is all the evidence you need that the North losing equals the South winning.

(On the world stage an inexact comparison is the US/Korea cold war. Korea doesn't want to defeat the US militarily. They just want to exist. Survival as a state is victory.)

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If the North had lost, then within a generation, North America would have had no polity larger than a city, between Canada and Mexico.
So what? What does that have to do with the Confederacy wanting to secede and survive intact, with or without a fight?

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What’s the closest the Confederates got to taking DC?
What does that have to do with the survival of the South?

Again, I think you're missing the point. As our fiend Clausewitz would point out, "War is the continuation of politics by other means." When politics failed the Confederacy, they chose to risk war to further their aims. Lincoln took them up on their challenge. But Lincoln was untested and an unknown in 1861. His predecessor, James Buchanan would certainly have given in to the Confederacy, or may have made a halfhearted attempt at best. There were draft riots in the North, Senior Army leadership was poor early on with defeat after defeat. They had real hopes that the North would not see the war to a successful conclusion.

Now if the question was could the Confederacy have militarily defeated the North though invasion and occupation? I'd completely agree with you. But victory by the Confederacy was surviving as a nation. They didn't need to defeat the North to do that. They just needed the North to quit. And in 1861, there is evidence that could happen.

Last edited by spifflog; 05-15-2019 at 11:31 AM.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:34 AM
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What does that have to do with the survival of the South?
I wondered if taking DC could’ve helped them not lose, and so I wondered how close they came to managing it.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:45 AM
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I wondered if taking DC could’ve helped them not lose, and so I wondered how close they came to managing it.
They never came close, but I don't think they tried all that hard either. Gettysburg is the closest, and that wasn't all that close. As you know, the vast majority of the war as fought in the South.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:51 AM
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Interesting Civil War hypotheticals:

1) No attack on Fort Sumter:

Possible results:

a) Negotiated peaceful secession of the original Confederacy (the Deep South). Union politics complicated by conflicting factors: antislavery forces now a clear majority, but remaining slave holding states can threaten to leave to join the Confederacy. War delayed until conflicts over who gets to expand into which parts of the West.

b) War begins in Virginia between pro-Union and pro-secession groups.

c) Deep south confederacy collapses while middle states make up their minds.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:54 AM
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The South didn't have military aspiration in the North, but they did aspire to take the west, and Mexico, the Caribbean, and Central America. I'm sure if the North didn't intervene, the South would have eventually started a war with the US, and the rest of its neighbors.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:13 PM
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I think the Confederacy could have defeated the United States in the same sense that Vietnam did so. The Confederacy was never in a position to force the United States to give up but they could have dragged out the war long enough that eventually the United States would have decided the continuing to fight was no longer worth the effort.

I don't think Lincoln would have ever quit like this. But if the general public had become unhappy enough with the ongoing war then someone else would have been elected President in 1864 or 1868.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:15 PM
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I do not understand how the loss of infantry would have changed the outcome of the Battle of Britain.
By "losing" the Battle of Britain I mean Britain would negotiate peace. With the loss of Norway, the Low Countries, France, British Somaliland, and half of Egypt, Churchill had to work hard to keep Britain in the war. The only major British victory was... the British invasion of Iceland? At that point Britain was practically fighting the Axis on its own - Russia and the U.S. had yet to enter the war. If Churchill had also lost a good chunk of the French forces and virtually the entire British Expeditionary Force, I think the Blitz in the fall of '40 would have turned public opinion against him. Then Viscount Halifax could negotiate peace with Germany, which is "losing" the Battle of Britain in my book.

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Old 05-15-2019, 12:16 PM
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On the world stage an inexact comparison is the US/Korea cold war. Korea doesn't want to defeat the US militarily. They just want to exist. Survival as a state is victory.
I'm not seeing that as an apt comparison. North Korea wanted more than to just survive. It wanted to take over South Korea.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:20 PM
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If it weren't for Lincoln, South Carolina would have never tried to leave the Union, so the war would never have happened in the first place.
That's probably not true. The same politicians who said they would secede if Lincoln was elected also said they would secede if Douglas was elected. They considered both men a threat to slavery.

Granted, this is hypothetical. Douglas didn't win the election so we can't say for certain that the secessionists would have followed through the same way they did when Lincoln was elected. But they did secede after Lincoln's election so I think it's reasonable to say their similar threat about Douglas was serious.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:40 PM
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Also many higher ups like Rommel wanted to sign a seperate peace agreement with the western allies and concentrate on Russia. They had sent a deal that if they would remove Hitler they would agree to many concessions such as pulling out of occupied nations. The allies wouldnt agree though so the planned coup failed.
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I dont have an exact cite but as I understand it, sometime in 43 or 44 some German resistance groups (which included high members of the German military like Rommel) had sent out some messages to the western allies looking for support if they replaced Hitler.
I'm seeing a significant amount of distance between these two posts.

First off, Rommel was probably never part of any conspiracy. The evidence is that he may have been aware that some conspiracies existed. But he never joined any of them.

Second, there's a big difference between an anti-Hitler group sending a message asking for some support (which they did) and offering terms for a post-Hitler peace treaty (which they did not). The anti-Hitler groups were not in contact with the allied governments. They were talking to Allied military intelligence (the equivalent of some CIA agents). These allied agents did send some assistance ("You want to kill Hitler? Cool, here's some explosives.") but they were not in a position to make any political agreements.

Third, most of the anti-Hitler conspiracy members were not motivated by a belated awareness that Hitler was evil and the war was wrong. They were worried that Hitler was going to lose the war and everything Germany had gained. They wanted to stop the war so they could keep everything they currently had before the allies took it all away from them.
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Old 05-15-2019, 12:49 PM
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I'm not seeing that as an apt comparison. North Korea wanted more than to just survive. It wanted to take over South Korea.
I mean North Korea now (and since the end of the war now that I think about it). Needless to say, North Korea doesn't want to, and can't defeat the US militarily, while the US would like to see regime change. Korea just needs to wait the US out. Not losing equals victory.
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Old 05-15-2019, 01:21 PM
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How close to a total war was the Civil War? Large scale, sustained conscription was rather new, taking the example from the wars that followed the French revolution. Instead of geographic depth, it gave the North a "demographic depth" to keep going after losses because the North could recruit equip and train soldiers father than the South could take them out.


Since it came down to grinding down the opponent, what shortages most hampered the Old South or the Nazis?
For the South, it ended up being 'total war', as Sherman and Sheridan took actions in 1864 to wear down the logistics and transportation systems of the South. By the end of the conflict the South was pretty much devastated (one can argue it never did recover fully). The North, on the other hand, except for a few minor invasions that didn't last long, was nearly untouched, it's industries and trade booming, and while several hundred thousand soldiers died, nearly 800,000 immigrants poured into the North during the 1861-1865 time period (source was one of Bruce Catton's books). LIke another poster mentioned, the North never came close to fighting a 'total war'; the South was finally forced to just to have a bare chance of survival.

For the South shortages of an industrial base for the first true industrial war and a lack of logistics (railroads as mentioned above); for Germany, oil was the most critical element they lacked (horses were used by the Wehrmacht throughout the war to move supplies).


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The South couldn't have won the war. They could have made the North lose, but that's not the same thing. If the North had lost, then within a generation, North America would have had no polity larger than a city, between Canada and Mexico.
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Could you flesh this out some for those of us who are a little denser than others?
I'll defer to Chronos giving his POV, but he may mean that there was a considerable Anti-War/Anti-Eastern Establishment in the Mid-West (Indiana/Ohio/Illinois) that wanted the war ended and talked about breaking away and making their own peace with the South (see Copperheads). And of course in the South, with secession an established fact, those wanting to go it alone (hello, Texas) could break away.

I do think he overstates it, though, and I also would like to hear his views


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Originally Posted by The Other Waldo Pepper View Post
What’s the closest the Confederates got to taking DC?
Probably three times; (1) Very early in the war, before Northern troops got into DC (the rail lines were cut by Pro-Confederates in Baltimore and troops had to march to the city--but that wasn't likely since Virginia had just succeeded and no Confederate troops were at hand. (2) After the First Battle of Bull Run, which ended in a rout of the Union forces, some Confederate officers (Stonewall Jackson, for one), wanted to march on Washington; the officers in command decided not too (their forces were nearly as scrambled in victory as the North's were in defeat) and besides, Jackson at that time was a not-well-renowed Brigadier who had been a military teacher not long before. (3) In July 1864 Jubal Early brought a Confederate force to the outskirts of Washington D.C., but the defenses had been strengthened considerably and two veteran divisions arrived to fend him off.

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Old 05-15-2019, 02:00 PM
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The rail lines in Baltimore weren't cut. They just didn't connect. The B&O took you south and west, the Pennsylvania took you north. Everyone had to get off the train in Baltimore and walk or take a carriage took the next station. I don't think the line was continuous until the 1930s.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:20 PM
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If it weren't for Lincoln, South Carolina would have never tried to leave the Union, so the war would never have happened in the first place.
"
I'm not sure that without Lincoln the Union would have won.

Lincoln went all out. He jailed those who disagreed with him. He nationalized the railroads. He pushed the draft and was willing to send troops to put down anti-draft riots and all that were part of the "Lincoln Dictatorship".

Most important, he refused to give up Fort Sumter and resupplied it knowing the rebels would fire on it and he could declare war.

What must have been frustrating was the months between his election in November and taking over in January when the pro southern members of the leadership were able to send weapons and supplies to the south, knowing darn well they would be seized by the confederates. Luckily the Secretary of the Navy saw this coming and ordered all Union warships to foreign ports.
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:27 PM
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The rail lines in Baltimore weren't cut. They just didn't connect. The B&O took you south and west, the Pennsylvania took you north. Everyone had to get off the train in Baltimore and walk or take a carriage took the next station. I don't think the line was continuous until the 1930s.
Fair point, but the good citizens of Baltimore first tried to prevent the troops from transferring stations (which led to some shooting and bloodshed) and the Mayor and Governor (who was pro-Union) asked Lincoln not to send any more troops via Baltimore. In the end, the North sent military forces via Annapolis, but later re-established the link via Baltimore. (This also led to Lincoln suspending habeus corpus for several jailed persons, which is still a debated topic today (but not debated here, not on topic).

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  #86  
Old 05-15-2019, 02:35 PM
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I'm not sure that without Lincoln the Union would have won.

Lincoln went all out. He jailed those who disagreed with him. He nationalized the railroads. He pushed the draft and was willing to send troops to put down anti-draft riots and all that were part of the "Lincoln Dictatorship".
To develop this point further, both Lincoln and Churchill (and Stalin) were men who would not give in, not give up, and would play every card they had to defeat their enemy. The Confederates and Nazis both had had successes from those who would compromise, who would rather not face the prospect of war and would do almost anything to avoid it. When they faced men determined to win despite what it cost, they lost their impetus.

To quote from a Science Fiction series I'm fond of, they might have said to Hitler or Jeff Davis: "Why is it that people like you think you're more ruthless than people like me?"
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Old 05-15-2019, 02:44 PM
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The Union imprisoned the state government at Fort McHenry, and placed canons on Federal Hill pointing at the city. The canons are still there. You can't get troups to Annapolis by train, and the Sky Line that was going to connect Baltimore, Annapolis, and DC was never built. I have been to all three train museums in town with a little boy whose first sentence was "I like trains."
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Old 05-15-2019, 03:28 PM
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Most important, he refused to give up Fort Sumter and resupplied it knowing the rebels would fire on it and he could declare war.
Once the Confederates fired at Fort Sumter, Lincoln didn't need to declare war. The war had already been declared by the other side.
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:08 PM
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By "losing" the Battle of Britain I mean Britain would negotiate peace. With the loss of Norway, the Low Countries, France, British Somaliland, and half of Egypt, Churchill had to work hard to keep Britain in the war. The only major British victory was... the British invasion of Iceland? At that point Britain was practically fighting the Axis on its own - Russia and the U.S. had yet to enter the war. If Churchill had also lost a good chunk of the French forces and virtually the entire British Expeditionary Force, I think the Blitz in the fall of '40 would have turned public opinion against him. Then Viscount Halifax could negotiate peace with Germany, which is "losing" the Battle of Britain in my book.

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I'm sorry but taking Dunkirk just wasn't going to happen unless you remove all the efforts to evacuate the British troops and leave them to rot on the beach. The German armies in the area were severely overextended and wearing out (the armored units in particular). The French defense was very stiff and well entrenched in the region and Dunkirk is not an easy place to assault with tanks or infantry: its basically marshy wetlands

To put this in perspective, when the Canadians attacked Dunkirk in '44 with a vastly better circumstances than the overextended German army they took heavy casualties and needed several days just to capture nearby towns. The region was put under siege for the rest of the war rather than attacking it since the casualties from an assault would not have been the worth of the region.: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_...944%E2%80%9345)
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Old 05-15-2019, 05:52 PM
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Hitler's ambition was East - Poland, Russia, Ukraine. He didn't particularly want to fight France, he definitely did not want to fight Britain, and he wasn't even thinking about the US.

However, neither France or Britain wanted a powerful Germany dominating Europe, and so treaties etc arose. One of Hitler's biggest mistakes was in believing that Britain would continue to ignore treaty obligations and not fight (as they hadn't fought for either Czechoslovakia or Poland). Even after Dunkirk, Hitler did not want to fight Britain anymore. His ideal scenario was Germany dominating Europe, and Britain dominating the developing world via Empire.

Another mistake was aligning himself with Mussolini - this led to Germany having to have soldiers in the Balkans and North Africa, fighting the British and/or bailing out the Italians.

If Hitler could have fought Russia without needing to keep troops stationed in Vichy France or Africa, and without having to keep thousands of military personnel tied up defending the Reich from the British bombers, things might have gone differently.

Germany lost the war - but it wasn't the war they wanted to have.

(Sorry if I conflate Hitler and Germany as one entity).
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Old 05-15-2019, 06:42 PM
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On the civil War, yeah usually wars back then were over in maybe a year or so or less with just a few major battles. The later Franco-Prussian war in 1874 for example, only lasted about 9 months.

So the south thought that a few early quick victories (which they had at Bull Run) and the union would give up.
You're kidding us, right?

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Old 05-15-2019, 06:52 PM
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If Hitler could have fought Russia without needing to keep troops stationed in Vichy France or Africa, and without having to keep thousands of military personnel tied up defending the Reich from the British bombers, things might have gone differently.
Yeah, this was the biggest effect from the strategic bombing -- German production was either level or increased despite the bombing, and even if one argues that it would have increased more if the bombing had not taken place, the direct damage caused by the bombing wouldn't have outpaced the double digit percentage of German production that was going to domestic air defence as a result of the bombing.
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:16 PM
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For the South, it ended up being 'total war', as Sherman and Sheridan took actions in 1864 to wear down the logistics and transportation systems of the South. By the end of the conflict the South was pretty much devastated (one can argue it never did recover fully). The North, on the other hand, except for a few minor invasions that didn't last long, was nearly untouched, it's industries and trade booming, and while several hundred thousand soldiers died, nearly 800,000 immigrants poured into the North during the 1861-1865 time period (source was one of Bruce Catton's books). LIke another poster mentioned, the North never came close to fighting a 'total war'; the South was finally forced to just to have a bare chance of survival.

For the South shortages of an industrial base for the first true industrial war and a lack of logistics (railroads as mentioned above); for Germany, oil was the most critical element they lacked (horses were used by the Wehrmacht throughout the war to move supplies)

Everyone sees that now, and it's been discussed ad nauseum by generations of historians.

But at the start of the civil war did anyone say that? Was anyone in the South (or elsewhere) like "hold everyone we'll never win this thing, the North has too much industrial capacity!"
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Old 05-15-2019, 08:52 PM
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Everyone sees that now, and it's been discussed ad nauseum by generations of historians.

But at the start of the civil war did anyone say that? Was anyone in the South (or elsewhere) like "hold everyone we'll never win this thing, the North has too much industrial capacity!"
A fair point. But also worth noting is that the South tried it's best to grab forts and arsenals to equip their army and bought large numbers of weapons (those they could get past the blockade) from England and France. So they knew quite early that they needed to develop a weapons program with very little (that they accomplished so much, i.e. ironclads, is worth noting).

As mentioned above, neither side thought the war would last very long, one big battle and it would be over. It was only when the war stretched out and larger and larger masses of troops came into service that the South realized that they were way behind the curve.
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:13 PM
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For the South, it ended up being 'total war', as Sherman and Sheridan took actions in 1864 to wear down the logistics and transportation systems of the South. By the end of the conflict the South was pretty much devastated (one can argue it never did recover fully). The North, on the other hand, except for a few minor invasions that didn't last long, was nearly untouched, it's industries and trade booming, and while several hundred thousand soldiers died, nearly 800,000 immigrants poured into the North during the 1861-1865 time period (source was one of Bruce Catton's books). LIke another poster mentioned, the North never came close to fighting a 'total war'; the South was finally forced to just to have a bare chance of survival.

For the South shortages of an industrial base for the first true industrial war and a lack of logistics (railroads as mentioned above); for Germany, oil was the most critical element they lacked (horses were used by the Wehrmacht throughout the war to move supplies)

Everyone sees that now, and it's been discussed ad nauseum by generations of historians.

But at the start of the civil war did anyone say that? Was anyone in the South (or elsewhere) like "hold everyone we'll never win this thing, the North has too much industrial capacity!"
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Old 05-15-2019, 09:19 PM
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Everyone sees that now, and it's been discussed ad nauseum by generations of historians.

But at the start of the civil war did anyone say that? Was anyone in the South (or elsewhere) like "hold everyone we'll never win this thing, the North has too much industrial capacity!"
Analysis of wars is highly subject to hindsight bias, I agree. Which I think is just compounded by putting together two very different conflicts like WWII and the US Civil War. Hardly anything in common except both being wars, and it being the general cultural norm in the 'Union'/US to view the Union/US in both as having had the morally superior position. Which is not to debate whether that's true, I personally believe it generally is more true than not. But it's not of much significance in understanding the outlook of the quite different 'bad guys' in those two cases.

As has been mentioned and is obvious, the bar for success for Nazi Germany was far higher than for the Confederacy. The former sought to conquer other nation states on a vast scale, with no apparent limit depending on the success as it went along, in the event eventually lining up a coalition of enemies far beyond its original opponents of 1939. The Confederates had a far more limited and well defined war aim: to be allowed to withdraw from an originally voluntary political union. There was every possibility the Union would at some point decide the fight was no longer worth it. Saying that Union industrial superiority made Confederate success impossible is like saying the far greater total size of the British economy meant it would inevitably totally defeat the US in the War of 1812 (which wouldn't have happened because by the same logic Britain would have put down the colonial uprising in the 1770's as it would have been known). No, because both wars were eventually viewed in Britain as not worth pursuing to total victory. That was an altogether plausible outcome of the US Civil War also. Not that it was impossible WWII might have ended that way too, but Nazi Germany had proven itself a far greater threat to the basic political order and way of life in the opposing countries than the Confederacy ever did wrt the Union. Two basically different situations.

Last edited by Corry El; 05-15-2019 at 09:20 PM.
  #97  
Old 05-15-2019, 09:54 PM
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Everyone sees that now, and it's been discussed ad nauseum by generations of historians.

But at the start of the civil war did anyone say that? Was anyone in the South (or elsewhere) like "hold everyone we'll never win this thing, the North has too much industrial capacity!"
Arguably, Lincoln and Scott were thinking that way - that's why Scott developed the Anaconda plan, which didn't rely on set-piece battles, but on incremental destruction of the South's ability to continue to operate as a nation.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:15 PM
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Saying that Union industrial superiority made Confederate success impossible is like saying the far greater total size of the British economy meant it would inevitably totally defeat the US in the War of 1812 (which wouldn't have happened because by the same logic Britain would have put down the colonial uprising in the 1770's as it would have been known). No, because both wars were eventually viewed in Britain as not worth pursuing to total victory. That was an altogether plausible outcome of the US Civil War also.
I still see it only as just a little bit plausible, a very underwhelming point because it ignores context. Historians in Britain often see the War of 1812 as a minor theater of the Napoleonic Wars. The British were then more worried in defeating the Corsican General that was hell bent into ending their own empire than worrying more about Mr. Madison's War.

And again, the french in the 1770's and other enemies of Britain gave decisive help to the American revolution.

https://www.battlefields.org/learn/a...can-revolution
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When 70-year-old Benjamin Franklin boarded the Continental sloop-of-war Reprisal in Philadelphia on October 26, 1776, for a month-long voyage to France, Gen. George Washington’s Continental Army was losing the American Revolutionary War.

The hope and excitement spawned by the Declaration of Independence, announced just four months earlier, with Franklin among the signers, had been replaced by the dread of impending defeat in the face of the overwhelming military power of the British army.

Franklin knew his mission was straightforward, if not simple. He would use his intellect, charm, wit, and experience to convince France to join the war on the side of the fledgling United States of America. Franklin’s popularity, persuasive powers, and a key American battlefield victory were crucial factors that led France to join the war in 1778.
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When the Continental Army, commanded by Gen. Horatio Gates, defeated the British at the Battles of Saratoga on Sept. 19 and Oct. 7, 1777, it is estimated that as many as nine out of 10 American soldiers carried French arms, and virtually all had French gunpowder. French field guns also played a critical role in a decisive triumph that forced the historic surrender of British Gen. John Burgoyne and his entire army.

Last edited by GIGObuster; 05-15-2019 at 11:15 PM.
  #99  
Old 05-15-2019, 11:56 PM
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However, neither France or Britain wanted a powerful Germany dominating Europe, and so treaties etc arose. One of Hitler's biggest mistakes was in believing that Britain would continue to ignore treaty obligations and not fight (as they hadn't fought for either Czechoslovakia or Poland).
Britain didn't have any treaty obligation with Czechoslovakia. You might argue that they had some kind of moral obligation but you could argue that the United States or Sweden or Brazil had a moral obligation as well. None of them fought for Czechoslovakia either; why single out Britain?

France did have a treaty with Czechoslovakia. But they announced that they would not honor the treaty to fight alongside Czechoslovakia if it was attacked unless Britain also declared war. So you can certainly say the French were dicks about the situation but Britain was just trying to broker the best deal that Czechoslovakia was going to get out of the situation. And it had no obligation to even do that, let alone any more.

As for Poland, Britain did sign a treaty with them. And when Poland was attacked by Germany, Britain declared war on Germany. Which looks to me like they stood by the treaty.
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Old 05-15-2019, 11:59 PM
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On the civil War, yeah usually wars back then were over in maybe a year or so or less with just a few major battles. The later Franco-Prussian war in 1874 for example, only lasted about 9 months.

So the south thought that a few early quick victories (which they had at Bull Run) and the union would give up.
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You're kidding us, right?

And it would just be nitpicking to point out the Franco-Prussian War was fought in 1870 to 1871 and only lasted seven months.
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