Do you approve or disapprove of the way that Douglas MacArthur is handling his job as president?

  • Approve

    Votes: 140 76.5%
  • Disapprove

    Votes: 43 23.5%

  • Total voters
    183
The issue is that separate but equal enforces the idea that African Americans were “less than” the standard southerner. By continuing e but equal even when making it actually equal you’re continuing the status quo of racism. By keeping populations from basic communication and interaction-especially at the youth stage-you’re not going to be helping the situation at all.
Do keep in mind that this explanation is the result of myself being half asleep so ignore any grammar mistakes or spelling. Anyhow, if you need clarification just ask.
 
Ok maybe I am missing something but that doesn't click. Separate but equal doesnt directly imply one is inferior. It propably did in the overall societal context but in a legal sense as you would argue for a lawyer it can't. Says in the tin: "equal", feelings and opinions on the matter don't factor.

I disagree it would just reinforce racism. The separation did that on its own. Enforcing equal schooling and voting standards would help as the blacks of the south wouldn't have the huge handicap of shittier schools and impossible voting. Again: this might have been more useful to push in the 1910's and 20's, by the 50's it wouldn't really help much as people were rallying against the institution a lot harder but still strikes me as odd no one tried or tries.
 
I really did like this chapter as it showed a very good insight towards Macarthur's use of theatrics and intricate planning when dealing with such issues in order to push his way through without necessarily killing off his support completely. The image of him saluting the Casket is quite a good one as it is one that will be forever ingrained with the minds of people in America, whether they would be segregationist or integrationist.

The fact that Nixon is the one who is drafting such a law is also quite good, as this is a Nixon who hasn't suffered such a terrible defeat like 1960 or 1962, who hasn't drifted towards alcohol and severe depression or move towards his phase during the Yom Kippur war (read up on that as that was absolutely terrible). This is the Nixon who while he may be a bit of an insomniac, he is still hard working, principled, and above all pragmatic and a schemer in a definite good way. He knows the ins and outs so this bill he is coming up with would probably be one of the best that could actually be created during this time period within the timeline. Though Macarthur's insistence on no revisions may be a bit of a risk factor, but then that brings things towards the Richard Russell situation.

Now, depending on how hard Russell and his gang can push it, they may cause some serious damage (even if they lack LBJ or Keffaufer... If I spelled that right) and may inflame the south quite heavily, and while this opens of US military intervention in the south, it might not end out well in a clear and peachy way. If a deal isn't reached between the dixiecrats and Macarthur's administration, things might have to get dirty, and that might mean Dick may have to get Tricky.

This goes onto the last point. Total war, via the infamous files from Hoover. Now, depending on how convicted Dewey may be and how willing MacArthur is in terms of having Nixon go full on Tricky Dick mode, they may release files on certain Dixiecrats an expose certain things that may damage them... And I think the most notable one would be making Strom Thurmond's biracial daughter Essie known to the public, as Hoover probably had such files with regards to that with him. If the paper trail leads back to the administration, prepare for possibly Watergate 1950s edition, but if Nixon and Dewey cover things up, they may get away with it all. Once again though, that all depends on what happens, and Dewey might not be so forthcoming to do such a thing.

But anyways, that is my take on this situation, written at 11:52 PM on my phone.
 
Ok maybe I am missing something but that doesn't click. Separate but equal doesnt directly imply one is inferior. It propably did in the overall societal context but in a legal sense as you would argue for a lawyer it can't. Says in the tin: "equal", feelings and opinions on the matter don't factor.

I disagree it would just reinforce racism. The separation did that on its own. Enforcing equal schooling and voting standards would help as the blacks of the south wouldn't have the huge handicap of shittier schools and impossible voting. Again: this might have been more useful to push in the 1910's and 20's, by the 50's it wouldn't really help much as people were rallying against the institution a lot harder but still strikes me as odd no one tried or tries.
Maybe in a vacuum, but in practice it was just the opposite. Generally black schools were severely underfunded and would take the old equipment and textbooks of white schools. In many cases black high schools did not even exist. Under Brown, this doctrine was judged unconstitutional for aforementioned reasons and the psychological effects of racial segregation on black students.
 
Maybe in a vacuum, but in practice it was just the opposite. Generally black schools were severely underfunded and would take the old equipment and textbooks of white schools. In many cases black high schools did not even exist. Under Brown, this doctrine was judged unconstitutional for aforementioned reasons and the psychological effects of racial segregation on black students.
This.

I remember a museum exhibit in Durham, NC, with some local newspaper columns from the early 50's about a local suit being filed by some black parents objecting that their children's schools weren't "equal" in funding, resources, or any other way. This was the establishment paper, white-owned and with largely-white circulation, but it still admitted they had a good point and recommended that the school board give black schools equal funding and resources before the feds noticed and mandated integration.

Unfortunately for the editorialist, the Durham County Board of Education didn't take his advice, the suit was consolidated with Brown v. Board, and the Supreme Court did indeed mandate integration before anyone took the chance to try for true "separate but equal."
 
I tbink you guys misunderstood. I know the thought was it made "clear" white supremacy but the point I make is to twist the Dixies into equality with it. Make the south eat their own words and agree to the equal if they want to keep segregation, in ecfect locking them between a rock and a hard place: treat blacks better and give them schools and voting rights or admit they are breaking the gentleman's compromise of separate but equal and lose their state's right to segregate over it.

As Evan points out it might actually have worked somewhat to improve the lives of southern blacks, but by the 1950s the whole institution was on the way out. "Best" scenario I can see is it being delayed to the 70s but that is about it. Might make for a interesting timeline though, early 20th POD. Maybe one of the classic no Woodrow Wilson presidency types.
 
I tbink you guys misunderstood. I know the thought was it made "clear" white supremacy but the point I make is to twist the Dixies into equality with it. Make the south eat their own words and agree to the equal if they want to keep segregation, in ecfect locking them between a rock and a hard place: treat blacks better and give them schools and voting rights or admit they are breaking the gentleman's compromise of separate but equal and lose their state's right to segregate over it.

As Evan points out it might actually have worked somewhat to improve the lives of southern blacks, but by the 1950s the whole institution was on the way out. "Best" scenario I can see is it being delayed to the 70s but that is about it. Might make for a interesting timeline though, early 20th POD. Maybe one of the classic no Woodrow Wilson presidency types.
The biggest issue is the way that schools are funded in America - with local property taxes. For white areas, that revenue was greater and thus the schools were nicer, while the black areas had lower property values due to them being poorer, and thus the tax revenue was lower. Separate but Equal was fundamentally unworkable because of this.
 
I tbink you guys misunderstood. I know the thought was it made "clear" white supremacy but the point I make is to twist the Dixies into equality with it. Make the south eat their own words and agree to the equal if they want to keep segregation, in ecfect locking them between a rock and a hard place: treat blacks better and give them schools and voting rights or admit they are breaking the gentleman's compromise of separate but equal and lose their state's right to segregate over it.

As Evan points out it might actually have worked somewhat to improve the lives of southern blacks, but by the 1950s the whole institution was on the way out. "Best" scenario I can see is it being delayed to the 70s but that is about it. Might make for a interesting timeline though, early 20th POD. Maybe one of the classic no Woodrow Wilson presidency types.
The Brown ruling said that segregation itself was inherently unequal. Even if they made things “equal”, which I highly doubt they would beyond a half measure that they’d renege on at a later date, the court had ruled that separation had to end. The south doesn’t have to eat its own words, the Court force shoved their words down their throats already.
 
The biggest issue is the way that schools are funded in America - with local property taxes. For white areas, that revenue was greater and thus the schools were nicer, while the black areas had lower property values due to them being poorer, and thus the tax revenue was lower. Separate but Equal was fundamentally unworkable because of this.
I think it would've worked out somewhat better before the "white flight" to the suburbs, when AFAIK white and black people lived more in the same jurisdictions and school districts. It wouldn't have been innately stable, but it would've been possible.
The Brown ruling said that segregation itself was inherently unequal. Even if they made things “equal”, which I highly doubt they would beyond a half measure that they’d renege on at a later date, the court had ruled that separation had to end. The south doesn’t have to eat its own words, the Court force shoved their words down their throats already.
But also this. I'd be very interested in seeing the South forced to try for actual equality in a different TL. But ITTL, Brown has already been decided and so segregation has to go.
 
I really hope the South call Mac's bluff so he can send the Army into the South. That'll show Mac isn't pussyfooting around about civil rights.
I guess it would, but at the same time using the Army isn't really a great solution. If resistance to integration continues once the Army is there (and let's be real, it probably would), that basically guarantees things turning bloody, as well as likely hardening the resolve of the White Southerners to hold on to segregation even more. No President (or at least no-one who deserves the office) wants to be the person that brought a version of the Irish Troubles to America and got hundreds or thousands of their own citizens killed.

Or NATO is just shedding the weak sisters for those who want to be part of Mac's Atlantic club. Who better than Spain?
Another way to look at it :) That's why I like to leave things like that open - let's you come up with your own version of events :)

A point I think is obvious and yet I never see made in discussions of the subject: Separate but equal. You got the selarate, where is the equal?

Can someone explain? It just seems like a flawless counter point. Sure it's not perfect but compared to complete segregation it's a step up. And more importantly, Dixie can't fight back. Just force the south to take on the equal part. Instead of ending literacy tests for votinf make it so whites need to take them too. Make it so segregated black-only schools need to have the same funding per student as white schools. The best part of this is that it locks the Dixie political establishment into complying. If they refuse then they are violating their sacred supreme court ruling.

By Mac's time that is a bit too late, but I am fascinated why it was never tried.
Others have already put in some good arguments, but I think it is also worth noting that a lot of the Jim Crow laws were cleverly designed to look innocuous enough on the surface, but it was the implications of those laws rather than the laws themselves that were the problem. Take something like poll taxes: say there's a $10 fee for voting. Ok, not great, but probably nothing worth getting excited about. But when you think about it a bit... white people are much more likely going to be able to afford to pay that same sum than a black person would, so the law results in blacks not being able to vote. It's perfectly equal, everyone has the same $10 price, but it reinforces discrimination as long as it is there.
I haven't looked so much into the more explicit 'separate but equal' cases, but I suspect there are heaps of other cases like this - because blacks had poorer neighbourhoods, less money, less infrastructure, &c, as long as the laws were written 'right' it isn't too hard to reinforce the vicious cycle.

I really did like this chapter as it showed a very good insight towards Macarthur's use of theatrics and intricate planning when dealing with such issues in order to push his way through without necessarily killing off his support completely. The image of him saluting the Casket is quite a good one as it is one that will be forever ingrained with the minds of people in America, whether they would be segregationist or integrationist.
Makes me wish there was some sort of cross-TL time machine so I could see the picture myself. I considered trying to photoshop one but couldn't find the images it would need to actually look good :(

The fact that Nixon is the one who is drafting such a law is also quite good, as this is a Nixon who hasn't suffered such a terrible defeat like 1960 or 1962, who hasn't drifted towards alcohol and severe depression or move towards his phase during the Yom Kippur war (read up on that as that was absolutely terrible). This is the Nixon who while he may be a bit of an insomniac, he is still hard working, principled, and above all pragmatic and a schemer in a definite good way. He knows the ins and outs so this bill he is coming up with would probably be one of the best that could actually be created during this time period within the timeline. Though Macarthur's insistence on no revisions may be a bit of a risk factor, but then that brings things towards the Richard Russell situation.

Now, depending on how hard Russell and his gang can push it, they may cause some serious damage (even if they lack LBJ or Keffaufer... If I spelled that right) and may inflame the south quite heavily, and while this opens of US military intervention in the south, it might not end out well in a clear and peachy way. If a deal isn't reached between the dixiecrats and Macarthur's administration, things might have to get dirty, and that might mean Dick may have to get Tricky.
Dick will be getting Tricky ;) He's much more fun to write when he's getting up to mischief!

As an aside, have you seen the 1995 Oliver Stone film Nixon? If you haven't I really think you'd like it (indeed, it has certainly had an influence on my version of the character!)

Kefauver is the correct spelling for that name. Him, Johnson and Russell will all be seen again soon.

This goes onto the last point. Total war, via the infamous files from Hoover. Now, depending on how convicted Dewey may be and how willing MacArthur is in terms of having Nixon go full on Tricky Dick mode, they may release files on certain Dixiecrats an expose certain things that may damage them... And I think the most notable one would be making Strom Thurmond's biracial daughter Essie known to the public, as Hoover probably had such files with regards to that with him. If the paper trail leads back to the administration, prepare for possibly Watergate 1950s edition, but if Nixon and Dewey cover things up, they may get away with it all. Once again though, that all depends on what happens, and Dewey might not be so forthcoming to do such a thing.
Think those files got burned a couple chapters ago. Plus I don't think Dewey is the sort to get involved in a scheme like that. Hoover on the other hand... that would've been interesting!

- BNC
 
No. The omission is deliberate.

Being President is a big job, a lot of different things are happening all the time. While some timelines like to go into all of that detail, or detail on what is happening in every country in the world, I did not want to take this approach - my personal experience from reading several such TLs is that, while they are often enjoyable reads, I've usually forgotten half of what happens in them because there's too many things to keep track of (plus some of them can grow to be extremely long, and as I mentioned a couple of pages ago I simply don't have the time nor the interest to write a quarter- or half-million word long epic). As such I try to keep the number of characters and events to a more manageable level while hopefully not ignoring anything too important to the era.
Since the beginning of Part IV I've been much more interested in exploring who MacArthur was as a person and as a leader (and Parts I-III did the same with Patton), and concentrating on the events that are relevant to this (and ideally the events chosen also set up future events that are also relevant in their own way). Looking at something like Vietnam draws a contrast with Eisenhower's policy, labour rights were something Mac pushed heavily in Japan and it is interesting to see how that would translate to the US in the 50s. India or Tito, while they might be interesting, don't really add anything to my narrative (the NAM wasn't a thing until 1961, and AFAIK didn't play any appreciable role in Ike's presidency IOTL), so they are left out. It's the same reason I left out the inner workings of Malenkov's USSR, or happenings in Cuba - both are topics that would be interesting to fill a chapter with (Cuba was on the list of topics for a long time before I cut it), but they don't really lead the story anywhere.

That's not to say MacArthur is ignoring them... he would definitely have had a long talk with Nehru when he was at Bandung, but I can't cover everything.

EDIT: Also, the Indian partition and war with Pakistan both happened in 1947/8 - before the POD.

- BNC

Cool. Nice Reasoning as well. I will keep following this story with great interest.
 
I guess it would, but at the same time using the Army isn't really a great solution. If resistance to integration continues once the Army is there (and let's be real, it probably would), that basically guarantees things turning bloody, as well as likely hardening the resolve of the White Southerners to hold on to segregation even more. No President (or at least no-one who deserves the office) wants to be the person that brought a version of the Irish Troubles to America and got hundreds or thousands of their own citizens killed.


Another way to look at it :) That's why I like to leave things like that open - let's you come up with your own version of events :)


Others have already put in some good arguments, but I think it is also worth noting that a lot of the Jim Crow laws were cleverly designed to look innocuous enough on the surface, but it was the implications of those laws rather than the laws themselves that were the problem. Take something like poll taxes: say there's a $10 fee for voting. Ok, not great, but probably nothing worth getting excited about. But when you think about it a bit... white people are much more likely going to be able to afford to pay that same sum than a black person would, so the law results in blacks not being able to vote. It's perfectly equal, everyone has the same $10 price, but it reinforces discrimination as long as it is there.
I haven't looked so much into the more explicit 'separate but equal' cases, but I suspect there are heaps of other cases like this - because blacks had poorer neighbourhoods, less money, less infrastructure, &c, as long as the laws were written 'right' it isn't too hard to reinforce the vicious cycle.


Makes me wish there was some sort of cross-TL time machine so I could see the picture myself. I considered trying to photoshop one but couldn't find the images it would need to actually look good :(


Dick will be getting Tricky ;) He's much more fun to write when he's getting up to mischief!

As an aside, have you seen the 1995 Oliver Stone film Nixon? If you haven't I really think you'd like it (indeed, it has certainly had an influence on my version of the character!)

Kefauver is the correct spelling for that name. Him, Johnson and Russell will all be seen again soon.


Think those files got burned a couple chapters ago. Plus I don't think Dewey is the sort to get involved in a scheme like that. Hoover on the other hand... that would've been interesting!

- BNC
Just saw " Nixon" - bit overlong but good.
Hoover was not that keen on civil rights.
 
To be honest, I would like to see some stuff in my head to be kinda answered:
1. I know that politics have no business to be involved in military/weapons development, but since MacArthur is unique, what will it contribute for the development/cancellation of some projects?
2. The perspective of other nations of the MacArthur-lead US; and other changes that could developed independently from his decisions
3. What will MacArthur due to "compensate" some of the NATO allies due of been "neglecting" them? Will Portugal get an aircraft carrier?! XD (Even an Escort one - everyone can dream :p)
 
but since MacArthur is unique, what will it contribute for the development/cancellation of some projects?
Things look far different with a Neutral German and Austria in Central Europe and Korea Whole.
Personally, I feel this TL with far lower Cold War pressures has lower nuclear weapon production, and maybe some talk of eliminating the Draft
 
Besides, even if Malenkov himself wasn't as hardline as I suggested earlier (fair to say you've likely studied him far more than I have), he's got two known hardliners as his number 2 and 3
Molotov, Kaganovich and Malenkov were not some sort of triumvirate. Those who voted against Khrushchev in 1957 were (besides those three) Bulganin, Voroshilov, Pervukhin, Saburov. The idea was to liquidate the post of First Secretary and make cabinet of ministers the real government, not just an executive branch of the Central Committee. Actually, Bulganin was No. 1 of this group, with Pervukhin and Saburov being Nos. 2 and 3.
 
To be honest, I would like to see some stuff in my head to be kinda answered:
1. I know that politics have no business to be involved in military/weapons development, but since MacArthur is unique, what will it contribute for the development/cancellation of some projects?
2. The perspective of other nations of the MacArthur-lead US; and other changes that could developed independently from his decisions
3. What will MacArthur due to "compensate" some of the NATO allies due of been "neglecting" them? Will Portugal get an aircraft carrier?! XD (Even an Escort one - everyone can dream :p)
1/ Generally when things were going well, Mac didn't interfere too much in what his subordinates were doing, so I don't think there would be too much change from OTL. What I can see is: first, more B-52s (I discussed this in one of the earlier chapters); second, fewer nukes (Ike was kinda obsessed with building heaps of the things, Mac would be content with a healthy stockpile but there's not really a need for several thousand seeing as tensions with the USSR are reduced; third, the U-2 program being held back by Willoughby's incompetent handling of the CIA and Mac's overconfidence leading to him perceiving less need for intelligence gathering (I doubt he'd kill the program outright, but he sure won't be helping it much).

2/ Depends where you are in the world. East Asia (except China of course) thinks more highly of him than they did Ike, because he's, well, the guy who liberated half of them (and even Ho Chi Minh is less hostile). China's a bit scared of him (I emphasise a bit!) and are just waiting for him to go away at this point. Latin America also has better relations due to Mac not interfering in Guatemala. Africa is probably about the same as OTL, Mac hasn't really done anything there. Britain has slightly better relations just from Churchill and Mac admiring each other, same is true for Spain due to the Franco/Willoughby factor. Rest of Western Europe (plus Greece and Turkey) thinks Mac is leaving them out in the cold, and he'd be especially unpopular in France. Eastern Germany is thankful that he got them out of the grip of the DDR, the rest of the Soviet satellites are much less hopeful of a chance of liberation now that the Iron Curtain is much more of a Germany-sized wall. The MidEast blames him both for intervening to support the colonisers (with Ajax), and for being the reason Iran fell to communism (a bit of a stretch, but true enough).
I think that covers everywhere?

3/ Doubt he'd do anything, he doesn't think he's 'neglecting' them at all (more that Truman wasted too much time fussing over Europe). He only gave France the nuclear money so he could get his great Germany plan through. He wouldn't waste his time worrying about Portugal's feelings.

Personally, I feel this TL with far lower Cold War pressures has lower nuclear weapon production, and maybe some talk of eliminating the Draft
Mac would never eliminate the Draft.

- BNC
 
Part VI, Chapter 44
CHAPTER 44

February 10, 1956

“As I was leaving my office this morning, I was visited by a man who I had not seen in nearly forty years. A veteran of the Rainbow Division, he asked me, ‘So, General, how does it seem to be old?’ I told him that I liked it, and when he expressed amazement, I said, ‘With my date of birth, if I were not old, I would be dead.’ But he just scratched his head and walked away puzzled.
“I stand here today with a deep sense of humility and honour, of having been fortunate enough to serve this country for the last fifty-seven years. It has been a time that has seen our ideals spread from our shores to the furthest reaches of the Pacific. We have brought justice, law and liberty as we guided the Philippines from the shackles of colonialism to become a steadfast brother in the community of nations. The opportunities offered by friendship with Asia, cloaked in darkness when my father speculated upon them, are now available to us. Through our allies in Europe, the ideals for which we have fought and struggled are now entrenched in the Old Continent.
“At home, my lifetime has witnessed an enormous growth of American industrial potential, driven on by the hard work and enterprising spirit of the American labourer, artisan and industrialist alike. This success has made our nation the subject of great envy, and numerous forces have combined in an attempt to destroy our freedom, and despite our victories there are those, who call themselves Fascists, Socialists or Communists, that continue to make the capitalistic system a great target. These threats may be on the retreat, but it was the determination of American enterprise that built this republic, and that same determination will be required in order to maintain it. As my life enters its twilight years, the time has come to pass the torch to our next generation of leaders. Accordingly, I shall not seek another term as your President, and will instead ask the Republican Party to consider Senator Knowland of California to succeed me in this office, sure in the knowledge that he will continue to advance the causes for which I have served.
“We have built for the American people a world of opportunity. Use it well.”

***

For Richard Nixon, MacArthur’s announcement was akin to being thrown back into a political wilderness. MacArthur had told him about the deal with Knowland long ago, but he had held out the futile hope that MacArthur might go back on the agreement. No such luck. What he did have was a promise of MacArthur’s endorsement for any role he wanted, and a recommendation to either continue as Attorney General or gain some experience in the State Department (“You’re still a young man, Dick,” MacArthur had said, “You’ll get your chance, and the experience will serve you well when you do.”). Nixon was grateful, but he wondered how much good it would do. Knowland would get rid of the rest of MacArthur’s men as soon as he took office - he hated Willoughby and Almond as much as anyone - and the two Californians had been rivals for years. Perhaps he would be better off running for his old Senate seat again. He didn’t have to decide now - the election was still a good nine months away.

A much more pressing issue for Nixon was MacArthur’s civil rights bill, which by the middle of February was still waiting on the Attorney General’s desk. Nixon had reminded the President several times of the importance of getting it off his desk and onto Congress’ legislative calendar as soon as possible. Every day that passed was a day less that the Southerners needed to obstruct the bill in the Senate committees or on the Senate floor. If the bill was to be passed, it had to be made as difficult as possible for the South to run down the clock. Congress would likely adjourn by August, and a bill as contentious as civil rights would take months to pass in the best of times.
MacArthur had insisted Nixon wait. If the bill was put to Congress and was then followed by his announcement declining a second term, the Southerners might interpret that as the administration backing down on the issue. The President let January pass, all the while informing the press at every opportunity that his administration was working on a civil rights bill that would be introduced and continued making speeches urging senators, especially those from the conservative Midwest who had voted against the 1953 bill, to come out in its support. His withdrawal announcement for the 1956 election was scheduled for his seventy-sixth birthday, on January 26th. The civil rights bill would have soon followed.
Then the tables turned. The Southern senators, upset by MacArthur’s constant speeches on civil rights, spent the month of January drafting their ‘Southern Manifesto’. MacArthur had dismissed it as “a list of petty complaints”, but Nixon saw it as a line in the sand. Whoever signed it would be against the administration’s efforts no matter what, whoever did not would be a potential vote. Knowing who might be for and who was against the bill would be more valuable than another couple of weeks of debate. As long as the prospect of MacArthur’s second term hung over their heads, a second term every poll predicted he would win handily, the Southerners would make their positions known not just for this vote, but as far out into the future as 1961. Signatures would not be based off short-term political gain: they would tell him who was in for the long haul. No-one but Nixon could have convinced MacArthur to delay his withdrawal announcement, but Nixon could, and he did. MacArthur waited until the Southern Manifesto was on his desk.
And once it was, Nixon sprung his trap.

Because the House had passed the 1953 civil rights bill, and every other recent civil rights bill for that matter, Nixon’s attention was fixed squarely on the Senate, and that meant squarely on one Senator in particular. Since MacArthur took office, Lyndon Johnson had not just been the Minority and then Majority Leader, he effectively was the Senate. Johnson could kill a bill with a shake of the head, or he could find votes where votes had never been before. Nixon had been waiting for the Manifesto not for the other twenty-one Southern senators, but for what Johnson would do. If Johnson signed it, civil rights would be dead in 1956 no matter what Nixon did. If Johnson signed it, he would be siding with the South in face of the overwhelming public demand for change that MacArthur had drummed up. If Johnson signed it, he would forever lose any hope of liberal support if he ever ran for President. Nixon knew Johnson wanted the Presidency: he had briefly campaigned in 1955 until a heart attack dashed his hopes for 1956. Because Johnson would likely try again in 1960, Nixon guessed that he would not sign it. He was right.
Just because Johnson had not sided with the South, that did not necessarily mean he was prepared to stand against them either. When Nixon went to the Senate Office Building to meet with the Majority Leader, Johnson attempted to convince him that the bill would be better delayed until the following year, after the election. Though he did not tell Nixon, Johnson hoped to present himself as a candidate suitable both to the South - he was a Texan with a perfect record of opposing civil rights bills - and to the North - because he had not signed the Manifesto - and thereby revive his presidential hopes for 1956. It had to be after the election, and if MacArthur insisted on pressing forward this year regardless, he would eventually be forced to either back down or see his bill filibustered. After months of speeches and campaigns, either would be a humiliation for the President, and might give the Democrats a better chance in the election. Johnson believed he had put MacArthur, and by extension Nixon, into a zugzwang: whatever MacArthur did, his choice would work against him.
A more apt description would have been that of a Gordian Knot. Nixon had realised that the same arguments that applied to the signing of the Southern Manifesto applied to the passage of a civil rights bill as well. If MacArthur and Nixon could get a bill on the table in 1956, the amount of public attention MacArthur was giving it would force there to be a vote sometime this year. Long before the election. Probably before the party conventions in July. When that vote happened, Johnson would have to take a side, and there was only one way that Johnson could vote and maintain his Presidential ambitions.
“Lyndon,” Nixon said. “If you kill this bill, or waste so much time it never leaves committee, who do you think the people that the President has spent half the year rallying, are going to blame for its failure? Are they going to blame MacArthur, or are they going to blame you? Because I can guarantee you now, the President will be one of those people, and he will make sure everyone knows it.”
“Is that a threat?” Johnson demanded.
“Presidents don’t threaten.” Nixon said. “They don’t have to.”

***

Johnson refused to concede the argument, and continued debating with Nixon for another two hours until the Attorney General walked out in frustration, but in the back of his mind he knew that Nixon was right. It hadn’t been that long ago that Richard Russell had said to him that “If you’re marked as a sectional candidate, you can’t win.” Trying to convince MacArthur to back down would do no good - the President wasn’t just stubborn, he was inconvincable, but despite Nixon’s threats it wasn’t MacArthur that Johnson was worried about. It was the liberals, that MacArthur had been rallying, that worried him. They knew who had the power in the Senate, and they had been told that 1956 would finally be the year that civil rights passed.
So, Johnson decided, it would be.

To have a hope of passing anything, and more importantly saving his own career from MacArthur’s wrath, Johnson knew he would have to strike a delicate balance. The bill could not be too strong, or the Southerners and conservatives would filibuster it in spite of his efforts. The bill could not be weakened to the point of impotence, or the liberals and likely the President would decry it as a sham. If it appealed too strongly to the wishes of the Northerners, he would be poisoning his base of support in the South. If he weakened the bill too much, the South would continue to trust him, but the North would become certain that he was a sectional candidate after all.
One of the keys to finding that balance was held not by Johnson, but by Richard Russell, who had always been one of his strongest supporters. Russell would never support any form of civil rights no matter what, but he would have to be convinced to at least acquiesce to any bill that did get put to the Senate. Russell might not be able to run the Senate the way Johnson did, but he was more than capable of gathering the thirty-three Senators needed for a filibuster, so Russell became the first Senator that Johnson had to persuade.
“We have to give the President and all those liberals something.” Johnson said. “Just to make the Negro issue go away.” The bill, Johnson promised, could be weakened to the point where it would hardly matter. The Southern way of life would not be affected. But if nothing was let through? MacArthur hadn’t so much as consulted Congress before he cleaned out the FBI. If Congress didn’t cooperate, wouldn’t he just bypass them again? Desegregation by way of executive order, even the bayonet...
“He thinks he’s a king.” Russell said finally. “I know. I want him off our backs too. If you think you can get the bill down to something that preserves our ways, I’ll convince the others not to filibuster it.”

***

May 25, 1956

Lyndon Johnson looked out across the Senate floor. Minority Leader Knowland was there, and Johnson was not at all happy to see him. If MacArthur was bad to deal with, Knowland was even worse. MacArthur trumpeted what he wanted from the rooftops, and was completely obsessed with his own glory, but once he had someone doing his bidding he left them alone to finish the job - neither the President nor his lackey Nixon had so much as visited the Senate Office Building since February.
Knowland, on the other hand, interfered with everything. Because he was MacArthur’s chosen successor, and MacArthur had made himself some sort of civil rights champion, Knowland’s presidential campaign had civil rights plastered all over it. He called for a repeal of poll taxes. He called for an end to literacy tests. He called for an end to segregation in all public places. And he was adamant that MacArthur’s bill would go through the Senate this year, with as few changes as possible. If that meant a filibuster, then too bad. Johnson was sure Knowland wanted one. After the fuss MacArthur had kicked up, the election was going to have civil rights as a major issue, and a filibuster would let Knowland call the Democrats the party of segregation. With that and MacArthur’s earlier endorsement, he’d be assured of victory. MacArthur wouldn’t blame the bullheaded Knowland’s stupidity for the bill’s failure. He’d blame Johnson.

Johnson had worked too hard, had cut too many deals just to keep this bill alive, to let that happen.

He wasn’t the only one. The moderate Democratic Senator from New Mexico, Clint Anderson, had made the same calculations. Anderson was a supporter of civil rights, though with far less ideological enthusiasm than his Northeastern counterparts, but he also saw the current bill from a far more pragmatic viewpoint. If Knowland put out the call for votes while the bill remained in its current form, the Californian would doom the bill to a filibuster, which would likely split the Democratic Party down the middle, and that split that could easily last through to Election Day. Knowland either hadn’t noticed the opportunity or wasn’t yet willing to kill his President’s treasured bill, but there was no guarantee he wouldn’t do so in the future. Anderson knew he had to act quickly, so for four days he had stayed at his desk tinkering with a copy of the bill - crossing out a word here, changing a phrase there.
Then, just as Johnson was walking past him, he crossed out three whole pages of the bill. “Lyndon,” he said quietly, “this might work.”
Johnson looked over the changes. Most of the sweeping civil rights protections had been struck out. What was left was hardly the grand piece of legislation MacArthur hoped for and Knowland boasted about, but it was equally less likely to inspire rage - and a filibuster - from the South. “Clint, it just might.”

- BNC
 
Last edited:
Mac would never eliminate the Draft.
OTL Force Levels

Total US Armed Forces​

Army​

Navy​

USMC​

USAF​

1951​

3,249,371​

1,531,774​

736,596​

192,620​

788,381​

1952​

3,635,912​

1,596,419​

824,265​

231,967​

983,261​

1953​

3,555,067​

1,533,815​

794,440​

249,219​

977,593​

1954​

3,302,104​

1,404,598​

725,720​

223,868​

947,918​

1955​

2,935,107​

1,109,296​

660,695​

205,170​

959,946​

1956​

2,806,441​

1,025,778​

669,925​

200,780​

909,958​
With Korea ending the way it did in this TL, followed by Germany likely to have far lower levels in the Army, while the other three Branches not much change
 
Nice having Lyndon Johnson and Nixon be the focus of this chapter. Lots of political manoeuvres going on here. I also liked MacArthur's speech at the start saying he will not run for a second term. It reminded me of LBJ's famous "I will not seek and I will not accept the nomination of my party" line. BTW any chance Jack Kennedy will show up in a update? I wonder what he will think of MacArthur's push for civil rights and his presidency in general.
 
Perhaps 1965 or ‘69 newly elected President Nixon gets up there with the greats, given his healthy 1950s with approval/trust from father figure even if he doesn’t get quite what he wants. Of course we’ll never know :)

An impressive take on the alt civil rights bill process in the differing players and circumstances of TTL as well.
 
Last edited:
Top