The Confederacy, grouping the Slave states of the South of the United States, loses officially the war 150 years ago. The time of the abolition of slavery and the Reconstruction begins, but that of racism and negrophobia is still present in the US.
On Thursday, April 9th, 2015 corresponds to a particular birthday for the United States. The 150th anniversary of the surrender of the confederated general Robert Lee to Appomattox, in Virginia, in front of the troops of the US general Ulysses Grant. This event is often considered as the official end of the American Civil War, begun 4 years previously, even if Confederate war generals as Edmund Kirby Smith surrendered later in front of Nordists.
This surrender followed upon a series of battles since March, 1865, with the siege of Petersburg, where Lee was entrenched with his army of Virginia of the North, but the army of the Potomac led by Philip Sheridan dominated the Rebs, and further to defeats in his camp, Lee left the city, obliging the confederated president Jefferson Davis to leave Richmond, the capital of the Confederacy, the April 1st, so avoiding being prisoner of the Nordists, who set on fire the city the next day. The last hope for Lee was to join the North Carolina and the army of Joseph Johnston, with foods and ammunitions. But brigadier George Armstrong Custer destroyed trains to Appomattox, trapping in a bow net Lee and his men.
620.000 deaths in 4 years
This war remains, nowadays, the most murderous for the Americans. 620.000 of them, among whom 360.000 money Northern uniform, died. Add to it 412.200 wounded persons in both camps, that is more than a million official losses. It is much more than the Anglo-American war for independence, the war of 1812 that ended with the battle of New Orleans in January, 1815, war against Mexico, participations in both world wars, Vietnam and Iraq wars etc. A human trauma for the United States, which still marks the spirits today.
An economic trauma also because the South, based on slavery, agriculture and free-trade, lost in front of the industrial and protectionist North, and was literally ravaged by "Billy Yank". For example, general William Sherman wrote in a report after the conflict, that the "hard war", according to its terms (ancestor of the "total war" in World War I), which he led in 1864 against the Confederacy, cutting it in two with the taking of Atlanta (Georgia) and the "March to the sea " until Savannah (Georgia) would have caused more than 100 million dollars at that time. What would correspond about $1,5 billion nowadays. What indicates well the scale that the Reconstruction had to realize, knowing that Southern notables were often despoiled by businessmen of the North, nicknamed capertbaggers, unless they collaborated with the winners. They so became scalawags. For example, general James Longstreet, nicknamed " Lee's old war horse ", because of services provided in the army of Lee, was a member of the Republican party after the war, defending Grant's candidacies in the presidency.
An industrial war
Some historians consider that the American Civil War was the first industrial war, inaugurating macabre processes which will be ready during the first World War, such the more and more murderous artillery fires, the institution of trenches, or still prison camps which will serve as basis for the concentration camps during World War II. An industrial war because firms try to answer quickly with order general staffs, in particular near the armament and textile industry. It was also a war full of innovations because battleships and submarines made their first appearances, especially in Dixieland, to destroy the maritime blockade of "Blue bellies".
Moreover, the efficiency of the blockade set up by the navy US was questioned during the war by international observers. Among them, the German economist and philosopher Karl Marx. He considered that this maritime blockade was a waste of time and that the only way to win against Dixieland was to cut it in two. This recommendation on behalf of Marx lives to be carried out by Sherman, with the taking of Atlanta, cutting the South in two in September, 1864, and facilitating the final victory seven months later. If it had earlier been applied, that would have been the butcher's shops of Antietam, Shiloh, Fredericksburg, Gettysburg, Chattanooga, Wilderness, and so on.? Maybe, but with one "if", we would redo all the history, since its beginnings.
A latent racism
Finally, with this defeat of the South, it is the victory of abolitionism, an arrangement of civil rights for the Afro-Americans, an offer of more freedom for them. But in the South as in the North, racism remains present, although more marked at the losers because in the first months which followed Lee's surrender, a white supremacist organization is established by former "Johnny Reb" general (Nathan Bedford Forrest), named Ku Klux Klan. Moreover, the KKK exists even nowadays.
Then, Afro-Americans are targets of choice, in particular by the police, at present. The proof, not later than on Wednesday, April 8th, a black motorist was shooted in the back by a white policeman, near the South Carolina, a former secessionist State moreover. A new murder, as during summer, 2014 on the side of Ferguson in the Missouri, or in New York, Cleveland (Ohio), which reminds to the blacks how much they know the slogan " Police everywhere, justice nowhere ".