Background: Race Relations in the C.S.A.
The Confederate States from its beginning was a country built of essentially racist principles. The War of Secession (1861-1862) had been fought in large part to preserve the institution of slavery. Although the slaves were manumitted after the Second Mexican War as a condition of continued British and French support for the C.S., strict laws were put into place that ensured that the former slaves and their descendants would never be truly equal or free. Blacks, roughly one third of the Confederate population, were at the bottom of the C.S. hierarchy, and C.S. whites had a vested interest in keeping that hierarchy.
The Great War and its Aftermath
While the C.S. was locked in titanic struggle with the United States during the Great War, Confederate blacks, adopting Marxist principles, launched the Red Rebellion. While the Rebellion was crushed, Confederate whites were shaken by sudden and fierce violence and organization the people they'd sought to keep oppressed displayed. The Rebellion was a case of self-fulfilling prophecy; C.S. whites had convinced themselves that blacks could not be trusted, and oppressed them accordingly. But the oppression all but guaranteed that C.S. blacks would rise up in armed revolt.
Ironically, the dire situation of the Great War forced the C.S. to reconsider its stance on race. The disparity between U.S. manpower and C.S. manpower forced the C.S. to tap into their black human resources. Unfortunately, this decision came too late, and the C.S. lost the war.
Post-war and the Freedom Party: The Reduction Begins in Earnest
Jake Featherston rose to power in the wake of the Great War and the stock market crash of 1929, asserting that Confederacy's defeat in the War and its continued problems could be traced its betrayal by its black residents. Upon his election in 1933, Featherston immediately put into action a plan for killing every black man, woman, and child within the country's borders.
The plan was informal, growing organically as the various Freedom Party leaders experimented with efficiency. Initially, blacks were arrested as revolutionaries and interned in prison camps. The camps were then filled to beyond capacity, forcing the camp commandants to remove prisoners and summarily executed them by firing squad.
However, this proved inefficient, as the guards who made up the firing squads had a difficult time dealing with the horror of their actions. When Leroy Blades, a guard at Camp Dependable committed suicide by gassing himself in his car, camp commandant Jefferson Pinkard adopted the use of gas to carry out multiple executions of the camp population by herding them into trucks and using the truck's redirected carbon monoxide exhaust to suffocate captive blacks in the sealed cargo bed.
Pinkard, already popular with Featherston, was given a new camp, Camp Determination. Located near Snyder, Texas, Determination was a paragon of efficient mass murder. Prisoners were packed into boxcars and moved in by train. The prisoners had little room to breathe, much less move, and were subject to dehydration in the sweltering car. Those prisoners who were not able to leave the train under their own power were shot immediately. The remainder were worked until they could do no more, all the while fed on minimal rations of food and water for continued survival. Special "bathhouses" (gas chambers) were built in which to execute thousands of prisoners at a time.
After Determination was captured by Abner Dowling in late 1943, a new death camp opened up near the city of Houston: Camp Humble. Among the new features implemented by Jefferson Pinkard were crematoriums and larger bathhouses.
Determination was hardly the only camp. There were several others throughout the Confederacy devoted solely to murdering blacks en masse. Indeed, even as the Second Great War was going poorly for the C.S., Featherston insisted on allocating precious resources to continue genocide.
The C.S. exported its methods when it overran Haiti, first eliminating only those who opposed the C.S. invasion, then moving on to the country's political leaders and finally killing those it could capture.
Unfortunately, the C.S. was one of many countries committing atrocity before and during the Second Great War. The United States had long been indifferent to the plight of blacks in the C.S. However, when actual concrete evidence of Camp Determination and similar camps came to light in 1943, the United States saw stirrings of outrage.
The murders ended in 1944, when the United States defeated and occupied the Confederacy. It was only then that the true extent of this horror was understood in the U.S. The U.S. government systematically rounded up the architects of population reductions, including Jefferson Pinkard, Saul Goldman and Ferdinand Koenig, tried them for crimes against humanity, and executed them.
Those blacks who had survived found their stature in the former Confederate society lifted at the discretion of the U.S. However, it was clear to most that should the U.S. ever leave, they'd be facing the wrath of white Confederates.
For the U.S., the mass murders were a sort of wake-up call, as many in the country were astonished at how easily the majority of Confederates went along with Featherston's program. The U.S. grew introspective, and came to view the reductions as a cautionary tale.
In contrast, the vast majority of Confederate whites were either quite pleased at the "success" of the program, or were at least indifferent to what had happened, with most simply viewing the victims as "just n----rs", and outraged at concern the U.S. showed. Some even taunted and mocked the U.S. by stating that they did the same things to Indians and Mormons. This comparison was mostly hollow.
As of 1945, no definite number of dead had been determined. Estimates ranged between six and ten million blacks having been murdered, with at least a million killed at Camp Determination alone.
The term "population reduction" entered into everyday Confederate slang, particularly among blacks, such expressions as "I will reduce your population" often being used as a threat. When the Confederacy fell in 1944, black auxiliaries working with the U.S. Army often taunted white Confederate POWs with the fate of "population reduction."
The series never gives a formal name to this genocide. As "population reduction" is the most commonly given informal name in the series, the administrators of this wiki have used that title for convenience.
- The Holocaust, the mass murder of Jews, Romani, homosexuals, communists, and other repressed groups by Nazi Germany during World War II. The Population Reduction is heavily based on the Holocaust.
- Tamil Holocaust, a mass murder in the backstory of Through Darkest Europe, which also seems to be based on the historical Holocaust.