From: London, Surrey, United Kingdom
There was more than a risk of war between the two countries in the early 19th Century. Britain and the US actually went to war in 1812.
Right. I suppose you're going to argue that the fact that the two countries had no major land armies in North America prior to that is proof that same could happen in this case. This ignores the fact that Britain was fighting a major war in Europe at the time and that the war which resulted was not decided on the Canadian frontier anyway.
I do not have the two states charging ‘merrily’ off to war. I have the US going to war during a turbulent decade of social, economic and political crisis. The United States suffered greatly during the Great Depression of the 1930s. This time of crisis could have led to the election of a radical President with a visionary idea: the re-unification of an industrial North with an oil rich South.
Physically controlling more oil is unlikely to make much difference. The Union has masses of natural resources- just that by the vagaries of economics, they're unable to exploit them properly. What's more, the Union will never go for an obviously costly and bloody war with a country with which they have good relations- not for all the natural resources in the world. Why not just invade Venezuala? Far easier.
An alternative would be to imagine some Northern state or other- one which is perhaps not really in sync with the rest of the country politically- decides that the Federal Government's mismanagement of the Depression has gone too far and decides to secede. At this point the small Union army moves into to crush the session, and the government starts bringing up old memories with slogans like "Don't let it happen again". Naturally, this offends the Confederacy- which proceeds to offer this errant state membership. When it accepts, the Union declares war.
I think that's more feasible than the 'Blood for oil' storyline you had going. Especially when it comes to arranging for the two countries to be much less militarised.
I am assuming that the peace treaty that ended the Civil War also allowed the Confederacy to expand to the Pacific Ocean. The territories of Oklahoma, New Mexico and Arizona would join the CSA. California would also be partitioned between the North and the South.
I don't think the Confederacy was interested in acquiring California. They didn't want aggrandisment- they just wanted to be left alone. The rest is all reasonable enough- this is all largely empty space which can be filled with southern settlers.
I am also supposing that the CSA would have industrialized after the Civil War.
Up to a point, but their population as of 1930 was a smaller fraction of the North's than it had been in 1860.
Moreover, the development of the petrochemical industry would have given the CSA economy a boost.
You keep talking about oil as though it's the most important thing in the world. Does Saudi Arabia have comparable wealth to western nations? No- because oil doesn't make that much of a difference. Especially since as of 1930 it's only been a significant commodity for the past 20 years. Before that, coal was where it was at.
The US military was far from fully mechanized in the early 1930s. Many of the units in the scenario would be ‘leg’ infantry.
Right. Take a look at what the US Army looked like in 1861. Wasn't much. By year three of the war it's going to be totally unrecognisable.
With improved communications, concrete fortifications, machine guns and superior morale the CSA may have been able to survive in the 1930s. You have to remember that the power of the ‘defensive’ was still very strong in the 1930s. The hypothetical second civil war would have had more in common with the Spanish Civil War than with the Second World War.
Actually I seriously doubt it. While the logistical problems of the 1860s have faded away due to industrialisation and population growth, the problems of the First World War- that the front was so packed with troops that there was no room for manoeuvre- is totally non-existant in North America. The gap between the Appalachians and the sea alone is as wide as the gap from the Channel to Verdun.
Your point about external intervention is an important one. A CSA in the 1930s – as apposed to the 1860s - would have been a recognized sovereign state. Some members of the international community (including Britain) may have come to its aid – directly or indirectly.
Well, you have to decide what's happened in the rest of the world in the intervening time. Naturally, if things are as they were, Britain etc. is going to be disinclined to get too distracted. She has problems of her own- economic and international. The Confederacy can probably buy arms. More than that is less likely.
At the very least the US economy may have been subjected to international sanctions – including a crippling oil embargo.
I dunno. See the quick and effective action taken by the League of Nations over Abyssinia. Ultimately, the international community didn't have the will to stop countries doing as they pleased at this point.
During the original Civil War the North was able to isolate the South from the rest of the world with a naval blockade. In the 1930s a naval blockade of a sovereign country would have been much more difficult to enforce.
The naval blockade wouldn't be a problem, really. As you say, it's a matter of whether or not the South can import materials via Mexico.