To the Empire Eternal Part 5 - The 1930s - The world turned upside down

Author: Electricfox
Published: 2018-11-16, edited: 1970-01-01

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To the Empire Eternal

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Game: Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

To the Empire Eternal Part 4: The 1920s, a decade of revolution

Images: 7, author: Electricfox, published: 2018-11-16, edited: 1970-01-01

Matilda tanks in London as unrest spreads throughout the Home counties
The Great Depression hit the United Kingdom particularly hard, with bank runs and civil unrest causing mass uprisings at home and abroad.
Several peoples took this opportunity, this weakness, to try and secede from the empire, Malta started the ball rolling, while in Europe the war between Austria and Czechoslovakia, Romania and Hungary finally ended after several years as Czechoslovakia annexed Austria.
Although Rhodesia and Malta were returned to the empire, and eventually Gibraltar returned to the fold, Guiana was allowed to continue its independence as it was not deemed strategically valuable enough. Likewise other far flung locations were left to their own devices during the 1930s, with anarchists establishing brief fiefdoms and communes being established while the formerly mighty empire sought to prevent its own government from collapsing.
With the economy in shambles, the fascist ideals of Italy spread into Europe, with the German Workers Party gaining a majority in the 1933 German federal elections and a mustachioed man called Adolf Hitler becoming the Chancellor of Germany. Almost immediately he sought an alliance with Great Britain, and for a time the British public contemplated a great European Union of France, Great Britain and Germany to band together in these rough economic times and protect against encroaching socialist revolutionaries from the Soviet Union.

However, this new leader would prove to have a more sinister side, which was quickly recognised by France who refused to have anything to do with this man and his anti-semetic ravings and left the alliance. Britain held on a little longer, but when mass anti-semetic attacks began spreading unchecked in Germany, Britain decided that it could not be allied to such a radical nation and it too left the alliance. Curiously the Hellenic Republic and Belgium did not, and thus they remained members of this 'Axis'.
Efforts were made to rekindle an alliance with France, but while the independence of the country was guaranteed, Paris refused to be drawn into another web of alliances which caused so much death and destruction in the Great War.
Meanwhile in the Far East, the Imperial nation of Japan sought to carve its own destiny in China, first taking Manchuria, and then after an incident at the Marco Polo bridge, striking into Nationalist China, with reports of fearsome atrocities carried out against the Chinese.
Hong Kong, meanwhile, was lost to partisans, so the British had no real means in which to monitor the situation and were more concerned with trying to keep their nation afloat than the actions of an Empire on the other side of the globe.
However, events closer to home were about to bring the British into a new war, as the struggle between Fascism and socialism broke out into war in 1936 in Spain.

The war in Spain began after a group of generals lead by José Sanjurjo delivered a proclamation against the left-leaning Spanish government of President Manuel Azaña and with support from other conservative groups declared war on the Second Spanish Republic.
Volunteers and materials were shipped in for both sides from Italy, Germany and Great Britain, with France being most noticable by her absense.
British advisors were sent to Spain to help co-ordinate the Republican armed forces, and soon these were giving advice near the frontlines.
Following attacks on merchant shipping in the Mediterranean Sea, it was decided by the British parliament that action was needed to bring the war in Spain to a speedy conclusion, and thus Britain declared war on the Nationalist rebels, landing forces in Galicia.
A quick campaign was waged across the North of Spain, with the army of General Franco being destroyed late in mid-1937 after being encircled in Gerona.
From here it was a quick dash down the eastern coast and into Malaga and Gibraltar. With the Royal Marines of 45 Commando repeating the offensive which earned them their old battle honours by retaking the rock from Nationalist forces who had dislodged the partisans which had taken root there earlier in the decade.
45 Commando scaling the walls at Gibraltar.
British forces would remain in Spain for the rest of the 1930s, helping the Republican government to rebuild after the brief but devastating civil war, and acting as a protectorate of parts of the nation.
As 1939 rolled around, some people were predicting war with Nazi Germany, however despite minor political altercations over the German remilitarisation of the Rhineland and disagreements over the case of the Czech Sudetenland, nothing of note occurred at the end of the 1930s.
Technologically wise, the British Empire continues to dominate in many areas, with the invention of the long range seeing device called RADAR, which has been fitted to most naval vessels in order to aid them in locating and attacking the enemy. James Chadwick continues his research into the structure of the atom and its power, and meanwhile on the outskirts of Sheffield in a closely guarded military base, strange roaring noises have been heard preceding a streak of light sometimes launching into the sky...but more often just flashing and exploding on the ground.
Who knows what the 1940s will bring? However, with Germany rising in power and its ideology hell-bent on a showdown with the Soviet Union it may only be a matter of time before the two giants slug it out for dominance. And what of Japan? Will they be content with their slice of China, or will more of Asia come to feel the wrath of the Rising Sun?
And most importantly...why on Earth are Atomic Physics needed to research Modern Carrier Pigeons?

Only time will tell!

Next chapter:

Game: Darkest Hour: A Hearts of Iron Game

To the Empire Eternal Part 6 - 1940-41 - Into the Dragons Den

Images: 14, author: Electricfox, published: 2018-11-16, edited: 1970-01-01

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