Discussion:
WI - The Trent Affair and the First World War
(too old to reply)
Daniel Duffy
2003-09-24 10:47:50 UTC
Permalink
Suppose both American and British diplomats bungle the Trent Affair of
November 186. This leads to a shooting war, first on the Atlantic and then
along the Canadian border by early 1862. Napoleon III, an admirer of the
Confederacy, joins in as Britain's ally.

Prussia sees a golden opportunity to accelerate the process of German
unification by taking advantage of France's preoccupation with America.
Spurred on by Bismarck and other German nationalists, Prussia brings
military and diplomatic pressure on the smaller German states. This raises
the ire of the vainglorious Napoleon III who believes France is strong
enough to handle both Americans and Prussians. War results between France
and Prussia by mid 1862.

Russia, looking for revenge for its defeat in the Crimea, joins Prussia and
declares war against France and Britain.

Austria-Hungary, having recently lost a war to France and Piedmont/Italy -
yet fearful of Prussian advances in Germany, remains on the sideline for
now. Turkey and Japan also remain neutral.

Piedmont/Italy loyally joins France.

So the Trent Affair (like the assassination of an archduke more than 50
years later) triggers a world war . By mid 1862 the line up is:

USA/Prussia/Russia vs. CSA/Britain/France/Italy

So what happens next?
Andrew Vallance
2003-09-24 12:52:45 UTC
Permalink
Post by Daniel Duffy
Suppose both American and British diplomats bungle the Trent Affair of
November 186. This leads to a shooting war, first on the Atlantic and then
Well the USA and Britian didn't want to go to war in 1861, so it takes some
bungling (have Prince Albert drop dead a week earlier might do it)
Post by Daniel Duffy
along the Canadian border by early 1862. Napoleon III, an admirer of the
Confederacy, joins in as Britain's ally.
Not so much an admirer of the Confederacy as seeing the opportunity for some
colonial aquisitions in the Americas
Post by Daniel Duffy
Prussia sees a golden opportunity to accelerate the process of German
unification by taking advantage of France's preoccupation with America.
In 1861, Prussia's prime opponent in German unification is not France but
Austria (the 1866 war has not taken place yet)
Post by Daniel Duffy
Spurred on by Bismarck and other German nationalists, Prussia brings
military and diplomatic pressure on the smaller German states. This raises
the ire of the vainglorious Napoleon III who believes France is strong
Nope, it raise the ire of the Austrians who see it as a direct challenge to
their attempts at German unification.
Post by Daniel Duffy
enough to handle both Americans and Prussians. War results between France
and Prussia by mid 1862.
No, Prussia won't enter, it still has to knock Austria out of the race.
Post by Daniel Duffy
Russia, looking for revenge for its defeat in the Crimea, joins Prussia and
declares war against France and Britain.
Well, Russia was solidly pro-USA, seeing it as a break on the British and
French, so this ones closer. But if the war doesn't spread to Gemany, Russia
won't enter.
Post by Daniel Duffy
Austria-Hungary, having recently lost a war to France and
iedmont/Italy -
Post by Daniel Duffy
yet fearful of Prussian advances in Germany, remains on the sideline for
now. Turkey and Japan also remain neutral.
If the Prussians attempt to make a serious move towards unification in 1861,
the Austrians will oppose it.
Post by Daniel Duffy
Piedmont/Italy loyally joins France.
Absolutely no reason to. The Risorgimento is just about complete and only
Austrian Vence and the Papal States (under French protection) remain outside
Piedmont control. France is now a barrier to its completion.
Post by Daniel Duffy
So the Trent Affair (like the assassination of an archduke more than 50
USA/Prussia/Russia vs. CSA/Britain/France/Italy
More likely USA vs CSA/Britian/France
Post by Daniel Duffy
So what happens next?
The Royal Navy quickly sweeps the US fleet from the seas and opens the
Confederate ports. Canada was already being reinforced in response to the
crisis and the Milita was being raised even before it had been resolved. The
British hold the US in Canada while the Confederacy (probably with French
allies) inflicts several sharp defeats on the US. The British (who really
don't want to be in this war) will bail at the first opportunity, which will
probably come fairly quickly as the US realises that with British and French
support it has no chance of winning. The French won't continue the war on
their own but might extract Mexico as their "price".

The real effects of this senario would be the lasting bad blood between the
US and Britain. The post Civil War development of the US was financed with
British money. This won't be coming, but may well get funnelled into the
South. Napeoleon III really can't capitalise on his position much as the
British don't want him expanding in the Americas. Look for a pro-British
Confederacy industrialising with British money and another war over the west
within the next few decades.
Wesley Taylor
2003-09-24 14:49:19 UTC
Permalink
On Thu, 25 Sep 2003 00:52:45 +1200, "Andrew Vallance"
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
Suppose both American and British diplomats bungle the Trent Affair of
November 186. This leads to a shooting war, first on the Atlantic and
then
Well the USA and Britian didn't want to go to war in 1861, so it takes some
bungling (have Prince Albert drop dead a week earlier might do it)
No, Prince Albert dying is not going to be enough. Britain does not
want this to escalate and Palmerston will hadle things just fine. To
get a war with the US you have to blindside him, not expect him to
just bumble into it.
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
along the Canadian border by early 1862. Napoleon III, an admirer of the
Confederacy, joins in as Britain's ally.
Not so much an admirer of the Confederacy as seeing the opportunity for some
colonial aquisitions in the Americas
And I doubt he would join so much as use it as further excuse for the
Mexican Expedition.
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
Prussia sees a golden opportunity to accelerate the process of German
unification by taking advantage of France's preoccupation with America.
In 1861, Prussia's prime opponent in German unification is not France but
Austria (the 1866 war has not taken place yet)
Actually, I believe it is still Denmark, not yet Austria.
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
Spurred on by Bismarck and other German nationalists, Prussia brings
military and diplomatic pressure on the smaller German states. This raises
the ire of the vainglorious Napoleon III who believes France is strong
Nope, it raise the ire of the Austrians who see it as a direct challenge to
their attempts at German unification.
Post by Daniel Duffy
enough to handle both Americans and Prussians. War results between France
and Prussia by mid 1862.
No, Prussia won't enter, it still has to knock Austria out of the race.
Post by Daniel Duffy
Russia, looking for revenge for its defeat in the Crimea, joins Prussia and
declares war against France and Britain.
Well, Russia was solidly pro-USA, seeing it as a break on the British and
French, so this ones closer. But if the war doesn't spread to Gemany, Russia
won't enter.
Russia has other problems to deal with, such as the Polish unrest.
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
Austria-Hungary, having recently lost a war to France and Piedmont/Italy -
yet fearful of Prussian advances in Germany, remains on the sideline for
now. Turkey and Japan also remain neutral.
If the Prussians attempt to make a serious move towards unification in 1861,
the Austrians will oppose it.
Bismark was nowhere near ready and knew it. No Prussian move yet.
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
Piedmont/Italy loyally joins France.
Absolutely no reason to. The Risorgimento is just about complete and only
Austrian Vence and the Papal States (under French protection) remain outside
Piedmont control. France is now a barrier to its completion.
Italy is at this point far more interested in finding a way to oust
Austria.
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
So the Trent Affair (like the assassination of an archduke more than 50
USA/Prussia/Russia vs. CSA/Britain/France/Italy
More likely USA vs CSA/Britian/France
No, two wars, US vs CSA and US vs Great Britain.

Possible France vs Mexico
Post by Andrew Vallance
Post by Daniel Duffy
So what happens next?
The Royal Navy quickly sweeps the US fleet from the seas and opens the
Confederate ports. Canada was already being reinforced in response to the
crisis and the Milita was being raised even before it had been resolved. The
British hold the US in Canada while the Confederacy (probably with French
allies) inflicts several sharp defeats on the US. The British (who really
don't want to be in this war) will bail at the first opportunity, which will
probably come fairly quickly as the US realises that with British and French
support it has no chance of winning. The French won't continue the war on
their own but might extract Mexico as their "price".
The real effects of this senario would be the lasting bad blood between the
US and Britain. The post Civil War development of the US was financed with
British money. This won't be coming, but may well get funnelled into the
South. Napeoleon III really can't capitalise on his position much as the
British don't want him expanding in the Americas. Look for a pro-British
Confederacy industrialising with British money and another war over the west
within the next few decades.
The timing could be very interesting and very critical. Aside from
that, the British Army had not a hope in hell of doing more than
hoding out in Canada. The US army will jump by a good 300,000 men with
the war with Britain happening and the 'other arm' comes out from
behind the back. Those extra troops are enough to allow the
destruction fothe Canadian areas rather cleanly by mid year. Enough
extra will be available to allow the speeding up of the destruction of
the Confederate West. (Nothing short of a spine transplant could have
gotten MacClellan to speed up)

Simultaneously to the land war is the release of probably over a
hundred privateers to do to the UK what the CSN had been trying to do
to the US. In a few months the only British flagged ships safe will be
those in convoys, tying up a fair number of RN ships. Second, the RN
has a problem operating her heaviest units in North American waters.
The new Heavy Armored Frigates are restricted ot using Halifax as a
base as they cannot use the Bahamas or the Carribean ports due to
draft. Without these usits the RN has a bit of a problem starting in
March or so when they begin standard proceedure of demonstrations
against the ports of the US.

Finally, you both assume a UK/CSA alliance. Trent will almost
certainly NOT produce such an alliance. The UK has no interest in its
war with the US in a CSA victory, but it might use some joint
operations to put pressure on the US to appologize. And there is the
core problem of the what if: The US has to have screwed up a lot as
well as the UK to get this war and Lincoln would ONLY accept having to
get into war with the UK as an extreme last resort. Only a direct
threat to the US war aims or other vital interests would suffice and
they do not exist in this situation.
david
2003-09-24 17:16:56 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wesley Taylor
The timing could be very interesting and very critical. Aside from
that, the British Army had not a hope in hell of doing more than
hoding out in Canada. The US army will jump by a good 300,000 men with
the war with Britain happening and the 'other arm' comes out from
behind the back. Those extra troops are enough to allow the
destruction fothe Canadian areas rather cleanly by mid year. Enough
extra will be available to allow the speeding up of the destruction of
the Confederate West. (Nothing short of a spine transplant could have
gotten MacClellan to speed up)
Of course, it is an interesting question as to which general Lincoln
would choose to send to deal with the Canadian front. Britain is going
to be acting defensively, and by early 1862, it seems that there are two
main contenders for Lincoln's nomination.

There's Little Mac (unless Little Mac has already been given the Army of
the Potomac). He had a good reputation as a result of his swift
movements in West Virginia (as it was to become), receiving praise for
his decisive and bold actions.

Or there is Burnside, who was in good favour as a result of the Roanake
expedition, which demonstrated that he could handle an independent joint
command in difficult terrain.

If Little Mac goes, he will be making steady progress against the large
British force, and is probably about ready to enter Toronto round about
now.

If Burnside goes, I am sure he will come up with a Cunning Plan that
will unravel into disaster just as soon as someone actually has to
implement the plan (Burnside as Baldrick?).
--
David Flin
Abraxus
2003-09-25 17:09:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by david
Post by Wesley Taylor
The timing could be very interesting and very critical. Aside from
that, the British Army had not a hope in hell of doing more than
hoding out in Canada. The US army will jump by a good 300,000 men with
the war with Britain happening and the 'other arm' comes out from
behind the back. Those extra troops are enough to allow the
destruction fothe Canadian areas rather cleanly by mid year. Enough
extra will be available to allow the speeding up of the destruction of
the Confederate West. (Nothing short of a spine transplant could have
gotten MacClellan to speed up)
Of course, it is an interesting question as to which general Lincoln
would choose to send to deal with the Canadian front. Britain is going
to be acting defensively, and by early 1862, it seems that there are two
main contenders for Lincoln's nomination.
There's Little Mac (unless Little Mac has already been given the Army of
the Potomac). He had a good reputation as a result of his swift
movements in West Virginia (as it was to become), receiving praise for
his decisive and bold actions.
Mac was assigned to the AoP the day after Bull Run. He's definitely
out of the picture.
Post by david
Or there is Burnside, who was in good favour as a result of the Roanake
expedition, which demonstrated that he could handle an independent joint
command in difficult terrain.
The Roanoke expedition hadn't happened yet, and if Britain uses her
navy aggressively, it almost certainly won't happen at all.


The field isn't very large at this juncture, so it's anybody's guess.
Hunter might be tossed about, possibly Rosecrans. The problem is that
there just hasn't been that much action yet, with few individuals
having demonstrated their abilities (or lack thereof) in independent
command.
Wesley Taylor
2003-09-25 20:46:19 UTC
Permalink
Post by david
Post by Wesley Taylor
The timing could be very interesting and very critical. Aside from
that, the British Army had not a hope in hell of doing more than
hoding out in Canada. The US army will jump by a good 300,000 men with
the war with Britain happening and the 'other arm' comes out from
behind the back. Those extra troops are enough to allow the
destruction fothe Canadian areas rather cleanly by mid year. Enough
extra will be available to allow the speeding up of the destruction of
the Confederate West. (Nothing short of a spine transplant could have
gotten MacClellan to speed up)
Of course, it is an interesting question as to which general Lincoln
would choose to send to deal with the Canadian front. Britain is going
to be acting defensively, and by early 1862, it seems that there are two
main contenders for Lincoln's nomination.
David, You clearly missed my main point. Trent is a shitty POD. There
is not realistic POD from Trent that I have ever seen that can yeild
a war. Both sides are being very careful to avoid just exactly that.
There is no real opportunity to make the needed mistep. The points
above were well known to the UK in 1861/2 and constitute part of the
reason the that the Trent affair has not hope of transforming into the
war that proponents of the POD want. And even if there were, it is
more likley to kill the CSA quickly than what most are interested in,
the saving of the CSA.
david
2003-09-26 06:04:39 UTC
Permalink
Post by Wesley Taylor
Post by david
Post by Wesley Taylor
The timing could be very interesting and very critical. Aside from
that, the British Army had not a hope in hell of doing more than
hoding out in Canada. The US army will jump by a good 300,000 men with
the war with Britain happening and the 'other arm' comes out from
behind the back. Those extra troops are enough to allow the
destruction fothe Canadian areas rather cleanly by mid year. Enough
extra will be available to allow the speeding up of the destruction of
the Confederate West. (Nothing short of a spine transplant could have
gotten MacClellan to speed up)
Of course, it is an interesting question as to which general Lincoln
would choose to send to deal with the Canadian front. Britain is going
to be acting defensively, and by early 1862, it seems that there are two
main contenders for Lincoln's nomination.
David, You clearly missed my main point. Trent is a shitty POD.
As I think I mentioned in a different post, I agree, and made that very
point myself.