The Civil War has been called the first modern war. The importance of the Civil War, however, goes far beyond the military struggle. The Civil War was the defining eeperience of the American nation. It was an open question in the 19th century as to whether a democratic republic could govern a country the size of the United States. This was the question President Lincoln asked at Gettysburg. The Civil War definitively answered that question. For those involved it was for the most part the great adventure of their lives. Their experiences were told and retold to children and grand children. Many embelished their stories as they grew older. Others had no need to enbelish their accounts. The Civil War has been extensively studied in American history, but except for military scholars little noted outside the United States. The Civil War, however, had profound consequences for world history that were not immediately apparent in 1865 by a Europe not yet fully aware of the titan developing across the Atalntic, Except for Bismarck, German leaders seem particularly dimisive of the United States despite the huge number of Germam emigrants. The thought of what today's world would be like today if a united industrial powerhouse had not existed in 1940 to serve as the great Arsenal of Democracy and then then as a key element in the Allied coalition that defeated the German NAZIs and Japanese warlords. Imagine the consequences of racist Confederate Rpublic. Or what would have happened to Westrn Europe had not America existed to stop Stalin from instituting totalitarian rule throughout the continent. The best discussion of the consequences of a Southern victory is a brillint counter-factual article written by Winston Churchill, "If Lee Had not Won at Gettysburg".
Churchill, Winston. "If Lee Had Not Won at Gettsburg".
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