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"For King and Country: Return Home", typical royalist propaganda against the Union of Britain

In the years 1924/1925, less than five years after the Treaty of Versailles which finally ended the Weltkrieg, the United Kingdom suffered a domestic syndicalist revolution as well as the collapse of its overseas colonial empire, the largest on the planet at the time.

The collapse of the British Empire is a well-studied process by historiographers and political scientists the world over. The surviving constituent members of the empire have little beyond bravado to show for their aims at reclaiming their homeland, at least as long as the Union of Britain still exists.

1919-1924: Aftermath of the Weltkrieg

The Peace with Honor (1919)

Main article: Treaty of Versailles

With the collapse of the Western Front in early 1919, the German siege of Paris and the outbreak of strikes and mutineers all over France, a peace treaty that finally ended the Weltkrieg would finally be signed on 6th November at the Palace of Versailles. While France was forced to make wide-reaching concessions, the British Empire remained largely intact: They were allowed to keep their influence in Belgium to a certain degree, did not have to pay reperations to Germany and were allowed to keep their colonial possessions. Based on these facts, the Treaty of Versailles would be called "Peace with Honor" by the British government and war propaganda; But even though the war had ended relatively lenient for the Brits, that did not mean that the Empire was looking into a bright future, as the faith and support of the British people at home was shrinking with every month.

The Irish War of Independence (1919-1921)

In the direct aftermath of the peace treaty, Britain had to deal with massive unrest on the Home Islands, most prominently in Ireland, where a bloody Independence War was raging since early 1919. However, under British Law, the insurrection could not simply be crushed, as using British troops against British citizens was illegal; Using army troops in Ireland would also have required acknowledgement of a state of war in Ireland. A special solution was eventually developed by Secretary of State for War Winston Churchill, and, although controversial, actions against the rebels soon began. However, the rebels would have the upper hand for the rest of the conflict, as their revolutionary structures had already been well-established.

When anti-war sentiment and general bankruptcy following the Weltkrieg increased more and more over the time, the British government began to seek an exit and a truce was signed between the government and the IRA on July 11th. After tense negotiations, on November 10th, 1921, the Irish Republic and the United Kingdom signed what became known as the “Anglo-Irish Treaty”, ending the Irish War of Independence.

Unrest at home

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Revolts in British India and Burma

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British India had been plagued by unrest for most of the war, with mass demonstrations common in the later years.

The Melbourne Commune (1923)

Main Article: Melbourne Riots

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1924-25: Disintegration of the British Empire

The British Revolution (1924/25)

Main article: 1925 British Revolution

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In 1925, domestic turmoil erupted after what started as a minor labour dispute rapidly escalated after military troops were dispatched to restore order. Taking example from their French comrades, the British Trades Union Congress (TUC) called a general strike to cripple the national economy. When the government ordered more forces to quell the unrest, many troops simply deserted and took up arms alongside the strikers. Six weeks of concentrated and intensive civil unrest led to the collapse of the British government. The Royal Family, along with most of the nation’s leading politicians and property owners, promptly fled to the Dominion of Canada.

The British Colonial Scramble (1925/26)

The collapse of the British government led to a massive land-grab among its overseas possessions. Gibraltar finally fell into Spanish hands in June, Falkland Islands were seized by Argentina, the Ottoman Empire regained sole control over Cyprus, seized the Aden Protectorate and managed to bring the British tributaries of Kuwait, Qatar and the Trucial States back in their sphere of influence. Egypt gained sole authority over the Sudan and declared their full independence, but the country's attempt to seize the Suez Canal caused an international crisis, which would be solved by a German ultimatum to Cairo and the inclusion of the Suez Canal Zone and the Sinai Peninsula in the internationally governed Mutasarrifate of Jerusalem. Belize was seized by neighboring Guatemala. Venezuela threatened to press its claims over the disputed Essequibo zone, but the dispute was mediated by the United States.

France, with the diplomatic approval of Ottawa, temporarily occupied the island of Malta and the West African colonies of Gambia and Sierra Leone, while Germany managed to secure most of the British African holdings as well as strategic colonies in Southeast Asia, namely the Strait Colonies, Malaya, Brunei and Sarawak and most of the British islands in the Pacific and Atlantic. Portugal tried to seize Nyasaland in late 1925 but was presented an ultimatum by Germany, deeply humiliating the small country and causing the takeover of the integralists a few months later.

Different to the territories occupied by the other nations, the German and French-occupied British possessions were allowed to keep their former administrations in charge, granting them a good amount of autonomy.

1926-1936: Aftermath of the Revolution

Reorganisation of the remaining British Colonial Posessions

Australia, New Zealand, and the British-administered portions of New Guinea and Fiji would go on to form the Australasian Confederation. British India, already plagued by revolts for over five years, completely collapsed into a Free Indian Republic in the north, proclaimed in Calcutta, a Indian-aligned Republic of Burma, proclaimed in Rangoon, and the remnants of the British administration in Southern India, consisting of the former Raj itself, Ceylon and the Princely States of Hyderabad and Mysore.

In the Caribbean, the West Indies Federation was formed in mid-1925 in the midst of the revolution to establish a tighter grip over the British Caribbean possessions, which were very prone to socialist agitation. The French government in Algiers eventually agreed to transfer the French West Indies to the WIF as well in 1926, with the greater goal to suppress potential uprisings in the region more efficiently.

The Rise of the Union of Britain

Main article: Union of Britain

Following the revolution in 1925, a provisional government of revolutionary groups dissolved both Houses of Parliament, and declared that political authority in the new Union of Britain would pass to a new Congress of Trade Unions. 1926 saw the formative Congresses of Socialist Britain, with advocates of various positions coming together to hammer out the framework of the new state. What resulted was a compromise between the factions that enshrined the principals of decentralization, co-operativism, and isolationism. This resulted in the establishment of locally elected councils as the main organ of government, supervised by the national direction of the CTU, a dominant public sector, and a diplomatic stance that emphasized self-defense and national self-reliance above all else.

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