U-56 downs HMS Nelson with Churchill aboard, 31 October 1939

Hastings and Beevor both definitively rule out Eden as a possibility on the grounds that the pro-war faction's support would certainly not have bled into him; their continued support for Churchill was about as based on personalist loyalty to the man himself as much as policy similarities, which Eden distinctively lacked at the time. Every author that I've read so far on this subject matter clearly reiterate that any alternatives to Churchill in the pro-war caucus were severely lacking, and that the bulk of Churchill's initial support was due to Chamberlain's continued support of him throughout the war cabinet crisis, which he would almost certainly have given to Halifax had Churchill been unavailable.

Hastings and Beevor continue on to talk about just how touch and go the War Cabinet Crisis actually was.
Interesting. It is not my area but everything I have read to date gave Halifax and Churchill as front runners, but not as the only possible options.

If, as you say, Halifax is the only option, then he is far from an ideal one. He cannot form a national government as Labour will not back him. He will also need someone to lead the Conservatives from the Commons while he sits in the Lords. It isolates him somewhat. A war cabinet would help put him at the centre of things, but it is still not ideal.


U-56 in more able hands than Zahn could possibly have sunk the HMS Nelson and killed both Churchill and Pound, either on the 30th or the 31st.
Possibly, but as noted above, very far from guaranteed. Battleships have torpedo defence systems so that they can (in theory) take a few hits before going down. Unlike with Royal Oak at Scapa, U-56 will not get a second shot at Nelson. That means the first salvo has to put Nelson down. It’s possible but not the most likely option. U-56 would have to be even more lucky than she was IOTL.
 
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U-56 in more able hands than Zahn could possibly have sunk the HMS Nelson and killed both Churchill and Pound, either on the 30th or the 31st.
Except that there is no information (certainly not in the ships log book) that Pound and Churchill were on board on the 30th!

They visited the ship the next day when it was in port
 
Do remember that Britain was not and is not a dictatorship

It is a parliamentary democracy and the death of a single person is unlikely to radically or even minimally change its course which is 'dictated' by a vast number of considerations.

If Churchill dies before his time to become the great leader he became, then someone else will rise to the top and while they might not be as good as him, at the same time, they might not be as bad either ;)

As for Pound - he did some good things, organised the Navy to win the Battle of the Atlantic as well as some bad things namely the PQ17 scatter order and delaying orders for Force Z after the decision was taken in London to withdraw the force (but not sent at the time) that might have seen it survive.

But his loss would not have crippled the Navy any more than Churchills loss would have crippled the Government
 
Interesting. It is not my area but everything I have read to date gave Halifax and Churchill as front runners, but not as the only possible options.

If, as you say, Halifax is the only option, then he is far from an ideal one. He cannot form a national government as Labour will not back him. He will also need someone to lead the Conservatives from the Commons while he sits in the Lords. It isolates him somewhat. A war cabinet would help put him at the centre of things, but it is still not ideal.



Possibly, but as noted above, very far from guaranteed. Battleships have torpedo defence systems so that they can (in theory) take a few hits before going down. Unlike with Royal Oak at Scapa, U-56 will not get a second shot at Nelson. That means the first salvo has to put Nelson down. It’s possible but not the most likely option. U-56 would have to be even more lucky than she was IOTL.
Labour were willing to serve under Halifax
 
Labour were willing to serve under Halifax
I have been working from memory and went to check. It seems I remembered wrongly. You are correct, Halifax was apparently acceptable to Labour. He was also, as I did know, preferred by the King and much of the Conservative Party. Churchill was more popular with the opposition but if Halifax was acceptable to them then he would probably have become PM. Whether he would have stayed that way depends on how the Cabinet crisis goes.
 
Halifax PM 1940. Can see him possibly accepting Hitler's terms and falling to an anti- appeasement revolt.
No. No. And no.
Without Churchill there would have been some kind of negotiated peace. Winston was indispensable to unconditional surrender. Without him and FDR there would have been some form of accommodation made to Hitler
In a word, bollocks.
How? Hitler tore up every treaty he signed, nearly instantly. This idea that only Churchill saw Hitler as unstable and dangerous needs to die.
This. The myth of Churchill.
 
No. No. And no.

In a word, bollocks.

This. The myth of Churchill.
I should stress here that Churchill is a very interesting and noteworthy figure who effected world history on many occasions. His death would have huge ramifications for both the war and the post-war world. Just, the UK instantly surrendering to Nazi Germany is not one of them.
 

trinity

Banned
Personally, Frieser’s pessimistic appraisal/assessment of the situation is the most realist view for the possible future.
 
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trinity

Banned
Once Labour threw its lot in with Halifax as they historically planned to do so anyway, he would have been secure in his position from any revolts etc.

Whilst Halifax was far from being the best candidate for the role, a general dearth of any viable alternatives within the Conservative Party at the time would have practically ensured his successful formation of a Government.
 
Once Labour threw its lot in with Halifax as they historically planned to do so anyway, he would have been secure in his position from any revolts etc.

Whilst Halifax was far from being the best candidate for the role, a general dearth of any viable alternatives within the Conservative Party at the time would have practically ensured his successful formation of a Government.
For the time being, yes. Negotiating with the Nazi's would likely have put him in the same position as Chamberlain a few months earlier though.

The battleship doiesn't have to sink for Churchill to die. A strong shockwave could send him head-first into a wall, or down a set of stairs.
True, but very few people actually dies from that kind of thing when the ship wasn't sinking. Injured sure, but not often died. It is also something you can say about his daily life as PM. Churchill could trip and crack his head open going down the stairs of No. 10 or have a plane go down with him on it.
 
For the time being, yes. Negotiating with the Nazi's would likely have put him in the same position as Chamberlain a few months earlier though.


True, but very few people actually dies from that kind of thing when the ship wasn't sinking. Injured sure, but not often died. It is also something you can say about his daily life as PM. Churchill could trip and crack his head open going down the stairs of No. 10 or have a plane go down with him on it.
Wasn't he almost hit by a car during a visit to the US?
 

trinity

Banned
Max Hastings points out how much Churchill relied on the eventual support of Chamberlain as leader of the Conservative Party: this was critical in deflecting Halifax's proposals.[111]

Hastings outlines Churchill's dilemma faced with the prospect of Halifax, the man widely considered to have majority support in the Conservative Party, quitting his government just at the moment of supreme crisis when Operation Dynamo was barely underway. Great Britain at that time, perhaps more so than at any other time in history, needed to present a united face to the world.[112] It may be argued that Churchill should have let Halifax go, but he could not do that because he needed the support of the huge Conservative majority in the Commons and, although he could never again have confidence in Halifax as a colleague, he was obliged to endure him for another seven months in order to be sure of retaining Conservative support. It was not until December, a month after he succeeded Chamberlain as Tory leader, that Churchill finally felt able to consign Halifax to exile in Washington.[112]

There is a legend, as Hastings says, of a united Britain in the summer months of 1940 which stood firm against Hitler and, eventually, having formed the key alliances with the US and the USSR, defeated him. That was a reality and it would all have been different if another man had been prime minister. If the political faction seeking a negotiated peace had prevailed then Britain, crucially, would have been out of the war. Hitler might then have won the war. In May 1940, Churchill understood that even the mere gesture of considering peace terms would have a disastrous impact on the country and his policy of fighting on would have been irretrievably compromised.[112]
Extremely difficult to argue with this account of the events...
 
Extremely difficult to argue with this account of the events...
First, if you are going to cut and paste from other websites you should be attributing the website the excerpt comes from. Wikipedia does not have the best reputation for unbiased/correct articles.
Second , you miss out the bit where Halifax admits that he did not believe an acceptable offer would be forthcoming
 
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