|Second Great War|
|Part of Southern Victory series|
World Map with the participants in World War II.
The Entente depicted in red, the Central Powers in blue, the Japanese Empire in yellow, Chinese Empire in green and neutral countries in grey.
|Commanders and leaders|
| Jake Featherston †
Nathan Bedford Forrest III
Kirby Scott Telford
King Charles XI †
Emperor Francisco Jose II
Jose Maria Castillo
| Al Smith †
Charles W. LaFollette
Van der Grift
Abdul Majid II
The Settling Accounts tetralogy is an alternate history setting of World War II by Harry Turtledove in North America, presupposing that the Confederate States of America won the U.S. Civil War. It is part of the Southern Victory Series, following How Few Remain (set in the early 1880s) and trilogies Great War (World War I) and American Empire (interwar period). It takes the Southern Victory Series world from 1941 to 1944.
||This section's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (July 2009)|
At the beginning of Return Engagement, North America is a continent divided. Canada, minus the independent Republic of Quebec, is under U.S. occupation — which, as the Confederacy re-arms and the United States redeploy forces south to meet them, has come to mean occupation by U.S.-allied Québécois soldiers. To the south, Kentucky and Houston have recently been returned to the Confederacy by popular vote with Houston also rejoining Texas. However, Sequoyah — having been flooded by U.S. citizens, and its original Native American inhabitants outnumbered, has voted to stay in the United States, but other formerly Confederate territories occupied by the United States after the Great War remain unredeemed. In total, Virginia north of Fredericksburg has been annexed to West Virginia, a sliver of northeastern Arkansas is attached to Missouri, and a portion of northwestern Sonora (purchased by the Confederacy along with Chihuahua in 1881) is part of an oversized New Mexico that also contains the real-life state of Arizona. The United States also control the formerly British island territories of the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), Newfoundland, Bermuda and the Bahamas; Cuba, purchased by the Confederacy in the 1870s, remains Confederate.
On the international scale, the United Kingdom has reformed itself around conservative Prime Minister Winston Churchill and fascistic "silver shirts" led by Oswald Mosley. In the wake of another defeat by the hated Germans, the French Third Republic had collapsed under popular support for the hard-line Catholic and monarchistic Action Français around 1930 and is now under control of King Charles XI. Both countries are politically allied with the Confederacy, as are Japan (though it openly threatens Pacific European possessions) and Tsarist Russia (the Russian Revolution never occurred; as was mentioned in the American Empire series, the "Great Man" and the "Man of Steel" (Lenin and Stalin) were defeated and killed by loyal forces at Tsaritsyn, aka Stalingrad/Volgograd). The United States is allied with the German Empire, the Austro-Hungarian Empire and the Ottoman Empire, while Quebec stays neutral officially, but in fact continues to supply occupation soldiers to the United States for now-exclusively-English Canada. Ireland, with some material support from the United States, won its independence from Britain at the end of the Great War, but has now been invaded by British forces and exists in a state of guerilla war.
On June 22, 1941, Confederate dictator Jake Featherston launches the war with a bombing attack on all major U.S. cities within reach of the border, quickly followed by an invasion of Ohio from Kentucky. Despite fierce U.S. resistance, the country is cut in half, though both sides remain linked by (risky) shipping and the rail network in occupied Canada, though it is occasionally subject to sabotage by the Canadian resistance. Meanwhile, the Mormon population of Utah rebels against the United States with support from the CSA, and proclaims the State of Deseret, forcing the United States to send troops to try to put down the uprising. Meanwhile, Japan attacks the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii), sinking a U.S. carrier and threatening to capture the islands, and taking Midway Island, resulting in fierce naval and air battles. In Europe, fighting breaks out between Germany and Austria, allies of the U.S., and Britain, Russia, and France, allies of the CSA. Minor fighting also takes place between American and Russian troops in Alaska. As the war progresses, Featherston launches a campaign of genocide against the country's black population. Many blacks arm themselves with U.S. aid and begin a campaign of resistance. Both sides launch air raids on enemy cities, and Confederate aircraft manage to kill U.S. President Al Smith during a raid on Philadelphia when it damages the Powel House, forcing the inexperienced Charles W. La Follette to take office, and resulting in a massive retaliatory raid on Richmond which fails to kill Featherston. The United States attempts a counter-attack by invading Virginia, but the advance bogs down under heavy resistance. Futile U.S. attempts to capture the heavily defended city of Fredericksburg result in heavy losses. The stall allows the Confederates to concentrate their forces in Ohio and push into Pennsylvania, with the support of Mexican forces, committed by Emperor Francisco Jose at the demands of Featherston. However, U.S. forces manage to prevent the encirclement of Pittsburgh, forcing the Confederates into heavy street fighting, where their advance stalls. Meanwhile, two U.S. escort carriers reach Oahu, and the tide begins to turn, as the Americans hold the Sandwich Islands. In a climactic battle, a Japanese carrier guarding Midway is sunk and Midway Island is retaken.
Under the cover of an early November storm, U.S. forces launch an armored offensive, which quickly breaks through the Mexican units guarding the Confederate flanks. Joining with another salient moving out of West Virginia, the bulk of the invading Confederate army is encircled, and U.S. forces begin driving deeper into Confederate-occupied Ohio. An attempt by Confederate forces to reach Pittsburgh is stopped at Salem, and U.S. forces launch a number of incursions across Confederate territory, which prevents the Confederates from gathering enough troops to relieve their forces in Pittsburgh. One of the thrusts comes dangerously close to capturing a Confederate extermination camp and revealing its true purpose and its mass graves. Featherston refuses to allow his troops to fight their way out of Pittsburgh. Attempts to supply the besieged Confederates by air fail, and the remnants of the trapped Confederate army surrender, while Confederate control of Ohio crumbles.
On the European front, British, French, and Russian forces are gradually pushed back, as Irish and Serb rebels continue to attack their occupiers, and fighting between two sets of guerrillas supported by either sides continues in Ukraine. Meanwhile, U.S. forces push into Confederate territory. Kentucky and Tennessee fall first, followed by an advance into Georgia. At the Battle of Chattanooga, American forces land paratroopers atop Lookout Mountain and Missionary Ridge rather than fight their way up. The Confederates squander resources through a series of futile counter-attacks. Meanwhile, a black revolt takes place in Richmond. As the genocide of blacks continues at the Concentration Camp known as Camp Determination, U.S. forces push into Texas. As these troops are lacking in resources, Confederate forces manage to stall them long enough for the Camp guards to murder all the blacks. Meanwhile, both sides are seeking a nuclear bomb, and the Confederates try to stall the U.S. nuclear program by bombing the U.S. nuclear project site in Washington, to which the U.S. replies by bombing the Confederate nuclear research site in Virginia. Meanwhile, the Mormon rebellion in Utah is finally crushed, but a British-supported Canadian uprising against occupation authorities is fully active, forcing American units who had been previously fighting the Mormons to be transferred to Canada and hold it down. In Virginia, the ground fighting seems largely quiet as the Confederates are unable to attack U.S. forces as often due to heavy casualties. Fighting also takes place in other Confederate states the U.S. invades, and in Sequoyah (Oklahoma), with both sides sabotaging oil wells there. The U.S. also begins smuggling arms to a nascent rebellion in Confederate Cuba, recaptures Bermuda in a costly action, and increases activity in the South Atlantic to cut off food shipments from South America to Britain. The U.S. demands the CSA's unconditional surrender: the Confederates refuse and fire two long-range rockets into Philadelphia.
U.S. forces drive through the center of the CSA and cut it in half, while a second U.S. force drives through Virginia to capture Richmond, and eventually take it in heavy street fighting. With British aid, the Confederacy produces a fission bomb. Under the commands of Clarence Potter, Confederate troops dressed as their U.S. counterparts smuggle the bomb into Philadelphia and it detonates. However, this occurs on the outskirts of the city, and none of the government buildings are affected. The U.S. responds by bombing Newport News and Charleston. Six cities in Europe are also destroyed (Petrograd, Paris, London, Brighton, and Norwich) by Germany. The United Kingdom nukes Hamburg. After London, Brighton, and Norwich were nuked, Britain builds a second nuke. However, before the nuclear bomb could strike Germany (probably Berlin), it is shot down in German occupied Belgium, where it explodes harmlessly somewhere between Bruges and Ghent.
Germany and Austria eventually defeat their European adversaries and kill or overthrow their heads of state. Japan, having failed to capture the Sandwich Islands and Midway, begins contemplating betraying its British allies and invading their colonies. Texas declares independence from the Confederacy and arrests Camp Determination officials. Featherston attempts to escape to the deep South, but his plane is shot down, and he is killed by an anti-Confederate guerilla. Confederate Vice President Don Partridge then takes office, and agrees to unconditionally surrender to the United States. Before the war officially ends, some Confederate units continue to resist, but when the time to surrender comes, they peacefully lay down their arms. Top Confederate officials are arrested, tried, and most of them are executed. The Confederates involved in the murder of blacks are also extradited from Texas, tried for crimes against humanity, and hanged. Despite the surrender, small bands of Confederates continue to resist, and the United States responds to each attack by executing random civilians unless the perpetrators turn themselves in or are captured, and then executed. The U.S. dissolves the Confederate government after 83 years and places the country under indefinite military occupation. Kentucky, Tennessee, and Houston are readmitted into the Union shortly after the war is over. The remaining states in the now former Confederacy will probably readmitted into the United States later. The rebellions in Canada are also suppressed, and Texas is given independence and hosts U.S. troops on its soil.
- Settling Accounts: Return Engagement (2004) ; first book in the series and eighth in the overall timeline.
- Settling Accounts: Drive to the East (2005) ; second book in the series and ninth in the overall timeline.
- Settling Accounts: The Grapple (2006) ; third book in the series and tenth in the overall timeline.
- Settling Accounts: In at the Death (2007) ; fourth book in the series and eleventh and last in the overall timeline.