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|French Trafalgar, British Waterloo|
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The First Global War
The war that broke out in the spring of 1858 was one of the most destructive conflicts the world had ever faced up to that date. The slaughter that took place stunned the world: the armies of the major powers (now using rifled artillery and "rifled" muskets) had managed to mobilize armies of great size whose soldiers were spurred on by nationalism and imperialism. The commanders, trained in the old school of "decisive battle", couldn't understand why the battle they had just waged failed to give any immediate results, even though they knew that, if the forces in one sector retreated, there were still thousands of young men ready to go into battle to replace the retreaters.The war, sometimes considered a conglomeration of three separate conflicts (the Second Great European War, the War of Confederate Independence and the Second Latin America War) ultimately covered all continents save for Oceania, and would be considered to have been one of the most destructive wars since the Thirty Years War that rocked Europe in the 17th century. By the time it was over, over 15 million casualties were reported, of which nearly 7.5 millions were deaths. The Old Order had been shaken up to the point that it was unrecognizable, and new nations stood where old ones fell.
The Fronts of the War
In Europe, the major alliances composed a complex web around the continent. The Marseilles Pact, composed of France, Italy, Russia, as well as some smaller nations (mainly the Confederation of the Rhine, Denmark-Norway and Poland) was faced against the United Coalition, made up of the United Kingdom, Prussia, Austria-Hungary, the Ottoman Empire and Spain. At first glance, Prussia, France, Russia and Britain were the top military powers in Europe; Italy, Poland, Ottoman Turkey and Spain were considered second tier powers, and the small nations of Greece, Denmark-Norway, the Netherlands and Poland were the lower rung in the ladder. The war changed every assumption, as the major powers got bogged down in massive slogging battles, with supply routes being fractured and generals unable to control the battles, while the smaller powers made better progress and managed to achieve results that stunned the major powers.The majority of the fighting took place in Western Europe, initially in the Confederation of the Rhine and the Netherlands, and ultimately into the French Empire itself, but not before both Prussia and Britain were nearly defeated in 1860. Minor fronts in Europe included Northern Europe, where Sweden took back the territory lost to Russia in the Prussian Expansion War; Southern Europe, where the conflict only concerned France on one side, and Spain and Portugal on the other; the Adriatic, where Austria-Hungary tried to take over the Croatian coast in order to have access to the sea; Eastern Europe, where Prussia and Austria-Hungary fought against Russia and Poland; and the Black Sea, where Ottoman Turkey battled against Russia.
The end result was the defeat of the Marseilles Pact, and the incorporation of the Confederation of the Rhine into Prussia, which was reformed as the German Empire; the creation of the Baltic Confederation, Finland and Ukraine from Russian territory, as well as Flanders and Wallonia from French territory, besides border changes for nearly every nation involved.The North American stage was fought between the United States of America and the Confederate States of America, and, later in the war, Mexico and the Pacific Republic, which entered on the side of Confederacy, forcing the United States to sue for peace and giving the CSA its independence from the North. The war was originally called the American Civil War until after the Confederacy won, when it was renamed the War of Confederate Independence.
The South American phase of the war was considered little more than a sideshow to the main conflict, but still resulted in enormous casualties. Argentina, Venezuela and Peru fought the alliance of Chile, Brazil, Bolivia and Colombia. Despite large odds, Argentina, Venezuela and Peru emerged from the four year war triumphant, annexing large swaths of enemy territory.
As the war devastated Europe, it eventually spread to the colonies of the Europeans. The African campaigns, while not as large as in Europe, caused even more casualties, due to disease and rudimentary medical techniques. The war also lasted nearly four months longer than the war in Europe, mostly due to difficulty in communications, but the end results mirrored that in Europe: France lost several colonies to Britain, Spain and Portugal, while Italy lost Tunisia to the Ottoman Empire.
The fight in Asia mostly centered around the French Indian territory, where many of the battles were the bloodiest of the war, resulting in France losing all Indian territory by 1861. Indian units also served in Africa and Europe with great distinction, and achieved sometimes greater tasks in comparison to native born European officers who didn't achieve the expected results. The braveness and tenacity of the Indian units under British command, as well as other units, such as the French Islamic brigades and the Native-Americans and former black slaves who fought on both sides of the War of Confederate Independence, greatly damaged the perceived notion that the whites were a superior race, though not completely destroying the beliefs.
Aftermath of the War
The war laid waste to much of Europe and the Americas: several nations had their economies ruined, and the results threw many nations into political turmoil after war finally ended with the Treaty of Potsdam in 1862.
France was reeling from the defeat, riots and strikes that plagued the nation in the months following the war, when the Emperor, young Philip Joseph, died in 1862 of hemophilia. The Regent Council appointed to administer the throne tried to find someone to take his place, and settled on the nephew of Emperor Napoleon I, Prince Charles who became Napoleon III, who was the leader of the Regent council and President of the Imperial Parliament. France would be plunged into a five year long depression and reorganization stage, one of the most painful times in Imperial history. Denmark-Norway, Poland, the United States and Russia did not do much better, being humiliated in battle and forced to give up large portions of land, also suffering the effects of inflation, rebuilding, and a near civil war sparked by strikes and riots in many cities.
Italy would, however, become the nation most affected by the defeat. The King, Victor Emmanuel I, was forced to flee Rome in order to save his life, and the Italian nation collapsed: the three-sided Italian Civil War began in earnest, and would devastate the nation even more, as France, Britain, Austria-Hungary and Germany sent arms to the sides they supported, dragging the war on for over five years. In the end, the German-supported Bourbon forces emerged triumphant over the French-supported Savoyans and the British-supported Republicans. The Italian Kingdom was reformed by the Constitution of 1868, with an obvious pro-German bent, and Bourbon King Francis I was placed on the throne.
The Falling Out
The United Coalition, having won the war, did not suffer as much as the Marseilles Pact (which was disbanded in 1863), but Germany was faced with the daunting challenge of rebuilding the war-torn Rhineland area. They were helped, at first, by British loans, but, after the UK supported Russian intervention in Poland to put down a anti-royalist coup in 1867 (which Germany had secretly supported) and the Italian Civil War debacle, the relation between both nations fell through, and soon they turned to the Ottoman Empire to receive those loans, rapidly turning Ottoman Turkey into Eurasia's financial center.Under the new Chancellor, Otto von Bismark, Germany made rapid progress, and within 10 years, had rebuilt the destroyed areas. An attempt at rapprochement with the United Kingdom was coolly received, so Bismark, hoping to rebuild the nation before the next war came, tried to secure new alliances. This was the rationale behind the intervention in the Italian Civil War and Poland, and it also was the reason behind the discussions with the Ottoman Empire, Spain and Austria-Hungary to form a new alliance. Bismark knew that it would be impossible to prevent an alliance between Russia and France due to their joining deep-seated hatred of their enemies, so he decided to try to gain as many allies as possible so as to surround Germany's most likely enemies.
However, France was virtually isolated diplomatically. With the collapse of the Marseilles Pact, France had to try to find new allies. The only major nation France could count on was Russia, which was bloodied, but managed to avoid major political upheaval.
The Overturning of the American Status Quo
With the defeat of the United States, President James Buchanan (re-elected in 1860 after the oppositor Liberal Party agreed to form a coalition) was unceremoniously dumped out of the White House in 1864 for his mishandling of the war and the Confederate victories of the last two years of the war. He was replaced with Illinois Senator Abraham Lincoln of the Liberal Party, in one of the most lopsided election results ever: Lincoln received over 65% of the popular vote and all but two electoral votes of the now much smaller United States.
The Confederacy, now independent, had to rebuild the northern part of the nation, which had been nearly destroyed by the war. Loans from Britain, especially after the falling out with Germany, helped greatly, and soon the Confederacy was able to begin building new factories and infrastructure, especially railroads, although this was handled by the states themselves, with no interference from the Federal Government. In return for the loans, the Confederacy agreed to free the Black slaves: the process known as The Liberation was started by President Alexander H. Stephens, elected in 1863. In order to make sure the Liberation went forward, he proposed that slaves would be freed but would not get the vote, being classified as "residents" in the CSA. After much haggling, the CS Congress finally approved. Most of the large plantation owners (also congressmen) were opposed to the situation, but when they announced their intention to reject the measure, the British ambassador threatened to cut off the loans and remove the preferred status they gave the Confederacy after they officially recognized the nation. With that threat, the last remaining resistance to the abolition of slavery was removed. However, true freedom for the former slaves was still many years away.
South America had been devastated by the war, with both the victors and the losers exhausted. Since the rest of the world was caught in the massive Global War, South America was considered a sideshow, and so the major alliances didn't send much resources, and often to both sides if they did. The Argentinian Alliance was able to recover quicker due to the indemnities paid to them by Brazil and the Central American Republic, but, due to corruption and ill advised spending, the entire continent was plunged into a massive depression that lasted over six years after the indemnities were paid in 1867.
Rebuilding the World
Napoleon III began the process of rebuilding France and the much reduced Empire with the New Imperial Plan, so that loans were provided to the business that needed it, especially in the Alsace-Lorraine region and the Pyrenees. The plan also included planned the expansion of the railway system and the construction of new factories, mines and armories to prepare for the next war. The idea, besides rebuilding a shattered nation and preparing to confront the next enemy, was to solidify the Emperor's reign, as he saw it as weakened due to the defeat in the First Global War, so efforts had to be made to show that he was trying to reform the military and the economy to bring it in lines with a modern nation.
Surprise in Eastern Europe
In a stunning move, long time enemies Russia and the Ottoman Empire signed a non-aggression pact in 1867: Russia dropped its claims to the Dardanelles, Turkey would not oppose Russian expansion into the Caucasus Mountains, and both nations granted favored trading status to the other. Germany, nervous of losing its ally Turkey, also signed a treaty with Russia, granting each other favored trade status in 1869. Austria-Hungary, nervous over this new agreement, signed a "Treaty of Understanding" with France and Italy. New alliances were already beginning to form, which made many worry that a new war would break out within years. The treaties between Turkey and Russia helped re-establish their economies much faster, with Russian goods sailing through the Dardanelles at a lower price than any other nation, and Turkish resources funding new developments in Russia, which were in turn reinvested back into Turkey, meaning that the two were growing increasingly dependent on the other.
The Creation of Canada and AssiniboiaNorth America went through a major change in 1864, as the British Parliament approved the Canada Act, granting Canada full independence. Led by their first Prime Minister, John A. Macdonald, Canada began a program to expand the country, and within ten years, industrial production had tripled, and agriculture, mining, ship building and forestry production had doubled. In 1871, Prime Minister Macdonald announced that Canada would purchase all of the Hudson Bay Company's land in the west, known as Assiniboia. However, the US did not wish to see Canada stretch from Coast to coast, so they decided to support Louis Riel, the Metis leader, who decried the "annexation" as a violation of Assiniboia's inhabitants' rights. Under intense pressure, Macdonald was forced to hold a referendum to decide the fate of Assiniboia: over 75% of those polled, which includied the Metis and Native Americans, voted to create their own nation. Although Macdonald and English Canada was prepared to declare war and take over the land by force, American and French Canadian pressure forced them to back down. Macdonald was defeated in the next election, while Assiniboia, with its capital in Winnipeg, became independent in 1874: its first President was Louis Riel, who would lead the nation until his resignation in 1891. Both nations grew rapidly with immigration, as the United States "encouraged" the Indians living in the Dakota Territories to move to Assiniboia, which, under Louis Riel and the Union Party of Assiniboia, welcomed them. Hundreds of thousands of European and American immigrants also found their way to Assiniboia and settled in many of the fertile plains of Manitoba and Saskatchewan, turning Assiniboia into the "Bread Basket of North America" by 1889. Canada became an industrial powerhouse, as the resources of northern Ontario and Quebec fueled the factories in Toronto, Montreal, and Halifax, which turned out products ranging from locomotives to farm equipment, ships and rifles. Unfortunately, the tensions between French Quebec and English Ontario, masterfully held in check by MacDonald, were beginning to boil over, as the Ontarians saw the Québécois as the reason Assiniboia became independent, while the French saw the English as land hungry fanatics who wished to destroy Quebec's power in the Government, which at the moment was roughly equal between the English and French.
Formation of Alyeska
For many years, the Russian colony of Alyseka was a drain of resources, sparsely populated, and was mostly seen as a fur-trading venture much like Rupert's Land, controlled by the British owned Hudson's Bay Company. The colony was slowly expanded in the unclaimed land of the Yukon and Northern Columbia Territory, and a final border was set in the 1840s by the British and Russians. Although few settlers went to Alyseka, the Inuit and other Native American tribes in the area eventually came to rely on Russian military and civilian help as disease quickly spread through the isolated tribes. After the Second Global War, the discovery of gold in the Klondike region held by Russia sparked a migration of settlers, and the cash-strapped Russian Empire saw this as a potentially lucrative source of money in their cash strapped treasury. A 10% tax on gold found, as well as high prices and a domineering Russian bureaucracy made the Klondike less lucrative than other Gold Rushes in the Pacific Republic or in Australasia, and it was nicknamed the "Gold Crawl." However, for the prospectors that went, millions of dollars of gold was found, and a sizeable chunk did end up in Moscow.Since the amount of gold recovered was low at first, the Russian Empire wished to get rid of Alyeska and its otherwise perceived uselessness, offered to sell it to the United States, the Pacific Republic and Great Britain, but it was refused all three times. A majority of the settlers, totaling nearly 125,000 Russian, American and other immigrants, said they wanted to create their own nation, and Czar Alexander II agreed: the Dominion of Alyeska was announced on September 6, 1869, with Alexander II still as its monarch, but with a local, Gregory Petrov Geramovich, becoming the effective leader of the nation. It was only with the establishment of an independent nation that prospectors and settlers began to flock to Alyseka, though the tax on gold was still sent to Moscow, and would continue to do so until 1893.
The Decade of Peace
The 1870's were perhaps the most peaceful the world had been in it entire history, not including the various military expeditions by the colonizing powers into Africa and Asia. Although the various nations around the world were starting to migrate together into opposing alliances, they were not in any shape to fight another war at the time.
The "American Dream"
In America, Abraham Lincoln was re-elected in 1868, but his second term was characterized by a decisive left turn in his politics, such as the establishment of the Department of Labor, the first minimum wage law in the world, and the well-known "trust-busting" of major businesses that held a monopoly of several major areas in the US economy, including steel, railroads and shipping companies. Although Democrats claimed his efforts would virtually destroy the economy, Lincoln was validated when the smaller, divided companies began competing amongst themselves for customers, and, since people now had a little better than living wage, they could now afford new and better products, further boosting the economy. Lincoln was seen as the saviour of the poor, and the President responsible for reviving the economy when other politicians said the economy could fix itself. He was succeeded, however, by Nationalist candidate Horatio Seymour as president in 1872, who was a more conservative candidate. Seymour reversed some of Lincoln's policies, a move that proved to be widely unpopular, resulting in the election of Liberal James G. Blaine as President, with the promise of renewing Lincoln's plans.
The Confederacy was starting to grow in power, developing new factories and mines and railroads through the nation, while the freeing of the slaves had created an enormous pool of cheap labor, which also boosted the economy. President Lee resigned from office after one term, and Charles J. Jenkins was elected President in 1868. He was more conservative than Lee, and established a "No Hands Hold" on the economy, which grew by leaps and bounds with little government intervention, almost the opposite of what was happening in the North.
The Pacific Republic, under President Henry Huntly Haight, was becoming more pro-Confederate, even going so far as to make an official meeting with Confederate President Jenkins in Texas. At the same time, Assiniboian President Louis Riel also met with President Blaine in 1877 in Minnesota: this meeting resulted in a deal to build a rail line that would link Winnipeg with Washington, later called the "Double W" Line by both supporters and opponents.
Peak of Colonialism
Despite the ravages of the war in Europe, France, Britain, Italy, Spain, Portugal and several other nations had begun to set up new colonies throughout the "Dark Continent". The exploits of explorers like David Livingstone and Charles Pierre Villenuvre II were told and retold across Europe. With the blessing of the Vatican, the major powers were also given the authority to expand across the continent and convert the natives: by the beginning of the twentieth century, Christianity was the predominant religion in Africa.
The colonial powers, urged on by business and nationalism, began pushing further out of the colonies they already possessed, deeper and deeper into the continent. The British were able to move much quicker than any other nation due to the massive influx of Indian immigrants into Africa, and by 1880 Britain had established a link from the Mediterranean to South Africa and from the Red Sea to the Atlantic. In one of the most ambitious engineering projects of the century, a rail line was built from the Ottoman controlled (but British influenced) Alexandria, Egypt, down to Cape Town, South Africa, with a rail line diverging from Karakorum, Sudan, to link Djibouti, Somalia, to Port Harcourt in Nigeria. France controlled the majority of North West Africa, besides Spanish Morocco, as well as a few small outposts on the Red Sea. Spain, Portugal, and Italy held small possessions throughout the continent, while Ottoman Turkey kept a hold on Egypt and Libya.
In North America, the major colonization efforts were mostly done by the Confederate States, who looked at the weak and divided Confederation of the Caribbean, then in the throes of social collapse and outright rebellion, and stepped in to safe guard their interests the islands of Puerto Rico and Cuba in 1879, also purchasing the Bahamas from Britain in 1881, much to the chagrin of the United States. From the ruins of the Caribbean Confederation rose the Republic of Hispaniola in 1880, which was successful in preventing the CSA from annexing the remaining small islands.
The "Reborn French Empire"The efforts to rebuild French power were already beginning to take effect in the late 1860's and early 1870's, but the sweeping overhaul of the Empire envisioned by Napoleon III was, for the most part, stemmed and reduced by the General Assembly and the bureaucrats, who were seeing their power being reduced with an increasing centralization of powers in the hands of the Emperor. Napoleon III died in 1873, disappointed that the empire he was planning to build had not been realized. His son, crowned Emperor Louis, was more successful, mostly due to some compromises his father would never have accepted, such as giving the power to declare war to the General Assembly, and agreeing to speak in front of the Assembly at least once a year. He agreed to these measures only so that the Army would be virtually under his direct control, as well as the acceptance of creating a national police force, the Service de Sécurité Impérial, or the SSI, which would be tasked with matters of national importance, such as anti-espionage, as well as "internal security", a vague sounding term that would be used by later Emperors to their own advantage.
The expansion of the French Colonial Empire through Africa, as well as the annexation of strategic posts in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian Oceans, gave the French a renewed sense of self. However, Louis' impatience and his fondness for the military (he had, however, never served in the army, only being 17 when his father died and he assumed the throne) nearly turned some diplomatic events into war: fortunately, he was usually restrained by his premiers, advisors and generals, who were certain France was not ready to confront another major power yet, and that the colonial expansion was only to strengthen France's position in the world.
Formation of the Grand Alliance
With the Marseilles Pact destroyed at the end of the First Global War, France was looking for a way to rebuild the pre-war alliance. Louis held a conference on March 17 1875, in the Imperial retreat of Corsica, a few miles from Napoleon I's birth place, with the foreign ministers of several smaller nations, including Greece, Denmark-Norway, and the Netherlands in attendance. They agreed to the idea of an alliance, which one of the attendants, Dutch Foreign Minister Dorscth Van Ulbrect, jokingly coined the Grand Alliance, but surprisingly the name stuck. At the same time, negotiations with Russia and Great Britain resulted in major surprises: Russia declined, due to its pacts with Turkey and Germany, while Britain joined its ancient enemy, France, due to fear of German intentions to expand their military, and especially their navy. However, France was wary of letting Britain join the Grand Alliance, mostly due to the tensions both countries had experienced for decades and the possibility that the United Kingdom might try to usurp France's position as leader of the alliance. Therefore, Britain never became a full fledged member of the Alliance, but was still considered to be a French "ally", though both were quick to deny such a thing.
The First Sino-Japanese War
In Asia, the island power of Japan was beginning to flex its muscle, using its European trained and equipped army and modernized navy (including several steam frigates) to try to increase its power in Asia. Several islands in the North Eastern Pacific were annexed in 1872, and Midway Island was bought from Britain in return for allowing British ships rights to dock and resupply. Hawaii, although not part of the deal, was experiencing a Japanese immigration boom, making the island over 40% Japanese by 1875, the largest minority in Hawaii.
China looked at the Japanese expansionism with increasing nervousness. The advisors to the Chinese Emperor, Tongzhi, and the real power behind the throne, the Empress Dowager, suggested a course to modernize along European lines, but the Emperor refused, believing that buying Western weapon's for his army a great shame, which the former thought necessary in order to ensure the survival of the Chinese Empire. Their Korean puppet, however, took a more direct approach to Japan, quietly looking away when anti-Japanese riots started in 1873, resulting in the death of 29. Japan used this as an excuse to send an army to Seoul. China protested and sent an army as well. The Japanese commander, telegraphing Tokyo for instructions, was told to wait for reinforcements, but China and Korea struck first, attacking the Japanese force. Surprisingly, the Japanese, using their superior weapons and training, managed to hold off 125,000 men against their 50,000 for four days, before charging the enemy and routing them. The Battle of Incheon was the first of many victories that Japan won in the First Sino-Japanese War, which, after three months, resulted in Japan occupying and annexing Korea, as well as gaining exclusive trade rights in the cities of Yanti and Weihai in China, and the right to build a Japanese-owned and - operated railway from Korea to those cities. The Chinese Emperor was forced to abdicate the throne, and his successor, the Guangxu Emperor, tried to start reforms in 1877, but a coup lead by reactionary elements in the army resulted in his house arrest. Reform had been delayed in China once again, much to their latter's sorrow.
The "Three Nation Standoff" in Latin America
Latin America was beginning to recover from the recession that crippled the continent's economy after the Second Latin America War in 1874, and new moves were being sought by the three major powers: Brazil, Argentina and the Grand Colombia (New name adopt by the Central American Republic). Argentina, little more than a military dictatorship since the 1840s, was working on expanding its army, and reached out for European and North American allies. The United States, wishing to find an ally closer to home than France, decided to make an agreement with Argentina in 1876, conveniently forgetting that Argentina was a military dictatorship. Brazil, in response to the US-Argentina Pact, made an alliance with the Confederacy.
Grand Colombia decided to try not get involved in the next war, and instead the major program instituted in 1877 became building a canal through the province of Panama. When President Eustorgio Salgar Moreno announced this, Argentina and Mexico, currently the only nations with both an Atlantic and Pacific coast besides Grand Colombia, threatened war, as they saw their ability to ship products from coast to coast in jeopardy, since ships could carry much more for lower costs. However, the United States, the Confederacy and Brazil supported the move, and forced the aggressors to step down. Then started the political sidesteps by nearly every nation in Europe and North America to try to sway Grand Colombia toward giving them exclusive rights to the canal. This resulted in millions of dollars pouring into the country, and was later revealed to have been funneled into a handful of powerful politician's and Generals who managed to put off building the canal for years later, just to try to wring out more money from the world, an event that became known as the Panama Canal Scandal.
The people and the international community were furious when they found out in 1880, and Grand Colombia put off all plans to build the canal until all those accused were tried; this became one of the most defining moments in the nation's history, as Grand Colombia was able to prove to the world they were a fair and democratic society. By the end of the investigation in 1887, the authorities determined that over $69 million dollars had been funneled into the nation by foreign governments, of which over $58 millions were ultimately recovered. The canal was still in planning stage, with the help of French engineers, when the next crisis threatened to bring war to the world.
The "Race to the Pacific"
Without the possibility of a canal linking the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans anytime soon, the United States and the Confederacy looked west to try to establish their own Pacific coastline. The North looked at the British Oregon territory, of which half had been part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803 and which it had been forced to cede after their defeat in the First America's War, while the South looked to the Mexican territory of Sonora, which was the only thing standing between the CSA and a border with the increasingly friendly Pacific Republic, which had already agreed to allow a rail line be built through its territory to reach the Pacific. Since both nations could not dare attack the territory they desired, because it would provoke a war between each other (Britain was allied with the Confederacy while Mexico had moved closer to the Union), they almost simultaneously decided that it would be best to try to convince the respective nation to give up the land. Since settlers from both North American countries had settled in Oregon and Sonora, they decide to use them as pawns in order to gain the land they wanted.Mexico outright refused the Confederate requests in 1879, and implemented policies to suppress the increasing support to join with the CSA, not wishing to repeat the mistake of the War of the Southwest, which resulted in the loss of California and Texas from the Mexican Empire. These policies (which included only Spanish being accepted in Government documents and that all children were to attend only schools approved by the Empire) were a departure from the previous position held by Prime Minsiter José María Flores, who had tried to appease the settlers by giving them far reaching rights. Confederate and American sympathizers were furious at this, and demanded that the policies be reversed, but Mexico City refused, instead sending in a major portion of the army to quell the "rebellion" that many ministers believed was brewing.
Great Britain also decided to refuse the US demands for Oregon in 1880, and decide to close borders to immigrants, requiring those immigrants already in the colony to swear an oath to the British, on pain of being arrested and deported. While over 267,000 agreed to do so by 1882, not wishing to give up their lives' work, many more (roughly 598,000) refused: nearly 127,000 who were not listed as a "resident" of the territory were told to pack up and leave, while some officials who went around readily took bribes to allow the settlers to stay in Oregon. The storm of fury that resulted from this attempt to reduce immigration let the US claim that Britain was oppressing its American immigrants, and that the they would not stand by and let it happen.
The Deseret Massacre
Few thought the tensions in the "Race to the Pacific" would lead to war. Until the events of October 15, 1881, in the area of the British Oregon Territory known as Deseret.
United States settlers were the predominant population of Deseret, especially the exiled Mormons. British authorities did not trust the Mormons, believing that they still held ties to Washington, but they were even more worried about the other settlers flooding into the territory, so an uneasy agreement was reached between the Mormons and the British: the Mormons would be allowed to practice their religion, and even polygamy, as long as they agreed to never take up arms against the British and agreed to become "residents" of the territory. Their leader, Brigham Young, agreed, and began to feed information to officials in Salt Lake City about illegal American settlers, most of whom were later stopped by British officials and either forced to sign an oath or turned around. In some cases, many were arrested and put into prison, while massive fines nearly destroyed some starting farms. Many immigrants knew it was the British lackeys, the Mormons, who were betraying them, and many settlers decide to band together to try to stop their "righteous" neighbors.
On October 15, 1881, several groups of angry American settlers, who had been forced to pay heavy bribes or nearly forced off the land they claimed, attacked British Army outposts, "Oath" towns and Mormon farms. All told, roughly 1000 men picked up arms through Deseret, and killed over 5500 British and Mormon and settlers who had "betrayed" the homeland, also causing millions in damages.
The uproar was immediate. Britain and the Confederacy decried the situation, and demanded answers. Washington refuted claims that they supported the massacre, but said that if the British tried to retaliate by killing or deporting immigrants that wanted to settle in Oregon, then the US would declare war. Mormons took little head, and on October 27, initiated their own bloody killings, killing 3276 American settlers in one night. The rising tide of killing and counter-killing went on until November, when the British Army moved in and declared Martial law, arresting both Mormon and Settler leaders. While the Mormons were exonerated, the 15 Settler leaders were executed. Washington, enraged, and looking for any excuse to attack Britain, took this as the last straw. Nothing was going to hold them back now. On December 5, 1881, President James G. Blaine, fresh off re-election, decide the time was right to try to achieve the goals of Manifest Destiny; a Pacific Coast line, and insured dominance over North America.
Declaration of WarPresident Blaine appeared before Congress on January 28, 1882, and asked that conscription be enacted, with conscripts serving for three years in "... service to the Union ...", and the establishment of a 250,000-man strong army, in response to the "... trying times that have come to the United States." Congress overwhelmingly passed the law, and the first conscripts were inducted in to the army in March. The Confederacy, Canada, the Pacific Republic, Alaska and Mexico immediately passed similar laws, mostly in fear of the US' moves, and in order to insure their armies were trained in time for the war. But the conscripts would not be ready by the time war started.
On May 5, cavalry patrols under General George A. Custer ran into a Confederate-supported Indian band serving in the Confederate Army near the town of Picher, on the Texas-Sequoyah border. A small firefight ensued, where Custer was shot in the arm, and ten Union and seven Indians were killed. Confederate President Stephen Mallory II, son of First Confederate Secretary of the Navy Stephen Mallory, announced that the US had started the fight, and that the Confederate soldiers had been provoked, but was ready to turn the other cheek so as to avoid war since the CS Army was not ready. But Blaine would not have it, and chose to declare war on both the CSA and Great Britain. Although still unready, the US Army quickly launched an invasion of Oregon and Kentucky. The CSA responded with a counter-attack towards Washington, DC, and ultimately Philadelphia. The war had begun.