Neutral British

See also: List of Althists

1914: World War One breaks out in Europe as a result of the assassination of Archduke Franz Ferdinand. As German troops pour into France, the British determine that their interests would best be served by remaining neutral. As a result, they do not suffer a million dead, do not bankrupt themselves and their empire, do not suffer an immense loss of confidence and will, and do not lose the trust of the people and leaders of the Dominions.

1915: The nations of Europe have suffered heavy casualties. The British mediate a peace between the warring nations of Europe. Without British support, France and Russia have both lost territory to Germany. As part of the peace treaty, Germany is allowed to keep the captured territory, but the price for British mediation is that the Germans dismantle their High Seas Fleet and evacuate Belgium.

The Belgians, in gratitude, agree to turn over the eastern Congo to the British Empire, making possible the Cape-to-Cairo Railway.

1916-1920: Although revolutionary violence takes place throughout Russia, there is no organized movement to overthrow the Czar (the Germans did not send Lenin into Russia).

Agitation for independence in India is muted (Gandhi supported the British until he realized that the Indian war effort during World War One was unappreciated).

1920-1925: Disputes with the Turkish Empire over the Suez Canal and the treatment of the Jewish and Armenian population result in a British campaign against the Turks. Following the capture of Constantinople, Palestine is made a protectorate of the British Empire.

1925-1930: Winston Churchill is elected Prime Minister. He pushed through the Statute of Westminster, which gives new political form to the British Empire. The Dominions are given complete control of their internal affairs, while foreign relations and imperial defense are to be coordinated by an Imperial Council, based in London, in which all the Dominions (Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa) take part along with Great Britain.

The unity of the empire is to be symbolized by the monarchy.

1930-1935: Political movements are launched in Ireland for separation from Great Britain and establishment as a separate Dominion. Within Ireland, there is a low-level conflict between those who wish to remain within the Empire and those who wish to be completely independent.

The Indian National Congress elects to seek Dominion status for India. Mohandas Ganhdi spends his time writing works of ethical philosophy and does not concern himself much with politics.

1935-1940: The balance of power in Europe has taken a solid form. The Germans remain the chief land power, while the British are unchallenged at sea. The United States, while a major economic and industrial player, remains a generally isolationist nation.

In the Pacific, however, the Japanese are gradually expanding their power in Asia at the expense of China, which causes the British much concern.

1940-1945: Japan, in an effort to secure oil supplies to maintain its war effort, attacks the Dutch possessions in the East Indies. This so alarms the British and Americans that they form a coalition against the Japanese, resulting in the Pacific War. It lasts for several years. In a series of sea battles, the British-American forces destroy Japanese naval power. After a year-long blockade of the Japanese home islands, resulting in great hardship, the Japanese sue for peace.

1945-1950: Because of its contributions during the course of the Pacific War, India is granted Dominion status. Its political elite have been campaigning for this step for some time. The Parliament of the Raj is designed to give effective representation to the various ethnic and religious groups of India, although this presents many problems.

Economically, Great Britain itself has become the center of financial services and government operations for the entire Empire, while their cheap labor pools cause manufacturing to shift increasingly to India and South Africa. Free traders lose ground in Imperial politics, resulting in free movement of goods between the Dominions, while trade barriers are erected against non-Imperial goods.

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