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In 1867 United States Secretary of State William Seward was under pressure from the Senate, the House of Representatives, and the American people. Seward proposed what he thought was a brilliant idea –the purchase of the Alaska from Russia. Though Russia asked the nominal sum of $7.2 million for the vast swath of territory, Seward’s opponents still felt that it was not money well spent. Russia, they argued, was a useless wasteland, a Godforsaken icebox. Still, Seward persisted and managed to finalize the purchase of Alaska. The media branded the Alaska purchase, “Seward’s Folly.”
How might United States history have diverged if Seward’s Alaska Purchase had failed? It is easy to imagine a scenario in which Seward, discouraged by lack of support and caving under pressure, abandoned his crusade. How might history have played out? We can never know for certain, of course, but the probabilities are frightening:
After the aborted sale, Americans and Canadians continued to settle in the Alaska region as it was virtually unpatrolled by Russian police or military forces. Seeking better gaming, fishing, trapping, and mining the North Americans increasingly migrated into Alaska. True, some Russians also settled in the area, but it was more difficult for Russians to hop the North Pacific than it was for Americans or Canadians to cross an invisible border.
Russia tolerated American and Canadian intrusion until the 1890s. For, in 1896, gold was found in Alaska. The Klondike Gold Rush broke out full force. Americans and Canadians undertook massive gold mining projects in Russian Alaska.
The Czar, eager to retain Russia’s rightful natural assets, put pressure on Washington D.C. and London to end immigration into Alaska. America complied. The British government, however, controlled Canada. And the British and Russians were diplomatic enemies.
The British blockaded the Alaskan coast, leading to the conflict between the Russian and British Empires which came to be called the Century War of 1900. In the end, because of American diplomatic intervention and British unwillingness to invade Russia, Russia was accorded her rights. All Canadian and American citizens were then expelled from Russian Alaska.
Seventeen years later, revolution tore across Russia. Czar Nicholas was overthrown and the Bolsheviks came to power. Alaska became communist.
In the subsequent years, Lenin and then Stalin began to gradually militarize Russian Alaska, much to the chagrin of the United States of America. Several treaties halted the escalation, Russia slowing the militarization of Alaska and America abandoning its ambitions in the Pacific. Pearl Harbor in Hawaii was demilitarized and the American Pacific fleet was moved to Seattle, Washington. The United States slowly woke to realize that it was dealing not only with a Japanese threat in the Pacific, but also a Russian threat.
World War II
When World War II broke out, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt wanted to enter the war on the side of the Allies, but needed a viable excuse because most Americans were isolationist. Also, they were totally disenchanted with the idea of alliance with Soviet Russia, the enemy right over the horizon in Alaska.
When the Japanese attacked and seized the decommissioned Pearl Harbor, the United States realized it would need Russian help to counteract the cancerous spread of the Japanese in the pacific. Roosevelt made his deal with the devil and entered with war on Stalin’s side.
During World War II, the Russians fought a two front war, against the Nazis in the West and the Japanese in the East. The war ground on because Russia was unable to commit totally to either theater. However, the Axis powers surrendered in 1947 after the Americans dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Kokura in Japan and Cologne and Munich in Germany. World War II was over –America and Russia now dominated global politics as hegemonic superpowers.
The Cold War between Soviet Russia and America began. Even small events threatened to trigger nuclear Armageddon. The Berlin and Tokyo Blockades. American submarines off the Alaskan coast.
In 1962 President Robert F. Kennedy, the youngest man to ever ascend to the office of the Presidency of the United States, received word that spy planes had detected intercontinental ballistic missiles in Russian Alaska. Kennedy tried to negotiate the removal of those nuclear missiles from North America. Nikita Khrushchev was willing to negotiate until an American spy plane accidentally crashed outside Juno, Alaska. The world watched in horror as events escalated.
On September 21, 1962, Russia launched a preemptive nuclear attack with ICBM’s from Russian Alaska, obliterating 28 American cities, including, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, New Orleans, St. Louis, Chicago, Detroit, Boston, New York City, Washington D.C., and Atlanta. Within minutes, American missiles pounded Russia. It was the Three Days War, called by others, the End War. By September 25, the United States and Soviet Russia had been reduced to the Stone Age. Most of their populations died either in the nuclear attacks or of radiation poisoning or starvation in the aftermath. Nuclear winter descended over the planet.
Experts estimate that by 3000 A.D. earth will fully recover from the Three Days War.
--J. T. Zeringue 16:38, June 8, 2010 (UTC)