What are Japanese British relationships as of last chapter since with no need to conquer Indochina and possibly no China war (depending on political situation of japan and Britain in future) that could be a major issue for British India and Australia/New Zealand if Japan becomes a enemy(there more British troops in India TTL but if the troops try to defend India from a japanese attack there a major risk the locals will revolt again and the British garrison will be force to split between trying to crush revolt and defeating the Japanese) not to mention that even if japan does not invade india directly they can easily conquer a large part of Britain Pacific colonies very easily since the majority of Britain army is needed to keep control of India or in Europe and african colonies keeping an eye on Germans and possibly the French
Formally, nothing has changed.
However, the British are afraid that Japan will pull an Indochina-style move in Hong Kong or North Borneo-- the Dominions are even more afraid of this.
Some in Britain are of the opinion that Japan was behind the India revolt. This wasn't actually true, but it was a "yellow peril"-style myth and those are never easy to eradicate.

Time will tell...
 
The point stands.

But it’s a important difference, while the absentee landlord didn’t care about their tenants, I think it came as a surprise for everyone in the Ottoman Empire that they were dispossessed. I think the Ottoman simply imagine that the Zionist would do like other Jewish immigrant and settle in cities, and they simply planned to extract rent from the Arab tenants.
 
But it’s a important difference, while the absentee landlord didn’t care about their tenants, I think it came as a surprise for everyone in the Ottoman Empire that they were dispossessed. I think the Ottoman simply imagine that the Zionist would do like other Jewish immigrant and settle in cities, and they simply planned to extract rent from the Arab tenants.
I see what you mean. Nonetheless, the arc of land purchases worldwide by that point were already hinting at something other than generating revenues from existing tenants.
 
Nothing quite solves Arab discontent like dispossessing squatters who have inhabited the lands of absentee landlords for years if not generations.
I don't think the solution would be about stopping Arabic discontent and more about simply rendering it moot in certain places by replacing them
 
Chapter 33: Perfidious Albion
Chapter Thirty-Three: Perfidious Albion

"A Great Rebalancing occurred at the signing of the Treaty of Dresden. At the stroke of a pen, the British were taken from being king of the Great Powers to just another Great Power. The scales tipped so that, while Britain's core interests and imperial status were left undamaged, Germany was now the Great Power. Her interests came first, and she was the ultimate arbiter of events in the same manner Britain had been prior to the Great War. States seldom react well to this, and it is to Britain's credit that she accepted the change in status quo without resorting to armed force straightaway."
-Irish historian Robert FitzGerald, The Great War for Civilisation (1998)

"Of course Britain is still an empire. But it is like this, you see. We now have our place in the sun as England's equal, as dare I say their friend. Our interests are just as valid as theirs, and no more shall we play their game just because they say so."
-Kaiser Wilhelm II commenting on the Anglo-German balance of power, 1917.

"When one is accustomed to privilege, equality feels like oppression."

1916 had not been a good year for the British Empire. They had started off forced to prop up France’s war on two fronts, but had failed to save her from crumbling at Verdun. Seperate naval disasters had claimed the HMS Queen Elizabeth and Sir Herbert Kitchener. Operation DYNAMO, the chaotic evacuation from Dunkirk, had cost five thousand plus men their lives and led four times that number into captivity; Sir Winston Churchill had lost his post as First Lord of the Admiralty because of it. Defaulting on their debt to the Americans had damaged the British economy, while losing Malta and Somaliland to the Italians and Cyprus, Kuwait, and Bahrain to the Ottomans had cost them much pride. As the Great War ended, the British needed a quiet year to recover and dream up a path forward.

1917 had not been a good year for the British Empire. The Great Indian Revolt had kept the crown jewel of the empire aflame for half a year, and cost at least thirty thousand British lives- not counting the lives of their allies on the subcontinent- and upwards of a million pounds. While not as devastating, the St. George’s Day Riots in Ireland had shown that the independence movement there was a long way from dead, and British men would be needed away from home to keep the boot down there. The actions of the Belfast Brigade had further strained relations with the United States. But worst of all, Britain felt terribly isolated. Germany stood triumphant across the North Sea while the old Entente cordiale lay smashed.

These were just some of Britain’s problems in 1917.

Staring out of his London window, Foreign Secretary Edward Grey found a very different world to that of 1914. Great Britain had survived the war as a world power, but Grey’s diplomatic hand of cards was far smaller than it had been three years ago. Most obviously, there was the German colossus to contend with. Prewar attempts to contain Berlin had failed, and Grey was thankful that hadn’t cost him his job. Britain may have had an empire, but with its army damaged it couldn’t win a war with the Germans on its own. A great rebalancing had occurred (1), with Germany and her allies now outweighing the British Empire. However, it wasn’t as bad as it seemed on the surface. During the peace negotiations, Grey had gained something which looked like a concession but was in fact a gain: a new naval treaty. Germany was now exempt from the Two-Power Standard, and a 12:12 battleship ratio was implemented. The prewar naval arms race, which had seen large chunks of the British budget poured into naval construction, was over. Grey knew that Anglo-German relations had potential, as witnessed by the way his German opposite number had cooperated with him at the Dresden Peace Conference. If both sides agreed to respect each other’s core interests, a new Great Power relationship could take shape. Grey supported such measures, as did a handful of far-sighted British officials.

It was a pity most people didn’t feel the same way.

The average Briton, according to the German satire Simplicissimus (2), spent half of 1917 throwing darts at pictures of the Kaiser for having won the war and the other half throwing darts at pictures of the Government for having lost the war. It wasn’t true, of course, but it summed up the Germanophobia prevalent in Britain nicely. The last time Britain had lost a major war was during the American Revolution, and so this was a major “bucket of cold water” for the British population. Having been raised on a Victorian diet of “the empire on which the sun never sets!” (3), having Tommy Atkins go abroad and come back defeated- if he came back at all- was a dreadful slap in the face. People began asking themselves if Britain was really God’s favourite, if the twentieth century would be theirs, as had been promised before the war. As human beings are wont to do, the British lashed out with their rage, expressing it with massive anti-German sentiment. When Kaiser Wilhelm II made his remarks about India, mobs in Britain’s greatest cities and smallest towns staged protests, some of which were quite violent. In Ipswitch, a mob burning the Kaiser in effigy set fire to some local houses; the town pressed no charges. Some in the Government advocated retaliation against the Germans for the Kaiser’s inflammatory speech by advocating for full Moroccan independence or something equivalent. Veterans all loathed the Germans, and the Royal Navy was offended that diplomats had traded their battleship superiority away.

A British newspaper cartoon of summer 1917 showing the Imperial German naval flag flying in a British harbour, expressing the general feeling of lagging behind Berlin and bitterness over that in Britain post-Great War.
anglogerman'relations'.jpeg


There was little love lost for the other Central Powers, either. Bulgaria and Romania were too far away to be worth getting worked up over, but a rather disturbing cartoon appeared in the Daily Mail a few months after Dresden depicting Serbia as a man being torn apart by horses labelled ‘Sofia’ and ‘Bucharest’. Cyprus had seen much violence between Greeks and Turks in the last weeks of the war, and the British had eventually decided that enough was enough and given it to the Ottomans at Dresden. Many Britons believed correctly that the Ottomans had engineered this with the goal of nicking the island, and the false belief that Constantinople was trying to detach Egypt from its British protectorate. Italy received a tongue-lashing in the press and on the streets, and a persistent belief would linger for years that if they’d joined the Entente, then the Central Powers would’ve lost. (4) Racist stereotypes about lazy Italians became all too commonplace. More frivolous than important but still worth telling: a petty diplomatic argument erupted between London and Rome in February over fears that the Italians were about to force the Sovereign Military Order of Malta off the island, with Britain claiming that this represented “unjustifiable oppression of the traditional Maltese way of life.” (5) This accusation was totally unjustified and was utter nonsense, but it showed how eager the British were to score even the most trivial victory over their foes. From Britain’s perspective, the one bright spot was Austria-Hungary. London watched with interest as Emperor Karl transformed the nation into Danubia, and more than a little pleasure (6) as Hungarian rebels repeatedly embarrassed Imperial arms. When said rebels burned Vienna to the ground and killed Emperor Karl, glasses clinked from Edinburgh to Brighton.

Advocating a rapprochement with “the enemy” in 1917 Britain was a good way to get a fat lip… but it wasn’t just the Central Powers whose relations with Britain suffered. Two members of the Entente slipped from Britain’s good graces in 1917.

This cartoon from 1917 depicts Britain as a maiden shackled to a cruel German knight, intended to display how "uncivilised" the Germans were.
anglo-germancartoon.jpg


The collapse of France had strained relations between London and Paris. The French had wanted the British to launch an offensive to reduce the pressure on them at Verdun (7) and hadn’t been pleased at Britain’s seizure of the Channel ports after France left the war. For their part, the British looked down their noses at French “cowardice” for having ducked out of the war… they could do this from behind the safety of the Channel, as the French never ceased pointing out. When France’s internal cohesion broke down in the spring of 1917, many Frenchmen became refugees- some of these tried to enter Brighton, Dover, and similar ports. Heart-wrenching scenes occurred as British coast guards were under orders to turn back desperate Frenchmen. (In fact, many of these people had relatively happy endings; many were taken in by Belgium). David Lloyd George did not conceal his contempt of Emile Loubet, claiming that “the French people have the bloody government they deserve and they can see how they like it!” His contempt was only increased when the Second Revolution erupted and spread. Paul Deschanel’s hardline stance won him a mixed reception in Britain- while some, the PM included, applauded his commitment to “order”, most feared that he was trying to turn France into a dictatorship. As the year drew to a close, with the revolt only having grown, many in Whitehall realised that in a year’s time they would be dealing with a Sorelian France. For Britain, a Continent with both France and Germany hostile- something their grand strategists had fought to prevent for centuries- looked dangerously likely. However, there was nothing to be done- few believed that Deschanel could save France and in any case no one wanted British boys to die for such a thing. Thus, late 1917 saw a distinct cooling of Anglo-French relations. Ex-First Lord of the Admiralty, Winston Churchill proposed a daft plan to prevent the French navy from falling into “Sorelian” hands by mounting a surprise attack on it akin to the Battle of Copenhagen during the Napoleonic Wars; fortunately this got him nowhere fast. (8) As many pointed out, there was a contradiction in the plans of those who wanted to aid Deschanel’s regime: if said regime wasn’t capable of fighting off the rebellion by itself, then it was too far gone for British help to make much difference and the only result would be to make the new French regime more hostile to Britain.

The United Kingdom was going to have to plan for a world with an unfriendly France, no matter how unpalatable such a thing was.

On the other end of the world, Britain suffered a more subtle but no less dangerous diplomatic defeat: Japan. This took a rather unusual form. A low-level battle of telegrams and formal protests was waged throughout the first months of 1917 over the actions of a third country: Siam. Britain had held a sphere of influence in the country before the Great War, but in the months after Dresden, Bangkok had taken advantage of British weakness and “persuaded” British merchants to leave while presenting British officials with their passports. The overall effect had been to eradicate London’s influence in Siam, at a cost of several thousand pounds in trade not conducted. Much to Britain’s chagrin, Japan had quite actively supported the Siamese campaign against foreign influence. This was most irritating to Britain because Tokyo was so careful to cover its tracks, offering only rhetorical support and not moving directly against British interests in Siam. No weapons were shipped to the areas in question nor did Tokyo ever threaten to use force; the Japanese moved through platitudes. If read charitably, the phrase “we support Siamese territorial integrity” meant just that: an informal guarantee of the kingdon’s frontiers. However, the Siamese correctly read it as backing for their anti-British moves and so London had every right to be offended.

Another thorn in the side of Anglo-Japanese relations was the latter’s seizure of French Indochina in flagrant violation of international law. France formally declared war on Japan over this, but with the Marine Nationale confiscated and the Dijon revolt spreading, there was little they could do but ruffle their feathers. Brunei, Hong Kong, and Singapore were a long way from Calcutta, and that Tokyo could snatch these oriental jewels terrified Britain. No one wanted to test whether the Royal Navy was up to defending the colonies. The outbreak of the Great Indian Revolt was something for which Japan couldn’t reasonably be blamed, but whispers abounded that the whole thing was a plot by Tokyo to detach the imperial crown jewel. Such rumours, while understandable, had no basis in fact and thus Tokyo was justified in taking offence. Anglo-Japanese relations remained warm on the surface, but the two were growing more and more distant behind the scenes, and many wondered if the two countries might discard their alliance one day…

Lastly, there is the matter of the imperial Dominions to consider. Canada, Newfoundland, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa were all self-governing colonies with their own parliaments, who had unhesitatingly joined the Great War alongside the mother country. The war had left different marks on different states. For Canada and Newfoundland, it had been rather a disappointment. Their men had gone overseas and died, all for nothing. Few Canadians had been present in Operation DYNAMO, and so they’d had to endure the humiliation of laying down their arms and being transported to England by the Germans. Afterwards, it was a bloody long trip across the ocean, and plenty of Canadians were still in England or aboard a transport when 1917 drew to a close. This left the dominions embittered, but they recognised that Britain was doing what it could and viewed their sufferings in a stoic, patriotic light as “for King and Country”. For its part, London appreciated the sacrifices its partners across the ocean had made.

Australia and New Zealand had had similar experiences to Canada and Newfoundland, yet their positions in 1917 were markedly different. Both had suffered light casualties during the war, their troops having gone to Italy’s East African colonies, to Libya, and taken part in the failed Mesopotamian campaign. (9) The Armistice of 13 June did not apply to Ottoman or Italian forces and so thousands of ANZACs were left fighting and dying for several days while their British counterparts were being transported home. Making matters worse, neither dominion had representation at Dresden, leading many to feel that London wasn’t considering their interests. However, like the Canadians, they tried to give the mother country the benefit of the doubt and took their wartime losses with a stiff upper lip, trying to focus on the meaningless acquisition of northern New Guinea to distract from their losses. What changed things for Australia and New Zealand was the Japanese seizure of Indochina. This move demonstrated Tokyo’s audacity and was a clear sign that it could act with impunity in the Pacific, terrifying Melbourne and Wellington. Great Britain might fear the loss of colonies such as Hong Kong or Brunei, but they stood to lose their very independence. That a Japanese invasion of either would be impossible didn’t occur; the mere idea of such a thing was terrifying enough). Thus, tremendous frustration arose in these places as they felt abandoned by the mother country they’d given their young men to protect. Throughout the 1920s, Australia and New Zealand would constantly push for more naval support from London, more resources allocated to the Pacific… anything to keep the Japanese away. Relations between Melbourne and Wellington on the one hand and London on the other remained warm for the moment but would cool steadily with time.

Finally, there was South Africa. Aside from Japan, no Entente country had gotten more out of the war. A brief rebellion had delayed the country’s active participation, but the central government had rapidly quashed it and spent 1915 devouring German Southwest Africa. The small South African navy had gone to the Mediterranean for convoy and anti-submarine duties; losses had been relatively light, despite fierce opposition. Operations closer to home in Africa had naturally consumed much of South Africa’s manpower, but they had still scraped a brigade together for action in Europe. The three thousand men of the South African Overseas Expeditionary Force met a grim fate. During the Kaiserschalacht (10), the brigade had been stationed in the village of Longueval en route to Amiens. Surrounded by crumbling French units busy deserting or mutinying, the brigade was isolated and fought valiantly for a week before surrendering. Just under half the three thousand men were killed or wounded and the others made prisoners; they would not return until early 1917. For such a small country, losing fifteen hundred men in a few days of fighting was quite scarring. Thus, South Africa’s experience in the war was quite multi-layered. On the one hand, they relished in getting to keep Namibia and spent 1917 integrating it into the motherland, but on the other they blamed Britain for losing the Overseas Expeditionary Force and were determined that their boys would never again die for London’s imperial dreams. When Lloyd George requested South African troops to help crush the Great Indian Revolt, Cape Town gave him platitudes. They were exhausted from the war, they said, and besides, surely the strongest empire in the world could handle this matter themselves? London was none too happy about this, but there was nothing they could do. South Africa remained a self-governing colony, but it dreamt of a future unshackled to Britain where it could be a regional giant without having to toe London’s line. Time would tell.

Losing the Great War had not been fatal to Britain’s standing as a world power. Neither the Central Powers nor Japan wanted to go out of their way to damage British interests. America stood aloof, unhappy with Britain but wanting a relationship, while the Dominions retained their loyalty to the mother country. However, no longer would London dictate its relationship to foreigners. Relations would all too often be on the other state’s terms, with Berlin or Tokyo presenting the bill and Britain paying it. The British Empire still spanned much of the world and with a little luck and skill could thrive in the post-Great War world. Time would tell if they possessed enough of those qualities…

Comments?

  1. Shameless plug: I nicked this phrase from Graham Allison’s Destined for War. Read it.
  2. Which will last to the present day ITTL! Imagine an Imperial German version of The Onion.
  3. To quote Simplicissimus fictitiously-- wow, what a mental image.
  4. DBWI: Italy doesn’t join the Central Powers at Vienna?
  5. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sover...tory_of_the_Sovereign_Military_Order_of_Malta Kind of silly when you think about it, since Italy is Catholic, but that’s how petty the British are being.
  6. The British would never say schadenfreude- that’s a German word!
  7. The war ended well before OTL’s Somme
  8. Wow, imagine how such a thing would've gone in OTL?
  9. No Gallipoli, not with a hostile Italy posing a menace.
  10. See chapter 9- The Fall of France
 
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Well, I think this increases the odds of germany and britain being at least nominally on the same side come Weltkreig 2: Electric Boogaloo
 
Does Yuan Shikai try to become emperor again?
I see no reason why that would be altered. Sadly for all those concerned I think we'll still get a full Warlord Period.
Don't you mean billion pounds instead of million pounds cost of india revolt and millions in lost commerce from Siam?
Eh... together I suppose they could total a billion.
Well, I think this increases the odds of germany and britain being at least nominally on the same side come Weltkreig 2: Electric Boogaloo
Very possibly!
 
Hardly! Britain will never forget this, and just like Germany, they will hunger and thirst for revenge. They learned nothing from the war in our timeline, they will learn nothing here.
Very possibly- but not certain.

25 or 30 years is a long time. A lot depends on who comes up on top in London, as well as Berlin and Paris. Time will tell...
 
My gut feeling is telling me that, in the long term, Britain's Empire is going to crumble, and in an attempt to reclaim any semblance of past glory, will make an enemy of pretty much everyone who could've been a valuable ally
 
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