(Yankees and Socialists--Birds of a Feather
by Al Benson Jr.
During the War of Northern Aggression it has been reported that over 180,000 Germans fought in the Union armies. This number was buttressed by thousands of Austrians, Hungarians, Poles, Czechs and Irish. The majority of these were probably honest, hardworking people, yet the question must be asked--with a population of around 22 million in the North as opposed to 9 million in the South--why did the North have so many foreign troops in her armies?
Francis Springer, in his book "War for What?" puts the number even higher. He has noted: "It seems strange that the North, with such vast human resources, should find it necessary to resort to recruiting men abroad. The 1860 census shows 4,100,000 foreign born in this country, mostly located in the North, but there were 500,000 men in the Northern army of foreign birth, or 90,000 more than 10% of the foreign population, indicating that 90,000 Northern soldiers, and probably more, were recruited abroad."
Author William Burton, in his book "Melting Pot Soldiers" deals with the foreign soldiers in the Yankee armies. He quotes a correspondent for the "London Daily Telegraph" as stating that the foreign soldiers in the Union armies has scant use for the abolitionists and their "holy crusade". German immigrant Valentin Bechler, according to Burton, told his wife "I wish all abolitionists were in Hell."
One of the most carefully concealed facts over the decades about Mr. Lincoln's armies is that he had an amazing number of European socialists under uniform during the War. Only recently has information regarding this started to surface. Up until a few years ago it was one of the most studiously ignored facts and aspects of the War. Establishment "historians" (or maybe we should label them "hysterians" in their messianic quest to give us the "correct" spin on the War and the reasons for it just knew in their hearts that we didn't need this kind of information, so they labored mightily to make sure we were not exposed to it.
It has been reported that as many as 5,000 European socialists and communists from the failed 1848 socialist revolts in Europe served in the Union armies in one place or another. Some sources have placed that number closer to 10,000. After these socialists failed in their revolutionary aims in Europe in 1848-49, many came to America. A good portion of them felt that what they had failed to do in Europe in 48 and 49 might just be accomplished here in America during the War of Northern Aggression. In "Forty-Eighters In The Union Armies" it has been stated: "The failure of their revolutionary hopes in Europe did not prevent them from taking up arms again in 1861 to defend the very principles they had fought for in 1848 and 1849; union, freedom, and democracy." Please go back and reread that last quote. Let it sink in.
These European socialists viewed the War of Northern Aggression as an extension of their socialist hopes for Europe. If you consider that fact, the entire scope and reason for that War, from the Yankee perspective, takes on a whole new meaning. No longer was it a struggle to "preserve the Union" as given to us by the Founding Fathers, rather it was a struggle to preserve and extend the influence of European socialism in America. Author William Burton has revealed that August (von) Willich, the "Communist with a heart" "...was not reluctant to lecture his soldiers on the virtues of socialism." If we have a record of this one instance of that being done, one wonders how many other places it occurred that have gone unreported.
One amazing thing about these European socialists and communists is how many of them managed to end up with high-ranking positions in the Union armies. I will list a few here so you get the idea.
Franz Sigel--Major General
Carl Schurz--Major General
August (von)Willich--Major General
Sandor (Alexander) Asboth--Brigadier General on Fremont's staff
August Becker--called "Red" Becker (on account of his political leanings?)--Chaplain for the 8th New York
Ludwig (Louis) Blenker--Brigadier General of volunteers
Isidor Busch--Captain of Fremont's staff
Johann Fiala--Lt. Colonel and topographical engineer on Fremont's staff
Scores of other socialists and communists could be listed if space permitted, but I think you begin to get the idea. The ethnic and ideological makeup of Mr. Lincoln's army has yet to be fully exposed.
If we are to begin to try to understand the War from a Yankee perspective, we must, at all costs, take the strong socialist influence exerted on Mr. Lincoln's army into consideration.
The fact that so many European socialists and communists looked upon Mr. Lincoln's War of Aggression as an extension of their own aggressive aspirations and political desires should begin to speak volumes about the true nature of the Union cause--no matter what the "Hystery" books tell us. Mr. Lincoln was known to be friendly to the cause of socialism. Establishment historian James McPherson has admitted that Mr. Lincoln championed the cause of the leaders of the 48 revolts in Europe. In 1848 he was all in favor of secession (for the socialists in Europe) but in 1860 he was adamantly opposed to it for Christian Southerners. That fact, alone, should give you some indication as to where Mr. Lincoln was really coming from and it should help to explain why, in 1861, the socialists flocked to own his "holy cause."