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

In November 1938 the Spanish Civil War ended with a peace treaty which divided Spain into East [Republican] with its capital in Madrid, and West [Nationalist] with Salamanca as its capital. [1] Manuel Azana and Juan Negrin were the President and Prime Minister respectively of East Spain. General Francisco Franco was the Caudillo and President of West Spain.

[1] East Spain comprised the pink and red areas shown on this map: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spanish_Civil_War#/media/File:General_map_of_the_Spanish_Civil_War_(1936-39).svg. It is the General Map of the Spanish Civil War in the section headed 'Beginning of the coup'. Also the area shown in light brown in the north with a connecting strip of a few miles wide, south of the border with France, to the area shown in red. West Spain was the rest of Spain.
 
After Czechia, Poland was generally regarded as being the next country on Hitler's list. In November 1938 the United Kingdom gave a guarantee to Poland of military assistance in the event of an invasion of that country.

The winter of 1938/39 is known as the Phony War. There was some desultory fighting on the Franco-German, and the Royal Navy and the Kreigsmarine fought battles at sea, but otherwise the war was quiet. But there was intense activity on the diplomatic front with both Nazi Germany on one side, and the UK and France on the other, in negotiations with the Soviet Union.
 
just read the last five or so pages of the TL. keep up the good work!
I'm glad you like this TL.

In late January 1939, the Prime Minister, Tom Johnson, appointed Arthur Ransome as United Kingdom ambassador to the Soviet Union. Ransome is best known as the author of Swallows and Amazons and other children's books, but he was a newspaper corrspondent in Russia at the time of the Revolution. Ransome was given the customary knighthood awarded to ambassadors.

In late April 1939 the United Kingdom and France signed a military alliance with the Soviet Union. [1]

[1] In OTL the Soviet Union 'wanted an iron-clad military alliance with France and Britain'. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Molotov_Ribbentrop_Pact
 
I was thinking: on March 22 1939 Lithuania was forced to cede Memel to Germany following a Von Ribbentrop's ultimatum. Soviet Union could easily convince the Allies that this is only the beginning of a Nazi infiltration in the Baltic Area and use that to justify a counter-ultimatum followed by a invasion "for protection" of Lithuania itself, using then Vilnius as base to launch a full scale invasion of Eastern Prussia.
At this point Hitler will want the Danzig Corridor to support Prussian Front/evacuate his forces here but Poland is going to firmly refuse, fearing a repeat of Memel case and a forced involvement in the conflict. I can see finally Germany seizing the Corridor and Poland forced to enter in the conflict thanks Allies mediation.
 
I was thinking: on March 22 1939 Lithuania was forced to cede Memel to Germany following a Von Ribbentrop's ultimatum. Soviet Union could easily convince the Allies that this is only the beginning of a Nazi infiltration in the Baltic Area and use that to justify a counter-ultimatum followed by a invasion "for protection" of Lithuania itself, using then Vilnius as base to launch a full scale invasion of Eastern Prussia.
At this point Hitler will want the Danzig Corridor to support Prussian Front/evacuate his forces here but Poland is going to firmly refuse, fearing a repeat of Memel case and a forced involvement in the conflict. I can see finally Germany seizing the Corridor and Poland forced to enter in the conflict thanks Allies mediation.
That's an interesting scenario. However in March 1939 Vilnius was part of Poland.

Under the terms of the Klaipeda Convention of 1924, the Klaipeda region [Memelland] became an autonomous region of Lithuania. The signatories to the Convention were France, Italy, Japan and the UK. [1] On 20 March 1939 the German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop gave an oral ultimatum to Juozas Urbays, the Lithuanian Foreign Minister demanding that Lithuania cede Klaipeda to Germany, or the German army would invade Lithuania. The Lithuania secretly informed the signatories of the Klaipeda Convention about this ultimatum since it needed their approval to transfer Klaipeda. Italy and Japan were allies of Nazi Germany, so they gave their consent to the transfer. However the UK and France refused their consent.

The Soviet Union supported Lithuania, but the Soviet government was in negotiations with the UK and France about a military alliance. If they gave a counter-ultimatum to Germany, that they would defend Lithuania in the event of a German invasion, they would need the consent of the Lithuanian government for Soviet troops to cross into that country.

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Klaipeda_Convention
 
Both the President of Lithuania, Antanas Smetona, and the Prime Minister, Vladas Mironas, refused to let Soviet troops enter their country, so they resigned on 22 March 1939. On the same day Jonas Cernius became President. He gave permission for Soviet troops to cross into Lithuania, but solely in support of the Lithuanian army against a German invasion.

Hitler did not want with the Soviet Union then, so he backed down and did not invade Memelland.
 
In the spring of 1939 there was a media campaign in Germany demanding the immediate return of the Free City of Danzig to Germany under the slogan 'Home to the Reich!' [1] On 24 March 1939, the British government declared that a German attempt to take Danzig would be a casus belli.

Tensions grew between Germany and Poland over the Free City which was under the direct authority of the League of Nations.

[1] This was as in OTL in respect of spring and summer of 1939. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_City_of_Danzig.
 
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In OTL, Germany invaded Poland and Danzig because the Nazi-Soviet Pact guaranteed Soviet neutrality. Because there was no such pact in this TL, therefore it would seem likely that there would be no German invasion.
 
In a surprise attack, German troops invaded Poland from north, south and west at 5am local time on 10 April 1939, Easter Monday. The opinion of historians is that Hitler ordered this attack because he wanted to take advantage of the unprepardness of the Soviet army, if it came to the assistance of Poiland. The Polish army made a gallant and dogged defence against a numerically superior army. German forces also invaded Danzig which they captured in a few days. Warsaw, Lodz, Cracow, Lwow and other Polish cities were heavily bombed by the Luftwaffe.

The Soviet Union did not have a treaty with Poland obliging it come to its assistance if attacked. The question was whether Stalin would commit Soviet troops to the defence of Poland. He did and on 14 April the Soviet army crossed the frontier into Poland. It was a disastrous decision. In battles with the German army Soviet divisions were smashed.

As the German army advanced, it captured Warsaw on 27 April, the Polish army retreated to the Romanian bridgehead in the south-east of the country.
 
Soviet Army is of course unprepared and still damaged by 1937-1938 Purges but the Wehrmacht in 1939 is far away from Barbarossa Operation preparations and have more open fronts (overall the Western one), so probably it will be not able to reach the Leningrad-Moscow-Stalingrad line as IOTL. With Poland and Soviet Union as de facto allies, hopefully Katyn Massacre will not occur (Kliment Voroshilov, Soviet Defense Minister in 1925-1940, was against it).
Also the Winter War and the unofficial Soviet-Japanese War for Mongolia will be butterflied as Stalin focuses on German earlier aggression.
 
The plan of the Marshal of Poland, Edward Rydz-Smigly, was that the Polish army would take advantage of the defensive advantages of the Romanian Bridgehead until the promised French offensive on the Western Front. [1]

By the middle of May 1939 German troops had reached the Polish border with the Soviet Union, but because Hitler did not yet want to invade the Soviet Union, he ordered them not to cross the border.

[1] For the Romanian Bridgehead see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Romanian_Bridgehead.
 
The Saar Offensive by the French army was launched on 17 April 1939. After ten days it was about as successful as the same offensive in OTL. [1] However because Poland did not collapse in this TL, because the Polish army held out in the Romanian Bridgehead, the French General Staff decided to continue with the offensive, and the French army slowly advanced further into Germany.

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saar_Offensive
 
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The French army continued its advance into Germany, helped by the British Expeditionary Force. On 12 May 1939 allied troops had took Ludwigshafen. Meanwhile the Polish army was holding out in the Romanian Bridgehead. The Polish government was in Lwiw, which was the temporary capital of Poland while Warsaw was under German occupation.

Kristallnacht did not happen in this TL because its pretext was the assassination of a German diplomat in Paris by a Polish Jew. In this TL France and Germany were at war and there were no German diplomats in Paris. However the situation of Jews living in Germany in May 1939 were at least as bad as in OTL with heavy restrictions on their liberty.
 
The Prime Minister, Tom Johnson, appointed Harold Nicholson as Minister of Information on 14 September 1938. He was in the cabinet, but not the war cabinet. He was elected Labour MP for Manchester East in a by-election on 18 February 1937.

The media likened the Polish defence in the Romanian Bridgehead, or the Lwiw salient which was the name they gave it, to the Belgian defence of Ypres and the surrounding area in the Great War. Gallant little Poland had the same place in the hearts of the British people as gallant little Belgium in the previous war. The difference was that there no British troops fighting in Poland, unlike in Belgium.

Meanwhile after intense street fighting lasting nine days, the Polish army finally drove German troops from Lwiw on 3 June 1939.
 
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Romania was courted both by the Allies and Nazi Germany because the vital importance of its oilfields. King Carol II, who had assumed dictatorial powers in 1938, was neutral. [1] However this was in violation of the 1921 Romanian Treaty of Alliance with Poland and the 1926 Treaty of Alliance with France. However his prime minister, Armand Calinescu, was pro Allies and opposed to the fascist Iron Guard. [2]

[1] For King Carol see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Carol_II_of_Romania

[2] For Calinescu see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Armand_Calinescu
 
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In June 1939 how feasible would it be for the Allies to give military aid to the Polish government in Lwiw, and for there to be Allied troops to be sent to the Lwiw salient? Also how likely would a German invasion of Denmark, Norway or the Netherlands be?
 
With the Allies invading Germany, I dont think that Hitler would consider invading Scandinavia. However, a suprise attack a là von Schilieffen to get the enemy caught by surprise and kicked in the arse might be a Hitlerite idea, if Guderian is around.
 
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