TL-191: The fate of Britain post-SGW

MaxGerke01

Kicked
Banned
Significantly less useful, but I feel like they’d try to target London’s industrial centers or railroad hubs rather than it’s landmarks. A thousand years of history would be incinerated if they deliberately target Westminster or Buckingham Palace, and I think Germany would be wise enough to realize that doing so would make Britain permanently resentful of the Germans due to the symbolic nature of such a bombing. Granted, it is mentioned that the Eiffel Tower and others were destroyed when Paris got bombed. But I do think you’re mistaken because Churchill and the king do survive the super bombing of London and there was no bunker strong enough to withstand a direct hit at any of the locations you mentioned.
Right so they probably were not even in London for that precise reason .I see what you are saying but I honestly think ittl there is less respect for "sacred cows" as we saw in Paris if the goal is to get the British to well and truly understand they were defeated targeting London like that would be the way to go especially if Germany wanted to do it "on the cheap " and not follow up with at least a partial occupation as they probably do with France.
 
I think that these would be among the possible developments for Britain following the end of the SGW.

All of these seem quite horribly plausible; I do feel that there would be a more significant growth in Republican sentiment than you suggest (since a Republican movement doesn't necessarily have to succeed to be meaningful and there will be a LOT of "We keep losing, we need some REAL changes" sentiment abroad after the War - especially since the Republic of Ireland is probably doing a bit better than Great Britain and the German Empire presumably remains a hotbed of royalty).

One also suspect that the Dual Monarchy won't have very much say in the new 'Concert of Europe' - my guess is that, like Great Britain in the aftermath of World War II, Austria-Hungary is doomed to decline despite being on the Winning Side (Presumably being obliged to let go of the more disorderly parts of the Empire for the sake of holding together core territories, quite possibly being bullied into doing so by the Germans for the sake of the Peace of Europe - and also so that Hohenzollerns don't have to keep bailing out the Habsburgs).

In addition, I'm not certain that Japan will do as well in the Pacific as it did in our own timeline, since the Pacific War of the 1920s prove it to be a genuine danger to an up-to-date state and since it's much larger holdings mean that it has more treasure to play with, but fewer troops free from garrison duty (Especially given the Japanese Empire's general contempt for foreign auxiliaries).

One thought that does occur to me is that Germany & the United States may prefer to leave various ex-British territories to their own self-government this time around (since both nations are likely to be at the point of overstretch or beyond; they'll have to be very careful of how they manage their prizes to ensure that short-term gains don't turn into long-term losses).


Significantly less useful, but I feel like they’d try to target London’s industrial centers or railroad hubs rather than it’s landmarks. A thousand years of history would be incinerated if they deliberately target Westminster or Buckingham Palace, and I think Germany would be wise enough to realize that doing so would make Britain permanently resentful of the Germans due to the symbolic nature of such a bombing.

If they're willing to drop an atomic bomb on the city at all, I doubt they're going to be so considerate about where they drop it; otherwise they would have limited themselves to Brighton & Norwich (Also, I tend to agree with MaxGerke01 that the Royal Family and the Cabinet - at the very least - would get the Hell out of London the minute they learned that a 'Super-bombing' was a very real possibility; it's one thing to risk a bombardment with the common folk of London, but an immolation?).


Japan was changed OTL not just by being nuked but also occupied so ittl if Germany does one and not the other does that really change Britain or does it just send the Silver Shirts and like minded elements underground to re-emerge someday in the future ?

More likely it leaves those elements to be hunted down by angry, angry locals rather than out-of-towners (Remember, even though this Fascist Regime is more Italy than Nazi Germany, it's still a jack-booted gang of Fascists who'll have an enemies list longer than that of Richard M. Nixon - especially after no fewer than three atomic bombings, economic ruin and the second major humiliation for Great Britain in a very nasty century).

The Tories might wriggle out somehow, but the British Union of Fascists/Silver Shirts would have to be thrown to the wolves (and there's no guarantee the Tory Party would continue in any useful form, even if it's members do stay in business; defeat in the 2GW is the sort of cataclysm that swallows parties and spits out new combinations).
 
I agree that a shakeup of alliances in the interbellum era would have made things more interesting. Have some of the CP-aligned countries feel cheated out of what they wanted and either join the Entente or form a new alliance with some Entente members like Italy and Japan OTL. Speaking of Italy, have them get involved in both Great Wars since there really wasn't a reason not to ITTL in the first place. Secondly, you could have some of the defeated Entente members from the First Great War sit out the second one such as Turkey IOTL. Additionally, you could start to see the fragmentation of the CSA and have each state decide which alliance they'd like to be part of or have some Entente members in the SGW switch sides before the war is over a la Italy or Romania OTL.

Strictly speaking there was a pretty fair reason for Mr Turtledove to leave Italy out of the Great War - which is that it makes the Central Powers victory in the field more plausible by allowing the Dual Monarchy (Austria-Hungary) to stay in the fight for just long enough (Although I am genuinely surprised that Italy didn't jump on the Central Powers' band-wagon once they saw that their old allies were well on their way to Victory over the Entente, as Brazil did).

Since people seem to like the idea of a shuffling of alliances between the Great Wars, but that subject is rather off-topic for this thread, I shall take the Liberty of opening a new thread on which interested parties may post their suggestions and theories.

Please do come!
 
Strictly speaking there was a pretty fair reason for Mr Turtledove to leave Italy out of the Great War - which is that it makes the Central Powers victory in the field more plausible by allowing the Dual Monarchy (Austria-Hungary) to stay in the fight for just long enough (Although I am genuinely surprised that Italy didn't jump on the Central Powers' band-wagon once they saw that their old allies were well on their way to Victory over the Entente, as Brazil did).

Since people seem to like the idea of a shuffling of alliances between the Great Wars, but that subject is rather off-topic for this thread, I shall take the Liberty of opening a new thread on which interested parties may post their suggestions and theories.

Please do come!
Send me the link! I wish to partake.
 
If they're willing to drop an atomic bomb on the city at all, I doubt they're going to be so considerate about where they drop it; otherwise they would have limited themselves to Brighton & Norwich (Also, I tend to agree with MaxGerke01 that the Royal Family and the Cabinet - at the very least - would get the Hell out of London the minute they learned that a 'Super-bombing' was a very real possibility; it's one thing to risk a bombardment with the common folk of London, but an immolation?).
Where do y'all recon the nuke hits? Depending on where, it could result in at least 100k British casualties.
 
Would Germany and the USA actually have the manpower and inclination to occupy Britain? People have already mentioned the US occupation of the southern states and Canada, and Germany will have at least that much trouble holding down France and eastern Europe.

Could Britain's position be somewhat analogous to Finland's IOTL - escaping occupation and forced regime change in return for staying in line? At least initially - in all probability Britain would re-emerge as a significant player (albeit in the shadow of the US, Germany and perhaps Japan and India) in a similar tier to that which it holds in reality. I doubt a single nuke of that era could permanently eliminate London as a major economic hub, both for Britain and the world - the geography is just too good.

The Empire is dead on its feet, and there's more to cope with domestically so decolonisation could be somewhat more chaotic. There may be a greater emphasis placed on retaining strategically important territories (e.g. Malta) which were let go IOTL, in view of the very present threat of Germany. I'm not sure resentment towards the USA would run particularly deep in Britain - most of their conflict happened on the far side of the Atlantic, whereas the German government was responsible for direct attacks on the Isles. The Anglo-American relationship ITTL would depend more upon the American view than the British. Rapprochement with Britain might suit American interests in 'containing' Germany, and whilst Ireland could serve as a useful host for military bases, it couldn't match up to Britain in terms of economic or demographic weight.

Constitutionally speaking, there's a whole range of possibilities. It really depends upon how Edward VIII related to the Churchill-Mosley regime. If he was steadfast in political neutrality, then he may well be able to maintain his throne in a similar manner to Hirohito IOTL (leaving discussion of his culpability to one side). If he as an individual was noticeably sympathetic to the administration then his abdication would probably be necessary to preserve the monarchy - probably in favour of George VI (or whichever regnal name he might chose under the historical circumstances).

If the institution of monarchy was itself sufficiently tarnished to require its abolition, there are still a range of republican options. There could be some sort of 'Second Commonwealth', retaining most the trappings of the existing British constitution sans a monarch, perhaps with a Lord Protector or some kind of permanent regency under which Parliament chooses a Head of State for the nation. There's the more radical option of doing away with aristocracy and traditional parliamentarianism completely, replacing it with something more like the parliamentary republics currently common in Europe. And at the far end of the spectrum, some sort of revolution could take place and establish a leftist regime, which could land anywhere between Nordic social democracy and totalitarian socialist dictatorship (probably towards the latter, if the history of revolutions is anything to go by).

My bet is on London being restored as the capital, unless a revolutionary government permanently relocates it for ideological reasons. It is the natural seat of government by virtue of history, geography and economics. Possible temporary seats of government whilst London recovers include Winchester (for historical reasons), Birmingham and Manchester. Probably several others could also suit - perhaps York? Potentially somewhere like Canterbury, Chelmsford or Guildford could also work if the aim is to remain as close to London as feasible.

It would be interesting to see the religious consequences of the defeat for Britain. If the Church of England was seen to be complicit in the wartime regime, it could lose a lot of prestige and may even face disestablishment, especially (and perhaps inevitably) under a republican government. I imagine 'High Church' Anglicanism receiving greater criticism than the 'Low Church', given the former's historical links to the Conservative Party. There's potential for an increase in the numbers attending Methodist and Presbyterian churches if Anglicans go so far as to switch denominations. Baptist and Congregationalist churches might be more of a jump, but it's possible that they could also see higher attendance.

Regarding the numbers of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and others in Britain, it would presumably depend upon the immigration rate - perhaps Britain's reduced position relative to OTL might make it a less attractive destination? Of Judaism I really couldn't say, but the fact that Palestine remained under Ottoman administration does probably preclude the establishment of an independent Jewish state in the province. Perhaps a larger Jewish population in Britain as a consequence? Whether British society as a whole would gravitate towards greater or lesser religiosity is an open question.
 

MaxGerke01

Kicked
Banned
Would Germany and the USA actually have the manpower and inclination to occupy Britain? People have already mentioned the US occupation of the southern states and Canada, and Germany will have at least that much trouble holding down France and eastern Europe.

Could Britain's position be somewhat analogous to Finland's IOTL - escaping occupation and forced regime change in return for staying in line? At least initially - in all probability Britain would re-emerge as a significant player (albeit in the shadow of the US, Germany and perhaps Japan and India) in a similar tier to that which it holds in reality. I doubt a single nuke of that era could permanently eliminate London as a major economic hub, both for Britain and the world - the geography is just too good.

The Empire is dead on its feet, and there's more to cope with domestically so decolonisation could be somewhat more chaotic. There may be a greater emphasis placed on retaining strategically important territories (e.g. Malta) which were let go IOTL, in view of the very present threat of Germany. I'm not sure resentment towards the USA would run particularly deep in Britain - most of their conflict happened on the far side of the Atlantic, whereas the German government was responsible for direct attacks on the Isles. The Anglo-American relationship ITTL would depend more upon the American view than the British. Rapprochement with Britain might suit American interests in 'containing' Germany, and whilst Ireland could serve as a useful host for military bases, it couldn't match up to Britain in terms of economic or demographic weight.

Constitutionally speaking, there's a whole range of possibilities. It really depends upon how Edward VIII related to the Churchill-Mosley regime. If he was steadfast in political neutrality, then he may well be able to maintain his throne in a similar manner to Hirohito IOTL (leaving discussion of his culpability to one side). If he as an individual was noticeably sympathetic to the administration then his abdication would probably be necessary to preserve the monarchy - probably in favour of George VI (or whichever regnal name he might chose under the historical circumstances).

If the institution of monarchy was itself sufficiently tarnished to require its abolition, there are still a range of republican options. There could be some sort of 'Second Commonwealth', retaining most the trappings of the existing British constitution sans a monarch, perhaps with a Lord Protector or some kind of permanent regency under which Parliament chooses a Head of State for the nation. There's the more radical option of doing away with aristocracy and traditional parliamentarianism completely, replacing it with something more like the parliamentary republics currently common in Europe. And at the far end of the spectrum, some sort of revolution could take place and establish a leftist regime, which could land anywhere between Nordic social democracy and totalitarian socialist dictatorship (probably towards the latter, if the history of revolutions is anything to go by).

My bet is on London being restored as the capital, unless a revolutionary government permanently relocates it for ideological reasons. It is the natural seat of government by virtue of history, geography and economics. Possible temporary seats of government whilst London recovers include Winchester (for historical reasons), Birmingham and Manchester. Probably several others could also suit - perhaps York? Potentially somewhere like Canterbury, Chelmsford or Guildford could also work if the aim is to remain as close to London as feasible.

It would be interesting to see the religious consequences of the defeat for Britain. If the Church of England was seen to be complicit in the wartime regime, it could lose a lot of prestige and may even face disestablishment, especially (and perhaps inevitably) under a republican government. I imagine 'High Church' Anglicanism receiving greater criticism than the 'Low Church', given the former's historical links to the Conservative Party. There's potential for an increase in the numbers attending Methodist and Presbyterian churches if Anglicans go so far as to switch denominations. Baptist and Congregationalist churches might be more of a jump, but it's possible that they could also see higher attendance.

Regarding the numbers of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and others in Britain, it would presumably depend upon the immigration rate - perhaps Britain's reduced position relative to OTL might make it a less attractive destination? Of Judaism I really couldn't say, but the fact that Palestine remained under Ottoman administration does probably preclude the establishment of an independent Jewish state in the province. Perhaps a larger Jewish population in Britain as a consequence? Whether British society as a whole would gravitate towards greater or lesser religiosity is an open question.
To me there is next to no chance the US has the occupation troops to send there even if it wanted to-which it might.Germany is more likely but between France and eastern Europe one wonders if it could be anything more than a token force. OTL history has shown us that total defeat not followed by total and lengthy occupation means that a country may not realize or accept its defeat. Its easy to imagine Britain if it wasnt occupied going through the motions and bidding its time and trying to eventually get back on its feet and strike back at Germany and the US in a way France,Russia and the CSA wont be able to since they have been occupied for a while.
 

bguy

Donor
Would Germany and the USA actually have the manpower and inclination to occupy Britain?

I guess the question is how likely is it there will be active insurgencies in Britain and France?

IOTL the US occupation of Japan (where there was not an active insurgency) involved 430,000 US troops plus about 40,000 from the Commonwealth. Japan circa 1945 had a population of 77 million. That's a little shy of the combined population at that time of Great Britain (47.31 million) and France (40 million), but it still gives us a decent benchmark for how big an occupying army might need to be, so we can assume that Germany would probably need about 500,000 troops to hold down Britain and France if they aren't actively resisting. That's a lot of men but not an intolerable amount, and Germany would probably be willing to maintain that large an occupation army to insure that Britain and France never get atomic weapons.

Now if Britain and France resist German occupation then it becomes another matter altogether. Going with the old adage that you need 1 soldier for every 50 citizens when dealing with an insurgency, that would mean the Germans would need something like 1.7 million soldiers to hold down both Britain and France if there are active insurgencies in both countries. That would probably be pretty difficult for the Germans to sustain since they also have to maintain large garrisons in Eastern Europe and may at some point have to worry about independence movements in their African colonies.

I'm not sure resentment towards the USA would run particularly deep in Britain - most of their conflict happened on the far side of the Atlantic, whereas the German government was responsible for direct attacks on the Isles. The Anglo-American relationship ITTL would depend more upon the American view than the British. Rapprochement with Britain might suit American interests in 'containing' Germany, and whilst Ireland could serve as a useful host for military bases, it couldn't match up to Britain in terms of economic or demographic weight.

I agree with this. My impression from the books was that the Americans seemed to feel that they had adequately settled the score with the British in the First Great War and didn't really seem to bear them too much rancor by the time of the Second Great War (where US and British forces only really fought at sea.) Likewise the British by the Second Great War seem far more worried about the Germans than the Americans.
 
The British Empire is dead and I think ultimately the British will drift into German orbit due to ties between the royal family and being close to the continent.
 
The British Empire is dead and I think ultimately the British will drift into German orbit due to ties between the royal family and being close to the continent.

Hummmm ... the problem is that the Royal Family has influence, but no actual political power (and might actually be rather keen to avoid reminding their battered subjects that there's a family connection with figurehead of their old enemies the Germans); on the other hand it's perfectly fair to suggest that, after two disastrous coalition wars, Great Britain is probably keen to enjoy a little "Splendid Isolation" for some while.


Would Germany and the USA actually have the manpower and inclination to occupy Britain? People have already mentioned the US occupation of the southern states and Canada, and Germany will have at least that much trouble holding down France and eastern Europe.

As Mr B points out, it would be important to emphasise that Britain is not only battered but BEATEN and (given the circumstances) even a small garrison might make a pretty big statement about GBs position at the end of the Second Great War.


in all probability Britain would re-emerge as a significant player (albeit in the shadow of the US, Germany and perhaps Japan and India) in a similar tier to that which it holds in reality. I doubt a single nuke of that era could permanently eliminate London as a major economic hub, both for Britain and the world - the geography is just too good.

I'm willing to accept that London might not have been wiped from the map, but I suspect Great Britain would be a rung down from her current (much lowered) status in the world; given that the British Isles aren't exactly a treasure chest and that a good deal of Britain's relatively exalted position is based on legacies from a tradition of victory (however Phyrric) rather than crushing defeats, it's difficult to imagine her a more than a regional power in Timeline 191.


I'm not sure resentment towards the USA would run particularly deep in Britain - most of their conflict happened on the far side of the Atlantic, whereas the German government was responsible for direct attacks on the Isles. The Anglo-American relationship ITTL would depend more upon the American view than the British. Rapprochement with Britain might suit American interests in 'containing' Germany, and whilst Ireland could serve as a useful host for military bases, it couldn't match up to Britain in terms of economic or demographic weight.

I'd like to think you're right, but the rest of Timeline 191 makes it difficult for me to take the most optimistic view of the situation; that Timeline hits the English-speaking world HARD again & again (Honestly, it's like an especially nasty game of "Stop hitting yourself" played by the English-speaking peoples).


It would be interesting to see the religious consequences of the defeat for Britain. If the Church of England was seen to be complicit in the wartime regime, it could lose a lot of prestige and may even face disestablishment, especially (and perhaps inevitably) under a republican government. I imagine 'High Church' Anglicanism receiving greater criticism than the 'Low Church', given the former's historical links to the Conservative Party. There's potential for an increase in the numbers attending Methodist and Presbyterian churches if Anglicans go so far as to switch denominations. Baptist and Congregationalist churches might be more of a jump, but it's possible that they could also see higher attendance.

I suspect that, again, a good deal depends on how the Monarchy related to the 'Silver Shirt' coalition; given the King is the Supreme Head of the Church of England, the opinion of the monarch is likely to shape the opinion of the Anglican Communion.


Regarding the numbers of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and others in Britain, it would presumably depend upon the immigration rate - perhaps Britain's reduced position relative to OTL might make it a less attractive destination?

I suspect the West Indies contingent would be more reluctant to migrate to a Britain that sided with Featherston, if nothing else.


I guess the question is how likely is it there will be active insurgencies in Britain and France?

My best guess is that, after two world wars and two defeats, Great Britain doesn't have much left in the tank in terms of fighting spirit - though that might change as time passes and a younger generation grows to maturity with stories of all the country has lost and if the Germans don't play things carefully; when it comes to France I'm less sure, but given that France has been humbled to the dust by Germany as an Empire, a Republic AND a Monarchy I would be very surprised if the nation's morale weren't left absolutely shattered.

Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if the French went absolutely experimental with their Government; having tried just about everything else, perhaps they'll make a go of communism or straight-up Anarchism?


I agree with this. My impression from the books was that the Americans seemed to feel that they had adequately settled the score with the British in the First Great War and didn't really seem to bear them too much rancor by the time of the Second Great War (where US and British forces only really fought at sea.) Likewise the British by the Second Great War seem far more worried about the Germans than the Americans.

Whomsoever persuaded the British Government to support Featherston's assault on the United States really does deserve a spell in the stocks; it's a decision on a par with Herr Hitler getting wind of Pearl Harbor and thinking "A-ha, those Americans are on the ropes and it's time to give them the steel chair!"

There was no steel chair, but there WAS a screw-job.
 

MaxGerke01

Kicked
Banned
Whomsoever persuaded the British Government to support Featherston's assault on the United States really does deserve a spell in the stocks; it's a decision on a par with Herr Hitler getting wind of Pearl Harbor and thinking "A-ha, those Americans are on the ropes and it's time to give them the steel chair!"

There was no steel chair, but there WAS a screw-job.
Even if the US and UK had been improving their relationship prior to the Second Great War and I dont see it the UKs decision to help the CSA with the superbomb which was then used on Philadelphia could very well end any warming relationship for good. If there is any nation out there other than the CSA who has tried to destroy the USA its the UK from the American perspective.
 
Last edited:
Even if the US and UK had been improving their relationship prior to the Second Great War and I dont see it the UKs decisoin to help the CSA with the superbomb which was then used on Philadelphia could very well end any warming relationship for good. If there is any nation out there other than the CSA who has tried to destroy the USA its the UK from the American perspective.
True. The British and Americans would have fought five wars (American Revolution, War of 1812, Second Mexican War, and the Great Wars) in less than 200 years, and Britain helped the CSA get the superbomb that was later used in an attempt to decapacitate the U.S. government. Anglo-American relations won't heal for a long time after the SGW.
 
My best guess is that, after two world wars and two defeats, Great Britain doesn't have much left in the tank in terms of fighting spirit - though that might change as time passes and a younger generation grows to maturity with stories of all the country has lost and if the Germans don't play things carefully; when it comes to France I'm less sure, but given that France has been humbled to the dust by Germany as an Empire, a Republic AND a Monarchy I would be very surprised if the nation's morale weren't left absolutely shattered.

Heck, it wouldn't surprise me if the French went absolutely experimental with their Government; having tried just about everything else, perhaps they'll make a go of communism or straight-up Anarchism?
I doubt the Germans would ever allow for a resurgent UK or France. Both post-SGW likely cease to be Great Powers for good, being reduced to regional powers tops, within the German orbit.
 
I'm willing to accept that London might not have been wiped from the map, but I suspect Great Britain would be a rung down from her current (much lowered) status in the world; given that the British Isles aren't exactly a treasure chest and that a good deal of Britain's relatively exalted position is based on legacies from a tradition of victory (however Phyrric) rather than crushing defeats, it's difficult to imagine her a more than a regional power in Timeline 191.
London likely is rebuilt, but never becomes what it once was. It's possible that places like Buckingham Palace and whatnot were destroyed in the German superbombing.
 

MaxGerke01

Kicked
Banned
I doubt the Germans would ever allow for a resurgent UK or France. Both post-SGW likely cease to be Great Powers for good, being reduced to regional powers tops, within the German orbit.
Germany could do it but I just dont think we can assume they have to commit less resources to do it for Britain than they would for France. Maybe it would take more ?
 
The British Empire is dead and I think ultimately the British will drift into German orbit due to ties between the royal family and being close to the continent.
That, and the fact that Germany would not want a resurgent UK or France. Britain's empire is likely dissolved post-SGW, with the Brits being forced to sever all ties with Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa. Britain proper may or may not be occupied, it's 50/50 really I guess.
 
Top