View Full Version : Useful Idiots
09-11-2010, 03:47 AM
Just toying with the idea of a TL based on British assistance in the Spanish Civil War.
Say, late September 1936, that Somehow the Republicans manage to get their hands on some imported German weapons, smuggle them into Gibraltar and execute a terrorist attack. A tip off directs British intelligence to a weapons cache and evidence arises concerning a Nationalist attack on the Rock.
Naturally the Nationalists deny it but the British reinforce the Gibraltar Garrison, a few poorly chosen words in Nationalist speeches aggravates the situation.
The British initially ship materiel (not men) to the Republicans, including tanks and Vickers K machine guns.
When the First convoy of British aid is scheduled to arrive in Octover, the Nationalists fire a warning shot from shore based artillery on the southern coast, which unfortunately hits one of the escorting destroyers, prompting outrage from the British public ...
09-12-2010, 08:46 AM
The British could probably cut off aid from both Germany and Italy (unless the French agree to allow the supplies to cross their territory.) That alone would have a significant effect on the conflict. However, if we assume that the UK starts sending supplies, it actually weakens the communists in the Republican Government. They only became so powerful because they were the only source of supply.
Combining both methods would certainly give the republicans a boost, although the conflict might well stalemate because the nationalists would control morocco and the republicans would be unable to dislodge them without direct UK help.
This would have some effect on WW2. Would the Germans be so capable in 1939 if they were unable to learn much from the Spanish war?
The Italians were conducting unrestricted submarine warfare against Spanish Republican and Soviet shipping throughout the Mediterranean during the Spanish Civil War. Rather than confront them the French and British maintained the pretence that these were attacks by unknown pirate elements and organised shipping into convoys. At one point an Italian submarine misidentified a British destroyer as a Republican vessel and fired a torpedo at it. They missed and the destroyer counter attacked with depth charges to no effect.
The British were just not going to be provoked into involvement in the Spanish Civil War because of the belief that it would expand into a general Mediterranean War.
09-15-2010, 09:19 AM
Good point Cook, however ITTL Britain believes that Gibraltar is under threat
This is a draft of ideas rather than an attempt at a formal timeline, when I'm done with the draft, I'll add some stylistic changes (ATL book heading, photos etc).
Needless to say international tensions rise considerably after the British Expedition deploys (Its ostensible mission being to clear the Nationalists out of the vicinity of Gibraltar). Aside from obvious souring of relations between the UK and the Axis, there are other countries with a role to play in this Spanish Crisis (as the period is known ITTL).
Britain and the USSR are now competing for influence in Spain (the fact that Britain is directly involved and is also pocketing its share of Spanish gold to finance its delivery of arms goes some way to explain Chris's point about the communists some of their political clout in Spain.
France meanwhile adopts a plague on both your houses style neutrality, refusing aid to the republicans while taking rigorous measures to ensure that no arms bound for the nationalists crosses French soil or territorial waters.
By early 1938 a ceasefire is finalised. The nationlists have set up shop in the African colonies.
This is due to
A slow British deployments (even at its height the British/Commonwealth presence amounts to little more than a reinforced corps plus the Commonwealth international brigades)
B poor coordination with the Republican leadership.
C The axis indicating serious consequences if Britain aids the republicans in
pursuing the remaining nationalists
D France's avowed neutrality for the duration of the Spanish conflict.
Stanley Baldwin was Prime Minister in 1936. He was in favour of appeasement; not on ideological grounds but because he believed the British public to be pacifist and that Germany already had a commanding advantage over Britain in its Army and Air Force.
Also, Britain and France consulted and co-ordinated closely on Foreign Affairs and defence; if France refused to become involved Britain would not act, particularly when there was a risk of general war in the Mediterranean.
The Nationalist securing of the Mediterranean coast involved Italian troops and the Regia Aeronautica operating from the Balearic Islands; British entry into the Spanish Civil War would have inevitably resulted in a confrontation with Rome.
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