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British 1930's POD's.

Joshuapooleanox

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While the world seemed to be exploding, Britain remained largely stable due to its national government and other policies.

What POD's exist to maybe shake that up, and see an alternate future for the UK and the Commonwealth?

Biggest one I can think of is the Abdication Crisis, or the chaos in dealing with the Great Depression that led to the National Government.
 

MAC161

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Guy Walters' The Leader is a decent stab at the results of a different Abdication, IMO: the dialogue and characters are a bit obvious and melodramatic at points, but the novel's world as a whole is well-researched and fleshed out.
 

Skinny87

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Guy Walters' The Leader is a decent stab at the results of a different Abdication, IMO: the dialogue and characters are a bit obvious and melodramatic at points, but the novel's world as a whole is well-researched and fleshed out.
Man that's such a good book! The chase scene at the end would be fantastic on screen
 

Blackadder Mk2

Well-known member
Austen Chamberlain was convinced to oppose a vote of censure on the government over Hoare-Laval in exchange for the Foreign Office, which Baldwin never planned on giving him and instead named Eden. Even if Austen did force Baldwin to give him the job he would die in 1937, but let's say for argument's sake that he lives about 4-5 more years in the relatively good health he had.

It changes up a lot of the dynamics of Neville Chamberlain trying to sideline the Foreign Office during Appeasement. It's easier to do it with someone who's broadly aligned with you on Germany and rearmament like Eden than with one of the most vocal pro-military spending voices in the Commons, and also your older brother who once said "you know nothing of foreign affairs."

If Neville still tries to negotiate on Munich, it's likely that more than Duff Cooper resigning from the Cabinet if not a collapse of the government itself.
 

MAC161

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Man that's such a good book! The chase scene at the end would be fantastic on screen
I found it a bit implausible even for AH, myself, because I couldn't picture Mosley acting the way he did (though that's likely because I still don't know enough of the REAL history about him). You're definitely right about seeing it on screen, though, especially with the Coronation and all else that's happening at the end.

I also liked the hints at what still might happen with Chamberlain; even after all that happened in the book, it'd be interesting to speculate whether Munich would still have taken place...
 

lordroel

Well-known member
While the world seemed to be exploding, Britain remained largely stable due to its national government and other policies.

What POD's exist to maybe shake that up, and see an alternate future for the UK and the Commonwealth?

Biggest one I can think of is the Abdication Crisis, or the chaos in dealing with the Great Depression that led to the National Government.
It might be far fetch but a British Civil War with the Germans,Soviets, French and Irish involved which in the end results in World War II instead of the German invasion of Poland of OTL.
 

Skinny87

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I found it a bit implausible even for AH, myself, because I couldn't picture Mosley acting the way he did (though that's likely because I still don't know enough of the REAL history about him). You're definitely right about seeing it on screen, though, especially with the Coronation and all else that's happening at the end.

I also liked the hints at what still might happen with Chamberlain; even after all that happened in the book, it'd be interesting to speculate whether Munich would still have taken place...
Hah, yes, I always laugh at that speech at the end 'So of course we shall leave the fate of the country's future in the safe hands of such trusted and reliable men as Neville Chamberlain' or somesuch
 
If we have Frederica as Queen of the UK, and no abdication, do we end up with Edward having to abdicate in autumn 1939 instead, over his firm opposition to declaring war on Germany? And a breach between Edward and Churchill over his attitude as King to standing up to the Nazis in 1938-9 that means that once Churchill is PM to George VI he is even more determined to shunt Edward and his wife out of the way to somewhere like the Bahamas? There would be no time to 'bed down' the new royal regime in public affection - or hold a coronation - before the military crises of April and May 1940 either.
In the long term, if Frederica is Queen of the UK we have the intriguing possibilities of:
1. A child of hers, perhaps born in the mid-late 1930s, as a 'Prince over the Water' and 'cheated rightful claimant to the throne' for the printed media (eg in the US) to gush over in the 1950s, but the incumbent dynasty and court in the UK able to play up the half-German origin of this child to discourage any British public affection for them.
2. No Queen Frederica married to King Paul (ruled 1947-64) in Greece - less controversy over her 'excessive influence' and 'meddling' in Greek politics in the 1950s or as the 'power behind the throne' to her husband then her son. So is King Constantine XIII (ruled 1964-7) more secure from attacks over her perceived role in his reign, and the propaganda campaigns against the Greek monarchy are less successful?
He might still dismiss the George Papanadreou government in 1965 (over control of the military) and so incur the enmity of the Greek left , and have a feud with George P's son Andreas and PASOK over that which would affect his chances of being recalled after the fall of the Colonels in 1974. But with no hostile stories about his mother and court, would he win the 1974 referendum and return to the throne? So do we get a more turbulent situation in Greece once Andreas is PM after 1981, and attempts to remove the King then ?
 

Dan1988

Sorry, sunshine, wrong place
If we have Frederica as Queen of the UK, and no abdication, do we end up with Edward having to abdicate in autumn 1939 instead, over his firm opposition to declaring war on Germany? And a breach between Edward and Churchill over his attitude as King to standing up to the Nazis in 1938-9 that means that once Churchill is PM to George VI he is even more determined to shunt Edward and his wife out of the way to somewhere like the Bahamas? There would be no time to 'bed down' the new royal regime in public affection - or hold a coronation - before the military crises of April and May 1940 either.
I had originally conceived the idea as part of my Newfoundland TL (hence, spoilers), but the way I was thinking about it would have been thus.
>The main thing is no abdication crisis, which wasted a lot of energy. That was one of the main goals. The other was essentially a *Lion de mer by the back door. The reasoning being that, if we assume an OTL track, obviously it's impossible for Germany to invade the UK (try as they might) with the existing plans they had. However, if there's a backchannel to power via the German Embassy and the Queen, then something like *Lion de mer would not be needed.
>Now, as we all know and have had drilled into our heads, no matter in which one of the Dominions/Commonwealth realms one lives in and/or are very familiar with, the monarchy is never supposed to interfere in questions like this - whatever the Government does, the monarchy has to go along with it, no matter how begrudging it would be to the monarch. The main example of this IOTL would be the declaration of war itself; as King of Canada, his Government's declaration of war was delayed compared to his British Government's declaration of war as King of the UK, since Mackenzie King wanted a gesture of Canadian independence (the Statute of Westminster in action) and thus made it a big deal domestically when Canada itself declared war (whereas before, during WWI, when Britain declared war Canada was automatically at war on the British side). Instead, any political intrigues would come from within the Royal Family itself, away from the misinformation spewed by the tabloids. It is inside the Palace - and the growing animosity between the two brothers - that would cause the rift in the run-up to the War. That and Hitler's desire for an Anglo-German alliance. So, as a result, no abdication from Edward ITTL, but I could probably see Bertie (despite all hopes for wanting a quiet life and a normal relationship with his family) being forced to flee (he may want to stay in the UK, but for my own TTL purposes that would not be an option), along with a good chunk of the Royal Family, in which case the title of Prince of Wales becomes used in a different manner. While not challenging the King, the Prince of Wales thus becomes the alternate British head of state - and hence the Dominions would shift their true loyalty to the Prince of Wales as the real head of state while leaving the King as the nominal head of state. It sounds weird, but as I see it somehow it all works out as an informal cutting of the ties with a collaborationist Government, as well as a twist on the usual Royal titles held in pretence by many now-deposed former royal families.
>Speaking of which - flowing from this rift within the Royal Family, we'd also get a split within the Tories - and hence the Government - over the eventual War. Sharing similar sentiments (as I see it for my own purposes; of course IOTL Chamberlain came to his senses soon enough) as the King, and even more so bolstered by the whole "peace in our time" thing, Chamberlain refuses to resign the Premiership despite calls for him to do so. Mass resignations ensue and follow Bertie into opposing the Government's plans for not going to War. As a result there are two Governments with a split in the Royal Family, which would be an unprecedented and dangerous situation for the UK; the alternate Government (with Churchill as PM) ends up fleeing abroad and a "government-in-exile" of sorts (I put that in scare quotes because it's not a true government-in-exile) for the UK is set up in Canada (sending the unfortunate Governor-General of Canada into the guesthouse adjacent to Rideau Hall; Hatley Castle in BC and la Citadelle in Québec City would also see some use, of course, but with Rideau Hall as the center). Now, for my Newfoundland TL, I already have the UK having some remaining territory in Newfoundland and thus would be the primary reason for the continuance of the UK in a Taiwan-esque role, but I would assume that even then it would be some big-time commuting between Ottawa/Montréal and St. John's for Royal duties (since even Newfoundland would be much too exposed); for others that want to take this up, that would not be an option.
>Having (part of) the Royal Family in Canada would create all sorts of major effects within Canada itself. Of course, having the Royal Family around would be beneficial in making the monarchy more present and thus highlighting the Constitutional roles of the monarch in Canada (even with a split monarch, since I'm assuming the remainder of the Dominions follow Canada on this) and how they are separate from their Constitutional roles for the UK itself, thus giving effect to that kind of separation of functions that the Statute of Westminster gave blessing to. Since ITTL there's no Royal Tour by Edward and Frederica, then the relocation of the British government-in-exile and Bertie's family/entourage to Canada ends up happening in place of OTL's Royal Tour. This then raises all sorts of questions which haven't yet been figured out in terms of Canada's Constitution, such as the differentiation of roles by both the monarch and the GG, for example. There's also non-Constitutional but equally important questions that would also need to be addressed, such as the relationship between the monarch and French Canada itself; if the Prince of Wales plays his cards right on this score, no doubt aided by members of Mackenzie King's Government and even the Québec provincial Government under Godbout (if we are assuming an OTL path), despite his officially neutral role as head of state he could have a potential for having a positive non-political role in this portfolio in reducing, well, the "tension".
>The reckoning for the UK in terms of the Royal Family would be as the Allies are winning the Second World War (again, despite many differences in the details - too numerous to count thanks to butterflies - we're following a somewhat OTL path here). Then and only then would we have Edward's abdication and Edward and Frederica shunted out of the country to a quiet life elsewhere and outside the UK. Now, at first glance this would seem like bad optics, but if played right then it could be spun in a different manner by shifting blame on the collaborationist Government and not on the King himself (plus throwing in a few "health issues"). What happens to the future of the monarchy would be the next big test. Me, I had the idea as I planned it so that even that is not enough for the British and thus the UK moves on to becoming a republic (with the obvious name change) and thus permanently exiling Bertie and the remaining Royal Family in Canada, but even I recognize that another way could be done with rehabilitating the monarchy to repair what the British would see as the damage already done by Edward and Frederica.

Now, that's just my interpretation of how I could see this go forward for my purposes for shaping the narrative for the TL. Anyone else can take it and go in an opposite direction and go towards what you're saying. The big problem to address would be that even if the Government wants him to, Edward will definitely try to refuse to abdicate for as long as he can, even if it means well into 1940. One would need to find creative solutions within the British Constitution to resolve this dilemma if even the King is not to be trusted. On the other hand, if Frederica takes her Constitutional roles as Queen of the United Kingdom seriously, considering her strong-willed personality, there's always the possibility of having the best-laid plans of the Germans fall apart and basically force Edward to shut up with his pro-Nazi attitudes, even if it means keeping up appearances, since even she would know that to do so would earn the ire of the British public. Essentially, imagine someone with the personality of Maggie Thatcher (with all the constraints a non-political role imposes as de facto deputy head of state) as Queen. She and Churchill, in that case, could get along very well indeed, bypassing the King in the process, as would her and the Prince of Wales. That would cut out the dramatic narrative I already laid out and could "save" Edward's reign in the process as long as he keeps his mouth shut.

Thus, there's at least two ways of approaching Queen Frederica of the United Kingdom. One could see her much like her OTL role in Greece, either for good or for evil. Another could play on the "German connection", much like the dramatic narrative I outlined above, and thus make the monarchy as complicit with collaboration as the Government would be. Which on the whole makes it very interesting as a POD.

In the long term, if Frederica is Queen of the UK we have the intriguing possibilities of:
1. A child of hers, perhaps born in the mid-late 1930s, as a 'Prince over the Water' and 'cheated rightful claimant to the throne' for the printed media (eg in the US) to gush over in the 1950s, but the incumbent dynasty and court in the UK able to play up the half-German origin of this child to discourage any British public affection for them.
Definitely.

2. No Queen Frederica married to King Paul (ruled 1947-64) in Greece - less controversy over her 'excessive influence' and 'meddling' in Greek politics in the 1950s or as the 'power behind the throne' to her husband then her son. So is King Constantine XIII (ruled 1964-7) more secure from attacks over her perceived role in his reign, and the propaganda campaigns against the Greek monarchy are less successful?
This is when things get absolutely interesting, because due to Frederica's long shadow over Modern Greek history we know absolutely nothing about what Pavlos himself could have done and we'd have to figure out whether certain actions he did were either under his own initiative, either as usual Royal duties or otherwise, or were under the influence of Frederica. Frederica has the unique ability to overshadow both Pavlos and her eldest son making the two of them seem spineless and ineffective compared with her. So there's two big butterflies here, with major consequences for Greece. One, obviously, is that we don't have Frederica's long shadow over Greece, which opens up a lot of room for maneuver on the part of Pavlos and his successors as well as the Greek government. Another butterfly is also more obvious - no Frederica, none of their OTL issue (including Konstantinos II and Juan Carlos' wife, Queen Sofía [with huge repercussions for the monarchy issue in Spain]). This, therefore, is huge. Whoever succeeds Pavlos, no matter the name, ITTL will definitely be more secure in their reigns. Therefore, Pavlos could be more open to having Venizelism retain in having a major role in Greek politics (as long as it does not lead to the abolition of the monarchy) as well as a more secure and definitive answer to the language question. With a more independent and assertive Pavlos (first as Crown Prince under his father, Georgios II, and later as King), even the Greek right-wing would have changes and, if one wanted to get a little carried away, even the Civil War could have been avoided as a butterfly. As a result, Greece would be much better off politically and much energy could be channeled instead into something more constructive and positive.
 

Mumby

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I think the circumstances of Attlee's rise to the Labour leadership were very unlikely.

Lansbury's resignation left no time for a leadership election what with the 1935 general election. By the time they did hold a leadership election, Attlee had earned the loyalty of a much expanded PLP.

If you have Labour conference play out differently and avoid Lansbury's resignation until after the general election it seems unlikely to me that the PLP would turn to Attlee.

And a more opportunistic Labour leader at the Abdication crisis would be enormous. IOTL Attlee agreed with Baldwin's approach and chose to support the National Government against the King. Nye Bevan was a critic of this approach, seeing an opportunity to cleave the government in two. The King could intervene in a divided Parliament and form a new National Government, this time led by the Labour Party and aided by 'King's Party' colleagues from the Conservatives and Liberals.
 

Time Enough

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It would be interesting if the King George VI accepted Ramsay MacDonald's offer to dissolve parliament instead of suggesting the formation of a National Government. Labour would probably lose the following election, however it could maybe have a shot in 1935 under possibly Cripps or Lansbury. Which could lead to an odd World War 2.
 

Oppo

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Attlee almost resigned in 1932 to help support his sick wife. If he resigns, Cripps takes Attlee’s place. We’ve had a lot of talk about a Crippsian Labour Party, but I think we all agree that it will change Britain’s history a ton.
 

Time Enough

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Attlee almost resigned in 1932 to help support his sick wife. If he resigns, Cripps takes Attlee’s place. We’ve had a lot of talk about a Crippsian Labour Party, but I think we all agree that it will change Britain’s history a ton.
Makes me wonder who would be in a Cripps shadow cabinet, also I could see more popular and direct support for the Republicans amongst the British Left. Also I could see Atlee coming back once his wife gets better and becoming Shadow Chancellor or a similar job.
 

Charles EP M.

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There's also the fun of Mosley sticking around in Labour; even if he never becomes leader and PM as in A Greater Britain, he'd likely have some prominent role in 30s Labour and where does that end up going? And who becomes the figurehead for British fascism without him?

One more for the First National Government: MacDonald holds the election later, still hoping the national government will be temporary. Do the Conservatives still see huge gains and Labour & Liberals losses after a few more months of national government? If not, that impacts on the next few years and who is running Labour
 
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