Following the end of the Weltkrieg in 1921, the United Kingdom suffered a domestic syndicalist revolution as well as collapse of its overseas colonial empire. The collapse of the British Empire was 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.
1921: The Peace with Honour
- Main article: Peace with Honour
With the withdrawal of France from the Weltkrieg in 1919, the British war effort against the German Empire dragged on inconclusively for a further two years. Although open conflict had ended following the 1919 armistice, peace would finally come in the form of the Peace with Honour proposed by German General Erich Ludendorff. Under the terms of this arrangement, Britain and the other Entente members would acknowledge German gains in the war, while Germany would respect the remaining overseas possessions of the Entente. The British Empire remained largely intact, but the faith and support of the British people at home had not.
1925: The British Revolution
- Main article: 1925 British Revolution
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 collapse of the British government led to a massive land-grab among its overseas possessions. Gibraltar finally fell into Spanish hands, Argentina quickly seized the Falkland Islands, Egypt gained sole authority over the Sudan, Nejd invaded the Trucial States, Shammar ensured the fealty of Kuwait, and the Ottoman Empire regained control over Cyprus and Aden, the latter of which was placed under Yemeni juristiction. Germany managed to secure most of the British African holdings as well as the strategic colonies of Malta, Suez, Berbera, Ceylon, the Strait Colonies, Brunei, and Sarawak.
Australia, New Zealand, and the British-administered portions of New Guinea and Fiji would go on to form the Australasian Confederation. India was divided into three states, with the loyal Dominion of India to the north, the syndicalist Bharatiyan Commune to the east in Bengal, and an independent indigenous Princely Federation to the south. Burma shook off British control entirely to become a separate kingdom.
In the Caribbean, the Royal Navy secured the British and former French colonies in the region to form the Caribbean Federation. Venezuela threatened to press its claims over the disputed Essequibo zone, but the dispute was mediated by the United States
1926: 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.
1932: The Departure of South Africa
In 1932, J. B. M. Hertzog became Prime Minister of South Africa and declared the nation a republic, leaving the Entente in the process.