Stanley Baldwin's Successful Political Gamble: A TL from 1923

The Family Allowances Act 1936 provided for a payment of five shillings a week for each child in a family, except the first, payable to the mother. Therefore it was not payable to families with an only child.

The Health Service Act 1937 was a compromise worked out after discussions between the Labour and Liberal parties. It established a comprehensive health service free of charge to all users. No doctor or patient was obliged to join with private practice continuing with the new service. Regional Boards of local authorities would take over ownership of the muncipal hospitals in each region. The voluntary hospitals would have the option of coming into the Health Service, of staying out, or choosing a half-way house whereby they would receive public funds in return for partial submission to the authority of the Regional Boards. Doctors working in health centres would be paid a salary. Those practising individually would be paid a capitation fee under contract to a central Medical Board established by the Minister of Health, but comprised mostly of doctors. This Medical Board had the duty to secure a fairer distribution of doctors throughout the country by forbidding entry to areas with too many doctors in relation to the population. The sale and purchase of doctors' practices was not abolished. The Act came into force on Monday 6 September 1937. [1]

[1] The provisions of the Health Service Act were much like those proposed in the White Paper A National Health Service, published in February 1944 in OTL, and are taken from the book Aneurin Bevan 1945-1960 by Michael Foot.
 
On 12 March 1938 German troops invaded Austria and that country was incorporated into Germany. This is termed the Anschluss. On 14 March the Prime Minister, Tom Johnston, opened a debate in the House of Commons on the situation in Europe following the Anschluss. He said that the British government made it clear to the German government that it strongly condemned its invasion and annexation of Austria. He told the Commons that the British government had made a solemn and binding guarantee to the government of Czechoslovakia that that it would give them all assistance in the event of a German invasion of their country, to preserve its territorial integrity.

Winston Churchill asked the Prime Minister:
Does this the right honourable gentleman mean that in the event of such an invasion of Czechoslovakia, Britain would declare war on Germany?
Thomas Johnston:
 
In this TL the Sudetenland crisis developed much like in OTL until 12 September 1938 inclusive. In August 1938, 750,000 German soldiers were sent to the border with Czechoslovakia, officially as part of army maneuvres. [1] On 12 September Hitler made a speech at a Nazi Party rally in Nuremberg, on the Sudentenland crisis in which he condemned the actions of the Czechoslovak government. He said that as the head of state in Germany, he would support the right of self-determination of fellow Germans in the Sudetenland. [1]

At 6 am on Tuesday 13 September 1938 German troops crossed the border with Czechoslovakia, and during the morning German planes began bombing Prague, Brno, Bratislava and other Czechoslovak cities. At 4.05 pm on the same day the British prime minister, Tom Johnson, made a statement in the House of Commons. He said that at 1 pm the British ambassador in Berlin was instructed to give the German Foreign Minister a note stating that unless satisfactory assurance was given by 3 pm that afternoon that German troops would be withdrawn from Czechoslovak territory, and all aggressive actions against Czechoslovakia ceased, a state of war would exist between the United Kingdom and Germany. As no such assurance had been given, since 3 pm the United Kingdom was at war with Germany. He said that Britain had declared war on Germany in accordance with the guarantee made to Czechoslovakia on 14 March 1938.

Johnson had spoken to the nation over the radio at 3.15 pm announcing that Britain was at war with Germany.

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement
 
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When the Prime Minister had finished his statement, the Leader of the Opposition, Neville Chamberlain, rose to speak. He said that this was a tragic day for Europe and the world. War could have been averted if the government had negotiated with the German government. The Germans in the Sudetenland want to join Germany, that would be a basis for negotiations. I have information from colleagues and friends who contacts in Germany, that Herr Hitler would have been content for the Sudetenland to be transferred to Germany, and that he would have no more territorial designs in Europe.
 
Herbert Samuel, the leader of the Liberal Party, spoke next. He said that he fully supported the government's actions. He was followed by Winston Churchill, who although he gave his full support to the government's declaration of war on Nazi Germany, said that Britain's defences, particularly air defences, were woefully inadequate. George Lansbury spoke next. He said that although the pacifist cause which he dedicated his life appeared to be defeated, it would in time be vindicated. [1]

[1] His speech was much like that he gave on 3 September 1939. See http://api.parliament.uk/historic-hansard/commons/1939/sep/03/prime-ministers-announcement. Lansbury was the sixth speaker.
 
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In the evening of 13 September 1938, Tom Johnston formed a war cabinet consisting of the following members:
Prime Minister: Tom Johnston
Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons: Emmanuel Shinwell
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Albert Victor Alexander
Foreign Secretary: Hugh Dalton
Minister of Defence: Clement Attlee.

Those cabinet ministers who were not in the war cabinet were still in the cabinet. Back in May 1938, Johnston had established a Ministry of Supply with John Strachey as the minister with a seat in the cabinet.

Cosnscription for men men aged 18 to 40 had been introduced in August 1938. After war was declared, children from the cities were evacuated to safe areas.
 
Confused why they are evacuating cities , without bases in France its hard to see how Germany can attack Britain. 1938 is not 1939, the Luftwaffe is far smaller and has less capable aircraft. Like the RAF its still got biplanes on strength. Same goes for the Heer, the correlation of forces is massively worse ( and that's even if you discount the need to cover Poland ). Tankwise , Blitzkrieg is out , discounting Pz I and II as recon vehicles , you have maybe 160 Pz III and IV total.
 
If memory serves me well, the British put into work Operation Pied Piper on the very September 1st, 1939 OTL, even when the Luftwaffe was busy in Poland, and relocated several million Britons away from the danger, that is, big cities. Pipisme will correct me if I'm wrong here, but IIRC, this measure had been set up, IOTL, by a Committee (Typical Britishness) in 1938.

So, I suppose it's standard procedure.
 
Confused why they are evacuating cities , without bases in France its hard to see how Germany can attack Britain. 1938 is not 1939, the Luftwaffe is far smaller and has less capable aircraft. Like the RAF its still got biplanes on strength. Same goes for the Heer, the correlation of forces is massively worse ( and that's even if you discount the need to cover Poland ). Tankwise , Blitzkrieg is out , discounting Pz I and II as recon vehicles , you have maybe 160 Pz III and IV total.
I assume that because children were evacuated from cities in September 1939 in OTL, they would be evacuated about a year earlier in this TL. In OTL the 'Government Evacuation Scheme had been developed during the Summer of 1938 by the so-called Anderson Committee'. [1] A similar committee had been established in this TL.

[1] See http://thehistorypress.co.uk/articles/the-evacuation-of-children-during-the-second-world-war.
 
Newsreels showed German soldiers greeted by cheering crowds and given flowers as they marched through Karlsbad and other cities in the Sudetenland. The Luftwaffe continued to bomb Czech defences and armaments factories, but Czecho-Slovak troops put up a dogged defence. France had declared war on Germany an hour after the United Kingdom. On Thursday 15 September 1938, Hungarian troops invaded Slovakia.

Sir Oswald Mosley, the leader of the British Union of Fascists [BUF] addressed a rally of tens of thousands of people in a large hall in London on Saturday 17 September. In his speech he said the German people were helping the Sudetenland Germans in fighting for their legitimate right of self-determination. He said that war was a Jewish plot and the British people didn't want war. Although the three old parties had agreed to an electoral truce the BUF would fight by-elections.
 
Are UK and France going to declare war to Hungary too? And what are Soviet and Italian positions?
The UK and France have declared war on Hungary, but these were not going to make any difference on the ground. Italy was neutral. The Soviet Union had a mutual military assistance treaty with Czechoslovakia, and announced that it was willing to come to the assistance of Czechoslovakia, provided that Poland and Romania gave permission gave the Soviet Army permission to cross their territories. Both countries refused. [1]

[1] The final two sentences were as in OTL. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Munich_Agreement.
 
On Tuesday 20 September 1938, Hungarian troops entered Bratislava to a mixed reception from the civilian population. It was not until 5 October 1938 that German troops marched into Brno, where they met with a hostile reception from the people. Prague was still under Czechoslovak control and the Czechoslovak government remained at their post.
 
The Australian, Canadian and New Zealand governments all joined the British government in declaring war on Germany. But the South African government under prime minister J.B.M. Hertzog declared that South Africa would be neutral on Britain's side.

The Oxford by-election caused by the death of Robert Bourne [Conservative] on 7 August 1938, was held on 27 October 1938. Under the terms of the electoral truce, the Labour and Liberal parties did not contest the election. But the British Union of Fascists [BUF] put up a candidate. The result was as follows:
Quintin Hogg [Conservative]: 86.4%
Nora Elam [BUF]: 13.6% (1)
----------------------------
Conservative majority: 72.8%
----------------------------

[1] Here is the Wikipedia entry for Norah Elam: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Norah_Elam
 
After very heavy fighting, German troops entered Prague on 16 October 1938. President Edvard Benes and Prime Minister Jan Syrovy fled into exile in London. The next day, the Slovak National Republic was declared, but it had to cede considerable amount of territory to Germany and Hungary. [1] Also Carpatho-Ukraine to Hungary. [2]

[1] As shown in this map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slovak-Hungarian_War#/media/File:Slovak_borderHungary.png.

[2] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carpatho-Ukraine
 
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