The North Star is Red: a Wallace Presidency, KMT Victory, Alternate Cold War TL

I love watching empires crumble.
If only if they weren't crumbling to fascists and monarchists.

What I'd give for a red and black flag these days.
 
Chapter 134 - The Durian War
The Durian War
The independence of Malaya did not spell an end to tensions on the peninsula. Besides Hong Kong, the Crown Colony of Singapore remained one of the last British bastions in the Pacific, especially after the independence of Malaya itself, as well as Sarawak, Brunei, and the retrocession of North Borneo to Filipino trusteeship. None of these moves were made with particular British happiness, but redirecting troops from Asia to Europe (namely Yugoslavia and Finland) was deemed a necessity during the Three Years War. Immediately, these moves seem prescient for Britain - the cost of holding these regions was exceptionally high, especially in Malaya, where the British were distrusted by both the (mostly Chinese) Communists and (mostly) Malay Nationalists. North Borneo immediately broke out in violence, creating a remarkable headache for the Filipino government. Finally, a coup in Brunei by military officers linked to the Brunei People's Party and Communist rebels in Indonesia, abolished the monarchy and established a socialist people's republic, which lasted for a week before British-sponsored forces from Sarawak invaded and federated the nation (restoring what was left of the royal family).

Shortly before the Three Years War, the United Kingdom agreed on a limited degree of self-governance for the Crown Colony of Singapore, including local legislative elections (the "Rendel Constitution). The 1955 Singapore elections were largely won by left-wing parties, who won a majority due to their better distribution of the voteshare. Broadly popular among the working-class, left-wing parties won most of their seats narrowly, while the conservative parties piled up massive majorities in upscale neighborhoods, often splitting the vote. The left-wing Labour Front and People's Action Party won 13 seats (from a combined 36% of the vote) while the right-wing Progressive and Democratic Parties won only 6 (from a combined 45% of the vote). Pro-Malaya parties won 3 seats. This result shocked both the left and right-wing parties.[1]

The Labour Front's leader was independence activist and World War II veteran David Marshall, an Iraqi Jew raised in Singapore. Marshall's goal was to compromise enough with Great Britain in order to maximize Singaporean autonomy and move towards independence. However, in the height of the Three Years War, British colonial authorities were increasingly skeptical of the PAP, which they viewed as too closely linked to pro-Communist trade unionists. The British demanded that if Marshall didn't outlaw the PAP, they would not allow him to become Chief Minister of Singapore. Marshall turned towards Malaya and China in hopes that they would side against the British, but both nations signed off on this plan. Instead, he resigned rather than take this action - his replacement Lim Yew Hock immediately obliged, by outlawing the PAP. Hock outlawed the PAP with support from the center-right parties and the pro-Malaya parties, even as a significant share of Labour legislators defected. At that point, the center-right parties immediately denied support to the government, triggering new elections. The newly recombined Democratic Progressive Party, headed by the British-backed Tan Chye Cheng, and the pro-Malaya parties, won almost every seat, flushing out both Hock and Marshall.

The results of the new elections in late 1955 resulted in a night of riots in Singapore, as working-class voters raged against British authorities and local elites. Trade unionists were notably almost all arrested during these riots. Many major PAP figures, such as Devan Nair, Lim Chin Siong, and Lee Siew Choh were arrested.[2] With Malaya lost as KMT support flooded to the Malay government, fleeing Communists snuck instead into Singapore. Crime and disorder skyrocketed, especially as organized crime in Hong Kong, South China, and even Cochinchina used Singapore as a stopping point. The government plunged in popularity, even as the postwar recovery brought unprecedented prosperity to Singapore. In late 1959, the incumbent Democratic Progressives (which had folded in the moderate remnants of the Labour Front) had redrawn the districts ahead of the election in hopes of shutting out the opposition. This proved to be a grave mistake. The dominance of the Lee Siew Choh's People's Action Party was so thorough, the DPP was washed out of everywhere...except those same three 3 pro-Malaya seats. The result in Great Britain was panic. Revoking Singaporean autonomy was seen as undesirable and likely to provoke more violence. At the same time, the PAP was openly leftist, pro-independence, and deeply uncooperative with the British.

Prime Minister's Fyfe's solution was actually diplomatic - by seeking an accord with the other two regional powers, Malaya and South China. Tunku Abdul Rahman always had some goals of acquiring Singapore and North Borneo, but the latter had been totally lost, while the former seemed like a political trap - filled with Chinese leftists. The governments of the United Kingdom, Malaya, and South China signed onto a joint manifesto against unilateral independence for Singapore. The Choh government chafed, but realized that with no control of foreign policy or the military, the Singapore crown colony government had no way to unilaterally declare independence. Angered, the cadets of the PAP continued to radicalize, stocking up arms and forging covert relations with exiled members of the Malaya Communist Party under Chin Peng. Relations finally broke when the Choh government unilaterally released all arrested trade unionists, PAP party members, and even outright Communists.

The immediate result of the letter in South China was not just rage against the British, but also against the KMT government, which was seen as cravenly cooperating with Western business interests (although most Chinese wanted independence, many elite Singaporean Chinese did not - and it was with them that much of the KMT elite had familiy ties too). The declaration also sparked riots in Hong Kong, where leftists smashed many of the business districts before police dispersed them. Anger over the Three Nation Declaration played a pivotal role in the election of President Sun Fo, as he was the most prominent figure in China to criticize the joint declaration. One of President Sun's first acts was to repudiate the declaration, which caused Malaya to call for "revisions" (though they did not pull out). Immediately, the British were in the midst of a crisis. On May 1st, 1960, symbolically on May Day, the Crown Colony of Singapore issued the Unilateral Declaration of Independence, declaring that Singapore had become an independent nation. The British unsurprisingly condemned the UDI. The United Kingdom condemned the act and were about to take harsh steps, until the British cabinet was informed just hours before ordering the Far East Fleet to crack down (then-headquartered in Singapore) that Israeli troops had all pulled out of Egypt, creating a crisis there as well.

Under advice from PAP member Lee Kuan Yew, the Choh government did not declare a Republic for a simple reason - if the Singapore government continued to recognize the British Queen, this allowed almost every foreign to send a diplomatic mission to Singapore on the justification that they were accredited by the Queen, not the government. Few Western governments recognized the new government in Singapore, but both the entire Communist bloc as well as most Asian nations, including South China and Sarawak, which notably had always supported Singaporean independence. In fact, the way that heavily British-supported Sarawak quickly became a diplomatic opponent of the British Empire, advocating for independence of most colonies, deeply embittered the British political class, who saw this as a sign that the "White Rajahs" had "gone native" (entirely accurate) and that local officials, even those that were British, advocating for self-government were not to be trusted. Malaya, France, and India, trying to walk a narrow, neutral line between the UK and China, declined to recognize Singapore but retained their diplomatic mission there.

A tense stand-off immediately emerged. The government of Singapore ordered the British Far East Fleet out of Singapore, but the Far East Fleet refused to leave (even if ships left, the British left enough military personnel to hold the base). Meanwhile, the United Kingdom had levied economic sanctions on Singapore, which was beginning to dent the local economy. Finally, the Singaporeans did not have the capability of evicting the Royal Navy. As a result, the two political camps really just stared angrily at each other across from the fence, with pro-government Singaporean protesters constantly lobbing rotten durians at British sailors within fruit-hurling range. Immediately, being deployed to Singapore quickly became known as the most undesirable deployment in the entire Royal Navy, because British sailors were often deeply physically nauseated by the constant rotten durians thrown into the Singapore Navy Base. British sailors were ordered to not shoot any protesters and the Singaporean government, aware that an actual violent attack on British sailors would lead to terrible repercussions, had a policy of strictly screening any protesters allowed to go near the British naval base. The so-called "Durian War" would last several years.
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[1] All OTL.
[2] One of these figures was OTL not arrested.
 
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Chapter 135 - The UK Elections of 1963
The UK Elections of 1963
The British elections of 1963 would kick off the "Spirit of 63", a tremendous year in global history known for dramatic political change across the world matched only by 1945. Surprisingly, despite taking place less than a month after the beginning of a dramatic war in the Middle East (the Syrian invasion of Jordan), the Labour Party leader Hugh Gaitskell talked very little about the war. After all, the Labour Party had largely also voted for the deployment of British troops to Jordan - and Gaitskell himself had compared the Syrian government to Nazi Germany. Instead, Gaitskell drilled down on critiquing the economic policy of the Conservative Party, including their ascension to the European Economic Community, which was always unpopular among British workers. Although economic growth was high, unemployment was also exceptionally high, as British workers found themselves outproduced by French workers (largely as a result of dirigisme-driven French industrial subsidies that the free-market Tories refused to match). The strongest suffering were industrial towns in Scotland and Wales, which rallied to the Labour cause.

However, a third party was running a primarily war-driven campaign. The Liberals, taking on the banner of Britain's anti-war party, castigated intervention in Jordan. At glance, this was a mistake as polling had the war fairly popular, at 61-29. However, as Independent Labour had fallen apart after Aneurin Bevan's death in 1960, this left the United Kingdom with only one antiwar party. Many radical left, antiwar voters flocked to the Liberal banner, ignoring the fact that the rest of their platform was predictably market liberal. They had also been the staunchest critiques of British Empire, castigating the planned annexation of Cyprus and Malta, something Labour did not do for fear of looking unpatriotic. In many ways, their support skewed extremely upscale. Party leader Richard Acland was even from Putney (in London), one of the wealthiest constituencies in the United Kingdom.[1]

Ultimately, the Conservatives lost too many voters from both sides of the socioeconomic spectrum. The industrial poor abandoned the Tories en masse for Labour, especially in Scotland/Wales. The wealthy abandoned the Tories en masse for Labour. The Conservatives had always expected losses after their landslide in late 1957, but they had not expected to actually lose a majority. However, a late-shift happened ironically because of the death of Labour Party leader Hugh Gaitskell, who died on the campaign trail. A nearly unanimous vote selected the also popular George Brown, who was both himself a gifted speaker who could take advantage of an outpouring of sympathy for Gaitskell. As a result, not only did the Conservatives lose their majority, but in a remarkable political upset, Brown's Labour had also won the most seats.

1963uk.png

This left the country at crossroads. Neither the Conservatives nor Labour wanted the support of the antiwar Liberals, especially as it was argued again that the country had to be united during a war against "Hitlerian Syria." However, both of them realized that the country couldn't afford another coalition government between the two largest parties. Eventually, an agreement was struck that (enough though not all) Conservatives would abstain on supply motions until the end of the war. The agreement bolstered George Brown, but severely hurt the standing of Prime Minister Fyfe, who was seen as "surrendering" to Labour again, which especially hurt since he had won his leadership in-part by railing against the Second National Government. Interestingly, a localized Conservative triumph was in Northern Ireland, which overwhelmingly voted for the Conservative Party, as much of the local population had grown deeply radicalized against both the Irish Republicans, both the Marxists and the Non-Marxists.

Choosing to avoid being challenged, Fyfe immediately resigned, forcing the Conservatives to scramble. In the wartime atmosphere, they settled on the Minister of War, John Profumo, an respected politician who had been one of the staunchest war hawks during the showdown with Hitler (Profumo was the last MPs who had served in Parliament during the Second World War). As for the Liberals, party leader Acland wasn't sure if he had to go or not. The Liberals had scored yet again another increase in the vote share...but they had added only one seat. Once again, the Liberals chased out another leader for a disappointingly low seat gain. After a disappointing performance in Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland (traditionally strong for the Liberals), the party caucus turned to a new generation of younger leaders. possibly from those regions. In fact, the race ultimately boiled down to two former Labour Party members, the Welsh Leo Abse and the Scottish Tam Dalyell, the former elected in 1957, the latter only elected in 1963. Ultimately, the pick went to Abse, only 45 years old.

Labour celebrated their triumphant upset victory. Until they realized that they had to actually lead Britain through perhaps the most challenging year in British geopolitics since 1940. Prime Minister Brown arrived at 10 Downing Street only to be asked to sign off on a dizzying array of military maneuvers and realizing that a backlog of communiques, nearly hundreds of pages, from the Soviet Union, United States, Republic of China, France, and other countries were waiting for him. His first instinct was to grab a suitably cool but not chilled mug of British ale.
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[1] Political trivia: Putney was the only constituency that flipped from Conservative -> Labour in the recent 2019 elections.
 
Great as always
Be interesting to see what TTL Britain's Cold War relationship with the US is... I suspect that the two will eventually fall out after one too many failed British colonial wars
 
acklog of communiques, nearly hundreds of pages, from the Soviet Union, United States, Republic of China, France, and other countries were waiting for him. His first instinct was to grab a suitably cool but not chilled mug of British ale.
This is just asking for a major incident to occur because of the backlog. Inattentiveness at the highest office can't be good.
 
Great as always
Be interesting to see what TTL Britain's Cold War relationship with the US is... I suspect that the two will eventually fall out after one too many failed British colonial wars.
The Americans like the British. The British don't return the favor.

This is just asking for a major incident to occur because of the backlog. Inattentiveness at the highest office can't be good.
Oh, I didn't mean it like that. It was more like during the few hours where they swap out the guy in 10 Downing Street - that's how many messages piled in lol.
 
Chapter 136 - Camelot At War
Camelot At War

Although President Kennedy had ended three wars during his tenure as President (albeit he had precipitated American intervention in two of those wars, Indonesia and Oman). The division of Indonesia seemed to be an acceptable endgame for the Americans, especially because Islamist-Nationalist Indonesia was clearly the stronger of the two Indonesias. In addition, although the Dutch had claimed far more colonies than Kennedy had preferred, most of their holdings were at least on paper stable, as the vast proportion of Indonesians had left Dutch rule. Similarly, after forcing them together at gunpoint, the Islamists and Royalists of Oman were more or less capable of co-existing, especially because the Communist Dhofar rebellion (backed by Saudi Arabia and North Yemen) were seen as an existential threat to the regime (it was not in any reasonable sense). The increasingly negative relationship between Britain and Saudi Arabia further pushed Oman into the American camp, as both the Islamists and Monarchists were glad to be staying out of this Arab Cold War. Furthermore, the Americans generally were able to work out a 1:1:1 deal, whereas oil revenues would be split three ways, between the Imamate, the Sultanate, and Western companies (British oil companies quickly moved many of their operations to America to qualify as American in a successful bid for American diplomats to cut them in). However, two other wars were much more awkward for the United States, namely Venezuela and the Congo.

The former quickly became regarded as a grievous blunder even though it was the least violent of the four wars. Namely, the anti-Perez Jimenez forces quickly dispersed when American troops landed to restore order. However, militants associated with the Communist Party retreated inland in order to oppose the entire Venezuelan state. However, the intervention devastated the image of the United States, both in Venezuela and across all of Latin America. Although the CIA officials who shepherded Kennedy's intervention told him it was an urgent matter to crush the Communists, most of the continent saw the Americans intervene to crush democracy. As a result, JFK resented the CIA and blamed them for "misleading him" into intervening. The initial protests had exploded in 1958 as a result of Perez Jimenez blatantly rigging his re-election (ironically, his reign was quite good for Venezuela's economy, so he might have won even had he not rigged the election). In 1961, he had planned to run for an unconstitutional third term, but his American backers would have none of this. When Perez Jimenez proposed amending the constitution to eliminate term limits, protests broke out in Venezuela. The Americans responded by sponsoring another military coup, except this one against Perez Jimenez instead. The Americans found a young colonel from a well-respected family, the 36-year old Juan Manuel Sucre Figarella (also a relative of Antonio José de Sucre, the Venezuelan independence war hero whose name notably lent itself to Bolivia's capital). Having wildly overstayed his time and having lost the support of his American supporters (who bankrolled the Venezuelan Army), Perez Jimenez reasonably fled the nation (to the United States). Sucre Figarella, a right-wing Catholic, was quickly chosen to run in 1961 against the opposition leader Romulo Betancourt, who the Americans didn't think was a Communist, but who the Americans suspected would hold a grudge against America. With intense US funding, Sucre Figarella won an upset victory against Betancourt, establishing a dynasty of pro-US, right-wing presidents (so indebted to the Americans that one of his first decisions as President was to restore Venezuela's pre-Perez Jimenez name, the United States of Venezuela). Although on paper successful, heavily due to President Kennedy pushing against the worst instincts of the CIA (they wanted a third term for Perez Jimenez), the whole incident nevertheless hurt America's image, especially in Mexico, where anti-Americanism only continued to rise after the infamous Corpus Christi massacre.

In the Congo, the Americans found themselves in a real quagmire. The Belgian Congo was not incredibly heavily populated, having only 15 million people (far more than the roughly 100 million Indonesians). However, Congo was very young, having just hit its industrial demographic transition (the tendency of industrializing populations to rapidly boom before stabling off as birth rates decline to match declined death rates) - this meant that a much wider swath of the population would be engaged in fighting. In addition, the Congo was just a far larger nation in terms of area. In Indonesia, Dutch-American troops could quickly be ferried around by ship. In Algeria, French troops could quickly move through both sea, roads, and helicopter. In contrast, the Congo had few airbases and wildly underdeveloped infrastructure. American and Dutch ships were able to easily interdict arms shipments into Indonesia - in contrast, the borders of the Congo were long, wide, and porous. Worst of all, whereas in Indonesia, the Americans were able to browbeat the Dutch into submission, following American war plans, the Belgians were nowhere near as cooperative. The answer was simple: Belgium had close supporters. The OAS, funded by the Belgians, the French (from French Congo), the Portuguese (from Angola), and the Central African Federation funneled arms and resources to the OAS, which quickly built itself up as a state-within-a-state in Loyalist Congo, de facto controlling most of Katanga province. Although the OAS disavowed explicit white racial supremacy, their staunch defense of "European civilization" attracted the support of South Africa as well. Kasa-Vubu's Dominion of the Congo broadly controlled most of the Southwest, while Lumumba's Free Republic of the Congo was based in the Northeast. However, the war was not just a ideological war - both sides employed tribal and ethnic militias, giving promises to enlist various ethnic groups to their cause. In many cases, these ethnic militias would switch sides between each other.

At home, the Congo War opened up uncomfortable racial tensions. By the 1960's, the civil rights agenda of President Kennedy was broadly successful. Segregationists were gruesomely thrashed in the 1958 midterm elections and when Strom Thurmond himself was put on the Republican ticket in 1960, he notably refrained from openly supporting segregation (he merely expressed support for "states rights.") Young radical blacks often expressed support for Lumumba's cause, which drew the extreme ire of the American security services. The FBI regularly raided the homes of black radicals, arresting them on suspicion of aiding Lumumba's cause. One of the most high profile arrests was Pastor Martin Luther King Jr., a relative moderate (among the black radicals) arrested for speaking out against the Congo War, as he would pen his famous Letter from a Cuban Jail (most black radicals were interned in Guantanamo Bay, though after a few months, MLK himself was released after they couldn't get any charges to stick due to his assiduous rejection of violence). The administration retained the support of most African-Americans, but they no longer could retain the 90% margins that they had become accustomed to, as many younger and more radical members loathed the administration for the Congo War. Although the Americans were waging a covert war against the OAS, at the end of the day, they were on the same side, causing negative aspects of the OAS to be attributed to the Kennedy administration. By 1962, Kennedy received fairly approval ratings on foreign policy (roughly in the mid-60's, compared to his actual approval in the high 50's), but the Congo War had dipped to being roughly a 50/50 proposition in polling. A proposal was made to "Africanize" the war, but the USA trusted neither the OAS (too colonialists) nor any native African forces (after so many had famously betrayed UN peacekeeping forces). This necessitated that American troops take the lead in any major operations, which meant American casualties began to pile up. With an incredible surplus of young people (due to the young population), it seemed that Revolutionary Congolese forces could easily replenish their numbers. In addition, although Congolese revolutionaries began the war as totally unorganized rabble (relatively early in the war, a US Navy Seals raid was able to kill, wound, and capture over 8,000 Revolutionary Congolese fighters at the cost of one American death), they began to develop in military expertise as the war continued.[1] The Congo became a cause celebre for most of the Communist powers, as Soviet, North Chinese, North Japanese, East German, and Czech advisers became commonplace in Congo (in particular North China, which dedicated a mind-boggling 18% of its national budget to foreign aid despite being in the middle of the Great Leap Forward, helping explain why North China seemed to have intervened in almost every single anti-colonial war).[2]

Ironically, much like how Imperial Japan exported many of its bureaucrats seen as the most ideologically unreliable to Manchukuo, North China would export many of its leaders seen as ideologically unreliable abroad. After the death of Mao, Zhou Enlai was notably not recalled from Burma (he would stay there until his death). After making a statement viewed as skeptical and defeatist about Communist central planning, Deng Xiaoping and Li Xiannian were essentially exiled to Egypt, while Hu Yaobang and Zhao Ziyang were sent to "support" the revolution in Algeria. The "success" of the Great Leap Forward allowed for the quick marginalization of wide swaths of the Communist Party of China, who were typically removed from power by sending them abroad.
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[1] Based on an OTL battle....
[2] The OTL PRC dedicated 9.5% of its national budget to foreign aid/subversion. ITL, North China is even more gungho than the OTL PRC because of well, compensating for not having most of China, and it typically isn't actively intervening against the USSR like often happened OTL
 
Chapter 137 - The Battle of Souda
The Battle of Souda
The Battle of Souda is often used as a turning point in global history, often finding itself on a list of top ten influential global battles, although the impact may have been heavily overstated simply because much like the assassination of Franz Ferdinand, the battle may have just been the spark to accelerate several historical trends long in the making. The battle was the culmination of British political aims - the British, finally sick of the military junta in Royalist Greece, had decided on a plan of regime change, as they were well-aware that the regime was unpopular.

Alexandros Papagos took command of the Greek Army in the summer of 1948, just as the Royalist Army began collapsing. As Communist forces closed in on Southern Greece, the Royalists were rocked by a devastating defection, that of his top subordinate, Lt. General
Thrasyvoulos Tsakalotos. The result was devastating for Papagos, whose every maneuver become double-checked and triple-checked by skeptical anti-Communists. In reality, Papago's retreat from Northern and Central Greece saved the Royalist Greeks, allowing them to hold a smaller, less bloody-front until the cease-fire in 1954. However, as a result, his moderating influence on politics was utterly shredded, especially after the death of the moderate politician, Themistoklis Sofoulis, in 1949 and the assassination of Konstantinos Tsaldaris in the same year. In the 1950 Greek elections, the winner was Nikolaos Plastiras of the National Progressive Center Union, which favored peace with the Greek Communists. However, the Greek Communists turned down the peace offering, viewing it as a sign of weakness and then intensifying their offensive. The King of Greece, Paul I, deeply distrusted Plastiras, who was an ardent Republican who had previously launched two coups with the aim of ending the Greek monarchy. The final straw was when Plastiras was found meeting with agents of the NKVD (ironically, he had successfully negotiated more covert Soviet arms shipments to Royalist Greece to fight Tito-aligned Communist Greece). Paul I sacked Plastiras, and when Plastiras refused to leave, the King turned to a fringe far-right politician, Giorgios Grivas, who immediately took a young group of radical officers who overthrew Plastiras. Grivas then had himself appointed as Prime Minister, dissolving Parliament and holding new (more or less rigged) elections.

Having pushed back the Communist offensive until they finally came to the peace table in the aftermath of the Soviet invasion of Yugoslavia in 1954, Grivas's position in Greece seemed strong and he turned instead towards his lifelong goal of uniting Greece and Cyprus (he was a Greek Cypriot). In late 1962, King Paul died of cancer, removing another moderating influence on Grivas. The new King, the 21-year old Constantine II, had nowhere the same political base of his father. Relations between Grivas and Constantine II quickly deteriorated to the point where the young King was essentially put under house arrest by Prime Minister Grivas. This outraged many South Greek right-wing royalists, a crucial part of Grivas's support, but also allowed Grivas to strike his now infamous deal with the Syrians. MI6 was aware that the young King disliked Grivas, so the British cabinet figured the best way to put the Mediterranean back in order was to remove the relatively unpopular and radical South Greek dictatorship and put a moderate democratic government supported by both the King, centrists, and others. The South Greek King was under house arrest in Crete, so the British plans were to simply occupy Crete, declare a rival government with the King at its head, and then watch the South Greek government collapse in Athens from internal revolt. Regardless, this would crush the Syrian threat to British shipping, as they were primarily using the surprisingly large Souda Naval Base in Crete as their goal, the largest naval base in the Mediterranean, which stands out for being simultaneously constructed by covert American and Soviet aid.

First of course however, was to liberate Crete. The British Mediterranean Fleet was located in Cyprus itself, which was to cause several delays. Unlike in Singapore, Cyprus was an outright warzone, with EOKA militants launching bombings and sabotages. In particular, EOKA militants sabotaged everything British they could get their hands on, which meant that on the departure date, some ships of the British Navy were not exactly battle-ready. First Sea Lord Mountbatten had essentially been fired by the new Labour government for 1) disagreeing with Labour's plan to enact regime change in Greece and 2) being a Tory, who was famously close friends with many hated political enemies of Labour, leaving policy somewhat confused. Regardless, the Mediterranean Fleet was quickly able to assemble two aircraft carriers, the HMS Ark Royal, HMS Hermes, and HMS Eagle, which had been recently rebuilt at Devonport Dockyard as a key (and expensive!) Conservative policy goal.[1] This comprised roughly three of the United Kingdom's six carriers, an acceptable committment because the Mediterranean Fleet was viewed as the most important British fleet at this time.

The new British Buccaneer aircraft was a few days away from being ready for deployment, but it was viewed as too risky to change aircraft days before a major operation. As a result, the British aircraft at hand were primarily de Havilland Sea Vixens and Supermarine Scimitars. The plan was for the Royal Navy to park well outside of Souda, pound the Naval Base alongside any South Greek naval assets caught inside, before moving up many of the screener ships to support an amphibious assault. Once the Souda Naval Base was offline, the Royal Navy would enjoy total naval superiority over the Mediterranean and would then would be able to launch multiple amphibious assaults all across Crete, totally disorientating the South Greek Army which would be presumably collapse under assault from all sides. British officers carefully studied the German invasion of Crete, eager to avoid its bloody outcome, as Prime Minister George Brown explicitly told British commanders that he wanted minimal casualties on both sides, which meant pushing the South Greek Army into a surrender was preferable to any bloody offensives. For similar reasons, air strikes in heavily civilian areas was ruled off, something that irked many British officers because of the South Greek government's tendency of placing air bases close to major population centers.

The British strike on Souda was a clear success - pretty much every large ship of the Greek Navy, including both of their flag ships, the Cruiser Illi, the Cruiser Giorgios Averof, as well as over 60% of Greece's destroyers, was destroyed in the initial British attack despite much-formidable-than-expected anti-aircraft defenses at the Souda Naval Base. British pilots were surprised at the number of surface-to-air missiles, especially because they seemed very similar to Soviet SAMs - namely the stationary S-25 Berkut and the mobile S-75 Dvina. Although British aircraft took heavy casualties, they dutifully completed their mission, essentially knocking down most of the defensive fortifications of the Souda Naval Base. Royal Marines, supported by the Royal Navy, landed in Souda Bay. Although most of the South Greek artillery emplacements had been disabled, South Greek soldiers were able to resist on the cliffs and base itself. However, Royal Marines slowly but surely advanced to slowly surround the Greek garrison in the base itself.

In the peak of fighting, British AWACS quickly picked up that the remnants of the Greek Air Force was entering the fray. However, this was caught very late for the simple reason that the British were primarily prepared for South Greek aircraft to attack them from Crete - British planes systematically shredded South Greek fighter planes who attempted to enter the fray. In the dogfights over Souda, the British had managed to down 102 South Greek airplanes at a loss of only 21 British aircraft. Although the South Greeks had the advance of fighting on their home turf, their planes were typically outdated, some of them even being outdated British aircraft! However, much to their surprise, Greek aircraft were approaching from the other side - from Mainland Greece itself (Souda was in the north of Crete). This was seen as immediately strange because the South Greeks were not known to have any long-range fighters with sufficient range to reach Crete from the Peloponnese. Much to the shock of the whole world, including almost all Greeks, the Grivas government had somehow acquired four Tu-22 Blinder bombers from somewhere (it was not widely known that the Royalist Greeks had been receiving Soviet aid since 1948). Worst of all for the British, the South Greeks came prepared - as the Blinders were modified to replace their bomb space with more missile racks, allowing each bomber to hold three Kh-22 missiles. As the missiles were coming from the opposite side of the British carrier group that AWACS was focused on, they remained undetected until it was far too late to evade.

At this time in history, anti-ship missiles had never been used in combat before - and the Royal Navy in particular had relatively weak anti-missile defenses. The Western allies were aware of the new SS-5 Styx anti-ship missile put on missile boats, but they weren't even aware of the new Kh-22 missile. At 3:15 PM, twelve Kh-22 missiles smashed into the British fleet. Only two missiles missed. The combined countermeasures of the fleet, primitive as they were (mostly just WW2-era chaff) with barely any advanced notice, were only able to deflect one missile (aimed the Hermes). The other missed the Ark Royal, simply because a remarkably brave Royal Navy officer, seeing no other choice, set off his own ship's ammunition in front of the Ark Royal, causing the missile to mistake the heat of the destroyer for the carrier. Although almost the entire crew of the destroyer died (over two hundred sailors), the move likely saved hundreds of more British lives. Five missiles hit the HMS Eagle, causing the entire carrier to crumble and sink almost immediately with almost all hands lost, almost three thousand sailors, often drowned to death or asphyxiated by fire within a giant steel coffin. The Hermes was hit with three, which also caused the ship to start sinking, but so the largely majority of sailors were able to escape, with even the majority of stored aircraft being able to be transferred. The Ark Royal in contrast, was the luckiest, as only two missiles hit it, enough to cripple it and kill almost a hundred sailors, but not enough to immediately sink it. Most importantly, this gave the surviving aircraft of the HMS Eagle somewhere to land, which meant that there could still be aerial cover over the Mediterranean Fleet. Had the missiles also disabled the Ark Royal, then the Mediterranean Fleet would have been left totally defenseless against South Greece's Blinder bombers, at least until reinforcements could arrive (they were immediately ordered from Singapore).

Off the coast of Souda, the remnants of the South Greek Navy took this as their signal to attack. Most of the smaller missile boats of the Hellenic Navy had been concealed in various small caves on the shores of Crete - with British air support basically destroyed, the missile boats launched what were essentially suicide charges into the still larger British Navy. As most of the boats were able to fire off their entire complement of Styx anti-ship missiles before being unceremoniously sunk by the Royal Navy, the rest of the South Greek Navy was able to sink or disable almost two-thirds of the Royal Navy parked off the coasts of Souda (which in practice meant around 1/3rds of the Mediterranean Fleet, carriers excluded, though most of the disabled destroyers were repairable, so the long-term impact on the Royal Navy of this assault was low). The commander of the Ark Royal grimly realized that the damage to the carrier was simply too severe to actually limp back to Cyprus without sinking along the way - so there was only direction he could sail towards. The HMS Ark Royal immediately sailed towards Souda - for the Royal Navy, the Crete campaign would literally now be a matter of victory and death.

Regardless of the outcome of the Crete campaign, the news headline that the entire world first saw was blazoned across a picture of the sinking HMS Eagle. As it was immediately obvious that the HMS Ark Royal was probably damaged past repair, world leaders immediately interpreted this to mean that South Greece, which was quite likely the poorest nation in all of Europe (after so many years of civil war) never hit by a hydrogen bomb, a nation which literally had a hostile enemy directly to the North, had managed to sink three British carriers. One major newspaper simply broadcasted that "half the Royal Navy" was sunk, even though the lost ships were far far less than half (they were about half of then-active carriers, however). By any standard, the British still enjoyed one of the strongest navies on Earth, enough to typically best basically any major power not named the United States of America. However, that was no longer the impression, not in the world and especially not in Great Britain itself, where pretty much every British newspaper responded with some of the most literary, well-written displays of horror ever penned. The Conservatives more or less immediately terminated their supply-and-confidence agreement with the Labour government, very rationally concluding they would take back power easily. This only further added to the national humiliation when Prime Minister George Brown was forced to give a speech to the press calling for new elections while quite clearly visibly drunk. Although Prime Minister Brown did have a drinking problem, there was no evidence that was ever simultaneously drinking while making policy (the PR was scheduled at the last minute, once the election date was already decided at a suitably clever date). However, that didn't particularly matter to the British press, who found their villain.
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[1] OTL, both were meant to go to Suez, though only one got there. The HMS Eagle refit is also more extensive ITL.
 
I love this. It will be fascinating to see how this changes naval strategy in the ATL. Plenty of military strategists in OTL have claimed that the large aircraft carrier is obsolete due to anti-ship missiles - but we're yet to see the engagement that proves it in our world. Here, they've had that battle in the 1960s.

Where do navies go from here for the next fifty years?
 
I love this. It will be fascinating to see how this changes naval strategy in the ATL. Plenty of military strategists in OTL have claimed that the large aircraft carrier is obsolete due to anti-ship missiles - but we're yet to see the engagement that proves it in our world. Here, they've had that battle in the 1960s.

Where do navies go from here for the next fifty years?
I actually don't agree with those strategists - I actually think it's the opposite. A missile boat is probably never going to sink a carrier because it's never going to get anywhere close enough. A long-range anti-ship missile can also be deflected by proper countermeasures/aerial coverage, the latter which a carrier provides an entire fleet. The Souda disaster only happened because well, the Royal Navy didn't see it coming - they didn't even know long-range anti-ship missiles existed - and they had no idea that South Greece even had long-range bombers (so they essentially weren't guarding the direction the bombers came from). This pretty much is just a wake-up call to every navy in the world to not be caught with their pants down. As humiliating as it is for the Royal Navy, they're still the second naval superpower and they're never getting caught like this again. Broadly speaking, this moves the ITL UK from being a very overrated power to being a very underrated power.
 
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Chapter 138 - Knives Out For Albion
Knives Out For Albion
Prime Minister Brown cleverly set the election as far back as possible for a simple reason: he was briefed that despite the humiliation at Souda, the fall of Crete was inevitable. Royal Marines in Souda itself, rather than being discouraged, were further motivated to seize the naval base. South Greek forces fell apart as the fighting spirit of British troops shot up almost immediately, once they were told that the fate of the Mediterranean Fleet was put on their shoulders. Ferocious British shock troops armed with grenades and submachine guns swarmed Souda, quickly corralling Greek troops into the naval base administration HQ. Once it was obvious that the South Greeks were surrounded and trapped, the South Greek commander surrendered rather than die in a pointless last stand. British troops immediately began constructing fortifications around Souda. The disaster at Souda set aside, the British strategy was largely prudent and successful. British marines landed all over Crete in various locations, quickly disorientating South Greek command who found their forces divided and destroyed in detail. When South Greek forces had surrendered, the British had suffered around 1,400 deaths and the South Greeks had suffered 2,400, with roughly 65,000 troops captured. As the British secured Crete, the next destination for the Royal Navy was set - the city of Latakia in Northern Syria, their largest naval base. A long-range strike would disable much of Syria's ability to refuel its submarine fleet, establishing British naval supremacy in the Mediterranean. All in all, Prime Minister George Brown hoped that the British triumph in Crete would wash out the humiliation at Souda, limiting the electoral fallout. In addition, reinforcements had been sent to Jordan and South Yemen, enough to force the Syrian-Saudi war machine to a grinding halt. In a remarkably large tank battle north of Amman, hundreds of British and Syrian tanks clashed. At the end, the British had lost 14 and the Syrians 118, breaking the back of the Syrian offensive on Amman. 1963 was a very difficult year for the United Kingdom, but it remains a point of pride among many that outside of Souda, British forces typically triumphed in every battle they fought.

However, the problem of Souda for Britain was not in its military repercussions, but in its geopolitical fallout. A large number of actors across the world judged that the United Kingdom was weak. The first bad news came out of Kenya. Upon taking power in 1957, the Fyfe Administration had been very skeptical of a united Uganda, feeling a divided Uganda would be more easily ployed to British aims. Buganda in particular had a large number of figures who desired separation. The first nation to gain independence was the Kingdom of Buganda, which represented nearly two million of Uganda's six million residents. In fear of being dominated, the southwestern kingdoms of Ankole and Butoro agreed to federate into Ankole-Butoro (largely just a defense-pact). Finally, independence was granted to the Dominion of Uganda in the north, to whom Bunyoro turned towards for protection. Almost immediately, the Kingdoms of Bunyoro and Busoga,to the northwest and northeast, fearing Buganda domination (especially Bunyoro, which had a simmering territorial dispute with Buganda) voted to accede to the Dominion of Uganda. The nature of Bunyoro's territorial dispute with Buganda led to extremely poor relations between Uganda and Buganda, as evidenced by the extremely poor relationship between Kabaka Mutesa II of Buganda and Prime Minister of Uganda, Milton Obote.

Upon hearing of the ambush of the Royal Navy in Souda, Obote saw this as his opportunity to strike. Ugandan troops marched into the disputed counties between Bunyoro and Buganda, sparking a low-level conflict. Unfortunately for Mutesa II, his administration was dominated by landed nobles who were skeptical of the value of importing large amounts of industrial weaponry to Buganda, leaving Buganda with a considerably weaker military. Bugandan troops, armed primarily with Martini-Henry rifles, were routed by Ugandan troops, who had access to several machine guns and mortars. Almost a thousand Bugandan troops were killed, compared to only forty Ugandans (the bulk of Bugandan casualties were taken in the retreat under mortar fire). The Kabaka (monarch) of Buganda, fearing that Ugandan troops would drive into the rest of Buganda itself and integrate the entire state into Uganda. However, the Kabaka found someone who could save his regime. A few weeks after Souda, Mutesa II signed a secret treaty with the Commander of the Kenyan Rifles (once the King's African Rifles), Idi Amin, who himself was from Northern Uganda. A week later, the Kenyan Rifles burst across the Uganda-Kenyan border. Trained in the British method of warfare, with helicopters, assault rifles, artillery, and even armored vehicles, the Kenyan Rifles absolutely bulldozed the Ugandan Army, which crumpled almost overnight. Milton Obote fled into Ankole-Butoro. A worrying omen for the future was that although the Kenyan Rifles behaved properly, many of the militias that Idi Amin recruited were rumored to have engaged in horrifying war crimes, including looting, murdering, and raping. The secret treaty ultimately gave Buganda back its disputed territories, while giving the rest of Uganda over to Amin. Despite his brutality, Idi Amin was welcomed a local hometown hero in some parts of Northern Uganda, as they saw him as a powerful hometown hero here to rescue them from colonialism.

The government of the Federation of Kenya, dominated by white settlers, vociferously condemned Amin's conquest of Uganda. As a result, pro-Amin militias swarmed Nairobi, demanding a new "anti-colonial" Constitution. The government of Kenya, lacking support among Kenyan peasants, had become increasingly dependent on the Kenyan Rifles under Idi Amin to safeguard them. They had not considered the possibility that Amin himself was far more ambitious than he pretended to be. Instead of saving them, the Kenyan Rifles immediately removed the government. After one cabinet minister was literally flayed by pro-Amin militias, almost all of Kenya's entire white population, numbering in the tens of thousands, desperately fled with all of their wealth to the Crown Colony of Tanganyika, one of the last British colonies in Africa. Idi Amin, in his role as the acting Prime Minister of Kenya, demanded that the British turn over all of the settlers or at the very least, their wealth. Prime Minister Brown, horrified at what was going on in East Africa, vehemently denied. Kenyan forces invaded the next day.

At the same time, the British had been alerted that another British territory had been invaded. In the middle of the Crete landings, another Mediterranean power launched a major invasion. Nationalist Turkish troops, without declaring war, invaded Cyprus in 1963. Landing in Northern Cyprus, the Turks faced little resistance because Cyprus had been almost completely emptied of British military assets for the preparation of the invasion of Crete. In addition, the Greek Cypriot militias had been heavily damaged in their guerrilla war against Britain. Turkish troops rolled across Cyprus, sparking one of the greatest humanitarian disasters of the age. For Greeks, 1963 was seen as a year of both triumph and tragedy, as the triumph of Souda was followed almost immediately by tragedy, both the Turkish invasion of Cyprus and the North Greek invasion of South Greece.

Two more conflicts were also to confront the United Kingdom. The Singapore situation had officially developed into a full-blown crisis. Finally, the British had also been informed that President Peron of Argentina was demanding that the British reconsider their stance on the Falkland Islands. However, no incident was to traumatize the United Kingdom as badly as the Glasgow incident. By 1963, the Irish Republican Army offensive was clearly failing. Middle-class residents, even Catholics, began to loathe the "people's war." Indeed, many more centrist members of the IRA had splintered off into the Irish People's Republican Army and Provisional Irish Republican Party, the IPRA continuing the Irish People's War with most of the military equipment and the Provos retaining close relations with Sinn Fein in Ireland itself. IPRA and the Provos also disagreed on religion - IPRA was thoroughly nonsectarian and actively recruited both Protestants and British (in hopes of inspiring a pan-British revolution), while the Provos were sectarian. As part of IPRA's goal of sparking a revolution in Britain itself, they believed one person was standing in the way of the revolution. In late 1963, IPRA militants had built up dozens of mortars in what they hoped would be a successful Hail Mary (they were keenly aware that British security forces were slowly crushing them, rather brutally, which had a tendency of causing the surviving leadership to grow even more radical and brutal).

In late 1963 at an event celebrating the opening of a new Catholic children's hospital in Glasgow, almost three-dozen mortars opened up with fire on the crowd. 187 people were killed and over 1700 were injured. Among those injured was Prime Minister George Brown himself, given a nasty scar on his face. However, that fact was overshadowed by the fact that among those killed were notably Minister of Health Kenneth Robinson and most devastatingly for the nation, the pregnant Queen Elizabeth II and the Prince of Wales, the young Charles (many children were brought to the event due to the children's hospital, but later studies showed that this caused British security services to be slightly lax due to the clearly incorrect assumption that nobody would attack a children's hospital). The nation would have spent months morning if not for the fact that not only was there an election in a month, but that the nation was not at war or facing war in four different continents. The assassination however, did push one war towards ending - mass public revulsion in Northern Ireland towards the IPRA's act of desperation shredded much of the rest of their public support, pushing the organization into terminal decline.
 
It takes a truly special series of events for Britain to be at war simultaneously with (South) Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. I think a few years from now Britons are going to look back and ask themselves a few questions. Was Cyprus worth all of this? Was Egypt worth this much, particularly since the Suez Canal just went to a treacherous Israel instead?
 
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It takes a truly special series of events for Britain to be at war simultaneously with (South) Greece, Turkey, Syria, and Saudi Arabia. I think a few years from now Britons are going to look back and ask themselves a few questions. Was Cyprus worth all of this? Was Egypt worth this much, particularly since the Suez Canal just went to a treacherous Israel instead?
The British? I am more concerned for Israel because if they lose they literally will be pushed into sea at the end of bayonets to drown by the Syrians if what we are reading is anything to go by. I can only hope that the PRC just gets to the point where they look to the Syrian's and say "screw this and you guys!!!" and just hands the territory back over to the Israeli's in spite.
 
This is what happens when an Empire doesn't take the hint. Now the British are burning down their house just to keep the deed.
It'd be sad if it wasn't their own fault.
 
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