Author Topic: A more independant British Commonwealth following WWI  (Read 702 times)

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
A more independant British Commonwealth following WWI
« on: September 06, 2016, 11:29:38 PM »
A number of ideas have jelled recently with a train of thought I have been having, how to get a couple of battlecruisers for the RAN without affecting the RN totals post Washington Naval Limitation Treaty.

First requirement would be a complete separation of the RAN from the RN and probably more to the point an acknowledged independence or functional political separation of the Dominions from the UK.  How to achieve this, well India showed the way in their support for the UK during WWI in the hope of their demonstrated loyalty translating into support for self government and possibly independence, the same train of thought could lead to the major dominions being seen as having grown up and earned their complete structural independence. 

Other factors include the supposition that had the war continued into 1919 Canada's Currie would likely have replaced Haig as commander of the BEF and Monash would have been his Chief of Staff, it also follows that Chauvel may have replaced Allenby as commander of the Egyptian Expeditionary Force in the Middle East, NZs Chaytor taking over the Desert Mounted Corps and Blamey the Australian Corps, along with Smuts commanding Commonwealth forces in Africa a surprisingly large number of senior commanders would have been from the Dominions.  At the same time Creswell is able to expand the RAN to include two Fleet Units and perhaps Canada could have avoided the divisive and destructive politicisation of naval mater prior to WWI that prevented them from achieving a similar structure and strength to the RAN.

End result would / could be that once the treaty discussions began in 1920, it would be widely recognised that Australia, Canada, New Zealand and South Africa were mature and independent democracies in their own right and should not be counted as an integral part of the UK, or more specifically their navies should no longer be seen an integral part of the RN, while India should be well on the way to becoming a self governing Dominion.  This suited both the UK and the US as it freed the UK from financial obligation to support and defend the (former dominions) and granted the US the opportunity to negotiate and trade directly with them as sovereign nations, that they saw, as a result of the loosening of political ties to the UK, as having more in common with them than they had as dominions.

End result the RAN (and possibly the RCN) were able to keep their battlecruisers as they were not counted in the RNs tonnages, they were free to upgrade and replace them, including building replacements.  An effect of this is that the RAN in particular could have looked to build the large cruisers they really needed as replacements for the battlecruisers, or alternatively acquire something interesting in the thirties.  For any serious 1920s construction someway would need to be found to reduce the war debt to the UK, maybe having a WWII type situation where Australia actually exports so much materiel to the UK during WWI, including building industries to provide much needed equipment and munitions (likely directly to the Middle East as well as Italy and possibly Russia and the Balkans) that Australia could have ended the war with fully modernised industries and being owed more than they owed.