The South Rises Again

The United States entered a tumultuous period following its defeat in 1946. President Dulles, in order to deal with the economic problems still facing the broken nation and to raise public morale, embarked on a program of government intervention in order to spur economic growth. This included government subsidies to help rebuild industry in the western regions as well as welfare programs to placate the growing unemployed. Part of this revolutionary new re-direction of government policy included attempts by Dulles to desegregate the nation. After hearing reports of German brutality in the occupied north and being disgusted by the racial hatred displayed, Dulles thought it was time for America to enter a new age stripped of racial prejudice. Of course, this policy served to create new problems. Many southern states refused to abide by Dulles’ civil rights legislation which sought to abolish Jim Crow laws. In order to counter this, Dulles increased federal intervention in states’ affairs greatly angering many southerners who despised government intervention in their local affairs which resurrected long held hatreds traced back to Reconstruction. This culminated in the vicious election of 1948 which saw a Republican victory due to the splintering of the Democratic Party under South Carolina Governor James Strom Thurmond and the States’ Rights Party whose platform called for continued segregation and more state autonomy. Despite Thurmond’s loss, he received a great deal of support from Hitler who saw an opportunity to further fragment the United States.

With German support, Thurmond organized a caucus of disgruntled southern states in Birmingham, AL whose goal was secession from the United States. The states whose representatives attended were Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia, Florida, Louisiana, Kentucky, Tennessee, Texas, and Arkansas. This caucus would culminate in the formal declaration of independence and the creation of a second Confederate States of America on April 12, 1949.

President Robert Taft immediately declared Thurmond’s actions treasonous and ordered the military to mobilize and “put down the rebel states.” What Taft had not counted on was Germany’s intervention. Once American troops crossed the Mississippi, Hitler declared the United States in breach of the terms of their peace treaty which stated only 10,000 American soldiers could occupy land east of the Mississippi River. With that, German troops invaded Wisconsin, Illinois, Delaware, Maryland, and West Virginia as well as threatened an atomic assault on American cities should they not immediately enter into peace talks. With no other option, Taft was forced to enter negotiations that led to the recognition of the Confederate States and the cession of US territory east of the Mississippi and Alaska to Nazi Germany permanently.

At his inauguration, Strom Thurmond stated in his address to those in attendance that he was not a traitor. It was the United States government that was guilty of treasonous acts against the ideals of the nation in general and the South in particular. “They would resurrect a new age of Reconstruction. They would strip us of our traditions, our freedoms, our very dignity. Well I will say this to those traitors who turned their backs on the principles of the party. States rights are paramount, our dignity will be upheld, and I wanna tell you, ladies and gentlemen, that there’s not enough troops in the US Army to force the Southern people to break down segregation and admit the nigra race into our theaters, into our swimming pools, into our homes, and into our churches. Of utmost importance, segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

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