Britons, Strike Home!

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Mumby, Sep 22, 2017.

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  1. Threadmarks: Intro

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    In Ottawa, there is a grand if a little decrepit old building which could be mistaken for a Freemason's Lodge or a well-appointed hotel by a casual observer, or dismissed entirely by most others. Only those with a keen eye would notice that the pollution-stained coat of arms above the tall oaken doors, is entirely missing the Canadian maple leaves. For the little building, some distance away from the hustle and bustle of the city centre, is the last redoubt of the half-forgotten United Kingdom of Great Britain.

    Even upon entering the building, without knowing what it is, one could be forgiven for believing that it is a hotel, albeit one curiously populated largely by elderly men. The large restaurant serves traditional British fare that would be familiar to any visitors from the former United Kingdom, though the decorations of their surrounds would no doubt set any such visitor somewhat ill at ease. For drinks, a visitor must confine themselves to the standard that can be expected of any Canadian restaurant, including the usual range of beers and wines from the varied Dominions of the Empire. A tap for a dark stout called Guinness is the one beverage that leaps out as unusual and must be tried by those who only want a light lunch.

    It is possible to obtain a guided tour of the building, for a modest sum and it is then that the visitor will realise the true nature of the building into which they have entered. The windows do not belong to bedrooms but offices, many of which are still used by the few MPs who maintain correspondence with their 'constituencies', the small numbers of the descendants of the British emigres who grimly hold on to some link with the pre-revolutionary homeland. Many of the offices are however unoccupied, and have been made up to be preservations of the office of one notable dignitary or Prime Minister or other.

    From there, one continues to the home of the Parliament itself. The emigre Parliament is small, only designed to accommodate around 100 individuals, and is used on alternating days for the House of Lords and the House of Commons, which these days tend to have a rather similar composition of individuals. They tend only to meet for a couple of hours to discuss issues raised by the aforementioned constituents and debate current events in the Empire and usually specifically Canada. In many respects it is more like a social club than a forum for crafting legislation.

    The walls of the building are decorated with paintings that were retrieved when His Majesty's Government fled the British Isles in 1922. These are joined by more contemporary works, tending to depict notable figures who rose from amongst the ranks of the emigres. Some may be familiar to the visitor, many will be total mysteries unless you ask the tour guide, who are without fail tremendously helpful and accommodating, well aware that their workplace is a total enigma to the vast majority of outsiders.

    All in all, the Exile Parliament is a delightful visit and rather inexpensive considering the well maintained decorations and the high quality of refreshments in the restaurant. The MPs and Peers are patient with civilian interlopers and usually keep well out of the way of visitors, and if you do speak to one of them they are without fail polite and welcoming. After all, the Parliament is a somewhat aging and public institution and it does not do it any good for them not to treat potential constituents with a degree of respect.
     
  2. Threadmarks: Stanley Baldwin, 1923-1930

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    Stanley Baldwin

    Conservative and Unionist leading National Government

    1923-1930

    Britain may have won the Great War, but they can hardly be said to have won the peace. The twin forces of Irish nationalism and militant trade unionism threatened the pre-war order which had already been destroyed by the consequences of total war. Victorian Britain had died on the Somme, but the Conservative government that took power after hostilities came to a close was incapable of seeing that. The humiliation of the Liberals, the silencing of moderate voices within the Conservatives, and the escalating militancy on both sides of the class divide, along with numerous other factors ultimately led to the spread of revolutionary warfare from Ireland to Great Britain. Albeit this was a rebellion motivated by instincts of economic survival rather than national liberation. The army crumbled in the face of rebellion across the United Kingdom, and indeed endured desertion as soldiers joined the ranks of the workers, either individually or wholesale. In the autumn of 1922, there was a ‘Blue Flight’ as the men of the Old Britain fled to Canada with their families, along with that of King George.

    There was some confusion amongst the exile community over what came next. There was a consensus that the situation in the mother country had to be treated as temporary. The Empire had not crumbled when Britain descended into violence and there was a certain level of optimism that a concerted effort could retake the former United Kingdom by force in the near future. There was agreement that a government-in-exile had to be established, not only to represent and rally the exiles, but also to step in to the breech and govern when the home islands were inevitably retaken. Where there was discord, it was over what form this government should take. The old Prime Minister, Lord Curzon, was unwilling to serve, blaming the Revolution on poor advice from his Cabinet. The selection of a new Prime Minister lay in the hands of the King, who found himself at the centre of speculation within the exile community. The Royal Family were symbols of the Britain that was, and unlike his previous Prime Ministers, King George’s decision was a real one that had to be weighed carefully.

    The King’s first instinct was to select a non-partisan, even apolitical, figure who could smooth over the fissures in the community. But the United Kingdom had already experienced one Prime Minister who was disinterested in the political theatre of the Commons, and that had led to disaster. The King’s personal choice of Lord Jellicoe was set aside, and he cast about for a more political and less explicitly aristocratic individual. After a great deal of deliberation, the King settled upon Stanley Baldwin. He had served in the government during the Great War, rising from being Bonar Law’s Parliamentary Private Secretary to being Financial Secretary to the Treasury. In Bonar Law’s peacetime government he had become President of the Board of Trade. He was of a wealthy background, but lacked the patrician image that so many of the grandees in the exile community had.

    The first item on Baldwin’s agenda to establish a government-in-exile that could lobby the Canadian government for a return to Britain, was to ensure that unlike the pre-revolutionary government, it could project an affectation of non-partisan pragmatism and cooperation. Rationalising that the current situation for the United Kingdom was far more grievous than it had been during the Great War, he announced the formation of a National Government and invited the Liberals into his government. The Liberals who had made the Atlantic crossing had coalesced around the figure of Reginald McKenna, who had only turned upon the British Revolution when he realised it’s proletarian nature, and he effectively became Baldwin’s second-in-command in this new National Government. The Defence of the Realm Act was rolled out, justifying the suspension of what would have been farcical elections.

    From the start, the relationship between the government of Canada and the British government resident in Ottawa was close. Perhaps less close than Baldwin would have liked. The sitting Prime Minister, Mackenzie King had behaved coolly when the government-in-exile was established even as greeted the arrival of the Royal Family on the Dominion’s shores with warmth. In particular, Mackenzie King was concerned that with the fall of Britain to Bolshevism, Canada would now have to shoulder the burdens of maintaining and leading a world-spanning colonial empire. This was a responsibility that was worsened by the defection of a hearty percentage of the Royal Navy to the newborn socialist republic. This not only deterred Mackenzie King from committing the country to any promised invasion of Great Britain, it depleted the Empire of necessary vessels to hold together colonies that now lacked a clear metropole.

    In 1924, an Imperial Conference was held, bringing together the Premiers of the Dominions. a few Crown Colonies such as South Rhodesia, the Viceroy of India, and the King-Emperor George V himself to discuss what came next. This was Baldwin first real test as titular Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, and he is considered to have distinguished himself with his pragmatism, when subject to the harsh, sceptical words from his co-Premiers, to his face in the case of J.B.M. Hertzog, behind his back in the case of Mackenzie King. Baldwin, with the support of Australia, New Zealand and the King, was able to hammer out a deal that held the Empire together whilst also assuaging Mackenzie King’s fears that Canada would be expected to shoulder the burden of doing so. Each Dominion would be responsible for a sphere of colonies which were geographically close, while those that fell outside the sphere would be cared for collectively. The deal committed each Dominion to raising their military expenditure quite sharply to fund the expansion of their navies and colonial militaries, but for none of them was it the sudden shock to the system that Mackenzie King had anticipated. It also committed the Premiers of the Empire to meet annually in an Imperial Conference, or in special ones in case of emergency.

    The second test for Baldwin, almost coterminous with the Imperial Conference, was the Second Indian Mutiny. The collapse of the United Kingdom into revolutionary socialist and nationalist warfare was an inspiration and an opportunity for the colonised peoples of the Empire to rise in rebellion. Nowhere was this more brutal than in India where the entire subcontinent, from the Northwest Frontier to Burma and down past the Deccan Plateau to the southern tip from where you could fancy a glimpse at Ceylon, was consumed by civil war. The sitting Viceroy, the Marquess of Salisbury, was forced to flee New Delhi, but was able to continue the administration of the Raj in the court of the miserly Nizam of Hyderabad. The cost of rebellion was high for India. Warfare caused colossal disruption to transport and agriculture, and it was not long before famine set in across swathes of the country. From Hyderabad, the British were able to steadily retake the subcontinent, by rewarding those Princes who renewed their loyalty with grain shipments. Hundreds of thousands, if not millions, died during the Second Mutiny and the ensuing famines. It was the ad hoc nature of the rebellion, carried out across a vast area amongst groups which agreed on little, which ultimately brought about it’s failure. The position of Viceroy would become a position appointed by the Imperial Conference, rather than the British Prime Minister, which served to remind Baldwin of the true impotency of his status. Nevertheless, this was the first colonial war waged by the Empire without the United Kingdom, and it’s qualified success served to bind the disparate Dominions together.

    Many of the colonies in Africa, outside the agreed ‘spheres’ of each Dominion, were shed as too costly during Baldwin’s premiership, generally falling into the hands of the League of Nations. In practical terms this meant the enlargement of the French colonial empire. The government in Paris trumpeted the expansion of their empire at the expense of the British, only contributing the rise of the reactionary right in a country which felt terribly isolated in Europe with the fall of Britain. When the German government defaulted on reparations in 1923, the French occupied the Ruhr. On top of that, the fascist NSDAP re-enacted the March on Rome in Munich and declared a ‘National Revolutionary Government’ and declared it’s aim to overthrow the ‘Berlin Jew government’. With the country in crisis Konrad Adenauer, then mayor of Cologne, negotiated a deal with the French forces occupying the Ruhr. The French left the coalfields, and a Rhenish Republic was declared, taking the Rhineland out of the collapsing Weimar Republic and into an economic union with Paris. This only worsened matters for the government in Berlin, and before long the country would fall into civil war.

    Despite the triumphs of holding the Empire together, Mackenzie King did not come out of the trials of the British Revolution and its aftermath covered in glory. His poor relationship with Baldwin and his backbiting at the Imperial Conference was well known and at the 1925 general election, the Liberal-Conservatives under Arthur Meighen surged to a majority and the Prime Minister lost his seat. Meighen and Baldwin had a much closer relationship and the new Canadian Prime Minister would accept the role of his Dominion as a ‘first among equals’ with gusto. The fall of London, at the time the world’s largest financial centre, to socialist revolution had caused an economic crisis across much of the globe and while the emergence of New York as an heir to the City had led Mackenzie King to desire a closer relationship with Washington, Meighen’s solution was to bind the Empire together economically even as it forged military bonds in India. Canadian grain was the weapon with which the British won back India, and was the forerunner of Imperial Preference, an ideal which had been trumpeted by Joseph Chamberlain and the late Andrew Bonar Law.

    The close relationship between Meighen and Baldwin was closely tied to the re-establishment of order in India by 1927, and to the economic growth after the establishment of the Imperial Free Trade Area in 1926 (with some preferential deals with the United States, to gain access to the world’s new financial centre). Their star rose further in 1928 when the triumphant National Revolutionaries declared a ‘Third Reich’ and in the attempt to take back the Rhineland, were invaded by France. Meighen and Baldwin, together with President Fall intervened to prevent France from dividing Germany into statelets. The diplomatic course led to the Maastricht Agreement, which confirmed the independence of the Rhineland and permitted a League of Nations force largely composed of French soldiers but with contributions from the British Empire to depose Hitler and Ludendorff’s government and install a provisional government that all could tolerate. By 1929, the feeble forces fielded by the National Revolutionaries had been folded up and Rudolf von Mackensen installed as President of the German State. It was a tremendous accomplishment, and Meighen and Baldwin did nothing to deter the plaudits for these successes being laid at their door, and so when the Wall Street Crash threw the world into the Great Depression in 1930, there was nothing they could do to avoid being blamed for the economic crisis. The Liberal-Conservatives vacillated over a solution to the economic crisis in Canada, and while the income from tariffs and a market for their grain in the hungry Dominions and colonies of the British Empire, even that income was reduced thanks to the Dust Bowl effect that afflicted the breadbasket of Canada’s Great Plains. The general election of 1930 saw the Liberal-Conservatives crushed, the Liberals under Mackenzie King surge to a strong majority and the arrival of the left-wing Progressive Party on the national scene.

    Baldwin’s reputation was very much tied up with Meighen’s and while his poor relationship with Mackenzie King had been a factor in the Liberal-Conservative victory in 1925, it was far from Canadians’ thoughts when they went to the polls in 1930. It was crucial that the government-in-exile continue to have a positive relationship with Ottawa, and when it became clear that Mackenzie King’s opinion of Baldwin had changed little in the last five years, Baldwin’s position became tenuous at best. The defection of key backbenchers to the anti-Baldwin United Empire Party, and the victory of the party in the usually uncontested by-elections to the exile Parliament, was the last nail in the coffin for Baldwin’s Premiership. Baldwin resigned and the United Empire was invited into the National Government. Their leader, himself born in Canada, accepted the premiership when it was offered.

    Baldwin served on the backbenches of the Commons for a short period after his resignation, before being elevated to the House of Lords. In a move typical of his successor’s premiership, he was appointed to the Canadian Senate as a representative of Newfoundland by a begrudging Mackenzie King. Baldwin sat in the Senate as a Liberal-Conservative but rarely contradicted the policy of the Liberal government as such policy was invariably endorsed by the British government-in-exile and he had no desire to seem bitter about the circumstances of his resignation. While he lived and for many years after, Baldwin was treated as the embodiment of the stuffy British aristocrat who had failed to adapt to the new post-revolutionary world. But his legacy has been reassessed in recent years and a consensus has emerged that Baldwin may not have blown his own horn as his successor did, but the survival of a coherent and united government-in-exile was a genuine achievement and the Imperial Conference of 1924 was a masterpiece of diplomacy behind closed doors. The fact the British Empire endured for any time at all after the loss of the metropole was not solely the work of Baldwin, but he was a crucial figure in it’s survival. By the same token the costs of that endurance, can also be partially laid at his door. The savage methods by which India was retained within the Empire in the 1920s, giving Indians the choice between subjugation or starvation, was never explicitly endorsed by Baldwin. But he never raised a dissenting word against Salisbury’s actions ‘to keep the Raj royal and loyal’ and indeed the Viceroy would become a dominant figure in the cast of Imperial figures from the 1920s and into the 1930s. The fact that Baldwin seemed happy for the Empire to shed many extraneous colonies in Africa, was a moment when the fact of the Empire as a vehicle for enriching the metropole (by this stage, the White Dominions) rather than as a civilising mission was laid bare.
     
  3. skaven Vortex of Perpetual Agitation

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    Excellent start to the TL, I don't think premiers of an exile government has been done before, and certainly not as well. Also interesting to see the empire not immediatelly collapse, as normally happens in Socialist!Britain TL's.
     
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  4. Threadmarks: The British Isles in The Age of Revolution

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    Extract from The British Isles in The Age of Revolution by Brian O’Malley (1985)

    While the British and Irish Revolutions occurred at the same time, and for similar reasons, they were quite fundamentally different. Whereas the British Revolution was proletarian in nature, and at least in part inspired by the October Revolution in Russia, the Irish Revolution was rather more old-fashioned and more similar to those revolutions which had occurred in France in the previous century. While the Labour Party and Trades Union Congress rewrote Britain’s social fabric to establish a worker’s state, the newborn Irish Dail rather aped the vague shapes of British parliamentary democracy. The dominance of Sinn Fein was only challenged by the remnants of the old Irish Parliamentary Party and the Irish Unionist Alliance respectively. Both of these parties had been outstripped by events. The IPP’s hopes for Home Rule within the United Kingdom or as a Dominion were shattered by the collapse of the United Kingdom, and then the withdrawal of Imperial military commitments to the immediate strategic interests of the existing Dominions and India. The Unionists were the larger party but even more bereft within the Irish Republic, and the sensibilities of Unionist politicians had little common cause with the revolutionary government in London.

    Both the IPP and the Unionists split in the aftermath of the establishment of the Republic. This would destroy the IPP, the remnants being subsumed either into Sinn Fein or into the new parties which emerged out of the Unionists. The two main parties that emerged were the Solemn League and Covenant and the National League. The Covenanters were concentrated in Ulster and refused to acknowledge the Revolution as legitimate, refusing to take their seats in the Dail and calling for the establishment of Ireland (or Ulster alone) as a Dominion of the British Empire, with more radical members calling for an invasion to overthrow the socialist government of Britain. The Covenanters were loudly Protestant, mostly Presbyterian at that, and intimately connected to numerous paramilitary groups that had sprouted up during the Revolution and continued to offer militant resistance to the new status quo. The National League by contrast was more oriented to Southern Ireland, concentrated in Dublin, and actively participated in post-revolutionary politics. While the National League was also Protestant, they were very much a party of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy as opposed to the Plantation Ulster-Scots. Both of these parties were weakened in the immediate years after the Revolution as both were rather upper or middle class in nature and many of Unionist leaders had fled with the King across the Atlantic, notably including Edward Carson and the Guinness political and brewing dynasty.

    A third segment of Unionist support that travelled in a somewhat different direction after the Revolution was the working class support. Carson had explicitly courted the worker’s vote by establishing the Labour Unionist Party before the 1918 general election, and while elements of this vote did trundle off into the Covenanters or into the National League, the more aristocratic or bourgeois tendencies of those parties did put off a significant portion of the old working-class Unionists. Most of these voters instead drifted into the existing Irish Labour Party and the important port city of Belfast and industrial communities of Ulster became a significant source of support for the Labour Party outside of the other cities of Southern Ireland.

    While Sinn Fein’s dominance of Irish politics would go unchallenged for many years, the emergence of the conservative National League and the socialist Labour Party would ultimately force the party to behave less stridently in establishing Ireland as an explicitly Catholic, autarkic state.
     
  5. Threadmarks: Max Aitken, 1930-1940

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    Max Aitken, 1st Baron Beaverbrook

    United Empire leading National Government

    1930-1940

    Considering the Canadian Prime Minister’s poor relationship with Baldwin had foundered upon Mackenzie King’s desire to assert Canadian sovereignty apart from the Empire, one would have expected the ardent imperialist Beaverbrook to have an even colder relationship with Mackenzie King. This is not what occurred. Beaverbrook, a Canadian by birth, was determined that the relationship between the exile government and their Canadian hosts had to be a positive one and was willing to set aside some of his principles to ingratiate himself with the majority Liberal government. Mackenzie King had achieved his majority promising a radical agenda to reduce unemployment, controversially inspired by the reconstruction programme that was being implemented in the German State and in Fascist Italy. He formed a Cabinet that backed these goals, and to the position of Minister for Public Works he appointed the new Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in exile. To do this, Mackenzie King appointed Beaverbrook to the Canadian Senate for New Brunswick.

    The ascension of Beaverbrook to the British premiership and to a prominent position in the Canadian Cabinet caused an earthquake in the political makeup of the exile Houses of Parliament. The Conservative Party, which had been the dominant political force in the government began to fragment, with the younger, ‘innovative’ MPs drifting toward Beaverbrook’s United Empire Party, seeking to bask in the glow of the Prime Minister’s political relevance. The Liberal Party ironically drew Conservative moderates who had opposed the ‘coup’ that removed Baldwin, and the remaining Tories tended toward aristocratic stodginess. Nevertheless, Beaverbrook was able to persuade both parties to continue the National Government compact and in the electoral test of prolonging Parliament for another year, Beaverbrook passed with flying colours.

    The Beaverbrook ministry was, naturally, preoccupied by the Prime Minister’s position within the Canadian government. While the Liberal and Conservative remnants represented and harkened back to Victorian Britain, the United Empire Party was Beaverbrook’s creation and he was a creature of modernity, a powerful advocate for innovation. In the new ministry created for him, he combined the roles of industrial reformer and propagandist, using his considerable presence in Canadian media to promote the government project of the day. Thousands of miles of road and rail were laid down, hydroelectric dams were built across the waterways, scores of trees were planted upon the prairie as windbreaks. The New Programme would be imitated by the other Dominions of the Empire, and across the border after the election of Huey Long to the Presidency.

    Mackenzie King’s own desire to assert Canada’s independence was undermined by the Dominion’s position. While the Empire had weathered the Great Depression without compromising the democratic institutions it already had, this was not the case elsewhere. The economic crisis had brought down the French government, which had grown increasingly fragile following the intervention in Germany in the 1920s. The country came perilously close to a revolution, mirroring that of Britain, but the military under Marshal d’Esperey intervened before that became a possibility. Under military supervision new elections were held under which the Social Revolutionary Action Party (nicknamed Cagoulards) of Eugene Deloncle was able to take power. This new government was virulently nationalist, aiming its vitriol toward the ‘Anglo-Saxons’ in Britain and America, who they alleged had conspired to preserve the ‘pestilence of Germany’ in concert with the Jews in order to subvert the destiny of France. With Russia and Great Britain governed by socialists and the Elysee now occupied by khaki clad fanatics, the Entente Cordiale was dead. Canada had precious few allies except the other Dominions of the British Empire, and the fair-weather friend that was the United States. Despite his misgivings, he was convinced by Beaverbrook to continue the Imperial Preference policies of Meighen. In 1934, the Imperial Workers Administration was established, allowing unemployed, single men to sign on to projects being established in other Dominions and in the colonies. The bulk of these men went to India, where Lord Salisbury eagerly grabbed as many young whites as he could to entrench the position of the imperial government in the Raj.

    The government was re-elected with another strong majority in 1935. The election was marked by the death of the Progressive Party which largely folded now that the Liberals had taken on their economic positions in government. Western Canada now fell under the influence of the Imperial Unionist Party. The Imperial Unionists were inspired by Beaverbrook, who sat in the Senate as an Independent, and the new MPs were a mix of former Progressives and Liberal-Conservatives who agreed with the Minister’s solutions to Canadian problems, and they frustrated Mackenzie King as they strengthened Beaverbrook’s hand in his Cabinet beyond what he considered reasonable.

    In 1936, France launched an invasion of Ethiopia. While Marshal d’Esperey stated that it was merely to defend the rail construction project the French government had sponsored in the country from native terrorists, it was clear to all that the Elysee wanted to acquire the only uncolonised part of Africa to tie together the colonies in the Soudan with their territories on the Horn of Africa. There are rumours that Mussolini had planned his own attack on Ethiopia, and the French militarist government may have been motivated to prevent the rail project they were working on falling into the hands of Rome. The Ethiopian railway was but a part of French plans to build one continuous railway from the Red Sea to the Atlantic and up to the Mediterranean. It was but one of many ambitious engineering schemes carried out or planned in France at the time, the most famous of which now was the Scipio Project which would have drained the Mediterranean and made Metropolitan France contiguous with her colonies.

    The invasion, and annexation, of Ethiopia laid bare the weakness of the League of Nations following the British Revolution. The decline of the Empire’s prestige and unity had allowed France to take the leading role in the organisation, but until the rise of Deloncle, France had exercised restraint. The Cagoulard regime was more than willing to flex its muscle internationally and took advantage of the League to lend legitimacy to its actions. This could not last long. Germany, which had joined the League in 1928 with encouragement from the Empire and the United States, left shortly after the fall of Ethiopia and, despite the conservative, monarchist sympathies of von Mackensen, pivoted toward the USSR where they resumed the rearmament and training programmes which had been undertaken by the Weimar Republic. French support for the fragile Republic of China, to deter Japanese expansionism in continental East Asia, led to the Empire of Japan leaving the league in 1937. The formal annexation of the Rhineland, and the disappearance of Konrad Adenauer in suspicious circumstances when French forces seized Cologne, led to the withdrawal of Belgium, the Netherlands and Luxembourg. By 1938, the League of Nations had been reduced to little more than a French mouthpiece, and the ideals upon which the League had been founded were trampled underfoot.

    However for British Empire, and for Beaverbrook in particular, a formal break with the League of Nations was inconceivable. A strong alliance with France was seen as necessary to contain the socialist states of Britain and Russia, and combat any spread. More so than that, the British exile community was all too keenly aware that Imperial military strength had been weakened by the revolution, and then by the division of responsibilities to the Dominions. This had only been entrenched by the moderately pacifist tendencies of leaders like Baldwin, who even as they announced their intentions to prepare for a war to reclaim the mother country, stood by as the League of Nations played host to disarmament conferences that reduced the tonnage of navies across the world. The Depression-struck Empire was in no position to attack the Cooperative Commonwealth of Britain alone. But the French, even before the Counter-Revolution, had been rearming and modernising the forces and under the Cagoulards this had accelerated. Beaverbrook’s hope was that a rekindled Entente could mount a successful invasion of the British Isles. This meant that even as French aggressions internationally mounted, and the Elysee spewed forth more bilious propaganda on the evils of the ‘Judaeo-Saxon-Bolshevik Pact’, Beaverbrook encouraged Mackenzie King and the other Premiers of the Empire to court Paris. A blind eye was turned to the ‘formal integration’ of Andorra and the occupation of Monaco, the city-state pledging fealty to the French government.

    The crisis point where Beaverbrook’s strategy failed came in 1939. The Cagoulards had branches or affiliates operating in areas outside France with large French minorities, and even in nations with significant French heritage if not ancestry. In the United States, the Lafayette Society was a Cagoulard front which was especially prominent in Louisiana and allegedly was responsible for President Long’s turning a blind eye to French excesses in the Old World. One of the areas where the Cagoulards were particularly influential was in the region of Romandie in western Switzerland. Romandie had never been a historical part of France, though had been a French client state during the Napoleonic Wars. The Cagoulards decided this was a tremendous injustice and demanded that the Francophone Valais be allowed to hold a referendum on joining France. The local Cagoulards surged in prominence, and in such a localised country were able to successfully demand a long series of plebiscites, which took place in a threatening atmosphere, heavily under the influence of Cagoulard paramilitaries. Bern appealed to the wider world, hoping another Anglo-American intervention could save Switzerland as it saved Germany in 1928. It came to nothing. France coordinated with Italy and with their erstwhile enemies in Germany to disassemble Switzerland. Romandie was ceded to France, while Germany and Italy received their portions of the prize. This was a colossal violation of a traditionally neutral state. It was clear now, even to Beaverbrook that the Deloncle’s regime could not be satisfied. There was rebellion from within the exile Parliament threatening Beaverbrook’s premiership. While Mackenzie King still vacillated, petrified by the possibility of an emergent Cagoulard movement in the Liberal heartland of Quebec, Beaverbrook decided to draw a line in the sand. At the Imperial Conference of 1939 he was able to win round his fellow Premiers in a similar fashion to Baldwin’s performance fifteen years earlier, to presenting a united front in the face of French expansionism.

    Beaverbrook would not be in office to witness the confrontation with Cagoulard France. At the 1940 election in Canada, the Liberal-Conservatives would reassert themselves in the West, while the newborn Labour Party became the largest party in British Columbia. More embarrassingly, a Cagoulard front, the Action Party for Quebec Sovereignty was only just fended off by the hitherto dominant Liberals. The Liberals were able to continue in government, in coalition with the remaining Imperial Unionists and with the Labour Party, but Mackenzie King’s position after ten years in government was shockingly fragile. A faction of left-leaning backbenchers threatened to break the government if it did not confront Deloncle. This was the last straw for Beaverbrook. The composition of the exile Parliament, which had begun life composed mostly of Conservatives and Liberals as it had been in the years before the First World War, had steadily lost attachment to the old party allegiances. This had perhaps been inevitable, but had been accelerated by the success of Beaverbrook’s United Empire Party, and with his star power as a Canadian minister diminished by the failure of his own diplomatic policy, compounded by a sharp condemnation from the Canadian public, his position as Prime Minister quickly fell apart. Dozens of MPs left the National Government to sit as Independents, and before the Empire went to war following the French invasion of Belgium and Luxembourg, a confidence vote had been called and the National Government had fallen.

    Beaverbrook has a mixed legacy. Most remember him as an appeaser, with everything else he did as a politician and as a press magnate forgotten. He is regarded more fondly in Western Canada, where the Imperial Unionists continued under a different label well into the 1980s. His work to improve infrastructure and the vast tree-planting programme which is believed to have saved the Prairies, under Mackenzie King who was singularly unsympathetic to the plight of Western farmers, is lauded even now in those provinces. Much of the credit of the New Programme would be attributed to Mackenzie King however. One of the unseen impacts of Beaverbrook’s premiership was the dispersal of the British exile community. Since the Revolution, they had generally concentrated in Canada, especially Ottawa but thanks to the Imperial Workers Administration, the youth of the community spread across the Empire, settling everywhere from Australia to Kenya to India. It was exactly what Beaverbrook had wanted to see, the creation of a genuinely Imperial economic institution. But it weakened the roots of the government-in-exile in the long-term, a burden his successors have shouldered ever since.
     
  6. Threadmarks: New Religious Movements of the 20th Century

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    Extract from New Religious Movements of the 20th Century by Stephanie White (1992)

    Hinduism and Indian spiritual traditions in general have inspired dozens of offshoots in the last century as they have been introduced to an international audience and other religious ideas. One of the larger and more obviously religious in its form are the Gandhigiris. Mohandas Gandhi was an Indian nationalist leader who was killed by British authorities during the Second Mutiny. His principles of nonviolence had seen him overshadowed and marginalised in the early phase of the conflict, and when he was arrested and executed there was little the British had to fear in terms of outcry or martyrdom. It was in the years after the Mutiny that Gandhi’s ideas were picked up and re-examined by a new generation of Indians who had seen two attempts to remove the British colonial regime through violence fail. Gandhi’s principles of pacifism, asceticism, anarchism and universalism soon caught on, not only amongst Indians but also in the large numbers of British and other Imperial settlers who came to India from the 1930s onwards, or more accurately their children.

    Gandhi was hailed as an heir to a millennia old tradition of wise men renewing the same universal principles. The Gandhigiris claim Buddha, Krishna, Moses, Jesus and Mohammed as other similar men, not as gods but as ‘enlightened ones’ who saw and understood the truth and felt compelled to spread it. The movement claims that after these men have passed, their words have been consistently misinterpreted by more flawed human beings and the ideas have been corrupted, necessitating the rise of a new man to steer people back toward the truth. As we have seen, the idea of all religious traditions being true to some extent if a common theme amongst many new religious movements. Where the Gandhigiris differ is their refusal to establish a religious hierarchy or organisation, drawing upon Gandhi’s ideals of freedom and tying them to older principles of self-enlightenment. In practise this means that while Gandhigiris can be said to have a common set of principles and have often organised themselves into congregations or communities, this is not a requirement. While there have Gandhigiri communities which have isolated themselves and become dominated by a unifying figure, in doing so they defy the very principles of the Mahatma and cease to be Gandhigiri.

    The Gandhigiri movement began in British India, and in its early days was explicitly entwined with the nationalist movement. The martyrdom of Gandhi became a rallying point for both movements and allowed the gradualist nationalists to prevail over the more extremist points of view in the movement. From the 1950s onwards however, the Gandhigiri movement has spread far beyond India’s shores, enjoying success across the British Empire and in the United States, where its universalist principles and ideas of self-enlightenment have caught on amongst those who have grown sceptical of established religion but still desire spiritualism without having to adhere to rigid dogma.

    The religion isn’t without controversy. In India, the republican movement alleges that the involvement of the Gandhigiris and the deification of the Mahatma prevented the nationalists from being able to force out the British entirely. Similarly, Hindu and Muslim nationalists claim that the Gandhigiri are a cult who corrupted the process of Indian self-determination. By another token, there is widespread frustration by law enforcement agencies across the world by the movements lack of responsibility when it comes to cults which have emerged from Gandhigiri cults. The mass suicide of a group in Bakerstown, California ostensibly seeking self-enlightenment in 1981 has become emblematic cult extremism and has continued to be a blight on the name of the movement. The principles of non-violence and freedom mean that when tragedies like this do occur, the spokespeople of the Gandhigiri movement maintain an eerie silence.
     
  7. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Donor Monthly Donor

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    Subbed.

    Very interesting twist on the usual British Empire TLs
     
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  8. Iron Sun Banned

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    You have my interest.
     
  9. The Red A virulent, ignorant bigot

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    Great stuff, can't wait for more!
     
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  10. StrikeEcho Procrastinating

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    I assume, this was partly inspired by Kaiserreich? Eitherway, this is quite interesting.
     
  11. Threadmarks: Hugh Trenchard, 1940-1941

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    Hugh Trenchard, 1st Viscount Trenchard

    Independent National leading National Government

    1940-1941

    The 1940 general election was a truly bizarre event. A general election had not been held at any time during the exile Parliament’s history, with new MPs only entering the legislature at by-elections which had been universally unopposed under the auspices of the National Government Compact. The collapse of the United Empire Party and the fragmentation of the parties which brought about the fall of the National Government meant that a general election was unavoidable. But the Parliament was no longer tied in any way to the geographical constituencies of the mother country, and these constituencies no longer reflected the realities on the ground in Britain where whole New Towns had sprung up out of the ground at the direction of the government. While the House of Commons was paralysed, the House of Lords remained somewhat more stable, and in the absence of clear leadership from the Commons, the Lords intervened. Lord Trenchard, who had been quietly opposed to Beaverbrook’s policies regarding France, formed a new National Government largely drawn from the Lords with a few notable exceptions and formally issued a declaration of war upon France, following that of Canada and the other Dominions.

    Trenchard had little desire to lead the government-in-exile for any significant length of time, instead using his position to advise the Premiers assembled at the Special Imperial Conference of 1940 on the practicalities of conducting a war over enormous distances on almost every continent in the world, especially in the still poorly understood battlefield in the air. From those discussions emerged the Imperial War Cabinet, and the Committee for Imperial Defence, both of which drew upon politicians and military figures from across the Empire to coordinate the war, and more broadly the defence of the Empire as a whole outside of wartime.

    The next item on Trenchard’s agenda was to transform the Commons so that it could hold elections and continue to claim to be a legitimately democratic government without it being a farce. Following a period of consultations, elections were finally announced to be held in the spring of 1941, giving the system time to settle in. The composition of the House of Commons was transformed dramatically, completely removing the direct attachment of MPs to specific geographical locations in the former United Kingdom. Most of the seats represented the Home Nations of England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland, to be elected using the single transferable vote electoral system. The remaining seats were set aside to represent the exile communities themselves in each of the Dominions (except Canada), in the colonies as a whole, and in India specifically. Due to the breadth of the Empire, and the scattering of exiles during Beaverbrook’s ministry, the election took a long time to organise and a long time to count, and throughout this time Lord Trenchard stoically remained in position.

    The results of the election were quite unprecedented, and demonstrated the scale of political fragmentation in the British exile community across the Empire. The size of the new Parliament was much reduced, at only 100 seats, but the large contingent of Independents in the previous Parliament continued into the new one. The decline of the Conservatives and Liberals was marked, while the taint of Beaverbrook meant that only a few United Empire MPs were returned to the new Parliament. Many MPs were endorsed by political organisations in the Dominions, and awkwardly there was a ‘Trenchard Group’ that called for the Prime Minister to continue in his position after the election. More worryingly for the more venerable exiles, contingents of socialists and nationalists made their presence known, albeit in small numbers. The new Parliament was therefore deeply fragmented and there were fears that a functioning government might prove impossible to form. Fortunately this did not prove to be the case, and the vast majority of MPs agreed to serve in a new National Government.

    Lord Trenchard now wished to stand aside and allow a figure from the Commons to take command of the government. However, given the nature of the multiparty government, it took some time for the numerous groups to settle on a figure upon whom all could agree as satisfactory. Therefore the Viscount remained in position for the period of negotiation following the election. The eventual compromise candidate was Gwilym Lloyd George a Liberal MP representing Wales, who managed to unite the Conservatives and other fellow travellers behind him before convincing the remaining groups in the National Government to back his candidacy.

    Lord Trenchard as Prime Minister rarely figures in people’s memories when thinking about the Second World War, as he served for only a few months and is overshadowed by his successor and more significantly by the Premiers of the Dominions. However, his work after his short premiership in helping to build an Imperial Air Legion capable of operating across the Empire and challenging the French for dominance of the skies over the Atlantic means he is overwhelmingly regarded positively. His attempts to convince the Imperial War Cabinet to establish a near all-powerful generalissimo to oversee the war effort are thankfully forgotten as they would undoubtedly besmirch his reputation as a modern Cincinnatus.
     
  12. morbidteaparty You Should Be Ashamed Seamus

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    This is very good Bob
     
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  13. Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    you sweetie
     
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  14. Stenz Don't judge the past by the standards of today... Donor Monthly Donor

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    Excellent update. I'm looking forward to see where this TL takes us...
     
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  15. Threadmarks: Crisis in The Empire

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    Extract from Crisis in the Empire by Natalie Comstock (1965)

    To an outside observer, the sudden deadlock and hostilities between the Imperial Council and the African Sphere may seem to have come out of nowhere. But this is a crisis which had been building up for decades, predating the British Revolution, and can be traced back to the Boer Wars and the compromises that Imperial governments have made to keep the Cape in the Empire.

    The reason these tensions have only now bubbled to the surface is thanks to the pushes for democratic reform which ten years ago resulted in the establishment of the Federation of India, formally abolishing colonial government and the venerable institution of the Viceroyalty. The prospect of Indian independence has plagued the Imperial establishment, almost from the very moment that the British completed their conquest of the subcontinent. The history of colonial rule has been one soaked in blood, with the British weathering two violent attempts to expel them. The fact that Indian self-government has been achieved while keeping it within the fold of the Empire would be an immense relief to the generations of imperial reformists that have discussed such a move before.

    The independence of India with full universal suffrage, has however thrown an enormous spanner into the works. The British Empire is historically a white supremacist project, and its survival despite the Revolution on the Home Islands, is an affirmation of that project’s success in planting the British race across the continents of the world. Ever since the British Revolution, the Empire has slowly progressed away from these origins. The White Australia Policy was undermined and finally abolished in the early 1950s, and similar policies in New Zealand and Canada were also put to an end. The moves toward tearing the legislated boundaries of racial hierarchy were bolstered with the formal independence of India, which became the largest Dominion of the Empire and the first to be governed by a non-white majority. This was quickly followed by the establishment of new Dominions in Malaya, Ceylon and Burma. The time of a solidly white composition of the Imperial Council had come to an end.

    At the same time that Asian Dominions were being established on the principles of majority rule, a very different phenomenon was happening in Africa. South Africa had established a hard system of racial hierarchy, firmer and more legislated than any which had existed before in the British Empire outside of the age of chattel slavery in the West Indies. Rhodesia had become a Dominion in the 1930s and in the early 1950s replicated the South African system which had come to be known as apartheid. At the same time that the Viceroy shook hands with and handed over the symbols of his office to the new Governor-General of India, the Dominion of Kenya was established on the same principles as South Africa and Rhodesia, all political and economic power resting in the hands of the racial elite in the so-called White Highlands. The independence of India and the new Asian Dominions represented a challenge to the accepted order in Africa. And while the general moves in the rest of the Empire had been toward racial equality, it was not long before the defenders of white supremacism closed ranks.

    Robert Gascoyne-Cecil, 5th Marquess of Salisbury, has become standard bearer of the white supremacist cause, defending the minority ruled states in British Africa against the condemnation of fellow Dominions and of the World Conference. The Imperial Council has no power to force the African Sphere to reform and establish majority rule, and there is the fear that attempts to enforce economic sanctions as the World Conference wishes them to do could just inflame the secessionist sentiment that persists in South Africa, taking the rest of the African Sphere with it. And the African Sphere is not alone. Lord Salisbury has been busy establishing links with similarly inclined regimes, in particular the remaining colonial governments in Subsaharan Africa, and more prominently the United States where white supremacist sentiment continues to run high. There have even been allegations that the African Sphere has had talks with representatives of the Japanese government. It would certainly be in the interests of Tokyo to undermine the unity of the main opponent of their dominance in East Asia.
     
  16. 99 Luftballons Banned

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    Well shit...
     
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  17. Threadmarks: Gwilym Lloyd George, 1941-1949

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    Gwilym Lloyd George

    Liberal leading National Government

    1941-1949

    Like his father before him, Gwilym Lloyd George led the United Kingdom into the fires of a world war. Unlike the late Welsh Wizard however, the new Prime Minister was distinctly an observer to the Empire’s conduct of the war. The men who dominated the front pages of the news during the British Empire’s war with France would be the Premiers of the Dominions, figures like Robert Menzies and Charles Wilkinson. This reduction in prominence was perhaps an inevitability, but the pressures of war and the fact that unlike his two immediate predecessors he did not enjoy a high position in either a Dominion’s politics or the Imperial military, meant that the exile government’s prominence very quickly became an anachronism.

    The opening months of the conflict were nicknamed a Phoney War due to the lack of impact the declaration of a state of war seemed to have on the lives of Imperial citizens and subjects. The British Revolution had severed Imperial ties in Europe and the ensuing chaos and reorganisation had seen many British colonies fall under French jurisdiction, further reducing the number of potential boundaries for confrontation. Belgium and Luxembourg were occupied after mere weeks, shortly to be followed by the Netherlands. France’s eastern border was now upon the Rhine, a puppet state established in Amsterdam. Germany was next. Considering the military restrictions and humiliations that the Germans had endured since 1918, they put up a good fight against the invading French. But the result was an inevitability. By 1942, French troops were marching through the Brandenburg Gate.

    The unchecked advances of the French war machine, somewhat assisted by the Italians and Spanish, led to condemnation in the Parliaments of the Dominions. There was a sense that if the Empire did not act with urgency then the war would be over almost before it had begun. But lacking a real presence in Europe, and without the backing of the United States, there was a segment of opinion that felt that the declaration of war was premature. Nationalist movements in the Dominions tended to be opposed to the war, though ironically the South African National Party – the largest party that advocated a Dominion’s secession from the Empire – was strongly in favour of the war, in defence of the Dutch and Germans who had been conquered by Paris. Fortunately this strain of thought was silenced somewhat by the unity of resolve demonstrated by the Premiers and other ministers in the Imperial War Cabinet.

    It was unclear at this stage just what Lloyd George’s role was going to be in the War Cabinet and indeed in the Empire’s conduct of the war. Following the fall of Germany in 1942, it became clear that if the British Empire was to bring the fight to Europe, they would have to take control of the Atlantic. The French also knew this and prepared for those eventualities, invading Denmark and Norway to prevent the hitherto neutral states from being used as landing grounds for an Imperial expeditionary force. The surrender of Denmark to the French implied that Iceland and Greenland would also fall under the rule of Paris. But at that time, France’s ability to extend their power out to the North Atlantic was limited. Mackenzie King quickly sent a Canadian force to take control of Greenland, while in a move that proved surprising to Paris, the British occupied Iceland upon the invitation of a hastily formed Provisional Government in Reykjavik. The Cagoulard war planners had not anticipated the possibility of a rapprochement between the Cooperative Commonwealth and her former Empire. The British occupation of Iceland did not amount to a declaration of war, but it was a statement of intent. The North Atlantic had been successfully prevented from falling into the French grasp, and there was a clear pathway for an Imperial Expeditionary Force to use Britain as a platform from which to launch an invasion of Europe. From now on, the French would have to factor Britain in to their plans.

    Lloyd George became a de facto special ambassador between the Imperial War Cabinet and their equivalents in the concrete palaces of Whitehall. The growing coordination between the respective governments in the North Atlantic, particularly between Canadian and British naval and air forces, necessitated oversight by a civilian representative. While the Dominion governments continued to refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of the Cooperative Commonwealth, and Lloyd George’s extended visits to the former Court of St James were treated merely as personal visits. The change in leadership of the Cooperative Commonwealth had brought a younger, far less pacifist generation to power, who saw the French as a greater threat than the distant former Empire and eagerly grasped the outstretched hand of friendship.

    Meanwhile in Europe, France set about digesting her conquests. Jews, who had been registered and categorised in France for many years were now officially removed to the French Mandate of Palestine, along with the German Jews who now fell under the control of France. While parts of Germany were peeled off to French allies in Poland, Italy and the puppet state of Denmark, the men in the Elysee had grand plans to make the bulk of former Germany an integral part of France itself, placing the country in the dominating position in Europe they felt was their right. Millions of Germans were to be removed, in a similar fashion to the Jews and planted in disparate regions of their Empire, where in time they would become not only good Frenchmen but would make the French presence in Africa a permanent one. Where land had been vacated, it would then be settled by French families, largely drawn from the cities. The Cagoulard vision for the new Greater France was a rural one, romanticising peasants and harking back to the old Carolingian Empire of Charlemagne.

    Millions of ‘undesirables’, ranging from political dissidents to the physically and mentally disabled were sent to camps where they ultimately met their deaths. The largest death tolls were inflicted upon Germans, Jews and Roma. Only some Germans were classified as suitable for settlement in the overseas colonies, with millions more been categorised as ‘unsalvageable’, to be consigned to the scrapheap. Similarly, many Jews refused to board the boats to Palestine or tried to assert themselves politically once there and earned a grim fate. The Roma, who as a nomadic people did not fit the Cagoulard vision of a world with hard borders, had no recourse except extermination. Despite the awkwardness that was the occupation of Iceland and Greenland, it seemed to many that the war had already concluded in France’s favour. The Mediterranean was firmly under the control of the French and their allies, Scandinavia had been subjugated and the military dictatorship of Poland drawn into an alliance of convenience. French soldiers were assisting the Italians in the conquest of the Balkans, helping Mussolini make his pretensions to Roman grandeur a reality.

    But the march eastwards agitated the Russian bear. The Soviets had been a distant friend to Germany, which France was well aware of thanks to the appearance of a surprising number of tanks upon the battlefield as they advanced across the Rhine. Despite this, Stalin had felt no desire to intervene as Berlin was crushed under France’s boot. He believed the French dictatorship, in its obsession with the past would not be so foolish as to attempt an invasion of Russia. He also believed the governing system of France was built on sand and would crumble once they had no enemy to unite them. But the alignment of Poland with France, the annexations of Balkan states and the threats that Warsaw made to the Baltic states, began to raise fears in the Kremlin. The Cagoulards had never been quiet in their low opinions of communism, and while these had become muted as they concentrated on Germany and directed their vitriol toward the British Empire, now that Europe was firmly under their thumb, there were concerns that Deloncle would next set his sights upon Moscow.

    The burgeoning relationship between Britain and her former Empire thus now acted as a conduit through which the British Empire could clandestinely exchange messages with the Soviet Union. While the Imperial Workers Administration and the Empire’s vast industrial capacity was turned over to building the engines of war, she was still a long way from being able to exert herself in Europe. Imperial soldiers were fighting in Central and Eastern Africa but the war would not be won until Paris fell. The idea of supplying and aiding the Soviet Union in potentially opening up a European Front was an attractive one to the Imperial War Cabinet. Stalin was more cautious, well aware that the brunt of casualties would fall upon the Red Army.

    In East Asia, a new front opened up as the forces of Chiang Kai Shek explicitly aligned themselves with Paris in the surprise capture of Hong Kong and Macau from their previous European owners. The French colony of Gouangzhouwan was conspicuously ignored. Throughout China, the KMT dictatorship systematically isolated and took control of traditional European spheres of influence while ignoring the presence of their French allies. In reaction, the Imperial War Cabinet turned to Japan, who had entrenched their sphere of influence in Northern China over the years and exploited the decline of a Russian presence. The Japanese and Chinese were already at war over control of Manchuria, and the hope was that bringing the Japanese into the wider war with France would help the Empire concentrate its forces on pushing the French in Africa and ultimately on the invasion of Europe. The Japanese were not easily convinced. The reason that the French had courted China was to prevent Japanese expansionism, and an alliance with the British Empire and her hangers on like the Dutch exiles in the East Indies would preclude an expansion into those colonies. Lloyd George, who was at this point treated as the de facto Foreign Minister of the Imperial War Cabinet negotiated a deal that would place French colonies in East Asia and the Pacific under the control of Tokyo after the war, as well as giving them a free hand in China. The promise of being accepted to the very top table of nations was enough, and Japan entered the war on the side of the British Empire.

    The final pieces of the puzzle fell into place in 1943. The ‘colonel’s regime’ in Poland had, ever since the annexation of Silesia and East Prussia, emphasised an idea of revenge for the injustices of the Partitions. The Austrian Empire was dead, now so was Germany. All that remained was Russia, and Warsaw was well aware that after the League had attained victory, she would be in an excellent position to exact territorial concessions from the defeated Soviet Union with the blessing of their allies in France. These desires coincided with those of Chiang Kai-shek. The Communists who remained a thorn in his side presented themselves as patriots resisting the Japanese invasion, while the Nationalist government were corrupt incompetents. He believed a war to wrest control of Mongolia and historically Chinese territory in Northern Asia would allow him to deflect these criticisms while cutting the Communists off from their main source of support. The growing industrial power and military strength of the Soviet Union made the French themselves nervous, and with their enemies in the rest of Europe defeated, delay seemed to invite disaster. Stalin had begun a purge of the Red Army’s officers in 1941, and the belief was that such a leaderless and demoralised force would put up a poor fight against the forces of the League.

    They gained their opportunity in the autumn. As France had developed a network of compliant satellites in the Balkans, sponsoring the irredentist instincts of countries that did not interfere with either their or Italy’s designs, Romania seemed to consistently get the thin end of the wedge. Following humiliating cessions of territory to Hungary and Bulgaria, they came under pressure to hand over Bessarabia to the Soviet Union. The King abdicated and a coup led by local fascists, ironically modelled on the very states which had already reduced her so badly, established a new government that refused the Kremlin’s ultimatums. The League quickly swung in behind Romania, secretly promising their new leaders territorial compensation following victory. Without issuing a declaration of war, the League attacked. It was opportunistic, built on the understanding that the Red Army was weak, ill-prepared for an invasion and that the country would fall before winter truly set in.

    These assumptions were poorly founded. Codebreakers in Britain had been handing information over to Stalin concerning the League’s plans for months prior to the invasion. The purge of the Red Army which had begun in 1941 was largely complete the following year and by the time the League launched its invasion, the officer corps and military morale had been essentially restored. After early advances, the Soviets hit back hard. The Eastern Front quickly became a quagmire and Deloncle and his Cagoulard comrades soon felt something of the foreboding that Napoleon must have encountered as his Grande Armee froze and died. Worse, the British formally declared war after the invasion and permitted Imperial forces to move troops into their island in preparation for an invasion of Europe.

    How much of this can be placed at Lloyd George’s door is impossible to tell, because many of the documents that would be essential to making such an assessment remain classified. In any case, Lloyd George’s own unclear official position on his diplomatic adventures make what can be verified difficult to analyse. In the time between him taking up the position as Prime Minister of the exile government and the Co-operative Commonwealth’s declaration of war however, a sea change had occurred in the relationship between the British and their old empire. The idea that hundreds of thousands of soldiers from across the Empire could arrive on British shores, not as invaders but as allies, would have been unthinkable only four years before. The events occurring in Europe were exceptional, and truly called for exceptional methods, but nothing about them meant the rapprochement was inevitable.

    The next several years would be trying ones, but the League miscalculation in the autumn of 1943 laid the foundation for Allied victory. It was truly a war fought on every continent, as Canadians tore the French Caribbean away from them, the Japanese shored up the Soviets in the Far East, the British supplied every Resistance movement they could in Europe, the Empire marched ever northwards in Africa, and in 1945 a British-Imperial joint invasion was launched of Northern France itself. The unexpectedly narrow victory of Huey Long against the Republicans was perceived as a growing frustration with his isolationist policy, and he opened up American industry and coffers to harden the resolve and strength of the Allies.

    While Chiang committed suicide and his government surrendered in 1947, the war in Europe would end very differently. The second front in Europe was never an enormous success, the French fighting tooth and nail to halt a breakout, ironically aiding the Soviets on the Eastern Front as the Normandy Campaign drained manpower and materiel that might have otherwise have been used to check the Red Army’s advance. Much of Africa had fallen to the Allies, the Cagoulard’s own genocidal policies catching up with them as the ‘salvageable’ Germans now in Africa joined forces with the German government-in-exile based in Canada and established the Freiwehr, which recruited a great number of Africans who were similarly frustrated by the French colonial regime. But Europe herself was a tough nut to crack, the Cagoulard’s policies on indoctrination bearing fruit with a generation of fanatic-soldiers. To the Imperial War Cabinet, while they were clearly winning the war the long drawn out Siege of France was simply handing more of Europe to the Soviets. They needed a swift end to the war. In July 1948, an atomic bomb was dropped on Marseilles. A few days later a second was dropped on Nice. Deloncle was removed from office by the very military which had put him there and offered an unconditional surrender to the Allies.

    The relative unity of purpose that the Allies had behaved with during the war quickly fragmented. The most obvious immediate problem was over the post-war division of China and spheres of influence in Asia. While Japanese and Soviet interests aligned, Moscow had directed the Chinese Communists to concentrate their efforts on defeating the Kuomintang, but with the peace the erstwhile allies soon turned upon one another. The defeat of Chiang Kai-Shek’s government placed the Communists as the only ‘legitimate’ Chinese government was the claim of the USSR while the Japanese pointed to their puppet state based out of Nanking. Meanwhile British Indian troops has occupied Tibet as they had a few decades before. While the three powers agreed in principle to an eventual reunification of China, in reality it came to nothing. A Soviet sphere of influence, centred on satellites in Mongolia and East Turkestan, rubbed up uncomfortably against the Japanese on the coast. Gwilym Lloyd George, as one of the architects of bringing Japan into the war advocated for the Japanese position and in the new settlement ensured that the Japanese sphere in East Asia was contiguous.

    At this stage, the Imperial War Cabinet did not perceive Japan as a threat and instead saw them as an ally against the expansion of communism. This was a very real fear, as the Red Army had advanced over a vast swathe of Europe, penetrating deep into Germany and threatening the fringes of Italy. Lloyd George took up the cause of rebuilding Western Europe as a bulwark against communism. While a rough dividing line between East and West was drawn up, the internal boundaries of Europe were rapidly altered to suit the designs of the two sides. Lloyd George found an unlikely ally in the form of Britain’s President, Ernest Bevin. While a firm socialist, he saw the British Empire as a more reliable than the Soviet Union with whom the Co-operative Commonwealth had never really seen eye to eye. While France was firmly placed under joint British-Imperial military occupation, Germany had been, like China, temporarily divided along the line where the Soviets had managed to advance. This became a permanent dividing line as each side sponsored their own Germany. In the West, the German State was restored, merging the institutions of the Freiwehr, the German Resistance movement and the Canadian based government-in-exile. This was done with the blessing of Bevin, who also acquiesced to the expansion of West Germany westwards into Alsace-Lorraine, Luxembourg and Eupen-Malmedy.

    The negotiations between the post-war Great Powers also led to the foundation of the World Conference, which thanks to the growing tensions never became as formidable an institution as several of its founders had hoped. Former League of Nations mandates were handed over to the World Conference to handle. While the British Empire took responsibility for several mandates which had been their colonies prior to the British Revolution, a swathe of territory in Africa was handed over to the German State. This was condemned by the Soviet Union and their pet German Worker’s and Farmer’s Republic, and they were only silenced by an agreement over spheres of influence in the Middle East which restored the international status of the Suez Canal Zone. Where the British and the Empire divided was over the fate of other former colonies and over the destiny of France.

    A swathe of former French territories and satellites were now under untrammelled Imperial occupation, under the auspices of the World Conference. The former King of Egypt, who had been a strong supporter of the Cagoulards, had been deposed. Lloyd George pushed hard for a new colony to be established in North East Africa, centred in Cairo and with himself as Governor, ostensibly as a strong bulwark against the Soviet sphere of influence on the other side of the Suez Canal. This sent a shockwave of fear across Britain as it appeared the government-in-exile was looking to establish a territory for itself in the Mediterranean. Bevin shot down the idea, and more to the point, so did the Imperial War Cabinet. The Premiers of the Dominions had found Lloyd George useful but they had no time for further colonial aggrandisement. The Kingdom was restored with the addition of Sudan and was treated as a Dominion of the Empire, but the mandates in North Africa remained just that, not a new sphere for an exile influenced government to rule over.

    Lloyd George had burned some bridges already but the next episode was the more embarrassing. It was the desire of the Imperial War Cabinet to restore the pre-Cagoulard government of France but this proved near impossible, as Deloncle had been thorough in the purging of any plausible opposition. Bevin sternly called for democratic elections, which had been organised the Netherlands and Belgium in early 1948 and had resulted in narrow socialist victories under alleged British influence, though likely the growth of the not quite fully democratic West Germany was a contributory factor. Both the Socialist and Communist parties had grown enormously in France, while the political right had been thoroughly tainted by the Cagoulards. It seemed likely that democratic elections would put a socialist government in power. While the Imperial War Cabinet dithered over terms, Lloyd George took the initiative. He met with numerous members of the French military and members of the ‘Constitutional Resistance’, planning to ensure that the elections only took place in circumstances which would avoid a revolution at the ballot box. The leaking of these meetings had the effect of a hand grenade, with the French left and the British government alleging that these were plans to carry out a military coup. Embarrassed, the Imperial War Cabinet hastily agreed to the democratic elections and the rapid dissolution of the sitting military government. The result was expected and a humiliation to the Imperial War Cabinet and Lloyd George alike.

    The clash between Lloyd George, the Imperial War Cabinet and the Co-operative Commonwealth was to spell his doom. While his hard work in coordinating the involvement of the Allies into the war meant that he was lauded, the moment had clearly come where the Dominions found the prominence of an exile to be tiresome. The War Cabinet was dissolved and replaced with the Imperial Council, composed of appointees from the respective Dominion governments but not out of the Premiers themselves. There was to be no place at its table for the British government-in-exile. Returning to Ottawa, Lloyd George found it impossible to adapt to the quiet life to which subsequent Prime Ministers have had to become accustomed to. After only a few weeks he handed his resignation to the King-Emperor.

    Lloyd George remains a heroic figure of the war, and the clumsiness of his end is well forgotten. The British-Imperial achievement of inventing the atomic bomb is often laid at his door, as he laid the groundwork for cooperation between the socialist republic and it’s former empire. However, he was also responsible for the denouement of the exile government’s relevance in the governance of the Empire, and for those who continue to work in the offices of the exile Parliament, this is something they will never forget.
     
  18. Skinny87 Had my first Youthquake at 13

    Joined:
    Dec 16, 2016
    A great read - you've created a world that seems radically different than OTL, yet entirely plausible every step of the way.
     
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  19. 99 Luftballons Banned

    Joined:
    Oct 4, 2017
    Nice update. Can't wait to see the post-war world.
     
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  20. Threadmarks: Under The Hood: Cagoulardisme After The Fall of France

    Mumby We The People Demand A Bank Holiday Monthly Donor

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    wandering
    Under The Hood: Cagoulardisme After The Fall of France by Carl Rousseau (2003)

    Having looked at the Southern European and East Asian models of modern fascism, we now move on to the third and perhaps most sinister example, that of Latin America. There are compelling similarities to both models and also striking differences.

    In the first instance, Latin American fascism is ‘true’ fascism in the sense that it was born at the same time as it was in Europe, was influenced by the same religious and nationalist ideas and was fostered and given licence to dominate due to the same problems of economic collapse and stagnation, political instability and a partisan military. Importantly, like other forms of fascism that arose in Europe at the time, it was ultimately brought in line with Cagoulardisme through the network of affiliates that extended outwards from Paris once Deloncle and his cronies were firmly in place.

    However, the Latin American states remained neutral during the Second Great War, having little to gain from Deloncle’s crusades across Europe and Africa. Because of this, they managed to avoid any conflict with the Allies and after the war ended became important in the American strategy to keep communism out of the Americas. With the approval of the United States, the fascist states of Latin America survived and thrived. And in this respect it is more similar to the East Asian model, as actually existing fascism. Similarly to Japan and her satellites, the rhetoric and policies of fascism were transposed onto an existing authoritarian governmental framework, as opposed to what occurred in France and Southern Europe where the fascist movement was operating in a democratic environment.

    While the Cagoulards overthrew French democracy, and the fascist parties of Southern Europe compete for electoral favour, the fascisms of Latin America are essentially window dressing for the military-corporate regimes which existed there for decades before the rise of fascism in the aftermath of the First Great War. The populist, nationalist ideology was attractive to dictators, not because they necessarily believed in the biological superiority of their race, but because it constructed a narrative of legitimacy to the nature of their existing regime. A martial society, a strong leader, a corporatist economy, these all fitted into the ideals of Deloncle and Mussolini and gave what had been petty dictatorships an ideological underpinning. Political parties were founded by the dictators and organised populist rallies, in an attempt to create a mass movement in support of the regime. In this respect, it has more in common with the East Asian fascisms which emerged after the fact of military domination in Japan proper and the settlement of the boundaries of their sphere following the Second Great War.

    Where the Latin American model of fascism critically differs from either of the other two is in that is predicated on the maintenance of order as it is. The dictators of Latin America do not aspire to global domination, just to be the biggest fish in their stretch of ocean. While the fascisms of Southern Europe, and the Cagoulards before them, point to a global conspiracy to hold them down and call for militarisation and conquest to reclaim their birthright, any actual war in Latin America would serve to destabilise the comfortable order which has been built. Similarly, the East Asian form of fascism is predicated upon the rightful place of East Asian nations binding together to form a superpower which can make its presence felt across the globe. There is no desire to bind Latin America together and the dictators are quite comfortable remaining under the benign neglect of their benefactors in Washington. The lack of expansionism and fanaticism have served to preserve a conservative social order and the integration of civilians into what would otherwise be a military regime has allowed the fascist states of Latin America to prosper for decades while in Europe where the creed was founded, fascism has been pushed to the very fringes of discourse.
     
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