And if the US invasion fails, things get really bad - expect acqusations of being left in the lurch etc (a bit like British reactions to the US after Suez, only 100 times worse).

Hmmm ... I think its goodbye Special Relationship, Hello Europe
Or Goodbye both and Hello post-Empire Economic Commonwealth? Continental entanglements have been nothing but messy, there is an argument for focusing on the Empire and avoiding unnecessary alliances that just bring trouble. Of course that does assume there is no 'hanging onto Empire at all costs' mentality, but frankly I can't see Halifax doing that. He may not be keen on it but I can't see him fighting too hard (and certainly not militarily) if the colonies really want to leave.
It was a mission which fell upon my shoulders to stop further destruction in a world torn asunder by endless bloody conflict. The world had suffered enough.

This hope was shattered on Jaanuary 4th 1945 when the Soviet Union declared war on Japan. The United States now had a major partner in the potential invasion of the Japanese Home Islands.

My reaction was one of utter despair. This meant that without the shadow of a doubt hundreds of thousands of mothers would never see their sons again. The question on my mind was for what? It was warfare for the sake of it. Destruction for the sake of it. This was a view shared amongst the entire cabinet.

In my view, the only way to stop the bloodshed left was to make the Japanese see sence and accept an armistice with an occupation force. This was not at all likely, but it was now the stated goal of the British, French and Dutch governments. It was a policy to be pursued at all costs.

As such, a line was opened up in Argentina through the Japanese Embassy where we dictated the terms the European powers would demand of Japan.

  • The Emperor would not lose his position as head of state in Japan.
  • That Japan would accept the loss of territory to its current boundaries.
  • That the Japanese accept war guilt.
  • That Japan be demilitarised and hand over its fleet to the French Navy and the Royal Navy.
  • That the Japanese agree to draw up a new democratic constitution.
  • That no reparations would be needed.
The Japanese ambassador promised to take the document away, but we were not sitting in hope. Rather we were awaiting a counter proposal. Constant in the background was the American and Soviet buildups. If the Japanese did not accept, we would have failed in our mission. Many more would die.
They should remember to be polite. If they are then this could happen.

Tojo's assistent: Sir a letter has arrived for you from the foolish Europeans

Tojo; Ha lets see (See's the conditions)

Letter: Please for your honour and lands greatness do this.

Tojo: No it would rude to say no to this. Curse our social norms of kindness
Throughout January we did our outmost to get the Japanese to agree to an armistice. In effect it became the largest policy objective of the British Government. Despite our strongest efforts however, it seemed that the militarists in Tokyo were determined to go down in flames. Any hopes of peace with Japan were destroyed on January 31st, when a message was recieved in Washington from the American government stating that the forces were ready and the invasion was now only a matter of time.

I will not deny that this point was one of the lowest of my time in office. Yet again, the constant blood-letting would continue and there was nothing I could do to stop it. I prayed for intervention that deep down I was aware would not come.

The bad news was compounded by the news of riots in Calcutta. Winston ordered that the Indian Army put down the rising, which they were within a fortnight. Fear of a general uprising grew though.

Domestically, things were now looking bleak. Labour and the Liberals were campaigning for the forthcoming election, most alarmingly on a joint ticket on areas of social welfare. As such, it was obvious that an agreement was in place between the parties.

Preperation began in earnest at this point for our manifesto.
On Febuary 1st, 1945 American and Soviet forces invaded the Japanese mainland. In this time, I pledged support but maintained no British troops would be involved. I had succeeded in keeping troops from Britain, Europe and the Commonwealth of nations out, I had not stopped the war. That was my biggest regret in my entire time in office.

Throughout febuary, work was continuous on our manifesto and our response to the informal Liberal and Labour party alliance in Parliament. By the end of the month, we had in my opinion prepared a manifesto which was superior to our manifesto of 1940.

It covered areas of concern throughout the nation, from issues over crime, our place in the world to the health care enjoyed throughout the nation. David Lloyd-George promised the soldiers returning home in 1919 a "land fit for heroes". It was my intention that this promise would be fulfilled by the Conservatives.

We did not agree with the socialist ideals of the opposition parties on the issue of healthcare, instead promising that we would introduce a new subsidy so that if a patient went to a doctor and the issue was deemed to be serious, we would subsidise the patient the majority of their costs so that they would be as little out of pocket as possible. This woulde also give them the freedom of choice over the health bureaucracy which the opposition would introduce.

We maintained that the Empire must be defended at all costs and that it was essential to our place in the world. Pivotal to this policy was that India remain within the Empire, and the success of our current structures. It was accepted however that to this end we may have to support from dissent within our Indian Empire in the short term to secure the long term prosperity of the sub-continent.

We were at this stage, for the first time since the end of the war preparing to reduce the number of British troops based in Germany. Terrorism was finally on the decline, and the civil authorities had now began the process of taking over the internal government of the British, French and American sectors of the shattered nation and in thwe Soviet sector elections were planned within the month, although it was felt by all that they would not be free and fair.

Liberty was at the heart of our proposals. I was, and stand by my belief that the British people faced the choice between socialism and liberty. We had now set out our stall.

On Thursday 12th April 1945 I made the short trip from Ten Downing Street to Buckingham Palace to ask the King to dissolve Parliament for a general election of May 10th. We now faced our first post-war general election.

It was up to the people to decide.
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Good timeline. A little nitpick with this update, though...
Ta. I really should be doing what I used to do and double check every post for Haifax on Word, but alas I don't. As such any spell check errors noticed, point them out.


Oh and updated.
The campaign was eventful to say the least. One morning I would wake in Bromley and fall asleep in Inverness. All around the land, I did my level best to persuade the British people of the folly of the approach of the opposition parties, but there was little I could do to stop events.

On April 15th, following a very messy campaign in Japan, Tokyo fell to the Americans. It was estimated that over 65,000 Americans had died thus far in the invasion. The Japanese were putting upthe most ferocious defence, even although it was patently a hopeless cause in which they were fighting. The news that the Emperor had been captured made the papers as much as any other story. The war was over, but the Japanese people never realised. The Emperors call for a general ceasefire was taken heed of by the majority of Japanese, but not all.

The next day, Bombay rose in rebellion. It was at this point that deep down, we feared the election was badly lost. We fought on until the bitter end, but the people were simply taken in as the children of Hamelin were by the pied piper to the promises of Attlee.

As I awoke on the morning of Friday the 13th of May, my worst fears were confirmed. Labour had won the general election, Clement Attlee was to be the new Prime Minister with a large majority. I conceeded defeat and wished Mr Attlee the very best in his new role.

For the first time in five years, my schedule was to become very empty. On Monday 16th, I resigned as leader of the Conservative Party.

Result of the May 10th 1945 United Kingdom General Election.
  • Labour 380 Seats.
  • Conservative 200 Seats.
  • Liberal 45 Seats.
  • Other Parties 16 Seats.
Edward Wood, Lord Halifax will be remembered for many different reasons. He held many important positions, not least of which were Viceroy of India between 1926-29 and Prime Minister between 1940-45, where he was the last peer of the realm to hold the post.

He will be remembered as the man who saved Britain in 1940, when the ten month Western European War seemed all but lost, as the man who showed the determination for peace took Britain into the European Confederation and the man who made the last valiant attempt to save the British Empire in India. He will also be remembered for showing a determination to stand up for the United Kingdom and not sending troops to the far east to the invasion of Japan, which led to a souring of relations with the Americans, but saved many thousands of British sons.

For most, however it will be the achievement of defeating Hitler which will be attached in the mind when his name is mentioned. Without his guidance and bravery, Britons may well be living under the swastika today.

Following his defeat in the 1945 General Election, he devoted his time to charity work, establishing the Halifax Foundation, helping injured servicemen into work where possible and helping with care where not.

It was to the foundation that he donated all of the proceeds of his 1952 memoirs of his time in Downing Street, Halifax. Tributes have flown in from around the world.

He will be remembered.

Edward Wood. Earl of Halifax, Baron Irwin. (16/4/1881-26/12/1959)

Daily Herald Obituary 3rd January 1960.

The End.
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Well, sorry to see it end but probably the best point to do so. I can't see India being held under any circumstances by that time and the more Britain tries to force matters the worse its likely to get.

However he has left a hopefully better legacy than OTL. There is a dangerous spilt with the US but with Europe itself less exhausted hopefully the Soviets can be handled. [Especially presuming we get the bomb before them].

Anyway looking forward to the Atlee years. Many thanks for the ride.:)

Very good TL here. Nice examination of Halifax's influence and the effects he had. Goes against the grain and very realistic. Good job to be sure.
Excellent TL. Many thanks for your work! I look forward to reading of the trials, tribulations, successes and failures of Clem's Labour Government.
I have to agree with everyone, Fletcherofsaltoun- I've enjoyed following this TL a great deal. You've defied conventional wisdom magnificently.:)
A great read from start to finish, although I'm not sure how plausible the invasion of Japan was. Well done Fletch :)
Just read the whole thing: excellent work. Will move on to the Attlee years tomorrow. :)
I gave up on them, one of these things. I may go back to them at one point. God knows when but I will. Thanks for the compliments, although I would make changes if I was doing this again. :D

One major flaw I noticed which no-one picked up on was that David Lloyd George became a modern day Jesus Christ. He died in 1943 in this timeline, only to die again in 1945... Doh.
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