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Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Written by Alternate Historian

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 'Arnold Hiller' by Guest Historian Chris Oakley
Guest Historian Guest Historian Chris Oakley says, what if the Nazi dictator had been brought up in London? muses Chris Oakley If you're interested in viewing samples of my other work why not visit the Changing the Times web site.

August 25

In 1943, on this day the British dictator Arnold Hiller was the unwelcome guest of radio broadcaster Roy Plomley. According to the popular tradition of the show, he was asked to choose eight pieces of music, a book and a luxury item that he would take if he were to be castaway on a desert island, whilst discussing his life and the reasons for his choices.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
Roy Plomley Will See You Now, Mr. Hiller
Needless to say, his selection of Desert Island Discs was comprised almost exclusively of Wagnerian classics ending with the eponymous Ride of the Valkyries.

However in the few light-hearted moments of the show (such as they were), he broodily reflected upon the troubled nature of his early adult life. Brought up in London in a Bavarian immigrant family, he had been swept into a wave of anti-German anger caused by the Great War. Even the Royal Family had been forced to change their name from Saxe-Coburg-Gotha to the more anglicized name of Windsor (prior to 1917, his own family name had been "Hitler"). Of course that particular issue had been resolved years before. Hiller had manipulated the abdication crisis in order to merge the offices of Head of Government and Head of State, creating an unassailable position of power from which he could order others to do as he pleased. Including Roy Plomley.

February 11

In 1936, on this day at the Winter Olympics in Bavaria, Great Britain upset 1932 gold medalists Canada to win the final round of the men's ice hockey.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A second teaser by Ed & Chris Oakley
The winning goal was scored by Edgar Brenchley, a native of Sittingbourne in England who had emigrated to Canada as a child. He had learned the craft of ice hockey in Niagara Falls, Ontario before returning home as an adult to join the English Hockey League.

The game was watched by another emigre, British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller (pictured) whose German family had moved to South London, some forty miles from Sittingbourne. Because the Schicklegrubers had actually originated from Braunau am Inn, just across the border in Austria and only one hundred and thirty miles from the market town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen where the Games were being held. It was a small world, and Hiller was a megalomaniac who wanted it all for himself.

Despite these proximities, their paths would never cross again; in 1940 Hiller learned that Brenchley had perished in combat1. The British invasion of France not only took the lives of several players in both the English and Canadian ice hockey teams, it would be the precipitative event that touched off the Second World War.
You can read read the latest installment of Chris Oakley's time at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.

November 16

In 1936, on this day Edward VIII invited British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller to Buckingham Palace and expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed & Chris Oakley
Although greatly sympathetic to the King's plight, Hiller was fully aware that his subjects would deem the marriage morally unacceptable. This expected public reaction was the case largely because remarriage after divorce was opposed by the Church of England, and the people would not tolerate Wallis as queen. Because as king, Edward held the role of Supreme Governor of the Church of England, and the clergy expected him to support the Church's teachings.

Of course the irony was that Henry VIII's desire to divorce had actually created the Church of England. Nevertheless the so-called abdication crisis was an unfortunate turn of events for Hiller. Having crushed all domestic foes before rising to power, he was now operating at a geostrategic level, locked in a deeper struggle on the world stage and ultimately this episode was a distraction from the fulfilment of his global ambitions. That was of course unless he could force the Royal Family out and merge the offices of Head of Government and Head of State.
You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.

September 30

In 1938, in the early hours of this ill-fated day Arnold Hiller (pictured), Franz von Papen, Benito Mussolini and Édouard Daladier respectively the heads of government for the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and France, signed the quadripartite Munich Agreement which permitted the British annexation of French colonies in Africa and the Middle East.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed & Chris Oakley
Despite their public declaration of "peace in our time" there was precious little doubt that the four European powers were on the road to war. But in Hiller's case, he couldn't wait for it to start.

He exclaimed furiously soon after the meeting "Gentlemen, this has been my first international conference and I can assure you that it will be my last". Hiller now regarded Daladier with utter contempt. A British diplomat in Berlin was informed by reliable sources that Hiller viewed Daladier as "an impertinent busybody who spoke the ridiculous jargon of an outmoded democracy. The umbrella, which to the ordinary Frenchman was the symbol of peace, was in Hiller's view only a subject of derision". Also, Hiller had been heard saying: "If ever that silly old man comes interfering here again with his umbrella, I'll kick him downstairs and jump on his stomach in front of the photographers". In one of his public speeches after Munich, Hiller declared: "Thank God we no longer have umbrella politicians in this country".

Of course many public figures were utterly dismayed by the hostility between the two former allies. However, the prestige of the French State had sharply diminished since 1918, and the philosophy of appeasement had taken deep roots. One individual who might perhaps have stood up to Hiller was Edward VIII, King of England. However he had been outmanoerved during the Abdication Crisis, and for the last two years Hiller had enjoyed unrestricted freedom of action as combined Head of Government and Head of State.
You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.

May 1

In 1945, on this day Edward and Wallis Windsor boarded the Benson class destroyer MacKenzie at Naval Station Norfolk and were escorted back to Blighty courtesy of the US Navy.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed & Chris Oakley
His controversial decision to wed the American divorcée had triggered an Abdication Crisis which the British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller had exploited to his own ends. But his eight year usurpation as combined Head of State and Government had ended days earlier with his suicide in the smoking bombed-out shell of a bunker in Downing Street.

The victorious American GIs who had won this hard fought victory over totalitarianism would not perish in a Third World War against the Soviet Union. Because instead, a non-combat Cold War would develop, and for that, the US Government desperately needed to build bulwarks to contain Communism. And that objective required figureheads that could lead the rebuilding of vanquished, friendly nations.

To serve this overarching imperative, a decision was made to temporarily re-instate Edward as Prince Regent and of course the White House had no moral hang-ups over addressing an American divorcée as "Her Royal Highness". A few months later and for much the same reasons it was decided to leave Emperor Hirohito of Japan on the Chrysanthemum Throne. Both monarchs would prove unexpectedly resilient and continue to rule into the nineteen seventies. Despite the expedient success of this scheme, there was of course no small irony in the fact that a powerful nation driven by Republican ideals had underwritten such monarchist regimes when even Hiller had risen to power through the operation of democratic processes.

But the new masters of Western Europe would face a much bigger challenge in Spain, were much larger popular objections existed to the continued rule of the Royal Family. Because the defeat of Franco had required the nuclear destruction of the city of Madrid, and Communist forces were now on the very cusp of seizing power...
You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.

March 14

In 1938, in front of 110,000 fans, Captain Eddie Hapgood's England XI saluted British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed & Chris Oakley
The style of salute, with the right arm flung sideways rather than upwards, was delivered in the aggressive manner of the British National Socialist Party. Whilst not quite a declaration of war on Weimar Republic, the display caused a veritable eruption in both the German Cabinet, and also the British dressing room.

The UK's Ambassador in Berlin, Sir Neville Henderson, had ordered the two British officials in charge, Charles Wreford-Smith and the new FA Secretary Stanley Rous to instruct the team to raise a salute to the Prime Minister's box. The FA officials then informed Hapgood, who objected to doing anything more than standing for the German national anthem. When an FA official came into the dressing room to tell the team to give the salute, England's star winger Stanley Matthews recounts "The dressing room erupted. All the England players were livid and totally opposed to this, myself included ... Eddie Hapgood told him what he could do with the National Socialist salute, which involved putting it where the sun don't shine".

December 10

In 1936, on this day at Fort Belvedere, Edward VIII's written abdication notice was witnessed by British Prime Minister Arnold Hiller. Less than a month before, he had expressed his desire to marry Wallis Simpson when she became free to re-marry.

The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller, M.P
A teaser by Ed, Jeff Provine & Chris Oakley
But within days, everything in Edward's life changed again [1] as he was horseback riding near Buckingham Palace. On Constitution Hill, Jerome Brannigan, an Irishman, produced an envelope for the King. Inside were letters, photographs, and various papers showing that Mrs. Simpson had been seeing, and doing more, with other men. The King became furious, and police escorted Brannigan away. While some modern historians suspect the documents were fabricated by MI5, they were treated as genuine at the time. Edward immediately broke relations with Mrs. Simpson through a letter and refused to receive her despite the many times she asked. In an action that had shown shocking discipline for the man who had left Oxford without a degree, the King searched through little-used law until he found grounds to banish Mrs. Simpson from Britain and the whole of the Empire. She would move to France and later be married to writer and painter Henry Miller for her third marriage.

However Hiller made sure that the revelation did for Edward as well, enabling him to join the posts of Head of State and Head of Government become Great Britain's National Leader. You can read read the latest part of Chris Oakley's timeline at The Right Honourable Arnold Hiller MP at Changing the Times Magazine.

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