What is the source of "If only Britain did not declare war on Nazi Germany her Empire would still be intact" theory ?

Apr 2014
416
Istanbul Turkey
I hear this arguement a lot from revisionists ,Nazi/Fascist apologists and Far right revisionists. "If only British did not foolishly declared war to illustrious Third Reich and let Hitler alone then British Empire would be intact. They could even wipe out Communism together by joing Hitler's Crusade to Soviet Union and a well deserved place in New Order" What is the source of this what if scenerio because aside from declaring Martial Law across Indian subcontinent , arrest members of Indian National Congress and shooting Indians at will in thousands as Hitler recommended to Lord Halifax in 1937 I can not see how Britain could still rule British Raj in India after 1940'ies with Gandhi's independence movement gaining momentum vastly with passive resistance themes (which could be converted to violent resistance easily by others like Chandra Bose and last time I checked there were a lott more Indians than British in subcontinent) , passage of India Bill from House of Commons in 1936 , gathering of Indian National Congress in 1922 and slowly shifting loyalty in ranks of British Indian Army. Same with Ireland where Irish Republic was officially proclaimed in 1923. Most of other overseas colonies already became Dominions in Commonwealth like South Africa , Canada , Australia and New Zealand with local elected goverments acquiring greater autonomy in their affairs. Or similar in overseas colonies and territories from Caribbean , Jamaica , Bahamas , West Indies where cost of keeping and maintaining these territories becoming far higher than the profits they generated and becoming an economic burden for UK which saw its finance and economy seriously damaged in Great War in 1914-1918 and Great Depression after 1929. British Empire was already cracking up during 1920'ies and 1930'ies , how letting Nazi Germany loose in Europe would benefit in keeping British colonies and dominions and benefit British economy ?
 

MAGolding

Ad Honorem
Aug 2015
3,021
Chalfont, Pennsylvania
How about a more reasonable variation: "If only Britain didn't declare war on Germany in 1914 and stayed out of World War One, Britain would have kept the British empire." That would mean that Britain avoided even more destruction of its power and wealth than merely staying out of World War Two.

Or what about: "If only Britain created a British Empire, Britain might have been able to maintain it longer than it did." If someone believes that Britain never created a British Empire, and thus that the British Empire lasted for zero time, it is easy for them to imagine that if Britain did create a British Empire it would have lasted for a finite length of time and thus for longer than the non existent British Empire did.

Such a person could ask when there was an official decree that something called The British Empire had just come into existence. They could ask when there were ever elections for the parliament of the British Empire. They could ask if there was ever a cabinet or a prime minister of the British Empire. They could ask if there was ever an official monarch of the British Empire.

But Britain never created a British Empire and never created a government of the British Empire above the government of the United Kingdom. If there was a government of the British Empire with empire wide elections for the parliament of the the British Empire and a cabinet, prime minister, and monarch of the British Empire, and the United Kingdom and each of the colonies and possessions had a separate government subordinate to the central government of the British Empire, people in the various possessions and colonies might not have felt that they were oppressed as much by the British, the occupants of one small region of the empire. Thus if there was such a British Empire it might not have fallen apart and might still be a great power, equal to the EU, Russia, China, or even the USA.
 

stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,726
Las Vegas, NV USA
"If only Britain created a British Empire, Britain might have been able to maintain it longer than it did." If someone believes that Britain never created a British Empire, and thus that the British Empire lasted for zero time, it is easy for them to imagine that if Britain did create a British Empire it would have lasted for a finite length of time and thus for longer than the non existent British Empire did.

Such a person could ask when there was an official decree that something called The British Empire had just come into existence. They could ask when there were ever elections for the parliament of the British Empire. They could ask if there was ever a cabinet or a prime minister of the British Empire. They could ask if there was ever an official monarch of the British Empire.

But Britain never created a British Empire
The fact that the organization of what was called the British Empire was complicated and a bit "messy" may be why it lasted as long as it did. For example the transfer of India to the Crown in 1857 probably allowed Britain to hold it until 1947. Though it was under the "Crown" it wasn't until 1877 that Queen Victoria was made "Empress of India" and it was only India. There was never an imperial title that covered the entire empire. Nevertheless the monarch had a formal relationship with every British possession and still has with some former dominions and colonies.
 
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stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,726
Las Vegas, NV USA
The fact that the organization of what was called the British Empire was complicated and a bit "messy" may be why it lasted as long as it did.
BTW the Channel Islands are not strictly part of the UK but are Crown Dependencies, each with a slightly different relationship with the monarch. They are however still part of what's left of the "British Empire" along with the British Overseas Territories
 

redcoat

Ad Honorem
Nov 2010
7,944
Stockport Cheshire UK
BTW the Channel Islands are not strictly part of the UK but are Crown Dependencies, each with a slightly different relationship with the monarch. They are however still part of what's left of the "British Empire" along with the British Overseas Territories
They already belonged to the Duke Of Normandy when he conquered England in 1066 and they have remained in the ownership of the English and later British royal family since that date, so their connection to the crown pre-dates the British empire by nearly 650 years.
 
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stevev

Ad Honorem
Apr 2017
3,726
Las Vegas, NV USA
They already belonged to the Duke Of Normandy when he conquered England in 1066 and they have remained in the ownership of the English and later British royal family since that date, so their connection to the crown pre-dates the British empire by nearly 650 years.
So is there a collective name for the UK, British Overseas Territories and the Channel Islands? Since there never was an imperial title covering all British possessions there never was a formal empire (like Japan). So it seems the term "British Empire" is an informal term to represent everything the monarch has some formal relation to such as kingdom, dependency , dominion, crown colony or territory.
 
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