Topic: His Majesty's Dictator

Given the discussion around King Edward VIII and the state of democracy in mid-20th century Britain, I thought people might be interested in a novel I wrote in the early 1990s called 'His Majesty's Dictator'.  Most of the action takes place in an alternate 1948 in which Britain surrendered in 1916.  Of course, the Germans came in a hairsbreadth of winning in Autumn 1914 and the novel outlines how some subtle changes in strategy could have led them to win. 

The focus of the novel is on what happened to Britain.  Following the defeat there is unrest in the country and to prevent a revolution the state comes under the control of a military junta, the Imperial Defence Executive.  This introduces a para-military police force, the Executive Constabulary.  This is probably more jarring for British readers, because outside Northern Ireland, armed police are still not a common sight and in fact since the peace process in Ulster, they are less common there than even in the early 1990s.  There is also an Imperial Investigation Office, an equivalent of the FBI but stretching right across the British empire.  Britain has never had a national police force like either of these; the closest is the Security Service, MI5.

Policies which were popular in the 1910s have been enacted, notably in terms of eugenics.  At that time Winston Churchill felt there were 105,000 habitual criminals in Britain which should be sterilised.  Whilst the policy was not adopted in the UK, it was in some states of the USA in the 1920s and sterilisation of certain disabled people continued in Sweden until the 1970s.

Edward VIII is still on the throne in 1948.  His travel overseas was strictly limited and so he was married off to a German princess rather than meeting any American divorcees.  The USA is even more isolationist than in our world, not having been even drawn into the First World War.  Japan has been left to create an empire in the Far East and Germany has become the dominant force in Africa taking over Belgian and Portuguese colonies.  The Ottoman Empire, remains propped up by the Germans who reap the oil produced there.

Without the innovations of the latter part of the First World War and none of those of the Second World War, technology has advanced slower as have fashions.  With no elections for 32 years and even men without the vote, there has been no female suffrage and women's roles have not changed since the 1910s; fashions have advanced slowly and by 1948 resemble those of 30 years earlier in our world.

To take away from the defeat of 1916, as the French did after their defeat in 1871, focus has been placed on the British Empire.  It is smaller than in our world, but there has been more emigration especially to the dominions, Kenya and the Cape Colony (the Union of South Africa formed in 1910 was dissolved in 1916 under German pressure; the Boer Republics restored).  As a consequence much agricultural land is run by Food Production Board, a state agency, that employs indentured labour including sterilised people and prisoners.

Sir Oswald Mosley heads the Britannia Front, a populist organisation that stimulates support for the regime and provides informants and bullyboys when these are needed.

Much of the focus of the story is around the activities of a pro-democracy group some of whose members turn to terrorism.

Anyway, if you are want to look at on version of an alternate late 1940s this may interest you: … unter.html

Re: His Majesty's Dictator

Sounds like a fascinating setting! I'll read it as soon as I have the time!

Re: His Majesty's Dictator

That does sound fantastic, and based upon some clear rationales.

the trouble with our times is that the future is not what it used to be


Re: His Majesty's Dictator

What a fascinating story. I'll be glad to read it as soon as time allows me.

You will never come up against a greater adversary than your own potential

Re: His Majesty's Dictator

I like the look of this, indeedy. I'd question the historical likelyhood of the Germans winning in 1914 wink but apart from that this looks very juicy indeed! my compliments sir!

Re: His Majesty's Dictator

Steiner, looking at what actually happened August-December 1914 it is more of a surprise that Germany did not win.  This is why the French refer to the 'Miracle of the Marne', it was a miracle.  If the Germans had adhered to the Schlieffen-Moltke plan and not sent units to the Eastern Front at the last moment or reinforced the Lorraine Front so as not to draw French troops on to German soil as had been originally intended, then it seems most certain Paris would have fallen and we would have had a repeat of 1870-1. With the French knocked out, as in 1940, the British would have been compelled to evacuate and if they wished to carry on the war it would have been by naval blockade, by aerial bombing or in the colonies. Of course, as it was, the Germans won on the Eastern Front resulting in the Russian surrender.

Re: His Majesty's Dictator

It takes more than a man with a spikey helmet and some leather shorts to queer Britannia's bid. Loosing the war on the European continent does not mean that Britain looses the war. You say yourself that Britain would have had to continue the war as a Naval blockade. The naval blockade began with the war and ended in 1919. Of course that's how Britain would fight, that is how she allways has.

Even after Jutland (And somewhat because of it), the Royal Navy remained the obstacle to German invasion. As Germany could not invade, Britain had no need to surrender. Ending operations in France and surrendering to Germany when Germany cannot gain access to Britain are two quite different things.

Re: His Majesty's Dictator

In the novel, which is coming out soon as an e-book.  The Germans do not invade Britain.  What happens is that the unrest which was brewing up before the war and actually during the war arises once again so destabilising Britain driving it to seek an armistice.

For real in August 1911, every single soldier, down to cooks and bandsmen were mobilised and sent in units across the country to tackle the national rail strike.  The country faced coal and dock strikes, there were battleships in the Mersey and the Humber and torpedo boats patrolled the Thames.  There was a general strike in Liverpool which led to bread riots, incidents commemorated on the centenary last year. During the war there were anti-semitic riots in various parts of Britain in 1915 and 1917.  We also know about the mutiny at Etaples in 1917 as well. That is all fact, not counter-factual.

Thus, in the novel, Germany does not have to beat Britain, it simply has to win sufficiently for Britain to fall apart on its own accord, aided by foot shortages brought on by earlier unrestricted submarine warfare than happened in our world.  This is why Britain becomes a dictatorship in the novel.  It is a very British dictatorship, not one imposed by the Germans, and the British lose none of their colonies and in fact pay no reparations.  Things naturally are very different for Belgium, France and Russia.