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Lord Halifax becomes Prime Minister. England goes neutral (updated)

Discussion in 'What If - European Theater - Western Front & Atlan' started by British-Empire, Feb 26, 2009.

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  1. British-Empire

    British-Empire Member

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    Part 1

    Halifax came within a whisker of becoming Prime Minister in May 1940; the job was his to refuse. The Tory Party, and the King both wanted him his place in House Lords was a barrier that could be removed.

    This scenario describes in my opinion what would have happened if Lord Halifax had accepted the post.
    It's quite short through lack of time to spend on it but I can flesh it out later.

    May 1940 -

    Lord Halifax becomes Prime Minister.
    Germany invades France.

    June 1940 -

    France and Britain declare an armistice with Germany.
    Italy who is eyeing Britain’s colonies also reluctantly agrees.

    July 1940 -

    Soviets take Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia.


    Sept 1940 –

    National government returns to power under Lord Halifax with a much reduced majority.

    Oct 1940 -

    Italy invades Yugoslavia.
    Italy makes good progress in Northern Yugoslavia.

    Heavy fighting in Kosovo.
    Croatian divisions join the Italians.

    Nov 1940 –

    Croatia and Bosnia in Italian and Croatian hands.
    Half of Kosovo taken by the Italians.

    Dec 1940 –

    Hungary invades Yugoslavia.
    Yugoslavs forced to weaken southern front.

    Jan 1941 –

    North East Yugoslavia taken by the Hungarians.

    Feb 1941 -


    Bulgaria invades Macedonia.
    Yugoslavia surrenders.
     
  2. Falcon Jun

    Falcon Jun Ace

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  3. brndirt1

    brndirt1 Saddle Tramp

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    I don't see this outcome happening at all. Of course in an alternate history world, perhaps but not using the words of Halifax himself at the time. Some may think that Lord Halifax "might" have dealt with Hitler if he had been appointed PM after Chamberlain stepped down in early 1940, but it appears that he had taken himself "out of consideration" for the post and by July at least had completely abandoned any idea that peace could be made with the Nazis or the Fascists.

    As reported in the Time magazine of Monday, Jul. 29, 1940 in response to Hitler’s speech asking the British to come to terms with Germany and "save themselves" from the horrors of war. Hitler in this speech continued on with his insisting that Germany always wanted peace and sought only to strike off the shackles of the Versailles Treaty, he reiterated his assertion that the Nazi invasion of Denmark, Norway, and the Low Countries was merely a measure to forestall Allied aggression. Another pre-emptive strike, in the same vein as those against Poland, and the rest of Czechoslovakia.

    Goto:

    Hitler Appeals to Reason - TIME

    And read the Foreign Secretary’s reply to Hitler.

    As Lord Halifax broadcast Britain's answer to the world, his voice was deep, full of religious feeling, hollow and lonely as an empty church. It was not a voice to inspire fury, but it did instill hope, a sense of justice, a calmness of conscience. Said he:

    "Hitler has now made it plain that he is preparing to direct the whole weight of German might against this country. This is why in every part of Britain, in great towns and villages alike, there is only one spirit of indomitable resolution. Nor has anyone any doubt that if Hitler were to succeed it would be the end, for many besides ourselves, of all those things which, as we say, make life worth living. We realize that the struggle may cost us everything, but just because the things we are defending are worth any sacrifice it is a noble privilege to be the defenders of things so precious. . . .

    "We shall not stop fighting until freedom, for ourselves and others, is secure.. ..

    "Where will God lead us? Not, we may be sure, through easy or pleasant paths. That is not His way. He will not help us to avoid our difficulties. What He will do is to give to those, who humbly ask, the spirit that no dangers can disturb. . . ."

    I certainly could be incorrect here, but his (Halifax's) own words seem to belie any thought of doing making a deal with Hitler.
     
  4. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    -----------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Because, now it was too late...That had not stopped him from trying to reach a so called compromise though and that is something I for one will never rise in his defence for.
    While Churchill was doing his utmost to rally the nation he and others of like ilk if not seditious....were trying to reach a compromise with the very nation that Chruchill was rallying the nation, its tropps and his fellow mp's to see his view over the appeasers that were still operating even as late as June 1940...Halifax, Hoare and Butler being some pretty big proponents at a negotiated peace still even at that stage.

    And then he was gone....Ambassador to the USA. Again Churchill at his best...
     
  5. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    What I find completely amusing about all your threads and posts B.E is that you are attempting to map out the entire course of the war by changing one single event at the beginning of the war. You have gone and changed what PM's of certain countries link and even act like, you have even mapped out every decision that would be ever made and the outcome of every battle.

    With you in charge of Germany I can see in your eyes it would be a perfect 1000 years of the third Reich.

    This particular thread is awfully familiar to this one http://www.ww2f.com/what-if/22401-great-britain-makes-peace-hitler-1940-a-4.html.

    Which if I am not mistaken went no where and in the end got closed.
     
  6. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    JI think the Halifax issue is relevant, as to B.E's other additions I wont comment. And yes it has been looked at in another thread.

    But the Halifax issue is one of the most important issues relating to the allied cause in 1940. If things had indeed gone the way B.E states, and in Halifax's case it was so close to be near disasterous for the allied course then the whole future European outlook would have changed dramatically. Lots of folk pass this by or dont even know of the shenanigans in progress at the time. Many more know of supposed cosy chats in Stockholm etc, but the actual peace feelers and the folk involved are outsanding and have been glossed over by history especially UK history. Churchill himself in his 6 volumes gives a great explanation as to why, in his foreward to book one...we were not there, they were..he holds nothing against anyone with different views etc etc...but that was Churchill...In my view being magnaminous...where he was more likely to be furious and slighted.



    But as you say its already been raised.
     
  7. Heidi

    Heidi Dishonorably Discharged

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    This would have never of happend in the first place. Lord Halifax never wanted to be British PM during ww2.
    Lord Halifax ever was PM during ww2,no doubt he would take the easy way out,Nuetral.
    Lord Halifax would have help all countries including Nazi Germany,causing Germany having the upperhand against the Allies.
    By giving his pm job to Chamberlian,it proofs Halifax would not have been strong enough against Hitler.
     
  8. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Hiedi, when did Halifax give his pm job to Chamberlain?

    As to Churchill getting the role, you also have to look at British political acceptance.

    The famous meeting between Churchill, Chamberlain and Halifax in the house of commons when Chamberlain knew he no longer had the support even to lead a united political government of all parties lead to Chamberlain asking Churchill how he would feel if a member of the house of Lords was to become prime minister....this could only mean one man...A lord of the house becoming leader of the Commons and the nation...Churchill felt this to be a trap and never answered, preferring to make out he had not heared the question and looking out of the office window. Chamberlain and Halifax being of the old school, did not press this matter although the infrence is there...If Churchill had been honest and answered the question truthfully he would have never been prime minister, he would have by answering that one question truthfully have led to his acknowedging that Halifax had no constitutinal problem form his point of view and Chamberlain would probably have hand gladded Halfiax there and then as his personal choice and that of the Present King.

    Halifax again had the chance to thwart Churchill some time later....When after a cabinet meeting it was presented that the cabinet under the pressure of Chamberlain and Halifax presented the line that they had no objection to feelers being put out to see just what could be done about a peaceful settlement...This Churchill was taken along by as the cabinet was a joint decision making team still at that stage, much before the invention of the much more concentrated and lesser manned war cabinet that was to serve so well later...Halfax was again in the prime position to he believed with Chamberlain who still thought he was a kingmaker within the house of Commons of becoming leader. Churchill again...so very clever....met in his rooms with the many more member of the house and gave a rousing dictation of his later speech of going down fighting to the last man and all in that room would be expected to shed their blood....He was congragulated and cheered by his fellow commons members....Halifax was livid as seeing this as Winston undermining the full cabinets consensus decision...

    Chruchill was a cleverer man than Halifax. And than the lord for that and this nations history.

    But if you think Halifax never had designs on leading his nation, enough wrtings exist by the powers that surrounded the powers of the time to thwart that notion.
     
  9. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I should qualify one part of my last posting regarding war cabinets before someone comes to shoot me down. I am aware of Chamberlains own war cabinet before his resignation and should have stated the later war cabinet was the much more role specific war cabinet created by Churchill while leading the govt of national unity. A totally different animal than Chamberlains version.
     
  10. Heidi

    Heidi Dishonorably Discharged

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    Urgh. Um,When Chamberlian first became PM, that's when Halifax gave the job to him.
    Of cause, i think Churchill was one of the best things to happend the Britain and also the strongest one of them all.
    Chamberlain and Lord Halifax were weak compared to Churchill,true Chamberllain and Halifax qaulifie in being a PM but do they qaulifie being a PM in war time?
    Bear with me, i am only a Rookie and also, i can see you are an intelligent ww2 member.My answers won't be as professinal like you'res is.
     
  11. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    I'm certainly not putting your information down in any way. Or that is not my intent.

    I dont think you will find anyone on here that will do that...if they do they will get short shrift from the members and certainly the mods who patrol the forums with on the main good sense.

    Any one who joins or just visits and does not have a great knowledge of military mattes, ww2 or history surrounding it is more than welcome. And appreciated. I wouldn't expect youngsters to know as much as some members who spend a lot of time researching or just hobbying the period.

    New members are appreciated, ww2 is thereby kept alive as it should be. Knowledge is gained by all...Your own input in some areas will outweigh what others know or think, thats life.

    No one will correct you for the sake of correcting you, more like to see if what you say is something that they may be unaware of themselves...Of course the odd stupid comment may be challenged...I get challenged like any one else...and can be found wanting but am encourged to research a bit more and admit..blimey..I didnt know that one...Its all good for the forum.

    I though am far from versed in the same way as some of the posters here who are quite expert in their field. We all know more about one thing than someone else will..

    Its just good that youngsters are willing to discuss ww2 and even better when a female shows interest too..as this was indeed a global war involving women just as much as men.

    But back to my point....Are you saying that when Baldwin, the previous prime minister gave way he had the choice of making Halifax prime minister before his party handed the role to Chamberlain?

    Regards
     
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  12. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

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    I am not saying it is not relevant in any way, but merely that B.E has mapped out the entire out come of the war by changing a single event and he believes he is competent enough to make such decisions for every nation on the planet during ww2 and every outcome for every battle, I find it amusing.:cool:
     
  13. Heidi

    Heidi Dishonorably Discharged

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    I'm at ease now.:cool:

    Yes excatly, what i was trying to say. Lord Halifax gave his prosision to Chamberlain,i'm thinking cause he Halifax was scared to go against Hitler himself.
    Chamberlain gave the job too Churchill for some reason,i am guessing that he was scared of Hitler too.
    To me,if both Halifax and Chamberlain was offered the job in peace time without the threat of war,both would have kept there pm jobs.
    Both Halifax and Chamberlain in my views would have taken england into ww2 as neutral.
    That's how my views go on this topic.:)
     
  14. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Chamberlain didn't owe is position as PM to Halifax. You are confusing it with when Chamberlain offered Halifax the position of PM in late April 1940, Halifax turned down the offer, so Chamberlain offered the post to Churchill instead.
     
  15. neverseperat

    neverseperat Member

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    D-day = epic fail and war longer and harder to win
     
  16. von Rundstedt

    von Rundstedt Dishonorably Discharged

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    First off let me say this to Tomcat, one act during any point of history can change everything, like the assisination of JFK for instance, JFK had prommised that after his re-election in 1964 he would pull all troops out of Vietnam, but as we know that after his assisination in 1963 that LBJ not only reversed JFK's position but finally commited the USA to a war it could not win and so thousands of Americans wre killed, that would not have happened, see my point.

    Lord Halifax is given the postion of being British Prime Minister, this can be done constitutionally by the Tory's vacating a safe seat and then hold a by-election as far as i know he can retain his title of Lord and sit as a duely elected member within the House of Commons and so instead of Sir Neville Chamberlain being Prime Minister in Real Time now we have Lord Halifax as legitimate Prime Minister.

    Now we have the situation of Britain being neutral under Lord Halifax, how can this exist, this is tough, but all i can say is that by now Britain is tired of European warfare, Britain will do anything she needs to do to be a military powerhouse within Europe but this is self protection only, no longer will Britain act as the guaruntors of peace and declares herself neutral.

    During this period Hitler sees this as an opportunity and decides that his plan to rule Continental Europe has been given a huge boost and that he is determined to stay onside of Britain by decreeing that in no uncertain terms that he will not go to war with Britain.

    To be Continued.......

    v.R
     
  17. Reality

    Reality Member

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    Halifax would have only become the Prime Minister before May 1940; it has to be assumed that Churchill did not engage in his machinations to prevent Halifax becoming PM. Then:

    1. German invasion of the lower countries may well have not taken place at all if armistice and peace had taken place before May 10.

    2. Italy would not have entered war to invade France at all, without successful German operation in the north. France still had on paper the largest army in Europe.

    3. "The most unnecessary war" (Churchill's description of WWII) would have come to a screeching halt.

    4. Nazi Germany's and Fascist Italy's econnomies would continue to deteriorate, because their totalitarian central planning was making a hash out of the economy.

    5. There would be no war in Greece (a British ally), therefore no war in Yugoslavia either (which had a pro-German government before it was overthrown because Hitler demanded passage to help Italy invade Greece).

    6. Italy may have its hands full with Ethiopian rebels and Somaliland.

    7. Eventually, Hitler may still come to blows with Stalin, as both dictators were running their respective economies into the ground, and spending tons of resources on arming in the name of boosting GDP (you know, like that $64k toilet boosting GDP). Hitler wouldn't have the industrial production and looted motor vehicle pool from Western Europe to help his war effort; on the other hand, he wouldn't have RAF and USSAF to contend in the west either. Western European governments would restrict their citizens from volunteering for either Nazi cause or Communist cause; i.e. no "SS Viking PzDiv" or SS Nordland, etc..

    8. Millions of Germans and Russians/Soviets may still get killed in the carnage on the East Front before the battleline stabilize back and forth between Dnieper and Dniester river lines. All outside powers, from US to UK to Japan all strive to keep the two big continental powers in the fighting by playing one off the other, lest one of them wins and use the victorious army against the powers on the peripheries of the Eurasia continental mass.

    9. Eventually both Germany and the USSR were exhausted. Hitler wouldn't have the feather of conquring lower countries and France to his cap; Stalin wouldn't have the conquest of Berlin to his boast either. Both became perceived as running interminable meat grinders by their own people. Both would be ripe for assassinations and/or palace coup.

    10. Some kind of peace settles between the new governments of Nazi Germany and the USSR/Russia. With millions of horrific war deaths, they were finally ready to ditch totalitarianism, and embrace some kind of western democracy that showed the virtues of peace.

    11. Earlier, FDR lost 1940 election to Robert Taft of Ohio (one of the "five greatest senators in American history" according to JFK), because peace broke out in Europe earlier in the year. Hence no Pearl Harbor, as the American Pacific Fleet would still be in San Diego in 1941, and no scrap iron or oil cut off to provoke Japan. Japan dared not to strike south because the Brits and French were not occupied with European War; the opportunity in the north (to invade the USSR) looked ever so ready but never came as Moscow was never conqured nor was Stalingrad. While in America, standards of living improve dramaticly under Robert Taft administration: gasoline wasn't rationed, cars and houses were still produced, and men were not sent overseas to die. All the wasteful government projects and war production were redirected to peaceful purpose creating produtive jobs. The 1950's American golden age arrived a decade ealier.

    12. The war between Japan and China came to an end too after nearly a decade of inconclusive fighting, as part of a western-influenced global peace settlement after the collapse of Hitler and Stalin's governments, based on the principles of natinal self-determination and lowering trade barriers . . . splitting both the USSR and China into smaller entities, and recreating Poland, Czech, Slovakia, basicly undoing Hitler's and Stalin's ealier expansions too.

    13. British Empire carries on for a few more years, then expires due to high cost of maintenance. French Union follows in the steps. Neither however suffer from the dire consequences of WWII debt.

    14. Colonial India splinters into multiple countries along ethnic and regional lines, not religious lines, without the horrendous war of partition to pay British WWII debt.
     
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  18. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    Thats not a bad Scenario Realism, if Halifax would have become the Prime Minister before 1940. My contention is it was a close thing once more in June 1940 and much closer to him gaining power than before May 1940.
     
  19. redcoat

    redcoat Ace

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    Chamberlain was too secure in his position as PM before April/May 1940 for anyone to be able to challenge him for the post, and Churchill didn't engage in any machinations to prevent Halifax from becoming PM, Halifax turned the job down, because he felt he wasn't a suitable candidate for the post

    Halifax had come to realised that appeasement had failed during the meetings at Munich over the Sudetenland, it was Chamberlain who pushed for the agreement.
    If somehow, for an unknown reason, Halifax had become PM before May 1940, there is no evidence that Halifax would have sought a peace treaty with the Nazi's
     
  20. Reality

    Reality Member

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    Chamberlain's political fortune collapsed with the operational failures in Norway in April 1939. That failure prompted the remaining British political establish to seek two solutions in the face of perceived vunerabilty as evidenced in Luftwaffe's victory over Royal Navy (the battles in Norway was so interpreted at that time):

    (1) The peace party considering armistice; the French, who would be providing the vast majority of ground fighting manpower in the existing war plans, had no desire to fight either;

    (2) The Churchill, Eden and Labor Party wing, seeking alliance with Stalin (as replacement for Poland, which had already been knocked out of war on the continent itself)

    There was a unique opportunity for peace in late April and before May 10. After the June collapse of France, there was another possibility for peace, however, I'm much more reluctant to explore that possibility, because Hitler would be in command of Western Europe industrial resources, and his stunning victory in the west completely crushed domestic political opposition (among officer ranks). If Britain exited war at that time, there was a real possibility of Hitler conquring the USSR, without RAF and USAAF tying up more than half of Luftwaffe. Although I think Nazi central planning would still ruin the economy in a few decades even if they did manage conquer the entire continental land mass from Atlantic to Lake Baikal, just like the Soviet system did in the Cold War, ultimately leading to the collapse of the Third Reich and splintering just like the USSR did (probably even quicker because its racist ideology/state-religion wouldn't go very far in terms of organizing the society outside the German heartland) . . . there are just too many unkown factors in that scenario compared to our own timeline to speculate the details.
     
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