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Thread: Roots and Causes of the War

  1. #1
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    Default Re: Favorite Waffen SS division

    Quote Originally Posted by heimwehr danzig View Post
    I would say that British troops considered themselves superior to Indians and Africans
    Some may have thought it, but unlike the SS it wasn't official party policy.
    ; French thought themselves superior to Algerians; and white US soldiers thought themselves above their Indian adversaries and even their black comrades in arms.

    Sadly the Americans did have segregation in their army at the time. I do take issue though that all Brits thought themselves above their commonwealth allies. Look up Walter Tull (ok he's WW1 but still relevant) or the two black soldiers at Pegasus bridge. And I really don't think the soldiers of the 1st Bn the Loamshires really gave tuppence about the ethnicity of their Indian and west african mates in the battle of Kohima.

    Were these episodes so far before the second world war that the very psyche of these societies had been fundamentally altered?
    Racism existed beyond the Waffen SS, furthermore the presence of racism does not remove the presence of courage.
    Were not confederate soldiers brave in the US civil war, even though their faction supported slavery?
    And sorry to be a pedant but the South went to war over states' rights, not all southerners supported slavery I doubt many of the rank & file ever had any slaves.
    "There is no country on the face of the earth to which the principle of citizen-soldiership is so well adapted as our own, for the freedom possessed by Britons is of so general and real a character as to cause the humblest in the land to feel deeply the neccessity of preserving the safety and independence of the nation of which he is a part"

    The Volunteer's book of facts 1863

  2. #2
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    Default Roots and Causes of the War

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Yeoman View Post
    No, sorry its not too simplistic. Their politics were truly disgusting. They were criminals because they decided to join the SS, it's the same as deciding to join the BNP over here or the KKK in the states all these groups have equally repugnant views and all weren't too shy about broadcasting their policies.
    I don't know about the BNP, but it is not illegal to simply belong to a KKK group here in the states, as disgusting as their social views often are. However, no one reveres thenm as particularly heroic or courageous.

    Quote Originally Posted by Iron Yeoman View Post
    And sorry to be a pedant but the South went to war over states' rights, not all southerners supported slavery I doubt many of the rank & file ever had any slaves.
    Correct. Very few of the rank and file soldiers of the South were ever slave holders. They were fighting for the principle of states rights. The Northern Abolitionists were determined to abolish slavery without compensating slave owners; this would have wiped out the entire South financially. In the British empire, the institution of slavery was abolished peacefully over many decades beginning in 1835, and slave owners were fairly compensated by the government. This avoided the Civil war that occurred in the US.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Favorite Waffen SS division

    Quote Originally Posted by Wizard View Post
    ...
    Correct. Very few of the rank and file soldiers of the South were ever slave holders. They were fighting for the principle of states rights.
    Actually, I think most of them were fighting in fear of invasion from the North; even though not only did poor whites not own slaves, they probably also suffered economically from institutional slavery...

    The Northern Abolitionists were determined to abolish slavery without compensating slave owners; this would have wiped out the entire South financially. In the British empire, the institution of slavery was abolished peacefully over many decades beginning in 1835, and slave owners were fairly compensated by the government. This avoided the Civil war that occurred in the US.
    Northern Abolitionists didn't really control the gov't and were mostly a religious/moralist civil movement and had little such power to enact abolition, only had limited influence on the gov't, and had no power to directly ruin southern plantation owners. In fact, one could argue the U.S. was on the same road of gradually emancipation as it seems that Southerners (in power) were more worried about losing power resulting from territories becoming free states as much as anything else. But in truth, the roots of their grievances laid in the fact that the North was industrialized, and the Southern agrarian economy had been retarded by the ease of cheap (essentially free) labor. Southern plantation owners, as a very small percentage of the population, could never be compensated, because their whole way of life was an anachronism and they were gradually ceding power in terms of economic reality to the industrialized Northern states as the results of the War bore out. They were in a sense seeking means to artificially, and disproportionately, maintain political influence and power in the Federal gov't they no longer could otherwise. Slaves were only emancipated after the War had been going on for some time, and as a means of military-economic strategy to weaken the South....
    Last edited by Nickdfresh; 01-12-2011 at 07:12 PM.

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    Default Re: Favorite Waffen SS division

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post
    ....Northern Abolitionists didn't really control the gov't and were mostly a religious/moralist civil movement and had little such power to enact abolition, only had limited influence on the gov't, and had no power to directly ruin southern plantation owners. In fact, one could argue the U.S. was on the same road of gradually emancipation as it seems that Southerners (in power) were more worried about losing power resulting from territories becoming free states as much as anything else. But in truth, the roots of their grievances laid in the fact that the North was industrialized, and the Southern agrarian economy had been retarded by the ease of cheap (essentially free) labor. Southern plantation owners, as a very small percentage of the population, could never be compensated, because their whole way of life was an anachronism and they were gradually ceding power in terms of economic reality to the industrialized Northern states as the results of the War bore out. They were in a sense seeking means to artificially, and disproportionately, maintain political influence and power in the Federal gov't they no longer could otherwise. Slaves were only emancipated after the War had been going on for some time, and as a means of military-economic strategy to weaken the South....
    I never claimed that the Northern Abolitionists "controlled" the Federal government. I said they were determined to abolish slavery without providing any compensation to the slave owners who were dispossessed of their former property. The Abolitionists made it impossible for any discussion of monetary compensation to take place; they saw slavery as a moral issue and the southerners saw it as an economic issue. Britain avoided civil violence by providing compensation to slave holders who lost a considerable investment when the slaves were emancipated.

    The Southern economy was never retarded by the availability of slave (certainly not "free" labor), but it was kept mainly agricultural by the fact that slave labor made agriculture economically viable. The entire southern economy would have been (and was) devastated by the uncompensated abolition of slavery. An agrarian economy in the south was certainly tenable regardless of how industrialized the North was, but only if the great economic stake the Southerners held in slaves could be preserved after the abolition of slavery.

    The Federal government had a duty to the southerners to protect their economic viability, but it ignored that duty to pander to the moralism of the Abolitionists. The horrific bloodletting of the Civil war was the result.

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    Default Re: Roots and Causes of the War

    One is obliged to ask in light of this discussion, if the issue of States' Rights was a Trojan Horse for the right of one person to own another person. It "sounds" more palatable to call it States' Rights than to use the term slavery or "involuntary servitude". At university in an American History course I read a treatise that said that the profitability of slavery was on the decline by the time the Civil War began. Introduction of the cotton gin multiplied productivity. It revived the profitability of the industry and made slavery more viable for a time but only seemed to postpone the day when slavery would no longer bring the returns necessary to keep it sustainable. There may have existed a certain socio-economic sclerosis in the South that was unable to devise a new economic model to replace the fading existing one. I completely agree that the great majority of southerners who were not flatland cotton growers were also probably not slave-owners or owned very few of them at least in part because they were basically subsistence farmers. For them the States' Rights argument may have been more compelling as a principle worth fighting for even if it was a convenient screen used by politicians representing the large land-owning elite to preserve the institution of slavery.


    In those ante-bellum days, we tend to forget that in the South, at least, and in the settled Northeast as well (as opposed to the wide-open west), people tended to feel greater allegiance to their states than to the national government. Military units sent to fight for both the North and the South were organized by state and regions within the individual states and were generally not organized by national "Divisions" drawn from all over the country - Hood's Texas Brigade, the 1st Michigan, etc.

    I was not aware that the British government had compensated British slave owners for the losses they incurred when their slaves were freed and would like to find out more about this.

    Postscript: Wizard, as usual, is right about the compensation, although it appears to be very much an open question as to how fair it was. Many quite prominent British families can trace their fortunes back to the lump sum payments they received ftom the government. The current equivalent sums can, in many cases, be counted in the millions of dollars. Among many others, the family of the current British Prime Minister received very large sums in compensation. Significantly, it appears that while the slaves were "freed", only those childen under 6 years of age actually were granted full freedom immediately (how "free", really, can a 6 year old child be?), while all those older than that were re-styled as "apprentices" which seemed to be little more than a fig leag for continued indentured servitude. Still, the age of outright slavery within the Empire for all its later warts and pimples, had come to an end. Sadly, given the huge payouts to slave-owners, not a dime went to the ex-slaves themselves. Great English mansions were erected in England based on the monies received but not a farthing, apparently, went to erect so much as a grass hut for the former slaves.

    One has to wonder whether or not this a) could have been a solution in the South since slave ownership was not some remote enterprise carried out in places like Jamaica, Belize or Madagascar, but right here on our territory, and b) if similar indentured servitude would have continued de facto slavery while "massa" sat in his leafy mansion counting his ill-gotten gains. Something worth pondering.
    Last edited by royal744; 09-04-2013 at 09:57 AM.

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