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Author Topic: The Imperial Federation  (Read 11362 times)
k-onmmunist
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« Reply #25 on: April 13, 2009, 12:19:51 pm »
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DRAMA IN BAGHDAD: 17th November 1937-June 5th 1938

On hearing of the outbreak of war, Ghazi I dismissed his pro-British prime minister Nuri as-Said, and invited a group of Iraqi nationalists to form a new government. This caused much consternation in Britain, but not as much as Iraq’s subsequent departure from the Imperial Federation. An Indian division was redirected to Kuwait because of concerns of Iraqi belligerence.

On 21st March, without warning, Italian and Iraqi aircraft bombed the RAF airbase at Habbaniyah, and Iraqi forces began advancing into Kuwait. The next day, Iraq declared war on the allies. Immediately, several regiments of Omanis who were going to be sent to East Africa, were redirected to Kuwait, as well as a New Zealander division.

The Iraqi offensive in Kuwait had halted by April 2nd, with Kuwait City still outside Iraqi control. Ghazi became concerned; he had not counted on the Federation having so many troops in Kuwait, and now the tide was turning against him. As if this wasn’t unhelpful enough, Nejdian forces also allegedly intervened, entering parts of south-east Iraq. And on April 8th, the New Zealanders landed at Umm Qasr. The Iraqi position had become untenable, and their air force had been nearly completely obliterated by RAF bombing.

Basra fell on the 13th, and from here Federation forces travelled by the Euphrates, reaching Baghdad on April 30th. After a brief battle, an Iraqi officer emerged from the German embassy, and offered an armistice. On May 1st, this came into effect.

Iraq was forced to return all the territory granted to it by Britain during Churchill’s negotiations, with the exception of a small portion of land in the extreme north. It was also made to rejoin the Imperial Federation (this time as a full member, with 3 seats.) and to declare war on Italy, which it promptly did on May 17th. Faisal II became king of Iraq (Ghazi was found dead, having poisoned himself as Imperial forces entered Baghdad) and Nuri as-Said formed a new government.

Iraq made small contributions to the Imperial war effort for the rest of the war, such as the deployment of several infantry brigades in North Africa.
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« Reply #26 on: April 13, 2009, 12:21:35 pm »
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THE HORN OF AFRICA AND THE WAR AT SEA: January 1st 1938-August 1st 1938

Events in the Horn of Africa had gone equally badly. Although Graziani was confident that the Harar line was strong enough to hold for the winter, an Australian offensive on the flank of the line, soon destroyed his confidence in the line. By March, his forces had been repulsed from Ethiopia, and were left holding on to Eastern Eritrea, and parts of Djibouti.

Graziani did well in holding the port of Assab, his main base, but ultimately, was unable to do anything but await capture or death. His supplies were cut, his forces were surrounded and outclassed, and he was weary of the fighting. The destruction of his pocket began on April 2nd. Determined attacks by the French, Australian, Egyptian, British and Indian forces were causing him heavy casualties, and his lines were nearly undefendable. He had only 2 divisions left, out of his original 7.

Knowing he had lost, Graziani surrendered his forces on June 17th to avoid any more slaughter. Some fighting continued until Christmas, but this was done by unorganised guerrillas with no central command.

The war at sea had also gone very badly for the Italians. They had sent out another large fleet towards Greece on February 22nd, to challenge the British. This worked well, for very soon, aircraft from the Fleet Air Arm were bombarding the Italian ships. These aircraft came from the HMS Royal Oak. For the next week, the Italians fell back towards Italy, trying to lure the British into a trap. They did not expect that this would simply exacerbate their fate.

On the British side was the Royal Oak, 3 battleships, 9 cruisers and 25 destroyers. The Italians had sent out a large battleship/cruiser force, comprised of 13 ships. These were commanded from the RM Roma. They also had air support from the Italian mainland.

The battle took place on February 28th. The British fleet moved into the Gulf of Taranto and began bombarding the Italian fleet. The Regia Aeronautica soon made their presence known, and they drew first blood by sinking the HMS York, a heavy cruiser. The Fleet Air Arm, as well as RAF aircraft from Malta intervened, and a fierce air battle broke out over the Gulf.

However, the British took the advantage after this disappointing start. The RM Liguria soon sunk, and was followed by the RM Impero, one of the Italian battleships. By the end of the day, much of the Italian 1st Cruiser Squadron was at the bottom of the ocean, along with much of their battleship force. The Vittorio Veneto, escaped this fate, and headed back for port, badly scarred but still capable of battle.

The British had also suffered losses, including the HMS Prince of Wales, one of their battleships. But they were nowhere near as bad as those of the Italians. 76 British aircraft had been destroyed, and 166 Italian aircraft had also been destroyed.

Over the next few months, the Italian fleet was reduced further, including the sinking of the Vittorio Veneto on May 5th by air attacks and submarines. By August, the Italian fleet was devoid of battleships, and now was mainly a destroyer/cruiser force.
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« Reply #27 on: April 13, 2009, 12:22:10 pm »
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WAR IN NORTH AFRICA, GREECE AND THE DODECANESE CAMPAIGN: November 17th 1937-February 1st 1939

Throughout August, the North African pockets were destroyed and Balbo announced his resignation in response. He was replaced by Vittorio Ambrosio. However, the campaign was already lost. Sirte fell on September 8th 1938, and by November, Tripoli itself was in danger. The French had also pushed from the west, and the two forces met on December 6th 1938. Two days later, Italian forces in Tripoli surrendered, ending the North African campaign.

The Greek campaign had been a failure for the Italians. They had not been able to gain much ground at all, and in fact the Greeks had turned them back into Albania. Supported by British and Canadian forces, they ended the Italian presence in the Balkans on September 15th 1938.

The final campaign of the war began on January 5th 1939. British, Canadian and Greek troops landed on Kos and Rhodes in the Dodecanese. From here, they were able to land small forces to take each island from the Italians. When Rhodes itself fell on January 25th, a group of military officers in Rome broke into the home of d’Annunzio and shot him down. He died the next day.

By February 1st 1939, Italy had already begun peace negotiations, and on that same day, an armistice came into effect on every front.
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« Reply #28 on: April 13, 2009, 12:22:40 pm »
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THE TREATY OF ZURICH: 1939

In the time between the death of d’Annunzio and the peace negotiations, a new government had already come to power in Italy. King Victor Emmanuel had become monarch once more, and elections were held to decide who the new prime minister would be.

It was agreed relatively early on, that Eritrea must be ceded to Ethiopia, but the fate of Somalia was harder to agree on. Britain and Ethiopia both desired to own the colony, but in the end, it was Britain that gained it.

The Italian concession in Tianjin was given to China, although it was quickly occupied by Japan. The Dodecanese were ceded to Greece, apart from a small island to the east which became Turkish.

Libya was harder to solve. Britain and France both wanted it, and in the end, it was split into occupation zones. Britain took Cyreneica, France took Tripolitania, and Tripoli itself was put under international control.

Albania was restored to independence, except for the very south which was given to Greece.

Italy also had to face quotas on the tonnage in its navy to stop it from building another huge navy and challenging the British and French.

These terms were agreed to, and signed on October 17th 1939. By then, British attention had already shifted to the Imperial Federation, and to troubles in Palestine…
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« Reply #29 on: April 13, 2009, 12:23:17 pm »
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TROUBLE IN THE IMPERIAL FEDERATION: 1939-1940

The British were now facing problems with the Imperial Federation. India, Palestine, Egypt and Ireland had all become problems for the Federation, and the crises threatened to tear the Federation asunder. Churchill first acknowledged these problems on 1st May 1939. He was facing the end of his first 6-year term on 1st January 1940, and wanted to win re-election. He knew that although he had defeated Italy, and ended the threat in the Mediterranean, he could still lose if the new problems were not managed carefully.

India had played a major part in the war against Italy, and was now demanding more recognition. This came in July, when India was assigned 15 seats at the Imperial Federation, putting it on par with Ireland and South Africa. Burma also gained 4 more seats, giving it 5 in total. The Royal Indian Defence Force was also formed, with the Royal Indian Navy as an extension. It was hoped that this would placate Indian demands for now. Lord Linlithgow, the Viceroy of India resigned that same year, and was replaced by Adrian Carton de Wiart.

Palestine had been a hotbed of rebellion recently. In 1938, there had been clashes between Jews and Arabs over the allocation of certain lands. Britain had encouraged Jewish immigration, and was also being pressed to establish a state in Israel. Churchill, in accordance with John Simon, called for more forces to be sent to Palestine to put down the revolts and restore order.

Egypt was also a problem. King Farouk was proving obstinate and a difficult man to deal with. He had continuously demanded the Suez Canal Zone, and the Sudan as a price for Egyptian aid in the Italian war. The Federation turned down these demands.

Eamon de Valera had won power once again in Ireland. By now, he had realised that Ireland couldn’t afford to quit the Federation, and instead he went about undermining Edward VIII’s rule in Ireland. John Simon called him to London, and gave him a harsh word on his actions. Whether it would have any effect had yet to be seen.
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« Reply #30 on: April 13, 2009, 12:23:54 pm »
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THE IMPERIAL GENERAL ELECTION OF 1940 – PART 1 – CANDIDATES AND POSITIONS: 1939-1940

Between the two elections, much had happened in the politics of the Federation. India had gained a huge deal more influence, and Iraq and Burma had both gained their first seats. There were new parties and new coalitions.

The Conservative Bloc still existed, and Churchill once again stood for election. He argued that there was still much work to do, even though Italy had now ceased to be a threat to the Federation. He ran on a platform of conservative values and continuing to hold the Federation together.

The Liberal Group was also still in existence, although it had lost some support to the new Socialist Front. This time, the Liberal Group chose to run William Mackenzie-King, former Canadian Prime Minister, for election. He promised to continue the transition of India to independence, and to build a strong economy for the Federation.

The Socialist Front, led by Jack Lang, had formed in 1935 and enjoyed support from extreme left wing parties, as well as a few more moderate ones. They hoped to build a socialist Federation.

The Independence Bloc had also formed in 1938, made up mainly of Fianna Fail supporters, Afrikaners and Egyptian nationalists, along with some more radical Indians such as Chandra Bose. They ran on a pledge to disband the Imperial Federation. They were led by Eamon de Valera.

Finally, a smaller coalition known simply as Tradition had formed. It represented the farmers of the Federation.
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« Reply #31 on: April 13, 2009, 12:24:31 pm »
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THE IMPERIAL GENERAL ELECTION OF 1940 – PART 2 – ISSUES: 1939-1940

One of the main issues in the campaign was Indian independence. The Indian parties that had formed nearly all supported independence for India, but most of them wanted to remain in the Imperial Federation, apart from the more Nationalistic members such as Chandra Bose.

Other issues included defence and trade. Churchill argued that Mackenzie-King would weaken the Federation’s army, and would hurt the economy by turning the federation into a complete autarky. King countered by arguing that Churchill’s free trade schemes would allow opposition to emerge to the Federation.

The campaign also saw the Independence Bloc make many speeches condemning the Federation and deploring it as imperialism. Churchill even referred to them as the ‘parrots in the corner’, referring to both their repetiveness and their position in the actual seating plan. The Socialist Front argued against both sides, as the largest third party in the Federation.

As the election approached, all sides eagerly awaited the results.
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« Reply #32 on: April 13, 2009, 12:25:16 pm »
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THE IMPERIAL GENERAL ELECTION OF 1940 – PART 3 – RESULTS: 1940

The results were made public on January 1st 1940.

UNITED KINGDOM: 50 Seats:
Conservatives – 36 seats
28 for Conservative Bloc
8 for Liberal Group
Labour – 11
5 for Liberal Group
6 for Socialist Movement
Liberal – 3
3 for Liberal Group

Total =
Conservative Bloc - 28
Liberal Group – 16
Socialist Movement – 6

CANADA: 25 Seats:
Conservatives – 9 seats
7 for Conservative Bloc
2 for Liberal Group
Liberals – 15 seats
9 for Liberal Group
6 for Conservative Bloc
Progressives – 1 seat
1 for Liberal Group

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 13
Liberal Group – 12

AUSTRALIA: 25 Seats:
Labor – 8 seats
7 for Socialist Movement
1 for Liberal Group
United Australia – 12 seats
12 for Conservative Bloc
Country Party – 5 seats
5 for Conservative Bloc

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 17
Liberal Group – 1
Socialist Movement – 7

INDIA: 15 Seats:
Indian Congress Party – 9 seats
5 for Independence Bloc
3 for Socialist Movement
1 for Liberal Group
Federation Party – 6 seats
4 for Conservative Bloc
1 for Tradition
1 for Liberal Group

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 4
Independence Bloc – 5
Liberal Group – 2
Socialist Movement – 3
Tradition – 1

SOUTH AFRICA: 15 Seats:
South African Party – 12 seats
8 for Conservative Bloc
4 for Independence Bloc
National Party – 2 seats
2 for Independence Bloc
Labor Party – 1 seat
1 for Socialist Movement

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 8
Independence Bloc – 6
Socialist Movement – 1

IRELAND: 15 Seats:
Cumann Na nGaedhael – 5 seats
5 for Conservative Bloc
Fianna Fail – 7 seats
3 for Liberal Group
4 for Independence Bloc
Labour Party – 3 seats
3 for Socialist Movement

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 5
Independence Bloc – 4
Liberal Group – 3
Socialist Movement – 3

NEW ZEALAND: 10 Seats:
Labour – 9 seats
5 for Liberal Group
4 for Socialist Movement
Reform – 1 seat
1 for Conservative Bloc

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 1
Liberal Group – 5
Socialist Movement – 4

NEWFOUNDLAND: 10 Seats:
United Newfoundland Party – 10 seats
4 for Conservative Bloc
6 for Liberal Group

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 4
Liberal Group – 6

EGYPT: 5 Seats:
Wafd – 4
4 for Independence Bloc
Ittihad – 1
1 for Tradition

Total =
Independence Bloc – 4
Tradition – 1

IRAQ: 5 Seats
Ittihad – 5 seats
2 for Tradition
2 for Conservative Bloc
1 for Independence Bloc

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 2
Independence Bloc – 1
Tradition – 2

BURMA: 5 Seats
Burmese Union Party – 4 Seats
3 for Conservative Bloc
1 for Tradition
Labour Party – 1 seat
1 for Socialist Movement

Total =
Conservative Bloc – 3
Socialist Movement – 1
Tradition – 1

RESULTS:
Conservative Bloc (Winston Churchill) – 85
(Wins constituent nations of United Kingdom, Canada, South Africa, Australia, Burma, Ireland; tied in Iraq)
Liberal Group (William Mackenzie-King) – 45
(Wins constituent nations of New Zealand and Newfoundland)
Socialist Movement (Jack Lang) – 25
Independence Bloc (Eamon de Valera) – 20
(Wins constituent nations of India and Egypt)
Tradition (Joseph Hobart) – 5
(tied in Iraq)
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« Reply #33 on: April 13, 2009, 12:26:06 pm »
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THE INDIAN CRISIS – PART 1 – THE VOICES GROW LOUDER: 1940-1941

After the Imperial election, India was governed by an Independence Bloc government, in the Imperial Parliament. This was a major weakness in the British position in India, as even if all the parties in India were to form a coalition, they would still only equal the Independence Bloc. The Independence Bloc leaders wasted no time in putting forward another proposal for Indian independence before the Imperial Parliament. The Muslim League, who were a growing force in Indian politics, refused to sponsor it.

The new act called for an Indian Parliament, and for elections in India to elect the leader. This led to a furious row between Churchill and John Simon, due to Simon’s acceptance of the inevitability of Indian self-government. Churchill announced he would veto the act, and did so on February 12th 1940.

There was an outrage within the Indian section, and it looked as if protests in India may have turned bloody. However, Gandhi told his supporters to instead resist the British non-violently. This concerned John Simon, who was worried that a post-Independence India might simply quit the Federation. Simon urged Churchill to be reasonable with the Indians. Finally, in July of that year, the breakthrough came, and Churchill agreed to a watered down version of the act. Several federal governments were established in each state, and elections were to be held to elect these officials.

This was a disappointment for the Independence movement, but nevertheless, it was an important step forward. Of course, it wasn’t long before more trouble flared up, but this time it was from a surprising group.

The Muslims and Hindus had disagreed over the terms of the act, and it wasn’t long before events became violent. On September 15th, Indian police in Karachi opened fire on peaceful Muslim protestors, killing 23. The newspapers immediately attacked the police, and soon the Muslim areas of India had turned violent. De Wiart, the Viceroy of India, panicked, and declared martial law on October 1st. RIDF soldiers were deployed to the streets of Muslim areas, and a curfew was imposed.

By the end of 1940, it looked as if the Indian crisis would continue. While the diplomats continued to work out agreements, soldiers patrolled the streets of Karachi and Dhaka.
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« Reply #34 on: April 13, 2009, 12:26:32 pm »
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THE INDIAN CRISIS – PART 2 – AN INDIAN PARLIAMENT – 1941-1943

The troubles in India soon spread. Protests against the government occurred in Burma and Ceylon. Many pointed out the need for an Indian Parliament. Nevertheless, in 1941, the demands were unmet, and violence still occurred. Finally, Gandhi came up with his own solution. He went on a hunger strike to campaign for unity among Indians. The reason behind it was, either the Indians made peace, or their spiritual leader starved to death.

It worked, and the violence ended, to a large extent. By now, support for an Indian Parliament was growing more and more, and the new Labour government of Britain, led by Ernest Bevin, sought to give India independence. Churchill finally agreed to the new Parliament Act on April 5th 1942, creating an Indian Parliament. He knew that if he kept on any longer, he would split the Conservative Bloc, and lose the elections in 1946. This, he was not prepared to do.

However, old problems flared up again in 1942, when Muslim separatists attacked Indian patrols in what they considered, ‘their territory.’ Afghan tribes were also a nuisance, attacking across the northwest frontier and forcing Britain to keep some troops in India.

This was when the Indians finally demanded all out independence. On November 15th 1942, the Indian National Congress asked for formal independence immediately. When Churchill vetoed the act, strikes broke out across India. De Wiart had by now come to the conclusion that India could not remain British. He endorsed the act on January 6th 1943. He also met with several Indian leaders to try and strike out such an agreement.

Churchill finally saw that he had lost, and now had a choice between either going on refusing the demands, or bowing out to the inevitable…
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« Reply #35 on: April 13, 2009, 12:28:36 pm »
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THE INDIAN CRISIS – PART 3 – INDEPENDENCE: 1943-1944

On March 11th 1943, Churchill called an emergency conference of the Imperial Parliament, and asked for a vote of confidence from his own party, the Conservative Bloc. Large amounts of the Bloc simply abstained, but otherwise, he obtained a majority. But Churchill saw this as a defeat. On March 28th 1943, he amazed everyone by announcing his resignation from the position of Chairman of the Federation. He announced that his successor would be Australian politician, Robert Menzies. With Churchill’s resignation, the actual position of Chairman of the Federation perished too. It was replaced with the title Secretary General of the Imperial Federation.

On June 17th 1943, India held its first general election to decide who would become the first prime minister of an independent India. Sardar Patel won the election, with a majority. The Muslim League refused to recognise him as leader, and riots broke out in the Muslim areas again. Finally, on September 7th 1943, Menzies signed an act put forward before Parliament suggesting an independent Muslim state. This came to be known as Pakistan and Mohammed Jinnah was to become the first prime minister of this state.

In November 1943, De Wiart signed a document changing his position from that of Viceroy of India, to Governor General. The King also gave royal assent to the document giving India and Pakistan independence. Finally, on January 1st 1944, the British Raj ended, and two new states emerged from the old Indian Empire.
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« Reply #36 on: April 13, 2009, 12:29:18 pm »
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THE INDIAN CRISIS – PART 4 – BLOODSHED: 1944-1945

India and Pakistan both remained within the Federation, and this was to prove a problem, when, for the first time in its history, two countries inside the Federation went to war with eachother.

Patel set about uniting India early on. On January 15th, units of the RIA (Royal Indian Army, formerly the Royal Indian Defence Force) entered Hyderabad and the other hundreds of princely states. Their small armies were quickly brushed aside, and by May, the Princely states had vanished.

However, bloodshed was occurring in the north over Kashmir. Pakistani units entered the area in February, and defeated the local armies. Very soon, Indian and Pakistani aircraft were firing on eachother, and India lost 20 Hydras within the first week. When the Royal Indian Army finally launched its assault, they drove back the Pakistanis and by the time a British-sponsored ceasefire was signed in September, 40,000 had been killed in the bloodshed.

Jinnah and Patel both remained chilly with each other. Several times, Imperial Parliament meetings broke down into fist fights between Indian and Pakistani members. This bitterness would continue for some time.
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« Reply #37 on: April 13, 2009, 12:29:41 pm »
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GERMANY: 1930-1945

By 1930, the Weimar Republic was in danger. After the crash, the National Socialists and Communists had both become powerful factions. Both sides clashed in the streets, and there were gunfights across Germany between the two sides. Von Hindenburg decided that if this continued, there would be civil war, and thus he gave himself emergency powers. The army was deployed onto the streets.

In 1931, the National Socialist leader, Adolph Hitler, who had been an obscure painter in Austria, was found dead, apparently having killed himself after his niece, Geli Raubal, died. Thus, Hermann Goering became the new leader of the party.

Until 1937, Hindenburg continued to rule Germany with an iron fist, but by now he was growing senile and could not run the country any longer. Elections for president and chancellor were organised. Bruning became the new chancellor of Germany, and the presidency went to Ernst Thalmann, a socialist. Germany began to recover, and by 1940, thanks to aid from other countries, was largely afloat once more, and continued the payment of reparations.

Goering saw that his opportunity was fading, and on September 17th 1943, attempted to launch a coup against the elected government. It failed, and the entire Nazi Party was either killed or thrown in jail indefinitely. This ended their threat to democracy in Germany.
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« Reply #38 on: April 13, 2009, 12:30:02 pm »
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PALESTINE, BURMA AND CEYLON: 1945-1947

Meanwhile, in Palestine, events continued to turn from bad to worse. The whole area was on the verge of civil war by the end of 1945. Meanwhile, to the north, the French were fighting a losing war to hold onto Syria and Lebanon. The British did not want to end up in the same position as them, and so, it was decided to create an Arab state. The area north of Nejd was granted independence on 20th December 1945, as the Kingdom of Hashemite Palestine. Palestine soon became a member of the Imperial Federation, with 5 seats.

Meanwhile, the Jews to the west of Palestine were still demanding their own state. Menzies was facing election in a few days, and on 25th December 1945, he took the decision to create the state of Israel, which also joined the Imperial Federation. This, however, did not end the bloodshed in the area.

In 1946, Egyptian forces crossed the border into Israel and rapidly overran the Negev. This was also matched by a Palestinian advance from the Western Bank into Israel. Britain, which had had previous arguments with Egypt over many issues, suspended Egypt from the Federation. Palestine was spared the same fate, but was warned.

The Royal Israeli Army, however, did well. It soon repulsed the Egyptian advance, although it was unable to take the Negev. They also succeeded in taking Jerusalem and holding it against Palestinian attack. Finally, in May 1946, a treaty was signed. Israel lost land in the Negev, including its access to the Red Sea, but ultimately, survived.

In the east, since India’s independence, Burma and Ceylon had been increasingly restless. The Imperial Parliament recommended that they also be given independence, and this was finally recognised, when, on January 1st 1947, Burma and Ceylon became independent states, the former with 10 seats, the latter with 5.
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« Reply #39 on: April 13, 2009, 12:30:55 pm »
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OVERVIEW OF THE FEDERATION: 1947

MEMBERS:
United Kingdom, 1927-
Canada, 1927-
Australia, 1927-
New Zealand, 1927-
Newfoundland, 1927-
Ireland, 1927-1930, 1933-
India, 1928-1944 (As ‘British India’), 1944-1947 (As ‘India’)
South Africa, 1930-
Burma, 1927-1934 (As ‘British India’), 1934-1947 (As ‘British Burma’), 1947- (As ‘Burma’)
Ceylon, 1927-1944 (As ‘British India’), 1947- (As ‘Ceylon)
Iraq, 1934-1937, 1938-
Israel, 1945-
Palestine, 1945-

SUSPENDED MEMBERS:
Egypt, 1933- (Suspended in 1946 for ‘aggression’)
Pakistan, 1927-1944 (As ‘British India’), 1944- (As ‘Pakistan’)(Suspended in 1947 for ‘military rule’ and ‘aggression’)

FORMER MEMBERS:
-

SECRETARY GENERALS:
Winston S Churchill, 1934-1943
Robert Menzies, 1943-1946
W.T. Cosgrave, 1946-
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« Reply #40 on: April 13, 2009, 12:31:29 pm »
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THE SUSPENSION OF PAKISTAN: 1947

The new Secretary General of the Imperial Federation, W.T. Cosgrave, who had led the Liberal Group to victory, did not have long to wait until a major crisis broke out. Cosgrave had already suspended Egypt, the year before, and had already created 8 reasons that could be used to suspend a country.

On December 11th 1946, Royal Pakistani Air Force officers had besieged the prime ministers home. Jinnah managed to escape by aeroplane, but nevertheless, the military soon took over Pakistan and voided the constitution. Cosgrave saw this as good reason to suspend Pakistan, but he failed to achieve a majority in Parliament, and as an opponent of veto powers, it would be hypocritical for him to veto the will of Parliament and force it through.

However, on March 2nd 1947, Pakistani forces entered the Indian part of Kashmir, and began hitting Royal Indian Air Force airfields in the area. India immediately called an Imperial Federation meeting and demanded that Pakistan be expelled. Cosgrave did not want to weaken the federation by completely expelling a member, and instead proposed suspension. The Parliament agreed this time, seeing the action as necessary to deter Pakistani aggression.

The Indians soon retaliated in their own way. Army units were deployed north and despite the fact that the Pakistani military had fortified the lines, they failed to hold back the Indian military. Finally, several Royal Indian Air Force raids were launched against Karachi and Lahore, and the military government reluctantly agreed to withdraw from the Indian parts of the Kashmir.

The failure had enraged the Pakistani people who felt that they had sacrificed more men for nothing. The military government now faced rebellions from its own people, especially the Balochs who were in particular opposed to the regime. Martial law was declared, and the entire country was on the verge of civil war.
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« Reply #41 on: April 13, 2009, 12:32:04 pm »
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THE CONSTITUTION OF BURMA: 1947

Meanwhile, the Burmese government had drawn up a constitution. Normally, this would have been an uncontroversial move, and King Edward VIII, the head of the Federation would almost certainly have accepted it. However, it soon became clear that this was not a normal constitution.

The Constitution had been authored by Prime Minister Tun Oke, and its main clause was the establishment of a Burmese republic. This would mean that Burma would have to leave the Imperial Federation. Cosgrave was concerned, and summoned Oke to London. There, he informed him that the Federation could not approve the constitution, and that it would be unwise to challenge Imperial rule in Burma. Oke was noncommittal, and flew back to Rangoon that night, prepared to fight for Burma’s right to become a republic if need be.

Cosgrave called for a vote on whether to use military force against Burma, and received a majority from every country apart from India, and Egypt, the latter having made a decision to abstain.

Japan looked on, interested. It’s own war with China was by now a complete stalemate, and Japanese forces had failed to defeat Chiang’s nationalists up to now. It was thought that Burma may perhaps be turned into an ally, and from there, a Japanese strike on India could destroy the Federation. This idea was endorsed by some of the more militaristic types in the Japanese government, but ultimately, the emperor rejected it.

France, under the rule of Albert Sarraut, was having its own problems in both Syria and Indochina.

By June 1947, Imperial forces were ready to strike into Burma, when, in the eleventh hour, one of Cosgrave’s ministry came up with an idea…
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« Reply #42 on: April 13, 2009, 12:32:33 pm »
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THE COLOMBO DECLARATION: 1947

On July 1st 1947, the key players in the crisis met in Colombo, Ceylon, to discuss the crisis and try and work out a settlement favourable to both sides. Britain did not want to see Burma leave the Federation, while Burma wanted to become a republic. It was with compromise that this was resolved.

Pakistan had also shown interest in becoming a republic, and it was clear that if the Federation was to stay intact, it would have to allow republics within the Federation. But the head of state of the Federation was the King of Britain, Edward VIII, so how could this be made acceptable? On 6th July 1947, the final agreement was made, and the terms were announced to the world:

- Burma, and any other country that wishes to become a republic within the Federation has the right to do so.
- The Imperial Federation shall be renamed, to the Commonwealth Federation.
- King Edward VIII will continue to be head of state of the organisation, except in republics, where their head of state will have such powers.

The Colombo Declaration was a landmark piece of legislation, and was vital to keeping the Federation alive. It is due to this declaration that the Federation is still a great power today.
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« Reply #43 on: April 13, 2009, 12:32:59 pm »
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THE FRENCH WAR IN SYRIA AND LEBANON: 1945-1948

France, unlike the United Kingdom, had not federated its empire, and after the war with Italy, dissent against the French grew. Led by Hashim al-Atassi, a Syrian nationalist movement was born. Instantly, nations around Syria saw this as a threat. Turkey knew that Syria may contest their claims on Hatay. Israel was concerned about having another neighbour to fight. Britain did not want this to make an example to Iraq, which had already fought them once.

On September 2nd 1945, an uprising began across Syria against French garrisons in the area. Albert Sarraut, the Prime Minister of France, was stunned, and immediately ordered paratroops into the country to deal with the uprising. By October, nearly the entire country was under Syrian rebel control, and the uprisings had spread to Lebanon. Sarraut decided that an amphibious invasion should be launched to restore order. Sarraut also contacted Israel and Turkey and requested aid in this undertaking.

On December 11th, French forces landed at Tartus and Tripoli, and the next day at Latakia. The Syrian and Lebanese forces were swept aside quickly. Israel saw an opportunity, and invaded Lebanon to ‘end cross-border raids’. Secretary General Cosgrave fumed with anger, and threatened to suspend Israel from the Federation. As it turned out, Israel took little part in the following operations, other than holding a small amount of land in Lebanon.

By January 1946, French forces had entered Damascus, and Sarraut declared the rebellion over. He did not count on the Syrians beginning a guerrilla campaign against his forces. The first signs of this came in March when a French platoon was surrounded and destroyed near Aleppo. The French high command decided to tackle this problem by bombing guerrilla hideouts, but they failed to achieve a decisive victory anywhere. Their own Syrian allies were poorly trained and had little stomach for a fight. The Turks had failed to intervene.

By 1947, Sarraut had been replaced and Jules Moch, the new prime minister, had decided to end France’s commitments in the area. He installed a moderate government in Syria, and ordered French forces to pull back to Lebanon. The new government in Syria invited Hashim al Atassi to run for election, which he won in 1948 and became the first president of a truly independent Syria.

The French stayed slightly longer in Lebanon, finally withdrawing in March 1948, although the Israelis continued to occupy a ‘defensive barrier’ in the south.
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« Reply #44 on: April 13, 2009, 12:33:30 pm »
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THE SUDAN BECOMES INDEPENDENT: 1946-1948

As Egypt had been suspended from the federation, it was unable to make any of its arguments heard in the echelons of the Parliament. Farouk's rash decision, with the co-operation of his Wafd party prime minister, to invade Israel, had seemed good to the Egyptian cabinet, but they were dissapointed with the gains, and did not feel it was worth it for the suspension they got from the federation. On July 22nd 1946, Farouk abdicated, under pressure from the government, and his son Farouk II, became king. Farouk II was just two years old, which meant he was in a weak position from the start.

Meanwhile, Britain had taken it upon itself to 'caretake' the Sudan until Egypt's suspension had ceased. This had caused outrage among Egyptian nationalists, and the Prime Minister considered declaring war on the Federation. Instead, he bided his time, hoping that Egypt would be unsuspended if it waited. It soon became clear that Cosgrave was willing to do so, but after Egypt withdrew from the Negev and Gaza Strip. Prime Minister Hussein Siri Pasha instead sent an emissary to Cosgrave to try and negotiate a settlement whereby Egypt could regain its membership, and only give away part of the Negev.

By now, Britain had been facing some dissent in the Sudan, and it was decided to organise a new government for the country and leave. Sudan had already announced its intention to become a republic rather than stay as a monarchy, and so elections held in 1947 decided Muhammed Salih as the first president. Salih, although not a supporter of the Federation, agreed to remain within it only on the terms that Sudan gain 10 rather than 5 seats in the organisation, much to Cosgrave's dissapproval.

Egypt, meanwhile, agreed to cede Eilat, and a strip of land leading to it back to Israel. Hussein Pasha became widely unpopular for this deal, and it may have contributed to his loss in the 1950 elections. Egypt's suspension from the Federation formally ended on December 31st 1948.
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« Reply #45 on: April 13, 2009, 12:34:17 pm »
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THE SOVIET UNION ANNEXES THE BALTIC STATES: 1947-1948

After waiting for some time, Trotsky looked to the Baltic to expand the Soviet Union. He had several divisions of military districts in Central Asia moved by rail to the Estonian and Latvian borders. On January 7th 1947, he summoned President Johan Laidoner of Estonia to Moscow, and demanded he sign a treaty giving the Soviet Union access to the Baltic through the ports of Narva and Tartu. Laidoner was defiant, and refused Trotsky’s demands. Two days later, Soviet motorised infantry moved into Estonia, and defeated the country’s military in just 1 day. An Estonian puppet state was set up, which ceded the ports as well as several border zones, to the Soviet Union. Just two months later, the rest of the state was annexed too.

In May, Latvia received a similar proposal, and agreed to the terms in the naive hope that the Soviet Union would allow Latvian independence. Lithuania also agreed. However, in November, Soviet forces simply struck from the bases and defeated the Latvian and Lithuanian armies. In January 1948, all three of the Baltic states were incorporated into the Soviet Union.

The annexations sent shockwaves through Europe. Jules Moch and Ernst Thalmann, the Prime Ministers of France and Germany, met in Hannover that June and formally declared the European Security Zone. Poland, Czechoslovakia, Italy, Romania and the Netherlands also joined shortly afterwards. Trotsky realised that for his next move, he would either have to turn to Scandinavia, or to the Middle East.
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« Reply #46 on: April 13, 2009, 12:35:16 pm »
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THE AFGHAN CIVIL WAR BEGINS: 1948-1949

Trotsky’s attention would probably have next been caught by Finland, were it not for events in Afghanistan, the Soviet Union’s southern neighbour. An unstable situation had developed into a full-blown civil war. However, to understand this, it is necessary to look at Afghanistan’s history from 1919 onwards.

Amanullah Khan had become king of Afghanistan in 1919, and had begun reforms to bring the kingdom into the 20th century. However, the army did not like his ideas, and wanted to continue on as their ancestors had. In 1922, a rebellion in Herat ousted him from power and Habibullah Khan became the new king of Afghanistan. The new king was afraid that he could easily be overthrown in the same way, and brought in repressive measures to criminals, such as leaving them in suspended cages to die. In foreign affairs, he courted both Britain and the Soviet Union, and even managed to gain a contract from the Soviet Union for the construction of a small air force. Habibullah continued to rule until 1932, when Inayatullah Khan succeeded him.

Inayatullah’s reign was brief, and he was poisoned in 1934. King Mohammed Shah replaced him, and continued to rule Afghanistan in the traditional autocratic manner. By this time, a republican movement had begun to flourish in Afghanistan, and at first approached the king with suggestions for some form of limited democracy in 1943. The king disagreed, and by now had grown increasingly cruel. He had any dissent against his rule crushed. One of his favourite targets was Communists.

Trotsky had been concerned about Mohammed’s behaviour for some time, and he met with a group of leading Afghan communists, led by Mahmud Khan in 1946. He suggested they overthrow Mohammed and the new position could help dominate India. An insurgency was begun in 1947, around the Kandahar area, and soon this expanded all across the country.

Pakistan’s military ruler, General Asif Khan, was a rabid anti-communist and immediately ordered the Pakistani Air Force to bomb Communist hideouts in Afghanistan. He also renewed the state of emergency that had reigned since he had come into power. Khan was concerned that the civil war could spread into Pakistan, where he was already facing a civil war of his own. Britain and India were also concerned, and sent covert aid to the King. They agreed to sell Hydra and Wyvern aircraft to the King, and to help modernise his army. Thus, a proxy war between the Soviet Union and the Federation had begun.
1948 was marked by Communist victories. Kabul came under siege from Communist forces, and Jalalabad was taken, destroying the Afghan Army’s main headquarters. Humiliatingly, the Communists also launched operations in Pakistan, forcing the Pakistani army to fight on its own turf. Khan was so angered by this that he ordered Pakistani forces to enter Afghanistan to clear out enemy forces.

As 1949 began, the situation looked grim for the Afghan government. They had lost the north and west of the country, masses of men were deserting to join the Communists, and Afghanistan was running out of money to pay for British and French equipment. Cosgrave saw this, and decided to lift the embargo on Pakistan that had been put on it since the invasion of Kashmir. This came at a crucial point, as Pakistani forces were beginning to play a major part in the war. Meanwhile, diplomats attempted to organise meetings between Cosgrave and Trotsky to resolve the crisis before it exploded into a global war. But Trotsky avoided this, hoping to achieve total victory, and turning Afghanistan into a communist state.
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« Reply #47 on: April 13, 2009, 12:35:52 pm »
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THE COMMUNISTS TAKE A GAMBLE: 1949

Mahmud Khan was pleased with the advance of his forces. He was convinced that by the time 1949 was out, he would be in control of Afghanistan, and the Pakistanis would be beaten back. He did not count on increased Pakistani and Federation involvement. He also did not count on the Soviets being occupied elsewhere; Trotsky had been warned by one of his spies that Japan was planning an attack in the year. Khan still felt confident he could win, and prepared a major offensive to capture Kabul and sever the Afghan forces communication.

The attack began with heavy bombings of Afghan and Pakistani positions. Next, a determined offensive began in Kabul and around Ghazni in the centre and the borders of Pakistan. Asif Khan reasoned that if the Communists were attacking in the south, they will have moved forces from the north, and launched his own offensive against the Communists there. His predictions proved correct, and his forces marched into Feyzabad relatively easily. In fact, the advance only began to bog down near Kondoz. Khan’s own offensive had taken Ghazni, but he ordered it to be abandoned to protect his logistical centre at Mazar-i-Sharif.

Federation forces had also become involved. The British had begun using airbases in India and Oman to bomb Afghan positions, and the Special Land Forces (SLF) saw their first action, being dropped behind enemy lines and cutting enemy communications. By the end of the year, Kabul had been relieved, and the Communists were beginning to lose control. Trotsky contacted the British and asked for an agreement over Afghanistan. It was agreed that a meeting would be held on January 17th 1950 to determine the final fate of Afghanistan.

Meanwhile, Asif Khan had begun to face increasing dissent from within his own forces, and began to withdraw some forces from Afghanistan to strengthen his position. His actions will be covered in another update. He instead increased air involvement, and even began strategic bombing on Communist held cities. This would lead to a cooling of Afghan-Pakistani relations.
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« Reply #48 on: April 13, 2009, 12:37:22 pm »
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THE KIEV CONFERENCE: 1950

Trotsky met with Cosgrave on January 17th as planned, and the two began to hammer out an agreement. Cosgrave wanted to make sure the Soviet’s did not gain a border with Pakistan, which Cosgrave was still interested in bringing back into the Federation. Cosgrave still thought of the area as the North-West frontier, which would have to be defended against both the Afghans and the Soviets if they were to triumph. Trotsky wanted to gain Afghanistan as an ally, and through it, be able to exact a measure of control over India and Pakistan. He also thought that it could be used as a gateway to Xinjiang, part of China under Communist influence, and Tibet.

The talks reached a deadlock early on. Trotsky was adamant that his position be made secure in Afghanistan, and thus demanded heavy influence over the new Afghan government. Cosgrave refused, and Trotsky, who was still concerned over Japan and did not want more enemies, relented to some extent. In the end, an agreement was made by which the king retained his position, but was forced to form a parliament, of which the Communists were given ½ the seats, and a pro-royal faction were assigned the rest. Mahmud Khan became the first prime minister.

Trotsky also made a more secret arrangement with the British. The Soviet Union would exact a sphere of influence over northern Afghanistan, including Mazar-i-Sharif and Herat, while Britain gained a sphere of influence in the south, particularly over Kandahar and Jalalabad. The Afghans were not told of this arrangement, and neither were the Indians or Pakistanis.
Both sides came away satisfied, and a truce came into place on March 1st 1950. Meanwhile, student rebellions and dissent had boiled over into revolution in Pakistan...
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« Reply #49 on: April 13, 2009, 12:37:45 pm »
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THE REGIME OF ASIF KHAN: 1947-1949

Although a triumvirate ran the country after the coup of December 11th 1946, Khan had fast become the leader, and by the end of 1947, ruled the country by decree. This accession was largely due to Khan shifting the blame for Pakistan’s military defeats in Kashmir on the other two members, and by renewing the state of emergency every 6 months, so he could continue to reign. When voted upon in Parliament, it was noticed that those who disagreed with him often mysteriously ‘disappeared’.

In 1948, Khan began a process of ‘de-Islamisation’, arguing that the Pakistani state should be run by the government, not by religious leaders. This angered many devout Muslims who soon began marches in major cities and even burnt effigies and portraits of Khan. In response, the army was deployed onto the streets and many leading mullahs and imams were killed or imprisoned. A movement known as the Free Balochistan Army was founded, and began bombings and assassinations of local officials, while much of the resistance to Khan remained underground.

Things got worse as Khan separated church and state completely in November 1948. This may have been the point where Khan was overthrown were it not for events to the north. Pakistan became actively involved in fighting communists within both its own borders and Afghanistan. The nation briefly united behind Khan to fight a foe they considered worse than him. However, as more and more Pakistani soldiers returned to their country in bodybags, Khan’s popularity took a major hit.

In May 1949, an entire regiment of Pashtun soldiers deserted, demanding better pay, and in response, Khan had it annihilated using air power. This simply led to more riots and strikes, and Khan soon declared a state of siege. He began to withdraw forces from Afghanistan to face the new civil disorder. Much of this army was placed under the command of Lt. General Saleem Rafiq, in what would prove to be a major mistake on Khan’s part.
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