Friday, March 29, 2024

Guest Post: Churchill's Armed Revolt

This dystopian TL about Churchill's Armed Revolt first appeared on Today in Alternate History, blending related ideas from three scenarios, Robbie Taylor's Mosley's New Party, Chris Oakley's Mosley's Rebellion and Jeff Provine's December 30, 1947 - King Michael Calls for Aid.


February 28, 1938 - Mosley Lights the Flame of Civil War

A very disunited United Kingdom was ruled from 10 Downing Street by Sir Oswald Ernald Mosley, 6th Baronet, with his Black Shirts only in control of the capital city and nearby Home Counties.

Bitterly disappointed by the orthodoxy of the two main parties in British politics, he had founded the New Party. His ranks had swelled with the unemployed as the full effects of the Great Depression hit England. Brought to office by violent unrest, he could not build out his popularity from the base of radical supporters in London. Inevitably, his rise to power only accelerated the cycle of political violence, brought about by frustration that he was unable to implement a Nazi-style program of economic change.

With the rest of the British Isles in open revolt, his Fascist government was dependent upon the shared interests of an unholy alliance of the poor and the Establishment. Articulating false, incompatible promises to "Make Britain Great Again" and yet preserve both the Empire and the Class System, he could only maintain his premiership by making common cause with continental fascists Mussolini of Italy, Franco of Spain, and Hitler of Germany.

Following a disingenuous call for aid to protect King Edward VIII and the Royal Family, anti-Comitern troops from the continent began to slowly arrive in London. Mosley's enemies were horrified and warned of a slow foreign takeover that would never have been logistically possible during wartime. A Third English Civil War began as Churchill led fellow MPs into a rival government, but there was a much bigger picture as both sides had foreseen. Within a few short years, much of Europe from France to Ukraine would be occupied by the jack-booted Fascists as Germany invaded to the east, west, and east again. Local resistance groups broke out across the continent, but nowhere was resistance more fierce than in the north of England and Scotland where irregular forces under Winston Churchill carried on the struggle for freedom in the desperate hope of American salvation.

Unfortunately for Churchill's rebels, the FDR's US government was firmly focused on its own rebuilding program via the New Deal and had even adopted an official policy of strict neutrality. This position of strategic ambiguity logically followed on from George Washington's dictum of disentanglement, the public's desire for peace after the horrors of the Great War, and perhaps a deeper sense that Old Europe had to look after, and pay for, its own security.

Author Note:

In reality, Fascist violence under Mosley's leadership culminated in the Battle of Cable Street, during which anti-fascist demonstrators including trade unionists, communists, anarchists, and British Jews successfully prevented the BUF from marching through London's East End. Mosley was imprisoned in May 1940, after the outbreak of the Second World War, and the BUF was banned. He was released in 1943 and, politically disgraced by his association with fascism, moved abroad in 1951, spending most of the remainder of his life in Paris and two residences in Ireland.

Provine's Addendum:

The fires of the British Civil War spread quickly throughout its empire. While Mosley had campaigned to strengthen the empire, many of the colonies took the distractions in the mother country as a chance to do whatever they pleased. Canada and Australia faced their own divisions with each side of the debate dispatching troops to the British Isles to fight alongside Churchill or Mosley. Island colonies and those in Africa found themselves without support in funds and materials as they had, leading to many local officials establishing warlord-like systems to maintain order. India, the great jewel of the empire, erupted into revolution. While leaders like Mahatma Gandhi called for peace, the subcontinent soon saw its own factions establishing numerous independent nations while areas with sufficient British influence attempted to maintain control of their own lands.

With Japan extending its empire by occupying former French and Dutch colonies and then invading the eastern USSR as it dragged on in war with Germany in the west, the world was truly at war. Only the Western Hemisphere seemed at peace, but with supply networks interrupted and global economies struggling, even that seemed tenuous.

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