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The British Civil War was an armed conflict fought between the British Parlimentary Forces who favoured a return to democracy and the Fascist Council of Britain which lasted from 1935 to 1937 and ended in defeat for the Fascist Army.
What if George V had died in 1935 and Edward VIII had attempted to marry Wallis Simpson that year?
|British Civil War|
The King is Dead
At 7.00 AM 5th April 1935 King George V of United Kingdom died peacefully in his sleep. His son and heir Edward, Prince of Wales, was proclaimed king. On news of King George's death and after previously promising to resign from office on King George's silver jubilee (6th May 1935) Prime Minister Ramsay MacDonald resigns in favour of Stanley Baldwin. To the dismay of Baldwin Edward has invited to his coronation on 20th May his lover Wallis Simpson. But against Baldwin's greatest wishes Mrs Simpson was not removed from the guest list.
On 10th June Edward declared that he was to marry Mrs Simpson. In his speech he made it clear that " I will be unable to carry out my duties as king without the help and support of the woman I love". But Baldwin and Parliament refused to allow a king to marry a divorced woman, particularly a unpredictable American heiress who was very friendly to Nazi Germany. In answer to this Edward declared Baldwin a fraud and summoned him to Buckingham Palace on 17th June where he deposed him and replaced him with far right politician Sir Oswald Mosley and established the British Union of Fascists as the governing party.
On 20th July 1935 Oswald Mosley declared his cabinet to be:
Prime Minister: Oswald Mosley
Party Secretary: William Joyce
Chancellor of Exchequer: John Erskine, Lord Erskine
Minister of War: Major General J.F.C. Fuller
On 25th June 1935 Mosley raised the BUF flag over Canterbury and 10,000 Fascists marched into the city as a show of force. The arrested the pro Yorkist Archbishop Lang followed but the people of Canterbury stood up in force against his arrest. Lang was taken to the tower of London.
A group of about 1000 protesters stood up against the arrest of the archbishop and began chanting and demanding his release. The Fascists that had taken over the town centre attacked them with various weapons including knives, clubs and a handful of firearms. 235 protesters were killed, and 28 Fascists were killed when a handful of anti-Fascists obtained a few rifles and shot back. However, the protest was put down within an hour, and the Fascists had dominated the town.
Former Prime Minister Stanley Baldwin, who had escaped London with his family and a few members of his Cabinet including the Chancellor, Minister of War, Foreign Minister and the Home Secretary after the Fascist government took over, was in hiding in a cottage in Buckinghamshire where he and his former government planned to fight back against the Fascist oppressors. After contacting trusted members within the War Office, an infantry brigade left Aldershot with the intention of removing Mosley from power. However, they were spotted and troops loyal to the Fascists were dispatched to stop them.
At 8:06 AM, the first shots of the British Civil War were fired. The "Battle of Southampton" began when troops loyal to democracy(later the would become known as the British Parliamentary Forces) were moving through Southampton on their way to London. Fascist troops arrived in Southampton at the same time and engaged them. Around 800 Free troops, backed by some light artillery and a few tanks faced off against almost 1200 Fascists, with heavy artillery and 30 tanks.
Fascist artillery began hammering the Free Army (and any civilians who were in the way) and left the city centre in ruins. Fascist infantry quickly began to push the Free troops back, although they were made to fight for every inch of ground gained. Almost half the Fascists tanks had been destroyed in the first three hours of the battle, although by then only one Free Army tank remained operational. By the fifth hour of the battle, the news of fighting was being reported over the BBC in London, which was under Fascist control and accused Free troops of attacking civilians for no reason. By the sixth hour, Free soldiers were running low on ammo and many were dead or wounded. Much of Southampton was in ruins and close to 2,000 civilians had died. At 2:35 PM the same day, the Free Army commander, Colonel Robert Peterson, agreed to surrender.
The Free Government, having heard the news of the battle, moved again, this time to a secure estate near Newcastle due to the fact the north of Britain, particularly north England and Scotland were more inclined towards the Left of politics and hence would be more anti-Fascist.
Many Members of Parliament, with the exception of Mosley's Fascists, were arrested. Those who hadn't been arrested fled north upon hearing rumours of a rebel government led by Stanley Baldwin. The government made contact with the remaining MP's and formed the National Coalition Government made up of MPs from the Labour, Conservative and Liberal parties and thus styled themselves "The Parliamentarians" in honour of those who had fought on Parliament's side during the First English Civil War in the 17th century. One of these MPs who had recently arrived, happened to be none other than Conservative MP Winston Churchill.
The National Coalition Government (NCG) made contact with members of the Anti-Fascist Resistance in Newcastle, who had been carrying out hit and run raids on Mosley's Army, and with their help made contact with several high ranking military officers who were loyal to Parliament.
On the 1st of May 1935, General Bernard Montgomery arrived in secret at Redford Army Barracks and met with the officers there. They spoke with the rest of the men and all of them felt strongly that it was their duty to stand against Mosley and Fascism. Contact was made with other military bases in Glasgow, Inverness, Fife, Newcastle and York where soldiers, sailors and airmen decided to fight the Fascists. Civil War was now truly about to begin.By the 5th of May, the British Parliamentary Forces (BPF) were organised and left their bases to set up defensive positions in the north of the country. Known Fascists in the north were arrested and executed although a great majority of the population welcomed the BPF with open arms as they entered the cities. This was greeted with shock and dismay by Mosley's government in Downing Street, who still had full control over Southern and Central England, as well as Wales. The situation in Northern Ireland, however, began to deteriorate as the IRA attacks increased against Fascists, and even groups loyal to Britain joined with the IRA to fight against Fascism. Mosley ordered the army to be mobilised and began sending troops north to fight the BPF.
It had been a week since the Battle of Southampton, and it now seemed that a major war was about to commence. Both sides were rushing troops to the front and mobilising their reserves. At 5:43 AM on the morning of May 6th 1935, the British Parliamentary Army launched its offensive. Over 75,000 troops, backed by tanks, artillery and aircraft from RAF bases in Scotland and Northern England attempted to drive the Fascists back meeting with only some success. The BPF captured Carlisle after a short but bloody battle and killed over 1000 Fascists, losing only 234 men in the process. It was considered the first BPF victory of the war. RAF bombers targeted Manchester and Liverpool, destroying several factories whilst other aircraft bombed Fascist air bases across Central England and Wales.
THE SIEGE OF YORK
Troops loyal to Parliament began an uprising against the Fascists in York on the same day the offensive started, supported by the majority of the city's police as well as armed civilian militias. The Fascist Army was immediately routed from the city having sustained heavy losses compared to only a handful of BPF losses. This victory was short lived, as York was miles from the front lines up north and there was no way to reinforce the city meaning that York would have to go it alone for quite a while. Cut off and surrounded the Royal Air Force battered the city from the air, whilst heavy artillery took its toll from the ground. The defenders of York, despite facing overwhelming odds, did not contemplate surrender, and the city fought on regardless of the daily bombing raids, food shortages and power outages.