Preemptive British Militarism

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by MatthewB, Jun 1, 2019.

  1. MatthewB Well-Known Member

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    Considering how Britain built a massive empire it’s noteworthy how passive and indecisive Britain was in the 20th century. Britain was afraid to take the initiative against the rise of Germany in 1933-1939, and against Japan, etc. I wonder what King Henry VIII or Elizabeth I would think of their descendants making weak threats to Hitler and dillydallying in Malaya.

    So, let’s give Britain some balls. First of all, destroy the Russian fleet after Dogger Bank. At the fall of France 1940, Britain invades FIC and threaten death to Japan if they interfere.

    Britain has the largest navy and empire, let’s act like it.
     
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  2. Ian_W Well-Known Member

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    Congratulations. You just forced France to pick between Britain and Russia. Welcome to a German win in WW1.
     
  3. MatthewB Well-Known Member

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    Then Britain chooses Germany and destroys France and seizes territory from Russia. But an aggressive Britain won’t tolerate German naval competition, so may preemptively attack Germany with France.

    To clarify, I’m not suggesting this is in Britain’s interest. Only that the British Empire IOTL is so weak on using its military strength in its foreign policy compared to Empires of old, or even the USA of the postwar era. The Romans, like Americans of today, were always attacking of at war with someone.
     
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  4. Ian_W Well-Known Member

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    It's Perfidious Albion, not Stupid Albion.
     
  5. Barry Bull Donor

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    Violence is the last refuge of the incompetents.
     
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  6. Barry Bull Donor

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    How does that enhance British national interest? And where is the USA at war today?
     
  7. MatthewB Well-Known Member

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    The only reason there was a British Empire was due to violence. Britain didn’t get India through peaceful negotiation or commerce, but by aggressively attacking the French and local leadership in India.

    But I repeat, I’m not suggesting a more militaristic 20th century Britain would be good for the nation.
     
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  8. Ian_W Well-Known Member

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    Tell you what.

    How about you write the timeline about a Pervetin-addicted UK leadership, and we will all make comments from the sidelines ?
     
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  9. MatthewB Well-Known Member

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    Formal war? No where since 1945. But over 100,000 US soldiers have died in combat since then. Today the US remains in Afghanistan, with three combat deaths so far this year, and 17 in 2018. But we can split hairs and go on a tangent about what constitutes US military involvement, but I’ll stick further to the British topic at hand.
     
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  10. Kalga Yell's Shipyard

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    The UK got history's largest empire by only picking fights it could either easily win or quickly bail out. Its involvement in WWI and the subsequent decline was precisely because it joined a high stakes war on a matter of honor. Despite winning the losses were horrific and scarred a generation.

    By the 1930s the Empire's days were already numbered and the aftershocks of WWI meant neither the willpower nor the resources were there to have another go just because.
     
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  11. Jiraiyathegallant Well-Known Member

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    Britain’s Empire is largely based on far flung colonies not developing an independent identity and keeping political consciousness low among non whites, playing locals off against each other in their empire, playing other Great Powers off against each other, and not showing signs of vulnerability. If they go to war, they risk everything above going wrong.

    Britain isn’t that much stronger than the other Great Powers to expect to beat any of the Great Powers they could clash with without said power putting up a fight. Britain wears itself out and discredits itself internationally with its actions while looking too unstable for anyone to commit to an alliance with given that Britain has no qualms about dragging itself and everyone around it into a war. Eventually a coalition of Great Powers put Britain in its place if it behaves like this. When this happens their white colonies begin to look elsewhere for safety and their non white colonies see a chance for freedom.
     
  12. RMcD94 Well-Known Member

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    The Napoleonic Wars are an example of the difficulty of even a continental hegemon "putting Britain in its place". There will always be places on the continent who want to usurp the hegemon.
     
  13. PhilKearny Free Bill Cameron! Free TFSmith121, too!

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    Why not give them some brains? That way they won't have to act like trogolodytes as you suggest.
     
  14. Riain Well-Known Member

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    The problem with British preemptive militarism is that the British military isn't well set up to do it against likely enemies. Sure, with luck she could destroy or cripple another country's fleet, but that won't stop them fighting on land where the BEF is way too small to do anything significant in the age of Total War.

    All the major European powers tried to outdo each other with fast mobilisation-offensives but none of these were able to achieve a crushing blow in practice.
     
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  15. Karelian Well-Known Member

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    Hence the idea of allying with France and Russia, since unlike Germany, they had the geopolitical means to threaten the Raj.
     
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  16. Karelian Well-Known Member

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    Also, it is worth a mention that the Royal Navy brass was planning and training for such eventualities, and used naval exercises as a show of force against continental powers several times during the later 1800s. But since the power to make such decisions lay elsewhere in the British system, even the most hawkish Sea Lords had no power to start wars on their own.
     
  17. Barry Bull Donor

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    The British Empire were involved in numerous similar local pacification actions in 19th and 20th centuries, particularly in Northwest frontier of the Raj.
     
  18. jsb Well-Known Member

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    Not by being the richest trading nation and first to jump into industrialization and therefore could pay to win against Napoleon and scare everybody else off?
     
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  19. Kalga Yell's Shipyard

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    That too, although not being a continental power and thus not needing a large ass standing army goes hand in hand with expanding colonial holdings and industrialization.
     
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  20. jsb Well-Known Member

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    I simply think if GB was as relatively rich in 1914 as she was in say 1870 (any time 1815-1880) she would not have been involved in WWI, simply sending an ambassador would get her point across effectively....
     
    Last edited: Jun 2, 2019
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