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Edward VIII remaining King and its potential effects on World War Two and British Politics

Joshuapooleanox

electoral asbestos
Location
Newcastle, innit
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Now, this is a bit of a weird one. I'm not particularly attached to what the reason would be to keep him in power, whether that's him not marrying Simpson, or whatever would make sense.

I'm curious as to the effect that, if Edward VIII had stayed as monarch, what happens if World War Two and its events stay roughly the same up until the fall of France. Since he was pro-Germany and an interventionist in parliamentary politics, would he have tried to push the government on negotiating peace? Would he have succeeded? And if he did, what would happen in the UK after this?

The UK keeping Edward VIII in my opinion doesn't seem to change too much, with the Rhineland, Anschluss and then Munich Agreement all making sense within the same timeline. Possibly the same response regarding Poland, as the public was at their wits end. But then if it continued to be the same, Edward VIII would probably be wanting peace with Germany as much as possible, and if France fell, then could we see him finally intervene to push the government into a peace agreement?

I know its an unrealistic scenario but I find it fascinating with the potential political fallout if it happened.
 

Joshuapooleanox

electoral asbestos
Location
Newcastle, innit
Pronouns
they/them, she/her
He would want Britain to go to war with Germany as much as King George VI and Queen Elizabeth did in 1938 & 1939, which was "absolutely not"

The monarch's opinion is largely irrelevant.
But wasn't he more willing to express his views and support than the other royals? Even to the detriment of the institution as a whole?
 

Arthur_Phuxache

Total Inabilty To Supply Usual Performance
I guess my point is that if he tried to intervene and go 'Hey, can we maybe do that negotiation for peace to preserve the empire?' during the May crisis. I know its a bit unrealistic I just find the idea of it happening fascinating.
The British and French had already conceded over the Sudetenland in the name of piece, then Hitler humiliated both countries diplomatic by violating the terms of their concessions.

How much humiliation does Edward VIII fancy heaping on the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister and our Allies, given that he has little constitutional power already?

By the end of this, probably less.

Being the rancid coward he was, I suspect he accept the government offer to decamp to Canada with his 'mistress'
 

Joshuapooleanox

electoral asbestos
Location
Newcastle, innit
Pronouns
they/them, she/her
The British and French had already conceded over the Sudetenland in the name of piece, then Hitler humiliated both countries diplomatic by violating the terms of their concessions.

How much humiliation does Edward VIII fancy heaping on the Foreign Secretary and Prime Minister and our Allies, given that he has little constitutional power already?

By the end of this, probably less.

Being the rancid coward he was, I suspect he accept the government offer to decamp to Canada with his 'mistress'
On the other thread we had a discussion on a 1940 ceasefire. That could sort of bring about what I guess I mean, without it being a permanent peace.
 

Death's Companion

General Ugg Apologist.
Edward was incapable of tact. He got booted out of his role as an observer in an unimportant area of hills and forrests for insulting the readiness of the French troops there and their indifference to a phantom buildup of armour by the Germans.

I think he would probably have done the boring thing and just sulked when war broke out.
 

frustrated progressive

SLPing Through the Cracks
The way I see it, him remaining on the Throne requires one of three things to happen, any of which would have significantly shaped his rule and what ways he can in fact intervene in this.

1: He simply doesn't fall in love with Simpson, for whatever reason, and settles in to his role with a minimum of fuss. Though he'd still be suspected of poor character and the Parliamentary elites are still cautious about his "active" attitude, there's no live controversy around him. Come war, he might lay a bit of rhetorical stress on the sad failure to maintain peace, and possibly try harder to get Halifax to take the job (if he doesn't feel too close to Churchill for that to happen), but doesn't do anything publicly. He might have a moderating effect even still, though up against Churchill's ego I don't fancy his chances.
2: He concedes on Simpson (perhaps they would tolerate her as a royal mistress in the Hanoverian fashion?) and retains the crown. The King basically becomes a royal cipher, even less able to influence policy than in Option 1, and OTL happens, absent butterflies, etc. (Or one could have him be singularly and energetically focused on "revenge" against the political establishment that made him forsake his love, but Edward *really* doesn't seem to be focused enough for that).
3: The political confrontation over Simpson happens, and Edward somehow "wins", whether through just weathering the change in government and calling everyone's bluff, the silly "Kings' Men" party actually happening and then succeeding, or something else. Edward would be energized in his position, and would have a large amount of political capital. This might be the only circumstance in which he could have had a major impact on foreign policy, but after all of Hitler's provocations I don't see peace as a viable option by September of 1939. This could in fact lead to whatever ministry is in power pushing hard against Edward's inclinations. He still almost certainly backs down, but it could get ugly. If nothing else, the prestige of the monarchy is hampered.

Would Edward be of a mind to do the crowd-pleasing gestures, sacrifices, and stoicism that George was so good at? Or would his bigger personality actually hamper the identification of monarch and subject that made those work?
 

Arthur_Phuxache

Total Inabilty To Supply Usual Performance
On the other thread we had a discussion on a 1940 ceasefire. That could sort of bring about what I guess I mean, without it being a permanent peace.
If we don't know the terms of the putative ceasefire, or the penalties for breaking it (do the Italians have to agree to it too?), the future is impossible to predict.

All we can say for certain is Edward VIII won't have much influence on it.

Any fictional character played by Edward Fox is inherently untrustworthy.
 
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Charles EP M.

Well-known member
Published by SLP
If he's pressuring for a peace settlement behind the scenes but it doesn't come out in public, he might survive. You might still have the general public going "well Eddie's not a very impressive monarch is he?" and some disgruntlement that London's bombed & he doesn't even bother to come down. That's bad for the monarchy as an institution, which could lead to an eventual majority support for abolishing it (or it carries on because people born post-war don't care that much about what he did before they existed). If it does come out, though, he's stuffed. "Hey, no wonder Eddie didn't care, he wanted to surrender to Hitler! Bastard!"
 

Dan1988

Sorry, sunshine, wrong place
Now, this is a bit of a weird one. I'm not particularly attached to what the reason would be to keep him in power, whether that's him not marrying Simpson, or whatever would make sense.
I see you've been reading into my notes for a bit, Jo. ;) Which is to say, I'm very fascinated here and thank you for putting this thread up.

I'm curious as to the effect that, if Edward VIII had stayed as monarch, what happens if World War Two and its events stay roughly the same up until the fall of France. Since he was pro-Germany and an interventionist in parliamentary politics, would he have tried to push the government on negotiating peace? Would he have succeeded? And if he did, what would happen in the UK after this?
I think much of it depends on the domestic situation. He is on record for stating he wanted to "modernize" the monarchy, for whatever reason, so that it would be in tune with changing conditions in Britain itself. Hence why he started talking about social problems and all that. How that all comes about, je ne sais pas, but it is interesting to note that to some degree, he seems to want to fashion the new modernized monarchy along a presidential model. That is, he would prefer going back to an older conception of monarchy and refashion it for the 20th century, which would be breaking the conventions from Victoria onwards. You could almost say that he wanted to be for Britain what FDR was in the US, roughly speaking (though not exactly). How far that would go in the domestic situation, and whether it helps or hinders Britain's response to the Depression, would be key to understanding how he'd approach foreign policy. His pro-German tendencies would certainly be a hindrance there, but if the Government went to war with Hitler, ultimately, he would have no choice but to move along and "return to form" on that portfolio. In that sense, he'd probably have a sympathetic ear with Mr Chamberlain. Which does leave me with a question - just how widespread were pro-German sympathies within the British Establishment? Not necessarily Hitler per sé (I know about the desires to avoid war whenever possible, hence the appeasement), but overall - the Weimar Republic included.

The UK keeping Edward VIII in my opinion doesn't seem to change too much, with the Rhineland, Anschluss and then Munich Agreement all making sense within the same timeline. Possibly the same response regarding Poland, as the public was at their wits end. But then if it continued to be the same, Edward VIII would probably be wanting peace with Germany as much as possible, and if France fell, then could we see him finally intervene to push the government into a peace agreement?
It would be interesting to see if that worked. It would make him a target because of his perceived collaboration. OTOH, if Edward VIII changed his mind and allowed the Government to continue the war, that could help - but then he'd have to explain everything else beforehand.

I know its an unrealistic scenario but I find it fascinating with the potential political fallout if it happened.
Definitely.
 
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