War makes for Strange Bedfellows – A Second World War timeline

Enjoying the timeline so far?

  • Yes

    Votes: 230 85.2%
  • No

    Votes: 13 4.8%
  • Undecided

    Votes: 27 10.0%

  • Total voters
    270
I just caught up with this timeline. Rather interesting . Now that the ground phase of the war has ended (for the moment), Göring may think it's high time he did some house-cleaning in the Party. He is the Party leader, after all...

Well, the Party must be rather unhappy with these developments. The war is progressing very well up to this point , but Göring is power-hungry. He may be fairly disinterested in the minutiae of government and administration, but he wants to establish and further his authority. This means that, while the civil service will most likely be left on its own, Göring would probably clash with the StdF (Staff of the Deputy Führer), as Hess and Bormann try to expand the NSDAP's reach and influence. It would be competition on many fronts: Göring would feel perhaps closer to the Altkämpfer in the Party, the people who bore the brunt of the fight during the Kampfzeit and he would want to make his position unrivalled, while Bormann would want to replace the Old Fighters (who were also rather keen to protect their interests and power) with younger faces, more drilled in the idea of the dominance of the StdF and Party centralisation and exploit Hitler's death to get even more powers for the Deputy Führer with regard to Party administration.

This could lead perhaps to Göring abandoning the Hitler line to some extent and therefore be more active in asserting his position as leader of the NSDAP and reduce the powers of the StdF. He would probably insist on making appointments of Gauleiters and other officials. Also, he might reverse the previous trend and instead work to make the Private Chancellery (Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP) the centre of the Party, in order to a) control its activities better b) identify its administration and the Party in general more with him. Of course, Bormann, Hess and the others around them wouldn't go down without a fight, but Göring would be motivated enough to fight tis battle to the end; given the period and the relative power of the two sides, it is safe to say that Göring would win: if Hess made a mistake (like his flight to England or increasing signs of erratic behaviour), he would most likely be eased out, which would allow Göring to give the title of Deputy Führer to someone else or, most likely, abolish it and leave the head of the Private Chancellery deal with most daily Party issues. If this were to happen, Bormann would most likely get the boot soon afterwards.

Of course Göring wouldn't reverse everything set in place in Party policy. He would still be interested in exercising absolute control, and while he would be popular and charismatic, he wouldn't be Hitler. The "Old Fighter" Gauleiters would most likely try to benefit from the vacuum of power and the dismantlment of the StdF and the fights between Hess/Bormann and Göring to assert their independence, and their gratitude for getting reinstated and/or fighting the StdF would end there; the younger Gauleiters. So Göring would probably try to put a leash on them. The means of achieving this would probably be to centralise many functions to the Private Chancellery and also to make a lot of personal appointments in the Gauleiter group; the more opportunistic younger functionaries and the less ambitious Old Fighters would be a good pool of potential appointments in this case, since they wouldn't have had time to build personal networks and a great number of them would be in search of a new "patron"/"mentor" after the decline of the leading members of the "Control Faction".

It would be interesting to see what would Schwarz, the Party treasurer would do. He was working fairly closely with the StdF and Bormann, since both had the identical (the elimination of the Reichsleiters) or similar (centralisation of Party functions, in the case of Schwarz finance) but I think he wasn't that interested in creating an all-powerful organ that would control every aspect of the NSDAP and his goals were limited to making his office the supreme authority in all Party financial matters; so, he might be able to reach a modus vivendi with Göring, who would, after all, find Schwarz's plans and activities complementary as far as his goals are concerned. However, this doesn't ensure a smooth sailing, since Göring could prove only too willing to overlook and/or pardon cases of corruption and appropriation on the part of Gauleiters favoured by him (as a way to build a following of his own there) and in general, approve or tolerate practices Schwarz would frown upon, which in turn could lead the latter to start trying neutralising Göring's networks and influence in the NSDAP, at least when it came to financial matters, which in turn could result in the creation of a sort of new Party opposition to Göring's management.

But while Party centralisation would advance more, although in the service of the Führer instead of the central Party bureaucracy, in various other ways, the situation be more problematic from the Party's point of view. Göring would have no interest in allowing the Party to strengthen its position inside the Reich; his choice of the title "Reichspräsident" could be interpreted as a sign of him wanting to underline the fact that the NSDAP and the executive aren't fused. Therefore, he would most likely oppose any notions of Reichsreform and put a block to the StdF's efforts to infiltrate and control the civil service via its jurisdictions (human relations and morale), while he would probably clash with the Gauleiters for the direction of the local economies and with the Party in general over Aryanisation (which he would most likely transfer as a responsibility to trusted civil servants). Furthermore, the Party's plans for expansion would probably be dealt a blow; while the two Polish Reichsgaus (Wartegau and Danzig - Westpreußen) would most likely be kept, Norway and the Netherlands would probably not become Reichskommissariats (if they are conquered) and the Army would remain more clearly of control of occupation in the West. Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg are more complicated, since the Germans want to annex them and they are neighbouring Germany and small enough to be integrated.

The General Government would be another area which would most likely see changes. With Bormann and Hess out of the frame or unable to do much, the Arbeitsbereich in Poland would probably be rather weaker (if not abolished) and the civilian administration would play a more prominent role. Party members would still be appointed there of course, but it would be for administrative positions. This would help perhaps reduce some of the confusion in the General Government, but it wouldn't work miracles. Also, Frank's days may be numbered, since Göring would probably be angling for making one of his proteges Governor General.
 
Last edited:
Göring has an ace up his sleeve in Heydrich who was closer to Göring than he was to Himmler, if Göring wants anyone removed, Heydrich will see to it.
The two would be a very dangerous duo.
 
Last edited:
Göring would probably clash with the StdF (Staff of the Deputy Führer), as Hess and Bormann try to expand the NSDAP's reach and influence.
Göring will almost certainly clash with Bormann, but Hess ITTL died in 1939 in the Munich bombing. So any power base he may have had has by now been destroyed.

It would be competition on many fronts: Göring would feel perhaps closer to the Altkämpfer in the Party, the people who bore the brunt of the fight during the Kampfzeit and he would want to make his position unrivalled, while Bormann would want to replace the Old Fighters (who were also rather keen to protect their interests and power) with younger faces, more drilled in the idea of the dominance of the StdF and Party centralisation and exploit Hitler's death to get even more powers for the Deputy Führer with regard to Party administration.

This could lead perhaps to Göring abandoning the Hitler line to some extent and therefore be more active in asserting his position as leader of the NSDAP and reduce the powers of the StdF. He would probably insist on making appointments of Gauleiters and other officials. Also, he might reverse the previous trend and instead work to make the Private Chancellery (Chancellery of the Führer of the NSDAP) the centre of the Party, in order to a) control its activities better b) identify its administration and the Party in general more with him. Of course, Bormann, Hess and the others around them wouldn't go down without a fight, but Göring would be motivated enough to fight tis battle to the end; given the period and the relative power of the two sides, it is safe to say that Göring would win: if Hess made a mistake (like his flight to England or increasing signs of erratic behaviour), he would most likely be eased out, which would allow Göring to give the title of Deputy Führer to someone else or, most likely, abolish it and leave the head of the Private Chancellery deal with most daily Party issues. If this were to happen, Bormann would most likely get the boot soon afterwards.

Of course Göring wouldn't reverse everything set in place in Party policy. He would still be interested in exercising absolute control, and while he would be popular and charismatic, he wouldn't be Hitler. The "Old Fighter" Gauleiters would most likely try to benefit from the vacuum of power and the dismantlment of the StdF and the fights between Hess/Bormann and Göring to assert their independence, and their gratitude for getting reinstated and/or fighting the StdF would end there; the younger Gauleiters. So Göring would probably try to put a leash on them.
Göring isn’t as able to rule Germany as Hitler did by keeping everyone fighting each other to stop them creating their own power base greater than his.

Rather, Göring’s Germany as of now is more de-facto collective leadership between the Altkämpfers close to Göring, the SS under Heydrich and the Wehrmacht (the last two groups’ roles I intend to expand on in the near future). Bormann’s role will be discussed later when I write into the internal German situation later on.

Of course there also remains the fact in everyone’s mind that the Northern front in Norway needs to be closed given Sweden’s attempts to leave the war.

Similarly, everyone of importance in Berlin knows the longer the war goes on, the more dependent Germany becomes on the Soviet Union, especially for resources.
 
Furthermore, the Party's plans for expansion would probably be dealt a blow; while the two Polish Reichsgaus (Wartegau and Danzig - Westpreußen) would most likely be kept, Norway and the Netherlands would probably not become Reichskommissariats (if they are conquered) and the Army would remain more clearly of control of occupation in the West. Alsace-Lorraine and Luxembourg are more complicated, since the Germans want to annex them and they are neighbouring Germany and small enough to be integrated.

The General Government would be another area which would most likely see changes. With Bormann and Hess out of the frame or unable to do much, the Arbeitsbereich in Poland would probably be rather weaker (if not abolished) and the civilian administration would play a more prominent role. Party members would still be appointed there of course, but it would be for administrative positions. This would help perhaps reduce some of the confusion in the General Government, but it wouldn't work miracles. Also, Frank's days may be numbered, since Göring would probably be angling for making one of his proteges Governor General.
There is no way that the partition of Poland will change: it was approved by Hitler, the Wartegau and Danzig Reichgaus are the vast majority of polish land annexed and Goring still wants to expand the Reich. I can see the General government being weaker but nothing substantial since, in the end, Goring is still a Nazi and will use those people as he sees fit. On the Western front, Germany will more than likely annex "just" Eupen-Malmedy from Belgium, Luxembourg and Alsace-Lorraine from France; no "Zone interdite" though.
 
There is no way that the partition of Poland will change: it was approved by Hitler, the Wartegau and Danzig Reichgaus are the vast majority of polish land annexed and Goring still wants to expand the Reich. I can see the General government being weaker but nothing substantial since, in the end, Goring is still a Nazi and will use those people as he sees fit. On the Western front, Germany will more than likely annex "just" Eupen-Malmedy from Belgium, Luxembourg and Alsace-Lorraine from France; no "Zone interdite" though.
I didn't say that the Polish Reichsgaus would be aboloshed; quite the contrary. About the General Government, I said that the top brass would change and the Arbeitsbereich Polen would be rather weaker than OTL with Hess and Bormann having a difficult time strengthening it.
 
Another someone downcast from Hitler's death is Herr Generalbauinspektor für die Reichshauptstadt (aka Herr Speer).

Hitler's death would have caught Speer in the middle of his efforts to preserve his constuction force in Berlin amidst demands for manpower from many quarters. The event itself would have been very damaging for his ambitions to say the least, since his rather meteoric rise up to that point and his ability to get his way when in conflict with other power centres, be they Berlin's municipal authorities reacting or the Finance Ministry had been almost entirely dependent on his easy and direct access to Hitler as well as their rather close personal relationship, largely stemming from Hitler's own artistic interests. Now Speer would have to deal with Göring, who has an agenda and ambitions of his own.

However, this doesn't mean that Speer's career would be finished. While he would probably fail to keep a "peacetime" project during wartime, especially since Göring would probably be not so enthusiastic about rebuilding the capital, he would still be the chief architect of the Party. Göring had actually commissioned Speer to build a new Air Ministry building, aimed at rivalling the new Chancellery in grandeur and luxury. Göring might also want to get the Führer Palace done. While it's not that other architects couldn't end up taking these over these projects, Speer, with his experience in the field and his connections to the construction business would most likely be the one best placed to get the contracts. Besides, it's still 1940, so it's rather possible that Göring would view Speer as a sort of "harmless" person in that would consider him as someone only dealing with bricks and mortar (and charging rather a rather large honorarium, but he probably wouldn't say anything on that one). So Speer could manage to salvage his position somewhat at the beginning, which is better than nothing.

The first big break in this situation could come perhaps if Göring decides that more extensive action has to be taken about housing (especially if British bombing starts taking a toll on housing stock). IOTL, in November 1940, Robert Ley was appointed Reich Commissioner for building; as a position, it wasn't actually meant to oversee anything during the war, and its function was to be more about acting as a control mechanism of the Party on social policy. ITTL, with Göring and the Party being at loggerheads, the position could perhaps not be created and Göring could instead make Speer responsible for the project, either during 1940, if the war is considered to be nearing its end, or later. In general, it's not that Speer and Göring wouldn't be able to build a working relationship. After all, the vast construction and infrastructure projects would need a lot of goods produced by the Reichswerke, which in turn would make these projects immensely profitable for Göring himself. Speer of course would have to fight a hard battle to remain on Göring's good side and fend off potential competitors (and Göring would probably cultivate such rivalries, if only to secure larger gains from any cooperation).

Another thing is that Speer may not get a chance to get out of the world of construction and enter the government of the Reich. An Armaments and Munitions Ministry, if created, is almost certainly out of the question, since Göring would consider it his province (part of the Four Year Plan); Milch could perhaps take the post, since Göring knew him and had left him in virtual control of the Air Ministry. For most other ministries, Speer would lack the background and exeprtise to lead them.

Todt is also another interesting parameter; provided he didn't die, OT would most likely become a rival agency (at least from Speer's POV). However, it's not impossible that Todt might grow disillusioned with Göring and his style of government (not with National Socialism or the war), while Speer could be seen perhaps as a more reliable and cooperative figure, which could lead perhaps to Göring favouring Speer more to some extent and, a bit of a stretch, if Todt died, Speer could have a chance to get his hands on it, since it could be claimed that at least he had experience in managing and directing large workforces in construction and deliver in time what was expected.

There are also some other potentia openings for him as well. One of the most important ones would perhaps be labour. More specifically, the war drags on and Germany has to start mobilising its resources more fully for the war effort, one of the more urgently needed resources would be manpower, especially industrial workers (as OTL). This is going to be a very complicated issue, for there will be significant pushback from many quarterts to calls for reduction of the living standards. Göring will most likely side with those unwilling to make these sacrifices, out of anxiety for the repercussions this could have on the public's mood and morale and a belief that such a change of course would be interpreted as a sign of weakness. In turn, this would most likely mean that Germany would again turn to occupied Europe to cover its labour shortages. Now, IOTL, the Party managed to get the upper hand there through Sauckel's appointment; but ITTL, with the rivalry between the Party and Göring perhaps not dissipating any time soon, the latter could look elsewhere for some to coordinate the procurement of labour from outside the Reich; Speer, if he had proven himself to be dependable and perhaps more dependent than others on Göring's goodwill, could probably get the spot, on account of his experiences from his time as GBI. While this wouldn't be exactly as prestigious as being Minister for Armaments and Munitions, Speer would try to make the most of it.

So, to sum up, this is a sort of best case scenario of Speer under Göring. As it can be seen, the ride is rather/much tougher than OTL, since he lacks the close relationship with the Führer that helped him. Opportunities for advancement would of course exist and ITTL, he would probably have less to fear from the Party, but Göring's proteges and favourites would more than make up for opposition and competition.

(hope it is on point)
 
It'll be interesting to see how how Heidrich's life will develop since his death in 42 will most likely be butterflied. I wonder if he'll oust Canaris from his position as head of the Abwehr and combine it into the SS, something he wanted to do from early on and Himmler did do in late 44.
 
Chapter 20 – Bulldogs, Eagles, Elks and Roosters
Chapter 20 – Bulldogs, Eagles, Elks and Roosters
Western Europe after the fall of France
June – July 1940

After the fall of France, almost all of mainland Europe was under the control of the de facto alliance of Germany, the Soviet Union and Italy. The only remaining challengers to either Berlin, Moscow or Rome were Britain plus her Empire and Commonwealth, and Norway, the latter being the only mainland European combatant unoccupied by the Germans, Soviets or Italians.

With the French armistice, Alsace-Lorraine had been annexed into Germany, and a strip of French territory on the Channel was merged into the German administration in occupied Belgium. The rest of the country had effectively been split in two. A rump state in the south led by Philippe Pétain and Pierre Laval and an occupied zone in the north administered by a German military authority headed by General Otto von Stülpnagel. Furthermore, a "zone interdite" existed along the Atlantic and Channel coast in order to fortify it to prevent a British landing on the continent [1].

1652801673751.png

General Otto von Stülpnagel, German military commander in occupied France

Not all Frenchmen had accepted the armistice though. Throughout the French Empire and among French troops abroad, resistance to the armistice had sprung up. On the 23rd of June, the French domains in Saint Helena answered the call to arms of the leader of what became known as “Free France”, the first territory in the French Empire to do so. They were joined by the French army and navy stationed in Britain and Norway. The French fleet based in Alexandria in Egypt was also convinced to join the Free French cause. As to who led the Free French, he was a politician, journalist and Anglophile. He’d warned of the rise of Hitler’s Germany for years and had opposed the Munich Agreement of 1938. Prior to the fall of France, he had been Minister of the Interior under Prime Minister Paul Reynaud. He had been convinced to leave France following Pétain’s rise to power on the 16th of June to avoid arrest and when France was on the verge of armistice, he issued a famous broadcast on the BBC on the 21st of June to rally the French people to arms against the surrender:

The leaders who, for many years, were at the head of French armies, have formed a government. This government, alleging our armies to be undone, agreed with the enemy to stop fighting. Of course, we were subdued by the mechanical, ground and air forces of the enemy. Infinitely more than their number, it was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans which made us retreat. It was the tanks, the airplanes, the tactics of the Germans that surprised our leaders to the point to bring them there where they are today.

But has the last word been said? Must hope disappear? Is defeat final? No!

Believe me, I speak to you with full knowledge of the facts and tell you that nothing is lost for France. The same means that overcame us can bring us to a day of victory. For France is not alone! She is not alone! She is not alone! She has a vast Empire behind her. She can align with the British Empire that holds the sea and continues the fight. She can, like England, use without limit the immense industry of United States.

This war is not limited to the unfortunate territory of our country. This war is not finished by the battle of France. This war is a world wide war. All the faults, all the delays, all the suffering, do not prevent there to be, in the world, all the necessary means to one day crush our enemies. Vanquished today by mechanical force, we will be able to overcome in the future by a superior mechanical force. The destiny of the world is here. I, Georges Mandel [2], currently in London, invite the officers and the French soldiers who are located in British territory or who would come there, with their weapons or without their weapons, I invite the engineers and the special workers of armament industries who are located in British territory or who would come there, to put themselves in contact with me.

Whatever happens, the flame of the French resistance must not be extinguished and will not be extinguished [3].

1652801754714.png

Georges Mandel, leader of Free France

For the French fleet, which had survived the war largely unharmed, their status was increasingly in flux. The armistice had decreed that the French Navy was to be neutralised. The British Admiralty was concerned that the fleet would fall into German or Italian hands, and began to plan for possible measures against their former ally.
By the time France of France’s fall, the Luftwaffe had begun what were called Störangriffe raids (or “nuisance raids”) over Britain. By the 30th of June, the German strategy now prioritised the elimination of the Royal Air Force, establishing aerial supremacy of the Luftwaffe over southern England. After this was obtained, there were voices among the OKW for an invasion of England to force them to make peace, but these were overruled by Göring who insisted that an aerial campaign would be all that would be necessary to bring Britain to its knees, adding that the focus of the Heer would be to turn north towards eliminating Norway, something made easier by Sweden’s humiliation and prostration in the Westman Affair, opening them up as a staging ground [4].

1652801835306.png

Hermann Göring, Reichspräsident of Germany

Speaking of Britain, the country by this time had by this time settled into the likelihood of a prolonged war, and that they would never surrender to Germany, Russia, Sweden or Italy. On 25 May, Secretary of State Oliver Stanley announced the formation of the "Local Defence Volunteers" better known as the "Home Guard", an armed and uniformed citizen militia to defend Britain against any airborne attack [5]. Similarly, Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain had experienced an increase in popularity since the German invasion of the Low Countries and France. However, tragedy was to strike the seventy one-year-old statesman. Usually enjoying good health, by late June, Chamberlain began to experience almost constant pain [6]. At the start of July, he entered hospital for surgery, leaving cabinet to be chaired by Lord Halifax during Chamberlain’s incapacitation. During his surgery, it was discovered that he was suffering from terminal bowel cancer.

1652801943128.png

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom


Now, at this time, it was normal for discovery of cancer to be concealed, being seen as a taboo. But this time, things were different, this was the Prime Minister, and this was wartime. The good of the nation depended on it. Very bravely, one of the surgeons informed Chamberlain of the discovery, to the surprise of his colleagues. The discovery shocked and deeply upset the Prime Minister, knowing he likely didn’t have long left [7]. Chamberlain revealed his diagnosis to the War Cabinet on the 5th of July, and subsequently about his decision to resign as Prime Minister. Chamberlain believed that now was more important than ever to form a new national unity government, something Labour and the Liberals had declined to participate in under his leadership. It was agreed in that meeting that his cancer would not be mentioned to the press, and that the official reason behind his resignation would be “age and ill health.” The new phase in Britain’s war on tyranny was about to herald new leadership. The ship of British government was to receive a new captain [8].


Footnotes
- [1] There’s no "zone interdite" in the northeast ITTL.
- [2] The man Churchill would have preferred to lead the Free French. In OTL, Mandel was murdered by the Milice in 1944.
- [3] Same text as De Gaulle’s OTL Appeal of 18th June.
- [4] See Chapter 19 for more info.
- [5] The Home Guard was formed on 14 May in OTL.
- [6] This happened to Chamberlain in OTL as well, but in early July. Here, the added stresses hasten his decline.
- [7] Chamberlain’s cancer was discovered in July 1940 in OTL, but the news was concealed from him.
- [8] Which will be revealed in the next chapter...

Sources
Lehrman Institute:
Lehrman Institute Historical Projects - Gilder Lehrman Collection of Historical Documents
Wikipedia:
French Navy - Wikipedia
Georges Mandel - Wikipedia
Neville Chamberlain - Wikipedia

Comments?
 
Last edited:
but who
what british politician of the time period can unite a country against Russia and Germany and the other ones?

on the other hand mendal will probably work with the ailles [well the ally] better then de Gaulle ever did and still has the French navy .and I also wonder if getting invaded from Sweden might kick up Norwish nationalism which would be a boast for britian.
 
but who
what british politician of the time period can unite a country against Russia and Germany and the other ones?

on the other hand mendal will probably work with the ailles [well the ally] better then de Gaulle ever did and still has the French navy .and I also wonder if getting invaded from Sweden might kick up Norwish nationalism which would be a boast for britian.

Hopefully not Halifax. But probably it is someone from Chamberlain's cabinet.

And it should indeed someone who is trusted among all of major parties and who can get USA even more strongly to the war.
 
I don’t see why Halifax would be bad. He was a skilled politician, diplomat and definitely not a surrender monkey as is often shown in timelines.
 

kham_coc

Banned
I don’t see why Halifax would be bad. He was a skilled politician, diplomat and definitely not a surrender monkey as is often shown in timelines.
To be honest, I can't see a path to victory.
Stalling and waiting for a nazi-soviet rupture might be the only way.
 
To be honest, I can't see a path to victory.
Stalling and waiting for a nazi-soviet rupture might be the only way.

Agree. Even if Americans join to the war, it is really hard to enter to mainland Euorpe since Germans have not another front to worry. And Germans are going to be very prepared for any landing on France and probably they are going to do everything that Allies can't come through soft underbelly (invading Italy).

So only options would are either endless bombing campaings and embargos and hope that Germans begin revolting against nazi leadership and Soviets begin to collapse. Or then just wait when Germans and Soviets begin fight each others.
 
Chapter 21 – Passing the Torch
Chapter 21 – Passing the Torch
Resignation of Neville Chamberlain
July 1940

Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in May 1937 at the age of 68, the second oldest in the 20th century so far to be appointed PM (behind Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman). He never intended to lead a foreign policy-oriented government, yet that was what happened. His premiership had been marked by a dramatic increase in Anglo-German tensions, culminating in the outbreak of war in September 1939, despite Chamberlain’s infamous Munich Agreement in 1938, which Hitler had broken in just 3 months.

1653741810653.png

Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

In July 1940, British forces had just been booted from mainland Europe (except Norway), Britain was arguably in the worst strategic position it ever found itself in, yet Chamberlain had never been more popular. Even among the opposition, Chamberlain had become immensely respected.

Yet Chamberlain was not much longer for this world. He had terminal cancer and he knew it. It was time for him to depart to spend however long he had left in quite retirement. This raised a major question, who was to succeed Neville? A decision made harder with Hoare and Churchill dying in a plane crash back in May [1]. Despite this, Chamberlain’s successor would almost certainly be a member of the present War Cabinet, meaning that the choice would be either:

- Sir Kingsley Wood: Secretary of State for Air [2]
- Sir John Simon: Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Lord Halifax: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Oliver Stanley: Secretary of State for War
- Lord Hankey: Lord Privy Seal [3]
- Sir Roger Keyes: First Lord of the Admiralty [4]

In the final analysis, however, the choice boiled down to Foreign Secretary Viscount Halifax. He was Chamberlain’s preferred choice and had chaired cabinet whilst the PM was in surgery. Additionally, he was supported by much of the Conservative Party and was acceptable to Labour and the Liberals. By now, any temptations that Halifax may have had to explore a negotiated peace were dashed after failures with Italy and Sweden. However, there was just a few problems standing in Halifax’s way.

1653742027518.png

Viscount Halifax, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

The first of which was that he was a peer of the realm, and therefore a member of the House of Lords. By 1940, the last peer to have served as Prime Minister was Lord Salisbury in 1902, following which it had become a constitutional convention that the PM serve from the House of Commons.

However, during the last several days of his premiership, Chamberlain and Home Secretary Sir John Anderson had drafted legislation to allow for peers to renounce their title for life [5], allowing them to stand for the Commons. It was arranged in a meeting between Chamberlain, Halifax, Attlee, Greenwood and Sinclair on the 11th of July that after Chamberlain’s resignation and Halifax’s appointment, Chamberlain would vacate his seat in Birmingham Edgbaston in order to give Halifax a seat in the Commons after renouncing his peerage.

On the 11th of July, Chamberlain tendered his resignation to King George VI, advising His Majesty to send for Halifax. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 3rd Viscount Halifax kissed hands with the King and was appointed as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom later that day.

1653742105558.png

George VI, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India

The next challenge for the new PM was to assemble a War Cabinet. The new government would have to include all parties. Firstly, Attlee was to be included, being appointed as Lord Privy Seal and de-facto deputy Prime Minister [6], with Arthur Greenwood also appointed as a Minister without portfolio. With Labour represented, Anthony Eden was appointed Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons to keep the Tory anti-appeasers happy. The non-partisan Home Secretary Sir John Anderson was moved to be Lord President of the Council. The final member of Halifax’s War Cabinet was to represent the Liberals. Whilst Sinclair was not included in the war Cabinet, as the new Secretary of State for Air [7], he was more than happy to have his party represented by the victor of the last world war, David Lloyd George, who was appointed as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries [8].

1653742263875.png

David Lloyd George, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

On the 18th of July, a special Parliamentary session of the House of Commons took place to pass the Peerages Act that had been drafted by Chamberlain and Anderson earlier in the month. It swiftly passed the House, being passed by the Lords and receiving Royal Assent the next day. Following Royal Assent, Halifax renounced his peerages as Viscount Halifax and Baron Irwin, becoming a commoner simply known as Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, or more simply Edward F. L. Wood.

Peerages Act 1940.png


He was swiftly nominated as the Conservative candidate for Chamberlain’s vacated seat of Birmingham Edgbaston after Chamberlain had accepted the Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead on July 12th [9]. When the by-election was held on the 5th of August, Wood (formerly Lord Halifax) won unopposed.

Britain was ready for whatever lay ahead.

Footnotes
- [1] See Chapter 16 for more info.
- [2] Taking the job back from Hoare.
- [3] Taking Wood’s job after Wood took Hoare’s.
- [4] Replacing the departed Churchill.
- [5] Legislation to enable this passed in 1963 in OTL.
- [6] Attlee was appointed Lord Privy Seal in 1940 under Churchill in OTL.
- [7] The same job we was given in OTL under Churchill.
- [8] Lloyd George was offered this role under Churchill in OTL but refused to serve alongside Chamberlain whom he despised.
- [9] The Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead is a well-known legal fiction in British politics allowing MPs to bypass the ban on resigning their seats.

Sources:
Wikipedia
List of stewards of the Manor of Northstead - Wikipedia
Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax - Wikipedia
Neville Chamberlain - Wikipedia
George VI - Wikipedia

Comments?
 
Last edited:
Hopefully, Halifax won’t be depicted as the German sellout he usually is shown as.
Chapter 21 – Passing the Torch
Resignation of Neville Chamberlain
July 1940

Neville Chamberlain became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom in May 1937 at the age of 68, the second oldest in the 20th century so far to be appointed PM (behind Sir Henry Campbell-Bannerman). He never intended to lead a foreign policy-oriented government, yet that was what happened. His premiership had been marked by a dramatic increase in Anglo-German tensions, culminating in the outbreak of war in September 1939, despite Chamberlain’s infamous Munich Agreement in 1938, which Hitler had broken in just 3 months.

View attachment 745297
Neville Chamberlain, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom

In July 1940, British forces had just been booted from mainland Europe (except Norway), Britain was arguably in the worst strategic position it ever found itself in, yet Chamberlain had never been more popular. Even among the opposition, Chamberlain had become immensely respected.

Yet Chamberlain was not much longer for this world. He had terminal cancer and he knew it. It was time for him to depart to spend however long he had left in quite retirement. This raised a major question, who was to succeed Neville? A decision made harder with Hoare and Churchill dying in a plane crash back in May [1]. Despite this, Chamberlain’s successor would almost certainly be a member of the present War Cabinet, meaning that the choice would be either:

- Sir Kingsley Wood: Secretary of State for Air [2]
- Sir John Simon: Chancellor of the Exchequer
- Lord Halifax: Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs
- Oliver Stanley: Secretary of State for War
- Lord Hankey: Lord Privy Seal [3]
- Sir Roger Keyes: First Lord of the Admiralty [4]

In the final analysis, however, the choice boiled down to Foreign Secretary Viscount Halifax. He was Chamberlain’s preferred choice and had chaired cabinet whilst the PM was in surgery. Additionally, he was supported by much of the Conservative Party and was acceptable to Labour and the Liberals. By now, any temptations that Halifax may have had to explore a negotiated peace were dashed after failures with Italy and Sweden. However, there was just a few problems standing in Halifax’s way.

View attachment 745298
Viscount Halifax, Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

The first of which was that he was a peer of the realm, and therefore a member of the House of Lords. By 1940, the last peer to have served as Prime Minister was Lord Salisbury in 1902, following which it had become a constitutional convention that the PM serve from the House of Commons.

However, during the last several days of his premiership, Chamberlain and Home Secretary Sir John Anderson had drafted legislation to allow for peers to renounce their title for life [5], allowing them to stand for the Commons. It was arranged in a meeting between Chamberlain, Halifax, Attlee, Greenwood and Sinclair on the 11th of July that after Chamberlain’s resignation and Halifax’s appointment, Chamberlain would vacate his seat in Birmingham Edgbaston in order to give Halifax a seat in the Commons after renouncing his peerage.

On the 11th of July, Chamberlain tendered his resignation to King George VI, advising His Majesty to send for Halifax. Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, 3rd Viscount Halifax kissed hands with the King and was appointed as Prime Minister of the United Kingdom later that day.

View attachment 745299
George VI, King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions, Emperor of India

The next challenge for the new PM was to assemble a War Cabinet. The new government would have to include all parties. Firstly, Attlee was to be included, being appointed as Lord Privy Seal and Britain’s first ever Deputy Prime Minister [6], with Arthur Greenwood also appointed as a Minister without portfolio. With Labour represented, Anthony Eden was appointed Foreign Secretary and Leader of the House of Commons to keep the Tory anti-appeasers happy. The non-partisan Home Secretary Sir John Anderson was moved to be Lord President of the Council. The final member of Halifax’s War Cabinet was to represent the Liberals. Whilst Sinclair was not included in the war Cabinet, as the new Secretary of State for Air [7], he was more than happy to have his party represented by the victor of the last world war, David Lloyd George, who was appointed as Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries [8].

View attachment 745301
David Lloyd George, Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries

On the 18th of July, a special Parliamentary session of the House of Commons took place to pass the Peerages Act that had been drafted by Chamberlain and Anderson earlier in the month. It swiftly passed the House, being passed by the Lords and receiving Royal Assent the next day. Following Royal Assent, Halifax renounced his peerages as 3rd Viscount Halifax and 1st Baron Irwin, becoming a commoner simply known as Edward Frederick Lindley Wood, or more simply E. F. L. Wood. He was swiftly nominated as the Conservative candidate for Chamberlain’s vacated seat of Birmingham Edgbaston after Chamberlain had accepted the Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead on July 12th [9]. When the by-election was held on the 5th of August, Wood (formerly Lord Halifax) won unopposed.

Britain was ready for whatever lay ahead.

Footnotes
- [1] See Chapter 16 for more info.
- [2] Taking the job back from Hoare.
- [3] Taking Wood’s job after Wood took Hoare’s.
- [4] Replacing the departed Churchill.
- [5] Legislation to enable this passed in 1963 in OTL.
- [6] Attlee was appointed Lord Privy Seal in 1940 under Churchill in OTL but wasn’t appointed Deputy Prime Minister until 1942.
- [7] The same job we was given in OTL under Churchill.
- [8] Lloyd George was offered this role under Churchill in OTL but refused to serve alongside Chamberlain whom he despised.
- [9] The Stewardship of the Manor of Northstead is a well-known legal fiction in British politics allowing MPs to bypass the ban on resigning their seats.

Sources:
Wikipedia
List of stewards of the Manor of Northstead - Wikipedia
Edward Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax - Wikipedia
Neville Chamberlain - Wikipedia
George VI - Wikipedia

Comments?
 
Top