| Todayinah Ed. says, in this thread, we explore the scenario, considered feasible by many, that David Lloyd George is re-appointed Britain's War leader in 1940 having served as Prime Minister during the Great War. If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit Todayinah site.|
In 1940, on this day Winston Churchill paid a back-handed complement to his former boss, David Lloyd George upon his surprise re-appointment as Prime Minister ~ "He imparted at once a new. surge of strength, of impulse, far stronger than anything that had been known up to that time ...
As a man of action, resource and creative energy, he stood, when at his zenith, without a rival. Much of his work abides, some of it will grow greatly in the future, and those who come after us will find the pillars of his life's toil upstanding, massive and indestructible".
Lloyd George was a natural - if not perhaps overseasoned - choice for Prime Minister.
DLG '40 - Part 1: At His ZenithWhilst having been the wartime leader during the Great War, the Welsh Wizard re-entered Number 10 Downing Street at seventy-seven years of age, perhaps too hold as hinted at by Churchill's phrase when at his zenith.
Perhaps also Churchill was concered his own opportunity was passing, again hinted at by the phrase those who come after us.
Lloyd George's unlikely return to the world stage began in the late 1930s when he was sent by the British government to try to dissuade Adolf Hitler from his plans of Europe-wide expansion. During the crucial Norway Debate of May 1940, Lloyd George made a powerful speech that helped to undermine Chamberlain as Prime Minister and to pave the way for his own ascendancy as Premier.
Less than four months later, Lloyd George wrote to the Duke of Bedford advocating a negotiated peace with Germany after the Battle of Britain. The story continues ..
In 1940, on this day Prime Minister David Lloyd George delivered a key foreign policy speech in the House of Commons.DLG '40 - Part 2: Heads Held High
Having struck an aggresive and belligerent tone during the Battle of Britain, Lloyd George stated that now that it had been proven to Hitler that Britain could not be defeated with ease, the time had come to "discuss terms with him".
In fact, he was restating a belief that had been expressed as early as September in a letter to the Duke of Bedford (who wanted an immediate peace) that the time would come when Britain had faced down an invasion attempt "our prestige will be higher than ever, and we should enter a Conference with our heads held high".
Lloyd George outlined a compelling case for his policy. Britain was isolated on the Continent, in a way she had never been before. In order to defeat Germany, she would need to equip, raid and land a massive army on the Continent and wage war for years; by that time she would be bankrupt and most of her Empire would be in other hands, including those of the Americans. Lloyd George's expectations of the Americans were guarded. "She will, no doubt help us in all ways short of War" but he did not see her sending another 'huge army' to Europe; even if she did, it would take at least two years for it to become anything like an effective fighting force ..(the story continues).
In 1941, on this day the S.S. Automedon was boarded by the German Raider Atlantis in the Indian Ocean.DLG '40 - Part 3: Force Orange
Onboard the Automedon were the plans for the defence of Singapore. The Germans discovered the documents but the recent peace settlement with Britain prohibited them from sending them to the Japanese. Shortly afterwards, the architect of that peace, David Lloyd George announced the formation of Force Orange (Lloyd George who had been appointed Prime Minister as an 'honest broker' after the Battle of Britain).
Heading towards Singapore was a battle group including Prince Of Wales and Repulse with support from HMS Indomitable, an Illustrious class aircraft carrier. First Sea Lord Sir Dudley Pound felt that Singapore could not be adequately defended, unless the Royal Navy sent the majority of its capital ships there, to achieve parity with the estimated nine Japanese battleships. That had been until recently considered unacceptable as the British were at war with Germany and Italy. On December 7th, the attack on Pearl Harbour would create an improbable scenario. British Seapower would be the only effective deterrent to Japanese aggression, which had been demonstrated in the invasion of French Indochina. ..(the story continues).
In 1945, on this day a memorial service was held at Westminister Abbey and attended by political rivals Clement Attlee and Winston Churchill, the respective leaders of the Conservative and Labour Parties.DLG '40 - Part 4: Successor
Prime Minister David Lloyd George had died on 26th March 1945 and later in the month Churchill was informed by the Labour Party that the coalition could not continue. At the King's request he took over a caretaker government while conducting a general election, continuing the war with Japan and creating a post-war Europe with Stalin and also Truman, who had replaced the recently demised Franklin Delano Roosevelt.
Two days after the Memorial Service, Churchill delivered a major speech in the House of Commons in which he paid tribute to Lloyd George saying that "there was no man so gifted, so eloquent, so forceful, who knew the life of the people so well. When I first became Lloyd George's friend and active associate, now more than forty years ago, this deep love of the people, the profound knowledge of their lives and of the undue and needless pressure under which they lived, impressed itself indelibly upon my mind".
During May, Attlee and Churchill would face the British electorate in a General Election, the first in nine years. To retain the premiership, Churchill needed to establish himself as a natural successor to Britain's war time leader. More importantly, the aristocratic imperialist Churchill would have to strike some uncharacteristic chords by appealling to the working class - the returning troops were demanding change and threatening to elect a Socialist Government.
In 1945, on this day in an election broadcast, caretaker Prime Minister Winston Churchill accurately predicted that a Gestapo-esque body would be required to implement the Socialist programme of Clement Attlee (pictured) and the parliamentary Labour Party.DLG '40 - Part 5: The Gestapo-eseque Body
The Prime Minister said that "no Socialist government could afford to allow free, sharp or violently worded expression of public discontent. They would have to fall back on some form of Gestapo, no doubt very humanely directed in the first instance".
His wife Clementine had begged him to leave out the 'odious' Gestapo reference and Attlee seized on it, saying Churchill was showing the difference between being a great leader of a united nation and being leader of the Conservatives. When the results were announced, Labour had 393 seats in the new Parliament, an overall majority of 146, with the Conservatives on 213 and the Liberals 12. Neither Attlee nor Churchill would get the opportunity to become the great leader of a united nation. That privelege would fall to Harold Laski, the Chairman of the Labour Party Executive who would very soon become the de facto Head of the British Government..
In 1945, on this day in an election broadcast, caretaker Prime Minister Winston Churchill accurately predicted the demise of parliamentary democracy in post-war Britain.DLG '40 - Part 6: The Rise of the Labour Party Executive
Throughout the campaign, the Prime Minister had issued warnings about the Socialist programme of Clement Attlee and the Labour Party, but had discredited himself with his Gestapo Speech of June 4th. Churchill did not fear Clement Attlee, a trusted colleage who had served as Deputy Prime Minister in the Coalition Government - a strong bond existed between the Leaders of the Conservative and Labour Party. Attlee along with senior ministers Ernest Bevin and Herbert Morrison were prepared to continue the Coalition Government until the defeat of Japan, but Labour Party activities at the Annual Conference in Bournement had refused. On May 21, Attlee had telephoned Churchill from the conference to tell him that the Coalition was finished.
Rather, Churchill's warnings of June 20th were targeted not at the Parliamentary Labour Party, but the Labour Party Executive headed by Chairman Harold Laski (pictured). Control of the Parliamentary Labour Party would be exercised by "unrepresentative powers who would share the secrets and give the orders to the so-called Ministers of the Crown".
Attlee himself was to look into the abyss very shortly. Only days later, Laski announced that although Attlee would attend the Potsdam Conference with Churchill, the Labour Party would not be committed to any decisions reached there, as these would not have been debated by the Labour Party Executive.
© Today in Alternate History, 2013-. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.