On May 29th 1929, the British electorate went to the ballot box to vote in a general election. Poverty was a major issue in the campaign, along with a sense that Britain was a nation in decline and the majority of people in the cities were looking to improve their lot. Labour Party leader John R Clynes, elected Party leader after the death of Ramsay Macdonald in a car accident a year previously, campaigned on ending poverty and creating a new, fairer Britain, based on a network of public works, alongside nationalisation of the coal industry and reorganization of the rail network.
This was opposed by Stanley Baldwins Conservative Government, who argued that Socialism was not the answer, that domestically a Protectionist approach should be adopted to British Companies to help stimulate trade and with regards to International trade every attempt should be made to enact Imperial Preference which was seen as a way of securing British Markets for the future.
Lloyd Georges Liberal Party, aware that they were heading for an electoral disaster, crushed between a Labour-Conservative juggernaut made a secret deal with the Labour Party similar to the deal which was enacted in 1911. Labour Candidates would not be given adequate support in seats in which the Liberals were close in terms of number of votes, and vice versa, it proved crucial.
The result was astounding for the Labour Party, who won a majority of 79. Even Conservative Chancellor of the Exchequer, Neville Chamberlain lost his seat, to the young but impressive Oswald Moseley. Five years after the first Labour Government, a minority Government fell. Labour ensured its first majority Government. John Clynes became the second Labour Prime Minister. Britain looked forward with anticipation to the future.
Sorting Out the personalities.
After the election victory, Clynes set about arranging his cabinet. He made four controversial decicions in setting up his cabinet, firstly his decision to merge the Air and War Ministrys to form a Ministry of Defence, alongside a new post of Defence Secretary. The former posts of Air and War Secretary would become non-Cabinet Ministerial Jobs under the Defence secretary. This was done for several reasons, firstly by merging the departments it was believed that it would lead to departmental savings and increase co-operation at ministerial level between the ministers, and that combined they could argue for international multilateral disarmament with a stronger voice than they could alone.
The second decision was to create a Welsh Office and a Northern Ireland Office, which were to work alongside the Home Office and the Scottish Office. The headquarters were to be in Cardiff and. It was made clear that this was a pre-cursor to future devolution plans. This was opposed by the Conservatives, who believed that such a move of not only creating a Welsh Office but basing it in Wales was detrimental to the Union. Lord Carson attacking "The Perfidious influence of Socialism, which not only gave succour to Irish Seperatism, but also seeks to destroy all that is pure about the Union of Great Britain."
The third was not only creating a post of Health Secretary, but appointing a woman to be the Health Secretary, fears of a radical Government inflicted the right.
Prime Minister :John Robert Clynes
Chancellor of the Exchequer: William Graham
Home Secretary:Phillip Snowden
Foriegn and Commonwealth Secretary: Arthur Henderson
Health Secretary: Margaret Bondfield
Dominion & Colonial Secretary:Jack Lawson
Employment and Labour Secretary:Sir Oswald Mosley
Defence Secretary:Arthur Greenwood
Scottish Secretary:William Adamson
Northern Ireland Secretary:Tom Johnston
Welsh Secretary: Vernon Hartshorn
Transport Secretary: George Lansbury
The first act put to the Commons by the Government was a plan to Nationalise the Health Service and create a new National Health Service. It had passed the Commons by August 3rd 1929, with Margaret Bondfield, the Health Secretary proclaiming
"No longer will the working poor of our nation suffer the indignity of suffering in silence, some without aid or succour unless they can somehow manage to get charity, here, at the heart of the worlds greatest Empire. It is our Governments intention that a new national health service be created under which; all Hospitals in the United Kingdom be brought under, all General Practitioners will become members, and dentistry will also fall under the scope of this new service.
Whilst the Government acknowledges the opposition from parts of the BMA, mainly through fear of loss of income, it is the way forward for the country. As a consession, GPs, dentists and other health service workers may continue to treat patients privately, should they so wish, and hospitals may be built privately, but it is our intention that the Health Service shall come into being by June next year."Opposition from the BMA was a case of understatement, they were furious that the plans were being pushed through so quickly, but with the Government being prepared to use the Parliament Act on the issue, there was no stopping it. On the 5th September 1929, the Bill Passed the Lords, helped on its way by the 100 peers created by Clynes on taking power, the National Health Service had now come into being.
On the 18th August, under pressure from his own side, Baldwin resigned as leader of the Conservative Party. From within the Magic Circle emerged Leo Amery. He immediately started off with staunch, albiet futile opposition to the Governments plans on health.
Amery was aware that the Government was planning round table discussions over India, and decided to act as the defender of Empire against the Socialist Hordes. He was aware that the Empire would his first chance to knock the government down. The tabloid paper the 'Daily Mirror' christened him "Imperial Leo".
Indian Round Table Talks/Amery crusades for the Empire/Changes
Talks began between the Government and representitives of the INC in London on the 10th of September 1929 and continued for much of the next month. During the talks, Arthur Henderson tried to moderate the INC demands, but privately conceeded that some form of internal home rule was a demand which should be met in some form if they were to come to a succesful conclusion. Clynes, under pressure from Amery was inclined to concentrate on the divisions within the Raj itself, and on this subject he was backed by most prominantly Mosley, but others within the Cabinet, exposing a split over policy on the subject.
Leo Amery was as good as his word in attacking the Government over the issue of Indian Seperatism as he viewed it, and in doing so rallied the press to his side, and with that as the backdrop, the talks were abandoned on the 25th September, with the reasons behind the failure reaching the leader of the Opposition in the form of a letter from Snowden to Clynes critising the failure and personally blaming Moseley, he made enormous Political Capital out of the subject, portraying the Government as "weak, divided and undecided."
Snowden resigned as Home Secretary over the letter, which damaged the image of the Government, claiming in his resignation speech that the Prime Minister was weak and easily influenced by Fleet Street.
Phillip Snowden was replaced by George Lansbury, with Moseley being moved to Transport, and Clement Attlee, the young, quiet but bright backbencher being brought in at Employment.
Despite the troubles, the Government carried on regardless into and through October, unaware of the financial storm which was about to erupt over the whole world.
The Aftermath of the 29' Wall Street Crash-The Remainder of 1929
The Cabinet met to discuss how best to deal with the aftermath of the Wall Street Crash. Shares across the board had collapsed in value, Sterling had gone into deflation, businesses across the board were going bust and unless something was done quickly the British Economy would collapse.
With the cabinet split over the issue the deciding vote came from the Prime Minister himself, who decided that Britain must remove itself from the Gold Standard, introduce tarrifs to protect British Business, and bring in strict price regulation and control, in an effort to stop the inflation this measure would undoubtedly bring.
In protest at a matter of economic policy this important going to the cabinet and the decision being one which the Chancellor disagreed with was too much. William Graham threatened to resign unless the policy desision went the other way. Clynes was unmovable on the issue, seeing this as a questioning of his authority. He accepted Grahams resignation and replaced him immediately with Mosley, with Tom Johnston moving to Transport and bringing James Henry Thomas being brought into the cabinet at Northern Ireland.
Amery, seeing the Government as being in disaray over the issue was screaming for an election, in addition to which Lloyd Georges Liberal Party was enjoying a resurgance after he printed an article in the Manchester Guardian stating his solution to the crisis.
Clynes called Moseley to number ten to discuss the matter. Mosley was surprisingly not too concerned about the Depression.
"Dont you see Prime Minister, the Price of the Privately owned Industries has bottomed out, we can fullfill out manifesto pledge, of nationalising the major industries, and bring people back into work, we may never have an opportunity like this again..."
1930 was a very busy year for the Government. The Railways were nationalised and turned into British Rail, the Bank of England was Nationalised, the Coal and Steel Industries were nationalised, with several pits and steel mills which had closed down after the Wall Street Crash being re-opened. In addition to all of this, plans for mass slum clearance, with the slums being replaced by electrified council houses with indoor toilets and plans were announced that Britain would be linked up by a series of Motorways, although the plans for this were in their infancy.
All of this cost a great deal of course, and Britains national debt began to rise, but the costs were kept down, mainly due to price freezes across the board, and increased spending, created by the jobs from the nationalised industries, a 5% cut in defence spending and various other measures. It was happening slowly but by the end of the year Britains economy started to grow again. Due to the rash of nationalizations, unemployement had been kept below one million for the second half of the year. Unemployment had peaked in December 1929 at two million. The people were grateful for the fact they were back in work, on this something was being done.
During the year talks over India were renewed with Arthur Henderson making progress on the issue. Gandhi had personally attended the talks and made clear his intention of an independent Indian State. Henderson made a social plea to Gandhi over the issue, pointing out the sectarianism which would appear within the Raj, should India become Independent. Gandhi made a stinging reply "Much as you do in Ireland Mr Henderson?" He went on to state that non-cooperation would continue until Independence, but softened when Henderson suggested a fully democratic Indian Assembly, with many powers over internal affairs, with Foreign and Defence matters being controlled from London, and an Imperial Central Bank being established to link the Indian and British Economies, to ensure the Rupee remained stable, if this was agreed, India could expect absolutely no trade barriers between the sub-continent and any off the other colonies or Great Britain, in effect giving India more influence within the Empire. The INC delegates delegates agreed in December to take the sum of the discussions away so they could discuss the matters further. Further talks were agreed for 1931.
Amery was furious at this, as he saw it as "The Government of the Greatest Nation, the head of the Greatest Empire in the world is being held to ransom by a bunch of colonials."The Government countered that an endto non-cooperation would help British trade more than nasty rhetoric.
In september the Nazis became the second largest Party in German elections.
Spain declared itself a Republic, the King abdicated and the Monarch moved into exile in France. The British recognised the new regime, and after the initial elections when the Socialists won power, Clynes made his first foriegn trip as Prime Minister, where he made a declaration of friendship between the Spanish Republic and Great Britain.
During this year the Government announced plans for slum clearance up and down Britain. To gain the labour to achieve the task a National Service for Public Works Commitee was established, and 250,000 fit unemployed, men would build the new council houses. The exsisting properties would be bought via complusory purchase, and only if the owner lived in the property would they be allowed to own the replacement house(even this was a consession).
This was a major scheme, but was seen as a way to build a more modern Britain. It was agreed that all the future council houses would be electrified and have indoor toilet/bathrooms, the scheme would raise more than one million people out of relative poverty.
Amery was again angry at this scheme, as it violated as he saw it the right of property to be owned by the individual, and promised to reverse the scheme should he enter Downing Street. The Lords rejected the scheme twice, but in November it was passed by the Parliament Act and the first demolition happened in the Gorbals area of Glasgow on the 12th December.
In addition to all of this, a new motor car company was set up "The Puma Company", although being independent, with serious government support(the government owned 40% of the shares)it copied the production line model used by Ford in America, and offered the people cheap cars which could be pre-ordered on HP. Due to the backing and heavy advertising, two million orders were placed throughout the year.
The INC stated they would consider the plans, and remain within the Empire on a conditional basis, that
1)India is given full Dominion Status.
2)Free Trade and movement would be given to India throughout the Empire.
3)That should an Imperial Central Bank be created, that India, along with each of the other dominions and the UK be given one representitve on its board.
Aware that the INC was split over this and some considered total independence a total non negotiable issue, the Government decided to defer the decision to a Commonwealth and Empire Heads of Government meeting in November in London. Talks were ongoing and continued into the new year.
During 1932 the BBC made its first television broadcast, a medium dismissed by the PM as a "gimmick which will never catch on". The Nazis also became the largest party in Germany, albiet still in opposition. Clynes covertly arranged MI6 to infiltrate the Nazi Party to find out what type of Government the Nazis would offer. The Nazis leader, Adolf Hitlers book Mein Kampf had hardly been encouraging.
The Imperial HOG Conference was forced into major comprimises amidst splits in the British Government about the issue of free trade, principally due to the fact Britain had nationalised industries. By March the Free Trade agreement was in place but with some major exclusions. It covered all foodstuffs entering or leaving the individual colonies or dominions of the Empire, it included linen and material goods, and interestingly defence contracts. At the same time the Imperial and Commonwealth Central Bank was established. India was offered something short of full dominion status, and as a result the INC peaceful protests continued.
At the 1932 Summer Olympics, Great Britain finished seventh in the medal table, winning seven gold medals. The performance was seen as below what the nation should expect.
In August, a defence review was carried out. Its conclusions were hardly heartwarming. It concluded that whilst the RN was still a match for any fleet in the world, if two great powers united, then Great Britain would be isolated.
It also stated that the size of the army was too small given the responsibilities of both the Empire and the defence of the home islands, and that all three branches of the Armed Services should be both reformed and increased in number, in the case of the Army, doubled. The Defence Secretary Greenwood sat on the report, under orders from the Prime Minister.
In November Mosley, who was on holiday in Kenya visiting Lord Erroll, was caught by reporter making love to Alice de Janzé, a divorcee American millionairess and member of the notorious Happy Valley Set. As both were single, the story was blown out of all proportions, but it made the front pages of all the Tabloid Papers, and attracted condemnation from the churches, who attacked Mosleys morality. The scandal was rode out by the government, who looked forward to the new year with vigour.
The year began with Adolf Hitler becoming Chancellor of Germany. Within three months the Reichstag had burned down, civil liberties were abolished and the Chancellor became the dictator of Germany.
Clynes began the year in the knowledge that he was going to call an election within five months. The cabinet were aware of it, and due to press leaks, so were the general populace. He was confident that the government would gain four to five more years, and continue the building of a fairer, as he saw it, Britain.
The last act of the government in 1933 was to pass a bill creating a company, autonomous of, but part of the BBC. It was called BBC Television Sales, and its goal was to sell Television sets to the general populace. Its production line followed much the same pattern of the Puma Car Company, and created 10,000 jobs in Birmingham.
The election campaign began in earnest, when in March, the Government released its manifesto, which included several bills of note.
-Dominion Status for India.
-To build a Motorway Network throughout Britain.
-To create a new nationalised British Airways.
-To promote universal disarmament.
-To support a Government based unemployment benefit.
-To nationalise Shipbuilding.
-Home Rule for England, Scotland and Wales(long standing commitment, not priority)
The Conservatives manifesto was radically different.
-To allow tenants of the new council houses to buy them off of the Government.
-To continue the Governments scheme of house building, but offer the housing stock to private companies.
-To Increase Defence Spending.
-To Privatise the Steel and Coal Industries.
-To Promote Imperial Preference.
-Maintain Indias current status.
-Tax Cuts on offer.
The Liberals offered comprimise.
-To maintain the NHS, but to reform it.
-To continue the house building scheme.
-To Privatise the steel industry.
-Dominion status for India
-Imperial Preference backed.
-Create a new deal for the unemployed, whereby the unemployed recieve skills and training, alongside a small benifit.
The Election took place on Thursday May 11th 1933. The Labour Vote went up from 41% to 45%, but it did not help them. The vote went up throughout the country, wheras the Conservative and Liberal vote went up in individual regions. Without the agreement of the Liberals the majority vanished.
Labour 300 Seats
Conservative 210 Seats.(inc Ulster Unionist)
Liberal 112 Seats
Irish Nationalist 2 Seats
Other 1 Seat
After one months talks Labour went into a coalition Government with the Liberals. As Part of the Deal Lloyd George became Deputy Prime Minister/Foriegn Secretary and Herbert Samuel became the Defence Secretary. Moseley lost his seat to Neville Chamberlain, who regained his position in Parliament. Clement Attlee became Chancellor.
As part of the deal Labour agreed to scrap the plans for further nationalisation, the Liberals agreed to scrap their plans to privatise the steel industry. As part of the deal, Imperial Preference was also on board.
In August yet another Imperial HoG meeting was held, under which Lloyd George managed to reach an agreement with the colonies and Dominions. As part of the deal, free trade and movement of all goods and peoples would be encouraged throughout the Empire, and all non-Imperial trade would be placed through the Imperial Trade Comittee, which would set regulations for the whole Empire. In return for this, the Dominions agreed that they would station more troops throughout the Empire.
Amery, in public, railed against the perfidious Lib-Labery which is now controlling the Country, but in private was pleased that the slide to a command economy, whilst not turned back, had been halted.
A compomise deal with regards to the benifit/new deal policy was reached, whereby the unemployed had the skills training, but only after they had been out of work for three months.
In October the Motorway building scheme began. Britains unemployment rate fell below half a million.
In November, relations were strained between Britain and Italy, after evidence became clear of the Italian Ambassador aquiring stolen top secret Defence Documents from Whitehall. He was recalled by Rome, and Defence Spending became a new priority for the Government.
Clynes accepted an invitation from Hitler to visit Germany in January, he also agreed to visit France on the way.
Clynes met with Hitler in Munich on January 15th. Hitler discussed with Clynes, the German desire to regain territory lost during the Great War, under which Germans made up a majority of the population. Clynes on this issue was inclined to disagree with the German Chancellor. He stated that if German Citizens wished to be German, then all they need do is move to Germany and furthermore any act by the German Government would be seen as an act of war, which all parties wished to avoid after the bloodshed of the last conflict. The British PM then made his annoyance at Hitlers decision at the start of the year, to pull out of the League of Nations clear. With no deal being agreed on armaments, the talks broke down. On his visit to Paris he conveyed this news to Edouard Daldier.
After arriving back in Britain, Clynes went to Swansea to make a speech on the National Health Service. The speech went down well, it closed with the statement "Its your Health Service, you have worked for it, and we have worked for you. Together we can make it work" Clynes decided to go out by the front door, where a crowd had appeared to see him off. As he got to the front door, a shot rang out. Clynes fell to the ground. He was killed instantly. The culprit took cyanide straight after taking the shot from a handgun, it was an Indian Nationalist, who had visited Britain with the express purpose of killing the prime minister for not yet giving india dominion status.
There was a public outcry about the incident, but despite the INC condemming it, Amery used this as further proof that "India is not ready, that they have underestimated the British Will."
John Robert Clynes recieved almost a state funeral, crowds thronged the streets. A phrase "in death there is life" rang true as talks over the sucsession began almost straight away. For a month, David Lloyd George effectively held the post of PM once more.
After a tight leadership election that lasted a month, on the 23rd March, Clement Attlee became the Prime Minister, considered the compomise candidate. Sir Oswald Mosley was returned to Parliament in Clynes old seat. Moseley returned to his old position as Chancellor.
Attlee altered the Labour portion of the Cabinet, dumping the old faces and bringing in the new. At Health was Herbert Morrison, at Northern Ireland was Ernest Bevin. Margaret Bondfield was made Lady Bondfield and made Lord Chancellor, the first woman to hold the post ever, and James Henry Thomas was simply moved back to the backbenches.
In August Hitler became the German Fuhrer after the death of President Hindenberg when he combined the posts of President and Chancellor. He travelled to Italy shortly after where, alongside Mussolini, el Duce, he signed the Milan Agreement. Italy and Germany became allies, and promised trade between the two nations would continue from one, even if the other is blockaded.
Attlee saw this as a direct threat to British security, and in response made a visit to Paris, the Poles, the Austrians and the Czechs were also invited and after much discussion, a common defence treaty was signed, whereby if one of the nations was invaded/another power declared war on it, then war would be declared against all of the powers. This was seen as the best defence against war. Both the Liberals and the Labour Party were divided over the move, but it went ahead anyway.
Lloyd George went to the Imperial HoG in Pretoria, and agreed a similar treaty with the dominions, which extended to the treaty signatories in Paris. If Italy or Germany invaded any one of the European Nations it would mean war.
In November Edward the Price of Wales was spotted with Wallis Simpson, an American married woman. Attlee managed to keep the press quiet, but the royal was to be watched from now on by special Branch.
Mussolini announced plans at the start of December for recreating the Roman Empire. Whatever this meant was anyones guess. Throughout the year the defence budget rose by 20% and by the end of the year, the British Armed Forces were on a status of High Alert.
The year began with Europe back in its position of armed camps opposing each other. Hitler denounced re-armament and began rearming Germany. Mussolini was openly making proclamations about a new Roman Empire to dominate the meditaranian. France had stepped up the construction of the Maginot line, and Britain began in earnest rebuilding its armed forces.
One measure of the Imperial & Commonwealth Free Trade Area(ICFTA)was that with British Government backing, two new shipyards were built in Mombassa, their aim was to build ships for the Royal Navy. Colonials were at the same time encouraged to join various Imperial Regiments.
Italy, being in the League of Nations was critisised openly for its claims of future colonial possesions. Accusing the British and French of hypocrisy on the subject, in April Italy withdrew.
An Italian build up began at various Italian Ports in June. In August the reason became clear. Italy invaded Ethiopia. The League Immediately called for the Italians to withdraw, after the Italians refused, both Britain and France declared war on Italy. Within days, Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa(despite protests) followed.
Hitler declared neutrality, then reoccupied the Rhineland. In the midst of the crisis, neither the British or the French did anything to stop him.
The Italians managed to take most of the country within the month. Within weeks the Royal and French fleets controlled the med. Declaring themselves the victors of Ethiopia, the Italians offered a negotiated peace. Britain and France refused the offer.
By October the Franco-British Invasion of Ethiopia began, Italian troops were too spread out in static defensive positions, which were picked off by the allies one by one. After two months of fighting, on December 12th the Italians were forced to surrender, despite Rome ordering them not to. Heile Selassie I was returned to his throne.
London and Paris offered Italy the troops back as part of a peace deal at this point. Mussolini refused, stating the Anglo-French aggressors will be forced from Italian territory. On December 22nd the Royal Navy ship the HMS Ajax was sunk in the med by an Italian Submarine. To defeat Mussolini the allies would have to invade Italy.
On January 20th King George V died. Edward is declared King Edward VIII, and as such requested a meeting with Clement Attlee. At the meeting he announced his intention to mary the American Wallis Simpson, as soon as she had got a divorce. Attlee was aware that this would cause problems in Edwards capacity as head of the Anglican Church, as well as creating ripples throughout society. As such he promised to take it to the cabinet, and also that he would get in touch with the Dominions over the issue. Edward was unhappy over this, but accepted.
On 26th January, the French Army made an assault into Italy, albiet a minor one, being halted on the 2nd Febuary on the outskirts of Genoa. On 10th Febuary a large Anglo-French Force landed in Sicily, by the end of the month controlling Messina, with the British Army marching through the town to the skirl of the bagpipes.
On the 26th Febuary the Popular Front won the Spanish General Elections. On the 27th Febuary Hitler made a speech, demanding that a plebecsite be held in Austria, over whether the country should be returned to the Reich, threatening war should this demand be turned down. With the majority of the French and British Armies in Italy, the allies were in no position to bargain, so accepted. The Referndum was set for the 20th April, Hitlers birthday.
By the end of March, the French Army had captured Genoa and Turin, and had pushed east, capturing Bologna. The British and French on April Fools Day landed in Southern Italy, near the town of Reggio. Casualties in the landing were high, but the landing was sucsessful. Italy was effectively doomed.
On 15th April, the Facsist Grand Council met in Rome and voted that Mussolini be sacked as Prime Minister of Italy. The King confirmed this. Immediately Italy sued for peace and on the 19th April an Armistice was declared.
Mussolini, who was made aware of the meeting before it took place managed to escape to Germany, where he decried the "traitors who betrayed Italy"
On the 21st April, Austria joined the Reich, after 57% of the populace voted to join. The referendum campaign was swung by the backing of the Catholic Church, who were wooed by the Nazis during the Campaign.
At the begining of May, border skirmishes were reported on the Finnish-Soviet border.
On 2nd July, Edward VIII began a tour of the Mediteranian on his yacht with Wallis Simpson, who had been divorced three days earlier. The tour stopped off in Monaco, Greece, Yugoslavia and also included a meeting with British Troops in Italy. News of his affair became internationally renouned, with the exception of Great Britain, where the press kept quiet. He was greeted in Venice by the locals, who shouted not for the King alone, but for his love. Edwards confidence grew. He was besotted.
By mid July, Atlee made Edward aware that the majority of the cabinet, and the Dominion Governments were against the marriage, Edward refused to accept this, and a solution was offered by a Conservative, Winston Churchill. He proposed a Morganatic Marriage, whereby Edward would legally marry Ms Simpson, but she would legally not become queen. Edward proposed the solution to Attlee. He communicated the proposals to the Prime Ministers of each of the Dominions. The British Establishment were bitterly divided over the subject. Some simply out of a dislike of the King, who had thrown away many of his fathers traditions.
In August nationalist forces under General Franco attempted a coup against the Government. The Spanish Civil War began. The French and British Navies provided an arms embargo on the country, envoking a right to search any ship heading towards a Spanish Port.
Also in August, the King envoked further anger from the Establishment, by refusing to invite the Archbishop of Canterbury to Balmoral, whilst inviting Ms Smimpson and a couple of American Movie Stars. This was the first August this had been refused since before Victoria. The Duke and Duchess of York remedied the situation, by inviting him themselves, but this caused friction within the Royal Family, with the King feeling his position had been undermined. The feeling of a rival court was in the air.
In September a new Italian Constitution was agreed, with Facsist and Communist parties being barred, at the end of the month a democratic Italian election took place.
The proposal of a morganatic marriage was agreed by New Zealand and Canada, and opposed by Australia, with South Africa remaining neutral. An agreement was reached though, that should Westminster vote for it, public reaction would be tested. The vote took place on 26th September, with it passing the Commons by a vote of 341-198. It got rejected by the Lords however, showing the Establishment as being against it. Twice more the Government voted it through, forcing the bill through by using the Parliament Act. The Establishment of Britain was at war with itself though, although words, rather than guns were used.
In December, Hitler demanded back the Sudetenland. A conference was called of Great Britain, France and Germany. It was to be held in Berlin, to begin on the 12th January 1937.
On Boxing Day, it was announced that the King would marry Ms Simpson.
Last edited by FletcherofSaltoun; March 5th, 2008 at 07:53 AM..
Another January, another conference in Germany, only this time it was over the Sudetenland. Attlee travelled to the Reich Chancellory with the dual purposes of avoiding another war, so shortly after the conflict with Italy, and defending the Czechs territorial integrity, or at least stopping the Germans from attaining them.
After the Conference ended, a deal was struck, despite the Germans privately grumbling taht should Germans want to be Germans let them, but wary of the western democracies comparative strength, they were forced to accept.
The terms were thus.
1)A Referendum of the population of the Sudetenland would occur at the same time as the Czechoslovak General Election, and not before.
2)A Majority in favour of returning to Germany would be required, in addition to
3)Most MPs in the Sudetenland would be Nazis.
Should the Germans attempt to force point one, the agreement would be rendered invalid. Should the majority vote to join the Reich, but most MPs were from parties other than the Nazis, the Sudetenland would pass into League of Nations trust. Should all conditions be met, theSudetenland would join Germany. Should none of the conditions be met then the Sudetenland would remain Czech. Attlee returned to London, hailed as the peacemaker.
In Febuary at the annual Foriegn Ministers of the Empire meeting, the Dominions reached an agreement over the wedding of Edward and Wallis Simpson. On valentines day, the date for the wedding was announced as 12th May.
At the begining of March, a Government white paper was set out, giving the poor extra funding to go to university. It would come in the form of a grant, at the same level as the work squads building the motorways. It would be means tested to assure the worst off benifited.
In the early hours of the 7th April, news reached Downing Street that Hitler was helping Franco and the Nationalist Forces in Spain. Covertly in response the British started arming the Republicans, in an effort to prolong the war. There was a fear of Communism in Spain, but the alternative of a state allied to Hitler was seen as worse. It was now in the Britains interests to keep Spain in a state of Civil War.
On the lead up to May 12th, BBC Television Sales had their greatest period since their creation. The Kings marriage was the first ever to be televised, and was watched by some eight million people up and down the nation. Wallis was made the Duchess of York, and looked radiant. For once, love had won through.
During June, at the behest of the Liberals, an Institute of Adult Education was founded. Its goals were to give workers training in everything from Degree Level academic subjects to learning new trades and skills. All in their spare time. Offices were opened in every major British City. Degrees could be gained through the institute. Its goal was to help give more people addition skills to open up the jobs market even further.
In July, as part of the Imperial Common Market deal, a new shipyard was opened in Mombassa, to be funded by the Government and run by Harland and Wolfe.
Also in July, Japan invaded China under a spurious pretext. The British Government remained neutral, out of fear of a lack of manpower, despite the strength of the Royal Navy in the region.
Despite this the Japanese Government recieved a terrible press, both in Britain and throughout the Empire. Clement Attlee and Lloyd George had made up their minds though. The Empire stayed out of it.
It was opened with the aim of helping develop Britains strength in East Africa, and for more secret reasons that the Intelligence Services had now indicated the Clyde
Shipyards could now be bombed by the Luftwaffe, with only the RAF in defence. Strikes were held in shipyards throughout Britain as a consequence, and were only halted after Government assurances that no jobs were to be cut in British Shipyards.
Throughout the year Wales shocked the nation by winning every match in the Home International Football Championships, beating England 4-0 on the way to victory at Wembley. Fred Perry won Wimbledon for the fourth succesive year.
On September 14th the Foriegn Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister, Lloyd George had a heart attack. Despite his doctor advising him to resign, he vowed to carry on.
At the end of the month, a white paper was published on giving India Dominion Status.
On October 12th, the top secret MoD Operation Icarus met with a setback, when Frank Whittles jet prototype crashed in the Australian Outback. Despite this it was ordered it would carry on.
At the begining of November Mosley cut tax on defence researchers, in response to intelligence reports that said, with the exception of in the air, the British were falling behind the Germans.
At the Start of December an Imperial HoG meeting met in Edinburgh. Discussions on bringing the Empire closer together. An new agreement over Imperial Trade was backed bythe Dominions and Britain unanimously.
It stated that a level of taxation be levied from income tax, to subsidise further the costs of the merchant fleets.
Thus the year drew to an end.
Early in the year the Republican Army retook Madrid, having fallen earlier to Francos forces. A secret agreement was struck between the Republican President, Diego Martinez Barrio and the British Government. In it he pledged that Spain would remain a democracy once the war was won, albiet a Republic. It was vital though that this inormation never got out, as his ally in the fight, the Spanish Communists would split from the main Republican force, handing victory to Franco. What Barrio never knew was that the head of the Spanish Communists, Jose Diaz, had signed a similar deal with the Soviets.
At the end of the month in Berlin, Hitlers new model armed forces were paraded through the streets to celebrate five years of the Nazis being in power. It was remarked by the French ambassador in private as being a scary experience, simply due to the size of the parade, and the knowledge that France and Germanycould soon be at war.
Throughout Febuary Leo Amery made a tour of Britain. It was shameless electioneering, but the fact that he was seen to be mixing with the public went down well. He openly pledged to cut taxes, and give the people the chance to buy their homes. He repeated on several occasions the slogan "Every Englishmans home is his castle." Moseley was said to have replied in private "Every Englishmans slum dwelling is a disgrace" the argument went to the press, most of whom were split on the issue.
On 12th March Lloyd George died of another heart attack. The Liberal leadership went up for grabs and was won by a Scot, Archibald Sinclair in a narrow victory over Herbert Samuel.
Soon after an election was called for Thursday May 5th 1938.
The Conservatives fought on a platform of strengthening further the ties of the Imperial Free Trade Area, bringing in National Service, in an effort to counter the growing military strength of the United States, allowing people to buy their council houses and a gradual privatisation of the Steel and Coal works, with the workers being allowed to buy shares before the general public at a reduced rate, and bringing in share save schemes for employees in such instances.
The Labour Party fought on a campaign which highlighted the Governments successes in improving living conditions, reducing unemployment and giving adults a chance for a second education. They argued for a radical change in education, in a bid to improve British educational standards and again, devolution to all parts of the United Kingdom, not just Northern Ireland. Another point argued for was Indian Dominion Status.
The Liberals campaign argued that the succeses of the Government had been more profound in areas such as Puma and BBC Television Sales, and they would transfer the Nationalised industries under such a scheme with the exception of the NHS, which would remain as it was. They also argued for Dominion Status for India.
Throughout the campaign, the Conservatives were confident, principally due to the positive feedback they were getting from the public on the council house issue, but Labour were also confident seeing as Attlee had seen of Mussolini, secured, as it seemed peace with Germany and the fact that unemployment was so low.
On the morning of May 6th 1938, the Conservative Party woke up to one of its greatest dissapointments in modern times. Labour was returned with a majority of 21 seats. Amery resigned as leader of the Conserative Party, and was replaced by Winston Churchill. The Liberals were squeezed, returning only 20 members. Labour had two members elected in Northern Ireland.
Between June and July, at the Imperial HoG meeting, a further strengthening of the ties of Empire was agreed upon. It was agreed that an Imperial Assembly be established to sit in London. All Dominions were to gain two appointed Seats, and all Colonies one. Britain was as such treated as a dominion. The assemblies duty would be to vote on the appointment of the governor of the Imperial Central Bank and Trade Commisioner. It would also vote on matters such as trade deals negotiated by the Trade commisioner.
As part of its remit it was explicitly stated that Defence matters, foriegn policy and fiscal policy would remain the rights of the Dominion, colonial and British Governments for Perpetuity.
In August, Attlee himself announced the shake up of British Education, bringing in the Compehensive School education for all pupils, at both primary and secondry level, between the ages of 5-16. The Government argued that a better education system was needed for the new economy.
As part of a seperate bill, introduced later in the same month, it was announced that 200 further education colleges would be created in the United Kingdom, in a bid to improve the skills of Britons.
September began with a Czecholslovak general election, in which the Sudetenland voted to return to Germany, and the Nazis won the most seats, by one, in the region. Attlees gamble that he could create a barrier between Germany and the Czechs, whilst increasing British influence in the area had not paid off. The Sudetenland returned to Germany.
In October, Clement Attlee made a state visit to Washington DC, to meet the US President, Frankin Roosevelt, in a bid to smooth relations with Washington over the issue of the Imperial Free Trade Area. Attlee told Roosevelt that America had nothing to worry about by the closer links of the Empire, but Roosevelt was not convinced, and told the Prime Minister so.
During the month, the German Ambssador to Paris was shot by a homeless jew.
At the start of November in the Australian outback, a jet flew across the sky, at speeds of up to 500 miles per hour. Whittles research had paid off. Still in secret, the results were sent back to the MoD in Whitehall.
On the 9-10th November, anti-jewish activity on a great scale occured within Germany. It was treated with revulsion throughout Britain. As a result, the Government passed a bill allowing unrestricted Jewish Immigration to the Colonies of Kenya, Rhodesia and British South West Africa.
At the begining of December Parliament debated dominion status for India. Churchill was elequent in his opposition to such a move, and Attlee as passionate in favour. The Commons voted yes, but at the same time, the Lords voted no. The issue would have to be voted on again in the new year, with, if nessecary, the Parliament Act being used.
January was one of the worst months since the the Labour Party took office. It began with a secret document, prepared by the civil service in 1934, which attacked the premise of both having an Imperial Common Market and at the same time Nationalised industries, advising that one or the other needed to be dropped being leaked. The Conservatives seized upon it, which damaged the Government, this was compounded by the news that in the previous financial quarter, the British Economy contracted for the first time in two consecutive quarters since Labours first term. Despite this, the Government vowed to carry on with their spending commitments.
Also in January it was announced that 800 newly named Falcon Jet Fighters would be equiped to RAF Fighter Command during the year. At the same time, it was announced that a new plane, with similar speed and durability to the hurricane, would be deployed to the Royal Navys Aircraft Carriers. Germany doubled its budget for creating a German jet.
Febuary began with the French and the British announcing a formal alliance, which stated that any agressive action against a European Power would lead to both nations declaring war on that power.
During the month, the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Sir Oswald Mosley got married, controversially, to Diana Mitford, a controversial choice given, both her and her sisters views on Germany and Nazism. It was rumoured that they had been seeing each other for years, as long ago as just after the death of his first wife in 1930. These were denied. The popular press railed against Nazi Sypathisers in bed with the British Government.
By March, the Nationalist forces of Franco had been defeated, pushed back to the north western city of Corruna, surrounded on all sides. They faced the choice of a bloody spectacle of destruction, or surrender. On 16th March they chose surrender. Franco, as part of the surrender went into exile in Portugal. Almost immediately, splits began to appear between the democratic and communist sides of the republican side of the struggle. A conference was called for 1st-20th May to decide what form of constitution Spain should have.
During the month, Attlee made a further visit to Roosevelt, in a bid to bring the USA into the Franco-British alliance, Roosevelt politely declined.
On 2nd April, Germany signed an alliance with Hungary and Rumania, with the secret aim of a war against the Poles and Czechs, with the two smaller states promised trade concessions, and the support of the German Government.
At the end of April the new British Foriegn Secretary, Herbert Morrison visited the Soviet Union, in an effort to improve relations. This went down poorly in Poland, with talk of betrayal in the air in the Polish Press, Europe was turning into a tinderbox.
During May an greement was made over Indian Dominion Status. It was decided, with the backing of the Lords after several amendments, that in ten years India would be given Dominion Status. It was agreed that India, as a transitional colony, should be given the two seats of a dominion in the Imperial Assembly, and that after Dominion Status was granted, the King would remain Emperor of India, and rather than be called a dominion, it should be called the Empire of India, although the Viceroy would be elected by majority vote in the Indian Legeslative Council.
In China, chinese forces won the battle of Nanchang on May 8th.
On the 15th May, the Communists walked out of the arrangements over the Constitution. A second Spanish Civil War erupted.
In August three Labour MPs died, and in all cases a Conservative was elected in the by-elections.
On September 12th, after a year of disapointment, Attlee was challenged for the Labour Party leadership by Ernest Bevin, he accepted, in the hope that it would silence his critics and by the end of the month, Attlee was defeated. Ernest Bevin became the new Prime Minister.
At the begining of October, Hitler had decided upon an unusual strategy. He wanted land in the east, but was being blocked by the powers in the west. He decided that should he take out France before invading the Eastern States, in the belief that Poland and Czechoslovakia were too weak to invade Germany, then he would gain the element of surprise and hopefully at the same time knock the British out of the conflict. That would leave the only great power in his path as being the Soviet Union. The invasion plans were set for the spring.
On November 4th Britains first motorway, between London and Birmingham opened. Five other such motorways were expected to be completed within the year. The moderisation continued apace.
The year closed with Britains growth rate growing modestly, and as such the earlier contraction of the economy was written off by Bevin as a minor occurance. The nation looked forward to 1940.
On 12th January, an agreement was reached between Germany and Great Britain. Between April and August, 50,000 German Jews would be moved to British South West Africa and Kenya. It was agreed that Germany would pay the travel costs, and that as a condition, any assets still in the hands of the jews would be kept for the travel, to help the British fund their new lives. The agreement was severely controversial, drawing critisism from all quarters. When Parliament voted on the matter on 15th Febuary, it was backed by one vote 300-299.
Hitler sent a telegram to the French minister of War between 10th-15th April inviting him to view large scale exercises planned by the German Armed Forces across the country. The minister accepted.
On 14th Febuary, the Spanish Communists surrendered. Spain became a democratic republic.
During Febuary, Italy announced that in any European conflict, it would remain neutral. This was taken as no surprise by any of the European powers, given Italys relative weakness.
Diana Mosley made the front page of the tabloids at the start of March, after she was caught praising Hitler and the Nazi regime. Doubts as to Mosleys loyalty began to arise, which increased after he made a passionate anti-war speech in Liverpool at the end of the month, quoting the US President Roosevelt, who had stated in the same month that America had no desire to get involved in Europe, stating he believed the same was true for Britain.
The French minister of war, Louis Maurinn visited Hamburg on the 10th April to witness the Luftwaffe at work. He was heard to remark how many soldiers there were. He was about to find out why.
At 3am on the morning of 11th April 1940 Germany invaded both France and the Netherlands. Within a week the Netherlands had surrendered. The French Army moved in to meet the Germans in Belgium. The Germans then attacked through the Ardennes. The French never realised the German strategy until it was too late. The Germans reached Calais by the 16th May. The RAF had sent 100 Falcons to France to confront the Luftwaffe, and they did well, destroying 5 German Aircraft for every Falcon downed, but numerically, there were just not enough of them. Britain by this point contributed 50,000 troops to the Battle of France, but whilst by the 17th June, the BEF was defending St.Malo, Paris fell.
On the 18th June, the French Government asked the British Government if they would accept France pulling out of the war, the British declined. The BEF, under hail of gunfire, realising the battle was lost pulled out to the Channel Islands. 10,000 Prisoners were taken. France broke the alliance and sued for peace. France, who had defeated Italy in a year, had fallen in just over two months. Hitler was viewed almost as a godlike persona within the reich.
The position of the French Fleet now became vital. After a narrow vote, the Cabinet voted to sink it in port. As such, the fleet air arm, flying from British Aircraft Carriers attacked the French Fleet in port at Marseille and Oran. This caused shock throughout France, that an ally of one day should do this, but it was done in the knowledge that Britain itself would be threatened should the French fleet fall into British hands.
On 21st June an agreement was announced. A puppet Government would be set up, with(suposedly) control over all affairs in Southern France, and control over all non-military affairs in Northern France. The Germans started building an atlantic wall to prevent the British from attacking. The British, who still had a great number of troops on the Channel Islands, started building permenant defences on the Islands.
At the start of July, Oswald Mosley was forced to resign as Chancellor, after he was quoted under the influence of alcohol stating the war was the fault of the jews.
Over the skies of Britain throughout August the Luftwaffe attempted to destroy the RAF, but the superior Falcon jets told the difference, and after three weeks of suffering losses at a rate of 7:1 the Germans stopped.
On 21st July, the great ideological enemies, Germany and the Soviet Union signed a pact, as part of it the Soviets agreed to the German invasion of Poland, on the condition that Russia got eastern poland, and the Germans turning a blind eye to the Soviets invading the Baltic states. On 27th July, Germany invaded Czechoslovakia, and as a result Poland declared war on Germany. By the start of September, Germany was the master of the majority of both nations.
More bad news for the British occured in August, when news filtered through of German plans to invade Norway through Denmark, to secure the Iron Ore supplies of the Reich.
The British warned the Norwegians and started mining the Norwegian Fjords, but Germany invaded, through Norway before the month was out. Denmark fell without a fight, the King escaping to London to continue the fight, Norway was for with determination by the British, who sent 70,000 troops to the country, as opposed to the 100,000 Germans, but as has been the case throughout history, courage and determination are not always enough. Norway surrendered on the 3rd October. As a result of everything before him, Bevin resigned.
Labour called for a coalition national government to cope with the crisis, and by the end of October they had one. Attlee returned as Prime Minister. Churchill became the Foriegn Secretary, Amery the Colonial Secretary.
The year ended with some cheer for the British, as the German battleships the Bismark, the Graf Spree and the Tirpitz were all destroyed in three seperate engagements. The Bismark by the bomb a sea hurricane. The Graf Spree by a torpedo and the Tirpitz in an encounter off of the Shetland Islands, where it tried to slip past the Hood, the Glasgow and the Gloucester.
The Nazis controlled most of Europe. The British were isolated. The situation was grim.
German-Jewish Immigration to the African Colonies 36-40
On January 21st, food rationing began in the United Kingdom due to convoys being attacked by German submarines.
The Royal Navy increased escorts throughout the year, and German codes were being deciphered by the team at Bletchley Park, but the issue of German Submarine attack remained an issue. Canada increased its help via naval patrols, but the USA initially, wary of being dragged into the actual fighting, did not help out with patrols. This changed in May, where Churchill managed to get a concession on the issue from the US, and the Americans agreed to patrol merchant vessels under the American flag as far as New Foundland. Losses were reduced as a result, but the fear remained in Britain of the Island being starved into submission.
At the end of January, in society, an event shocked the Empire. Sir Jock Delves Broughton, who was one of the richest men in the Empire, went on trial for the murder of Josslyn Erroll, Baron Kilmarnock, who was fourth in line to be King of Scotland in Nairobi. Broughton was found innocent, but it was rumoured that MI6 were involved.
In March, under Attlees instruction, on the recomendation of his research advisors, secretly announced that Britains atomic bomb project would be industrialised. 6,000 Phyisicists and technicions from around the Empire decended on the Australian outback, and with an Australian Army regiment defending them, they began seriously planning on Britains atomic bomb.
In Germany in May, using a captured Falcon as a role model, the Germans managed to produce their first jet fighter. It was entitled the Heinkel he 250. In June, the British created the first ever Jet Bomber, which was entitled the Thunder Bomber.
In Soviet Russia, Stalin doubled the rate of production on creating a Soviet Jet.
In June, Hitler offered the British Empire peace on a basis that stated neither side could defeat the other, and prolonged fighting was pointless. He stated that he would recognise the British Empire, and not ask for any consessions, on the grounds that the British ask for none in Europe. The offer was made public. The British declined the offer.
October 20th was a bleak day for Britain. The Ark Royal was sunk by a U boat west of the straits of Gibraltar. 400 men lost their lives.
Also throughout the year, the Jews of Europe were moved to factories in the Reich, or to Ghettos in Poland, to work as slave labourers. For them the situation throughout the year got gradually worse.
In slow movements over the year the Germans increased production, and moved troops to the east. Stalin refused to believe British warnings that an invasion was coming. Hitler was now of the opinion that 1942 would be the year Britain would be forced to sue for peace and he would achieve everything he wanted.
It was noted that the Hungarian and Rumanian armies were strengthening and preparing for war.
December 7th 1941. Japan attacked the US Navy in an attack at Pearl Harbor, after repeated calls to end the US oil embargo. It also declared war on Britain. America entered the war. The next day Hitler, in the belief that this would be a chance to destroy the convoys whilst under US protection, declared war on America.
The stalemate was about to be broken.
Japan was pushing south through Malaya. During the opening encounters, it was noted by the British that the Japanese forces were using tanks. As a result, and as the British had no other active theatre at the time, 100 tanks were provided from Australia and Africa, alongside by 15th January 200,000 troops, mainly ANZACS. It was noted with pride of the speed of the deployment.
The Japanese were defeated for the first time at the Australian defence of Johore, where the allies held the province, despite heavy losses. As a result, Singapore was saved, and the Allies started to push out. For the first time since war was declared, it was ordered that Church bells be rung throughout Britain in celebration.
In Febuary, the first death camp was established in Poland, near the town of Treblinka. The Nazis used poison gas to kill their intended victims. Conditions worsened in the various Ghettos in Poland. Any remaining full jews left in Germany were transported to the Ghettos, many starved. The Nazis had not yet decided what to do with part jews.
On 14th March, Germany invaded Russia. The news came as a shock to Stalin, who had ignoreed British warnings of an impending assault, in the belief that the British were lying.
On 15th April, the British along with the Free French, landed in Algiers. Despite initial resistance, which shocked De Gualle, the Algiers fell. A Free French Government was established there.
On 12th May, Minsk fell to the Nazis. Kiev was on the verge of being captured, and Riga had fallen. The Russians were attmpting to resist, but in the main were unprepared, mislead and in general being slaughtered.
On 24th May, after German Army group centre was moved south by Hitler, Kiev fell. 750,000 Soviet Soldiers were taken prisoner.
On June 1st, Finland signed a treaty of mutual friendship with the Reich. As a result, the Soviet Union declared war on Finland.
Due to this, 40,000 German Troops were shipped to Finland in a bid to defend Finland, and hopefully head north and take Murmansk. By the end of July, the Nazis had repelled the Soviet asault in Finland, German Panzers were rolling towards the Arctic Port.
In July the biggest Naval Battle of the war took place. A US force defeated the Carrier force of Japan at Midway. US Forces started moving across the pacific.
On August 3rd, Bangkok was captured by the Commonwealth Expeditionary Force. A mainly British force then pushed out through Burma, supported by RAF Falcons and Thunder Bombers, giving them complete air supremacy in the region.
By mid August, German forces surrounded Moscow. By mid-September they had captured the city. Stalin, who had refused to leave had shot himself after a desperate bid to save the city by calling in reserves from the East. They had not arrived in time. On August 28th, in the South Germany captured Rostov.
Nikita Kruschev replaced Stalin, immediately called for all Soviet units to be moved East. It seemed at this point, as if Hitler had effectively won the war in Europe. This idea was even further confounded, when starved and dazed, on September 29th, Leningrad fell.
By mid-October, the Soviets had developed their own jet fighter, based on British Plans, and designs. It was developed, and to be built, in the east.
By mid-November, Most of European Russia had fallen to the Nazis. The winter halted their advance. By December 1st, over a million Soviet Soldiers were waiting, most of them east of the Ural Mountains, some of them in the city of Stalingrad in the South, which was right on the frontline, and which had still not fallen, they were fully equipped and preparing for the counter attack.
The year closed with Germany developing its first jet bomber. The British awaited the expected Blitz which would ensue.
The Salisbury,the Rhodesian Tank Factory was completed in January. By March, 20 Tanks a month were being created there. The tanks were to be shipped to India, and then, via Afghanistan sent to the Soviets. In Mombassa, a supply ship was built every three days. The African colonies were being industrialised on the back of the war.
On Febuary 3rd London was bombed heavily, with heavy casualties. The RAF responded in kind the following night, bombing Berlin. To both Britain and Germany, the war had come home. Throughout the year, both nations responded in kind.
On March 14th, 20,000 British, American and Free French troops landed on the coast of Corsica. This was in addition to 10,000 paratroopers. Within a fortnight the Island fell. Charles De Gaulle walked through the streets of Bastia. Germany as a result occupied Southern France. Over the next month, 100,000 mainly American troops landed on the Island. The Anglo-American force came closer still to an invasion of the continent.
On 17th March, the Germans attacked Stalingrad, attempting to crush the city. After a month, the Soviets moved yet further East, but only after burning the city.
By April, the Royal Navy controlled the Coral Sea. After this, the Japanese Campaign became an issue of Island hopping.
On 20th April, Hitlers birthday, the Soviet Army had its first major offensive of the war, with the help of the British, the Americans and their own industry east of the Urals, the attack centring on the town of Kazan. Over the following fortnight they pushed west, and by mayday, they controlled as far west as Gorki. As the fighting continued in the North, Zhukov sent half his force south, which when on 3rd June, they reached Rostov, led to 800,000 members of the Wehrmaht to be captured. The assault was halted after this after a strict defence of Moscow by the Germans. The Eastern Front moved slightly west throughout the rest of the year, but the Nazis were unable to push the Russians back to the Urals.
On the 15th June, a large American and a small British force, landed in Southern France, by the 1st July, after heavy fighting, capturing Marseille. Within a month, despite heavy German resistance, the allies started to push into France.
On 1st August, the Allies moved into Avingon. After a month, the town was mere rubble, but had not fallen. 27,000 Allied Troops had died there. 40,000 Germans had fallen in the town. A static front began to appear across France.
This was changed in mid-october, when the Allies, under the command of General Patton, broke past Toulouse. The British under Montgomory moved towards Bordoux, the Americans headed for Limoges.
On October 12th, Avingon fell to the Allies. The Americans pushed north. At the end of November it looked like France would be back in allied hands.
Despite horrendous weather, on 12th December Paris was liberated. The battle of France had been costly, with over 150,000 British and American casualties, and 200,000 germans. Hitler acted, waited for spring, and moved a million troops to the front, in a bid to push the anglo-american force back into the sea.
At this point, Kruschev, aware that the western front would seem very dangerous to the Germans at this point, moreso than the east, contacted Hitler through the Soviet Ambassador in Tokyo
Hitler viewed any Nazi-Soviet peace deal as temporary, but given the Anglo-Saxon forces to the west looked increasingly powerful, and cities all over Germany were getting blown to bits every single day by both the RAF and the USAF, a deal in the east made sence. Once he had dealt with the British and the Americans, he would turn east once more. He was viewed as the victor throughout Germany and his hero status increased.
On January 18th, a peace deal was signed in Tokyo by the German and Soviet Ambassadors, on behalf of their governments. As a result the Germans moved west, but made serious gains. The Soviet Union ceded the Baltic States, the Ukraine and Belarus. Along the border, patrolled by neutral powers, there would be a five mile wide demilitarized zone.
Kruschev moved into the Kremlin, aimed to rebuild Soviet military strength, and awaited the British and Americans to push into Germany(he still expected an allied victory), after which he would invade the territory ceded to the Nazis and declare all previous gains Soviet territory. Fear was abundant in both London and Wahington DC.
By April, just over one and a half million German Soldiers had moved into western Germany along with most German Armour. On May 2nd, the German Assault on France, and the occupied area of Belgium began. By May 15th the American Army had inflicted upon it, the most humiliating defeat in its history. The Commonwealth and US forces were split and surrounded in a circle which centred on Amiens, General Bradley, along with a quarter of a million troops, were forced to surrender. British, French and American attempts to break the circle were futile. As before, the Germans raced for the channel ports. They were held by Montgomery at Havre, whilst Patton attempted to break the German lines and trap Rommels force in Dieppe. In this he failed.
The Wehrmact continued its push, and despite allied superiority(note not supremacy)the push could not be halted. On July 2nd, Paris fell and Attlee decided to evacuate the British Army from France once more. This went down poorly with the Americans and French, but if France was to fall, if the British Army was there, Britain would fall too. By 12th July 400,000 British Soldiers were evacuated. On the 13th, Havre fell. The popular press hailed the evacuation as "the miracle of Havre" this could not disguise the fact it was a defeat.
By mid-August, the US and Free French were forced back to Marseille. Supplies and troops, British, Canadian, American and others were supplied to the city. The Allied command had decided, Marseille must not fall.
On September 3rd, a force of ANZACS and US soldiers took the island of iwo jima despite heavy casualties. Bombing raids on Japan could now commence.
On October 15th in the Australian Outback it was estimated that within ten months, Britain would have an Atom Bomb.
By December Marseille had not fallen. Over sixty thousand soldiers of both sides had died, and the city was nicknamed by the allies as "bomb alley" given the number of air raids from both sides on the port, but it had not fallen.
More importantly, over a quarter of a million allied troops, of all nationalities had assembled on Corsica. The offensive was planned for the new year, but defeat would not be an option.
The year began with a shock for the British, after a German Rocket landed on a house in Ipswich. No warning was given. It was estimated that the rocket had travelled at four times the speed of sound. Unlike the predecesor, the V1, which was easily picked out by RAF Falcon mkVII fighters, the rocket, hailed by Goebbels as the V2, was unstoppable. Within days German production, principally in the Ukraine out of reach of the RAF and USAF started churning out V2 rockets in large quantities.
On January 23rd, General Bradley ordered a retreat from Marseille, on the grounds that victory was now not possible and the Germans would still be pinned down due to the number of troops on Corsica. By the time the retreat was complete on Febuary 3rd, 128,928 Allied Soldiers had died in the defence and subsequent defeat in Marseille. 153,535 German Soldiers lost their lives in the struggle. Church bells rang out in Germany, in London and Washington questions were asked. In Parliament calls were made for Attlee to resign, but events took over to overshadow this.
On Febuary 5th 1945, Franklin Rossevelt died. He was replaced by Harry Truman, who declared that he would end this war.
On Febuary 12th, the USA agreed to give Britain a five billion dollar loan, to continue the war, interest free. This was well recieved in Britain. Secretly though as a result of this, Britain agreed to share its atomic secrets with America.
By Febuary 14th, the Japanese Air Force, which was technically inferior, had been destroyed by the allied air forces. On valentines day, a raid was made by the RAF, the USAF and the RAAF, which flattened Tokyo. The Japanese were called upon to surrender. These calls were ignored.
On March 1st, Germany secretly increased the budget of its atomic bomb project. A Soviet Spy passed the information to Moscow, and as a result, the Soviet Bomb project went into overdrive.
By midmay the last half jews had left germany, and had been sent east, either to work on the V2 rockets as slave labour, or to be exterminated.
On August 15th, the first ever atomic bomb exploded in the USA. America had the bomb. Harry Truman made a statement to the Governments of Germany and Japan. Surrender or be destroyed. Both Governments ignored the warning. It was decided, due to the air supremacy over Japan, that the Japanese would be the first victims of the Atom Bomb.
On August 24th 1945 at 9:03:23 sm the first Atomic Bomb exploded over the city of Yokohama. Japan was warned, surrender or we will use it again. The same warning went out to Germany.
Hitler immediately ordered that all 703 V2 rockets be armed with sarin nerve gas. They would be pointed at London. Should the US drop an atom bomb on Germany, Germany would destroy London as a centre of population. The threat was made public.
On August 27th, having had no reply from Tokyo, a further Atomic Bomb went off over Osaka. Within hours, Japan surrendered.
Europe resembled a stand off in a western. The British and the Americans had the superior weapon, but if they used it, London would be decimated. As a result the bomb was not dropped. An uneasy situation developed over Europe.
Attlee was aware that given the situation, victory was not possible, but neither was defeat discussed the options with Truman. Truman decided on a conference of all the major powers involved, in Rome. The Nazis agreed to this, and as such, on October 1st, all the major powers met in Rome to discuss a ceasefire. A temporary ceacefire would remain in place until the end of the conference.
After just under a month, an agreement was reached. The Germans made concessions on Western Europe and the allies accepted the Germans gains in the East.
In the Terms some points were.
1)Germany renounces all claims on any colonies within the British Empire.
2)France shall be divided into two zones. The northern one shall be under the jurisdiction of the current government(the nazi puppet regime) and shall be demilitarised. The South, from Lake Geneva to Bordeax shall be under a democratic Government, but again, demilitarised.
3)All German gains in the east are accepted by the allied powers.
The consessions on France were large, but the Germans were willing to cede, as long as the British and the Americans ackwnoledged their gains in the east.
Truman was greeted as a hero for the deal, and was treated as a peacemaker. For Attlee though, who had promised victory at all costs, the reaction was mixed. World War II ended on October 30th 1945.
As a secret part of the deal, a new League of Nations was founded. It was to sit on the banks of Lake Geneva in Switzerland. All the powers were to be members. A Security Council was also founded, under which there were to be five permanant members; Britain, the USA, China, the Soviet Union, and Nazi Germany.
On December 15th, it was agreed that the Conservatives leave the Government, and that new elections would be held in the new year. The Cold War had begun.
The year opened with an Imperial HOG meeting, with discussions on how to bring the Empire forward into the post war world. One of the decisions, at the behest of India and supported by South Africa, was that the name was officially changed. The British Empire officially became the Commonwealth on January 22nd 1946.
The following day, Attlee called a General Election for Thursday Febuary 22nd 1946. Within days, all the major parties had their campaign plans in place.
-Continue the proccess of nationalisation.
-Rebuild Housing and Factories destroyed by the Germans.
-End Rationing by the end of 1947.
-A British Atom Bomb to be built.
-Home Rule to all within the United Kingdom.
-To end national sevice within first five years of a new Labour Government.
-Reform of the House of Lords to a fully elected chamber.
-Gradually Privatise Mining and Steel Industries.
-Maintain a strong defence for Britain, including building a british atom bomb.
-Sell Government shares in the Puma car company and rebuild British production with the shares.
-To promote private business by lowering business taxation.
-To support the Commonwealth by promoting closer ties.
-To sell Council Housing to tenants who have been resident for five years, and build new council housing for those made homeless by the German air assault.
-Maintain National Service.
-Opposed Home Rule.
-A support of Home Rule to all and introducing PR to British Government.
-Sell half Governments shares in Puma Car Company to pay for council housing programme.
-Oppose British Atomic Bomb on grounds of fear of proliferation.
-Backing Dominion Status for all colonies.
The election came and saw a change of Government, although by the narrowest of margins. On Febuary 22nd Winston Churchill became Prime Minister, with a majority of 4. Attlee resigned his leadership of the Labour Party, who opted for youth with Hugh Gaitskill, the Employment Secretary under the previous Government becoming leader of the opposition. The Liberals had their worst ever result, ending up with 14 MPs.
On March 2nd it was announced that a British Atom Bomb had exploded in Australia. Britain had the Bomb.
In March Churchill made a visit to Washington seeking a grant to help the British stay afloat in the post-war world. He did so after a Treasury Document outlined the options avaliable. Within a fortnight he gained the agreement of Truman to a $3.8 Billion dollar loan at interest free rates. He did so, convincing the Americans that if Britain collapsed, the whole of Europe would collapse to totalitarian government.
In April, Charles de Gaulle was elected the first President of the French Republic. Its capital being in Bordeax. Petain remained head of state in the State of France in the North. All French overseas territories supported the Republic.
In may, the Government put to Parliament a bill, intending to end Government involvement in the Puma Car Company. The result was a general strike. Five Tory MPs abstained, and as a result the Government was defeated. The unions had prevailed.
Churchill, who was aware that this was a serious challenge to his authority called another vote, this time compromising on Government influence, selling 75% of Government shares instead of all the shares. This was enough to gain Liberal backing. The strikers returned to the picket lines, but the vote passed. On July 4th, the bill passed Parliament. Half of the Governments shares went onto the open market. Of the shares, half were snapped up by Rolls Royce, and half by the new Jaguar car company, formerly SS Cars.
On August 12th the Spanish Republic, Southern France, Italy, Yugoslavia, Albania and Greece signed the Mediterranian Economic Charter, founding the Mediteranian Economic Community, a body which was modelled on the Commonwealth.
On August 15th, it was announced that the 1948 Olympics would be held in London. Who would take part was not, as yet decided.
By mid-September, terrorism in Palastine was slowly getting out of control. This was mainly as a result of Jewish residents wishing a state of Israel. Churchill made a declaration on September 24th that "Britain will not waver in our responsibilities".
In October in Berlin, work began on an "Arch of Triumph". The very fact that the previous war, from British eyes, was a stalemate caused much mocking in London. The Daily Mirror ran a now famous cartoon lampooning the arch. The wording below ran. Triumphant(exept in Britain, America, Australia, South Africa, Southern France etc. etc.)
On November 12th, a new Commonwealth Passport was established, whereby any Commonwealth citizen would be able to apply and gain a Commonwealth Passport, allow them free access and the rights of any member nation.
On November 23rd, on the last day Parliament was open in 1946, the Government passed the Council House bill, which enabled tenants the right to buy their council house. It passed by a majority of one.
Rationing was still in place as the year drew to a close, but in general the nation was recovering.
In January two Conservative MPs died in one of the worst winters on record. In both by-elections, despite the weather, they went ahead, Labour won. The Conservative Partys majority was on the verge of being extinguished.
Despite this, Churchill decided it was not the time for being a coward, so he pressed ahead for plans to privatise the Coal and Steel Industries. The pivotal vote to privatise the Coal Industry was coming on Febuary 17th. As a result, the NUM went on strike. The weather, combined with the strike caused chaos.
Against this backdrop of industrial unrest the vote went ahead. It failed by one vote, 300-299 and this being despite it being a three line whip. Gaitskill immediately demanded a vote of no confidence in the Government. Churchill, deciding that the Government without the majority, with such plans, had effectively lost the power to govern called an election for 20th March on the basis of who governs Britain? The Conservatives or the Trade Unions?
When the question is asked by a Government who governs? The answer is likely to be not you. This was the case for the 1947 election. With the main parties giving virtually the same manifestos for the '47 election as they did for the '46 election, the Conservatives were defeated. Hugh Gaitskill became Prime Minister with a majority of 20. This despite the fact Churchills Tories gained 7,000 more votes than Labour throughout the UK.
Churchill was advised to resign, and on July 1st, he heeded the advise and quit.The magic circle wanted a safe pair of hands so appointed Rab Butler as the new leader of the Conservative Party.
In Berlin, work began on building a Great Dome, in Moscow later in the same month, work began on the worlds tallest building, which was intended for housing.
Gaitskill opened a conference on the future of Palastine on May 15th. All the groups having met, the Jewish settlers demanded a Jewish homeland. The Palastinans were openly hostile. Gaitskill tried to mediate, without much success. During the month of May, 12 British Soldiers were killed by Jewish Terrorists in Palastine.
In China, with the common enemy, the Japanese gone, a civil war erupted between the Nationalists and the Communists. The US sent troops to support the Nationalists, The Soviets sent aid to the Communists, which was out of proportion to what they really could give.
By mid-July an explosion happened over Siberia. In an event which totally surprised all the other powers, the Soviet Union had got the bomb. It was rumoured that there was a mole in British Intelligence. In top secret on the order of the Prime Minister, Kim Philby, an MI6 agent was sent to uncover the mole.
In September, the Government announced plans to give home rule to all parts of the union in the advancing democracy white paper. In it England would be given nine regional assemblies, Scotland would be given one, as would wales with Northern Ireland retaining the Ulster Parliament in Stormont.
It passed the Commons by mid-October, only to be amended by the Lords to such an extent, that the Commons rejected the amendments and went to put it to the Lords again, but this could not happen until the new year.
By November the public were becoming angry with the Government due to the fact that two years after the war was finished, rationing was still in place, this combined with the Government refusing to meet pay demands from the miners, the NUM went on strike again.
The last act passed by Parliamrent was a more positive one though. It created a National Sports Institute, with ten centres based throughout Britain. It was hoped that the Sports Institute could help Britain compete with the biggest nations on earth.
On December 23rd, the Commonwealth signed a trade deal with the Mediterranian Economic Community which gave trade concessions on a number of items. The Government divided the nation. The Commonwealth, throughout Britain and the Dominons was seen as making advances.
The year began with a British Rail strike over pay, which continued for a week until the Government agreed upon a compromise with the railway workers.
In Febuary the Government announced its plans to create a federal Britain once more. It was seen as a way of stopping the Conservatives from breaking up the nationalised industries, and as it was on the manifesto(and every maifesto since Labour were elected in 1929...)it was seen as being a legitamate bill to pass.
The bill passed the Lords on March 14th. Within a year Britain would have twelve regional assemblies, nine in England, one in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland.
In April, Rab Butler called the Shadow Cabinet together. In it he announced that it was his intention that the Conservatives use control over any of the Assemblies to push for Privatisation, and as such end the Socialist vision of Britain once and for all.
Also in April, prior to devolution, the Government announced that all future council house sales would stop, although they would acknowledge any sales which had commenced.
In May Germany got the Atom Bomb.
In football, Blackpool won the FA Cup, Man City the English league, whilst in Scotland Rangers won the double. England won the Home Internationals.
The Olympics were held in London, with Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union staying out. America won the most golds, followed by Britain. The Netherlands competed, despite their fascist government and won 4 golds. The talk of the games was that after they finished, two of the dutch medalists claimed, and got assylum in Britain.
In June a crisis occured in Malaya, where Communist rebels threatened to overthrow the Government. A Commonwealth force managed to stop them in a very succesful police action by mid-October.
Throughout the year, the USA and Nazi Germany met in an uncomfortable alliance in giving money and support to the nationalist forces in China. This, whilst being roundly critisised by many in America was seen as an act of realpolitik, where if the US did not fund the nationalists, then the Communists would get in and a dictator was alright as long as he was on your side.
Any hopes of an alliance ended in November however, when the former Nazi Spymaster Wilhelm Canaris escaped to London and announced the story of the Holocaust publicly. Within days, both Britain and America cut off all trade relations with the Reich. Fear of war gripped all nations.
In December, de Gaulle made the situation worse, by announcing that the French Republic had a right to a national army, and he would put the issue to the people of Southern France in a referendum(largely to gain the idea it was a democratic ideal)Northern France responded by stating that if Southern France were to build a military then so would they. Britain, being fearful of this started funding the no campaign in southern france. The referendum was to happen on January 23rd.
Rationing continued into the new year...
The Referndum in Southern France said yes. As a result, the de Gaulle Government started spending money on creating a French Defence Force. In retaliation, the State of France began building up an Army of its own. Germany, out of fear of a war with Britain, refused to move troops into Northern France. The situation remained tense, and got worse, when on Febuary 3rd, the Northern French sealed the border, alarmed at the amount of people who had escaped to Southern France.
The Chinese Nationalists were now losing the Chinese Civil War. On the side of the Chinese Communist Party were 100,000 Soviet Red Army Soldiers. The US contemplated sending GIs to China, but backed down, due to a fear of a nuclear war in the case of a direct confrontation with the Soviets.
Britain and the US were fully aware of the situation, and how bad it would look if it came out they knew about the Holocaust, demanded the Jews be handed over to the safety of the Democratic Powers , Germany, unwilling to admit to the camps, and in the knowledge that most of the Jews were dead, made a concilliatory offer to the west, in the hope that it would thaw relations. They offered both the Commonwealth and America, any Jews still hidden in Germany or German Occupied Europe. This in ideological terms, got rid of the Jews for the Nazis and enabled them to continue to deny the Consentration and Death Camps. 7,000 Jews left Europe for the States and Canada, 3,000 headed for Britain. It was not many, but they had survived.
On March 18th, India gained full Dominion status within the Commonwealth. The celebrations continued until the early hours in Delhi, Calcutta and the rest of the officially styled "Empire of All India".
On March 23rd, Leo Amery became the new Commonwealth Trade Representitive, elected by the Commonwealth Assembly.
On 24th March, the United Party won an overall majority in the South African General Election.
In Jerusalem, the trouble got out of hand on April Fools Day, after Jewish Terrorists attacked a British Convoy passing through. 8 British Soldiers Died. It was decided that talks would open between all parties.
In Parliament about this time, Gaitskill was coming under pressure from his own backbenches to follow through with his policy commitment of ending national service. Given British responsibilities, he could not do it. The Party started to Grow restless.
On Thursday May 5th, Britains first ever Regional and National Assembly Elections were held. It was not a good night for the Labour Party.
The Elections were thus.
On August 2nd, Wilhelm Canaris was found shot dead inside a safe house in Kensington. Fear of a European War reached new heights.
The Commonwealth Assembly passed a controversial bill in September, which announced a 20% sales tax would be raised on all items from now on. This would pay for aid to the poorer members of the Commonwealth. There were speeches in Parliament against such a move, but Gaitskill, under the belief it would help the poor, backed the scheme. It Passed Parliament in November. Sections of both the Conservatives and Labour Parties opposed the move, and a Commonwealth-Sceptic mind set upon several members, although it was in the minority.
The Conference between the Jews and the British reached conclusion on December 2nd. It was agreed that there should be a state of Israel. A boundary commision started drawing up the boundaries. The British prepared to pull out of Palastine. The Palastinians, furious over, what they saw was a British betrayal of the mandate rioted in the streets for days. Effegies of Gaitskill were burned in Bethlehem. The British, though couldnt prevent the move, as jews were moving to Palastine on Commonwealth Passports in great numbers. The scenes were undignified.
At the end of the year, it was announced that the Government hoped rationing would end by August 1950.
January 15th 1950 was an important day in the Middle East. The boundary commision agreed upon the boundaries and the State of Israel was born. The Soviet Union and Nazi Germany refused to recognise the state. There were riots throughout the region, with effegies of Gaitskill being burned in every city. The British base at Port Said was attacked by Arab Terrorists, the Prime Minister announced that 20,000 extra soldiers were being sent to the region, principally to defend the canal zone against terrorism.
Early in the year in Parliament, the Government proposed a bill to create a minnimum wage. By July it passed the Lords. In the Conservative held Regional Assemblies, bills to allow council house sales were passed en masse. Rab Butler attempted to paint Gaitskill as someone who was denying the British people basic freedoms. Gaitskill countered by publicly stating that Council Housing belonged to the people, and to sell it off would be to help destroy Britains welfare state.
The Chinese Civil War continued throughout the year, without success.
In August a Commonwealth HoG meeting was held, the agenda being set by the Commonwealth Assembly. In it the growth of the African Colonies was praised, and aid to end African and Indian poverty was discussed. As a result, it was agreed a Motorway would be built between Cairo and Johanesberg, and an agreement of neutrality of the Commonwealth Countries in the Chinese Civil War was agreed. This despite India being unhappy with this.
In Marseille, de Gaulle was present as a parade of 30,000 French soldiers and foreign legionairres. In the north Northern French Prime Minister Joseph Darnand decried Gaullist agression.
On September 2nd, Germany secretly started moving Nuclear Missiles to Northern France at the request of Darnand in a bid to protect the Northern French regime. Due to the British Intelligence Network having cracked German Intelligence wide open, the British were aware of this, and gained evidence.
On the 3rd, Britain stated that should the missiles be made ready and not removed Britain would take it as an act of war from Germany, breaking the deal which ended the world war.
On the 4th, the German Embassy in London started burning documents, the United States advised its citizens to leave Britain, there was a run on the pound, war seemed immenent.
Gaitskill was under pressure from the RAF, with Sir Arthur Harris determined to bomb the missile sites. There were no guarentees that all missiles would be destroyed.
On the 5th in the League of Nations in Geneva von Ribbentrop denied any Nazi nuclear missiles exsisted. Herbert Morrison showed the evidence. The Security Council voted in its entirety, with the exception of Germany to back the British proposal that the Nazi missiles be removed.
On the 6th Gaitskill, in secret correspondence with Hitler made the German Dictator an offer, remove the missiles and the British would remove the Nuclear Bombers from the British Base in Northern Italy. He did this with the knowledge, which Hitler never had, that the USAF was due to open an Airbase in Northern Italy, on which Nuclear Weapons would be in place. Hitler had been conned.
The deal was to remain secret though, as Gaitskill feared knowledge of the deal would bring down the British Government, and the Americans would not be able to open their base.
On the 7th Hitler accepted the deal. Armageddon was avoided, Gaitskill was hailed throughout Britain as a major international leader.
A Communist rising began on November in Korea, President Truman announced that 10,000 GIs were to be sent to keep the peace and maintain the regime.
On December 12th, the Berlin Treaty Organization was founded with Germany, Finland, Norway, the Netherlands, Belgium, The State of France, Rumania, Slovakia and Hungary as its founder members. German Military Control over a large section of Europe solidified.
By the end of January, Chinese Nationalist Forces were being pushed off of the Chinese mainland. The Communists had won the war. On Febuary 2nd, a Communist Revolutionary Government was established in China. The Soviet Soldiers, arms and support had tipped the balance.
In Korea in Febuary, President Truman announced that US troop levels were to be increased to 100,000. The Communists were winning, and what with the Chinese Civil War being over, he feared aid from the Chinese Government.
Also in Febuary was a Commonwealth HoG meeting. It was called to discuss the discord in the Middle East. Between them, the United Kingdom, Australia, Canada and South Africa agreed to increase troop levels in Egypt, and non-Israeli Palastine to 100,000. It was hoped that the extra manpower on the ground could maintain stability.
On March 3rd, The United States, Canada and Great Britain signed the Western Treaty Organization, cementing a formal alliance. It was agreed that as a result, a Treaty Intelligence Committee would be established. It would mean that all intelligence gathered by the three powers would be shared.
On 12th March, in expectation of a clear victory after the French Crisis, Hugh Gaitskill called a General Election for April 12th.
The Manifestos were clearly divided, Labours being noted for a lack of new ideas.
-Promote closer ties with the Commonwealth.
-Expand the minnimum wage.
-Create a National Technology Institute, whereby invention and technology were to be encouraged.
-Buy back the sold off shares from the Puma Car Company.
-Nationalise the shipping companies.
-Reform the House of Lords.
-Extend the holiday time alloted to British Workers.
-Decrease Defence Budget by 2% over five years.
-End Rationing within the year, and keep word about it.
-Bring Mines back under the control of Westminster.
-End Price Regulation wherever possible.
-Privatise British Rail.
-"Encourage" the Regional Assemblies to give Council houe tenants the right to sell.
-Increase Defence Budget over the period of a Conservative Government.
-Privatise Merchant Shipping.
-Back strengthening Commonwealth Common Market.
-Privatise BBC Television Sales.
-Create a Commonwealth Group in the Country, giving people the chance to help in the colonies.
-Opposed to the Western Treaty Orginization.
-Reform the Lords.
On April 12th, the Conservatives won with a majority of 76. Rab Butler became the new Prime Minister. By July, the Mines were in the control of Westminster. Butler at this point, secretly ordered the power station depots to start stock-piling coal.
On August 9th, a bill passed through Parliament, reversing the governments nationalisation of the merchant fleet, ignoring the strike action that became of it. Days later at the budget, the Chancellor cut income tax and ended price regulation on all foodstuffs and white goods. At the same budget, it was also announced that regions which did not earn income from Council House Sales would be deprived of a small percentage of their budget. It was called in the popular press the "Sales Bonus."
Rationing, as promised by the previous administration, was ended by the end of August.
On September 14th, Butler himself announced to Parliament that it was the Governments intention to Privatise the British Coal Mines and place them under the control of a new British and Commonwealth Coal Company. The miners went on strike. The Government were ready for a fight. Harold Macmillan resigned from the government in protest.
In October, a Communist rising occured in Afghanistan. Indian and British soldiers were sent to quell it. They would still be there at the end of the year.
In November, South Africa became the focus of the Commonwealth, after the South African Prime Minister, Jan Smuts was killed. Shot by a fanatical supporter of the Nationalist Party. Opinion in South Africa rallied behind the Government.
On 2nd December in Australia, Labor won the Australian General Election. Two days later, the King visited. Crowds thronged the streets in a visit which is still talked of in Australia today.
The year closed with an announcement from President Truiman that it was his intention yto visit London.
The miners strike continued into the new year.
On January 16th the coal power stations began to run out of coal. The Home Secretary Kenneth Pickthorn was forced in the House to announce emergency measures including a four day working week. The Prime Minister announced that coal would be imported from the Commonwealth, and that the army would deliver the coal to the power stations. The dockers threatened to go on strike should the coal be delivered. Butler as a result used the army to do the dockers work as well. Despite the fact this led to the army being overstretched, He announced that he would not give in.
By Febuary, the removal of price regulations had led to an increase in prices, countered by a rise in interest rates, whilst wages had remained stationary. Mining families in the north, on strike pay, were now close to starvation. The Labour Party and the Trade Unions had by now resorted to sending food parcels from ordinary members in the non affected areas to help out. In sympathy with what they viewed as just proletariat concerns, the Soviet Union also sent food parcels.
Unemployment reached over one and a half million for the first time since the early thirties on Febuary 16th. Amidst this President Truman visited London. Butler and Truman discussed Korea, Truman insisting Butler send British Troops there. After the meeting was over, Butler agreed to send 10,000 British Soldiers to Korea.
On March 23rd, in the Commons, the Government announced new Trade Union legislation in a bid to end the strike. The legislation had the following information;
-All strikes must be voted for by the individual membership of a Trade Union.
-After the vote, there will be a 30 day cooling off period.
-After the cooling off period, there would be another vote.
-Should this second vote be succesful a strike would be permitted.
-During the strike, if it lasts more than 30 days another vote should be held to ensure the workforce still want to strike.
-All employees of Government defence contractors will be banned from being a member of a Trade Union.
-Firms will have the right to deny employees to form Trade Unions.
There was uproar on the opposition benches at this move, but it passed the Commons and Lords by the end of April. By this time, the Strike had ended.
On March 25th, the Unions, battered and broken, were forced to give in. The British and Commonweath Coal Company was founded. Within six months, twelve pits had closed.
On May 2nd, Hermann Goering died of a heart attack, in the western press it was speculated that it was a drugs overdose. This was fervently denied in the Reich.
During July, British Rail was privatised and turned into several rail companies, with the rail network under the control of a national company. The unions, being broken, could do nothing to stop the move.
In Scottish Football, there was a shock, when the small part-time team East Fife won the Scottish Cup.
In Germany it was announced that a German Space Programme was to be established over the next year. It was hoped that by 1960 an Aryan soldier of the Reich would be the first person in space. During the year, the Soviets and Americans announced similar projects.
In October, Kruschev announced plans to build a new Moscow, which would surpass the new Berlin being built in Germany. At the heart of the new Moscow, which would be built alongside the present city, would be a peoples hall, which would be equal the planned size of the Great Hall in Berlin, taller if the flag mast with the red flag were included. Even in architecture the Soviets and Nazis were competing.
In December, Butler announced that 20,000 British Soldiers and Airmen were to be sent to Afghanistan. The Communist rising was not being quelled sufficiantly.
In Febuary, Unemployment passed the 2 million mark. This was marked as the rate was far lower in the South East and London than it was in the rest of the nation. The nation was staying afloat due to the strong performance of the south east.
In Aghanistan, 100,000 Indian soldiers moved in, in an attempt to end the terrorism and to stabilise the Government. Despite this the terror continued unabated. In Parliament, Hugh Gaitskill called for the British to be called out of Afghanistan. This led to a furious exchange in the House and afterwords, in the Commons tearoom an exchange between the young Labour MP, Tony Benn and Tory MP John Waller Hills. Waller Hills was said to have asked Benn "Whats it like to be led by an effing traitor?" Benn replied "I don't know, whats it like to be led by an effing murderer?" It was said that the pair were very close to fighting over the subject, and only the intervention of Labour whip Harold Wilson kept them apart.
On March 5th, a protest march against the Afghan Campaign was held through the centre of London. It was estimated that 300,000 attended. It caused a wobble, but Butler remained resolute. He would not waver.
On April 5th, Charles De Gaulles term as the President of the French Republic ended, and he did not seek a further nomination. An election was held and the Socialist, Gaston Deferre was elected the new President.
The Regional Assembly elections were due to be held on May 5th. Both Butler and Gaitskill travelled the country, but Gaitskill fared better. The Conservatives lost all regions outside the South East(Ulster Unionists excluded), East Anglia(In coalition) and only won London. Should the result have been replicated at a full General Election, then the Conservatives would be down to 161 Memebers of Parliament.
Butlers position became untenable. A meeting of the Conservative MPs was held, and after the meeting Butler resigned. Within days the former Home Secretary Anthony Eden became Prime Minister, and straight away, started to withdraw British troops from Afghanistan. In the face of the Commonwealth, this was seen as a major stepdown from the British, who lost prestige in the Commonwealth as part of the move. Inside Britain it proved very popular. Eden was seen as a man of peace.
He also made moves to remedy the situation with regards to the Regional Governments by ending the "persuassion"policy over Council Housing.
By September, he implemented a new initiative scheme, granting people advice, training and funds to set up their own businesses in more deprived area. Despite the fact it treaded on local Governments toes, it was popular throughout the nation.
The year ended with a scandal. Kim Philby and Donald Maclean only narrowly escaping to the Soviet Union. The world was shocked. The British Intelligence Community started moves to reform itself.
Rumours pervaded the world of media and politics that another two Soviet spies had been fingered in the Soviet double agent scandal of the previous year, and had been fed false intellegence to give the Soviets. In Parliament, a demand went up from the Labour benches that British Intelligence be more accountable. The Prime Minister openly denied an enquiry would or should take place, and that Britain was safe as a result of the sterling work of the intelligence community. The spooks wee happy at that.
On Monday, March 29th, a revolution began in Cuba. The United States sent troops to help maintain the Cuban Government. The British gave the Americans their support, the Germans and Russians vied for influence over the revolutionaries.
In Afghanistan, India increased the number of troops to 150,000. Australia sent 5,000 to back up the Indian efforts, the British were seen as not pulling their weight, and this was resented throughout the Commonwealth.
In June, a sensational story emerged from Nazi Germany that Martin Bormann had tried to lead a coup against Hitler, using support from Generals who had advised Hitler against dealing with the British during the French Crisis. By June 27th, the coup was crushed. On 1st July, after a quick show trial, Bormann was executed. His family were sent east.
Also in June, as news of the attempted coup spread, the people of Holland rose up to free themselves of tyrany and occupation. Over a million took to the streets throughout the country. Britain and the US even went as far as to recognise the Dutch regime, but then at the request of the Dutch Nazis, and once the coup was effectively killed, German tanks moved in. The hope of freedom in the Netherlands was killed.
During the summer, the football World Cup happened, with The Third Reich, the Soviet Union, England, and Italy all taking part. The Competition was won by Italy, who dramatically defeated the Reich 2-1 with a last minute goal. The match of the tournament was Germany v Russia though, which ended in a 3-2 win for the Germans.
In October, Eden made an important speech to the Commonwealth Assembly, urging reform, and stating an intention that all African Colonies should be classed as full Dominions within twenty years. There was great excitement in the colonies as to the speech.
In December, a threat hung over the Suez Canal zone, when news spread that the Egyptian Government was planning on Nationalising the canal. This would end British Control over the region, and was taken very seriously by all.
Aided by secret funds from Germany, amidst nazi propoganda about the British supporting the "illegal Jewish state" in the middle east, the Egyptian Army siezed power in the Country, led by the able Colonel Nasser who announced that no British subterfuge would block the nationalization.
Straight away, the British called for a meeting of the Commonwealth Assembly to discuss the crisis, which could possibly destroy British trade with the eastern dominions, and at the same time create a hostile Government in the region.
Eden who by now was that Nasser was in the thrall of Hitler, was adament that Britain would not be bullied into giving up the canal company without a fight, and alongside the Government of Southern France, who owned a percentage of the company, planned a way for the military regime to be ousted. This was made difficult by Washington openly stating that it would oppose any action in Egypt, as it would drive Nasser into bed openly with Hitler or Kruschev, ending all Western trade through the canal. Berlin and Moscow denounced it as naked Imperialism.
The Indian Government, still angry about Edens withdrawal of British forces from Afghanistan, privately told the British that the only way Indian soldiers would set foot on Egypt, was if the British returned to Afghanistan. Eden rejected the offer. Within weeks though, he had the backing of the majority of the Commonwealth, and the Common Assembly left the Egyptians with a stark warning.
"Either the Egyptian regime surrenders, and returns the legitimate Government to power by May 15th, or the Commonwealth as a whole will be in a state of war with Eygpt."
Indian backing was gained after they were promised that they would have to send no soldiers to the region. By May 15th, no reply had been recieved. On the contarary, the British base at Port Said came under attack on the evening of the 14th.
The US shied away from sanctions, as they were aware it could turn into a tit for tat trade war and they could lose their trade with the Commonwealth as a whole. The League of Nations condemned the British wholeheartedly, but the British never budged.
By July 1st, with 250,000 British(the vast majority of the Army leaving the British stretched elsewhere.), 10,000 Australians, 7,500 Canadians and 6,000 others, the Commonwealth won the war. Nasser was captured and held in the British base at Port Said. In the short term a military Government was established. On July 4th, the League of Nations passed a resolution calling the occupation legal. The rest of the world were too scared over the issue of trade.
In Berlin in August, the Great Hall was completed. It was the largest building of its kind in the world, andtowered over Berlin. Hitler called it a great day for Germany.
In september, in what was seen by many in the west as a totalitarian building race, the Soviets announced plans to build grand new centres for Moscow and Vladivostok to showcase Soviet greatness, not only in Europe, but in the far East.
October brought news of a commitment from the tories that over the next five years, should they be reelected, they would liberalise the laws on television, allowing anyone to set up a television station. As part of their plans, they announced that the BBC would be safeguarded, and that the lisence fee would still need to be paid, a new regulator would be formed, should the plans come into action though. The plans had the nation talking. It also fuelled speculation of an early election, but this was squashed by Eden, who announced that the election would be in the spring.
In December, Germany shocked the world, by launching the first unmanned satallite into space. It was christened the Siegfried satallite. Britain and America secretly called a conference for the new year, the Soviets increased production. On new years eve, the 2,000th British soldier since the invasion of Egypt began, died after a terrorist bombed a cafe in Cairo.