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No War Outbreak in 1914: Impact on UK Domestically

RyanF

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In response to a question posted by @Nofix in one of the Pub threads answers from @Archdeacon of Dunwich, @Ingsoc and myself prompted a brief mention by @Thande of the impact on the UK domestically in the event of no/delayed First World War in 1914. Here's a thread to have at it.

How might the pressing issues of pre-War 1914 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland developed for the rest of that year and onward without the distraction of the Great War? It's perhaps not uncommon an opinion that the UK was heading towards major civil strife that year, perhaps even to the extent of Civil War. Events like the Curragh Mutiny and Larne gun-running would suggest that at least Ireland (or perhaps at least Ulster) might have seen some measure of armed conflict. There's also maters like labour disputes and the women's suffrage campaign that might make for additional flashpoints.

Without the outbreak of War following the assassination of Franz Ferdinand (perhaps avoid the assassination itself), would Home Rule have made it to Ireland, whether all or just outside of Ulster? A Scottish Home Rule Bill had its first reading before the outbreak, might that go further before the end of the year? What about women's suffrage without the unconditional release of all prisoners in August?

And what might happen further down the line in Britain and Ireland, whether War breaks out sooner or later following 1914...
 

Nofix

Scalawag
Not exactly "UK domestically" but Canada had an election in 1911, electing the first Conservative government in 15 years, who were of course exceptionally pro-Britain and pro-Empire. Now I have to wonder, would Canada send troops to put down a domestic insurrection in Britain if the need arose? Would a "khaki election" happen in 1915 instead of 1917?

I know a lot of Anglo Canadians considered Britain to be the mother country, and the Tories there were the bedrock of that, but I'm wondering if it would actually get to that point (and turn the party label so radioactive in Quebec, especially they almost won the popular vote there)?
 

Charles EP M.

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The big problem suffrage was having, as I recall, was the issue of giving women the vote when not all men were eligible (without, y'know, making all men eligible). It was the First World War that sees universal suffrage to avoid the look of telling returning hundreds of thousands war heroes "now of course you don't get a vote", so without that does it take longer for universal suffrage; do some women get the vote in the meantime or does the attempt at only giving it to some get rejected? What does all of this mean for Labour, who clearly benefitted from these new working-class voters?
 

Yokai Man

Well-known member
Given that Bonar Law not only refused to acknowledge even the possibility of Home Rule,but also supported a British Covenant that said that if the Home Rule Bill passed, its signers would ''feel justified in taking or supporting any action that may be effective to prevent it being put into operation, and more particularly to prevent the armed forces of the Crown being used to deprive the people of Ulster of their rights as citizens of the United Kingdom",promising any form of support for the Ulster Unionists opposing the Bill (including armed support)-yeah,let's just say that things would get tense.

The Troubles would start earlier and it might be possible that the Conservative Party gets fed up with Bonar Law and his obsession with Ulster and inciting violence,leading to him being challenged for the Leadership by someone. In case he gets removed,Bonar Law and his supporters might leave the Conservative Party and form their own party/join the Ulster Unionists,who start becoming independent from the Conservative Party. Mass violence and the army fighting rebellions in Ulster would be probably be constant.

A later WW1 would be harder for Britain to deal with,if it even joins the war because of the civil disorder caused by Bonar Law and Anti Home Rule supporters.
 

Archdeacon of Dunwich

That's Except for Posters in Scotland
In response to a question posted by @Nofix in one of the Pub threads answers from @Archdeacon of Dunwich, @Ingsoc and myself prompted a brief mention by @Thande of the impact on the UK domestically in the event of no/delayed First World War in 1914. Here's a thread to have at it.

How might the pressing issues of pre-War 1914 in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland developed for the rest of that year and onward without the distraction of the Great War? It's perhaps not uncommon an opinion that the UK was heading towards major civil strife that year, perhaps even to the extent of Civil War. Events like the Curragh Mutiny and Larne gun-running would suggest that at least Ireland (or perhaps at least Ulster) might have seen some measure of armed conflict. There's also maters like labour disputes and the women's suffrage campaign that might make for additional flashpoints.

Without the outbreak of War following the assassination of Franz Ferdinand (perhaps avoid the assassination itself), would Home Rule have made it to Ireland, whether all or just outside of Ulster? A Scottish Home Rule Bill had its first reading before the outbreak, might that go further before the end of the year? What about women's suffrage without the unconditional release of all prisoners in August?

And what might happen further down the line in Britain and Ireland, whether War breaks out sooner or later following 1914...
I definitely think the momentum was towards Scottish Home Rule though I must admit my expertise is really with interwar Scotland as opposed to the pre-1914 situation. The big question would be whether events in Ireland would affect the Liberals domination of Scottish politics allowing the Scottish Unionists (perhaps still calling themselves Liberal Unionists) a chance to make a break through similar to that in the early 1920s.
 

Aznavour

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Published by SLP
Not sure about the accuracy of the claims in this book (Hurrah for the Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars by Martin Pugh. Published by Penguin Random House UK), which this Slate article used as a source to argue of the pre-Fascist conditions of Edwardian Britain (Eugenics, Colonialism, Anti-Semitism, limited suffrage and segments of the political elite not wholly committed to this whole democracy idea) but this thread brought it to mind.


In fact, however, the defining characteristic of the Edwardian era was a crisis of conservatism. Alarmed by the pace of social change and the rise of the labor movement, and frustrated by its own impotence, sections of the Edwardian right began to display a dangerous disillusionment with conventional politics. Not only did Conservatives lose three elections in 1906 and 1910, but the Liberals’ electoral pact with the Labour Party and the Irish Nationalists appeared capable of excluding the Tories from power indefinitely. Quite suddenly, the political agenda had changed. The Liberals engineered a stream of innovations including graduated taxation of incomes, old-age pensions, minimum wages for miners, health insurance, and labor exchanges; and by 1914, they threatened to introduce land taxation and minimum wages for agricultural laborers. Many Conservatives attacked this program as tantamount to socialism, but privately they feared they had lost the ideological battle. This left Britain’s new radical right perpetually suspicious of betrayal and very susceptible to conspiracy theories to explain their setbacks.

Consequently, though its members operated within the parliamentary system, they became distinctly ambivalent toward it. Sir George Lloyd, an extreme right-winger who entered the Commons in 1910, quickly fell into despair over what he saw as the failure to introduce tariff reform and to respond to the challenge of Germany: “60 years of Cecils in a cosmopolitan system have killed much patriotism and national feeling.”10 Lloyd was typical of the radical right in his unsophisticated approach to politics; anxious to find simple, immediate solutions, they yearned for a patriotic, virile leader. Baffled by the complexities of urban, industrial Britain, they sought to recreate a deferential rural past, which is why, like Lloyd himself, they found an imperial role more congenial than domestic politics. For them, the outbreak of war in 1914 came as an enormous relief because it united the nation and created one simple, overriding cause—indeed, it could not have come at a more crucial moment.
On the other hand, I wonder how long could you keep a. Europe from erupting into war or b. Britain from joining a 1915 or 1916 war (unless deadlock and Ulster Violence keeps them otherwise engaged)
 
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Time Enough

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What does all of this mean for Labour, who clearly benefitted from these new working-class voters?
Probably hovers around the 50 seats mark until the Liberals begin to consider this whole ‘Universal Suffrage’ stuff. Probably in the early 20s maybe?

I do wonder if Ramsay would be turfed by the Mid 10s for someone else? Maybe Henderson or Clynes?
Not sure about the accuracy of the claims in this book (Hurrah for the Blackshirts!: Fascists and Fascism in Britain Between the Wars by Martin Pugh. Published by Penguin Random House UK), which this Slate article used as a source to argue of the pre-Fascist conditions of Edwardian Britain (Eugenics, Colonialism, Anti-Semitism, limited suffrage and segments of the political elite not wholly committed to this whole democracy idea) but this thread brought it
I do wonder if the Conservative Party in a No WW1 becomes more of a Right Wing Populist Group filled with Jingoism and similar. Maybe some of it’s more Red Tory strain make there own grouping. There is the possibility the Right splits (maybe joining up with Labour split groups like the George Barnes or something). Like how I think the Liberals would likely see some splinters over time as that coalition wasn’t something that was
 

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
This is an area I put a great deal of thought into, obviously, on account of Bring Me My Bow, which took as its starting premise that WWI didn't break out in 1914. (I would point people towards an article I wrote on a delayed start for the SLP Blog)

Bring Me My Bow is no longer available through SLP, but it is being produced by SFP (see sig); the first four books in the series (Green and Pleasant Land; Clouds Unfold; Burning Gold; Arrows of Desire) are available. Further books (Nor Shall My Sword, Chariot of Fire, Ceaseless Fight, and Building Jerusalem) will be coming out in due course.

Advertising over, I obviously had to do a lot of thinking about how many factors would have been changed. What follows are what I concluded could be one possible outcome. Other outcomes are also possible, and I make no claim that this is how it would have been.

1. Women's suffrage. In addition to the issue raised by @Charles EP M. above, not only was there a problem in not all men getting the vote and Universal Suffrage not being a thing for either men or women, you've got the problem that the VFW campaigners were split themselves. You had the Suffragettes and the Suffragists, who had major disagreements about whether working class women (or, indeed, men) were intellectually capable of having the vote, or indeed, thinking for themselves. This grew quite heated, and a lot of organisations - especially in the East End of London - came into being precisely because they were barred from having a voice in organisations working to gain what was called Votes For Ladies. I look into this in more detail in an article I wrote for the SLP Blog.

How would this have played out? To over-simplify a complicated case, the Establishment in Britain was fairly good at taking divisions among forces proposing change, and using these to delay change. Without the pressure of WWI, the concept of the working classes (male or female) being allowed the vote are slim. Harold McMillan wrote during and after the war about the effect that being in the trenches had on him, and that for the first time ever, he was in close contact with people from this class. He described it as being a revelation, in that he found that although they were untutored and often very ignorant about many things, they were people like him, with hopes and fears and affections (or otherwise) towards family, and so on. His time in the trenches taught him that the working class were people, and this revelation transformed his political views towards a more paternalistic, one-nation Toryism. Without that experience, Macmillan, and thousands like him from that strata in society, simply don't get the exposure to the working class, who remain - to them - little more than farm animals, to be cared for and well-treated, but not sufficiently competent to have a vote.

Without expanding the suffrage to the working classes, giving Ladies the Vote would have been a major shift in boosting the Conservative vote, and was thus opposed by the Liberals (who wanted the vote either expanded to all, or not expanded).

Thus we will get delays upon delays. Change is coming, but how it will take place and how long it will take is an open question. My personal guess is that The Powers That Be can delay for one, maybe two decades; unless some other crisis (such as a delayed WWI) disrupts that estimate.

2. Home Rule. It was coming. It was WWI that caused a delay in the implementation of a passed Home Rule bill. On the other hand, it was the WWI crisis that caused the bill to be pushed through quickly, so you can argue either way. Given all the forces at work - Carson and the Ulster Will Fight camp on the one hand, and the Irish Nationalists on the other - whatever happens is going to result in certain groups being very unhappy.

For the purposes of the book, I assumed that the Home Rule bill would be a very uneasy compromise that pleased no-one and upset both sides. This leads to disturbances, which leads to a suspension of the bill ("They've proved they're not ready for it"), with consequent impacts on delaying movement to give greater say to people in other parts of the Empire. The premise I have assumed is that the Establishment doesn't like change unless change is unavoidable, and is rather skilled at delaying such change. Sir Humphrey Appleby's grandfather was probably in good standing in Westminster.

Of course, delays will cause unrest among those who wanted greater independence for Ireland, and that unrest, when expressed, will in turn not endear them to people in Britain. "No Dogs or Irish" was a common enough sign at boarding houses at the time, and one can expect to see that attitude grow worse, not better.

3.
On the other hand, I wonder how long could you keep a. Europe from erupting into war or b. Britain from joining a 1915 or 1916 war (unless deadlock and Ulster Violence keeps them otherwise engaged)
If one assumes (as I did) that WWI is avoided entirely in 1914 (and hence your b is not relevant), then the question is simply how long can WWI be averted.

Not long. There were countless crises from the 1890s onwards that could have brought about a general European War, and these were becoming more frequent and getting closer to the brink. I can't see any way, once the Power Blocs have been set up, that war can be avoided indefinitely. It's my view that sooner or later, some crisis will blow up that leads to the dominoes toppling. In my series of books, I'm looking at one specific crisis (in Persia, as it happens), and tracing the course of this crisis through the eyes of people on the spot. That's for the narrative, and how realistic or otherwise this particular crisis might be is of secondary importance to the story involved.

But the pressures for war are there. Germany sees Russia growing in strength relative to it; France sees Germany ditto; Britain is pissed off at Germany for many reasons; Austria-Hungary is pushing everybody to the limit with its diplomatic moves that made a bull in a china shop look restrained; Italy is trying to have its cake and eat it; the Balkans are a mess; the Ottoman Empire is in an unstable position, with the need to modernise balanced against the appalling state of its infrastructure beyond the core, and the casualness of it engaging in genocide and ethnic cleansing of disruptive (non-Turkish) elements; the world is pretty much divided up amongst the colonial powers and there are few empty (apart from the local people) spaces left, so expansion of colonies is probably going to involve taking stuff from another colonial power. The list goes on. The formation of the two power blocs set the bar for kicking things off higher than it might otherwise have been, but it also ensured that if things did kick off, it was going to be bad news for everyone except the ravens and rats who get to feast on the bodies of the slain.

Now, one can posit an attack of common sense amongst the world leaders, and setting up a mechanism by which potential flashpoints can be dealt with by discussion and arbitration. That doesn't seem likely to me, and I can't see a general European War being avoided for more than a decade. If not this crisis kicking things off, then there will be another along next year. It's only a matter of time.

4.
I do wonder if the Conservative Party in a No WW1 becomes more of a Right Wing Populist Group filled with Jingoism and similar.
No. The one thing the Conservative Party would never become in such a situation is Populist. Power is concentrated in the hands of the "right" people, and giving any of this power to "the people" would be seen as an abrogation of responsibility. You can't look at the situation in 1914 through the eyes of 2020. In 1914 terms, the Working Class is there to work and the Ruling Class is there to rule. It is that simple, and allowing the Working Class to have a say in ruling is a nonsense (from the POV of a 1914 Tory).

Jingoism is all very well, and has its place (mainly in the Music Halls), but its role is simply to give the Working Class their circuses. Even a cursory glance at the social aspects of the Edwardian era will make clear that the divides between Ruling Class, Serving Class, and Working Class were enormous. Returning to Macmillan again, his letters home from the trenches of WWI make it clear that previously, he simply had no conception as to what life was like for those not of his class.

To look at what the various political parties would have been like without WWI, you have to go back to look at what they were like prior to WWI, and extrapolate from that point. You can't extrapolate backwards.

For example, WWI gave the Working Class a glimpse at what Mass Movements involved and what they were capable of. Previously, individual unions and groups tended to be very much more parochial than they were to become post WWI. You can look to see a Union movement very much more fragmented than it became, and the lessons of mass action will take longer to seep in. Strikes prior to WWI were commonplace, and working conditions were less good than they might be. In the series I keep mentioning, I refer (in Green and Pleasant Land) to "Angels", working on the roofs of Westminster Abbey. The name Angels arose because (a), working so high up, they were closer to Heaven than most and (b) because of the working conditions and lack of safety, it usually wasn't long before they slipped, fell, and became Angels, to be replaced by someone else. That's taken straight out of OTL. These Angels could and did strike, and there were plenty of others ready to take their place. Similar situations applied in other industries - docking, mining, factories.

Keep that the same, and this is going to affect the Labour movement, which will in turn affect the Labour Party. How? That question is above my pay-grade.

*

All this is just for starters. You've got other elements involved; technological development (less development in airplanes leads to a greater role for airships, which are filling that gap between slow, heavy-cargo carrying ships and fast but short-ranged airplanes capable of carrying two or three people at most). If you need to carry a few tons of cargo a long distance relatively quickly, airships are the way to go. @AndyC did a whole series of articles on the SLP blog about airship development, and the absence of WWI was one of the great what-ifs of airship development.
 
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Roger II

Well-known member
Even a cursory glance at the social aspects of the Edwardian era will make clear that the divides between Ruling Class, Serving Class, and Working Class were enormous. Returning to Macmillan again, his letters home from the trenches of WWI make it clear that previously, he simply had no conception as to what life was like for those not of his class.
Dumb q that makes me sound like I'm looking at things with 2020 eyes: do you mean no conception as in "no personal engagement with or direct awareness of" but with some scope for a general awareness at the level of reading newspaper articles, muckraking books/articles, social novels and so forth, or "if you mentioned Angels, the problems of coal miners, abuse of servants, and so on, he'd look at you like you were talking about the Nuristani"? Or put another way, what was the circulation of information on social problems (defined generally) like?
 

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
Dumb q that makes me sound like I'm looking at things with 2020 eyes: do you mean no conception as in "no personal engagement with or direct awareness of" but with some scope for a general awareness at the level of reading newspaper articles, muckraking books/articles, social novels and so forth, or "if you mentioned Angels, the problems of coal miners, abuse of servants, and so on, he'd look at you like you were talking about the Nuristani"? Or put another way, what was the circulation of information on social problems (defined generally) like?
He described his experience in the Trenches as opening his eyes to the fact that the Working Classes had feelings and attitudes and so on that, while crudely expressed, were not so very different to his own. He said (and my book is not readily to hand, so I'm paraphrasing rather than quoting) that to his shame, he had previously regarded them as more like animals than humans, and that he had not appreciated that they were capable of "tender emotions".

He was aware, intellectually, of the issues you describe, but that was on an intellectual level rather than an emotional level.

In the Edwardian era, the ideal was that servants were regarded as part of the furniture, equipment that needs to be kept in good working order (opinions varied as to how best to achieve that aim). One would no more regard a servant as anything other than a thing. You certainly wouldn't consider their feelings or take account of their opinions, no more than one would consider the feelings of a fridge or a cooker or a car.

WWI brought social classes into close proximity in a way in which each was dependent upon the other, and that is something that Macmillan (and probably many others) remarked upon at length.

Obviously, one can oversimplify class views to a single viewpoint, which is wrong. There were many different views. To oversimplify, however, they lived in different worlds. It's also worth noting that class overrode race as a primary determinant. An Indian Prince was a Prince, and therefore part of Society. A bricklayer was one of the lower orders. As a bit of a digression, officials going out to India for the first time were given a list of comparative social standings of British, European, and Indians in society. It is curious to note that while a British officer in the Indian Army counted as slightly higher than the equivalent rank of an Indian in the Indian Army (a major outranked a captain, regardless of what race they happened to be); British and Indian NCOs were classified as equal; and British Other Ranks were regarded as socially inferior to Indian other ranks. Quite what this means is beyond my ken; I just report that snippet.
 

Time Enough

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Feels likely if Labour remains scratching at the door but unable to get in - leaders eventually get passed over. And that (and in his timeline, no war debt) means the first Labour government will be quite different
Another thing is, in a time of industrial strife and union disputes the last thing you really want is a hand wringing intellectual type. Ramsay would probably be replaced by someone who be more of a potential unifying figure for both party and unions. So probably Arthur Henderson or maybe George Barnes.

Even if World War 1 doesn’t happen, I don’t the Liberals will have monopoly on power forever, it was an incredibly fragile coalition all in all.

Another thing to mention is No World War means no Russian Revolution, meaning that Far Left groups are more likely to be influence by Syndicalism or home grown Marxism than Lenin.
 

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
Another thing is, in a time of industrial strife and union disputes the last thing you really want is a hand wringing intellectual type. Ramsay would probably be replaced by someone who be more of a potential unifying figure for both party and unions. So probably Arthur Henderson or maybe George Barnes.
As I mentioned up above, in the absence of WWI, you also have an absence of example of mass, coordinated movement; indeed, such organisations as have existed haven't yet had much in the way of success (Women's Suffrage, Home Rule, etc). Industrial strife is liable to continue along the path that already existed, namely bitter localised disputes, with the power largely with the employers (there's plenty of other people desperate for a job).

Another thing to mention is No World War means no Russian Revolution, meaning that Far Left groups are more likely to be influence by Syndicalism or home grown Marxism than Lenin.
No Russian Revolution also means no World example of Far Left in power. The danger for the Far Left of going down the Syndicalism or Marxism route is that it's all a bit remote and theory heavy. There hasn't been the exposure of the masses to the pet theories of the left-wing intellectual elite (and neither side will have a clue what the other is on about). You're certainly going to see some reactionary elements in play. Women and Irish in the workforce represents cheap competition, and will be resisted.
 

Time Enough

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As I mentioned up above, in the absence of WWI, you also have an absence of example of mass, coordinated movement; indeed, such organisations as have existed haven't yet had much in the way of success (Women's Suffrage, Home Rule, etc). Industrial strife is liable to continue along the path that already existed, namely bitter localised disputes, with the power largely with the employers (there's plenty of other people desperate for a job).
Well I meant the Union leadership who supported the Party leadership would probably want there own fella in over MacDonald. Given that some of the Trade Unions still weren’t entirely sold on the Labour Party in general getting a guy who can keep them on side would probably be paramount to have a surviving Labour Party for the 10’s.
No Russian Revolution also means no World example of Far Left in power. The danger for the Far Left of going down the Syndicalism or Marxism route is that it's all a bit remote and theory heavy. There hasn't been the exposure of the masses to the pet theories of the left-wing intellectual elite (and neither side will have a clue what the other is on about). You're certainly going to see some reactionary elements in play. Women and Irish in the workforce represents cheap competition, and will be resisted.
Oh yeah, for every Sylvia Pankhurst or James Connolly there would probably be ten Henry Hyndman types who combine Far Left politics with Reactionary ideas.

James Connolly would be interesting to see in this world, Home Rule probably means no Easter style Uprising so Connolly wouldn’t become a martyr, but he was already quite popular amongst the Irish Left and Irish Nationalists and was less chaotic than James Larkin so you could see Connolly doing more with Trade Unions and becoming a prominent Irish Political figure before the end of the 10s.
 

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
Home Rule probably means no Easter style Uprising
Multiple ifs involved here.

1. Does Home Rule happen in the absence of WWI? It's by no means a given since there was a lot of opposition to it.

2. If Home Rule does happen, what form does it take?

3. If Home Rule does happen, do you get the Troubles earlier, but with the roles reversed? Carson et al suggest yes.

4. We'll wave a wand and say that Home Rule happens and that it runs smoothly. There's certainly no Easter Uprising in any form vaguely recognisable to OTL.

5. We'll wave another wand and say that somehow, an analogue of the Easter Uprising does happen. There's no WWI. That means the British Army is not knee-deep in mud in Flanders, but is largely sitting at home twiddling its thumbs with nothing to do except wait for any trouble at home. That means that the British response to an Easter Uprising will be with a larger, better equipped, and much better disciplined force than OTL. There's also no sense of the betrayal of Irishmen rising up while loyal Irishmen are fighting in Flanders. The local opposition will be much greater than OTL.

*

One really needs to look at the underlying situation in 1914, work out what were considered the key issues there, and how they might play out. Without WWI, I'm struggling to see a Mass Labour Movement arising in the near future. There's no formative experiences with the mass movements involved in WWI; everything is much more localised and discreet. You don't have the example of the Russian Revolution, so you've got no examples of workers taking power (whatever that might mean in practical terms), and the Far Left is largely populated by philosophers and academics who rarely get their hands dirty with actual labour.
 

Thande

Directly Elected Mayor of the Western Hemisphere
Published by SLP
Thinking about David's excellent summary, I'm wondering if the best way to delay a WW1 significantly would be to have another medium-sized war in the meantime that doesn't escalate, similar to the Balkan Wars, the Italo-Turkish War and so on. Though one would run the risk of the timeline then becoming more about that than about Britain.

One thing I find fascinating is how the great powers were concerned that war was inevitable but that the relative likelihood of one side winning was shifting rapidly due to matters like Russia's industrialisation. Delaying a war even a few years (as would be necessary for matters like Home Rule and suffrage coming to a head in the UK) would probably change things beyond all recognition.
 

ShortsBelfast

Well-known member
Home Rule was inevitable unless you posit an earlier POD than 1914. The Liberal Party were dependent upon IPP Parliamentary support to remain in power. The four Unionist Majority counties of Antrim (90% Unionist); Down (70%); Londonderry (59%) and Armagh (54%) would have been excluded (this had been privately agreed by the Cabinet to avoid the necessity for a brief civil war). OTL, the Boundary Commission were biased in favour of the Ulster Unionists (who hadn't attempted to stab them in the back during their struggle with the Germans) and Stormont got Tyrone (45%) and Fermanagh (48%) as well. TTL, it would be the Ulster Unionists who were the gun happy troublemakers so expect the Boundary Commission to be more active and impartial and thus greater changes. I would expect Newry, South Armagh, Rostrevor and Warrenpoint to be part of a much larger County Louth, North Armagh might get a couple of largely Unionist chunks of East Tyrone. Remaining under direct rule with no Stormont.
While WW1 was a massive catalyst for change, I think that change was coming anyway, due to technological drivers. Mechanisation was going to reduce the rural workforce anyhow. Even OTL 1920s tractors, combines and rotivators (which will arrive a bit earlier TTL with no WW1) improved agricultural productivity by 25-30%.
The typewriter and sewing machine are already bringing more women into the workforce and electrification and the telephone are already being rolled out, while radio broadcasting was significantly delayed by the 1914 -1918 War.
And Science, Literature, Art, Music, Politics, the Army, the Navy are all going to be virtually unrecognisable without the loss of the Lost Generation:-
People like the Charteris brothers, Edward Horner, Raymond Asquith, Vere Harmsworth, Patrick Shaw-Stewart, Lord Lucas, Charles Sorley, H H Munro (Saki), Isaac Rosenberg, Wilfred Owen,
Rupert Brooke - the list would be enormous.
 

David Flin

Real people take priority over imaginary people
While WW1 was a massive catalyst for change, I think that change was coming anyway, due to technological drivers. Mechanisation was going to reduce the rural workforce anyhow. Even OTL 1920s tractors, combines and rotivators (which will arrive a bit earlier TTL with no WW1) improved agricultural productivity by 25-30%.
The thing is, some areas will advance more quickly (earlier talkie films, for example), while other areas will be delayed (the previously mentioned airplane).

Mechanisation is going to be impacted by not having 5 million able-bodied men of fighting age taken out of the workforce, with approaching 2 million being taken permanently out of the workforce (dead and maimed). With an extra 2 million in the workforce, the financial pressure to find ways around the labour shortage is much less.

Similarly with regard to tractors, the big driver for tractor development post war was the shortage of horses. Around 8 million horses died on the Western Front in the British sector alone. Lots of horses still available reduces the need for tractors.

The change will come, but it'll take a better mind than mine to predict whether the changes will be advanced, delayed, or transformed.

All one can confidently say is: "It's complicated."
 

Juan Vogel

Strong on middle initials, weak on ship detail
One thing I'm always mildly interested in is the effect of WW1 on the rise of the administrative state apparatus in, well, all of the countries, but especially NZ/Australia or Canada.

No Great War would be interesting especially in Australia's case, if just for the fact that WW1 and WW2 (especially) really turbocharged the growth in federal power. I wonder if no WW1 means Australia is still more orientated towards state government power.
 
With no Great War and an oncoming implementation of Home Rule, do we get the risk of the Conservative party splintering over just how far to push civil disobedience by the anti-HR radicals within the Protestant community in Ulster? Would a series of sporadic clashes between the , now armed, Ulster Volunteers and the Home Rulers with Bonar Law et al egging on the UK military and the local police to look the other way at Protestant violence end up in some highly inflammable incident where people (innocent bystanders or even women and children) get killed by out of control shots going wide, and the Liberals can use this as a political weapon ahead of the 1915 General Election?

Would risk a backlash against the Conservatives in moderate, centrist voter opinion so either Bonar Law has to pull back to a 'we don't support violence, only peaceful defiance of the Protestants being railroaded into a Catholic-run Ireland' position or he doesn't and part of his party leadership walks out on him? There could be a sort of analogy with the Conservative divisions over Brexit after 2015, with the moderates (aligned around the respectable figure of Lord Curzon or perhaps an emerging non-aristo centrist in the OTL 1921-2 position of Baldwin) arguing that the fanatics had taken over the party and should stop 'banging on about' Ulster or it would put off moderate middle-class voters in swing seats and lose the 1915 General Election. The pro-Ulster group would then argue that they represented grass-roots opinion, as the Brexiteers did - and both sides would be too heated to back down, as with Brexit. Bonar Law could be accused of not properly understanding English opinion as he was a Scotsman brought up in Canada, and if he lost the 1915 election in a backlash - with the Liberals portraying themselves as the party of law and order and playing up the hard-line stance the Tories had taken over the People's Budget in 1910-11 - BL could be vulnerable to a party coup. A chance for a comeback for Balfour? And a continuing Asquith govt for the 1915-20 Parliament , with a united Labour Party behind him in return for some further reform promises for the poor, eg augmented social relief? If there was no War crisis, Macdonald would stay in charge of his party and it would be less split in 1916-22 - but M would not have the benefit of his OTL reputation as a heroic and persecuted anti-War campaigner which helped his
comeback in 1922? (My grandfather was one of his aides in this period, so I have some family knowledge of the inner Labour workings then.)

Asquith seems too 'patrician' to have been prepared to push the argument that the Conservatives were backing disorder and risking civil war in Ulster too far, unless he was desperate for votes, and presumably he could call on united Home Ruler backing in 1914-15 if he made it clear that HR would be implemented on time. But the ruthless Lloyd George would be more likely to press the Tories on this matter and make inflammatory speeches about them having blood on their hands if anyone was killed, partly in revenge for their stance on his budget in 1909-11; and the coming of a HR Parliament in Dublin could well have led to a 'breakaway' and 'illegal' Protestant Ulster mini-Parlt and/or 'executive' setting itself up in Belfast and refusing to take orders from Dublin but affirming its loyalty to London .The British govt would then have to try to suppress it and evict its allies from any seized govt offices or police stations, in a less initially bloody equivalent of the OTL confrontation between the London govt/ the 'Castle' official Dublin govt and the Sinn Feinn-led Dail in 1919. The UK Army in Ulster, and its pro-Protestant officers, would face a larger-scale version of the earlier dilemma at the Curragh in summer 1914. A messy civil war, or at any rate skirmishes in Belfast, would follow. A crisis where if Asquith was less exhausted than he was in OTL 1916 but still out of his depth and seen as dithering or taking to the bottle too much,LG could stir up the press barons to organise his removal. But in this case, LG would be the PM who sorts out the Irish mess by forcing a truce and compromise for peace out of the refractory Prots in Ulster , not as in OTL out of the Catholics and the IRA/ Sinn Feinn in Dublin. And if the moderate Home Rulers holding a majority in the Dublin Parlt in 1916-18 under Redmond (as they wouldn't be hit by the controversy over conscription and the Dublin Rising executions wouldn't turbo-charge Sinn Fein) were then accused of a 'sell-out' and 'splitting Ireland in two at the behest of the English' and lost the next election, would a surviving Connolly and the trade unionist Nationalist grouping plus a militant SF that had been supplying guns and volunteers to and assisting Catholic fighters in Ulster (led by Collins ?)have taken over in Dublin at the next
election inc. 1920?

Incidentally, if a civil war in N Ireland ties up the British army in, say, 1916-18 and this coincides with the new Austro-Hungarian ruler Franz Ferdinand tackling the Magyar elite in Hungary by creating a new third crown state of Croatia/ Slovenia, we could easily have a Hungarian revolt (as per 1848-9?) and Russia stoking it up to keep AH divided and expand their client Serbia. Then Germany backs AH and there's a threat of a Russo-German war dragging France in; but unlike in OTL 1914 the UK would be in no position to back France up, Entente Cordiale or not. And Germany would know this.
 
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