Second guessing history, it's a terrific game, if you have nothing better to do which was obviously the position the distinguished historian, Andrew Roberts, found himself in when The Telegraph asked him to suppose what might have happened if the battle of Britain had been lost. This is all rather topical at the moment given that a new TV series, based on Len Deighton's famous thriller, SS-GB, is about to be screened.
As Roberts indicates, if the Germans had concentrated on bombing the RAF radar sites it would have blinded the Spitfires and Hurricanes and defeat would have followed. Invasion would have followed swiftly and there cannot be much doubt as to the outcome. Roberts speculates that:
Winston Churchill refused to escape alongside King George VI and the Royal Family to Canada, but decided to fight it out in the secret government bunker in Dollis Hill in North London.
“You can always take one with you,” he famously said, and was credited by eye-witnesses with killing three German stormtroopers before turning his Colt .45 on himself.
Within weeks all organised resistance was over. The Third Reich now extended from John O’Groats to the Polish border with Russia, as the huge swastikas all the way down the Mall from Kriegsflotte Arch to the former Buckingham Palace signified. For we British, the war was over.
What would have followed is actually very clear because the Germans, with their usual efficiency, produced reams of orders for the occupation which were found after the war was over. In essence, it would have been the 'same-old-same-old' as occurred in every other country they occupied. Not a pretty thought! A 'Quisling' government would have been set up but Roberts doubts that Sir Oswald Mosely would have been chosen to lead it. Instead, he suggests that David Lloyd George might have taken the job given his pre-war agitation for 'peace at any price'. I have a biography of him somewhere and I must look it up to see if that's a runner. To be fair, Roberts quotes the late, great philosopher, Isaiah Berlin, who said “To speculate on who would have collaborated if the Germans had invaded Britain is the most vicious game a Briton can play.”
Still, one wonders . . .