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Thread: The King's First Minister - a UK AAR

  1. #681
    Fat Cat Public Servant Sir Humphrey's Avatar
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    Trust Ribbentrop to act like a total twit. Super writing.
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  2. #682
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    Finally, some competence!

    Good on ya', Clark! Nice work!

    For some reason I really enjoyed this scene...perhaps because I love characters who don't give up when defeated and manage to find small victories to win despite their despair? Anyway, keep up the good work sir!

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    There is no way to peace along the way of safety. For peace must be dared, it is itself the great venture and can never be safe. Peace is the opposite of security. To demand guarantees is to want to protect oneself. Peace means giving oneself completely to God's commandment, wanting no security, but in faith and obedience laying the destiny of the nations in the hand of almighty God, not trying to direct it for selfish purposes. Battles are won, not with weapons, but with God. They are won when the way leads to the cross.

  3. #683
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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Jones View Post
    [Game Effect] – I was hoping from a Nathan Madien opinion but have now ploughed on without. Essentially the looming American elections attract Cabinet discussion. Would the British be so concerned? Halifax would view it with interest, and would look to the new American leader to form some sort of agreement with him on the Japanese. Roosevelt used the chaos of Europe to justify his third term in reality; here, as the AI is speeding up the Pacific situation (probably it is as bored of a reasonably peaceful Europe as I am) so that events are happening quickly, I think that Roosevelt could be reasonably expected to use this as a basis for his remaining. His opponent? Well, as Nathan Madien has said, not Willkie; his campaign would be dead in its tracks after Britain makes peace.
    I am sorry for not responding quickly enough. I had an crazy past couple days at work. Part of it had to do with the Super Bowl.

    Even with my delayed input (I sent you the PM before I read this update), I think you are on the right track.

    Quote Originally Posted by Le Jones View Post
    Finding himself cornered, and knowing the value of the media, the German Foreign Minister with the help of an aide gave an address that by midnight was sent around the world:

    “It is a magnificent opportunity to act for the Fuhrer in coming here. South Africa is a proud country. You people have realised that the diktat of Versailles must be eternally crushed. Our former territories in Africa are once again German as you have acted with sense and generosity in accepting our rights. Now that the German Reich is victorious everywhere I am confident that the defeated former enemies can become our friends. South Africa can become the link between Germany and the British Empire.”

    The South Africans were stunned, Clark concealed his elation. It was a heavy-handed speech, typically Ribbentrop in style and patronising the South Africans who looked warily at the German delegation.
    Ribbentrop is really slapping South Africa in the face with his arrogant attitude. Then again, he was arrogant in real life.
    Last edited by Nathan Madien; 04-02-2009 at 05:24.
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  4. #684
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    Hitler needs no enemies. He has von Ribbentropp and Mussolinni to "help" him.
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  5. #685
    Field Marshal Nathan Madien's Avatar

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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner View Post
    Hitler needs no enemies. He has von Ribbentropp and Mussolinni to "help" him.
    Historically, there were a couple of occasions where Mussolini "helped" Hitler fight in World War Two. Getting beaten out of Egypt and Greece come to mind.
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  6. #686
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    indeed. greece most prominantly, as it delayed the start of Barbarossa and potentially affected the outcome of the entire war.
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  7. #687
    Colonel Le Jones's Avatar
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    Chapter 65, London, 13 July 1940



    Halifax returned to a very wet London. The gorgeous summer weather, with the heat growing increasingly oppressive and heavy, had finally broken and torrential rain swept the city. Halifax noticed that there few were people in the streets as his car took him to Downing Street. It always rains when I return to London, he thought sourly. At Garrowby he had been able to ride every morning, and to stroll through the grounds with Lady Halifax every evening before dinner. Struggling to avoid getting completely drenched as he left the car he noticed the gloomy expression of the policeman guarding his official residence.

    Cole, thankfully, was more than up to the task. He had prepared a change of clothes and a cup of hot chocolate in Halifax’s bedroom. As he struggled to change there was a gentle rap at the door.

    “Ah, Cole, is that you? I cannot find my collar studs.”

    Cole entered and bowed deeply. “Here, My Lord.”

    “Obliged, Cole, obliged. Was there anything else?”

    “My Lord, a reminder that you have Cabinet shortly.”

    “Ah yes. When they awwive show them into the Cabinet Room.”

    “Shall I serve tea, Sir?”

    “What? Oh, er, yes, better ask them all first.”

    Suitably changed and refreshed, Halifax entered the Drawing Room to find a damp Butler dripping all over the furniture. Cole entered and offered him a towel, which he accepted, trying to dry himself in a dignified way.

    “Rab, how is Westminster?”

    “My Lord, before we go in be warned that Attlee will go on about the Far East again.”

    “Wather a waste, seeing as we will be holding a special meeting on it shortly.”

    “I know, Sir, I know. But he will want to set out his views I think. There’s one other matter.” Halifax looked at him, recognising the tone. Butler continued. “America. We think he’s going to pressure you about America.”

    Halifax nodded and, with Butler, entered the Cabinet Room. He noticed that Eden and Attlee were deep in discussion. “Gentlemen, I wish you a good morning. Deputy Prime Minister, I believe that you have matters to discuss?”

    “Yes My Lord, I do. Can we just clarify here our policy towards Japan?”

    “A matter for our meeting with the Chiefs of Staff, I believe.”

    “But diplomatically?”

    Butler sat up. “We are going to try every avenue. The Commonwealth, the Japanese themselves…”

    “The Americans?” That was Stanley, making an innocent suggestion. Halifax winced. Attlee pounced.

    “Prime Minister, in the two months in which you have been in office we have made only the most feeble of attempts to engage with the United States.”

    Halifax looked sadly at Attlee. Butler took up the response. “We have been rather busy in Europe, Deputy Prime Minister,” he remarked sarcastically.

    “We have to speak to them about this!” Attlee was aghast at the lack of action from Halifax, who now raised his hand to reply.

    “I am attending the Middle Temple Guest Night tomorrow evening. I believe that Ambassador Kennedy will be attending, and I will engage him there.”

    Attlee looked at Dalton, who nodded. “The Chancellor and I are agreed that we need to fully clarify, publicly, our position on the Far East. The public, both here and in the Commonwealth, is concerned with what it is you actually intend to do.”

    Halifax, taking refuge in his planned encounter with Kennedy that evening, tried again to prevaricate. “When I have discussed the matter with their Ambassador, vewy well. But I will not prejudge the matter!”

    Hankey looked thoughtful. “We could approach the Canadians, try to get them to use their influence on Washington?”

    Eden nodded his agreement. “My Lord Hankey has made an excellent suggestion. Mackenzie King could be a very useful go-between for Anglo-American discussions.”

    “With respect,” snapped Attlee, “we cannot refer to the Prime Minister of one of the key members of the Commonwealth as a ‘go-between’!”

    “But again, we bwoach this when we meet with the Commonwealth leaders later this month. Now, Chancellor, how is the economy?”

    “Prime Minister, we are completing our change to a peacetime economy. I will, with your permission, approve trade deals with Persia and Portugal trading our surplus of energy for badly needed rare materials and hard cash.”

    “Appwoved, though I don’t want any financial adventuring.”

    [Game Effect] – And so the debate it rambleth on. Essentially the British, without a moral crusade against Nazi Germany behind them, are struggling to agree on how to approach both the US and then Japan. Halifax has shown a moment of improvisation – the Inns of Court will be holding a dinner and Kennedy will be present, just the kind of “gentleman’s diplomacy” where he feels comfortable. But this is not really sufficient – we are in “rearranging deckchairs on the Titanic territory” as the Cabinet dithers.

    Trekaddict: No, not Google – my biography of Halifax and a few other old tomes make up most of the research!

    El Pip: Indeed – this is a small victory in the difficult times ahead. Ironically, Clark is now going to resign robbing the British of a very capable diplomatic asset.

    GeneralHannibal: As hinted by Halifax, there will shortly be a Dominion PM conference – overdue I think given the events of Spring/Summer 1940. South Africa may not be allying itself with Germany, but nor is it best pleased with the UK.

    Sir Humphrey: Many thanks!

    TheExecuter: The whole Ribbentrop visit was designed to cheer everyone up a bit. Otherwise the AAR was in danger of becoming too gloomy!

    Nathan Madien: Thanks for your PM. I’m glad my plan makes reasonable sense.

    Kurt_Steiner: Yes, and they make great material for AAR writing!

    Nathan Madien: It always seems to me that the Italians were in WWII just to irritate the Germans.

    BritishImperial: A classic example of the Italian tragicomedy at work.
    The King's First Minister - a UK AAR

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  8. #688
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Ugh..Kennedy Senior....
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  9. #689
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by trekaddict View Post
    Ugh..Kennedy Senior....
    Doesn't that apply to almost the entire Kennedy dynasty?

    Anyway it appears Halifax has, as usual, completely failed to grasp the concept of urgency. I can see his problem, denied his usual opening gambit of abject surrender he's playing for time in the desperate hope a second idea will appear. Sadly all the other options require more spine than he has ever shown in his entire lifetime (frankly I'm surprised he can stand up he has so little backbone).
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  10. #690
    bezrodniy kosmopolit Morsky's Avatar
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    From reading these updates, I can't remember a single occasion when Halifax actually said "Wight, we'll deal with the mattew wight now!". It's always "later, there'll be a meeting, I'll have Hitlew over for tea and cwumpets, don't push things...". Procrastination, thy name is Halifax! Also, Cowardice, Poverty Of Imagination, Dullness, Abject Stupidity, Aristocratic Twittery, and a host of other moral flaws.

    Rearranging deckchairs sounds a bit too active a metaphor for him. Idly sipping a martini and hoping the iceberg goes away is more like it.

  11. #691
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Jones View Post
    It always rains when I return to London, he thought sourly.
    Now Halifax is not only guitly of risking the loss of the Empire but also of ruining the summer of the Londoners...

    What a ....


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  12. #692
    Revolutionary Leader VILenin's Avatar
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    I've been reading along for a little while now and I just wanted to let you know Le Jones what a fantastic read it's been. You've done a great job both setting up the alternate scenario and in portraying your characters through your narrative. The effect Halifax has on your readers, for example... I admit the urge to strangle him is quite strong most of the time.
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  13. #693
    Colonel Le Jones's Avatar
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    Chapter 66, Middle Temple, 14 July 1940



    The Dinner had, up until now, been a pleasant departure for Halifax. The Inn of Court, holding this dinner to celebrate their links with the United States Bar, had invited the American Ambassador and then, on the off chance of his accepting, the Prime Minister. Halifax, as the senior of the guests, found himself asked to speak last. Kennedy, relishing a polite if neutral audience, mocked the British, delivering a stinging indictment of Britain’s decline and was critical of the war:

    “Thank providence then, that you sought the best deal you could. Democracy was nearly finished in Europe. It may well be finished anyway. The face of Europe is changed forever. It is for us to realise this change in the world order.”

    The American journalists sat up, stunned. For the British, the remarks were merely part of a fairly brutal “dose of common sense”. But for the Americans, such partisan, defeatist talking would be wired back to America in time for the President’s breakfast briefing.

    Halifax, sat happily next to a pleasant American investment banker from the Southern States, now rose to deliver his reply. He started gently, reiterating Britain’s role in world affairs and offering a hesitant hand in friendship. The magnificent building, which had seen the first performance of Shakespeare’s ‘Twelfth Night' in 1602 and had several artefacts from Drake’s Golden Hind now witnessed a reasoned, logical argument from the Prime Minister:

    “In our cuwwent circumstances, it is not right to assume that we can continue indefinitely with the minimum of interfewence in our existing world relations.”

    It was textbook Halifax; heavy, laden, and Edwardian. He had anticipated comments from Kennedy on Germany, and so his rebuttal now looked at Europe:

    “The thweat of military force is holding the world to ransom, and our immediate task is to refwesh ourselves so that we may wesist aggression. I would emphasise that tonight with all the strength at my command, so that nobody may misunderstand it. Mr Ambassador, you have said that deeds, not words, are necessary. That is also our view, and Mr Kennedy should be minded that we look to the United States to match this aspiwation.”

    It was stolid, slightly mischevious in turning the tables on Kennedy and, effectively, challenging him to match his exhortation for the British to do more than talk. Well received by the lawyers and students in their black gowns and wing collars, Halifax was enjoying a post dinner brandy when he found Ambassador Kennedy standing next to him.

    “Ah, Ambassador, a most interesting addwess I thought.”

    “Edward, glad you liked it. Thought I’d make myself clear.”

    “Ambassador, I thought I may twouble you with another matter. The Japanese.”

    “Ah ha,” said Kennedy warily. “How can I help?”

    “One thing your tenure has taught me is that the President is not enamoured of our interests in the Far East,” offered Halifax wryly.

    “Not enamoured! Hell Edward, he hates Imperialism! And after your performance in France I’m not sure he’d have confidence in your resolve.”

    Halifax pursed his lips at this. A number of the law students, for whom this was just another dinner that they had to attend as part of their training, had overheard Kennedy’s outburst and were watching the exchange. The Master Bencher, a senior Law Lord, tried to defuse the situation.

    “But surely, Mr Ambassador, the President admires the Peace Treaty?”

    Kennedy, Halifax realised, was increasingly intoxicated. He was slurring his speech and seemed uneasy on his feet. “Oh sure! You have a yellow moment and give Hitler an Empire! Jesus Edward, you should’ve avoided the war in the first place!”

    Halifax took a deep breath and spoke slowly, as if admonishing an unruly child. “Ambassador, it could have been a lot worse. We have saved the Empire.”

    “Possibly; at least you saved some of it. But don’t expect Roosevelt to give a cent about the British Empire.”

    “That may be, but the cwucial issue for us is this: if the Japanese do indeed promote expansion through aggwession, will you match your rhetoric with action?”

    Kennedy was exasperated. “Why are you so eager for commitment? Is it Tientsin?” Halifax winced. The Tientsin affair had been a minor nightmare for the then Foreign Secretary, as he had to watch a diplomatic crisis unfolding without sufficient (in Halifax’s view) support from Washington. Kennedy was still rambling. “If Lord Lothian calls on the President and prophesises the imminent doom of the Empire, it’s not a secure investment for him, is it?”

    “Are you saying I should weplace our Ambassador to Amewica?”

    Kennedy patted Halifax on the back. “Weren’t you going to do that anyway?”

    “No, at least not until the election. I had hoped that the Pwesident would be receptive to our position.”

    Kennedy chuckled. “Hell, with Roosevelt don’t count on anything!” Patting Halifax on the back again Kennedy drained his glass and excused himself.


    [Game Effect] – Kennedy, one of the early examples of the “Prince Phillip School of Diplomacy” offers a fairly frank assessment of Anglo-American relations. Much of this is the fault of Whitehall; a condescending anti-Americanism and a haughty view of Washington was bound to promote mutual dislike. Now that Britain has made peace with Germany Halifax strives to make common cause with Roosevelt through the embassies. For this he is doomed to be frustrated. Kennedy was no great ambassador and his remarks that “democracy may be finished” effectively ended his chances of remaining in office. I’ve brought the controversy forward to July 1940 in the absence of the Nazi threat across the Channel. In Washington, Lothian’s gloomy methods portrayed Britain as a declining austere Empire, something that Roosevelt would never find sympathy with. Therefore both Washington and London will be seeking to change ambassadors, a more important task than in the real 1940 as there is no Lend Lease, no “biased neutrality” to bring the two countries together. Halifax will now have to find a candidate to send to DC. I have an idea who he would send, but first the Tories have to win the election.

    Was Halifax anti-American? He was an Edwardian peer, and was committed to the Empire, but was also pragmatic enough to realise that American support would be an asset in any war. He was definitely influenced by the Japanese blockade of Tientsin, in 1939 where the lack of American support for Chamberlain caused a climbdown. Halifax’s lack of small-talk and his aloof nature didn’t endear him to Americans during his tenure as ambassador, but with Churchill and Roosevelt liaising closely anyway he survived.

    Trekaddict: Now now. Well yes, he was loathsmome.

    El Pip: Halifax is just struggling to come up with an approach to the Pacific.

    Morsky: Direct action just isn’t his style.

    Kurt_Steiner: Indeed. Giving away Europe is bad enough, making it rain even worse.

    VILenin: I am glad that you are enjoying the AAR. Resist the urge, otherwise you'll end up like Trekaddict!
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  14. #694
    Lord of Slower-than-real-time El Pip's Avatar
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    I see you've managed to capture the essential loathsomeness of Kennedy, truly a man who deserved to die on a spike. Still he did at least suffer a good load of misery before shuffling off this mortal coil so there is at least some justice.
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  15. #695
    Marshal of the Empire BritishImperial's Avatar

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    wow, what a drunken pr*ck.
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  16. #696
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    This is excellent stuff, don't know how I've missed this AAR. The writing, and the details are superb. The coming election will be interesting, will Labour play the hawk card and attack the peace? After all without Churchill they can easily portray themselves as the least dovish of the parties. Then again I'm still a little unsure how Britons view the peace, obviously not too happy about it but might it be seen as the 'sensible thing' and Halifax's dovish nature actually win him the election?

    One question since your background reading is obviously more in depth than the average person on this topic: I was to understand that Halifax's appeasement tendencies had died after the fall of Czechoslovakia, is this untrue or did you ignore it to ensure such an excellent AAR? (I'm quite happy for the latter to be true )

  17. #697
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Oh dear. Kennedy is a typical american with the to be expected disregard for the old world. And this time, without the war they might even listen to him....
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  18. #698
    Pantomacatalasecesionanis ta

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    Quote Originally Posted by Le Jones View Post
    I have an idea who he would send, but first the Tories have to win the election.
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  19. #699
    Fat Cat Public Servant Sir Humphrey's Avatar
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    Another turn in Anglo-American relations!
    Showcase of the Week March 30, 2004 - The Australian Lion.
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  20. #700
    British Unionist trekaddict's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Kurt_Steiner View Post
    Treekadict is a Tory?
    No, I would consider myself Centre-Left. If only there were a party for people who say that if you have to have an army it should be superbly equipped and no half-assed affair...
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