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February 8th

"Shield and Sword of the Party" Meanwhile, in Alternate History....Queen Elizabeth II plays a more active and far-sighted role during the Suez Crisis.
8th February, 1950. On this day the Ministry for State Security was formally established in East Berlin with Soviet help by German communists in Soviet-occupied Germany after World War II. Although it was an independent East German organization, it co-operated with counterparts in the Soviet Union and was widely praised by Soviet intelligence for its extensive operations.

Ruling most aspects of daily life for almost forty years, their job was to spy on everybody in East Germany to make sure they weren't doing anything detrimental to the interests of the ruling Communist regime. And by 1989, approximately two million informers from virtually every factory, office, military unit, school, university, hospital, and church. had been drawn into their incredibly far-reaching network.

Described as one of the most effective and repressive intelligence and secret police agencies in the world, the Stasi employed a total of almost three hundred thousand people in an effort to root out the class enemy. The KGB even invited the Stasi to establish operational bases in Moscow and Leningrad to monitor visiting East German tourists. You could say that they had out-Russianed the Russians.

After the collapse of the totalitarian regime, almost three million individuals requested to see their own files. Many former East Germans were startled to learn that their friends and families reported on them, either voluntarily or through coercion.






"The sovereign has under a constitutional monarchy such as ours, three rights – the right to be consulted, the right to encourage, the right to warn." (Walter Bagehot, 1867)

When the “Mal├ęter Note“ reached the British Foreign Ministry, a warning by the commander of an armoured division stationed in Budapest that the Soviets were about to crush the Hungarian insurgents on October 29th, the young Queen Elizabeth II, in office for just three years was shown top secret government papers for the first time – in this particular case the plans of the imminent Anglo-French invasion of Egypt.

It was probably her estrangement towards Winston Churchill and his opposition against the dismemberment of the Empire that made the young Queen remind Prime Minister Anthony Eden of his promise “peace comes first, always" –and a remarkably farsighted assessment of Great Britain’s post-war role. The US and Soviets already struggling for influence in the Near and Middle East would not let a war against Egypt go unpunished – and the US special allies could hardly condemn a Soviet invasion of Hungary and support a Western attack on Egypt, especially with Eisenhower’s support of the decolonisation process.

The young queen’s exertion of influence behind the scenes did cause some upheaval in British and French military circles, but the task force of 6 six allied aircraft carriers and a battleship did nothing but threaten off the Egyptian coast – while Khrushchev threatened the UK, France and Israel with a massive “rocket attack” should they dare to attack Nasser’s Egypt or the Suez Canal – and invaded Hungary. A signal towards potential Arab allies about how the Soviet Union would treat their foederati if they didn’t toe the line. A major setback for Soviet influence in the Middle East.

The first immediate lesson the U.K. as well as France learned beyond ultra-conservative sabre-rattling was the necessity of a third power in the emerging cold war if both ex world powers wouldn’t want to be on the drip of either the US and the USSR forever – the latter’s foreign minister Molotov made France an offer almost too good to refuse: French neutrality and withdrawal from the NATO versus cessation of Soviet support for Algerian rebels.

But Prime Minister Guy Mollet decided to stick to the West – and, not without the leverage of the new “Queen of Hearts”, arranged the quiet integration of France into the Commonwealth of Nations – with Belgium, the Netherlands, Denmark and Norway following within the next five years. The third power, the Commonwealth, had indeed been established in the Mid-Sixties. 

Today's dual post follows the structure of our weekly collaboration: Alternate Historian writes about a real event in German History, whilst Dirk writes about a fictionalized event in English Alternate History.

3 comments:

  1. Funny, I thought the Soviets didn't occupy Afghanistan until '79....

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  2. While stabilizing in itself, the US would be furious at the UK-Euro "third" side. Could result in US isolationism or, conversely, US panicking to gather new allies, say among Latin America with the old Monroe Doctrine.

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  3. CKO92 - In this scenario this might well happen during a possible Soviet occupation of Iran in the late 1950s / early 1960s

    This Day in Alternate History - and result in a major economic crisis... the way the cookie crumbles with isolationist doctrines

    Dirk

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