Discussion Global politics

MikeyB

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
Would European intervention have likely devolved into a seven years war style world war? Or were all of the major players pro Confederacy? I guess Russia is the one major pro Union country. But if England and France were on the same side here, would intervention have sparked a global fight?
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Would European intervention have likely devolved into a seven years war style world war? Or were all of the major players pro Confederacy? I guess Russia is the one major pro Union country. But if England and France were on the same side here, would intervention have sparked a global fight?
There was no pro Confedrate or pro Union country. The Union and the Confedracy could buy all the weaponry they wanted on a cash and carry basis at least early I'm the war. Post Gettysburg it was more difficult for the Confedracy to obtain sophisticated war ships but they could still obtain them but to little to late such has the CSS Stonewall from France that ended up in Spanish Cuba at the end of the war.
Russia at the time was at best a second tier power. Yes Russian naval ships docked in San Francisco, Norfolk and NYC in 1863 but they were hiding from the British in case of a war they were not used to protect US ports or intercept Confedrate blockade runners.
Russia was not a major trade partner of the US at the time and well after.
There were pro Confedrate politicans in high places but at the end of the day they didn't help the Confedracy.
The winning side in a civil war gets lots of foreign help usually direct foreign military intervention but the Confedracy didn't get it so they lost.
Leftyhunter
 

MikeyB

Sergeant
Joined
Sep 13, 2018
If for whatever reason someone significant did decide to militarily ally w/ the Confederacy, was the BoP such that it would have ignited a powder keg? Like the Revolution or French and Indian War
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Would European intervention have likely devolved into a seven years war style world war? Or were all of the major players pro Confederacy? I guess Russia is the one major pro Union country. But if England and France were on the same side here, would intervention have sparked a global fight?
There was no pro Confedrate or pro Union country. The Union and the Confedracy could buy all the weaponry they wanted on a cash and carry basis at least early I'm the war. Post Gettysburg it was more difficult for the Confedracy to obtain sophisticated war ships but they could still obtain them but to little to late such has the CSS Stonewall from France that ended up in Spanish Cuba at the end of the war.
Russia at the time was at best a second tier power. Yes Russian naval ships docked in San Francisco, Norfolk and NYC in 1863 but they were hiding from the British in case of a war they were not used to protect US ports or intercept Confedrate blockade runners.
Russia was not a major trade partner of the US at the time and well after.
There were pro Confedrate politicans in high places but at the end of the day they didn't help the Confedracy.
The winning side in a civil war gets lots of foreign help usually direct foreign military intervention but the Confedracy
If for whatever reason someone significant did decide to militarily ally w/ the Confederacy, was the BoP such that it would have ignited a powder keg? Like the Revolution or French and Indian War
There was no reason for any nation to get militarily involved in the ACW. Both Great Britain and France traded more with the Union especially in grain since there was a serious drought in the Ukraine. Cotton could and was being supplied from Egypt and British India. France was developing cotton fields in Senegal.
It is true the issue of diplomatic relations with the Confedracy was seriously discussed in the UK but it never happened and it wasn't widely supported by the British public. The British and French recently concluded the Crimean War which they won but it left a distaste for jumping into a new war.
Practically every major civil war has foreign involvement but nations don't militarily intervene unless there is a precieved value or interest in doing so. No such reason was presiasive to do so in the matter of the ACW.
Leftyhunter
 

jackt62

Captain
Joined
Jul 28, 2015
Location
New York City
I have not read anything to suggest that European intervention in the CW would have sparked a global type conflict. The last major "world" conflict had been the Napoleonic wars in the early 19th century. But with the defeat of Napoleon, the major European powers were able to negotiate peaceable arrangements at the Congress of Vienna, that prevented that sort of global warfare and that held remarkably well until WWI. (Notwithstanding the fact that there continued to be local wars and conflicts during that time.) So intervention by one or more countries in the American CW did not pose existential threats to the interests of other European nations such as Russia, and would not have interfered in the territorial arrangements that had been agreed on after the Napoleonic conflict.
 

Fairfield

Sergeant Major
Member of the Month
Joined
Dec 5, 2019
There was no pro Confederate or pro Union country.
Technically speaking, that's incorrect. The tiny republic of San Marino was decidedly pro-Union and even granted citizenship to Lincoln.

The Russians probably preferred the Union--but never followed up on it. The Papal States seem to have preferred CSA but were put off when Davis refused to free the slaves (even gradually). I'm with @jackt62 on this: it just doesn't look like Europe had any practical reason to become involved.
 

JeffBrooks

Sergeant Major
Joined
Aug 20, 2009
Location
Manor, TX
Assuming that the Trent Affair, or some similar incident, leads to war between the United States and Britain, it's pretty obvious that Britain would recognize the Confederacy. Why would this, in turn, lead to war between Britain and France? Napoleon III was pretty well-disposed to the South and, given its efforts to gain de facto control of Mexico, it was actually in France's interest for the Union to be split apart.

Why would it lead to war between Britain and Russia? Russia was still licking its wounds from the Crimean War and had no particular geopolitical interest in what was going on in North America. Far too much is made of the goodwill visit to the United States by Russian warships. Russia cared a lot more about what was going on in China than what was going on in North America.

Spain? Prussia? Austria? What would be the point?
 

Zack

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
Since the question is more “if England and France had intervened would the conflict have spiraled” as opposed to “would they get involved” I’m going to offer a different opinion than the above and say yes a wider conflict was possible.

Europe was divided in the 1860s. England and France, even after victory in Crimea, were still wary of Russia and vice-versa.

Tension between the powers did seem like it might spill over into war in 1863. When the Poles revolted against Russia in January of that year, England and France voiced their support for the Poles while Prussia signed a convention with Russia to put down the Polish Revolt.

Napoleon III, with his Polish Minister of State, argued that the Congress of Vienna meant the Polish question was a European question that all nations must weigh in on. Russia ignored these messages.

Tensions were also escalated by French designs in Mexico. This is in fact part of what motivated Russian support for the North. A united America would enforce the Monroe Doctrine and block France from its imperial ambitions, thereby preserving the balance of power in Europe.

The Russian-Northern relationship was certainly bizarre but it was very real.
12368262-44EA-477B-B99E-65D6406C6521.jpeg

If the Polish insurrection could bring Europe to the brink of war (or, at least, make it seem close enough to the brink for Russia to redeploy its navy accordingly) I see no reason why military interference in the American Civil War wouldn’t risk a larger conflict. Though farther removed than Poland, the imperialist consequences of Anglo-French intervention in the Americas could give Russia cause to also step in.

Furthermore, it is possible a war over the Polish question could have also wound up including the Civil War.

This is all purely speculative as war obviously did not break out, but tension was high in 1863 and I see no reason why one false step couldn’t have sparked a wider conflict. Or maybe it’s just fun to play devil’s advocate.

https://www.history.navy.mil/resear...the-russian-navy-visits-theunited-states.html
 

Zack

Sergeant
Joined
Aug 20, 2017
Location
Los Angeles, California
July 10, 1861 - Prince Gortchakov, Russian Minister for Foreign Affairs, in a letter to Edouard de Stoeckl, Minister Plenipotentiary to the United States:

“I do not wish here to approach any of the questions which divide the United States. We are not called upon to express ourselves in this contest. The preceding considerations have no other object than to attest the lively solicitude of the Emperor, in presence of the dangers which menace the American Union, and the sincere wished which His Majesty entertains for the maintenance of that great work, so laboriously raised, which appeared so rich in its future.

It is in this sense, sir, that I desire you to express yourself, as well to the members of the general government as to influential persons whom you may meet, giving them the assurance that in every event the American nation may count upon the most cordial sympathy on the part of our August master, during the serious crisis which it is passing through at present.”

Qualified support to be sure, but support nonetheless.

Same source as above
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Would European intervention have likely devolved into a seven years war style world war? Or were all of the major players pro Confederacy? I guess Russia is the one major pro Union country. But if England and France were on the same side here, would intervention have sparked a global fight?
There was no pro Confedrate or pro Union country. The Union and the Confedracy could buy all the weaponry they wanted on a cash and carry basis at least early I'm the war. Post Gettysburg it was more difficult for the Confedracy to obtain sophisticated war ships but they could still obtain them but to little to late such has the CSS Stonewall from France that ended up in Spanish Cuba at the end of the war.
Russia at the time was at best a second tier power. Yes Russian naval ships docked in San Francisco, Norfolk and NYC in 1863 but they were hiding from the British in case of a war they were not used to protect US ports or intercept Confedrate blockade runners.
Russia was not a major trade partner of the US at the time and well after.
There were pro Confedrate politicans in high places but at the end of the day they didn't help the Confedracy.
The winning side in a civil war gets lots of foreign help usually direct foreign military intervention but the Confedracy
If for whatever reason someone significant did decide to militarily ally w/ the Confederacy, was the BoP such that it would have ignited a powder keg? Like the Revolution or French and Indian War
There was no reason for any nation to get militarily involved in the ACW. Both Great Britain and France traded more with the Union especially in grain since there was a serious drought in the Ukraine. Cotton could and was being supplied from Egypt and British India. France was developing cotton fields in Senegal.
It is true the issue of diplomatic relations with the Confedracy was seriously discussed in the UK but it never happened and it wasn't widely supported by the British public. The British and French recently concluded the Crimean War which they won but it left a distaste for jumping into a new war.
Practically every major civil war has foreign involvement but nations don't militarily intervene unless there is a precieved value or interest in doing so. No such reason was
Technically speaking, that's incorrect. The tiny republic of San Marino was decidedly pro-Union and even granted citizenship to Lincoln.

The Russians probably preferred the Union--but never followed up on it. The Papal States seem to have preferred CSA but were put off when Davis refused to free the slaves (even gradually). I'm with @jackt62 on this: it just doesn't look like Europe had any practical reason to become involved.
That's pretty much what I said on the beginning. There were only two nations that would be considered super powers in the Mid 19th Century and that was the UK and France neither of which were all that eager to get involved in a military conflict in North America although there was some tension after the Trent Affair. There were second tier powers such has Portugal,Spain, The Netherlands, Russia,the Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Empire but they weren't concerned all that affected by the ACW and we're not going to militarily intervene one way or the other.
The Confedracy couldn't be make a valid argument why any nation should risk war with the US a second rate power to assist the Confedracy.
Leftyhunter
 

thomas aagaard

1st Lieutenant
Joined
Nov 19, 2013
Location
Denmark
If the Polish insurrection could bring Europe to the brink of war
Also by late 1863 the Sleswig-holstein question became a focus point again with War between Denmark and Austria/Prussia starting in February 1864.
At different times Sweden/Norway, UK, France and Russia all where willing to get involved militarily on the Danish side if one of the other major powers would do so too.
(the Swedish king had actually promised Denmark an alliance, if they kicked Holstein out of "The Danish Whole-state"... but when they did so, the Swedish parliament refused to honor the promise)

And the British government faced a vote of no confidence over the issue... that they only narrowly survived.

So there where plenty of issues that could cause another major European war during this period.
 

leftyhunter

Brev. Brig. Gen'l
Joined
May 27, 2011
Location
los angeles ca
Would European intervention have likely devolved into a seven years war style world war? Or were all of the major players pro Confederacy? I guess Russia is the one major pro Union country. But if England and France were on the same side here, would intervention have sparked a global fight?
There was no pro Confedrate or pro Union country. The Union and the Confedracy could buy all the weaponry they wanted on a cash and carry basis at least early I'm the war. Post Gettysburg it was more difficult for the Confedracy to obtain sophisticated war ships but they could still obtain them but to little to late such has the CSS Stonewall from France that ended up in Spanish Cuba at the end of the war.
Russia at the time was at best a second tier power. Yes Russian naval ships docked in San Francisco, Norfolk and NYC in 1863 but they were hiding from the British in case of a war they were not used to protect US ports or intercept Confedrate blockade runners.
Russia was not a major trade partner of the US at the time and well after.
There were pro Confedrate politicans in high places but at the end of the day they didn't help the Confedracy.
The winning side in a civil war gets lots of foreign help usually direct foreign military intervention but the Confedracy
If for whatever reason someone significant did decide to militarily ally w/ the Confederacy, was the BoP such that it would have ignited a powder keg? Like the Revolution or French and Indian War
There was no reason for any nation to get militarily involved in the ACW. Both Great Britain and France traded more with the Union especially in grain since there was a serious drought in the Ukraine. Cotton could and was being supplied from Egypt and British India. France was developing cotton fields in Senegal.
It is true the issue of diplomatic relations with the Confedracy was seriously discussed in the UK but it never happened and it wasn't widely supported by the British public. The British and French recently concluded the Crimean War which they won but it left a distaste for jumping into a new war.
Practically every major civil war has foreign involvement but nations don't militarily intervene unless there is a precieved value or interest in doing so. No such reason was
Technically speaking, that's incorrect. The tiny republic of San Marino was decidedly pro-Union and even granted citizenship to Lincoln.

The Russians probably preferred the Union--but never followed up on it. The Papal States seem to have preferred CSA but were put off when Davis refused to free the slaves (even gradually). I'm with @jackt62 on this: it just doesn't look like Europe had any practical reason to become involved.
That's pretty much what I said on the beginning. There were only two nations that would be considered super powers in the Mid 19th Century and that was the UK and France neither of which were all that eager to get involved in a military conflict in North America although there was some tension after the Trent Affair. There were second tier powers such has Portugal,Spain, The Netherlands, Russia,the Austrian Empire and the Ottoman Empire but they weren't concerned all that affected by the ACW and we're not going to militarily intervene one way or the other.
The Confedracy couldn't be make a valid argument why any nation should risk war with the US a second rate power to assist the Confedracy.
Leftyhunter
Assuming that the Trent Affair, or some similar incident, leads to war between the United States and Britain, it's pretty obvious that Britain would recognize the Confederacy. Why would this, in turn, lead to war between Britain and France? Napoleon III was pretty well-disposed to the South and, given its efforts to gain de facto control of Mexico, it was actually in France's interest for the Union to be split apart.

Why would it lead to war between Britain and Russia? Russia was still licking its wounds from the Crimean War and had no particular geopolitical interest in what was going on in North America. Far too much is made of the goodwill visit to the United States by Russian warships. Russia cared a lot more about what was going on in China than what was going on in North America.

Spain? Prussia? Austria? What would be the point?
We have had prior threads on the long term visit of Russian ships to the US. It is far more likely that they were just seeking refuge in case of a war over the Polish question vs seeking good will from the US. The Russian ships stayed in the US for quite a while and yes the sailor and officers got treated to many parties and danced with lots of pretty girls. All well and good but the Russian Navy stayed clear of the conflict of the ACW. The Polish question came out in favor of Russia which rulled Poland until about 1918 then of course regained Poland for a while.
Leftyhunter
 
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