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

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?
If they want to help Lwiw Salient, they need Romania, no questions.
Now, Romania was one of the most Francophile nations in Eastern Europe before the Munich Agreement destroyed Romanian faith in Western ability to protect their allies.
Also Carol II hated the fascist Iron Guard and had their leader, Codreneau, who was assisted by Nazis to take power in Romania, killed, a fact that caused a deep rift with Germans at time (late 1938).
Prime Minister Armand Callinescu was also a strong pro-Allied politician.
IOTL Romania swung to Axis only after the Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and the fall of France put Germany in charge in Continental Europe. And Berlin was pushing strongly to have free supply from Romanian oil fields, with or without Bucharest agreement.
The Germans assisted and instructed Iron Guard to assassinate Callinescu, then punished Romania with the Second Vienna Award for its past hostility and forced Carol II to abdicate, installing Iron Guard new leader Horia Sima as Co-Dictator with General Antonescu.

But in this TL Romania stayed as pro-Allied nation. Carol II's order to kill Codreneau could be involve even Sima himself, then decapitating definitely Iron Guard and breaking irremediably relations with Germany. Bucharest could allow Allied troops or supply to arrive to Lwiw Salient. At the end the Third Reich will launch likely an invasion of Romanian territory not only for their help to Polish and Allies, but especially to conquest vital oil fields in Ploiesti.
A such invasion, after the attack against Czechoslovakia, could be enough to call the Little Entente and bring Yugoslavia in war.
There was a French plan to land troops in Yugoslavia if Belgrade would enter in war, in order to defend French allies in Eastern Europe, to open a second front against Germany and to entangling it in the Balkans. This could happens.

Before or later, when Soviets will push in Poland and Lithuania probably, Germany will find itself in a bad situation: a war on two front. They can't move troops from East as Soviet Unionis a great threat and Balkan Front open but they can't neither afford a two-front war. At the same time British moves in North are a clear menace to iron and steel supplies from Sweden to German arms industry.
At the end German strategists always teach to push strongly on one front, hoping to close it before concentrate all forces on the other, and, as losing the Rhine Bacine would be a fatal blow for Germany, I can see only a strong attack on Western Front, even if this would mean leave Soviets part of Poland, probably with the double target to expel French from Germany (a first counter-attack in Saarland, to protect Ruhr and act as distraction) and capture Paris (the main attack, probably in the Bulge Region as IOTL). If that will be successful will depend by field variables.
With two or maybe three fronts open Berlin will be too spreaded to execute Operation Wesenburg, at least at the same time as OTL, so I think Churchill's plan to block Norwegian ports to break Swedish-German steel trade will happen, maybe together others Soviet disruptive moves in the Baltic. Germany could occupy Denmark without problems, in order to protect their northern side, and assuring a direct channel with Sweden, but with the Royal Fleet deployed invasion of Norway will be pretty impossible.
 
On 17 June 1939, Romania declared war on Germany. This was the decision of King Carol II, his prime minister, Armand Calinescu and his foreign minister, Grigore Gafencu. Now British and French military aid began to be sent to the Lwiw salient.
 
Starting in early May 1939, Jews in Germany were deported to Jewish ghettos in Polish cities.

Allied troops advancing in Germany were ordered to be on their very best behaviour as regards the civilian population, which they generally were. However they received a sullen reception from the local people.
 
The Roya Commission on Palestine chaired by Lord Harris, which reported in June 1937, proposed that Palestine, which was administered by Britain under a League of Nations Mandate, should not be divided into Arab and Jewish states. [1] Lord Harris, John Harris, had been Liberal MP for Hackney North from December 1923 to October 1927. He was member of the Executive Committee of the League of Nations Union and had attended meetings of the Assembly of the League in Geneva.

In May 1939 the British government increased the quota for annual Jewish emigration to Palestine to one hundred thousand. So German Jews which the Nazi regime allowed to emigrate , went to Palestine.

[1] This was the opposite of the proposal of the Peel Commission in OTL. See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peel_Commission.
 
The Allied armies continued their advance in Germany. They captured Bonn on 17 June 1939 and Cologne on 23 June. On the night of the 25/26 June, the Luftwaffe began bombing British and French cities, among which were London, Birmingham, Bristol, Coventry, Portsmouth, Liverpool, Manchester, Leeds, Sheffield, Glasgow, Newcastle-on-Tyne, Plymouth and Southampton in Britain; and Paris, Rouen, Lille, L'Havre, Strasbourg, Nancy, Bordeaux, Lyons, Marseillles and Toulouse in France.

The British and French governments were reluctant to retaliate by bombing German cities for fear of killing civilians. But after a week the policy changed and they authorised such bombing, but only of military industrial targets. Pilots were ordered to avoid bombing historic monuments and residential areas. Among the cities bombed by the RAF and the French air force were Berlin, Bremen, Hamburg, Kiel, Magdeburg, Rostock, Stettin, Breslau, Stuttgart and Munich. Before they began bombing they dropped leaflets which said that the Allies had come to liberate the German people from Nazi oppression. By 5 July the Ruhr had been liberated by Allied troops.
 
On the southern wing of their advance into Germany the Allied armies captured Heidelberg on 5 June 1939 and reached the outskirts of Stuttgart on 8 June. After six days of intense fighting, Stuttgart was liberated by the Allies on 14 June.

Meanwhile Italy had invaded Albania on 7 April with the same success as in OTL. [1]

[1] See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/History_of_Albania, section 8.2.
 
On 27 June 1939 the Conservative and Liberal parties tabled a motion calling for the formation of all party coalition government as an expression of national unity in the war. The Prime Minister, Thomas Johnson, let it be known that he would agree to such a government, but he would exclude notorious Conservative advocates of appeasement, such as Neville Chamberlain, Viscount Halifax and Samuel Hoare. The Tories did not like this one bit, but reluctantly accepted it.

The War Cabinet appointed on 29 June was as follows [party affiliation]
Prime Minister and Minister of Defence: Thomas Johnson [Labour]
Lord President of the Council: Anthony Eden [Conservative]
Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons: Hugh Dalton [Labour]
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Alfred Duff Cooper [Conservative]
Foreign Secretary: Sir Herbert Samuel [Liberal]
Home Secretary: Arthur Greenwood: [Labour]
 
Ministers not in the War Cabinet:

First Lord of the Admiralty: Winston Churchill [Conservative]
Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries: Isaac Foot [Liberal]
Secretary of State for Air: Captain George Garro-Jones [Liberal]
Minister of Aircraft Production: Aneurin Bevan [Labour]
Colonial Secretary: Clement Attlee [Labour]
Dominions Secretary: Leo Amery [Conservative]
Minister of Economic Warfare: Harcourt Johnston [Liberal]
Minister of Education: Oliver Stanley [Conservative]
Minister of Food: Ellen Wilkinson [Labour]
Minister of Health: David Grenfell [Labour]
Minister of Information: Harold Nicholson [Labour]
Minister of Labour and National Service: Ernest Bevin [Labour]
Chancellor of the Duchy of Lancaster: Sir Hugh Seely [Liberal]
Lord Chancellor: Viscount Hailsham [Conservative]
Paymaster-General: Kingsley Wood [Conservative]
Minister of Pensions: William Wedgwood Benn [Liberal]
Postmaster General: Herbert Morrison [Labour]
Secretary of State for Scotland: Sir Archibald Sinclair [Liberal]
Minister of Supply: Harold Macmillan [Conservative]
President of the Board of Trade: Patrick Dollan [Labour]
Secretary of State for War: Albert Victor Alexander [Labour]
Minister of War Transport: Emmanuel Shinwell [Labour]
First Commissioner of Works: Walter Elliott [Conservative]
 
Last edited:
The First Lord of the Admiralty was not in Churchill's War Cabinet in OTL.
That was due to Churchill, as an ex First Lord, thinking he knew better and micromanaging instead of letting the man do his job. Otherwise he would have been in the cabinet. It is remarkable how much effort was needed just getting Churchill to see sense on his more grandiose schemes. He interfered nearly as much as Hitler, thankfully doing less damage.
 
I would suggest promoting Kingsley Wood to Chancellor (he was one of our more "expert " ones OTL whereas Duff Cooper would just be being rewarded for getting appeasement right) and give Duff Cooper the Foreign Office (ex diplomat as he was). Herbert Samuel could go to the Home Office . Greenwood could have Economic Warfare, Trade or War Transport (Crinks Johnstone got a job through being a good friend of Churchill's OTL, he wasn't even a leading Liberal and Dollan and Shinwell are less senior than Greenwood)
 
I would suggest promoting Kingsley Wood to Chancellor (he was one of our more "expert " ones OTL whereas Duff Cooper would just be being rewarded for getting appeasement right) and give Duff Cooper the Foreign Office (ex diplomat as he was). Herbert Samuel could go to the Home Office . Greenwood could have Economic Warfare, Trade or War Transport (Crinks Johnstone got a job through being a good friend of Churchill's OTL, he wasn't even a leading Liberal and Dollan and Shinwell are less senior than Greenwood)
Thank you for your suggestions which I have carefully considered. However Johnson wanted the War Cabinet to be three Labour ministers, two Conservative and one Liberal in rough proportion to these party's representation in the House of Commons, and for each party to have the Exchequer, Foreign Office or Home Office. If Duff Cooper goes to the Foreign Office and Wood becomes Chancellor, then the Tories have two of these offices.

In OTL Duff Cooper was Financial Secretary to the Treasury from June 1934 to November 1935, so I presume that he was at least fairly expert in financial matters. I have decided to make him Foreign Secretary, Dalton Chancellor and Samuel Home Secretary. Also Attlee would be Lord Privy Seal and Leader of the House of Commons, and Greenwood Colonial Secretary, outside the War Cabinet. The other appointments I have left unchanged. In this TL Harcourt Johnstone was a senior Liberal and a member of the Liberal shadow cabinet.
 
Among the other ministers in the coalition government were the following:
Attorney-General: Sir Craig Aitchison [Labour]
Solicitor-General: Sir Donald Somervell [Conservative]
Financial Secretary to the Treasury: Vyvyan Adams [Conservative]
Under-Secretary Foreign Office: Geoffrey Mander [Liberal]
 
Among other junior ministers in the coalition government were the following:
Under-Secretary Home Office: Charles Key [Labour]
Under-Secretary War Office: Ronald Cartland [Conservative]
Secretary Board of Overseas Trade: Richard Law [Conservative]
Secretary Mines Department: John James Lawson [Labour].
 
The Secretary of State for Air, Captain George Garro-Jones, served in the Royal Flying Corps in France 1915-17, and was Advisory Officer to the United States Air Service 1917-18. He was Liberal MP for Bethnal Green North-East from October 1925 to May 1930, and for the four-member constituency of Bethnal Green-Finsbury-Shoreditch from May 1930.

Of the 68 paid government ministers in the coalition, 32 were Labour, 23 Conservative and 13 Liberal. When Britain declared war on Germany in September 1938, legislation was enacted removing the requirement of MPs to resign their seat and fight a by-election if promoted to the cabinet.

Sir Stafford Cripps was appointed British Ambassador to the United States. Although the government knew that Roosevelt would not end the policy of isolation and declare war on Germany, Cripps was given the task of persuading the Roosevelt administration to give economic and military aid to the UK. He was allowed to continue to sit as a Labour MP for Leeds South.
 
At 6 am on 9 July 1939 German troops invaded the Netherlands on the north of the boundary between the two countries. The German army advanced in a generally south-easterly direction against dogged opposition from the Dutch army. They captured Groningen on 12 July, Assen on 13 July, Hoogeveen on 15 July and Zwolle on 19 July. [1] The Luftwaffe heavily bombed Amsterdam and Rotterdam, and strafed Dutch refugees fleeing south.

Meanwhile British, French and Dutch troops advanced from the south. At the battle of Harderwijk on 22 and 23 July they smashed the German army, thus stopping its advance. [2] All German forces in the Netherlands surrendered to the Allies.

[1] For these towns see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Groningen, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Assen, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hoogeveen, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zwolle.

[2] For Harderwijk see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harderwijk. The battle was fought just north of the town.
 
Top