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Iago of Wales (Welsh History Post Glyndwr)

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Iago of Wales
20th King of Wales

20. Iago.jpg
King of Wales
King of Wales
Reign 5th May 1920 - 16th August 1950
Coronation 10th May 1921
Predecessor Iorwerth
Successor Marged
Principality of Morgannwg
Reign 5th May 1920 - 1942
Predecessor Iorwerth of Morgannwg
Successor Owain I of Morgannwg
Spouse Alice Harrington
Issue Crown Prince Owain of Wales
Full name
Iago Frederick Rhisiart Carl Odoardo Nicholas Morgannwg
Posthumous name
Iago Gormeswr (the Tyrant)
House House of Morgannwg
Father Iorwerth Cystennin Auguste Pawl Morgannwg
Mother Alexandra Oldenburg
Born 7 July 1902
Palas Cwm Hyfryd
Died 16 August 1950
Palas Cwm Hyfryd
Burial Royal Crypts, Strata Flordia
Religion Roman Catholic

Iago is probably the most controversial of any of the Welsh monarchs to have sat on the Welsh throne. Known to posterity as "the Tyrant" he presided over some of the most turbulent years in Welsh history since the Restoration in 1796. During his reign Wales would see the Five Year Autocracy, involvement in the Irish War of Independence, the Turko-Greek War, Communist Uprisings in the southern valleys, alliance with Nazi Germany, the attempt to merge Wales into the German Reich, Military Government. Iago himself would become a cypher, prisoner in Castell Coch and the monarchy would come close to collapse. The end of his reign would see an attempted Communist takeover and the declaration of the Peoples Republic of Wales (Gwerinlywodraeth Pobl Cymru) with only the effectual takeover of Wales by the US preventing this. As such his reign is seen as a kaleidoscope covering early highs, late lows and the survival of a reduced House of Morgannwg into the 1950's.

Early Life

Born on the 7th July 1902 in the Palas Cwm Hyfryd to the Crown Prince Iorwerth and the Crown Princess Alexandra, Iago represented the future security of the Welsh Crown. The male line of Arthur was not flourishing and whilst Iago would later have two male cousins (Prince Cystenin born 1903 and Prince Heinrich Wittelsbach born 1910) at the time the future of the Welsh Crown had looked like devolving to the descendants of Elen de Borbon of Spain. As such Iago's birth was a triumph and treated as such. Iago's childhood was to be a relatively happy one. Unlike many of his ancestors he was brought up in a household which contained both his birth parents, and his father was actively involved in Iago's early years. As Iago grew into his teens however, the Kings influence faded. In 1917, the 15 year old Edling enrolled in the Military College Ludlow, studying to be a Cavalry Officer. There his political leanings grew increasingly right wing. A new generation of Welsh Officers were growing up in a world where Wales had a voice at the international table, and whilst Wales had not formally joined the European War of 1914-18, Wales' influence had continued to grow due to the ecomonic support it offered the Allied Forces. Iago however, also developed a strong almost xenophobic dislike of the English whilst in college. This was down mainly to an incident with an English Officer Cadet who had failed to show the proper respect to a Crown Prince. In Iago's unbending world view, this became a point of honour which was to colour his dealings with the British State for his entire reign. Another sour note in the Edling's last years before ascending the throne was the increasing distance between father and son. Iorwerth, increasingly aware of the need to liberalise the Welsh political scene and to moderate the reach and power of the Crown had begun to freeze his heir from political matters. Iago's increasingly right wing views had begun to worry the king but his early death undid all his work to limit the ambitions of his son. Iago passed out from Military College on the 10th July 1919, taking up a billet as Is-Gapten Ail Ddosbarth in the 2nd (The King's) Morgannwg Hussars. Based at the Regimental Barracks in Amwythig, Iago spent the next year training, little realising how soon his life would change.

The other major change during his college years would be his marriage to the English commoner, Alice Harrington. Daughter of an instructor in the college, Iago fell in love not long after enrolling at the college. The marriage was not overly opposed by his father, though it did require an act of parliament to allow their descendants to ascend the throne. The marriage was the main hypocrisy of Iago's later anglophobic policies. His English Queen was to remain his closet ally and friend until her death in 1944.

Iago - Brenin Cymru

Palace of Cwm Hydref

Palas Cwm Hydref in the suburbs of Caerdydd

The sudden death of the king on the 5th May 1920 while flying his plane over the Snowdonia mountains changed Iago's life forever. Catapulted at the age of 17 to the throne, Iago instantly dismissed calls for a Regency Council. Close enough to his 18th birthday, the new king saw no need for a Regency Council. The biggest event however in his first year was the explosion of more political riots in Caerdydd. Led by some of the left wing politicians in the Ty Isod, the riots raged for two weeks in the centre of the capital. Enraged by this flagerant act of disrespect for his authority, Iago responded by bringing the army into things. Putting the riots down, the king then summoned the leading men from both Houses to Cwm Hyfryd. The king, young, forceful, and as yet uncaring of his father's lessons, declared the post of Chancellor to be void. The Lower House was to be dissolved, with no election date posted and the Upper House was to be retained purely in an administrative function only. Thus began the Five Year Autocracy of Iago.

The Five Year Autocracy

1920-25 was the period of the 5 Year Autocracy. It was not a true autocracy in the Russian sense, but a semi-autocracy. Iago could not rule without the help of the Senedd, the 1901 Constitution saw to that. What Iago could do, however, was to rule without the "commons" or the Lower House. The position of Chancellor was still held to be an Upper House position, but the last Chancellor, Gethin Williams, had transferred from the Upper House to the Lower House when he achieved the position in 1919. This led to the permanent transfer of the Chancellorship to the Lower House. This movement of the position however meant that for these five years there was no official Chancellor.

During this period Iago would have a largely free hand in both domestic and foreign policy, although his touch was not smooth. This led to increasing dissatisfaction with his direct rule. Coupled with the first rumblings of Communist discontent in the South Wales Valleys led to the reinstatement of the Lower House in 1925, with Vaughn Fychan taking over as Chancellor sitting as Williams before him had in the Ty Isod.

Welsh Involvement in the Irish War of Independence

The Irish struggle against the United Kingdom started back in the reign of Iorwerth, and whilst he was sympathetic to the cause, offered little in practical help to the Republican's. Iago however, had offered help to Sein Fein back in 1918. During 1919 the Irish State fought against the Anglo-Scots alone, with the Welsh Kingdom offering sympathy to the Republican's but little in material aid. This changed with Iago's rise to the throne. As the Welsh government fell, to be replaced with Iago's autocracy, the Welsh sympathies with the Irish began to be translated into material aid.

Firstly funds were channeled to the Irish Government along with small amounts of arms and ammunition. This alone was not enough to sustain the Irish effort against the Anglo-Scots. The Navy, re-launching one of their more powerful battleships, the LPM Griffwn, had it sit on the main ship route from Liverpool to Belfast, not impeding British shipping, but acting as a watchtower, reporting on troop ship movements to the Ulster capital. In April 1920, Iago sent General Llewellyn Guto to Dublin as an advisor to the Irish Government and by July the first troops from Wales landed in Cork. Men from the South Seas Regiment and the African Regiment were barracked just outside Cork whilst another ship, the cruiser LPM Hebog (HMBS Falcon in English) was dispatched to the aid the Griffwn (June 1920). In response the British placed four ships to shadow the Welsh ships. The naval tensions increased tenfold once the British ships arrived at station with the LPM Myrddin steaming from Milford Haven arriving at station in late August 1920. The seven ships circled each other, shadowing each others moves, and between them largely causing a complete halt to shipping in the upper Irish Sea. Welsh troop deployments to Ireland however were able to continue until September 1920 when HMS Tiger and Repulse appeared in the Celtic Sea staying just outside Welsh territorial waters but remaining within Irish ones. By this point however, men from the 2nd Battalion Hereford Rifles (including the future Lt Gen Pritchard) and men from the 2nd (The King's) Morgannwg Hussars had arrived in Cork. For the rest of 1920, the Welsh forces exist in political and military limbo. Iago has not declared war on the British, and the British whilst demanding that the Welsh forces retire from Ireland make no move to force the issue. By March 1921 the Irish Dail finally declared war on the British State and with this declaration, Iago felt that he could now enter the fray. Sending diplomats to London, Iago proposed a peaceful granting of independence to Ireland guaranteed by Welsh soldiers. This initial offering was refused by the British Government, and so Iago allowed General Guto to move troops from Cork, marching towards Dublin. During this move, Captain Pritchard and men from the Hereford Rifles were ambushed by men from the Black & Tan's and the RIC. In a short battle in the woods outside Mallow (just north of Cork) Capt Pritchard and his men routed and captured 20 men, killing another 10. Welsh troops continued to move north, passing Dublin in early May 1921, while the diplomats from both Dublin and Caerdydd continued to negotiate in London, with the leading Welsh diplomat (Syr Wyn Gangele) suggested an Act of Religious Freedom, an act guaranteeing the rights of the Protestant minority to continue unmolested. The Welsh State would then act as guarantor to the Irish Free State in the provisions of religious freedoms.

By the beginning of July Welsh forces entered County Armagh, encountering resistance from the British Army. The one and only pitched battle between Welsh and British forces occured on the 19th July at Banbridge, with the Welsh forces scattering the British forces and opening the road to Belfast. With the Cease Fire, the Welsh troops barracked down in Banbridge, awaiting the results of the poiticians talks.

With Welsh forces in Northern Ireland and with the guarantee of the Act of Religious Freedoms, the British were pressured into abandoning plans for partition, with the Irish Free State gaining its official independence intact, although Welsh troops remained in the Free State for the next 5 years.

The Greek-Turkish War and the Welsh Involvement

Welsh direct involvement in this war dates back to 1902 Treaty of St Davids, a defence treaty between Wales and the Greek Kingdom. Under the terms of this treaty, Wales was bound to come to the aid of Greece in times of war. During the 1914-18 European War this treaty was stretched as Wales officially refused to become involved in the conflicts. This became awkward when the British opened the Salonika Front against the wishes of the Greek King. With the war over and by means of a palace coup de tat a new king (Alexander), Iorwerth hoped to rebuild the ties between the countries. This continued under Iago leading to an army division being sent to aid the Greeks. The war itself was long and costly both in terms of men, money and political will at home. Coupled with the Irish War, Wales would lose 4000 men in active duty during this period and just short of 5000 injured. With the end of the war however, Iago traveled to Constantinople to be present at the service of thanksgiving held in the Hagia Sophia, the first official Christian service held there since 1453 (held December 19th 1922)

Post Autocracy Wales 1925-1930

Wales during the five years of Iago's personal rule had started peacefully. With troops fighting either in Ireland or Turkey and with the added strain of Imperial policing around the Welsh Empire Iago relied more and more upon the Royal Welsh Police Service and the Army Reserves (who were mainly the old and very young) to maintain order within the Kingdom. The reinstatement of full parliamentary privilege occurred in late 1924 when after four years Iago was taken ill with exhaustion. With the domestic front growing more volatile, the Communist Party had started making ominous rumblings within the South Wales valleys, Iago was convinced that the best way to preserve peace and retain his crown was to return to the 1904 Constitution. Within six months of the return of the Lower House to full powers, the southern valleys exploded in open rebellion. The Communist Party orchestrating a revolt centred around the industrial heartlands of Morgannwg. 

Although by now Wales was no longer involved in Ireland or Turkey, the army was barely able to cope. Service cuts made in 1923 had reduced the numbers of active servicemen and suddenly faced with increasing chaos so close the capital, the Government under Chancellor Fychan ordered the reserves mobilised.

After almost two months the Army and the Reserves, aided by the increasing use of aircraft from the Air force the uprising was brutally put down. The damage however was done. Politically the Welsh Communists saw their support rise whilst the old traditional Welsh political system (which was still largely non-party based) nose dived. A new party (Christian Democratic Party) established itself at the same time as a centre right party to combat the rise of the Communists. For the remainder of the 1920's, politically Wales seemed to lurch from minor political crisis to minor political crisis. In September 1925 the Finance Minister resigned due to a highly public divorce (something quite rare in Catholic Welsh society at the time). In March 1926, Fychan's position as Chancellor was challenged, Fychan survived, but his grip on the Senedd was weakened.

Socially and economically, Wales in the late 1920’s, like the majority of Europe seemed to be enjoying a period of prosperity. Wales, having not taken direct part in the European War, had made a lot of money from arms and supply sales to various states, the Asian War had been revenue neutral in the end with increased sales to the enlarged Greek state, and the Irish War had not seen a huge drain on the public coffers. The resultant flush of money in the Welsh economy enabled the growth of all the major cities and towns

1926 saw the laying down of the first purposely-built aircraft carriers for the navy. This represented the economic high point of the late 20's. The LPM Bellerophon and LPM Daedalus (both launched 1930) would form the backbone of the Welsh fleet up until the breakout of the Great War.

As the decade wound down, Iago left more and more of the day to day government to Chancellor Fychan and the increasingly confident Senedd. Iago had reached his limitations and kept himself to the Privy Council. He was not above issuing directives from the Council, but he no longer attempted to control the Government in the same way as he had in the early 1920's.
LPM Bellerophon

The LPM Bellerophon leaving Milford Haven c. 1938

The 1930's; Depression and the rise of Welsh Fascism

The fragility of both Wales' and the worlds economy was shown to all with the economic crash of 1929. With the Wall Street Crash of that year, the economic shock waves reverberated and with the crash of the British economy suddenly Wales was faced with a crisis not of its own making. The Welsh economy had since the European war been slowing down. Its main trading partner had always been Britain, and following the Irish War Britain had been reluctant to depend on Welsh exports to the same extent it had during the Ricardian and Edwardian (Iorwerthian) eras. Welsh companies had expanded into new markets, primarily, German and Greek but these countries were also experiencing a sudden crash of their own, all of which left Welsh companies relying on internal markets to succeed. With the industrial heartlands no longer needing to produce to the same levels, men were laid off, unprofitable pits closed. The economic domino effect had begun, with less purchasing power in the internal market and decreasing customer's in the external market, Wales entered the depression.

The Great Depression

Dole queues c.1932

The political climate had changed as well, with the first properly contested Ty Isaf elections in 1931. The new political parties in Wales (the Communist Party, the Christian Democrats, the Social Democrats and the Catholic Party all contesting control of the Lower House and the Chancellorship. The election was a bitter one with all four parties launching accusations of fraud at each other. The end result saw the CDP narrowly winning a majority of seats in the Ty Isaf, with the Communist Party sitting as the largest opposition party. The new Chancellor, Gwillym Howells, had the narrowest of majorities (3 seats) and tried to form a coalition with the Catholic Party. This coalition resulted in a degree of stability, but with the economic instability most of the next two years was spent trying to salvage the Welsh economy.

By the end of 1932 the Coalition Government led by Howells was teetering on the brink of collapse. The Welsh banking system was failing, unemployment was growing and riots were again becoming more prevalent on the streets of the Welsh capital (and other cities). The birth of 1933 saw the final act of the first CDP-Catholic government. The Banking Act would see the creation of Wales' first central bank, controlled by the Government the Bank's role was to try to regulate the Welsh economy by controlling interest rates and advising the Finance Minister on fiscal matters. This act would be the last roll of the dice for Howells. The Communist Party had been pressing the Catholics to split from the Government in order to force an election and with the defection of four CDP members to the SDP in March, the Catholic Party formally left the Coalition. The election in May however would see a result unanticipated by most of the political commentators. In a similar way to Germany, Italy and Spain, Wales had seen in the rise of the depression the rise of a new political party.

The Plaid Ffasgaidd (The Fascist Party) had seen its birth around the same time as the Communist Party in Wales, but had had a slower growth. With the depression however and the rise of Mussolini in Italy and the recent rise of Hitler in Germany the party had seen a flood of new members. The result was that in the election of 1933 the fascists became the second largest party in the Ty Isaf. The CDP was again the largest party, with the Communists a close third. The SDP and the Catholic Party had both been more or less wiped out in terms of seats (ten and eighteen respectively). In order to form a majority the Fascists formed a coalition with the Catholic Party. Although the combined ranks of the CDP and Communists outnumbered the new government, they were unwilling to act together to bring down the new government led by Iorwerth Bychsten. In an attempt to strengthen his hand, Bychsten dissolved the Senedd again in the September and in the following election took significant inroads into CDP territory. The Fascist Party retained the support of the Catholics in a coalition but their support was no longer necessary as the rump CDP was not in a position to outnumber the Fascists in the Ty Isaf.

Fascist party flag

The party flag of the Welsh Fascist's (Plaid Ffasgaidd)

With his control of the Ty Isaf now more secure, Bychsten astounded his political rivals with the signing of a treaty with the Nazis. The Treaty of Berlin, signed in December 1933 aligned Wales with Nazi Germany. This was an unusual step as Wales' natural allies had long been Spain and France, with alliances to the Anglo-Scot's a treaty obligation from the Treaty of Shrewsbury. The treaty of Berlin smashed this preconception amongst the diplomatic corp. The German alliance brought with it special advisors to Wales. The military advisors were principally interested in the Welsh Air force (though there was also interest in the formation of a Welsh Submarine Force as well). The civilian advisors were interested in economic and policing matters. The semi moribund UDC was given a renewed lease of life during the 1930's. The old Ricardian secret police had since the reign of Iorwerth slowly lost power and influence. Under Iago and the German security advisor (Helmuth Von Klinkerhoffen) the UDC sees a renewed sense of strength and purpose in its role as Wales' principal security service (the 30's also saw the first formal creation of an external intelligence service called "Y Gwasanaeth Cudd-wybodaeth" or The Intelligence Service shortened to YGC).

The civilian advisors also helped to formulate plans to stimulate the Welsh economy in similar ways to Germany. The first such project was the huge construction of the Traffordd (Motorway) system. The first such road, the T1 connected the port of Abergwaun (Fishguard) with Penfro via Hwlffordd & Aberdaugleddyf (Haverfordwest and Milford Haven). The T2 ran from Hwlffordd to Caerfyrddin, where it became the T3 and ran via Abertawe and Caerdydd towards Casnewydd. At Casnewydd the T4 then ran north towards Amwythig by way of Trefynwy (Monmouth), Henffordd and Llwydlo with a branch towards Caerwrangon Cymraeg (Welsh
Autobahn22

The T1 'Motorway' in 1933

Worcester). At Amwythig, the T5 ran up towards Croesoswallt (Oswestry) to Wrecsam. There the T6 ran up to the coast and along the northern coast towards Caernarfon.

This new infrastructure coupled with the widening and improvement of many other key roads (such as the A5 from Wrecsam to Bangor and the road from Amwythig to Machynlleth and Aberystwyth all had key military value. In 1935, on the advice of the Germans, Bychsten ordered the general rearmament of the Welsh military, ordering new equipment from tanks to aircraft (both home produced and bought from Germany). New air bases started to spring up, with LAFG Sylfaen (RWAF Base) Llandwrog outside Caernarfon, LAFG Sylfaen Penrhos in Llyn, to the expansion of LAFG Sylfaen Llanilltyd Fawr in the south. The Navy saw its fleet expand with the creation of the Submarine Force (Llong Danfor Llu) and the laying down of the Constellation class light aircraft carriers. All these events caused a rise in tensions with the British state, but buoyed by the German alliance, both Senedd and Monarch for the time being were blind to downsides. The military itself was split with several senior officers in favour of the German alliance with others more skeptical of Hitler's motives.

The political tensions within Wales continued to build during the 1930's. The government of Bychsten was not universally popular, with the both the Communists and the CDP rallying against it. In 1938 though, these tensions spilled over into rioting. The riots were so severe in Caerdydd, that Iago was forced to retire to the Army Headquarters in Caerfilli. The aim of the rioters was to remove Bychsten from office, but gradually sentiment turned against Iago, who was perceived (rightly) as being highly influential behind the scenes. The rioters turned their attention to the King, suddenly demanding his abdication in favour of the highly popular Edling, the 17 year old Prince Owain.

The King, using the newly invigorated UDC quickly crushed the riots, though both he and Bychsten were shaken by the violence and the spread of the riots. Not only Caerdydd, but Caerodor, Abertawe, Caernarfon, Harlech, Llwydlo, Amwythig, Penfro, Aberystwyth. All had seen significant numbers of protesters on the streets. One upshot of the protests however was the movement of German troops into Wales. During the two months of rioting and protesting, German soldiers slowly took over all of the civilian airports and took up key positions in all the military air bases. This movement had not gone unnoticed by the Army High Command, but they were not in a position to act yet, although the head of the army, Maeslywydd Thomas argues strongly against further nazification of the Welsh services. The remainder of 1938 would see the Germans establish depots at Penfro and Llwydlo and move elements of their air force into Wales.

Relationship with the British State

During Iago's reign the relationship with the United Kingdom would sink to its lowest level since the reign of Dafydd V, with the British Army poised in 1940 to invade the Welsh Kingdom. At the start of Iago's reign the relationship was strained. Under Iorwerth, Wales had failed to honour its treaty obligations during the European War of 1914-18 and Iorwerth had encouraged the Irish nationalists. Under Iago however, such support had led to active Welsh involvement in the Irish Wars. Although Wales was also instrumental in ending the war she had lead to the reduction of Anglo-Scotish territory. Iago himself nurtured a deep seated hatred of the English, an ironic twist given his wifes English heritage. Such hatred however coloured his political leanings and with the advent of Bychsten he had found his political soulmate. The Treaty of Berlin was a calculated slap in the face of the anglophiles both in court and in the Senedd. The long history of the Welsh military following the Anglo-Scottish leads was broken with the increasing influence of the German advisors. The final break came with the German invasion of Poland and the British declaration of war. Under the terms of the Treaty of Shrewsbury, Wales was to side with the British, but, just as in 1914, Wales refused to honour its obligations. This time however Wales was host to men and material from Germany and represented a direct threat to the UKES's security especially in light of the rapid advance of the Germans. By the Fall of France in May 1940, Wales now not only represented a clear danger to England's safety but was acting in such a way as to highlight it. The professional head of the army had been dismissed, the Senedd moved to a secure location in Machynlleth and in March 1940, Hitler had been declared Welsh Chancellor thus firmly allying Wales to Nazi Germany.

With the British Army poised to invade an internal military coup led by the deposed head of the army removed Iago from power and allied Wales to the Anglo-Scottish state, but Churchill did not trust the Welsh and both he and the Americans spent the entire war making sure that there was no danger of a Welsh knife in the Allies back.

The Great War of 1939-45

The greatest challenge of Iago's reign occurred in September 1939 when the Germans invaded Poland, leading the British and French to declare war. As Wales was by now firmly allied to the Axis Powers, Iago had no hesitation in declaring war on the Anglo-Scottish state. Iago's next actions were to purge the top levels of the Army by dismissing the head of the Armed Forces, Maeslywyd Thomas (along with other top level generals and admirals) and the removal of the Senedd from Caerdydd back to Machynlleth where the senators were placed under close protection (with German officers commanding the Welsh troops).

The Chancellor (Bychsten) by now is struggling to control events within Wales. The UDC is now exercising more power than before and Iago is starting to crack the reins of power again via the Secretariat. Bychsten's government quickly fails (helped by intriguing from the English and a lack of support from Iago) and with the failure of the government the German military in Wales seizes all key air bases and border control points. As in the 1920's Iago is again an autocrat ruling Wales, but his hand is less sure than before. Thomas is still free, Iago lacking the steel for mass political executions, and as a result Iago grows to depend more on the Germans to maintain his power.

The need to shore up his power base led Iago to an inevitable conclusion, Wales must enter the Reich! To that end on the 1st January 1940, Hitler (in absentia) was declared Chancellor of Wales, with Helmuth Von Klinkerhoffen acting as his proxy Deputy Chancellor within Wales. A stand off now occurred with Von Klinkerhoffen not strong enough to deal with the potential rebels, Thomas had gone to ground in his native county of Gwlad yr Haf where the garrison of Caerodor proved hugely loyal to their former commander, and the potential political rebels were still playing the loyal "kings men" for the most part. This phony war continued until March 1940 when Iago panics. With the war seemingly in a hiatus on the continent and with the British moving army units close to the town of English Worcester (sitting across from Welsh Worcester and one of the main river Severn crossings) Iago declares that Wales is joining "the German union of Nations). The news causes rioting throughout all the major cities in Wales and Thomas takes his chance. Taking control of the broadcasting tower in Caerodor, Thomas broadcasts a message throughout Wales declaring a state of emergency and calling for all army units "loyal to the Welsh Nation and the Crown" to join him in saving Iago from the evils of the German advisors who had so obviously coerced him into betraying Wales.

German Checkpoint

German checkpoint in Caerdydd

Thomas had been building towards this since late 1939 and early 1940 with the formation of the Gwrthwynebaid Gymraeg (Welsh Resistance) and from his base in Caerodor had been well placed for secret talks with the Anglo-Scottish government. With the English 4th Army now advancing on the two Worcesters, Thomas moved from Caerodor to Penfro to gauge the support of the navy. He was not disappointed. The navy (unlike the army and air force) had seen the least German interference and Thomas encountered no problems with his request that the navy find ways to frustrate the Germans. Beginning with a quiet blockade of all major Welsh ports, sunken ships, refits of warships blocking access to harbour berths, a period of quiet obstruction now began to occur across Welsh harbours. Iago and Von Klinkerhoffen began to move troops loyal to Iago and German troops towards the key ports, seeking to take control in the same way they had taken over the air bases.

It was at this time that Iago feared he had lost control of the Senedd. The Fascist government of Bychsten had been paralysed since the October of 1939 when he had lost control and then replaced by Von Klinkerhoffen. In turn Von Klinkerhoffen did not have complete control of the Fascist Party. Defections from the ruling party to others (mainly the centre right CDP) and the effective usurpation of executive power by Iago and the Secretariat had left the Senedd with little to do. As such Thomas was able to recruit within its members men who would be willing to help him.

Events on the continent now took a more urgent turn. May 1940 saw Nazi Germany launch its invasion of the Low Countries and France and Hitler saw this as a chance to move more troops into Wales. Increasingly, the Iagoist officers in the army were more and more outnumbered by those willing to side with Thomas. The Air force still remained largely loyal to Iago and the regime, but there were enough elements there to ensure its neutrality should Thomas make any moves.

With the end of May and the fall of France the UK-ES formally declared war against Wales and continues to build up its concentration of troops across the banks of the Severn. In desperation Iago orders the mobilisation of the army under the command of Von Klinkerhoffen who moves with the army to Llwydlo. Officers loyal to Thomas by now have taken over control of the garrisons in both Caerdydd and Machynlleth and as June progress' fears in Wales that another invasion by the English is about to happen grows. In July Thomas makes his move. The army elements loyal to Von Klinkerhoffen are on the border facing the English and on the morning of the 7th July 1940 Thomas issues his gwawr aur (golden dawn) order. Throughout Wales, the army and naval infantry units loyal to him strike. The first actions take place in Penfro and Milford Haven. The 1st Company (Naval Infantry) took on the their German naval counterparts the 22nd Marine-Schützen (Marine Riflemen) company. The gwawr aur order was issued at 4am on the 7th, by 8am following four hours of bloody fighting, both ports were firmly under Thomas' control. Next in Machynlleth men from the Grey's seized both the old Senedd buildings and all the senators. Throughout Wales, army and naval units engaged German troops. Then at 10am the second order (nythu eryr - eagles nest) was given. Llu Awyr Cadlywydd Panerian (Vaughan's successor) was arrested in Air force House, Caerdydd. With his arrest men from the newly formed No 2 Ground Defence unit (made up from men from both the Navy Infantry and men from the Gower Light Infantry) stormed the air bases throughout Wales, killing or capturing the German troops stationed there. The final battle of the day took place in Rhoose where the Grey Regiment engaged the men from the German Infantry Regiment No 9 (Potsdam. In a long and bloody battle which would see over 300 casualties across both side, the Germans surrendered late on the 8th July.
German-soldiers-wehrmacht-ww2-second-world-war-rare-pictures-images-008

German POWs marched into captivity near Southerndown in July 1940

During this time Caerdydd was silent. Phone lines were cut leaving Iago in the Palas Cwm Hydref isolated and unaware of the coup spreading across Wales. The first that Iago realised was when the palace commander, Milwraid Is-Gapten Bedyddiwr tried and failed to contact Von Klinkerhoffen in Llwydlo barracks. Thomas led the men representing all three of the services into the palace at noon on the 7th. Whilst Thomas entered the palace, army units from the Devils Offspring and the Border's were storming the UDC headquarters in Fairwater in Caerdydd. The Palace guard under Bedyddiwr made a stand in the palace gardens whilst Iago attempted to escape. The palace guard were men from the Black Lion regiment, the same regiment which betrayed Cystennin at the start of the Welsh Civil War and Bedyddiwr was determined that the unit would not suffer that indignity twice. 30 men died before Thomas persuaded the commander to stand down in honour. Iago was quickly found trying to escape across country towards Abertawe.

Thomas orders Iago taken to Castell Coch under armed guard. Once Iago is out from Caerdydd Thomas orders the army units which had been pulled from Llwydlo to return and surround Von Klinkerhoffen who surrendered
Klinkerhoffen

SS Obergruppenfuhrer Von Klinkerhoffen following his surrender to Thomas in 1940

on the 10th July. With his hands firmly on the levers of power, Thomas contacted the British and informed them that Wales was no longer allied to Germany and would be honouring its treaty obligations. Churchill's response was to leave the Anglo-Scottish 4th army firmly camped on the Welsh border.

Iago was now placed under house arrest and confined to Castell Coch and with August Thomas declares a military government and martial law throughout Wales. The Senedd is reconvened in Caerdydd without the Fascist Party senators. The Navy now steams from port and takes its place alongside the UKES navy in combating the German navy. On the 1st August Thomas was also declared Chancellor of Wales and begins to lead the Welsh war effort.

With his imprisonment Iago suffered a breakdown resulting in his being confined to bed whilst recovering. The English for their part spent the rest of 1940 pushing Thomas to introduce democratic reforms something Thomas resists for the time being. As the war progress' the Welsh military begin to engage the Germans. The Navy fighting in the Atlantic, the air force over Europe and the army first in Africa and then in Italy and France. Wales suffers bombing raids from the Germans but less severe than the raids suffered by the English cities. With the introduction of the American's into the war Thomas finds himself placed under even greater pressure to reform Welsh politics. Iago is pressured into granting the office of Chancellor executive powers and Thomas is forced into accepting the presence of American troops on Welsh soil. By the end of the war over 50,000 American troops would be stationed here.

1945-1950

By the end of the war Thomas had been in power for five years. The first major crisis however occurred within weeks of the VE celebrations. Iago was released from the house arrest he had suffered during the war and with royal sentiment at an all time low Communist riots broke out throughout the country. These riots continue throughout the end of 1945 with Thomas struggling to contain them. President Truman does not help by demanding increased political freedoms in Wales, from a lowering of the voting age to the full enfranchisement of women voters. The riots continue into 1946 where they explode into a full Communist revolt with an attempted coup led by Rheged ap Seith, the Communist Party leader. Though it was defeated it was an early warning to both Thomas and Truman. As a result Thomas put up less resistance to American demands, leading to the troop agreement (something which would see American troops stationed in Wales well into the 1980's)

Thomas also looked to solve the succession crisis. With the death of the Edling during the Great War Iago had refused to nominate his sister as heir to the throne. He had tried to annul the Succession Act which fixed the Welsh succession on the heirs and descendants of Arthur regardless of sex. In 1947 Thomas succeeded in bullying Iago into putting an Order in Council recognising her as heir.

The Americans continued to place more and more pressure on Thomas as the decade ground out. This lead to the elections of 1949 where Thomas relinquished power after nine years in office. The resulting election, however, was a complete farce. Rheged ap Seith led the Communist Party to victory taking over half the seats in the Ty Isaf. With countries throughout Europe falling to the Communists it looked like Wales would soon be joining their numbers.

The end of Iago's reign however would be shrouded in mist and controversy. Following the Ty Isaf elections, the American's started forcing more reforms through. Modernising the Ty Uchaf, giving universal suffrage to 18 year olds and introducing the beginnings of proportional representation in elections. Iago fought against all this. With his son dead and his sister his nominated heir he no longer had anything to live for (his beloved wife dying in 1944). On the 16th August 1950 Iago was found dead in the Palas Cwm Hydref. Autopsy determined poison as the cause, but no one was ever charged. Conspiracies included the Americans, the Communists, Thomas, and suicide and the mystery would endure.

Legacy

Iago's legacy is a mixed one. On one hand his reign saw an explosion in the military capability and reach of the Welsh forces. The transport network was modernised, and by the end of the reign voting and electoral reform had seen full enfranchisment. But these advances were the result of a megalomanic despot needing a strong army, the transport network was the work of Germans, and electoral reform the result of American meddling.

It was during Iago's reign that the link between the Crown of Morgannwg and the Welsh throne was broken. With Iago under house arrest in Castell Coch, Thomas wanted to highlight the importance of the monarchy so elevated the Edling to the Princedom of Morgannwg, stripping his father of his princely title. This precedent was to be followed by all the monarchs who followed, with Marged Princess of Morgannwg from 1944, and Arthur becoming prince in 1950 and Llywelyn in his turn (1962)

Iago's actions throughout his reign almost led to the extinction of his house. At the end of his reign the succession of his sister was not a certainty and she would face a plebiscite to determine if she ought to ascend the throne. His posthumous title was "tyrant" and it would be a liberal man to deny it. The secret police, a child of the second Ricardian era was reinvigorated by Iago and it took until 1945 for Thomas to get a firm grip on that organisation. Iago very nearly damned Wales to Communist rule and it was only through the hard work of others that saw the ultimate red dream of Communist Wales still born during Iago's life.

Preceded by:
Iorwerth
King of Wales
1920-1950
Succeeded by:
Marged

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