Chapter VI – The End of The Begining
Judge of the Nations, spare us yet, Lest we forget—lest we forget!
The position for Grey was a precarious one, the government had not had the greatest of majorities after the last election, and this have been further eroded by the Marconi Scandal. For the time before the war, this was not a problem, as the Liberal party was seemingly united behind Grey and the ‘Imperial Liberal’ faction once the news of the Battle of Scarborough Headland was known, however, those who had lost their power in the ‘night of the long knives’ saw an opportunity and began discussing the war’s execution with other backbenchers. The threat, while initially small, began to grow and the senior members of the party were concerned that the issue would snowball. The only real option available to the Prime Minister was coalition and so he asked Chamberlain to cross the floor and help him form a ‘wartime’ government .
Chamberlain, left, & Grey the new political leaders of the war effort
Of course as soon as the offer was made, the horse trading that Parliament is so fond of began, the major issue was of the Great Offices of State and what Grey was willing to ‘give up’ for Conservative support. In the event Grey was worrying mainly about the ‘cosmetics’ of any move, as he already knew that any deal would involve giving up two of the offices  and that as he would remain as Prime Minister it came down to a choice between Viscount Haldane, at the Foreign Office, Asquith, at the Home Office and Reginald McKenna, at the Treasury. It was an easy choice to push McKenna out as he had little to no backing within the party and while Haldane would be tricky to remove, Asquith would be impossible. It was Kitchener who was to provide the ‘way out’ of the problem, by promptly resigning after the terrible losses suffered at the Battle of Loos. Grey swallowed his pride and offered the posts at the head of the Treasury and Foreign Office to Chamberlain. The offer was quickly accepted with only a few provisions, the first was that Chamberlain would be made Lord High Treasurer , giving him a high rank in the cabinet, but allowing for him to be able to concentrate on strategy without the problems inherent in running an office of state. The second provision was that a ‘war cabinet’ would be formed to streamline the running of the war and separate it from the running of the country . The first political casualty of the war then was Winston Churchill, who lost his office of state along with Jacky Fishers, being replaced by Admiral Henry Jackson .
As such the new cabinet was as follows;
Prime Minister: Sir Edward Grey
Lord High Treasurer: Joseph Chamberlain
Secretary of State for War: Viscount Haldane
Foreign Secretary: Lord Curzon
First Lord of the Admiralty: Austen Chamberlain
Secretary of State for India: Reginald McKenna
Secretary of State for Munitions: Edwin Samuel Montagu 
Other Cabinet Posts;
Chancellor of the Exchequer: Andrew Bonar Law 
Home Secretary: H H Asquith
Once the new government and war cabinet were in place, the beginnings of radical change in the armed forces could begin. One of the more interesting points from the fallout and reaction to, Black Friday, is the fact that while the Royal Navy was most culpable for the fall of the ‘peace-time’ government, it experienced less change at the operational level than the Army, which saw significant changes . The first was a major change upon the western front with Sir John French quickly being removed from control of the BEF and replaced by James Grierson , who had been in command of II Corps. As we now know the change was a masterstroke, but it was a close run affair, Douglas Haig always thought that it should have been him to succeed French, but his involvement in Loos caused Grierson to take command. The other critical move was that after the Gallipoli Campaign had bogged down, its commander Ian Hamilton, was succeeded by Edmund Allenby  who had covered himself with glory leading the screening cavalry at the retreat from Mons. The other change during the coalition building was Kitchener’s last act for the British armed forces, the introduction of conscription. The move had always been seen as too controversial, and as the initial response to his national requests for volunteers had been so successful that it was only the appalling losses and ‘defeats’, that enabled the move. 
The Admiralty, as we have seen, did not get off ‘scot free’ with Churchill resigning from Parliament to take a command on the Western Front and Fisher retiring after the embarrassment. The position of the active Admirals, however, was not changed as the understanding was that little had actually ‘gone wrong’ in terms of leadership and tactics, but the deficiencies lay with the battlewagons themselves, as Arbuthnott had commented during the battle, “There is something terribly wrong with our ships today!” . The major change, then, was the removal of the I-Class battlecruisers from The Grand Fleet to the Mediterranean Theatre, where they would be facing off against less strenuous competition, and the existing dreadnoughts from said theatre acting as their replacements . The second change was the two Battlecruisers already laid down, would have their armour significantly upgraded from the original plan .
Grierson, left, & Allenby the new army leaders of the war effort
The last major event of early 1916 happened on the home front, or more specifically in Ireland. The process of Ireland moving from being controlled by Westminster to self-representation within the Empire was one that had been moving slowly, but inexorably towards its aims. This had caused problems within the more radical groups over the Irish Sea, in that the closer Ireland got to ‘home rule’ the more the moderates grew in popularity and the extremists waned, this then was the context for the Easter Rising. The insurrection was organised by the Military Council of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and lasted for three days in April of that year. Members of the Irish Volunteers, led by Patrick Pearse, joined by the smaller Irish Citizen Army of James Connollyand and members of Cumann na mBan, tried to seize key locations in Dublin while proclaiming an Irish Republic independent of Britain. There were some actions in other parts of Ireland including a minor attack on the Royal Irish Constabulary barracks at Ashbourne, County Meath, but they were minor . The major issue for the ‘risers’, as they would become known, was that they lacked for numbers, having only around 400 men, this was because Eoin MacNeill, who was opposed to a rising unless popular support was secured, did everything possible short of phoning Dublin Castle to prevent the rising. He had learnt that the shipment of arms coming from Germany had been intercepted by the Royal Navy, after Room 40 had picked up its orders, as he was unsure that a rising would occur he countermanded Pearse’s orders .
When the rising began, members tried to secure key buildings including Liberty Hall, which was to be the risings HQ, Jacob’s biscuit factory and St Stephens Green. When some Dublin civilians, who disagreed with the action, tried to dismantle barricades at the park and factory, they were fired upon by the risers . In the event the rising was only a minor skirmish as most of the population of Dublin was horrified by the use of force and Dublin castle, the home to British rule in Ireland, was left untaken. The result was that after only three days the ‘risers’ surrendered unconditionally to Brigadier-General WHM Lowe, who had taken command of the British forces. Lowe passed control back to the civilian government, in the form of Sir Matthew Nathan, who designated that those involved in the uprising should be tried before a court of their peers . In the end the surviving leaders of the rising, sans Pearse and Éamon de Valera both killed during the fighting, were sentenced to death and other involved were prisoned. The death sentences were commuted, as were many of the prison terms, the only execution to go ahead was that of Roger Casement, and Englishman, who had been tried for high treason in London.
A group of 'risers' during the Easter Rising
The reaction to the Easter Rising from both the populace of Ireland and the British authorities underlined that home rule would be a gradual process carried out in a democratic manner . The Irish Home Rule Act would later be passed by the Westminster, establishing self-governance in Ireland just months after the wars end. Ireland would retain its MPs in Parliament, something that caused a few to comment on why they were still there, but their staying in Westminster, along with other events during the war, would change the shape of Empire. In a way the Easter Rising helped kick-start a debate about how to govern the Empire.
 This basically happened to Asquith, but was instead due to the Shell Scandal and the failure at Gallipoli.
 Grey is more pragmatic than Asquith was and offers the Conservatives more… in exchange the Tories pay him back by not forcing him out (it also helps that the scheming Lloyd George is out)
 A strange decision, but its due in part to 4
 This happened when Lloyd George took over in OTL, her its Chamberlain’s brainchild and knowing that the Chancellor will be excluded takes a different job so as to have another Con on the war cabinet
 Someone has to take the blame… if Gallipoli goes well, however, Churchill may have his reputation restored more quickly?
 Did a pretty good job after LG so we’ll have him from the start
 Bonar-Law is heir apparent to Chamberlain in TTL, while in ours he was leader
 Funny how that happens eh?…
 He went in OTL as well, but here instead of Haig we get James Grierson. He was a noted tactician (he easily defeated Haig in war-games when at a numerical disadvantage), but he died shortly after the BEF’s landing in France in OTL… here he survives… good news for the average Tommy as he seems a much better General.
 Allenby eh? Yes the Bull’s taking charge at Gallipoli
brilliant commander for those who don’t know.
 This happened around the same time as in OTL
 This is actually Beatty’s quote from Jutland, it seemed approximate here, I’d also agree with the analysis in that the I-Class and lightly armoured ships have no place in the line of battle
 Meh… the dreadnoughts in the Med did little so not much change from this
 So we have basically gone from a slow version of HMS Hood to a slower, but very well armoured HMS Hood… this probably means that when the actual HMS Hood gets built she’s a ‘fast battleship’ rather than a battlecruiser
 Everything up to here is directly from OTL
 Basically the POD here is that the message intercepted by Room 40 is used to intercept the arms shipment quicker meaning that MacNeill never supports the rising leading to fewer men
 This actually happened in OTL as well and there was a lot of bad feeling because of it. Here the attacks stand out so much more as there is a lot less violence during this version on the rising.
 Big difference here, Maxwell doesn’t come in with his size 14’s smashing things, arresting everybody and killing people who have to be tied to a chair as they can’t stand… Maxwell was a g*t who made the rising much, much worse than it needed to have been.
 This is the result Irish home rule within the Empire and very different Anglo-Irish relations