A Galaxy of States - An alternate future for the British Empire by Steve Payne
Author says: at the turn of the twentieth century, Great Britain sought an imperial defense pact, turning to the Empire for military support. Despite some initial reluctance, this was provided. Of course Britain had made a serious misjudgement a century before in asking the North American Colonies to pay (through taxation rather than the provision of militia) for their own defense after the Seven Years War. So in this post, we wonder, what if a man of principal had arisen at the dawn of the twentieth century, to once again foil the imperialist's plans?
In 1899, with the United Kingdom unreasonably expecting the Dominion of Canada to contribute military support for the Second Boer War, a compromise request from Her Majesty's Government to send a battalion of volunteers to South Africa was refused on this day by the first francophone, Roman Catholic Canadian Prime Minister, Sir Wilfrid Laurier (pictured, left).
Galaxy of Free States
In truth the British request was itself without precedent, because Canadian soldiers had never before been sent overseas in great numbers, although individual Canadians had served in the Crimean War and a Canadian contingent was sent to the Nile Expedition. And Laurier's government had long resisted pressure from Joseph Chamberlain for Canada to join a common defence scheme covering the British Empire. A pivotal decision point had been reached.
"If there is anything to which I have given my political life, it is to try to promote unity, harmony, and amity between the diverse elements of this country".And so, at the outbreak of war in October, the Prime Minister flatly refused to send militia, prompting the British Government to request volunteers instead, in order to internationalize the struggle. Yet this compromise request was also flatly turned down, to the abject fury of the British Government.
Despite having his knighthood stripped by a furious British Government, Laurier would be well regarded in Canada for his success in establishing an autonomous country within the British Empire. Because the significance of those efforts to establish a "Galaxy of Free States" would be judged not simply by the sending of a thousand English Canadians to South Africa.
The moral bankcruptcy of the British request was highlighted by the subsequent treatment of the Australian volunteer force that - unlike the Canadians - agree to server under a British Command Structure.
Because on 27th February 2002, three Australian Lieutenants Harry "Breaker" Harbord Morant (pictured left), George Ramsdale Witton and Peter Hancock were executed. The trumped up charges resulted from a political show-case designed to appease the Boers and bring the War to a speedy conclusion before Germany could enter the conflict and seize the mineral wealth of South Africa for herself.
Watch Climax to Breaker Morant - Part 1 and Watch Climax to Breaker Morant - Part 2
"They have to apologize for their damned war. They're trying to end it now, so they need scapegoats". These fine officers had executed Boer prisoners of war under orders of the British Commander Lord Kitchener following the murder and decapituation of Captain Hunt on the veldt. Lord Kitchener refused to testify at the trial, making himself unavailable on the veldt, but sending his second-in-command, Lord Roberts who denied that such had order has been given. The trial was to have long-reaching consequences. A folk hero in Australia, the "scape goats of empire" scandal forced the nation to withdraw from the Commonwealth and rename itself Oceania, a new independent nation within the "Galaxy of States"..
Author says, please note that extensive amounts of content have been repurposed from both the source articles comprising Wikipedia and "Prime Ministers of Canada, Turn of the 20th Century" by Bev Cline.
Imagine what would be, if history had occurred a bit differently. Who says it didn't, somewhere? These fictional news items explore that possibility. Possibilities such as America becoming a Marxist superpower, aliens influencing human history in the 18th century and Teddy Roosevelt winning his 3rd term as president abound in this interesting fictional blog.