Echoes of A New Tomorrow: Life after Revolution in the Commonwealth of Britain

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stnylan

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Ah, so Mosely has a variant of the "war within" going on. And yet, in a sense, with Animal Farm Orwell gets the last laugh.
 

Tommy4ever

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Excellent chapter - we can see how the Commonwealth is becoming an increasingly dictatorial entity.

The turnout in those elections should be very concerning - I wouldn’t be surprised to see the figures artificially inflated going forward. I can imagine that the shires of southern England produce next to no votes, but with turnout dipping below 40% even the proletarian core of the Commonwealth must begin showing very little interest.

It’s strange to think of Jimmy Maxton as a Mosley-ally - I’m not sure how much longer he would have stuck with him should the Party of Action increase it’s slide towards tyranny and hierarchical control.
 
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Jape

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It’s strange to think of Jimmy Maxton as a Mosley-ally - I’m not sure how much longer he would have stuck with him should the Party of Action increase it’s slide towards tyranny and hierarchical control.

Maxton was surprisingly sympathetic to Mosley during his Labour days, despite their views clashing in many cases. He even visited Mosley in prison during the Second World War.

Very interesting. first sproutings of teen culture and a battle of youth groups. How political are these groups, are they more subtle Woodcraft Folk or is it Young Pioneers with pictures of Mosley all over the place?

Growing political dissent as well, Orwell really gave Mosley a wallop before bowing out. The mention of Brockway's anti-imperialism and talk of Kenya is intriguing. Britain is establishing new states in the former empire yes, but they are socialist commonwealths still under the influence of London. So anti-syndicalists could develop common cause with nationalists who believe Britain has only changed its imperialism, not ended it. How 'dependent' are the new commonwealths on Britain? And how popular is the new system?
 

DensleyBlair

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BTW, I have started to read this story (early days yet). I don’t have Vicky (1 or 2) and so don’t usually look into this niche of AARland much, but am making an exception here. I look forward to getting up to the Hobsbawm chapter: once upon a time (about 40 years ago) I wrote a history honours thesis on his theory of ‘social banditry’ as it may (or not) apply to three of the more notable bushranging outbreaks in southern NSW (ie in then colonial Australia for those not familiar with our state acronyms) in the 1860s. Not Ned Kelly (different time and place: Kelly was later and further south). Haven’t read Hobsbawm widely or since, but it will be interesting to see how he approaches things in the AAR! :)

Glad to have you, Bullfilter! This particular tale, for better or for worse, does not require any knowledge at all of Vicky mechanics in order to grasp what's going on, so hopefully it will be easy enough for you to immerse yourself in the timeline. :)

Hobsbawm is a gift, and I very much enjoy trying to adopt his way of seeing things in order to write about this world. His couple of updates about the Troubles of 1934 are, I have to say, some of my favourite. I hope you enjoy them when you get to them!

Social banditry, meanwhile, is a topic I've always been fascinated by, although I've never studied it academically. The figure of the Romantic outlaw as a hero of working-class and/or peasant freedom is a compelling one for sure!

Ah, so Mosely has a variant of the "war within" going on. And yet, in a sense, with Animal Farm Orwell gets the last laugh.

Aye, Mosley is coming to find that all is not well in the Commonwealth of Britain. Orwell, of course, found this out sooner – though as you say, he did get the last laugh. We will be returning to the consequences of his final months in due course.

Excellent chapter - we can see how the Commonwealth is becoming an increasingly dictatorial entity.

Cheers, Tommy! And thanks also once again for the weekly nomination. :)

The turnout in those elections should be very concerning - I wouldn’t be surprised to see the figures artificially inflated going forward. I can imagine that the shires of southern England produce next to no votes, but with turnout dipping below 40% even the proletarian core of the Commonwealth must begin showing very little interest.

At first Mosley was quite happy to tolerate it as, for him, the fact that elections continue to play a role is an obstacle to what he'd probably call "efficient government". As I say, his ambition for the Party of Action was almost to occupy so effectively the position of "natural party of government" that it just became a sort of de facto non-political entity and he could use the apathy to his advantage. In the early years, I imagined low turnout as reflecting a lack of interest in the shires, as you suggest – though increasingly I think there would be a switch. The shires would soon realise that Mosley is basically one of their own and near enough protecting their interests, while the radical urban centres would either grow disillusioned or move into extra-parliamentary organising. (These shifts will become pretty significant as the Fifties continue.)

It’s strange to think of Jimmy Maxton as a Mosley-ally - I’m not sure how much longer he would have stuck with him should the Party of Action increase it’s slide towards tyranny and hierarchical control.

Maxton, like Bevan in fairness, is a case of "was incredibly into Mosley c. 1926". In Bevan's case IOTL that was that (as far as I can tell), but as @Jape notes Jimmy did apparent retain some affection for Mosley even after the fascist turn. In this timeline, of course, Mosley's switch away from socialism is much murkier and much less sudden – hence Maxton's persistence. I've chosen to keep a few people alive longer than OTL, though Maxton wasn't one of them. Had I done so, I could quite easily see him causing some trouble in the postwar years.

Maxton was surprisingly sympathetic to Mosley during his Labour days, despite their views clashing in many cases. He even visited Mosley in prison during the Second World War.

Mosley genuinely captivated a large part of the ILP around the time of the Birmingham Manifesto. In all honesty, given the state of the Labour Party at the time, it's not entirely surprising. Mosley is such a bizarre mixture of charisma, absurdity and drive that I'm sure he seemed like a breath of fresh air in contrast to the Macdonald–Snowden horror show.

Very interesting. first sproutings of teen culture and a battle of youth groups. How political are these groups, are they more subtle Woodcraft Folk or is it Young Pioneers with pictures of Mosley all over the place?

I've done an awful lot of academic writing around youth dissent and political conflict over this past year (you'd be surprised what student architects get up to...) and frankly if there were the demand for it I'd happily devote something like 10,000 words to the youth battles of the Fifties and Sixties. As it stands, the groups will be a covered a little more going forward – probably more so as we get into the Sixties.

Where Socialist Youth and Youth Action are concerned, Woodcraft vs Pioneers probably isn't a bad shout. SY was political in a broader, "let's teach kids about socialism and practice mutual aid" sense, while YA is sort of like Scouts, except the Queen is replaced with "the Commonwealth". I don't think they'll quite have Mosley icons lying around... yet.

More interesting (I think) is what emerges out of the demise of SY, which I've written a little bit about and will be up in a few weeks. This is where we start to see more of a recognisable teen subculture – something more like "White Rose meets the Zazous" (particularly considering the place of jazz music in the Commonwealth).

Growing political dissent as well, Orwell really gave Mosley a wallop before bowing out. The mention of Brockway's anti-imperialism and talk of Kenya is intriguing. Britain is establishing new states in the former empire yes, but they are socialist commonwealths still under the influence of London. So anti-syndicalists could develop common cause with nationalists who believe Britain has only changed its imperialism, not ended it. How 'dependent' are the new commonwealths on Britain? And how popular is the new system?

I'm actually writing about Kenya right now, and I'm looking forward to hopefully getting into a bit more of a discussion in a few weeks time. We've already had hints of the new relationship, which in essence is little different from that which emerged OTL, if just a little premature. Britain hands government over to allied African leaders (so long as they can help it) and the new African states continue to enjoy "favourable relations" with London. Who exactly this favours, of course, is up for debate.

_____________

Thanks all for your comments. I do enjoy seeing which details people pick up, and I'm always appreciative of the discussion that emerges. If anyone reading happened to miss it, the latest update is hidden away at the bottom of the previous page. I'll probably aim to be back on track for a weekend update again this week; I have eight updates ready to go, so may as well press ahead!

Speaking of, incredibly I am coming to a point where I'm starting to think about the end of this project. There's still plenty to write, but finding myself with little to do post (virtual) graduation, I've been writing a fair amount and the end is starting to creep into view. I doubt I'll be finished posting before the autumn at the very earliest, but I may well find myself in the unique position of having finished the writing a while beforehand – and which case I may be able to start my next project before this one has even run it's course. Truly a blessed and frankly inconceivable position for someone with an AARland track record such as mine. :p

Anyway, that's all for the future. For now, glad everyone's still enjoying things. It's a genuine pleasure having you all along for the ride!
 
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DensleyBlair

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Continuing in an occasional series of updates from the Echoes expanded canon, I'm pleased to say that friend of the thread @99KingHigh has written up the first part of what will be a couple of pieces on US activity after the wars, as seen via the career of Douglas MacArthur. KH has previously written about the history of the US in the lead up to the Great Depression, and I'm very glad that he's agreed to flesh the canon out further.

The update will be up imminently, so do keep your eyes peeled!
 

99KingHigh

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Chapter Six: Empire of the Fading Sun (1944-1948)

David Riesman described three basic personalities in his 1950 magnum opus, The Lonely Crowd. The first were the “other-directed,” men who framed their behavior to flatter the expectations of their peers. Next came the “tradition-directed,” unbeknownst to the West since the Middle Ages. Such a class hardly thought of themselves as individuals, their conduct instead determined by folk ritual or custom handed down from the past. Lastly, there was the “inner-directed,” men guided alone by their expectations of themselves. Within this three-fold analysis forms the analogy of post-war Japan; the tradition-directed Japanese, consumed by an enduring fealty to their emperor that could still render enough emotional force to induce fatal stampedes as late as the 1950s, when a kaze of kami (“breath from above”) induced eager spectators to storm the palace to pay their respects to the emperor on his birthday. Until the B-29s passed by, trolley conductors would halt before the Sakuradamon, and lead off their passengers to genuflect before proceeding onward on their journey. Then, the “other-directed,” the suburban American bureaucrats, trotting down in gray-flannel suits, checking boxes and apportioning GIs to administrative duties within various services. Finally, the “inner-directed,” General MacArthur, the absolute monarch of Japan.

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"You are remembered for the rules you break."

In thirty-four years he had refused to lose a day to illness; his physician pronounced the sixty-five year old officer in “astonishing physical condition.” When he developed strep throat shortly after the occupation, he waved away his doctor, recovering with the assistance of a questionable medicine gargle he had used variously since his gassing in the First World War. The brutal conflict in the Pacific had failed to diminish his flamboyance, his vitality, and his hauter. Russell Brines of the Associated Press bureau declared, “he drives onward with the same energy, the same impatient obduracy, the same confidence.” Ambassador William Sebalf, the ranking U.S. diplomat in Tokyo, once claimed that had MacArthur been “a less resolute commander, showing the inadequacy of Wellington or Kitchener in political affairs, would have rendered the occupation a complete fiasco.” His task, he believed, was an exalted historical mission, and unlike his military hero, Bonaparte, he was always ready to ignore the appeals of sycophantic subordinates. Once he noted, “sometimes my whole staff was lined against me...but after all, I had more experience than they, and most of the time, I was right.” Arthur Schlesinger Jr could not deny the miraculousness of his presence—in postwar Japan the “overwhelming need was for faith, for a mystique, for a moral revival in the midst of moral disintegration. MacArthur filled that need, as probably no other American general could have done.” Theoretically he was governed by directives from Washington, and President James F. Byrnes loathed his voice in occupation policy; but he was simply irreplaceable, and practically invincible. In Japan, MacArthur was the master of all, the injector of demokrashi on a scale of nation building never before attempted in the history of civilization.

It was a fortuitous outcome for Japan, utterly devastated by Operation Downfall. The former industrial heartland of Japan had been reduced to Asia’s scrap heap; its territorial expanse reduced to one-seventh of its prewar size. The cities were unlivable, scorched by bombs and trenches that made the discovery of a phone, train, or power plant a supernatural revelation. The decaying merchant fleet, rusting on the ocean floor, proved a perfect allegory for Japan’s economy, reduced by the fearsome firepower of the American war-machine. Subsistence was the rule of the day. Treasury Secretary Morgenthau, a proponent of sustaining Japan’s economic regression, had virtually no work to do in accomplishing his policies. They had already been achieved. Operation Downfall, vicious enough for the American soldier, killed another 1.5 million Japanese civilians and soldiers, bringing the grim Nipponese total to an unimaginable 3.7 million casualties. MacArthur wrote, “never in history has a nation and its people been more completely crushed.” George Kenney concluded, “the entire population simply suffers from shell shock.” Tokyo, once the most colorful city in Asia, was a pulverized wasteland. Even Hirohito, previously inaccessible and mystic, admitted without prompting that “the ties between us and our people have always stood upon mutual trust and affection...they do not depend upon mere legends and myths...they are not predicated on the false conception that the Emperor is divine and that the Japanese people are superior to other races and fated to rule the world.” In the no man’s land that was his country, it was impossible to admit otherwise; they had all struggled for a terrible lie.


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The famous picture, taken soon after surrender, revealing the mortality of the emperor.

Though he came to regret his decision, President Byrnes appointed MacArthur as the Supreme Commander for the Allied Powers (SCAP) without consulting anyone outside his staff. In effect, it was a political calculation—Byrnes’ popularity was untested following the death of President Roosevelt and his elevation by a cabal of Democratic grandees led by Edward Pauley, who had succeeded in convincing the sickly FDR to dump the left-wing Vice-President, Henry Wallace, in favor of his “assistant president.” By his victory in the Pacific War, MacArthur was the most admired man in America, and Byrnes showed his eagerness to placate the public. MacArthur showed he would savor his new role as viceroy, and at once overruled the Washington politicians. He startled everyone by rejecting Morgenthau’s punitive plan, asserting “if the historian of the future should deem my service worthy of some slight reference, it would be my hope that he mention me not as a commander engaged in campaigns and battles, even though victorious to American arms, but rather as one whose sacred duty it became, once the guns were silenced, to carry to the land of our vanquished foe the solace and hope and faith of Christian morals.” Instead, he was spending a million dollars a day in a course so liberal and progressive that Courtney Whitney, a convinced Taft Republican and a senior occupation official, told a Japanese politician that “the only thing that will save your country is a sharp swing to the left.” In one sense that was true, but MacArthur took extreme care in protecting Japanese institutions from superimposed rationalism, and so the emperor was spared and the empire preserved, if altered in form as much as in substance to satisfy modern development. His philosophy belonged to an earlier time, and quotations from Plato’s Republic flowed with such regularity as to transform political decisions into moral decisions; his conclusions resting on a simple basis of right and wrong, the ancient varieties revived in an age of pragmatic politicians.

At his discretion, the trajectory of Japanese society and politics was determined. Upon his initiative, a three-judge tribunal rendered death sentences for 300 wartime leaders, including Tojo and Hirota. The list was commuted down to fifteen, and when the fatal hour arrived, the unrepentant mounted the scaffold shouting “Banzai.” He made sure no photographers were there to watch them swing, asserting “I will not make martyrs out of monsters.” The rest of the convicted, along with nearly 200,000 wartime functionaries, were “purged” from public life, and he showed little concern for the kangaroo military courts that condemned Homma and Yamashita at his urging. Perhaps MacArthur “slew the man [Homma] who beat him in a fair fight on Bataan,” but he retorted that “there was nothing fair about Japanese conduct on Luzon or our reconquest of it.” When he decided to dismiss all legislators belonging to the militaristic far-right societies, Prime Minister Shidehara threatened to quit in protest. MacArthur did not budge, and cooly responded that “Baron Shidehara may be acceptable to the Emperor, but he is not acceptable to me.” The ministers withdrew their resignations, and MacArthur’s orders were obeyed at once. Every single message published by SCAP was carried by the Japanese newspapers, which published at his pleasure; American businessmen could not enter Japan without his permission, and currency was exchanged at the rate approved by his office. Diplomats presented their credentials to him, not to the emperor, and when the State Department complained that he should confer with various missions in Tokyo and relay the reasoning behind his decisions, he replied with characteristic pride, “Why, as a sovereign, should I? President Byrnes doesn’t do so, nor does the German Emperor or any other head of state.” When the emperor performed his humiliating visit to MacArthur, he treated him with the utmost dignity, particularly after Hirohito offered himself to the judgement of the victorious powers “as the one to bear sole responsibility for every political and military decision made and action taken by my people in the conduct of the war.” MacArthur had thought he “was an emperor by inherent birth,” but in that instant he realized that he was face-to-face with the “first gentleman of Japan in his own right,” and treated him with superior respect. The same attributes that troubled progressive Americans, especially his flair for the dramatic, his insistence on absolute loyalty, and his fair treatment of the emperor, made him the most popular man in Japan by the end of his tenure. Thus he conquered two great powers, first by war, then by magnanimity.


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"It is natural that I should bear entire responsibility for the war in general, and, needless to say, I am prepared to do so" - Tojo.

He was making enemies too. Powerful forces in Washington opposed American commitments to the Far East, and he was exposed to accusations of egotism. The President himself remarked in 1946 that “he has done a marvelous job; nevertheless, he is a primma donna.” His retention of the emperor, his decision to let the Japanese disarm themselves, his refusal to ban fraternization, and his threat to punish any GI who struck a Japanese civilian were ill-received by the Filipinos, the French, and the Dutch, as well as the Australians and the British. George Kennan, attacking from another quarter, expressed “amazement and concern” over SCAP’s dismantling of the kempei-tai and the armed forces, which he feared would invite Communist penetration. The former Vice President, Secretary of Commerce Henry Wallace, regarded MacArthur as his natural enemy; the patrician five-star general who thought that America needed a reactionary dictatorship was precisely the sort of man Wallace loved to hate. But against figures such as Secretary of State Edward Stettinius Jr., MacArthur could command the day. Yet even right-wingers were unsure about him, and those politicians that returned from visits with an eye to establishing U.S bases in perpetuity expressed dismay that MacArthur considered such a course “colonization.” The General did not slow down in the face of opposition. He smashed the zaibatsu with draconian levies, rationalized Japanese social security, suspended militarist banks (and seized their assets), conducted radical land reform, and emancipated labor, much to the chagrin of the U.S Chamber of Commerce, businessman James Lee Kauffman, and Senator William F. Knowland of California.

Against these interests, and armed with three billion dollars in cumulative aid from Washington, MacArthur rebuilt the Japanese economy with astonishing speed. In reply to their screeds, he countered: “This is not socialism. But it would be better to have real socialism than the socialism of the monopolies.” Even the New York Times could not deny the remarkable progress, and it observed “Japan is a bright spot in Allied military government, and General MacArthur’s administration is a model and a boon to peace in the Far East...he has swept away an autocratic regime by a warrior god and installed in its place a democratic government presided by a very human emperor and based on the will of the people as expressed in free elections.” Ambassador Phillip C. Jessup told the press corps that “General MacArthur has rendered a service of extraordinary distinction and great historical significance.” His directive had never been to impose democracy, but he proceeded to abolish all restrictions on political, civil, and religious freedom with such pace that it was impossible to conceive otherwise. All political prisoners were released, and the Communist papers were free to publish whatever they liked (provided, of course, they did not criticize SCAP). Faced with resistance by Japanese politicians in liberalizing the Meiji Constitution, he wrote key sections of the constitution himself, and authored one of “the most liberal constitutions in history.” The cabinet grudgingly ratified it, and so too, with equal reluctance, did the handpicked Tojo diet. Hirohito put all parties at ease when he announced the draft had his full approval. In April 1946, with press criticism of the constitution effectively subdued, candidates committed to the new constitution earned substantial majorities. MacArthur proclaimed a national holiday to celebrate the constitution as newly enfranchised women celebrated by wearing their best kimonos to local celebrations.


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"To make matters worse is quite impossible, thus I shall make them considerably better."

In the summer of 1946, George Kenney speculated on the tons of ticker tape that New York City would dump on MacArthur. The General smiled and shook his head, announcing he had no intention of returning to Manhattan. “When I do fly home,” he told Kenney, “I expect to settle down in Milwaukee, and on the way to the house I’m going to stop at a furniture store and buy the biggest red rocker...I’ll set it up on the porch and alongside it I’ll put a good-sized pile of stones. Then I’ll rock.” When Kenney asked what the stones were for, the General grinned, and replied, “to throw at anyone who comes around talking politics.” Ironically, fate would have him stone himself. Like most Americans, he assumed that President Byrnes would lose in 1948, and a considerable public campaign invigorated his cause. William Randolph Hearst declared “We must draft General MacArthur for the Presidency...beyond any rivalry and any partisanship...he is the man of the hour.” Tokyo seemed to agree, and shopkeepers hung “We Want MacArthur for President,” as Manichi insisted “we would be gratified if General MacArthur were elected President, as it would mean we would have a U.S. President who would fully understand us. This benefit would offset our loss of the great general.” He threw himself into a great debacle, and accepted the petitions of the citizens of Madison for his enlistment into the Republican primary. But Taft, Vandenberg, and Dewey were not rapidly fading, and American voters were not quite sure they wanted President MacArthur. One GOP poll reported that Dewey’s strength was triple that of MacArthur, and that Stassen, Taft, and Vandenberg all led Dugout Doug. Furthermore, he was spurred by the old isolationist movement, his natural constituency, for he had become the symbol of America’s global presence. Senator Joseph R. McCarthy accused MacArthur of screwing over Billy Mitchell, dredged up the gruesome details of his divorce, broadly implied that he was a homosexual, and charged that the General was the Internationale’s candidate. Then, MacArthur suffered a disastrous result in Wisconsin, scoring only eight delegates to Stassen’s nineteen. He was downright despondent; only the controversial victory of his protege, Manuel Roxas, in the Philippines, gave him any reprieve. Washington expansionism via the Manila-Washington pact secured the traditional American linkage and laid the precedent for the forthcoming project in Pacific security.

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Broad transformations in the structure of East Asian politics motivated MacArthur’s political ambitions. He had spent 1947 fighting the Pentagon over the establishment of an early peace treaty, opposed by the militants on the ground that only an army of occupation could guarantee Nippon’s defense. Here MacArthur was rejecting the premise that “Japanese militarism was Asia’s greatest menace and that to prevent it, Japan must be kept indefinitely under allied control...this provoked in my mind the Treaty of Versailles all over again.” The Joint Chiefs voted to continue the occupation indefinitely; MacArthur was happy to stay put and let his proposal gain traction in public opinion. After Byrnes’ surprise victory over Dewey, he began to correspond with figures who shared his view of world politics, such as John Foster Dulles, another advocate of a quick treaty with Japan. Others were less respectable, and he wrote with eagerness to right-wing Republicans in Wisconsin and Nebraska, as well as the ever indelicate House minority leader, Joe Martin, speculating “just how many Hisses are there in the State Department?” and regretting the absence of a dependable U.S. foreign policy.

Wm3460c.jpg

James F. Byrnes was the 33rd President of the United States. A southern Democrat and former Senator from South Carolina, Bynes was unpopular among African-Americans and the labor movement, but nevertheless received the vice-presidential blessing from Edwin W. Pauley, the DNC treasurer, Robert E. Hannegan, the DNC chairman, Frank C. Walker, the Postmaster General, and George E. Allen, the Democratic party secretary. Edward J. Flynn, New York's political boss, preferred Harry Truman, but FDR sided with his favorite, the "assistant president."

So far, Byrnes and his allies had stuck to the letter of FDR’s international legacy—the tripartite division of world politics into the “Big Three” of the United States, Nationalist China, and the Third International. The consensus in Washington was anything but hostile to their wartime partners, and both Byrnes and Stettinius remained convinced conciliators in their dealings with the Soviet Union and Syndicalist Europe. The White House was glad enough to preside over America’s economic bonanza without diverting resources for an ideological crusade. In reality, however, adherence to this precarious system was doomed from the start. Despite the warnings from Kennan and Harriman in Moscow—perceptive as ever to the pathology of the Soviet Union—the Byrnes administration made no policy change following the establishment of Cominform. Stettinius, for example, continued to lavish praise on Uncle Joe for his role in overthrowing the Japanese Empire, even as Kennan warned that Soviet ambitions, funneled through Cominform, were pivoting towards dangerous objectives in East Asia. In the end, this ill-fated system of global governance would disintegrate. But it would take a traumatic catastrophe to snap the United States out of its complacent adherence, and pave the road for MacArthur’s occupation of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave: the Soviet intervention in China and the fall of Chiang Kai-Shek.
 
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stnylan

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MacArthur is the saviour of Japan when she has been ground into the dust. To what depths must America plunge for MacArthur to appear as its saviour?
 

DensleyBlair

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Oh god, President Byrnes. That's going to have repercussions for... well, everything.

I am not entirely certain of @99KingHigh’s plans for the US going into the Fifties, but I am fairly confiedbetyou’re right.

MacArthur is the saviour of Japan when she has been ground into the dust. To what depths must America plunge for MacArthur to appear as its saviour?

It always makes for interesting results when men in Washington decide that they are unhappy with America’s position in the world. I understand that the circumstances around MacArthur’s rise are no exception.
 

Le Jones

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Masterfully written @99KingHigh (guest star?) and quite a sobering look at MacArthur. Thank God for Wisconsin!

and regretting the absence of a dependable U.S. foreign policy.

If wishing made it so...
 

DensleyBlair

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Masterfully written @99KingHigh (guest star?) and quite a sobering look at MacArthur. Thank God for Wisconsin!

Indeed, we have a guest star! And he’s given us a fantastically colourful look at MacArthur. I dare say that Douglas and our own Mosley have more than a little in common. They both seem to share a belief in their own omnipotence.

If wishing made it so...

Quite!

_________________________

Having had this look at MacArthur, I’ll likely aim to put up the next Commonwealth update sometime early next week. If I remember the schedule correctly, there’s something a bit different on its way next. A deviation from all of the top table politicking, but hopefully no less interesting.
 

Tommy4ever

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Great update High King!

I really enjoyed the tattered looking cover of ‘American Caesar’ at the start :D.

Was fascinating to have a look in at Japan’s fate.
 
Solidarity, Health and Freedom: Football in the Syndicalist International, 1946–56

DensleyBlair

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ECHOES%20HEADER.jpg



SOLIDARITY, HEALTH AND FREEDOM
FOOTBALL IN THE SYNDICALIST INTERNATIONAL, 1946–1956

BRIAN CLOUGH
1976



I was two years too young to be a real child of the revolutionary generation, but even growing up in Mosley’s Britain it was hard not to feel a sense of excitement around so many parts of daily life. I never trusted Mosley, and I was not into politics or the ins and outs of the Commonwealth economy, but as a young boy there would always be something to get excited about during those years, whether it was a new computer or the jet engine. Even in Middlesborough where I grew up, the nearby factory of the Commonwealth Chemical Works kept us in touch with all of the latest advancements in science and technology after the wars.


Of course, the main pleasure in life at that time was football. The Commonwealth League was inaugurated in 1934, only a year before I was born, and there was a real excitement in following the rebirth of the sport. Middlesborough & Ironopolis had been formed in 1930 as an amalgamation of two former rival clubs, Middlesborough FC and Middlesborough Ironopolis. The Iron were admitted into the Second Division of the Commonwealth League upon its formation in 1934, and the club got off to a flying start, winning the league by a ten-point margin. As my dad always used to remind me, the Iron had been top of the league on my birthday, 21 March 1935, and when I joined the club in 1951 it felt in many ways like the workings of fate.


But football played a part in life far beyond Teesside, and in the Thirties and Forties the game took on a global importance, as much influenced by the vicissitudes of politics as an influence on them in turn.



1975%20CLOUGH%5C.jpg

Commonwealth manager Brian Clough making an appearance at the 1975 annual Shrovetide Football match in Ashbourne, Derbyshire. Outspoken, tactically innovative and highly intelligent about the game, Clough took over the running of the national side from Bill Shankly after the 1974 World Cup. Shankly retired after leading the Commonwealth team to World Cup victory on home soil.


Before 1946, there had been little hint of the role football might take in European international relations in the years after the Anti-Fascist Wars. International football was an almost entirely alien concept to the footballing nations of Europe, who had greeted the inaugural FIFA World Cup, held in 1930 in far-off Uruguay, with a cool reception. Continental geopolitics played its part in keeping down enthusiasm for an international game. Few European football authorities could afford to send teams to participate in Uruguay, and more still were barred by political factors. The decision to hold the 1934 World Cup in Italy was controversial both among authorities unwilling to endorse the Fascist regime, and because of the difficulty in non-European teams travelling to the competition. By the time of the 1938 World Cup, slated to be held in France, the outbreak of the Spanish War left in little appetite for the beautiful game, and the games were deferred first until 1942, before being moved to Brazil after the 1938 French Revolution.


In the Commonwealth, while there had been some support for the idea of sending a side to compete on the world stage, it was decided to be too big a risk when the country was still without a reformed football authority. The Football Association, despite attempts to continue normal operations during the revolutionary years, had effectively folded in 1928. It was not until 1932 that football in the Commonwealth received a new governing body, with the formation of the Commonwealth Football Federation as part of international secretary Willie Gallacher’s drive to improve the running of sport on a national level during preparations for that summer’s Olympic Games in London. From the start, the CFF oversaw the running of the game in each of the Commonwealth’s constituent countries, replacing the former English, Scottish and Welsh football associations.


The CFF put forward an all-Commonwealth side, the first of its kind, at the 1932 Olympics, although owing to political rivalries and controversy surrounding international football competitions only fourteen other nations sent competitor teams. These were Argentina, Belgium, Chile, Egypt, France, Mexico, the Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the United States, Uruguay, the USSR and Yugoslavia. In order to resolve the difficulty of staging a fifteen-team tournament, the Commonwealth received a bye into the quarter finals. The team eventually finished third, losing out in the semi finals to eventual winners Argentina by an unanticipated margin of five goals to one, before defeating the Soviet Union one-nil to secure the bronze medal.



1932%20PERU%20AUSTRIA.jpg

Uruguayan goalkeeper Óscar Varelledo defends a header from French forward Jules Gascon during a first-round match at the 1932 Olympics.


This respectable debut into the world of international football remained a one-off for an all-Commonwealth side until April 1936, when the CFF arranged a two-leg friendly with the Soviet Union in order to celebrate the signing of the Cripps-Litvinov Pact. (The Commonwealth won two-nil in London but were defeated four-one in Moscow, losing four-three on aggregate.) In the interim, international games were hard to come by. FIFA upheld their recognition of England, Wales and Scotland as individual teams but did not recognise the CFF until 1945. Thus the Commonwealth had the option of sending three teams to the World Cup in 1934, but refused on the grounds that that it was being held in Fascist Italy. Instead, the CFF organised the Commonwealth Cup, contested by the constituent Commonwealth nations plus the USSR, whose team also went unrecognised by FIFA. This was a simple round-robin league tournament in which teams played each other twice, once at home and once away. (In the case of games involving the Soviet Union, a neutral ground was used.) The top two finishing teams then played each other in a play-off for the title at Wembley Stadium. This was held on 10 June 1934, the same day as the World Cup final in Italy, and saw England beat the Soviets two-one.


FIFA had originally planned for the 1938 World Cup to be held in France, to much furore from South American sides who claimed European bias. In any event, the tournament was postponed until 1942 owing to the Spanish War. In the absence of a World Cup, the French staged a revolution. FIFA used this as pretext to address the complaints from South America, announcing that in light of events in Europe (namely the revolutionary climate, the wars ongoing in North Africa and the cold war brewing in the eastern half of the continent) the 1942 World Cup would be held in Brazil. As in Uruguay twelve years earlier, few European teams made the journey across the Atlantic, either distracted by war, put off by the costs or else barred from entering in the first place. Out of sixteen competitor nations, only five were from Europe: Belgium, the Netherlands, Romania, Switzerland and Yugoslavia. Argentina were the eventual winners, beating host nation Brazil two-one in a legendary final that resulted in a period of Brazilian national mourning.



1942%20ARGENTINA%20WINNERS.jpg

The victorious Argentinian team photographed before the 1942 World Cup Final against hosts Brazil.


By the time of the 1946 World Cup, FIFA realised that they faced a crisis of European participation if they stuck to their guns in refusing to recognise either the Commonwealth or the Soviet Union. Revolutions in France, Spain and Italy meant that all of Europe’s premier national teams were now in the same position, with new ‘revolutionary’ football authorities overseeing their respective games. Ironically, the wave of syndicalism that spread across the elite footballing nations of Europe did get rid of a secondary problem, which was that previously teams had been reluctant to compete abroad owing to non-professional players’ uncertainty that they would be allowed time off work for the trip. In the syndicalist nations, as in the Soviet Union, the national players were all state sponsored, and therefore free to participate without fear of returning to a redundancy notice. In order to solve the other main issue of continental bias, FIFA decided that the 1946 tournament would be held in the United States. This, it was thought, would be fair to all countries in Europe and South America as far as concerned getting their players to the stadiums.


The 1946 tournament in the United States was the first to see the sixteen competitor teams divided into four groups (or “pools”) for the first round of the tournament. Argentina and the United States qualified automatically as the defending champions and hosts, respectively, leaving fourteen places available. Of these, six went to Europe, six to the Americas and two to Africa. From Europe, the four syndicalist teams entered alongside Switzerland and the Soviet Union. (An invitation to the footballing authorities of the German Reich went unanswered.) 1946 was therefore notable as the first instance of footballing contact between the teams of the syndicalist nations and the veteran sides of South America, who continued to dominate international football. Of the syndicalist nations, Spain and the Commonwealth advanced from the pools stage. The Commonwealth were knocked out in the quarter-finals by eventual finalists Uruguay, while Spain feel short in a semi-final meeting against tournament winners Brazil.


It was at once a humbling and energising experience for the European teams, and the respectable showing of the syndicalists inspired a craze for football much closer to home. In 1947, the Commonwealth, France, Italy and Spain came together to form SIFCO, the Footballing Council of the Syndicalist International. Its role would be to promote cooperation and solidarity between the states through international football events. Primarily, this took the form of a round robin international competition, the International Championship, held every four years from 1952, intercalated with the FIFA World Cup. Before then, however, the SI saw the innovation of a new form of competition in Europe.



1948%20VASCO%20DA%20GAMA.jpg

Photograph of the Brazilian Vasco da Gama side victories at the 1948 Championship of Champions. They beat Argentinians River Plate 3-2 in a fiercely fought final.


In 1948, two French journalists traveled to the South American in order to cover the first ever Championship of Champions, a competition contested by the best club teams from across South America. Later renamed the Copa Liberatadores in 1960, the Championship of Champions allowed club teams – a vital part of so many communities across the globe – to battle it out for the crown of continental champions. Viscerally exciting and the source of a great deal of passion from fans, the French writers soon became convinced of the necessity of the inception of a similar tournament for the countries of the Syndicalist International. SIFCO agreed, and starting in 1950 sixteen clubs (four from each SI nation) fought annually in the unimaginatively named SIFCO Championship for the title of Champion of the Syndicalist International. Staged in a different city each year, rotating between the SI nations, the first tournament was held in Paris along identical lines to the 1946 World Cup. The sixteen clubs were drawn into four pools, with two clubs qualifying from each pool to advance to the knockout stages. The first title went to French domestic cup champions Olympique de Marseilles, who beat Italian league champions AC Milan in a thrilling final that ended four-two. Milan had their revenge the following year in Rome, beating Commonwealth league champions Tottenham Hotspur three-one in a bravura performance.


The SIFCO Championship was renamed the Solidarity Cup in 1952 to coincide with the staging of the first International Championship, held in the Commonwealth with the final at London’s Wembley Stadium. The first championship went, predictably, to the Commonwealth team, edging out their Spanish rivals by only two points. I was by this point playing football full time for Middlesborough & Ironopolis in the Second Division, and I remember the excitement of going to St James’s Park in Newcastle, which had been designated as Italy’s ‘home’ stadium during the tournament. There was always something mildly absurd about seeing stars like Matteo Virgili and Aldo Buonaventura around and about Tyneside. Four years later, in Spain, the Italians won the championship by a single point, beating the Soviet Union (who had been invited to join that year’s tournament) two-nil in a final match that saw them edge out France, who had drawn two-all with the Commonwealth. Another innovation, the 1956 championship saw Commonwealth games broadcast on CBC TV for the first time. The game against the Soviet Union, played in front of 60 thousand people at the Camp de Les Corts in Barcelona, attracted a television audience of ten million.


In the meantime, the emergence of SIFCO and the rapid rise of football within the Syndicalist International in the early 1950s had provoked a number of people on the other side of the ideological divide into action. The German Reich, which hosted the 1950 World Cup, recognised the potential football held as an alternative means of diplomacy. 1950 once again saw sixteen teams compete, and as before the fourteen qualifying places were divided by a ratio of six–six–two between Europe, the Americas and Africa. The question of how European qualification was decided was a vexatious one. FIFA proposed that SIFCO organise a qualifying tournament for its four constituent nations, with the top two going through. With the inaugural International Championship to be held only two years later, this was not a popular suggestion. Ultimately, the four nations decided qualification by the drawing of lots. By coincidence the two qualified nations, Spain and the Commonwealth, would go on to place first and second in 1952, thus qualifying for the 1954 World Cup in Argentina. Following the 1954 tournament, with neither France nor Italy represented since 1946, SIFCO launched a protest to FIFA asking for reform of the qualification process. This was a factor in the formation of the Confederation of European Football Associations in 1955.


For the politicians in charge of the German Reich, the World Cup was intended as a demonstration of Germany’s openness and modernisation since the fall of the Nazi regime in 1938. At the height of the Cold War in Europe, the competition assumed a greater significance even beyond football. The German team had not competed in a World Cup since their third-place finish in Italy in 1934, when the Nazis had sought to use football to promote the strength of the German people. As the host nation, the German authorities hoped to best this showing.



1950%20GERMANY%20GOAL.jpg

German forward Dennis Emhoff scores the first goal in the infamous 1950 third-place playoff against the Commonwealth. Frank Askey is in goal for the Commonwealth.


In the event, the World Cup was a bitter disappointment for the Germans. A semi final defeat to eventual winners Argentina set up a contest for third place against the Commonwealth, who had lost their semi final to SIFCO rivals Spain. (The 1950 final was, incidentally, the first to be contested by teams from two different continents.) In front of 45 thousand spectators at the Teutoniaplatz in Munich, the two rivals – Germany and the Commonwealth – met in a fierce clash that saw ideological differences matched by opposing footballing styles. Commonwealth international secretary Philip Noel-Baker made the trip to Munich in order to watch the athletic British side take on the technical German team. Tied two-all after ninety minutes, the Commonwealth came out on top after a superb extra-time goal from inside forward Jock Tanner. After the tournament, with their team having been bested by the SIFCO nations, the German authorities decided that the syndicalist habit for international football was what gave them the edge. In 1952, Germany led sixteen other nations in forming the European Footballing Union, created as a means of promoting “healthy sporting competition between the free and enterprising nations of Europe”. Mimicking the competitions already run by SIFCO, the EFU announced a European Championship for top domestic teams to start in 1955, and a European Cup of Nations to begin in 1956. After 1955, SIFCO and the EFU liaised with each other via CEFA, which oversaw the European World Cup qualification process from 1958 onwards.


Argentina 1954 was the final World Cup tournament held before the first EFU competitions, and thus the last tournament at which the SIFCO nations could be said perhaps to have had an edge over their non-syndicalist competitors. It was a mixed performance for Spain and the Commonwealth, whose teams famously travelled by Comaero Comet in order to represent SIFCO on the world stage. The Commonwealth lost out in the quarter finals to Chile, who ultimately placed third, while Spain again lost out to Argentina in the final in the only instance of a final being replayed two years in a row. In winning their third cup, Argentina also became the only team so far to have successfully defended their world title. In Spain four years later, amid scenes of tragedy on a national scale after a shock defeat to Yugoslavia, Argentina failed to make it out of their pool. Spain, meanwhile, took home gold at the third time of asking.


In the words of visionary former Commonwealth manager Matt Busby, “football gives a player three things in life: solidarity, health and freedom”. From uncertain beginnings at a time of great mutual mistrust and conflict in the Thirties and Forties, international football emerged after the Anti-Fascist Wars as one of the great unifiers, crossing national borders to bring a message of friendly competition, passionate support of one’s own side, and above all the thrill of seeing the beautiful game played at the highest level. Today a truly global phenomenon, during the years 1946–56 the international game of football was a cause championed only by a select few enthusiast nations. The flag was waved in Europe by the syndicalists, who were attracted to football not only for the thrill and the spectacle, but out of a recognition that football made a game out of the very principle that had formed the Syndicalist International in the first instance: the idea that the cooperation of many outweighs the talent of any one man.
 
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stnylan

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Ahh, sport. One of the most political of all entertainments.

I really enjoyed this one, even though I have to say I myself find the not so "beautiful game" to be one of the duller activities ever invented by humankind, both to watch and to participate.
 

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As a lover of football history - this was one of my favourite updates yet :D. Would have been nice to have had a few trademark Clough jibes at various characters he disproved of.

Also - a unified Commonwealth team is undoubtedly fascist and disgusting. This is the by far the worst part of Mosley’s Britain!
 

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This AAR really moves from strength to strength. The piece on the Commonwealth's Left Opposition was absolutely fantastic, and the one on MacArthur equally so. I just finished reading John Dower's Embracing Defeat, and that chapter felt like it could have fit right in - with a few historical tweaks, of course :) If China becomes a Soviet vassal, will Japan be "encouraged" to remilitarize faster?
 

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Ahh, sport. One of the most political of all entertainments.

I really enjoyed this one, even though I have to say I myself find the not so "beautiful game" to be one of the duller activities ever invented by humankind, both to watch and to participate.

Glad you managed to enjoy it in spite of the subject matter! I've always enjoyed alt-historical football timelines (probably because my own life as a football fan has been so full of disappointment...) so I couldn't pass up the opportunity to include here. And it's a nice way of giving a sort of diplomatic overview as well.

As a lover of football history - this was one of my favourite updates yet :D. Would have been nice to have had a few trademark Clough jibes at various characters he disproved of.

Cheers Tommy! I'm glad you enjoyed it. I may well revisit the football later on – if only because I still need to establish Aston Villa winning everything under the sun as canon. :D

As for the missing Cloughisms – I do agree it's an oversight. Try as I might, I just couldn't find a way to fit in "they say the organisational structure of the Trades Union Congress wasn't built in a day, but I wasn't on that particular job." :p

Also - a unified Commonwealth team is undoubtedly fascist and disgusting. This is the by far the worst part of Mosley’s Britain!

Sporting nationalism is highly undesirable, comrade. :p Tbh I'm just disappointed the existence of a 32-county Éire means no George Best dazzling in the International Championship...

This AAR really moves from strength to strength. The piece on the Commonwealth's Left Opposition was absolutely fantastic, and the one on MacArthur equally so. I just finished reading John Dower's Embracing Defeat, and that chapter felt like it could have fit right in - with a few historical tweaks, of course :) If China becomes a Soviet vassal, will Japan be "encouraged" to remilitarize faster?

Thank you Kienzle! The fate of East Asia is definitely in the balance, and Stalin is going to play a very big role in determining it. Japan, Korea and Indochina will all be sites of contention going forward.
 
International Relations: The Anti-Fascist Pact after the Wars, 1943–53 (Part One: 1943–45)

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ECHOES%20HEADER.jpg



INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS
THE ANTI-FASCIST PACT AFTER THE WARS, 1943–1953

E. H. CARR
1970


PART ONE: EUROPE, 1943–45



In the historiography of the Commonwealth, the Anti-Fascist Wars are held to have taken place during the years 1936–44. This span reflects only the involvement of the Commonwealth in what were a complex series of interrelated global conflicts. In Europe, speaking from a more objective standpoint, it would perhaps be more accurate to suggest that the Wars did not end until 3 May. 1945, when the declaration of the Free People’s Republic of Italy settled the question of actors in the next great geopolitical drama to envelop Europe and the wider world. I refer to the period of history known in the English language as the Cold War, considered to have started in the immediate aftermath of the conclusion of the Anti-Fascist Wars.


From its outset in 1929 until 1940, the Commonwealth had looked to the Soviet Union as its principal diplomatic partner in European affairs. This was most clearly expressed by the signing of the Cripps–Litvinov Pact in spring 1936, ratified at the moment of the Rhineland crisis when direct war between the fascist and anti-fascist powers of Europe seemed inevitable. The outbreak of war in Spain at the end of summer provided the European powers with a proxy war, which ended in 1939 with the defeat of the fascists (and was resolved a year later with the collapse of the Republican government and the establishment of the CNT-led syndicalist regime). Pertinent to the collapse of fascism in Spain had been the dual crises in Austria and the Sudetenland, both involving Nazi Germany, in 1938. While Adolf Hitler’s annexation of Austria, the so-called “Anschluss”, had gone ahead with little outrage from the international community (excepting protests from Mussolini), the German incursion into Czechoslovakia in September provoked a fiercer response. Invoking their mutual agreement to oppose fascist expansion in Europe, the Commonwealth and the Soviet Union stood together in declaring that a German failure to withdraw from the Sudetenland would give cause for war. Spooked by the prospect of fighting a war for which they were not yet prepared, the German army removed Hitler and the country descended into a brief civil war, ending with the total collapse of the Nazi regime at the end of the year.


Thus by 1939 Mussolini was left as the only major fascist leader in Europe. (Dr Salazar in Portugal, although undoubtedly a disciple of the fascist dogma, was sufficiently isolationist to evade the attentions of the European anti-fascist coalition.) Having already broken with Hitler over the annexation of Austria, even if the Nazi party had succeeded in maintaining its grip over the German state it is quite likely that Italy and Germany would have gone their separate ways after 1938. This is evident in Mussolini’s prosecution of an increasingly independent foreign policy from the summer before the collapse of the Nazi regime, when Italian invasions of French and British protectorates in North Africa and the Middle East escalated the Spanish War into a more direct conflict between the opposed powers.


Mussolini’s African adventuring proved significant in European relations by subtly resetting the interests pursued by each of the major powers. Following the rise of the Force Ouvrière and the declaration of the French Fourth Republic in May 1938, contemporaneous with the weakening of European fascism had been the strengthening of the syndicalist bloc in the west. Both under attack from Italian forces across the Mediterranean, France and Britain worked increasingly closely with each other in the final years of the 1930s. Meanwhile, the resolution of the conflict in Spain left the Soviet Union without immediate cause for intervention in European affairs in the west. In spite of, or perhaps because of, the successes enjoyed by the international Left in Western Europe at the end of the 1930s, Stalin accelerated his policy of “socialism in one country” going into the 1940s. On the international stage, this meant a rejection of the internationalism that had persisted throughout the previous decade and the fostering of a strong border against the capitalist states to Russia’s west. Materially, this doctrine led to two major decisions: the first, the purging of Maxim Litvinov in 1940 and his replacement by Vyacheslav Molotov; the second, the pursuit of an aggressive policy of consolidation in the Baltic and Eastern Europe, persisting well into the 1950s.



1940%20MOLOTOV%20STALIN%20DACHA.jpg

Vyacheslav Molotov was almost unique amongst the Bolsheviks for retaining Stalin's trust well into the 1940s. He enjoyed a far easier relationship with Stalin than had his predecessor Litvinov; the two are depicted here with their respective children at Stalin's dacha in 1940.


First and foremost, the break with Litvinov sent a clear signal to diplomats in the Commonwealth that Moscow no longer considered mutual cooperation to be of great significance to its foreign policy objectives. Litvinov was almost alone at the Narkomindel as a pro-British voice by 1940, and this outlook did him no favours. Described by one Commonwealth official as “Stalin’s greatest shock-absorber”, Litvinov’s departure signalled an end to the Soviet policy of collective security against fascism in Europe. With the Nazis gone, the Kremlin repudiated its previous support of a popular front and reverted to a more hardline, isolationist position. The new foreign minister Molotov was described by the same Commonwealth official as “more truly Bolshevik than diplomatic or cosmopolitan”, and believed above all in the defence of Soviet communism from external threats. Increasingly, this included the syndicalist states, whose interpretations of socialism were viewed with suspicion as divergent from the Moscow-centric Marxist-Leninist position. Molotov’s first action as head of the Narkomindel was to oversee the attempted annexation of Finland and the Baltic states in 1940, which sparked protest from Britain, France and Spain, and resulted in the establishment of communist governments in Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania. Simultaneously, the Narkomindel began overtures to the nations of Eastern Europe aimed at closer co-operation with the Soviet government, both in foreign policy and economic affairs. This brought the Soviet Union into renewed conflict with the re-established German Reich, which maintained a rival doctrine of influence in Eastern Europe from the 1940s onwards.


Between the years 1941–44, the escalation of Imperial Japan’s war of conquest in the Pacific saw the Commonwealth, France and the Soviet Union nominally allied with America against the Japanese. While united in their ultimate aim of restricting Japanese expansion in East Asia, the Pacific War did little to reignite any great warmth in relations between the powers, and Stalin was distrustful of Mosley’s closeness with President Roosevelt of the United States. Further, in Europe the rival non-capitalist blocs remained at odds. This was most immediately evident in Italy during the gradual collapse of the fascist regime between 1943–45 (as will be described in more detail below). Although after 1940 the Soviets maintained appearances of goodwill by dispatching Litvinov as ambassador to the Commonwealth, it was clear that the two powers were now set firmly on differing tracks. Even Litvinov’s appointment was contentious, arguably more of an exiling than a diplomatic dispatch, and the beleaguered former foreign minister was beset by his opponents in the Kremlin even in Moscow. Finally growing tired with his rival, and amid a growing climate of anti-semitism in Russia, Stalin recalled Litvinov in 1943. The Commonwealth intelligence services received warning that the Soviet premier intended to put Litvinov on trial once back in Russia, and thus arranged for his defection to Britain days before he was scheduled to return to Moscow. The Kremlin regarded this as an act of anti-Soviet counter-espionage, leading to a sharp cooling of Soviet–Commonwealth relations. Leon Trotsky had been resident in the Commonwealth since 1935, and Litvinov’s subsequent defection only further angered Stalin. The presence of both men in Britain was considered evidence that syndicalism was incompatible with Soviet communism, and contributed to the Soviet denunciation of the Syndicalist International alongside the capitalist states of Europe upon the inception of the Cominform in 1946.



1940%20LITVINOV%20EXILE.jpg

Maxim Litvinov spent the final decade of his life in exile in the Commonwealth of Britain, having fallen out of favour with Stalin and facing the threat of persecution should he ever return to Russia.


While the Soviet bloc retreated into isolation and internal consolidation during the 1940s, the syndicalist bloc continued to expand its influence. The former Anti-Fascist Pact, which had included the Commonwealth, France and the Soviet Union, was superseded by the establishment of the Syndicalist International in 1943. Britain, France and Spain were the founding members; the three syndicalist heads of state, Cynthia Mosley, Léon Jouhaux and Ángel Pestaña, met at Biarritz to sign the declaration of the SI’s inception following the Italian retreat from North Africa in August.


Although Italy’s defeat in Africa had spelled downfall for Mussolini, the fascist regime survived along with the Italian monarchy. King Victor Emmanuel III dismissed Mussolini and replaced him with Marshal Pietro Badoglio, a close ally of Mussolini’s, as the new prime minister. Badoglio worked to defend the fascist regime, but was beset by opposition from the insurgent Partisan movement, a broad coalition of republicans, leftists and anti-fascists united against the government. Having been sidelined politically since the fascist seizure of power in 1926, Victor Emmanuel was wary of relinquishing his influence for a second time. He recognised that a Partisan victory would, in all likelihood, be the death of the Italian monarchy, thus he acted with a mind to preserving the Crown. To this end, he dismissed Badoglio in early 1944 and replaced him with Marshal Enrico Caviglia. Caviglia was a hero of the Great War, known as much for his scepticism of fascism as for his personal loathing for Badoglio, whom he described as “a dog who goes wherever there is the biggest morsel”. Victor Emmanuel hoped that, under Caviglia’s leadership, he could establish a monarchist government that could begin to transition Italy away from fascism, as had more or less been achieved by Kaiser Wilhelm III in Germany (albeit with significant continuities with the Nazi era). Hopes for such a settlement were dashed in March 1945 when Caviglia died in office aged 82. The King’s appointment of his son Umberto as caretaker prime minister was a fatal faux pas, discrediting the monarchy in the eyes even of the right wing of the Partisan movement. Count Carlo Sforza, a leading monarchist amongst the anti-fascists, declared Umberto a “pathological case”, and decried that the Italian monarchy would not be able to “wash away its shame” unless both he and his father abdicated. Conservatives held that the surest way of saving the monarchy would be for the Crown to pass to Umberto’s six-year-old son, Victor Emmanuel, and power vested in a regency council until he came of age. This was soundly rejected, and thus Italy continued on the path to widespread discontentment.



1945%20SFORZA.jpg

Count Carlo Sforza (seated) attempted to mastermind the survival of the Italian monarchy during the transition away from Fascism between 1943–45.


From 1943, the Syndicalist International had opened up intelligence links within the Partisan movement and began to supply leftist opposition groups with instruction and materiel. Representatives from France and Spain hoped to encourage a general strike in order not only to bring about the collapse of the monarchist regime, but also to inspire a wider class conflict in Italy. Stafford Cripps, by now Commonwealth ambassador to the SI, was less enthusiastic about the prospect of class war, but remained a vigorous supporter of overthrowing the “continuity-fascist government”. By 1944 it became apparent that there was little scope of mass direct action against the government by the Partisan movement, which was arguably too diverse to ever agree upon a singular, concrete strategy for ridding Italy of its fascist government. Monarchists and Catholic democrats hoped to assume power under a constitutional monarchy, or else at the head of a liberal-democratic republic. This strategy, vague and reliant on the cooperation of the Crown itself, was opposed by the various leftists within the anti-fascist movement, who favoured direct action through guerrilla groups and the underground trade unions. Meanwhile, the Italian Communist Party (CPI) operated in accordance with Marxist-Leninist doctrine, and continued along a policy of vanguardism aimed at transforming any post-fascist Italian society into a de facto soviet republic.


The main point of contact between the Partisans and the SI was veteran syndicalist union leader Bruno Buozzi. Buozzi had almost fearlessly maintained the organisation of the General Confederation of Labour (CGdL) after its proscription by Mussolini. Mussolini had co-opted the language of syndicalism for his own ends, conflating fascism with what he called “national syndicalism”. Together with a group of left-communist comrades, Buozzi was instrumental in reviving the fortunes of left-wing syndicalism within the anti-fascist opposition, particularly after an increase in hostility from the CPI. The CPI retained a great deal of influence over the workers movement, however, and in 1945 announced the “reformation” of the CGdL under the leadership of Giuseppe Di Vittorio. Di Vittorio was immensely popular, and furthermore approved by Moscow. Along with CPI leader Palmiro Togliatti, Di Vittorio hoped to use the CGdL as part of a vanguard to create a workers’ republic, using labour power as a bargaining tool rather than for the immediate overthrow of the capitalist state. Along with representatives from the SI, Buozzi and his allies incorporated a number of labour councils across the country into a new, independent union, the Confederation of Free Workers’ Syndicates (CSAL). On 5 April, CSAL took the initiative in calling for a general strike with the aim of bringing down the monarchist government and establishing a free republic.


The response was massive and immediate. By 7 April, over three million people had joined the strike, and soon workers were supported by a diverse range of Partisan activity elsewhere. Victor Emmanuel initially responded by directing the army to quash the movement, but the orders were only loosely applied by officers disillusioned with the fascist monarchy. Rome was occupied by striking workers and other Partisan demonstrators on 9 April, and after the end of the first week mass uprisings across the country had brought Italy to a standstill. On 12 April, Victor Emmanuel met with a group of monarchist and conservative Partisans led by Count Carlo Sforza. The King offered to abdicate the throne in favour of his son, and proposed the formation of a new governing coalition designed to keep the left-wing from taking power. Sforza refused to countenance any settlement that involved Umberto, and left the meeting without any hint at resolution.


While the right-wing of the Partisan movement remained wary of leftist influence, for the moment co-operation remained a necessity. For their own part, the CPI received instructions from Moscow to temporarily abandon class warfare and support democratic attempts at removing the monarchy, with the aim of taking control of the resulting government. Togliatti met with Socialist Party leader Pietro Nenni on 14 April and announced the formation of the Popular Democratic Front (FDP) the following day. After a series of manoeuvres and compromises, the FDP eventually brokered a deal with Sforza and the monarchists, and entered into a grand coalition led by the liberal Randolfo Pacciardi. Going into the last week of April, it was clear that the monarchy could not survive much longer. Victor Emmanuel abdicated on the morning 22 April, followed by his son Umberto about half an hour later. Italy remained a kingdom, with six-year-old Victor Emmanuel IV as its king. Sforza was declared president of the regency council, and soon the Partisan coalition began to discuss the mechanics of drafting a fresh constitution.



1945%20UMBERTO%20OUT.jpg

The Socialist press celebrated the abdication of Umberto II, 'The Fascist King', who was King of Italy for 30 minutes on 22 April 1945.


This settlement satisfied few outside of the monarchist party. The FDP, who gave the provisional government about a third of its support, continued to push for the declaration of a republic, as did Pacciardi himself and a number of other democrats. The question was deferred until a constitutional convention could be elected, at which point it was agreed a referendum would be held to settle the question. The FDP were confident in their ability to influence the outcome of any such convention, and believed it was only a matter of time before Italy was recreated as a socialist republic. Togliatti, along with Giuseppe Di Vittorio, believed that the workers movement, by now about four-million strong, could be directed to support radical constitutional change at the ballot box and by convention.


Bruno Buozzi did not share this belief. While Di Vittorio was popular, his close adherence to the Soviet line had limited his effectiveness during the general strike so long as the CPI kept to their policy of democratic engagement. Meanwhile, Buozzi’s ties with the Syndicalist International had provided his new movement with an inordinate amount of momentum. The Force Ouvrière had helped with resources for the printing of pamphlets and a news sheet, spreading the syndicalist message and disparaging the CPI. In addition, agents from the CNT-FAI arrived from Spain days after the outbreak of the strike to assist local labour councils with organisation at a regional level, while in the Commonwealth Italian unionists in Scotland came together under the banner of “Garibaldi Overseas”, sending food and clothes to striking workers and their families, as well as writing about the struggle against fascism for the British audience. Taken as a whole, the SI put in considerable effort at the grass roots of the revived syndicalist movement in Italy, supporting the strike materially while the Soviet-backed Communist Party focused on regime change. This was merely a local reflection of the differing geopolitical doctrines adopted by the rival powers. Fresh from recent victories in France and Spain, the Syndicalists had yet to give up on exporting the revolution. Meanwhile, the Soviets set their allies on the path to centralisation and firm state control. While Togliatti was stuck brokering deals with monarchists and Catholics, Buozzi and his allies had built up a powerful labour movement with remarkable speed, albeit with considerable help from abroad. The CPI faltered, mired in constitutional arguments and institutional debates, and Stalin soon grew impatient with the delays in establishing an Italian soviet republic. As one anonymous worker wrote in CSAL’s newspaper, Libertà!, “Poor Togliatti: so close to God, so far from Moscow”.


On 30 April, elected members of the new constitutional assembly arrived in Rome on special trains bypassing the railway unions, whose members were all on strike. Learning that the government was breaking the strike in order to draft its new constitution, the railway workers roused themselves into a ferocious protest. Workers occupied tracks and forced carriages off the lines up and down the country. Meanwhile, striking workers in Rome occupied the city’s Termini railway station and blocked surrounding roads, attempting to shut down the assembly. The provisional government attempted to launch a counter-offensive, but the authorities were too disorganised to be of any great effectiveness. Buozzi appeared in the capital before a crowd of over one-hundred thousand workers, denouncing the government’s attempt “to build a new state behind the workers’ backs” and calling for the establishment of a workers’ state. The crowd ratified his declaration, echoing the symbolic inauguration of the Commonwealth of Britain in Parliament Square sixteen years earlier. By 2 May, Rome was under worker control; Sforza and Victor Emmanuel fled to Florence, from where they eventually ended up in Portugal. The FDP, on the side of the desiccated state, proved unable to exert any influence over the situation. Togliatti and Nenni could only look on as the establishment of the Free People’s Republic of Italy was acclaimed by the revolutionary crowd.
 

stnylan

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These Italian shenanigans are really quite interesting, in particular for their ramifications for the Commonwealth.
 

Tommy4ever

Papa Bear
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Sep 13, 2008
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Poor Togliatti! Will the Italian Syndies allow the PCI to play an ancillary role as they did for many years in Britain? Or are those bridges already to thoroughly burnt?

Either way, even if the activism of the Syndies might have given them control of the streets - you’d imagine the FDP parties still probably have more popular backing, never mind the bourgeois constitutional parties. I wonder what became of Christian Democracy (as in the broad political movement) in this world. Would love to hear what the global centre right looks like in this world.