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The Anarchy is the name given to a period of instability and civil war in England that has come largely unmatched anywhere else in the industrialized world between 1950 and 1956. Also referred to as the Second English Civil War, it is seen as the capstone end to England's position as the French Empire's subject state living in a position of anger over their loss in the Forty Days Campaign, and their reemergence as a new country backed by the United States of America. The Anarchy claimed the lives of nearly five million Englishmen, as well as 27,000 Scottish soldiers, 22,000 Irish soldiers, 54,000 French soldiers and 49,000 American soldiers.
Precursor to the Anarchy
The 1940's began in the Socialist Republic of England on a sour note; the economy was in shambles, they had been made a protectorate of the French Empire following their devastating defeat in the Irish War and the Socialist Party's competence was being questioned. Premier Winston Churchill was the head of the Party, and his economic policies had mixed success due to the heavy reparations being paid out and the ruined infrastructure in many English industrial hubs from French bombing in the Irish Wars.
Churchill was not a universally unpopular leader; he supported the Sebastienites during the French Civil War, and managed to establish a tentatively good rapport with Scotland during this time. In 1943 he described an ambitious vision for a new Socialist England that would be "the shining star of Europe by the year 1950". He secured the 1946 Summer Olympics to be held in London when questions arose over the viability of the games due to the still-ongoing French Civil War. At one point, Churchill traveled to Dresden to meet with Sebastien and arrange for a stronger postwar bond. On January 19th, 1944, as Churchill prepared to introduce a new Five Year Plan to Parliament he was assassinated as he looked out of his window over London.
Jonathon Trenton was the clear successor to Churchill due to his status within the Party, but he was seen as a bully. The Party factionalized following Churchill's death and a powerful, strong faction began to plot the overthrow of the weak and unpopular Trenton. During Trenton's rule, the English economy slid deeper into the hole that Churchill had begun to dig out of.
In 1945, the first signs of trouble emerged when Trenton got in a fistfight with powerful Party member Edward Kent. Kent demanded an apology from Trenton, which was stubbornly refused. He then called for the resignation of Trenton, to which Trenton responded in a mocking letter: "You haven't seen the worst of me, you cock-eyed bastard."
On May 20th, 1946, Trenton arrived in Parliament and realized that other members of the Party had brought guns with them. Kent's faction opened fire on Trenton and known Party members who supported him. Kent himself was shot in the head twice as the massive firefight engulfed Parliament. In all, forty-two men lost their lives that day in the Parliament Massacre, as it was known. With the Party having cannibalized itself, the only remaining Party member who had enough clout and experience to take over was Francis Turley, who many of the old-guard members of Parliament had never intended to usurp the Premiership.
The "Accidental Premier" was about as good of a leader as his name implied. Turley was intensely paranoid and routinely exiled other Party members that he believed were plotting against him, although in reality he was marginalizing his allies and removing able leadership from Parliament. As the 1940's drew to a close, he would come to regret this decision.
Economic Downturn and Collapse of Law
Some historians argue that the Anarchy began with Turley's rise to power, but the reality was that the Anarchy had been underway for some time. The English economy was in the deepest depression ever experienced by any industrialized nation. With France still recovering from its civil war and other Western powers reluctant to invest heavily in the English economy for fear of losing money, England began to print money. Hyperinflation began and soon the English pound was not worth the paper it was printed on.
Turley did little to appease the workers, who his Party claimed to support. Poverty had struck every corner of England and the deepening hole began to affect Scotland and Ireland, England's most critical trading partners. Stripped of colonial possessions that had fed the economy prior to the Irish War, England found itself sliding into a mire from which there was no clear recovery.
The lack of investment in the economy by the government led to the importance of local mayors and vicars, who struggled to keep their townships afloat. The first reports of starvation came in 1948, and in 1949 Turley received the sobering news that a militant army called the English Volunteers had been formed in central England to overthrow the Socialist Party and had the support of the Imperial government.
The crackdown against the Volunteers began that summer, and it was brutal. The English Army found itself being ordered to murder anyone and everyone suspected of aiding the Volunteers, and many soldiers defected. Turley began to realize that he was losing power, and that the most able commanders in England had all been exiled earlier in his reign.
In late 1949, the city of Manchester experienced a riot on a scale that had never been seen before in England. The city experienced warlike conditions as the Volunteers staged their counterattack against the Party. On Christmas Day, 1949, London experienced a similarly brutal uprising, this time by the English Worker's Army, an ultra-socialist faction that sought to crush the Volunteer presence in the capital. Turley resigned as Party leader on January 8th, 1950, with no clear successor. The Anarchy had begun.
Early Stages: 1950
Collapse of Socialist Government
Lawlessness had existed in pockets around England since Turley had assumed power, but shortly after the abdication of Turley, the Socialist Party collapsed entirely. Roger Folkes was the immediate successor of Turley, but he was quickly ousted by a military coup that put Edward Norrington in power on February 2nd. Norrington was assassinated on the 10th, and the Socialist Party, despite posturing, effectively ceased to exist.
The English Worker's Army, led by Henry Pierce, was the most powerful belligerent in the early conflict. Having seized control of London, the EWA sought to establish its control and claim legitimacy over all of England. Despite their tenous control over London, they couldn't avoid brutal violence against entrenched street gangs that had controlled the poor slums of London for almost two decades.
The Socialist government's collapse affected the countryside as well. Without clear central leadership, the Army's presence in the north and in Wales began to unravel. Commanders tried to prevent mutinies and were in turn quickly killed. No generals or ranking officers wanted to answer to Pierce, who claimed legitimacy in London. The People's Army began to form out of remnants of the English Army, and they were the best equipped to fight a long, violent war.
Law and order dissolved within a month of Norrington's assassination. By March, the English Police, which had been one of the few effective branches of the Socialist rule, was gone. Members hid their identities for fear of murder.
Parliament convened for the last time on March 8th, 1950. Several members were shot at by the EWA as they fled the House of Parliament that afternoon, and Pierce later barricaded the doors and threatened to kill anyone who dared question his rule of London.
Escalation of Crisis
At this point in the Anarchy, many assumed that Pierce would be able to entrench his position in London and slowly restore order in the capital, and from there re-establish normal government activities. The Revolution of 1909 had begun somewhat similarly and the Socialist Revolution had been a celebrated success.
The EWA's war with street gangs, however, proved to be its downfall. The EWA was comprised largely of unemployed blue-collar workers, who periodically engaged in brawls with gangs. The gangs, in particular the Roman Catholic South-Enders, took enormous offense to the aggression of poor Anglican laborers who laid claim to territory they felt they had not earned.
The EWA's battle against street gangs turned more and more violent. In April of 1950, the EWA killed sixty-two South-Enders over a five-day period in what became known as the South End Massacre. Other Catholic gangs throughout London, which tended to be the most powerful and most violent, teamed up to form the London Army, headed by Roger Steams.
Steams, despite factionalization within the LA, launched a vicious assault on the EWA on the morning of May 1st. The May Day Offensive resulted in the killings of nearly five hundred members of the EWA, the razing of neighborhoods and a massive gunfight at Barham Airfield. Henry Pierce personally met with Steams on May 6th to arrange a ceasefire after six hundred more of his men were murdered. Steams double-crossed Pierce, however, and his motorcade was shot to pieces on Hyde Way.Without the stability in London brought by Pierce, the EWA had no clear leader. They also had a major grudge against the London Army. Roger Steams was himself stabbed repeatedly after he and his bodyguards were ambushed outside of a tavern. Catholic-Anglican violence escalated and smaller factions of both the EWA and LA created a gang war even more brutal than the one before. Civilians became targets all of a sudden, and the bloodshed raged into the summer.
In the countryside, EWA leadership reacted more forcefully and the organization, while one body, split into three regional groups led by capable officers who could coordinate and tolerate one another. The situation in London became so uncontrollable that the EWA gave up on controlling the city and instead decided to focus on controlling other major population centers.
A remnant of the Volunteers suddenly launched a massive campaign to take control of Suffolk, which would be their haven for the majority of the Anarchy. A twenty-seven day battle in July and August of 1950 between the Volunteers, EWA and Suffolk County Militia resulted in the deaths of 78,000 people, of which nearly 70% were civilians. The EWA faction in Suffolk, which was part of Army East, as its regional group was called, was among the most barbaric. David Hickox, known as the "Butcher of Suffolk", routinely set villages aflame and executed every captured prisoner in his hunt for Volunteers and members of the SCM. The SCM used guerrilla tactics to fight their enemies in the three-sided war, but their leadership was eventually rooted out by the Volunteers in late August and the SCM retreated from the villages into forest camps, from where they staged periodical raids against Volunteer supply lines for the remainder of the war. One camp, called the Badger's Nest, survived in a remote forest all the way until 1955.
The horrors of Suffolk defined the early Anarchy. As summer drew to a close, the battle between the EWA, which had found a safe holding in Birmingham with little resistance thanks to the skillful organization of Army West, and the Volunteers that had removed Army East from Suffolk, had begun to worry the English populace of a hideous civil war. To make matters worse, the religious war being fought on the streets of London had also claimed thousands of lives; also, many city blocks had been razed to the ground, leaving a shell of a city as citizens fled to the countryside, which would only make the situation worse
Militant Arm Race and Farnham Massacre
Over a million people fled London from May to September 1950. Many had relatives in the country, and many just took what belongings they had and slept in fields. Throughout the Flight of London, murders and robberies were rampant along "pilgrim lines", the name given to the massive groups of refugees wandering roads in large groups. A massive refugee camp known as Paddington Wood came to be in the middle of a valley near the West Sussex town of Chichester. The Chichester Militia, as it came to be called, was established from refugees from the "P-Wood" and members of the town and surrounding countryside. The CM protected P-Wood from marauding bands of rogues who had become prevalent along the English coast over the summer, but they were also charged with the often unenviable task of policing the camp, which only grew in size and squalor until it was a tent city home to over 35,000 people. Murders, rapes and gang activity became prevalent in the camp, as well as in Chichester itself.
The establishment of P-Wood, however, was considered a success; a refugee camp in a generally safe area of England. Other groups were not so lucky; the Welsh People's Army had been founded in late July to protect Welsh villages from attackers, and once refugees began to flood into the Welsh countryside, the WPA struck a tenuous alliance with the EWA's Army West to remove refugees from the area. The wholesale slaughter of refugee encampments and pilgrim lines became prevalent, and Welsh villagers, with little food or supplies due to the collapse of government, routinely killed refugees who came to their villages in mob lynchings.
The conditions in Wales gave a blueprint in other villages for how to handle their affairs; as supplies grew scarce in early fall, thanks largely to the scorched-earth tactics the EWA had resorted to against farmers that refused to share their crop or allow the internment of soldiers, villages grew protective and established small militias to protect their livelihood.
Naturally, though, before they could fight over food, militias had to fight over access to weapons. The scramble to raid military stocks resulted in tremendous bloodshed, typically with handguns and hunting rifles, although a notable battle over an abandoned military stockpile in Yorkshire involved two militias assembled from several local villages fighting to the death with shovels, stones, axes and knives.
People had stopped using currency earlier in the spring, since there was no government left to back the currency. Despite attempts by both the EWA, WPA and Volunteers to organize collective currency within their own bodies, the lawless south and north had no such measures.
On October 4th, 1950, members of the Surrey Militia encountered EWA officers at a railroad on the outskirts of London while on their way to raid a known EWA food stockpile. The ensuing gunfight was won by the "Surreyites" who quickly loaded up several trucks of food and returned it to their base in Farnham, which had a large refugee camp of its own due to its proximity to London and the success of the Surrey Militia at accumulating supplies from surrounding townships. The town was well-fortified, yet the EWA Army South faction, which claimed London and its proximities, moved swiftly to reclaim the critical supplies and crush the Surrey Militia's most powerful division.
The siege of Farnham lasted for two weeks as the Surreyites bravely fought off wave after wave of EWA fighters. Civilians fought as hard as former soldiers to try to stave off the enemy, which by this point was run and trained like a legitimate army, and included a sizeable portion of former soldiers of the English Army. Finally, on October 20th, the EWA broke through barricades at the southeastern end of the city and overran Farnham, right by the massive refugee camp. Few moments of the Anarchy were darker; the rape and murder of the nearly 14,000 people still in Farnham and the camp, and the deaths of 3500 who fled west, all in one day.
Winter of 1950 and 1951: Total Anarchy
The conditions of the winter of 1950-51 would not be as dark as the winter the next year, but still starvation was rampant throughout the countryside, and in the cities in particular. Several times in Manchester and Liverpool, the ruling militias were challenged by riots to demand more food, which was carefully rationed. In Birmingham, 2000 civilians were slaughtered as the EWA fought to protect its sizable food stores. The starvation and death from the cold by stranded refugees was thought to have claimed nearly 300,000 lives from November 1950 to February 1951.
A year of the Anarchy had gone by, and the results were clear. Villages and boroughs had banded together to protect and organize local supplies, and to raid their neighbors for survival. A few major militias had taken control of large swaths of land, and despite their brutality (especially the EWA) they were the closest thing to organized government that existed.
Human trafficking took off in early 1951. Young women across England were kidnapped and sold as sexual partners. In 1961, a mass grave of discarded "militia toys" was found outside of Liverpool with the bodies of nearly 400 murdered women. The most successful of these slave-traders was James Mandelson, who commandeered three massive barges which he then packed to the brim with young kidnapped girls. His "virgin ships" were essentially floating slave markets, which worked there way up and down the English coast for two years. In 1953, one of his three boats, with 2,000 girls aboard, was sunk by a French naval vessel, and only 38 prisoners were rescued. The American navy quickly intervened (Operation Falcon underway at this point) and successfully commandeered the last two ships, and the girls were returned to England or the United States to be treated. Mandelson's yacht was sunk with him aboard in June of that year.
The conditions of warfare became more violent as 1951 continued. "Sport killings" became common; militia members, seeking to keep up their skills, killed Catholics, Jews and immigrants for sport on occasion. In central England, ethnic cleansing was encouraged by the EWA, resulting in the deaths of nearly a million people.
Foreign reaction to the Anarchy had been tepid at best in 1950, when most assumed that the civil war was an internal effort by the EWA - which America, France and Ireland all recognized as the legitimate government of England - to secure its power. However, by 1951, the reports of conditions in the country had grown abysmal. Emperor Sebastien declined to intervene on behalf of any warring party, but sent food drops beginning in April of that year. Every day, aid would be dropped over major cities. He even landed a plane at Barham Airfield to drop of more bulk supplies, but the plane was captured and the pilots murdered by the Christian London Militia. Sebastien never attempted another landing again.
American aid trickled in more slowly; American expatriates in England had been some of the first to be targeted, and even in 1951 President Prescott Bush was reluctant to intervene due to noted anti-Americanism in England. The Scottish Army was the first to act; on June 1st, 1951, the Scottish Regulars invaded northern England to secure it and to end the constant cross-border raids by militia members.
The Scottish invasion put northern England in an uproar. The guerrilla war against the Scottish escalated through the summer, and more and more Regulars were sent to their primary base in York. The Scottish quickly found that they were sitting ducks to constant attacks from a people who did not want them there.
Winter of 1951 and 1952: Dark Hours and Foreign Intervention
Peak of Anarchy
The winter of 1951 was twice as horrifying as that of the year before. As many as two million people starved to death or died of hunger. Cannibalism became rampant, especially in the southeast, where infighting between local militias and the EWA had been the bloodiest that year. In most of England, there was no livestock to speak of. The landscape had been razed clean. Forests were burnt to the ground in hunts for enemy militias, villages were murdered en masse to punish harboring of foes, and in many instances fathers sold their sons to militias and daughters to slave traders to save their own lives and to get precious food.
The scale of death was felt worst in London, where some neighborhoods literally had the dead lying untouched in the streets. A group of somber men known as the Cleaners took it upon themselves to gather the bodies and burn them in Revolution Square. The city stank of corpses and burnt bodies, and yet the horrors of the countryside led people to return back to London, where they could communally heat houses.
Throughout the month of February 1952, refugees began streaming into the abandoned Houses of Parliament, and a massive camp was set up by the Cleaners themselves inside, to protect the women and children inside. The EWA responded by setting the building ablaze on February 23rd. While only a dozen people were killed, it subjected the hundreds who had been living inside to the freezing cold winter. Among the survivors of 1952 in London was Charles Morgan, the future Prime Minister.
With millions dead over the course of the winter, the country was exhausted by the time spring rolled around. The fighting had somewhat died down in central England, where the EWA ran their territory as a legitimate, albeit brutal, government - early in the winter, they made truce with the People's Army and absorbed their last true competitor to become a fearsome force in England. In London, the Catholic Army had taken total control, but the mass execution of Anglicans had petered out due to a lack of Protestants left to kill. Conditions in the South had improved markedly.
It was in this environment that US President Prescott Bush, on the last legs of his Presidency, authorized the investigation of conditions in England by government spies. Having seen the Irish government stage a military operation in Wales and Cornwall, Bush was convinced he could facilitate a successful intervention to help stabilize England.
In May, 55,000 troops - the first completely desegregated military operation in United States history - landed on the Welsh coast. The English Adventure had begun.
Early American Campaigns and Trouble with Irish
The American contingent was excited; America had not entered a military conflict of this kind in decades, and their brief scuffle with Boers in South Africa had hardly been a legitimate military operation. What the Americans did not know was that they were about to enter a bloody, dangerous minefield of violence.
For two months, American troops under Omar Bradley clawed their way through a dangerous part of Wales run equally by Irish-funded militias, the EWA and the Irish Army itself. None of these entities wanted American soldiers there. The bloodiest engagement was at Willow Creek, where 3,500 Americans were killed while claiming nearly 7,000 enemy casualties, about a third of which were Irish regulars.The Irish, in fact, were just as unpopular in Wales as the Americans, but the Irish had a tentative alliance with the EWA, and that earned them a respite the Americans never enjoyed. The battles throughout the summer of 1952 were bloody and vicious.
Prescott Bush's gamble seemed to be paying off, however; when the Americans reached Cardiff in August, they bunkered down in the city and withstood the Siege of Cardiff by the EWA and Irish Army, along with several smaller militias gradually being absorbed into the greater and more intimidating force that was the EWA. While almost 3,000 Americans were killed over three weeks, the heavy losses sustained by the Irish and guerrilla armies were even greater. In October of that year, the Irish retreated back to the Isle of Man, giving up on an almost entirely American-controlled Wales.
Bush made arrangements with both Richard Russell of the Democratic Party and his own protege, Thomas Dewey, to continue and even escalate the "English Adventure," as he colloquially called it. With almost 10,000 American deaths over the course of the summer and the death toll mounting, many in Congress felt that it was time to send more troops to help stabilize the country.
With the Irish now withdrawn temporarily and the southern half of Wales under American control, the first legitimate signs of successful foreign intervention were showing. However, the Anarchy was about to take on a whole new form as Americans, Scottish, and even French soldiers came to learn just how dangerous England was.
1953: The Anarchy Goes International
On January 6th, 1953 - in the midst of another brutal, starvation-plagued winter - the French landed 95,000 troops in Plymouth, taking control of the city and turning their eyes north towards London. The French envisioned a new "Forty Days Campaign," or at least a successful feint in the South of England that had helped them win the Irish War. Emperor Sebastien had long believed that the Anarchy was a "domestic" matter of England's; by 1953, however, he wanted to prove to his many critics at home in the Empire that the massive military he had built up was being used for something. And what better use than to torment France's age-old enemy yet again?
However, Sebastien was in a tricky situation; the American presence in England was intended as a force to stabilize the countryside and provide peace. France was clearly there to subdue the English and perhaps gain a new province. He also could not afford a confrontation with America over England; his forces were spread too thin in Haiti and Canada to successfully wage a campaign against the United States there, and his primary goal was still in rebuilding Europe after the French Civil War.
He told General Wilhelm Wieder, of French Civil War fame, that he would be given 95,000 troops with a potential for reinforcement by 30,000 more, but that no more than 150,000 French soldiers would ever be committed to the English campaign. Wieder pointed out that the English would be doubly unreceptive to the French army as they were to the Irish and Americans, and openly questioned if Sebastien had any idea what the conditions in southern England were like - he was quick to remind the stubborn Emperor that the Americans had the luxury of engaging in open warfare with what was practically an established army in Wales. The French would be entering the crossfire of an insurgency that was fluid and blended in with the populace.
Sebastien, in turn, threatened to strip Wieder of his command and give the English Expeditionary Force - the name given to the army - to General Paul Averrand. Wieder relented and agreed to wage war in England on the condition that Sebastien allow him deference on planning an appropriate exit strategy when the time was right. Sebastien agreed reluctantly, knowing that Wieder was an intelligent and capable officer.
Wieder led the French army into Plymouth, sacking the city and taking control of it. By March, they had secured a vast perimeter around the Plymouth area and were busy securing parts of Cornwall. Sebastien demanded to know why Wieder wasn't moving towards London; Wieder responded curtly, "Because I value the lives of my men."
President-elect Richard Russell and the outgoing Prescott Bush worked throughout December and January to build a plan with the Chief of Staff on how America was going to help secure England. When France launched their invasion of Plymouth and Cornwall, the Americans upped the ante, arranging for 40,000 paratroopers to be dropped in northern Wales and for 65,000 more soldiers to be shipped over with several Navy warships to block off any Irish attempt to retake Wales.Operation Falling Snow commenced on January 29th, 1953, only nine days after Russell's inauguration. The American forces landed scattered throughout Wales, and found themselves deeply embroiled in a shooting war with the Welsh EWA remnant and several smaller militias trying to protect their villages.
Russell's plan, however, was always to stabilize England one piece at a time. He knew that the majority of Englishmen only wanted stability and that the Anarchy, beyond the brutality of the EWA, was fueled by fear and need of survival. With American soldiers came protected towns, food, medicine, and thousands of aid workers. In March, with Wales fully under American control, 25,000 more Americans arrived to continue to keep the peace. The span between Operation Falling Snow and the arrival of more American troops was one of the most peaceful Wales had known since the late 1940's.
With the French quickly taking control of Cornwall, however, and with tanks and French airplanes beginning to make the journey across the English Channel, General Bradley recommended to President Russell that American forces immediately make a push towards London to secure the city before the French could take the capital. Between the American forward command center in Bristol and London, however, were about a hundred km of no-mans land; a fierce war zone run by pieces of the EWA West (which had long since hemorrhaged itself), and a violent militia known as the Red Brigades which was rapidly gaining. On top of that, they were in a race with the French, who were now landing troops as far east as Southampton, to reach London and secure the city. The Race to London had begun.
Race to London
The American 10th Marine Brigade, 15,000 strong, made the first push out of Bristol towards London on April 3rd, 1953, as Operation Falcon was initiated. Ten days later, a French Army under Wieder roughly 50,000 strong, with full air and tank support, pushed out of Exeter to meet up with 13,000 additional soldiers under Jean Pirol at Southampton.
This was the first wave in the bloody, violent push for London. Both sides knew the stakes; whoever captured London first would win England. American forces were under strict orders to not engage the French if they were encountered. Sebastien had less noble views; he told Wieder that any threat, foreign or English, was to be removed.
News of American goodwill in Wales had spread throughout the English countryside, and many villages and smaller militias sided with the Americans against the daunting EWA, which had forces numbering at almost seven hundred thousand strong. The 10th Marine Brigade was terribly outgunned, even with English and Welsh reinforcement.
It turned out to be a Scottish move that saved the Americans; the Scottish made a questionable and ambitious push south towards Liverpool, a fierce EWA stronghold, in late April. The EWA turned their attention north for the brief time the American soldiers needed to make a daring push forward to Swindon. The 10th Brigade had been joined by 20,000 other soldiers in that time, and the Battle of Swindon was a bloody, explosive venture that took a toll of a total of nearly 15,000 lives, split relatively evenly between the Americans and EWA.
Bloodied but not beaten, the Americans pressed on, but got drawn into a long and arduous siege at Harwell not much further away.
The French were starting closer to London and only had to travel through south-central England to reach the violent, war-torn capital; as it turned out, the task was deceptively easy. Wieder was assassinated by the Catholic Army on May 1st, and the succeeding generals failed to organize their troops. Pirol's troops also had trouble getting out of Southampton; guerrillas were picking off Imperial soldiers by the dozen as they marched through a gauntlet of bombings, sniper attacks and razed villages towards London.
"I'd rather be dead than be French!" cried the English fighters, and they unleashed living hell upon the French soldiers. Finally, Pirol gave up and retreated to his secure stronghold at Southampton, where emboldened bombers still took every opportunity to attack French forces.
The Americans had finally brought fighter planes to Wales, and from there began an ambitious bombing campaign against the EWA; the empowered army's air force was weak, and quickly eradicated despite many brave stands. American forces pushed north as ambitiously as they barreled towards London, capturing Manchester and settling in for the six-month siege of Birmingham.
On June 29th, American forces entered London after several weeks of bloody, violent fighting through its suburbs. The Catholic Army sought to hold onto its control of city, and the Battle of London was a long, tiring effort that required bombing and paratroopers to exterminate the majority of the enemy.
It would take until mid-October before the Americans declared victory in London, having to fight huge amounts of insurgents that were now streaming back to the capital, many of them part of the EWA, to try and get a piece of the chaos.
In the aftermath of the vicious fighting in London, American forces had secured the capital and would capture Birmingham in December. The central industrial areas of England, while still violent and not completely safe, were under military occupation by a strong army. The French had secured the majority of southern England, and were rapidly approaching London as well. A standoff was imminent.
Winter of 1953 and 1954: London Airlift and Provisional Government
Beginning of Cold War?
France, in 1944, had made a scene of bravado in Canada by shipping over fighters and bombers to their colony and mobilizing their Foreign Legion there. However, Sebastien had never seriously considered attacking the United States, especially not while he was still fighting to win the French Civil War. While many historians pointed to that event as the beginning of the Cold War, if it had not started then, the English Adventure definitely was the beginning of the lengthy diplomatic standoff.
President Russell was faced with a difficult decision now that he had control of a good portion of England. With Scotland fighting for its life in Liverpool and Leeds and the French finally having some sense of security due to a new boost of tanks and troops, he had to determine how to venture forth. American soldiers were far from home with only a portion of the Navy as backup. If France were to bring down the full hammer on England and the Americans there, it would be disastrous. Russell also had suspected for quite some time that Sebastien had installed short-range ballistic missiles in Haiti and Canada that could reach major East Coast cities. If France were to preemptively strike the Americans in England and then batter them at home to buy time before a retaliation, they had the upper hand.
Russell retreated to a remote ranch in the Virginia mountains with his advisors and core staff, fearing a French strike against Washington (he suspected that French submarines were already off of the American coast, waiting to lob missiles every which way). Secretary of Defense Donald Muse offered a solution: Russell would send more soldiers to England immediately, and prepare for the worst. On November 24th, 1953, America's short-range bomber fleet was put on 24-hour alert, its Navy was fully staffed and several warships and aircraft carriers sent to the Caribbean to reinforce Cuba and Puerto Rico and to prepare for an all-out invasion of Haiti.
Sebastien noticed the American preparation of aircraft and ships and ordered the same done. The Imperial Navy clogged the English Channel by December 1st and there were air patrols flying over England every day around the clock, trading off in overlapping segments. Sebastien knew that he could not afford a war with the United States, but he intended fully to protect his interests in England so long as he could.
In England itself, the English began to realize that their civil war was now bigger than themselves. The Americans had been training Welsh guerrillas for months and were establishing wartime infrastructure in central England, fully prepared to take on the French and Irish should a war erupt. The French were shipping tanks and other materiel by the boatload into southern England, preparing for a massive offensive northwards in the spring.
The Americans recruited one of the London resistance's leading members - a former Socialist named Charles Morgan - to run a provisional government in London itself. They were executing similar plans in Birmingham, Bristol, and Manchester, and Wales had an American military governor. Omar Bradley worked closely with Morgan, despite the former's rapidly declining health, to train up a provisional force known as the English Republican Army to protect England.
"The English need a stake in their own country. This is their homeland, not ours. We're here to help them, not to rule them. We just need to give them something to fight for," Bradley said in his famous quote to Congress after relinquishing his command to General Henry Johnson in January 1954.
As December wore on, the French surrounded the southern and eastern sides of London, and even established a base to its northeast. The strategy was obvious to Russell and his advisers - Sebastien sought to cut off London and starve the city until it relinquished.This caused a double effect - the English suddenly rose up in arms around southern England to assault the French troops, who were growing more and more demoralized by the day. It also launched the London Airlift - hundreds of tons of food and supplies was flown in each day to stock the Londoners, but also the American troops who, after the French-allied Red Brigade captured a key railroad between Bristol and London, had to way of getting back to Wales.
The Airlift lasted for five months, from December 1953 to April 1954. During that span, anti-American violence almost all but disappeared; more US troops were being flown in to Manchester and Birmingham by the day, and Wales was flourishing under military rule. In many parts of England, the Anarchy was over. Meanwhile, in the French sector, violence was as bad as ever. No matter how French troops tried to secure the countryside, their use of violent force and by not providing the food and aid that the Americans were quick to supply, the French grew increasingly unpopular. Finally, in February of 1954, the massive Exeter Riot started. Tanks were overrun, French soldiers dragged from their lodgings and hung from trees, and it took a week of brutal crackdowns by the French military to get the city under control.
General Vitale Rouerre finally approached Emperor Sebastien in late March of 1954 and presented the facts: America had won in England, and the French would be better served to not lose anymore soldiers fighting a losing war and withdraw across the Channel. This was merely not the time to be involved in domestic English matters.
Sebastien would later remark that if he had sent more soldiers into England, he could have captured it and set up a sympathetic government; he did not, however, regret his choice to not assault London when he had the opportunity. "We did not want war with America in the 1950's. We have never wanted war with America, but we especially did not want to start a war over England."With his losses at London, Sebastien turned his attention towards the Balkans; twice before had French Emperors failed to capture that territory and complete their European empire. Sebastien, however, was more concerned with control over Black Sea and eastern Mediterranean commerce; in the 20th century, he felt, territorial acquisition was useless if one could not exploit regions economically first.
Starting in May, the French began to withdraw entirely from England. As they left, English guerrillas mercilessly assaulted them, giving the hated invaders the parting gift they deserved.
English Republican Army Wages War
Charles Morgan and the new General Henry Johnson both agreed that the Americans, now numbering nearly 450,000 in central England and Wales, could not chase France out of southern England, where the majority of the senseless violence that had plagued the early Anarchy was reemerging. They also recognized that Leeds, York and most of northern England were all under close hold of the EWA, which was still powerful and had been engaging the Americans even while the Airlift was the main ongoing priority. The Scottish were putting together plans to withdraw north towards Rochester, and the EWA and Volunteers bitterly blasted the Scots in their shameful retreat.
The ERA was thus commissioned to secure control of southern England by the summer of 1955. "Give it one year, Charlie, and you'll be a national hero," Johnson said encouragingly. For the rest of 1954, the ERA - comprised of English and Welsh soldiers trained hastily by the Americans - fought to gain control of southeastern England, especially in and around Dover, using the same techniques the Americans had used to secure favor in years previous.
The ERA was also the provisional government of American-occupied England; they worked alongside US leadership to re-institute the pound sterling as viable currency, and became the primary distributor of food. The success of the ERA here would go a long way towards providing stability over the next two years.
1955-56: Stability at Last and Siege of Gateshead
Americans Begin Withdrawal
Morgan's government was somewhat secure in London - they were using St. Paul's Cathedral as a meeting place, and the now-powerful ERA, which had a tenuous hold over much of southern England and parts of Cornwall, was able to rapidly move by plane and American-provided helicopter to patrol the countryside.
35,000 American soldiers were withdrawn from England in March of 1955. President Russell traveled under enormous secrecy and protection to Manchester to meet with General Johnson and other top US commanders, and later went to London to personally congratulate Morgan on the progress made in the past year and to speak to the assembled ERA commanders. At this "London Summit," which came to include Spanish, Portuguese and Turkish ambassadors, Long outlined an ambitious plan for a Republic of England based on the democratic US model. French Foreign Minister Gregor Ferron openly criticized this plan, accusing the United States of trying to create a satellite state in the British Isles. US Secretary of State Joe Abernathy responded harshly by claiming that France's goal in the English Adventure had been to annex England, and had made few peacekeeping or aid overtures.
The ERA was given full control of the American "military districts" in Manchester, Birmingham and Bristol that June, as American troops withdrew to bases located outside of the cities. The last Scottish troops withdrew during this time as well, per an agreement hashed out between Abernathy, Morgan and Scottish President Gideon Harper.
English expatriates who had escaped to France, Ireland, the United States, Oceania and East Africa during the Anarchy began their gradual return in late 1955, although the full homecoming swarm would not occur until well into 1957 and 1958. In many parts of England, life under the ERA was safe and while very poor, stable. Crime and violence dropped significantly between 1954 and 1955.
Final EWA Offensive
In late September 1955, the EWA found itself in the hole it had feared since the success of America's Operation Thunderclap, which was the 1953-54 offensive to secure central England. They were entrenched all the way from York north to the Scottish border, but now faced the prospect of fighting an ERA-sympathetic enemy in their own territory as well as the ERA and nominal American soldiers.
James Bryant, the effective leader of the EWA since 1953, recognized that the violence that had claimed so many American lives was costing the EWA soldiers as well. In conditions where literally every foot was fought over, the ERA was making huge inroads, especially in the south, which they were in effective control of by spring of 1955. Bryant decided to gamble and pushed two massive offensives that October, one into Leeds and Manchester and one towards the eastern coast.
Both offensives were failures, and they only served to assist the ERA in recruiting new members and attacking from Birmingham. The Siege of York lasted for eleven days until the ERA had driven their bitter enemies out at last, and Bryant was captured and killed in the aftermath.
Siege of Gateshead
The EWA stronghold of Middlesbrough fell in early December, and bloody fighting continued throughout the winter, capstoned by the fall of Lancaster on Christmas Day. The EWA ravaged the countryside as they retreated towards Rochester and Carlisle near the Scottish frontier, but they still had one stronghold left: Gateshead, which had been the effective capital of Bryant's territory during the Anarchy.
Attacking Gateshead and the surrounding towns was a strategic nightmare for Morgan's ERA commanders and the force of 15,000 Americans who were to assist in the venture. Not only was the winter of 1955-56 brutally cold and creating unrest in the south, where starvation was picking up again despite enormous assistance from the US and Colombia, but Gateshead was the most well-fortified of all the EWA strongholds. 5,000 deaths had been counted at York, and thousands more injured. Gateshead was expected to be twice as bloody, as the EWA was entrenched with nearly 100,000 from as far south as Hartlepool and Durham.
General Adam Baker managed to secure a force of 6,000 Marines from President Russell and proposed a daring plan - to launch a sea invasion of Gateshead with a landing at Sunderland, Whitburn and Whitley Bay and attacking the city from the south as well. This "Hammer and Anvil Plan" wound up being a spectacular failure, resulting in the deaths of nearly half the Marines as they landed in a minefield and were unable to make it through to allied forces to the south. This venture from January 3rd-5th was one of the most humiliating military losses in United States military history.
From that point on, Morgan left the planning of the Siege of Gateshead up to his own ERA commanders. On January 10th, a new offensive was launched. Gateshead, with all its fortifications and protections, would not fall until February 24th, and almost 60,000 EWA soldiers were killed or wounded, and the rest surrendered en masse. As many as 15,000 ERA soldiers were killed or wounded in the bloody, close-quarters fighting. With the capture of Gateshead, the EWA collapsed. For all effective purposes, the Anarchy was over. The last EWA general and his force of 20,000 surrendered at Rochester on April 14, 1956, as the guns in England were at last silent.
Rebuilding of England
While the Empire had been ravaged between 1938 and 1944, it had never experienced the horrific violence and butchery that England suffered in the 1950's. Entire generations had been wiped out, and as Irish author William O'Deale described it, "Only the nubile youths and sickly elderly existed. No man had bloodless hands. No woman remained pure. No child harbored innocence and no grandfather had sons."
The effects of the Anarchy would last for decades. Even by 1980, when England was rebuilt to an extent, the scars of the Anarchy remained, especially for those who remembered the fear, the violence, and the sorrow.
Charles Morgan and the ERA ran England like a police state until 1960, when the first general election under the 1957 English Constitution was first introduced. To Morgan, the opportunity to rebuild England needed to be taken seriously and to not try to replicate either the Socialist Republic that technically, by law, still existed. There were murmurs among some to reinstitute the monarchy - Queen Elizabeth of Oceania had assumed the throne during the Anarchy, and she had expressed an interest in helping not only English expatriates who fled to the southern hemisphere return to their homeland, but also to financially support the country. However, Morgan was determined to establish the Republic of England in his vision - one that held general elections every three years, one built on a real constitution, not on a system of 'precedents and traditions,' and one with legal rights modeled on those of the United States and Irish Republic.To assist in this process, Morgan entertained United States Supreme Court Justice Alexander Richards to advise him on constitutional law, although he used advisors from Ireland to help him draw up a parliamentary system more akin to the old British model and the current, and successful, Irish one.
The key to the success of the English Constitution lay in the success of England's immediate recovery - and as Russell's successor, Tommie Sullivan, led America straight into recession in the late 1950's, many lost interest in the fledgling state. However, Oceania continued to send money and personnel to England, and a stream of expatriates - refugees who fled to America, Spain, Turkey, Oceania, Zanzibar, Ceylon and South Africa during the Anarchy - returned to their homeland, and brought with them what fortune and knowledge they had gained elsewhere. Among these expatriates was Donald Sutcliffe, who while in Syria had spent an enormous amount of time in the Jewish villages and when he returned formed the English Judaic Council, which invited nearly 80,000 Jewish people from across Europe to come live in England if they could help rebuild the country. The work of the EJC, while derided by many anti-Semites, not only buffered England's Jewish population (which had been virtually eradicated in the Anarchy) but also brought skilled professionals to the country where they were unwanted in other parts of the world.
The contributions of the Jews helped expedite the process of healing. Birmingham and Manchester were the first cities to experience true growth and reconstruction. As the worst recession in American history raged, many poor Americans went to England, where they were almost guaranteed some form of employment by the ERA's "Phoenix Program."
The Constitution was first presented in late 1957 - when passed, Charles Morgan assumed the title of Prime Minister of the Republic as part of the transitional authority and announced that on May 1st, 1960, the first general election of the new English Republic would be held. He would stand for reelection for another three-year term, and regarded the period from 1957-1960 as his first term. The Morgan government operated between 1957 and 1960 in the Provisional Parliament under the laws established in the 1957 Constitution of England, and he faced no serious opposition in 1960 when the first English election since the 1910's occurred.
Cold War Role
In 1959, deep in the Black Sea War, France tested the first nuclear device. American scientists scrambled to replicate the feat and immediately, England had a new position of interest in the Cold War standoff between the French Empire and United States. Tommie Sullivan, deeply unpopular at home and abroad (many English felt he had neglected them, unlike the beloved Richard Russell, who is by far England's favorite US President), sent 130,000 American soldiers to England to be stationed alongside the ERA at four bases in the countryside, and stationed two full airfields of fighter jets in early 1960. Sullivan would inevitably lose to J. Edgar Hoover in the 1960 presidential election and the armament of England would begin once more.
The Anarchy was all but officially over - even its economic aftermath - once Hoover poured several billion dollars of aid into England's reconstruction. Military and civilian personnel alike were recruited in America to go to work in England building defensive infrastructure, bomb shelters, and safe buildings. The early 1960's created a swell of defense spending in America that jump-started the economy there and, to an even greater extent, in England. Morgan and Hoover were close friends with strong mutual trust. England formed mandatory conscription into the ERA, and now several years removed from the Anarchy, had a new generation of young men who could ably fight in the ERA.
England would become a centerpiece in the standoff between France and America, especially once the USA became a nuclear power and built missile silos in the English countryside that could reach Paris within minutes. This role as a Cold War player has given England economic ties to America which expedited its growth into the massive boom it experienced in the 1980's and 1990's.
Cultural and International Impact
The Anarchy brought the United States and France to the brink of war, once again. The London Airlift fully solidified the reality of the Cold War and created a permanent tension between Sebastien and the United States. While Prescott Bush had been cordial with the French Emperor early on, Richard Russell recognized that Sebastien's vision of French global hegemony could only be buffered by victory in England - the success of the United States there was critical.
The English Adventure was also a major step in the modernization of the United States military. Bush had been notoriously lax in his defense spending, and his attitude towards the Boer War had been nonchalant, even cavalier. Russell's under-appreciated efforts to reequip the US Navy and infantry with more modern weapons and supplies to give them a tactical advantage, and his stoic immediate mobilization of US troops during the initial standoff with France in the Caribbean, makes Russell one of history's forgotten quick thinkers. The English Adventure reaffirmed the long-dormant United States military as a power that could conceivably compete with France, and the victory boosted American morale.
Meanwhile, the losses in England were a permanent black mark on Sebastien's record. Many powerful Germans and Russians, who felt that the Emperor they had brought to power was not succeeding, began to question his vision of the "European Empire". Sebastien's Imperial High Command also openly criticized his refusal to listen to the advice of his generals. "If you stay out of our strategy, my Emperor, we will stay out of your politics," Marshall Eugene Alons allegedly said at a military summit.
Sebastien would reaffirm his power with his ambitious domestic agenda, his reinvention of the Imperial infrastructure and his success in the Black Sea War. Still, he was never again able to convince his generals that his word on military matters was final - his High Command often created military policy with or without his approval, a precedent followed for the next half-century.
Culturally, the Anarchy showed the entire world a dark, barbaric reality: that civilization is always on the brink of collapse. While the Anarchy was a dark time, it also inspired a can-do spirit in the English people, a will to grow and prosper again. The drive of England and its success in doing so is one of the true stories of the 20th century. To have fallen so far and to have returned to such peace and prominence is an admirable feat.
The Anarchy spawned art of both darkness and hope. William Hamilton's extremely popular Martin Jones series, about a lone vigilante fighting in 1950's England, was as much about moral ambiguity and harsh reality as they were about an ideal warrior and justice. No event in the 20th century has defined a country in the same way that the Anarchy did, and that discounts the French Civil War and America's struggles in the 1980's.