|United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland|
|Flag||Royal Coat of Arms|
God Save The King!
Comrade The Voices!
- Prime Minister
King James III
- Acts of Union
- Act of Union
- Anglo-Irish Treaty
1 May 1707
1 January 1801
12 April 1922
- Water (%)
94,526 sq mi
- July 2007 est.
- Per capita
- Summer (BST)
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom, the UK or Britain, is a sovereign state located off the northwestern coast of continental Europe. It is an island country, spanning the island of Great Britain, the northeast part of the island of Ireland, and many small islands. Northern Ireland is the only part of the UK with a land border, sharing it with the Republic of Ireland. Apart from this land border, the UK is surrounded by the Atlantic Ocean, the North Sea, the English Channel and the Irish Sea. The largest island, Great Britain, is linked to France by the Channel Tunnel.
The United Kingdom consists of England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales. A unitary state, the UK is governed by a parliamentary system with its seat of government in London, the capital. The UK is a constitutional monarchy with King James III as the head of state. The Crown Dependencies of the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are Crown Dependencies and not part of the UK, but form a federacy with it. The UK has several Crown colonies, all remnants of the British Empire, the largest empire in history. The United Kingdom now holds the following Crown Colonies: Cyprus, Gibraltar, British Guiana, British Honduras, Hong Kong, Malta, Pitcairn Island, British Somaliland, and the Suez Canal Zone. It also manages the following protectorates: Brunei and the Maldives.British influence can continue to be observed in the language, culture and legal systems of many of its former colonies. King James III claims to remain the head of the Commonwealth of Nations and head of state of each of the Commonwealth realms. In reality, the only Commonwealth Realms to recognise his claim are Rhodesia, and South Africa.
- 1 History
- 1.1 The 1939-1945 War
- 1.2 Ending the War
- 1.3 The Fate of the Empire
- 1.4 The new relationship with Germany
- 1.5 The downfall of the King
- 1.6 New elections and a settlement for Europe
- 1.7 The Winds of Change
- 1.8 European cooperation
- 1.9 The Sixties
- 1.10 The Seventies
- 1.11 The End of Colin Jordan
- 1.12 The Tyndall Era (1978-1993)
- 1.13 The Griffin Era (1993-present day)
- 2 Government
- 3 Economy
History[edit | edit source]
The 1939-1945 War[edit | edit source]
Throughout the 1930s, there arose a new threat to peace in Europe, Hitler's Germany. At first, people denied the threat, then men like Neville Chamberlain and Lord Halifax tried to reason with it, appease it. As Hitler gain more and more, as he moved from creating the Wehrmacht in violation of the Versailles Treaty, through remilitarising the Rhineland and annexing the Saar region, the Anschluss with Austria, the taking of the Sudetenland of Czechoslovakia and finally all of Czechia, appeasement had run its course. Even men like Chamberlain saw that nothing would stop Hitler except force. Hitler demanded the Polish Corridor, and the West finally said "No", and promised to fight for Poland's independence.
Hitler believed they were bluffing and attacked Poland on the 1st of September 1939. He was wrong, and Britain and its Commonwealth declared war two days later. Apart from fighting at sea, there was no fighting between British and German forces until 1940 with the invasion (by Germany) and defence (by Britain) of Norway.
After the conquest of Norway, Germany turned its attention west, and on the 10th of May 1940, Germany invaded Holland. Shortly thereafter, German forces invaded Belgium and France. The French armed forces, and the British Expeditionary Force fought vainly against the German Blitzkrieg. In six weeks, Britain's troops had to be evacuated from the French port of Dunkirk.
Britain then stood alone. Its leader, Winston Churchill, was absolutely determined to continue the war. Hitler offered peace to Britain, but Churchill would hear none of it. Hitler, therefore began his plan to invade Britain. The Navy insisted on air superiority to protect the invasion force from the still formidable Royal Navy so the first element of the Nazi attack on Britain was a concerted attack on the Royal Air Force. Through a combination of a good British infrastructure, lack of focus in the German attack, and a heroic performance from the RAF, Britain held out and won.
The war continued in the Mediterranean for the next few years, and Japan (by attacking Pearl Harbour) and Germany (by subsequently declaring war) dragged America into the war. With the US entry to the war, preparation for the liberation of Europe from the Nazis began in earnest.
By the middle of 1944, the Americans, British, Free French, Canadians, and Free Poles were ready to storm Hitler's "Festung Europa" (Fortress Europe). After a spell of bad weather, a window opened up giving sufficient time to start the invasion. On 6 June 1944, the greatest invasion armada in history set sail for Normandy. With them sailed the hopes for victory against Hitler.
Quick (and unauthorised) action by Field Marshal Rommel saved the day for Germany. The allied beachhead on the first day was so small, and so precarious that General Eisenhower had to order a retreat. In his broadcast, he accepted full responsibility for the defeat, and asked to be relieved. Churchill spoke to the British people.
Britons, our hopes for a successful invasion of the Nazi occupied continent in 1944 have failed. But this is merely the first battle to liberate the continent. Our forces are still advancing in Italy against the Germans and their puppet Mussolini. Our armies, and those of America are still intact, and our valiant Russian allies continue their relentless onslaught into the black heart of the Nazi beast. To you, and to the people of Europe I say, don't lose heart, we shall return. When we return, next year or the year after, we will return mightily and we will win. To Hitler I say, draw as much comfort as you can. You have inflicted but a small setback on us. The day of reckoning will come. Let us go forward together, to continue the drive for victory
Ending the War[edit | edit source]
Privately however, Churchill was starting to run out of ideas. Montgomery favoured going back as soon as possible in 1945 to the Pas de Calais, and Churchill ordered planning to carried out on that basis. Roosevelt was more hesitant. He wanted to see Hitler beaten as much as anyone, but 1944 was an election year for the United States. His support for Churchill wasn't as whole-hearted as it had been before. The press was comparing the Normandy Landings to Gallipoli - but adding that Normandy was worse.
Hitler put aside the fact that Rommel had acted without his authority and attempted to drive a wedge between the US and Britain. He secretly put out the idea that he was thinking of abandoning the Tripartite Pact with Italy and Japan, and reverting to Pact of Steel between Germany and Italy. Rather than communicate directly, he decided that it should be "discovered" by US intelligence in Switzerland. This gave the idea credibility. Publically, some US politicians and activists were beginning to adopt the idea that the European and Pacific Wars were separate, and separable, that it would be possible to have peace with Germany and a quicker victory over Japan.
Eisenhower was never as well regarded as a military commander in the vain of Montgomery or Patton. His role and his talent was to fulfill the almost unique role of "supreme soldier-diplomat". His role was not so much leading troops into battle, nor even planning the battles. His job was to coordinate and control the generals who would do the planning and leading, and be their go-between to the politicians. His retirement (he lived the rest of his life as a virtual hermit) and the retirement of Bradley (who could not stomach the failure, and the effect on his soldiers) meant that Allied land forces in Europe were in the hands of two of the most egotistical Generals in history, the British Field Marshal Montgomery and the American General Patton. Neither was known for getting along with others, and they were bitter rivals. Their race to Messina in Sicily showed the depth of their rivalry. Militarily they differed massively. Patton was a hard charging General who emphasised rapid movement and aggressive assault, while Montgomery was very cautious and liked to plan and accumulate supplies for long periods before attacking. Without an Eisenhower to stand between, and harness their talents properly, they would simply clash - and only the Germans could benefit from that.
Military dithering in Britain allowed room for political maneuvering in both Britain and the US. The Daily Mail called the political maneuvering of late 1944 "The Return of the Ambassadors". Lord Halifax resigned as His Majesty's Ambassador to the United States and returned to the UK, while Joseph Kennedy, the former US Ambassador to the Court of St. James, went back into politics (Kennedy resigned as US Ambassador to the UK in 1940, but the title seemed to suit the Mail). Kennedy ran in the Democratic Primaries for 1944 on the platform of "Peace in Europe, Victory over Japan". Halifax was making his moves in the background saying that it was time to have an accomodatin with Germany, and that without Churchill, all is possible with Hitler. Renewed German offensives in Italy were calculated to support these political moves. Kennedy won the primaries and the Presidential Election. Roosevelt died six weeks later.
The lack of any cogent plan to attack on the continent again, beyond "more of the same in Italy" allowed the pro-Halifax elements in the House of Commons to move against Churchill. The debate over the motion of confidence was extremely acrimonious, with the Speaker threatening to eject several members. A group of Tory and Labour Churchill supporters would break into "Rule Britannia" whenever one of the anti-Churchill members spoke. Some of them took to giving the Hitler salute when Churchill was being criticised. Several chose the more conventional technique of turning their backs on the member speaking. The debate was another glorious British defeat. Anthony Eden said after the war "The performance in the House of those men was absolutely magnificent. It meant that even though Britain was being sold to Germany, its people could hold their head high." Churchill lost the vote 450-150. The British were tired of war. The House expressed its confidence in Lord Halifax on the 3rd of March 1945. Shortly after Halifax "kissed hands", Parliament was told that President Roosevelt had died that night.
Halifax and Kennedy offered to sign an Armistice with Germany and Italy. The only request they made was that Germany abandon its alliance with Japan, and end its support of anti-British movements throughout the Empire. Hitler was so enthusiastic about the Armistice that he offered to turn the entire Indian Legion over to the British Government for trial. The Allies were to withdraw from Italy and North Africa, they were also to end their support of the resistance movements in Europe. Both the US and Britain were required to stop aiding Russia, and remove their troops from Iran and Iraq (Russia subsequently occupied all of Iran). The British Mandate of Palestine was to be handed over to Germany. Kennedy and Haliax agreed to these terms. The Armistice was signed on the eve of Hitler's 56th Birthday.
The Fate of the Empire[edit | edit source]
Palestine: Genocide[edit | edit source]
Allied troops pulled out of Italy. Algeria, Tunisia, and Morocco were turned over to the Vichy French. Libya was turned over to the Italians. In Egypt, the German-backed Free Officers were placed in power over a newly independent Egypt. The night after the arrival of German troops in Jerusalem, the largest anti-Jewish pogrom in history took place, eclipsing the Nazis own Kristallnacht. Over 5 thousand Jews were murdered on the first day, and several Kibbutzim were sacked. It was later revealed that the "German troops" were Bosnian Muslims in the Waffen-SS Kama division. It took several months, but eventually the entire Jewish population of the Palestine Mandate was murdered.
Australia, Canada, and New Zealand: Fighting on[edit | edit source]
The rest of the Commonwealth and Empire had differing fates. One condition of the Armistice was that Commonwealth and Imperial troops were to be allowed to leave the United Kingdom and return home. Australia, New Zealand, and Canada were keen to withdraw their troops and airmen and send them into battle with Japan. Anglo-Australian relations took a sharp dive with the Armistice, with Australian Prime Minister Curtin giving a speech in which he described the Halifax government as "sell-outs", and that the British would be well advised not to attempt to sell their Asian empire to Japan to mollify Hitler. Curtin needn't have worried, Hitler had abandoned Japan. Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand troops added to existing forces in the South West Pacific, and the Canadians joined the island hopping. British troops withdrawn from the continent went to Burma. The reinforcements hastened Japan's defeat. Unknown to all concerned, this phase of the Pacific War also helped to draw the lines of post-war allegiance.
South Africa: Apartheid[edit | edit source]
South Africa declined to enter the war against Japan, its troops went home to demobilise. South Africa was in a unique situation. It was the only country in the British commonwealth with a substantial pro-German population. Memories of the Boer War were still alive, and despite the reconciliatory attitude of such men as Field Marshal Jan Smuts, the Afrikaner population hated the British and preferred the Germans. The National Party, led by D.F. Malan was elected with a great majority. Its opposition to an "Anglo War" and his support for anti-Black policies ensured massive support from the Afrikaners. The Malan government implemented a harsh policy of racial separation and white supremacy. Britain's new government (at the behest of the Germans) issued a statement supporting Malan's policy of "Apartheid".
South Africa moved closer and closer to Germany during the late 1940s and early 1950s. A sizable South African contingent fought in Vietnam. The relationship reached its zenith in 1961 when the National Socialist Party of South Africa won the General Election.
Ireland: Post-war neutrality[edit | edit source]
The Irish government had been neutral during the war. In the event of a German invasion of Britain, Ireland would most likely have fought, to have remained neutral would require the Irish government to believe that the Nazis would stop at the Ulster border. No one in Ireland seriously believed that Hitler would conquer Britain, and thereafter have "no further territorial demands" in the British Isles. After the Armistice and the replacement of Churchill with Halifax, the Irish Government faced a Britain effectively controlled by Germany, but without an invasion. Without German troops in Britain or Ireland. Faced with this situatio, de Valera decided to continue with a principled neutrality. He alone among European leaders expressed opposition to South Africa's racial policies.
During the war, the Abwehr (Germany's intelligence service) had enlisted the collaboration of the IRA. The reasons for this are obvious, the Abwehr saw in the IRA an armed, trained, experienced anti-British secret network, which could be harnessed to German aims. The IRA wanted the weapons and money that Germany could provide. After the armistice, the German Government betrayed the IRA to both the Irish and British Governments. Rapid action by British and Irish authorities managed to suppress the IRA for the next 20 years.
Germany didn't consider Ireland to be a problem while it remained neutral. Allowing the Irish to express dissent against Germany and its allies made Germany look slightly better in world affairs. The Irish Government allowed Germany to use Shannon Airport, as well as the Treaty Ports.
India: Renewed offensive - delayed independence[edit | edit source]
The armistice was a setback to the hopes of India's independence movement. Although large numbers of British and Commonwealth troops were demobilised, thousands were available to fight the Japanese as well as secure India.
The Indian Legion (German Army) and the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan (Italian Army) moved into the British POW camps vacated by the Germans and Italians. They were being held pending court martial proceedings for treason. The fact that they were being held lead to some demonstrations against the British in India.
A new British offensive in Burma in 1945 moved with lightning speed, and British troops entered Rangoon in May 1945. These troops subsequently entered Thailand, and ended the war near the Gulf of Tonkin.
After the surrender of Japan, most Indians rejoiced. For many it meant the return of their husbands, fathers, and sons. For others, it meant no chance of Japanese conquest, which many Indians dreaded after Japanese atrocities.
The new relationship with Germany[edit | edit source]
To guard Europe from any future attempts to liberate it from German control, the Nazis had to gain control of Britain, at least of Britain's foreign and defence policy. This was a problem because Britain was the only major European power not occupied by Germany. Nazi Foreign Minister Joachim von Ribbentrop summed up the problem and the approach in a memorandum to Reichsfuhrer-SS Heinrich Himmler.
My dear Reichsfuhrer-SS,
This armistice presents the Reich with problems and opportunities. For the past four years, England has served as a base for American operations against us. The victory won by our magnificent Rommel in Normandy has removed that American threat now, so we must act to ensure that this threat never emerges again. The best way to keep the Americans out of England is to make sure the English don't invite them back.
The Fuhrer has spoken to me on this topic, and has told me that we must seduce the English into following our line for Europe. I would be interested in hearing your ideas on the seduction of England into the Fuhrer's New Order for Europe.
The Germans went to work with their usual efficiency. A Hamburg-based campaign to have Air Chief Marshal Sir Arthur Harris extradited to Germany for a war crimes trial was suppressed. In fact, every suggestion of a war crimes trial of British alleged "war crimninals" was dropped. All party organisations were ordered to suppress all "revenge talk" and any other "anti-English activities". Britons were to feel welcome in Germany. The Mayor of Hamburg visited Coventry, and laid a wreath on the graves of those killed in the Luftwaffe attack. The Mayor of Coventry reciprocated.
More practical measures included the release of Prisoners of War. It took a little time to organise the transport, and the Germans made use of that time to wine and dine their former captives. The rapidity of the return of British prisoners was an important factor in changing anti-German attitudes in Britain.
A more controversial element of the German Reich's effort to court Britain was Hitler's decision to refrain from pressuring Britain about its Jewish population. Although the armistice did require the British to return German subjects who were deemed by the Nazis to be "enemies of the state", British Jews were exempted from the privations and murders suffered by European Jews. Even on the continent, the production of a British passport by a Jew made him immune to German anti-Semitic measures. Several leading Nazis were shocked by this. Foreign Minister von Ribbentrop had no problem with this, he simply followed orders. Goebbels and Himmler were the same, if Hitler said that British Jews were to be left alone, then they were to be left alone. The Gauleiter of Nuremberg, Julius Streicher, threatened to resign over the policy and said in his paper Der Sturmer "The war was started by English Jewry. Churchill, the frontman of the English Jewish finance conspiracy, is a Jew himself. They have on their hands the blood of millions of Germans. It is intolerable that they be allowed to live. It is intolerable that they are allowed to cross the Channel to conspire and to corrupt. If Lord Halifax won't kill the English Jews, let the SS go over and do it themselves." Himmler ordered the entire run pulped at Der Sturmer's expense, and considered arresting Streicher. Hitler stopped Streicher's arrest, and also stopped any more articles about British Jews. In the end, Streicher didn't resign.
Anglo-German reconciliation allowed the Germans to promote the British Union of Fascists. Where the Germans occupied a country, they would not use the local Fascist party for anything important. These local parties were too small and considered to be non-respectable by the majorities of the countries in which they resided. The BUF was no exception. Halifax had relaxed some wartime controls, and Oswald Mosely and other Blackshirts were freed from internment and house arrest. The BUF's coffers were filled with German funds, and the Germans ordered the BUF to keep out of traditional politics, and concentrate on community work. Blackshirts set up soup kitchens, and shelters. Blackshirt construction gangs made a start on reconstruction, and their German-trained medical personnel manned clinics all over the UK. The Blackhirts ran clothing drives, and started the "Dig for Peace" campaign, which advocated home farming, as well as assigning Fascists to agricultural work.
All of these measures together with a stream of subtle propaganda were steadily turning the British towards Germany and Fascism.
The downfall of the King[edit | edit source]
The relationship between the Monarchy and the government had been declining since 1945. The root cause of the conflict was the differences in attitude between the defiant King and Lord Halifax who favoured appeasement. The conflict manifested itself in many ways, the most noticeable of which the King's habit of wearing uniform everywhere he went. His daughter Elizabeth also wore her uniform (in her case, the uniform of a Second Subaltern of the ATS) everywhere.
As 1948 wore on, the King began to make his opposition to certain policies public. The first shot was an intentional leak of the King's opposition to apartheid in South Africa. By convention, Kings do not speak out on political issues, and the British Government, at the behest of South Africa and Germany acted fast. Halifax sent MI5 to investigate the Palace and its staff. After a week of extremely negative press coverage of this "insult to the Royal Family" Halifax abandoned the MI5 investigation, and opened a Civil Service leak inquiry. As with virtually all Civil Service leak inquiries, nothing was found.
The King's 1948 Christmas Address did not help Halifax. In it, he appealed to the Empire to remember the principles fought for in war and uphold them in peace. He also called for unity. In particular he said that governments should never seek to divide the people by class, religion, or race. King George VI had a stammer, but by this time, he was disguising his stammers as dramatic pauses, and his pause between the words "religion" and "race" emphasised race, and was seen as a direct attack on South Africa's apartheid policy.
Hitler was outraged when he was informed of the content of the speech. The King had attacked Nazi racial policies too, and had tried to rally people against the logic of Halifax's appeasement policy. He raged for almost an hour, and even said that England should be occupied. Fortunately, Bormann did not pass this "order" on (Bormann exercised power in Germany by transcribing things Hitler had said into "Fuhrer Orders"), and Hitler calmed himself, and decided to deal with this matter politically.
King George VI was not only King of the United Kingdom and its colonies and Emperor of India, he was also King of each of the Dominions separately. MI5 had told Halifax that the Dominion Governments had been egging the King on. Most of the Dominion Prime Ministers believed that the Halifax Government was not legitimate, and that there was nothing wrong with undermining it. The Dominion leaders made anti-Nazi and anti-Halifax speeches. This was unprecedented, and the Westminster Statutes had not been written to take account of a situation in which the British and Dominion Governments would be almost completely at odds with each other.
In January 1949, King George VI publicly met a number of black South Africans, including a young Nelson Mandela. While the exact substance of their discussion was not reported, the papers did say that the King was "encouraging". Mandela was already active in the African National Congress.
Halifax's next step was a mistake, he decided to call all the Dominion Prime Ministers to London for a summit conference. So, Ben Chifley for Australia, Louis St. Laurent for Canada, John A. Costello for Ireland, Peter Fraser for New Zealand, and Daniel François Malan for South Africa all came to see Halifax. The conference was a disaster. As soon as Halifax opened the conference and outlined the problem, Costello interjected, saying that the entire conference was absurd. He walked out and the next day, Ireland declared itself a republic. Halifax persisted and asked the Chifley and St. Laurent what they were telling the King. Chifley responded angrily that it was none of Halifax's business. Halifax asked them to stop attacking the Nazis in their speeches. Fraser told Halifax that they'd be glad of another way to attack the Nazis, as speaking was the only thing they had. St. Laurent and Malan had a bitter side argument about apartheid. Within three hours, the conference had broken up, and the leaders headed home, except for Malan, who decided to tour Germany. The Commonwealth had fallen apart.
The German Ambassador (having a private drink at Number 10 - a good way to give unofficial advice to the British Prime Minister) proposed a solution: simply repeal the abdication of Edward VIII. Did not Edward sympathise with the New Order for Europe? Halifax was shocked, and pointed out that he needed the approval of the Dominions, and most of them were quite pleased with the King's performance. The Ambassador said that Fuhrerprinzip provided the solution - just do it, and consult them later or not at all. Ominously, the Ambassador said that Oswald Mosely would be able to deal with this matter. Halifax got the message - either deal with the King, or Hitler would find someone who could.
The Duke of Windsor quietly arrived in the UK on 25 January 1949. His Secretary said that he was in Britain for a personal and family visit. Whether or not this is true has not yet been discovered, but what is known is that shortly after his arrival, people began to talk of the Duke regaining the throne. All Halifax and the government will say publicly is that they will remain true to the oaths of allegiance they took when they entered office. In private, Halifax is considering the unofficial German idea, but does not favour it. Halifax preferred the simplest option: do nothing, and hope that everything will sort itself out. This hope was miscalculated. King George VI was an ardent anti-Nazi.
Early in February, King George VI made a highly public visit to a London synagogue. The presence of the Defender of the Faith in a synagogue was not in and of itself controversial (the King, after all, swore to govern for all his subjects whether Christian, Jew, Moslem, or Hindu), but at the time, it did not look good for the government. The synagogue was attended by several German Jews who freely told the King (and therefore the newsreel cameras) about their experiences in Germany. Several of the Jews present publicly advocated continuing the war against Germany to avenge their fellow European Jews. The King did not appear to disagree with them. The night after the newsreel was shown, the Synagogue was firebombed. Scotland Yard announced that they had found Fascist slogans daubed on the walls. The British Fascist leader Mosely said "If it were to be found that our Blackshirts did this, then I should volunteer act as the executioner. The King gave out a statement of sympathy to the Jewish community of London, and pledged to donate to a reconstruction fund, but the statement was stopped by the Number 10 Press Office on the grounds that it was political. The statement leaked anyway, along with Number 10's notes on the statement. The British public found this confusing, how was arson a political act? The real reason was that the entire visit offended the Germans, and appeared to be calculated to do so.
The Synagogue Affair (as it was later called) forced Halifax's hand. King George VI had to go. By this time, the King and Halifax were not speaking, except for a few formal words at their weekly meeting. Halifax decided to see the Duke of Windsor, and sound him out on becoming King again. The Duke insisted that the Duchess of Windsor be crowned Queen, and Halifax had little choice but to accept. Word of this had gotten to the Canadian High Commission, and Louis St. Laurent secretly advised the King that were he removed from the throne in Britain, he should come to Canada. Canada's Governor General, Viscount Alexander, was British and had no issue with standing aside for a resident monarch. The King accepted, and also accepted a guard of armed "Mounties" (who arrived in a butcher's van).
The Repeal of Abdication and Royal Recognition Act was passed by the House of Commons on the 6th of March 1949. It was passed in the Lords after a heated debate (and a brawl - in which some of the objectors were removed by the Black Rod). The King, knowing the battle was lost, signed the bill. He then said to Halifax "You're selling this country ... to Hitler, I hope you don't die ... before you have the opportunity to relive ... this moment ... in shame." Halifax's response was not recorded.
At Buckingham Palace, the household staff were packing the King and Queen's private possessions. Some of them were in tears. A cleaner (who moved to Canada in the 1940s) said to a CBC documentary crew "We cried because we finally knew we were beaten". The Duke of Windsor came to the Palace to see his brother off, and to gloat. The Mounties escorted the King to a car, and before being driven away, the King is believed to have said "David, father never liked you."
The King was driven to Portsmouth, where he, the Queen, and Princesses Elizabeth and Margaret boarded the battleship HMS King George V and set sail for Canada. Massive crowds greeted the King, Queen and Princesses everywhere they went. The Parliaments of Australia, Canada, and New Zealand all passed acts reaffirming the abdication legislation they passed in 1936, reaffirming their recognition of King George VI as their King, and Princess Elizabeth as his heiress. The King and his family took up residence at Rideau Hall.
The Canadian Government invited the Governors of all the British colonies of the Americas to swear allegiance to King George VI. Only British Guiana refused, and it refused under the military threat of the Vichy French government of French Guiana. The other colonies were annexed by Canada as Federal Territories in 1949. The United States (now under the leadership of the anti-Nazi President MacArthur) immediately recognised Canadian sovereignty, and the Union Jack was struck at midnight on 10 March 1949. The various colonies were collected into the Province of the Canadian Caribbean Islands (capital: Kingston, Jamaica) in 1957. Britain did nothing, as it was too crippled from the war to fight Canada (and the recognition of the US meant that a British attempt to retake the colonies would mean war with the United States).
In a final swipe at Lord Halifax, the council and people of Halifax, Nova Scotia voted to change its name to Georgetown, Nova Scotia (the fifth Georgetown in Canada). It wasn't much of a gesture, but it did put an end to the frequent vandalism of signs (changing Halifax to Hitler).
New elections and a settlement for Europe[edit | edit source]
British parliaments are supposed to last for five years, however Britain's last election had been in 1935, and in the last fourteen years, Britain had seen four Prime Ministers (Baldwin, Chamberlain, Churchill, Halifax). General elections were suspended in 1939 because of the war situation. King Edward VIII and Lord Halifax felt secure enough in the middle of 1949 to hold an election. This election would include a large number of Fascist candidates. The BUF hoped that its extra-parliamentary activity, combined with the now amicable relationship with Germany would count in the Fascists' favour.
The elections produced a Conservative majority - just. The Fascists replaced Labour as the opposition party. Lord Halifax continued to govern, but from now on, he could claim to have a popular mandate. The popular mandate allowed for more movement in British policy towards the Empire, and towards Europe.
Questions have been asked about the 1949 election for sixty years. The main question was how could the Fascists go from nothing to having 180 seats in a single election. The election was closely followed by Canadian and US intelligence forces, and the files, placed on a fifty year seal, were opened in the year 2000. They revealed numerous instances of bribery, intimidation, and fraud. In one instance, 40 people voted from a single beach house on the south coast of England - even though that house had been bombed in 1940. Nevertheless, both the USIS and the CSIS concluded that the decisive factor in the rise of the Fascists had been their extra-parliamentary work, and their perceived ability to better relate to Germany.
The illegal actions of Fascist activists did probably increase the number of seats they won by getting them just over the line in a few constituencies, but such tactics are not good enough alone. The election of so many Fascists revealed a psychological change in the British public. Churchill (allegedly) said that given the choice between Europe and the open sea, Britain should "always choose the sea". In the 1949 General Election, the British decided to choose Europe. The British had come to accept that they were part of a New Order in Europe, dominated by Germany. Other signs of acceptance included the British Free Corps reaching brigade strength (from platoon strength in 1944).
After the 1949 elections, the Halifax government enacted the policies advocated in the wartime Beveridge Report, which proposed a national welfare state. Unemployment was provided for by the National Insurance Service, while health was under the National Health Service. All taxpayers were required to pay "National Health and Insurance Contributions" to fund the scheme. The National Housing Authority consolidated all the local public housing schemes.
The election gave Halifax the security to do one thing he believed necessary: put a formal end to the war. Although various proposals for a peace treaty had been floating around London and Berlin since late-1944, it was not until after the election that the ideas began to take definite shape. Three weeks after the election, the British Embassy in Berlin informed the German Foreign Minister, Joachim von Ribbentrop, that Britain wanted to negotiate a formal peace treaty. In Berlin, discussion was intense. Goering and von Ribbentrop favoured a clause of British war guilt to match the Versailles Treaty's German war guilt clause. Doenitz wanted to keep the Royal Navy substantially intact. Keitel did not object to a large British Army, provided it stuck to the Empire, but he also wanted to station troops in the UK permanently. Goering wanted the RAF totally abolished, even in the colonies and India, while Doenitz wanted RAF Coastal Command to be used to support the Kriegsmarine. Goebbels believed that a war guilt clause would be counter-productive (as did many of the older Foreign Office "mandarins"). Goebbels won the day. He argued to Hitler that "final victory was in the mind, to make the enemy realise that he was wrong to oppose us, let us all blame the Jewish-Internationalist conspiracy for the war". Critically, Hitler wanted the treaty to encompass the United States, and "Germanic" Europe.
As with all such matters, no matter what the arguments, the policy was set by Hitler. The Germans decided they wanted the following things:
- The following parties to the treaty
- A British Army which was capped at 100,000 troops in the British Isles
- A combined Royal Navy/Kriegsmarine Atlantic Command
- The Royal Air Force would be confined to colonial policing, maritime patrol, transport, and the air defence of the UK (oriented to the west and the north). British strategic bombers to be dismantled under German supervision, or sent to the colonies.
- The West European nations & Greece to retain small militaries for internal security, coastal patrol, mine sweeping, and air transport.
- German occupation troops to be reduced to zero by 1955
- German/British access to naval and air bases throughout Europe
- Albania to be independent, under Italian influence.
- Italy to cede the occupied zone to the French State
- Withdrawal of German troops from Finland, Finland allowed to be neutral in European foreign policy matters.
- Amnesty for the Free French Forces still in Britain
- Cession of Dutch and French West Indies to the United States, American evacuation of Dutch Guiana
- No reparations, instead a European Economic Cooperative Arrangment
- Final repatriation of prisoners of war to be complete by July 1952 (all British and American POWs had been returned in 1945)
- No mention was made of Poland or Jugoslavia (which had by this time completely broken up)
The French signed eagerly. The removal of the last German occupation troops would mean that Petain could move his capital back to beloved Paris, restoring French pride. The European governments-in-exile signed the treaty, they had accepted defeat, and a new order for Europe. This treaty would allow their peoples to move on. The MacArthur Administration signed the treaty in order to make things easier for the West Europeans. The Treaty on Final Settlement in Europe went into effect on January 29 1950. The war was finally over.
The Winds of Change[edit | edit source]
At its peak, the British Empire consisted of a quarter of the earth. The phrase "the sun never sets of the British Empire" was not merely a good turn of phrase, it was a literal truth. The war (and the peace) had started the process of breaking up the Empire and its Commonwealth. Apart from Ireland and South Africa, the Commonwealth had been lost. It had been lost firstly by the fundamental difference over the conduct of the war, and secondly because of what was now called "The Royalty Feud". A direct consequence of that was the loss of the Caribbean colonies except for British Guiana.
In India, the relief about peace faded quickly. The British were still there, many had demobbed, but British troops were highly visible in India. The Indian Legion and the Battaglione Azad Hindoustan were still in POW camps in Britain in 1949. The British had intended to try them for treason, but their incarceration had proved extremely unpopular, and the British had been wringing their hands about charging these Indians with treason for serving the Third Reich when they themselves were now effectively partners of the Third Reich. One obvious solution was to honourably discharge them from the British Indian Army (thereby making it impossible to plausibly charge them with treason). This had two disadvantages - it did not explain why it was necessary to hold them for almost six years (longer than the war itself), and it looked like a British back down in the face on Indian pressure (it looked like a back down because it was a back down). The Government looked for an alternative, but nothing better could be found. The only other real alternative was to try them all for treason, and that was dismissed by Halifax who said in Cabinet "We've missed the bus". The first Indian Legion and Battaglione Azad Hindoustan soldiers arrived in Calcutta in February 1950. Their treatment had been harsh, but not brutal. In the politically charged environment of early 1950s India the distinction was unimportant. The Viceroy and the Indian government attempted to keep things quiet and censored several Indian newspapers. Demonstrations in Delhi at the suppression of its paper of record, extensive illegal distribution of news, and the visible redacting of the papers (i.e. when an article was not permitted, the paper left a blank space with a notation like "censored", rather than filling the space in with permitted material) convinced the government that censorship was ultimately doing more harm than good.
The leader of the Indian independence movement, Mohandas Gandhi, counseled people against violence against the British (and their Indian soldiers), advocating instead civil disobedience. Demonstrations throughout India were not aggressive, but non-compliant with authority. Lord Halifax's Cabinet and its India Secretary advocated arresting the ring leaders, and confining them, but with so many "ring leaders" and so many more waiting to take their place, it was simply impractical. The Viceroy, on his own judgement, simply kept his police at demonstrations wherever they occurred. In Bombay, not everyone followed Gandhi's advice. By night, in early 1951, a large group of armed men, who turned out to be ex-Indian Legion soldiers, seized a district in Bombay, and mobilised the residents to setup barricades. The Indian police approached them by morning to be handed a proclamation that the district was now "Free Bombay", and asked the police to leave. Looking at the rifles and machine guns of the group, the decision wasn't that difficult. The Police pulled out, and the Viceroy ordered the Army in.
The Army refused. Four times the order to march in was given, and four times it was rejected. Other regiments from outside Bombay were given the same orders, and they refused too. The Indians wouldn't fire on other Indians (especially armed Indians who were also Wehrmacht veterans). By the end of the day, British troops had surrounded the area. The sight of British tanks had caused the armed men to surrender, but the damage was done. The next day's wire services rang out with pictures of British tanks in Indian streets, and stories that the Indian Army would no longer fight for their officers (many of these being King's Commissioned Indian Officers) or their Viceroy.
The British hoped that the visit of Hitler's Foreign Minister, Arthur Seyss-Inquart (Joachim von Ribbentrop was fired as Foreign Minister after the break down in German-American relations and the beginning of the Cold War) to Britain would bring good prospects. Halifax and his Foreign Secretary, Lord Simon hoped for assistance from Germany. Halifax instructed Simon to ask for troops for elsewhere in the Empire, and for ships and aircraft to help move the troops thus freed up to India Lord Simon was also to ask for financial assistance from Germany (which was now Britain's second biggest creditor). Seyss-Inquart had fairly strict instructions from Hitler: stress the importance of the Anglo-German relationship, politely deny any requests for assistance, suggest a compromise solution of a Moslem/Hindu partition of India. The Germans would influence the development of the Moslem nation, and the British would influence the Hindu nation.
Seyss-Inquart was given (and believed in) the reason for Germany's unwillingness to help to help Britain (and Europe in general) maintain European colonies. It was for decades a popular theory in Europe that Britain was beggaring Europe by its emphasis on Imperial and global trade. Britain had been a global trading power. Historically the largest obstacle to uniting Europe (regardless of the means of unity chosen) was Britain, and its global trade gave it the power to keep Europe disunited. Hitler once deeply admired the British Empire, but during the war he had seen that it was Britain that had kept him from victory for so long. Britain's lone resistance kept the war and resistance in occupied Europe going for so long. To preserve Europe, Britain must be oriented towards Europe. Goering put it more simply "We need to have the British inside the tent pissing out. They've spent centuries outside the tent pissing in". That meant the loss of the Empire, and the loss of the Empire required the loss of India first.
Seyss-Inquart's refusal of aid, especially financial assistance, spelt the beginning of the end of the British in India. The situation in India deteriorated daily, and the instructions from Whitehall to the Viceroy grew increasingly strident. The Viceroy, Louis Mountbatten became frustrated at what he saw as Whitehall's lack of understanding of the situation, and what he saw as their simplistic belief. Late in his life in Canada, Mountbatten said "the Whitehall mandarins seemed to seriously believe that we could stay for another three hundred years if only we cracked enough heads." Smart people in India, and increasingly in Britain stopped listening to such harsh views. The final straw came in a German intelligence report. It is still not known whether was based on reality, or was merely someone's piece is misinformation, but the German intelligence report stated that Mountbatten was discussing holding a durbar for King George VI. The rumour seems fanciful, but coming in an intelligence report, it was convincing enough. Granting independence would be a way of avoiding the proclamation that King George VI was Emperor of India.
The India Independence Act 1951 was passed with the Tories and Labor supporting it. Only the Fascists voted against it. In 1952, the Dominions of India and Pakistan were proclaimed under the Hindu leader Nehru for India and the Moslem leader Liaquat Ali Khan for Pakistan (though Governor General Jinnah dominated Pakistani affairs). The Germans would have preferred someone like Subhas Chandra Bose but his death in 1945 of course made that impossible. Jinnah was prepared to work with Germany. The German and British hope that Nehru would want to work under British influence was dashed by Nehru's highly publicized visit to the United States. Although Nehru wanted to be neutral in the developing cold war between the US and Germany, Jinnah's Nazi sympathies made it nearly impossible to Nehru to shun US assistance. Small quantities of US military equipment began to go into India. Being much the same as the lend lease equipment provided to the Indian forces during World War II, there were few problems in training the Indians to use it. After the Pakistani invasion of Kashmir, the MacArthur Administration introduced (and Congress passed) the Indian Lend Lease Act. This provided military equipment to India under the same terms as wartime lend-lease. This equipment was not just produced in the US, British-pattern infantry weapons made in Canada were purchased by the US government for lend lease to India. The Pakistani Army had the benefit of deliveries of British weapons, and British advisors. This was a major step for the British. They were now deploying members of their own Army to support Nazi Germany's foreign policy, and to defend an outright fascist state. This was not really noticed at the time because an arrangement that officers of what was the British Indian Army's Moslem regiments remained in Pakistan as advisors to their Pakistani commanders. Incidentally, a few anti-fascist Britons were taken on by the Indian government as advisors. US industrial superiority told against Pakistan as it had against Japan (and very nearly did against Germany), India held Kashmir.
Throughout the 1950s, Britain's economy reoriented itself towards Europe, and as Britain's armed forces became smaller and more Europe-focussed. By 1960, Britain's colonial empire was restricted to a few tiny islands (those that had not become independent or Canadian), and British Guiana. Some were of vital strategic importance to Germany (such as Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean), but most were too insignificant to be notable.
European cooperation[edit | edit source]
After the shock of losing India, Britain decided to embrace Europe as it never had before. The Fascists were portraying themselves as part of a "pan-European" movement which included the Nazis and the Italian Fascists. King Edward VIII traveled to the continent to attend the funeral of the Crown Prince of Germany (Kaiser Wilhelm II's eldest son), he was joined by all of the reigning European Union monarchs. The display of European royal unity had a great impact on the British. The 1954 General Election showed how far Britain had gone. The Tories had governed alone since 1946, but now they governed in coalition with the Fascists in what was later called the "Euro-Fascist Coalition Government). The Fascists had increased their holding in the House of Commons to over 200 seats. The mid-1950s were also a time of economic redevelopment. Infrastructure programs abounded, a small fleet of fast ferries was constructed to operate between Dover and Calais. This linked the network of British Rail with the French SNCF. This linkage was part of the Grand European Railway. The Grand European Railway was a pan-European rail network. The Railway made it possible to take a continuous rail journey from Edinburgh to Oslo (the Øresund link links Denmark to Sweden).
Britain did not formally join the European Economic Community when it was founded in 1957, but it did sign a Treaty of Cooperation and Friendship. It was the first concrete step towards European integration for Britain. Tourism between Britain and Germany increased, signifying the spirit of cooperation and reconciliation.
The Sixties[edit | edit source]
The Sixties were a time of change for Britain. The Britain of the 1950s had led a formal, rigid Britain. The 1960s saw the coming of age of the "Baby Boomers". The Baby Boomers were born after the war, and untouched by it, found their parents to be stuffy and boring. They sought rebellion in music, radical clothes, and free love. The 1964 General Election saw the rise of the Fascists, who had won government in their own right. Delivering on their promises, they tried to crackdown on the rebellious youth. They had some successes, such as driving the Beatles into exile in Canada, but for the most part, they failed.
The counter-culture movement did have the effect of spurring reforms in the government of Britain. Britain had up until the 1960s had its national government in London, and outside London there were various counties, cities, districts, towns, and parishes. All of these had a degree of independence from each other. In addition, each county had its own police, fire, and ambulance service. The ambulance and fire services were the first to be reformed. The Fascist government formed the National Fire Service and the National Ambulance Service in 1965, which consolidated all the existing local Ambulance and Fire services under national control. Increased funding, and "cross-county" assistance made the scheme more popular to the public. The 1965 Tower Hamlets Riots gave the Fascists a pretext to do what they had always wanted to do, create a National Police Force. The start was the Public Order Police Reserve formed in 1966. The Public Order Police Reserve was a national riot police intended to supplement the local forces in situations they could not handle by themselves. By 1968, the POPR had proven itself popular, and the Fascists went for their next move, merging all British police forces into a single National Police Force. It seemed to be a massive gamble, however modern historians have said that it was not such a gamble. Before the formation of the NPF in 1969, the bulk of senior British police officers (and virtually all Chief Constables plus the Commissioners of the Metropolitan Police and City of London Police) were supporters of the BUF, and therefore the Association of Chief Police Officers was substantially Fascist-influenced. However the move was strange to the British public, and forming such a force in an election year was a political gamble.
The sixties saw the Cold War increase in intensity, and change in form. Neither Germany (leading the Axis) nor the United States (leading the allies) believed in massive nuclear retaliation. If there was to be a third world war, it would start as a conventional war. This dictated military expansion on both sides. The Anti-Capitalist Pact (known as the Axis Pact) was signed between Germany and its allies. It included the entire European Economic Community, plus North Korea, and China. For Britain, this meant that the military provisions of the peace treaty were put aside, and Britain expanded its military forces to become a potent part of the alliance. The Navy and RAF acquired increased capabilities (including aircraft carriers), and the British Army increased in size, with conscription being used to fill the ranks.
The final move came just after the 1969 election (which was a clear victory for the BUF). The Local Government Act 1969 abolished all independent local and county government in the UK. From then, the counties, districts, cities, towns, and parishes would be administrative boundaries of a national government implementing a single national policy.
The Sixties was also the time of the Vietnam War. Germany had called for the assistance of its allies. Prime Minister Mosley opposed British participation in the war, believing that colonial "adventurism" would harm Britain, and that fighting in Vietnam could lead to another World War. Mosley told his Cabinet "I will not start a Third World War over jungles and swamps". In this, he differed with most of his cabinet, who wanted to do what would please the Germans. In particular, Mosley's deputy, Colin Jordan, advocated war. The most important political voice in London was the German Ambassador, Herbert Blankenhorn. Publically, he endorsed British participation in the Vietnam War, in line with German policy. Secretly, he required it. He advised Colin Jordan that if he need to take steps against Mosley, he would have Germany's blessing. With Blankenhorn's endorsement, Jordan moved against Mosley in the Grand Council of British Fascism, and succeeded. Shortly after Jordan "kissed hands", the Government approved the dispatching of a British task force to South Vietnam. While the British performed well in Vietnam, the discontent with the war, and Hitler's death in 1968 would bring it to an end. In 1972, the British prepared to leave Vietnam in accordance with the German policy of withdrawing combat troops. The last British soldiers left Vung Tau in September 1972. By June 1973, the last British advisors pulled out. On the 30th of April 1975, the last Royal Marines guarding the British Embassy in Saigon were pulled out, ending Britain's military involvement in Vietnam.
The Seventies[edit | edit source]
As far as most Britons were concerned, the Vietnam War should have been Britain's last overseas military adventure. The British soldiers who fought in Vietnam were returned quietly, and were ordered not to discuss their experiences freely outside the armed forces. The official story was that the British soldiers (whether they be British Army or SS British Free Corps) fought with great bravery and skill but were beaten only by sheer weight of numbers. One British newspaper quipped "the defeat of National Socialist forces in Vietnam is attributable to the American skill in mass production and the Asian skill in producing masses". The end of the Vietnam War also seemed to spell the end of the "counter-culture" movements of the 1960s. The end of the "counter-culture" movement was also caused by the British Fascist government driving key figures of this movement into exile of imprisoning them in concentration camps.
British society in the 1970s became more Fascistic. One driving force of this was the small system of concentration camps in Britain. These camps were sited mostly in the far north of England, the moors of Scotland, and Wales. The Isle of Wight and the Isle of Man housed Britain's two maximum security concentration camps. There were no concentration camps in Northern Ireland, as it was regarded as too much of a security risk to keep such prisoners in Northern Ireland. The regimen of a British concentration camp was harsh and sometimes brutal, but not as murderous as a German concentration camp. The guards were drawn from the British Fascist Militia (informally known as the Blackshirts). The Home Office made the Blackshirts to be assigned to camp duty Special Constables. In fact, the practice of making Fascists Special Constables was becoming more widespread in the UK.
In May 1974, a car bomb was detonated in Westminster near the Houses of Parliament. The police investigation reveled that the bomb had a time fuse which had not detonated. They also found the remains of three people in the van. The police said that the men were Irish terrorists (though they did not explain how their papers survived the explosion). The Commander of the Central London Police District, Senior Force Leader Sir Robert Mark, publicly said that "new laws were needed to curb terrorism", and that the government should "do more". The Commissioner was a prominent London Fascist, and pioneered the rule allowing BUF members of the police to wear their BUF badges. His display of "affected dissent" was to get people behind the Emergency Powers Act 1974. The Act essentially ended civil liberties in Britain. It included regulations allowing for unwarranted searches and surveillance, unwarranted wiretapping, restrictions of freedom of speech, press, and assembly, and created Britain's first secret police force. With the stroke of a Police area commander's pen, a Briton could be sent to a concentration camp.
Ironically, a more thorough police investigation found that the bombing was actually planned by Irish terrorists, and indeed the IRA claimed responsibility for it. The police and army crackdown in Ulster, and the killing (apparently by Irish fascists acting alone) ended a new outburst of IRA terrorism.
Economic changes also took place in the 1970s. The largest change was entry into the European Economic Community in 1973. Full EEC membership of the EEC meant that the British Government's economic role was reduced to carrying out the wishes of the German Reich Economics Ministry. The European Economic Community (now called the European Union) appeared to be a community of equal European nations. In fact it was the front by which Germany controlled Europe. Policies drafted by the Reich Economics Ministry are introduced by one of the members of the Council for Europe, and "approved" by the Commissioners for each member state. These closer ties actually helped Britain economically. London was once the finance and insurance centre of the world. The war had ended that era. Both the British Fascists and the Germans promised that London would become the finance and insurance centre of Europe. British manufacturers were promised that business would pick up again. In compliance with European directives, Britain introduced a new policy for unemployment. If you couldn't find work, you were ordered into it. In keeping with the times, the organisation had a highly political flavour, with Fascist style uniforms. The National Labour Service was a conscripted labour force. It consisted of school leavers who had not been conscripted for the Armed Forces, and the unemployed. NLS workers were employed on farms, in the mines, and on public works projects. Each Administrative District had its NLS Battalion. The organisation was highly militarised, and members were given a smart parade uniform and marched through the streets behind bands. The bands themselves were a way for struggling musicians to eke out a living.
Britain settled down during the 1970s, terrible things happened, but they happened in the background. Most people preferred not to know and to go on with their business. Settling down has its risks, and the main risk is complacency.
The dangers of complacency hit home hard for Britain during 1975. The most difficult period of Colin Jordan's premiership came when Canada invaded the Falkland Islands during April. During the First Falklands War, Jordan who had committed British forces to Vietnam was now faced with the undignified ejection of the fascist governments from their Saigon embassies when North Vietnam defeated South Vietnam. In this atmosphere of lowered morale, and the advanced weapons of the Canadian forces were decisive in defeating Britain in the Falklands. King James III privately called 1975 Britain's annus horribilis.
The End of Colin Jordan[edit | edit source]
The British defeat in the Falklands War hit Britain hard. Although Britain's censorship machine had improved since the start of the Vietnam War, the defeat made a mockery of the old propaganda about Canadians. Depictions of Canadians as a bunch of "colonial Arctic yokels" were made a nonsense after Canada won a modern naval battle against the Royal Navy. Unlike their German allies, the Royal Navy was unused to defeat. The Jordan regime responded in customary fashion. Reporting of the battle was heavily doctored by the government. It was practically impossible to hide the fact that so many ships had been lost, but easy enough to report that the Canadians had experienced serious air losses (partially true) and also lost several ships (untrue, no Canadian ships were lost). The damaged ships were repaired in places like Gibraltar, Malta, Bremen, and Wilhelmshaven. These ports were far from the British press. The government put out the story that directly after the war, the ships would return to their peacetime exercises and patrol stations. The Daily Mail even applauded the readiness of the British fleet. Those serving and retired naval officers who might have spoken the truth were silenced by the threat of concentration camp internment. This kind of self-censorship was a sign of the times, the British were becoming accustomed to living in an authoritarian state. In spite of the self-censorship, and the very real repression of opposition, defeat in the Falklands War and Britain's sclerotic post-war economy meant that Britain "national mood" became more and more depressed.
Prime Minister Colin Jordan tried to cover up his defeat in the Falklands War, and argue his way around responsibility for Britain's economic situation. Over the months after the war, more stories began to emerge about the war, both from Canadian pirate broadcasts, and from servicemen talking to their families and friends. Britain no longer really had opinion polls, but the Special Branch of the National Police Force did informally "survey" the opinions of the populace, and they were beginning to turn against Colin Jordan. Part of the reason for this turn was cultural. In his speech, and mannerisms, Colin Jordan appeared to be stuck in the 1940s. Colin Jordan was more "Nazi" than his predecessor Oswald Mosely, and while he wanted an authoritarian state, he did not believe that Britain was suited to a one-party dictatorship. In racial matters, Jordan was relatively ambivalent. He opposed non-white immigration, but had no problem with Eastern Europeans. Britain's Polish exile community were largely untouched by Colin Jordan's government (though the politically active Poles and the members of the Government in Exile were deported to the German General Government in Poland). Colin Jordan made anti-Jewish speeches, and had implemented some anti-Jewish laws in respect to Jewish employment in the armed forces, Police, and civil service, but his government liberally granted exceptions to the law for "Jews with special qualifications" and an excellent record of service to the state. The key factor in all consideration for Colin Jordan was service to the state. The Germans tolerated this because they knew the value of a British fascist government. There had always been a faction inside the Fascist movement which favoured the full implementation of Nazi-style racial laws. They were sometimes called the "Total Faction". This faction included security men, some military officers (especially younger officers), and a cross section of Fascist politicians. The Total Faction had traditionally been weaker in the Fascist movement because the movement couldn't afford to embrace their principles while it needed public support. The Total Faction had the solution: intern anyone who disagreed with their policies in concentration camps, but the moderates could always carry the debates due to their numbers. During the late 1970s, the Total Faction looked to John Tyndall for leadership.
However, Britain was still, nominally at least, a democracy. Britain held general elections in 1949, 1954, 1959, 1964, 1969, and 1974. The Fascists had managed to undermine free and fair elections in the UK to a small degree, but their election victory in 1964 was relatively fair. The Total Faction wished to do away with elections for good. Britain still had a parliamentary system of government, and a Prime Minister needed the public confidence of the House of Commons. It was clear that a public demonstration of non-confidence would force the hand of both the King and the Prime Minister. Thus, any Fascist Prime Minister was (in theory, at least) vulnerable to Parliament. In practice, no Fascist leader even considered the possibility of being overthrown by Parliament, nor did their subordinates really consider themselves as being in possession of that type of power. They all simply believed in the idea of the leader giving orders, and the others obeying those orders. The "Total Faction" opposed keeping even the remnants of British democracy, and Parliamentary procedure but they decided to use them in order to put John Tyndall into Number 10.
The "Total Faction" worked behind the scenes to undermine Jordan. They worked member to member, branch to branch. The Secretary of State for Public Information (in charge of propaganda) helped the Total Faction by steering British Fascist propaganda towards a more extreme line. The Total Faction did well by this slow process, but a grab for Number 10 was not an option, even several months after the Falklands War. Unseating a sitting leader was still too revolutionary a move for the Fascists, because most believed that they could keep the vestiges of parliamentary government because the "iron control" of the Fascist party over its members would protect the leader.
A staple of Fascist propaganda was that the Fascists had "detached" Britain's economy the United States. Colin Jordan himself had said "Don't worry, if Wall Street sneezes we won't catch cold". Britain's membership of the European Economic Union appeared to prove this, for Britain's economy was integrated with that of the continent (even though Britain still used its own currency). It was therefore ironic that the downfall of Colin Jordan should start in Wall Street and Washington DC. During the mid-1970s the United States experienced "stagflation". In 1978, the Federal Reserve in the United States decided to control the stagflation with a sharp contraction of the money supply. The increase in interest rates to 20% was supposed to bring inflation under control, and Fed Chairman Volker believed that this would get the economy moving again. Although it would succeed in the long term, in the short term Volker's policy made economic matters seem to be worse as several industries including construction and the automotive industry experienced large downturns. The economic downturn hit Britain hard, with unemployment increasing and inflation reaching its highest post-war levels.
The economic downturn directly led to Jordan's downfall. The Total Faction convinced a large group of Fascists that Jordan was responsible for the downturn. Tyndall, then Home Secretary, was to speak to the House of Commons on the topic of police cooperation with South Africa. For this dry topic, the House was full to almost bursting. Tyndall produced a piece of paper from the pocket of his black uniform jacket, then he placed it on his seat, and began to speak without notes. In his speech he condemned Colin Jordan as being too moderate, and accused him of selling out to the Americans. Jordan repeatedly told the Speaker to call the House to order, and to have the Serjeant at Arms arrest Tyndall. Neither moved and Tyndall continued. After the speech, Tyndall proposed a vote of confidence. The House voted against Jordan 450-150.
King James III sent for John Tyndall.
The Tyndall Era (1978-1993)[edit | edit source]
John Tyndall came to power in a Britain still feeling the pain of defeat in the Falklands, suffering from a recession, and unsure about its place in the world. In addition, John Tyndall regarded the way he entered Number 10 as a problem because he might be removed the same way. The economic crisis gave Tyndall a way to solve the latter problem. In his first speech to the House of Commons, he said that Britain was in a state of crisis, and that special measures were needed to cope with the crisis, and (as Tyndall said) "turn this crisis into an opportunity for Britain to emerge stronger than ever before". He asked the Commons to pass an Enabling Act that would allow him to govern for four years by decree (formally it handed all legislative responsibilities over to the Privy Council). The House readily passed the Enabling Act 1978. Privately, Tyndall's advisors told him that there had to be an election in 1979, but that if it became a referendum on his Enabling Act, those elections could be the last.
Publically, Tyndall told the British that they would be in for four hard years. He proposed spending cuts, and told the people to "tighten their belts". Privately, the assurance that the 1979 elections would be the last gave Tyndall an additional way to bring Britain through the crisis, a large bailout package from the Reichsbank of Germany. It required the British to turn a portion of their reserves to Germany, and for Britain to start using the Reichsmark as a reserve currency. However steep the terms were, they were what Tyndall needed.
In 1979, Britain went to the polls to elect a now useless parliament, and to vote in a referendum on keeping a useless parliament. After fifteen years, the Fascist election management machine, with its normal methods of fear, force, and fraud ensured that the Fascists were elected in another landslide, and that the British overwhelmingly voted yes. After the disappearance of certain opposition activists, most Britons understood that they either voted the right way, or went into concentration camps. Nevertheless, the German, French, and Italian observers reported to the world that the elections were free and fair.
With his enabling act in hand, and a "mandate" from the people, Tyndall went to work. He received help from an unusual quarter, the English Defence League. The EDL favoured "traditional" English values of liberalism, and wanted an independent, democratic England (or at the most, an independent, democratic Great Britain and Northern Ireland). They recognised Queen Elizabeth II as monarch, and one of their most frequent activities was scrawling "EIIR" (meaning Elizabeth II Regina) on walls.
The National Police Force Special Branch (Britain's equivalent to the Gestapo) told the Prime Minister that their surveillance of the EDL had uncovered a plot to carry out bombings across the UK, using sympathisers in the Conservative and Labour parties who wanted a return to the old way. The intelligence also named several military officers involved to varying degrees in the alleged plot. Whether or not any of this was true is a matter of contention, and many suggest that the NPF were ordered to concoct the intelligence, and others suggest that the NPF concocted the information on their own initiative in order to remove people they regarded as undesirable. Whatever the truth was, the Prime Minister ordered the NPF to arrest all the people on a list. The list included military personnel, politicians, civil servants, priests, and journalists. Essentially anyone who did, or might oppose the Fascists effectively was rounded up and detained in concentration camps.
A decree banning all of the UK's political parties except the British Union of Fascists, and the National Democratic Unionist Party (of Northern Ireland) was proclaimed, and their national offices in London, Edinburgh, Cardiff, and Belfast as well as their offices around the country were blockaded by the NPF while records and membership lists were seized. The few remaining non-Fascist MPs found themselves in concentration camps, so by-elections were organised. The by-elections offered yes/no choice for the selected Fascist candidate. No Fascist achieved less than a 95% "Yes" vote. Britain had completed its transition to a one-party dictatorship.
Tyndall had more nationalist and racist views than Jordan (and most Fascists). Britain's immigration law since the first Fascist government had effectively excluded people of British descent except for South Africans and Rhodesians. Australians, Canadians, New Zealanders, and Americans were regarded as too politically suspect. Britain from 1964 onwards admitted Europeans only. Tyndall signed a new decree on immigration that included included strict quotas for EEC nations, and also strict racial criteria. The racial criteria essentially excluded anyone not of Celtic or Germanic descent. For the first time in the Fascist era, Australians, New Zealanders, and British-Canadians were allowed to immigrate to Britain, provided they renounced allegiance to Queen Elizabeth II. This scheme was unpopular with the British and the EEC. Few Australians, British-Canadians, New Zealanders, and Americans were prepared to renounce their freedoms to live in Britain (with a lower living standard).
Immigration restrictions created minor annoyance in the European Economic Community, but the lack of freedom in general in the EEC kept movement of people down. For instance, it was extremely difficult in the early-1980s for a German to move from the Berlin Gau to the Vienna Reichsgau due to the bureaucratic obstacles placed in the way of movement. The EEC regarded Tyndall's immigration decree as purely symbolic, and intended as a political gesture to the more hardline elements of the British Union of Fascists. The EEC and the Germans would soon find out that they were mistaken.
During mid-1983, the EEC scheduled a Word Processing Conference in order to standardise government word processing equipment in the EEC. The European Commission said that the purpose of the conference was to improve and streamline communications between EEC member nations, and the Commission itself. Cynics said (quietly) that the real purpose was to standardise on German-made word processors and thereby channel more European money into Germany. Tyndall outright refused to send a delegation to the conference, and also said that he would not abide by its directives. He ordered the Department of Administrative Affairs to place a central order for word processors for the entire administration and specified that British manufacturers were to be favoured. The order went through, and Tyndall reaped the favourable publicity from the press, with such headlines as "Tyndall's investment in British technology", and "'Britain can make it!' says Tyndall". The British paid approximately 30% more than they would have paid for the German equipment the Conference recommended, but this was kept secret, and export orders to South Africa, Iraq, Chile, and Argentina made the "Word Processor Affair" a success for Tyndall. He had stood against the EEC, and won. However, he had won a minor skirmish.
The economic recovery in the late-1970s and early-1980s was more statistical than 'real'. What this meant was that living standards in Britain were for the most part stagnant, and were even declining in some areas (for example, the quality of housing had steadily deteriorated since 1940). Tyndall was conscious of this, and knew that any government needed popular support. British intelligence had acquired a secret Canadian government report into petroleum exploration around the Falklands. The report itself was fairly low level (its doubtful that the Canadian Minister for Energy ever saw it, and if he did he did not pay much attention to it at the time). While detailed survey had not been undertaken, the report spoke of great prospects for an off-shore Falkland Islands oil field. It could be the second Saudi Arabia, according to the report.
Tyndall wanted these promised riches for Britain, and German Chancellor Honecker approved of Tyndall's idea. Britain's military forces had weakened since the First Falklands War, so in order to take the Falkland Islands, Tyndall needed a partner. The choice was obvious, Argentina. Argentina was so desperate to plant its flag on the Falkland Islands that they would do almost anything. For several years, the Argentines had been trying to ingratiate themselves to Canadian politicians and businessmen to no avail. The Canadians would discuss almost anything with Argentina, except sovereignty over the Falklands. The British Government allowed the Argentines to see their Canadian report, and offered them West Falkland and a 35% share of the oil revenues in exchange for Argentine military assistance in retaking the Falklands (including the bulk of the ground troops). The Argentines bargained their share up to 45% and accepted the deal.
The Anglo-Argentine invasion of the Falkland Islands on April Fools Day 1985 quickly overpowered the Canadian Marines (see main article Second Falklands War). The British and the Argentines believed that Canada would not try to take the islands by force, and that they could negotiate some sort of settlement with Canada. Tyndall and Argentine President Galtieri miscalculated Canadian Prime Minister Mulroney's resolve. A Canadian task force retook the Falklands, inflicting a second humiliating defeat on Britain in the South Atlantic and precipitating the collapse of the Galtieri regime in Argentina.
New German Chancellor Wilhelm Franz was horrified at the mess created by what he saw as reckless adventurism. He decided to use the outcome of the Falklands Crisis to move towards a common foreign and security policy for the EEC. He also pushed forward proposals for a formal European military alliance. Britain's naval losses in the Second Falklands War including the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible substantially reduced its military influence in Europe. While Britain still had a veto in the European Economic Community, there would be real economic and political consequences if it was exercised in a manner contrary to German interests. Tyndall had no real cards to play against the bulk of the EEC. France and Italy particularly supported a formal military alliance. In August 1986, the Treaty of Brussels was signed, bringing into existance the European Alliance Organisation. The EAO was portrayed as a counter to the US-led "League of Democracies" (which had been in existence since 1954). This was a distortion of the facts, time differential notwithstanding. The reason that Europe had not created a formal military alliance before was that until the Second Falklands War, Germany believed that it exercised a high level of control over the military forces of Europe. This was true for most countries, whose forces were devoted to internal security and coastal defence. France, Italy, and Britain maintained large forces capable of expeditionary action. These were also Germany's most trusted European vassals. The EAO created a combined European military staff called Europe High Command (Oberkommando Europa - OKE) under the Commander-in-Chief Europe (Oberbefehlshaber Europa - OBEUR). Commander-in-Chief Europe exercised formal command over all European military forces, except for those assigned to purely internal duties. He could also request that the latter be assigned to OKE. It was a massive blow to Tyndall's nationalist credentials. He had now formally delivered all of Britain's armed forces to Europe, save for a few patrol boats, minesweepers and Territorial Army soldiers.
After this, Tyndall became more compliant with EEC directives. He was not yet prepared to relax his immigration policy. He continued to speak out against the US and Canada, inflaming the Cold War with his rhetoric. The EEC's greatest triumph over Tyndall was securing Britain's signature to the Maastrict Treaty. The Maastrict Treaty was the first EEC move towards a single currency. It set benchmarks for inflation, deficit, and interest rates. It also established controls over exchange rates between all the EEC currencies. The means by which this was done was called the European Exchange Rate Mechanism (ERM). In practice, it made the Board of Directors of the German Reichsbank the supervising body for all of Europe's central banks (including the Bank of England). The treaty was ratified in 1988 and went into operation in 1990.
ERM was a disaster for Britain. While Britain was legally required to keep the Pound within 2.25% of a certain rate, in practice this was impossible. The post-war tendency for Britain was to have its currency fall in value. This was in part due to the British government running almost constant deficits and printing money to pay for them, and the relatively high prices Germany charged for the goods it exported. Before ERM, each European government controlled its own exchange rates and interest rates, allowing them to use devaluations to stem the consequences of economic problems, and to use interest rates to set the pace of their economies. ERM denied Britain this mechanism, yet British fiscal policy did not change. They were forced to hold the Pound higher than it should have been held, making British exports less competitive. Overseas currency speculators began to attack the pound. Britain was forced to spend large portions of its limited foreign exchange reserves to keep the pound within ERM limits. By the middle of April 1992, Britain had almost exhausted its exchange and the government was forced leave ERM and allow its currency to devalue. The devaluation was rapid, and caused massive rises in prices and wages. Britain was in its second recession of the Tyndall Government's term.
With little in the way of reserves, and no bailouts coming from the Reichsbank, the recession was harsh. Many Britons lost their homes. Tyndall introduced a decree forbidding foreclosures without government permission. Unemployment rose sharply, but the rise in unemployment was stemmed by extra conscription into the National Labour Service. In essence, the Tyndall regime used a standard Fascist response to economic circumstances. Other aspects of this response included price and wage controls, and increased supervision of the stock and currency markets by the authorities.
This recession also ended John Tyndall's government, and his life. At a meeting of Fascist party members in Manchester in March 1993, a Blackshirt who had lost his home in the recession, and a son in the Falklands shook hands with Tyndall and detonated a bomb killing them both. He had rigged himself with a nailbomb, and the nails killed several other members of the Cabinet. The most senior Cabinet minister to survive was the Secretary of State for European Affairs, the 33-year old Nick Griffin. In the absence of anyone else, King James III appointed Nick Griffin as Prime Minister.
The Griffin Era (1993-present day)[edit | edit source]
Nick Griffin inherited power over a country in decline. In less than fifty years, Britain had lost four wars, and its economy was in ruins. The Fascist's dream of a "British National Community" had given way to a corrupt police state. It had gone from leading the world's largest empire to being a de-facto province in a Germany's Empire. The Fascist government saw Britain's economic problems as an overvalued currency, a public sector near bankruptcy, and depleted bank reserves. The options facing Griffin were grim. He could either devalue, impose heavy tax increases and spending cuts, or he could try to get a bailout from Europe. The latter option had been refused to Griffin's predecessor. The National Police Force reported steadily increasing dissatisfaction among the people. The rumour that British Leyland's Castle Bromwich plant in Birmingham was to be closed was enough to spark riots. The normal response to a riot would be to send in armed riot police, with armoured cars, tear gas, and shotguns. The crowd would be dispersed, with large numbers of dead and wounded, and the surviving ring leaders would be interned in concentration camps. Griffin decided to meet with the plant managers at Castle Bromwich and the leaders of the workers, and "representatives" of the rioters. Castle Bromwich was never going to be closed, but Griffin took "credit" for keeping the plant open. In a speech to Birmingham, he declared that only "Fascist" leadership and cooperation with Britain's true allies, Europe, would bring Britain out of its crisis. He compared the situation to Britain's situation shortly after World War II.
After Griffin had dealt with public politics, he went to Brussels to engage in much more private politics with the other leaders of the EU, especially Germany. What Griffin believed he needed was a bailout, additional contracts from German firms in Britain, and some debt relief. Griffin managed to get most of what he wanted. He didn't receive the amount of debt relief he wanted, nor did the Germans commit to give British firms as much work as he requested. To get German and European assistance, Griffin had to concede to joining the Euro (in effect, Britain would rejoin ERM), to refrain from using its national veto, to nationalise some British companies without compensation and hand them to the Reich, and to pass more stringent anti-Jewish laws. Naturalised British Jews, and their descendants were to be stripped of their citizenship, and deported. Europeans were to be sent to Germany. Native British Jews were to be barred from the professions, and government employment. The Germans suggested that taking property from Britain's Jews would help to pay for recovery.
During the the rest of the nineteen nineties, Britain's economy recovered.
Government[edit | edit source]
Monarchy[edit | edit source]
The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy under the House of Windsor. Its current King is King James III, who succeeded his father King Edward VIII in 1972. The reversal of the abdication of Edward VIII in the late 1940s caused a split in the monarchy between the followers of King George VI (Australia, Canada, Newfoundland, New Zealand, most of the colonies) and King Edward VIII (Britain, South Africa, some of the colonies). King Edward VIII and his consort, Queen Wallis produced an heir in 1956. This made the split permanent. Before 1956, many thought that the deaths of the brothers Edward VIII and George VI would lead to a reunion of the monarchy under George VI's daughter Elizabeth. Instead, George VI's daughter Queen Elizabeth II in Ottawa and Edward VIII's son James III in London preside over parts of a fractured monarchy.
Most of the world outside Europe does not regard James III as Britain's legitimate monarch. Within Europe, and among Germany's other allies Elizabeth II is regarded as a pretender and traitor. The two cousins are not believed to have met each other.
Legislative[edit | edit source]
Britain's Parliament is effectively a rubber stamp and captive audience for Fascist speeches. Today, only the British Union of Fascists has members in the House of Commons. The House of Lords was abolished in 1995. Britain's real legislature is the Fascist Council of Britain. Over 80% of British legislation is either taken directly from European Union directives.
Executive[edit | edit source]
The King's Cabinet led by Prime Minister Nick Griffin is the executive body of the United Kingdom. Its decisions are given legal force by the Privy Council. Since the rise of Fascism, the number of ministries has increased as the scope of government intervention into society has deepened. There are more than thirty separate ministries in the British Government. Beyond that are the "Corporatives" which control various sectors of the economy, and are regarded as "Qangos", and the hundreds of other Qangos
List of post-war Prime Ministers[edit | edit source]
|E.F.L. Wood, 1st Earl of Halifax||Conservative and Unionist||3 March 1945 - 7 April 1955||None||First postwar prime minister, signed the Treaty on Final Settlement, Second Abdication Crisis|
|Oliver Lyttelton||Conservative and Unionist||7 April 1955 - 15 October 1964||Aldershot||Euro-Fascist Coalition Government, postwar reconstruction|
|Sir Oswald Mosley||British Union of Fascists||15 October 1964 - 6 August 1965||Smethwick||First BUF Prime Minister|
|Colin Jordan||British Union of Fascists||6 August 1965 - 17 November 1978||Leyton||Participation in the Vietnam War, British membership in the EEC, First Falklands War|
|John Tyndall||British Union of Fascists||17 November 1978 - 26 March 1993||Hackney South and Shoreditch||Enabling Act 1979, Second Falklands War, ERM|
|Nick Griffin||British Union of Fascists||26 March 1993 - incumbent||Keighley|
Departments[edit | edit source]
- Cabinet Office
- Attorney General's Office
- His Majesty's Treasury
- Home Office
- Ministry of Defence
- Foreign Office
- Ministry of European Affairs
- Ministry of Health and Social Security
- Ministry of Technology
- Ministry of Trade
- Ministry of Supply
- Ministry of Agriculture, Food, and Fisheries
- Ministry of Energy
- Ministry of Minerals
- Colonial Office
- Ministry of the Environment
- Ministry of Transport
- Scottish Office
- Welsh Office
- Northern Ireland Office
- Ministry of Labour and National Service
- Ministry of Education, Science and the Fine Arts
- Office of the Advocate General of Scotland
- Ministry of Immigration
- Ministry of Youth
- Ministry of Cultural Enlightenment
- Ministry of Industry
- Ministry of Minerals
- Ministry of Regional Administration
- Ministry of National Security
British Union of Fascists[edit | edit source]
The British Union of Fascists is the governing party in the United Kingdom. The BUF operates a wide variety of organisations. These organisations allow the fascist regime to control most aspects of life. Life in Fascist Britain is generally organised by the state or the BUF. The Professions (i.e. journalists, lawyers) have their own organisations, such as the Association of British Nationalist Journalists, and the Guild of National Justice for lawyers. Recreational activites are often organised by the BUF. Unlike other fascist states, independent trade unions do legally exist to "represent" workers in the "Corporatives". However there activities are co-ordinated by the ”Trades Union Congress” which is a government sponsored organisation. The TUC also includes charities, as well as the "British Leisure Association", which attempted to organise the British worker's leisure time. The British Scouting League is the youth movement of the BUF, and one of two legal youth movements in Fascist Britain (the other being the Combined Cadet Force, under the Ministry of Defence). It combines the popular elements of scouting with fascist indoctrination.
The Fascist Party is structured into ten groups; Northern England, Midlands, South East England, South West England, London, Scotland, Wales, Northern Ireland; and Central Administration. The nine regional groups are split into provincial groups, which are in turn split into local, then neighbourhood groups. The lowest level (Cell Leader) will typically control a single street or a work place. The leaders of the Central Administration are responsible for particular areas of interest, such as Propaganda, and European political affairs. The most senior members of the Central Administration are typically Ministers or Parliamentary Secretaries. Most of the Central Administration sit in Parliament.
In Northern Ireland, the BUF devolves its authority to a subordinate party, the National Democratic Unionist Party which controls the Northern Ireland Executive, the only devolved administration in the United Kingdom. All NDUP members are also members of the BUF. However the NDUP tends to be more liberal than the BUF on certain issues and the party accommodates both Protestants and Catholics. The NDUP emphasis on nationalism also tends to be more civic-nationalist rather than the generally ethnic-nationalist BUF on the mainland. This has caused friction in the past but this doesn’t tend to be a problem anymore.