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Some countries such as Hawaii are excluded, as they do not now exist as independent countries; this is a pity, as that is not usually any fault of the countries concerned. However, that is offset by the scope of the survey: Madagascar experienced much the same course of events as Hawaii, and it is included. Other countries are excluded because, although they do exist, they have not existed long enough to make a fair assessment. It may be suggested that this unfairly excludes republics, but to say that is to admit that monarchies used to be more common and that there may be an element of fashion in many recent countries being republics. Further, this bias should be offset by the same scope of considering many countries - many republics are considered. The test for success is relatively objective: that the country should have existed under its regime for three generations or so, without major upheaval or popular discontent. This is of course a limited test. A regime is considered to have failed if it fell through outside causes, as it is not convenient to separate these out and the scope of the survey should smooth out any anomalies. A period of three generations was chosen because any shorter period might pick up the U.S.S.R. or the Empire of Brazil as successes, and because any longer period might rule out intervals of success for republics, such as France (although Chou En Lai is reputed to have remarked that it was too early to tell yet whether the French Revolution had been a success). Australia is deliberately excluded, as this would bias the result in favour of the status quo.
This survey of various countries cannot possibly do them justice, but it should point out some parallels and dissimilarities. No two countries are alike, of course, but that very fact should help the comparison: where different examples bring out the same lesson, we should be able to find a generality in it that should apply to the Australian situation; and where different countries bring out different features, we should be able to use those differences to see which is likely to apply here. Unfortunately the comparative nature of the survey does mean that some matters are slightly distorted - in particular, using consistent standards without allowing for local circumstances means that the coverage of India, Indonesia and the U.S.A. does not do any of them justice. However, since the object of the exercise is to draw lessons for Australia this should not matter, provided that we never try to use it in any other context - for instance, in judging the actions of those other countries.
One kind of test is deliberately being avoided: that of comparing particular countries with Australia. For instance, if we compared (say) France with Australia, the republicans could say "but Australia has no Algeria! the causes of the fall of the fourth republic cannot possibly affect Australia." This would be absolutely correct, and absolutely irrelevant. Every country experiences different stresses - what we are trying to bring out is how well different forms respond to them. Of course France had Algeria - the U.K. had Ireland, and Brazil had slavery. There is bound to be something for Australia - our task is not to predict what issues will arise and solve them in advance, it is the much more limited one of seeing how to brace ourselves against them. If we allow ourselves to rate monarchies against republics, our database will completely ignore questions of what will come up and why this or that is better suited to cope, but it will tell us whether this or that is better suited - and that, after all, is all we care about in this study.
South America was divided between Spain and Portugal, then bits got snipped off by other colonial powers and what was left got independence piecemeal during the nineteenth century as revolutionary ideas gained hold - though the process started during the revolutionary age at the end of the eighteenth century. Things went differently for the Spanish and Portuguese possessions. The Spanish ones tried to form into one country as "Gran Colombia", but it did not hold together, and not all the parts revolted at the same time - in the Caribbean Cuba thought of itself as being part of the colonial power keeping the others down, the way Senegal was for the French later on, and was called "the ever-loyal island" until it was all that was left and it became obvious that it was an oppressee not an oppressor.
Over in Brazil things went less violently. The Portuguese government had sailed away from Napoleonic occupation and taken charge in Brazil as a government not quite in exile. At the end of the Napoleonic wars Portuguese rule resumed, but Brazil was a much more important part of the system and got a prestigious viceroy from the royal family. Soon after, Brazil became independent without any great shock, as the viceroy became Emperor of an independent Brazil. Meanwhile, the former Spanish colonies started in on their cycles of military coups with intervals of bourgeois civilian governments. Things weren't perfect in Brazil, of course. The Emperor quit fairly early when things got too hot for him personally - but the institution of monarchy served the Brazilians well, and instead of general violence they got an infant Emperor and a period of regency, so power was held by a small group in his name and they weren't personally at risk of being shot next time round. One piece did get broken off Brazil - Uruguay was a half-Spanish, half-Portuguese zone of influence, and became something of a buffer state.
None of this development was totally spontaneous; there was strong unofficial British involvement in South America aiming at keeping the peace, and Admiral Cochrane's intervention was important in allowing the independent monarchy to get started without Portuguese counter-attack, and also in allowing Uruguay to get established as easily as it did. On the other hand, there was similar British involvement in Venezuela, so it wasn't just British support that made the monarchy work - there was just as much positive commitment towards the republics. (The U.S.A. was not then a world power, and the Monroe doctrine was more important in keeping outside powers from establishing themselves than in affecting internal developments.)
There were some loose ends. Over in Chile, a foreign adventurer tried to set up a kingdom of his own; it failed, but this probably only got attempted because European colonial intervention was impossible, and it shows that the Spanish Americans were not intrinsically republican (see also the paragraphs on Mexico). Without a natural soil for monarchy, the Brazilian Empire did not last for ever - just two or three generations. That served just as well as a foreign skin graft that is bound to get rejected; it let the patient recover and develop its own institutions to take over after the foreign material got rejected. For instance, one thing that was foreign to the Brazilian way of life was the lead the monarchy took in abolishing slavery. It did this more through education and example than force, and towards the end brought in "freeing in the womb" to make everyone born free. Eventually there would be no slaves without actually freeing any enslaved individuals and upsetting their owners. Even so, this was one of the last straws for the Brazilians. Mind you, when the Brazilians went republican after three generations, it only took them three years or so to start having the usual Latin American military coups. Brazil has been going downhill ever since, but this is probably a coincidence due more to the world situation than anything inherent in Brazil or the Brazilian people themselves. In fact, every so often the Brazilians notice how unstable their current institutions are and give serious thought to bringing back the monarchy - and they happen to be considering the matter right now. Monarchy is not obsolete.
Let's make three generations the cut-off point to measure success; if we make it any shorter we have to call the Brazilian monarchy a success, and you may consider these arguments selective if we do. But then, by that reckoning South America has had no successful republics at all.
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The situation in Mexico was much like that in Spanish South America, except for two complicating factors: a continuing involvement with the U.S.A. to the north, and an episode of French adventurism that tried to install an Emperor, Maximilian. On independence Mexico became a republic and soon started in its relationship with the U.S.A. in the conflict over Texas, in which Texas gained a temporary independence with a population drawn from the north with its own traditions. This was soon followed by the Mexican-American war, which helped destabilise Mexico further. Even in the early days when Santa Ana was president, the republican tradition was not completely pure; he consciously modelled himself on Napoleon as so many did in those days, and with enough prestige he would probably have moved on to make his position permanent just as Napoleon made himself Emperor after the coup Brumaire. During the American civil war when northern interests were otherwise tied up, the Monroe doctrine could not be enforced; the French under Napoleon III tried some adventurism in Mexico. Matters were unstable, and an authentic if biased group of locals invited in Maximilian, a connection of the Hapsburg imperial house that ruled Austria, and who was sponsored by Napoleon III who was using him partly as a puppet ruler. The locals really were authentic; they included members of a former government of Mexico. Whether they were acting for high-minded motives or whether they just wanted a big stick to help regain power does not matter now; they invited in a foreigner, and the Mexicans under Benito Juarez resisted. Maximilian alienated his local supporters by his advanced European thinking, and French support was withdrawn when the U.S.A. reasserted itself. In the end, Maximilian lost and was shot.
In Mexico, monarchy was not a welcome and stabilising institution. On the other hand, the destabilisation continued for at least the next fifty years anyway, even with republican institutions. Overall, the American influence - whether good or bad - had such a distorting effect on things that it is difficult to draw any general conclusions, except that powerful neighbours distort natural development. It wasn't a total distortion, though; the Mexican constitution today is definitely not a clone of that of the U.S.A.
We cannot call Mexico a successful republic either, by the measure of time elapsed since serious instability; it is getting close, however, and it definitely was not a successful monarchy.
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These two countries should be discussed together, if only because their destinies have been so intertwined down the centuries.
English history emerged from the mists of the middle ages slightly out of step with developments on the continent - in some ways more advanced, reaching absolutism earlier, and in some ways further behind, with such quaint mediaeval survivals as trial by jury and parliaments still thriving. England was already entangled with Wales and Ireland, and the connection grew closer under the Tudors; with the Stuarts a connection was made with Scotland. The stage was set for the civil wars, and experiments with republicanism; parliament threw off royal absolutism, never to return, only to find - as France did later - how difficult it was to make any republic work. Not impossible, difficult. When a republic became unworkable after the death of Cromwell and his son's inability to sustain the protectorate, Charles Stuart was invited back to be crowned Charles II. Absolutism did not return, as the experiences of the previous two centuries worked like a mild attack of an infection, serving to immunise. On the other hand, experience showed that England needed a king, if only to play King Log to Lord Protector Stork - and don't say they were naive and couldn't work out constitutional arrangements; read Aubrey to see their quite sophisticated political discussion on forms of election and representation. The statesmen of the time noticed that they had actual power, but lacked legitimacy - they couldn't call on the respect of tradition attached to the tried and true. On the other hand, they could supply the main force to the existing pattern of legitimate authority that came with kingship. (Please understand, I only mean in the circumstances of England at the time - it is not a general rule; it wouldn't work in the U.S.A., for instance.) So the kings came back, and exercised authority while legitimating the actual power of such figures as Monck (Albemarle) in England, Argyll in Scotland and Morgan in the West Indies during the generation or so after the restoration. This worked because, as the powerful individuals passed into history, the unifying and legitimating monarchy remained. But on sufferance - James II had to go on his travels again after the Glorious Revolution, because he tried it on too much and tried to bring back absolutism which was becoming quite fashionable on the continent by then. The English invited in William of Orange to be their king - by that time, they knew better than to try for a republic, and the great men of that generation - the "CABAL" - were lower key. But in terms of English constitutional development these were aftershocks, occurring with less frequency throughout the eighteenth century as Jacobite support faded.
Notice how most of the above paragraph referred to "England", not the U.K.; for one thing the creation of the United Kingdom was part of this process and not in place at the beginning, and for another many of these developments were not as well received in Scotland and Ireland. To this day, only some 80% of British are English - I'm half Scottish and half Irish myself. Once the Victorian period arrived, things had more or less settled down under the new system - no longer so new. Understand, there was not a single monolithic nation; rather, a union of what was recognised to be quite distinct parts with quite different laws, customs and traditions. The British genius lay not in obliterating these differences but in accomodating them; even today the Ulster protestants count themselves loyalists although they are quite obviously different again from English, Welsh or Scots. The trick is to be able to cope with an undigested lump.
But what of Ireland, I hear you ask. They obviously didn't get accomodated. No, we didn't. But we have to look at these things in context. First, the accommodation did not so much break down as fail to endure; it served the needs of the eighteenth century badly, and the nineteenth with some comfort. And then, when it did decay - by instalments on either side of the first world war - the monarchy played a valuable role in a peaceful separation. France was nearly plunged into a bloody civil war over Algeria - and their republic did in fact collapse; the U.K. would have had the same in the twenties, only George V rubbed Lloyd George's nose in his responsibilities and sent him back to the negotiating table with the Irish leaders. In Ireland the troubles took a while to die down and Michael Collins was killed for his part in the treaty; Lloyd George lived to a ripe old age. Those of us of Irish extraction would do well to remember how well the Windsors served us, even in their going. Eire has existed in more or less its present form for some two generations, and is a republic with no immediate signs of trouble.
Oh, and by the way - before the first world war the British establishment was dragging its heels about increasing democracy, and the House of Lords was jealously preserving its privileges by blocking key legislation from the House of Commons. (You may think this sounds awfully familiar.) King Edward VII backed up Lloyd George (him again), threatening to swamp the upper house with newly created peers to outvote the existing ones; reserve powers again - constitutions really need them. This is also an example of monarchy unifying and making a country work when it has a class structure: you can see that a country with a class structure can easily end up with one class dominating and oppressing the others through thoughtless selfishness rather than malice. A monarchy stops any one class from being top, once it is realised that the monarchy is above class as well as above politics. Many Australians suppose that the British monarchy is part of a British upper class - it is not. On this occasion the king was acting partly according to his conscience, but also according to his interest; the one selfish interest that a constitutional monarch can have in his country is, that the boat not rock so much as to break up the accepted conventions which let people get on with things without resorting to violence. In other words, they keep the ship of state off the rocks. (Of course, this is no protection against a monarch who is a high- minded altruist, but one reign is generally not long enough for such a one to do any serious harm provided he was a constitutional monarch in the first place.) Kings are useful as well as ceremonial even in a constitutional monarchy, rather like a spare part, because they break up deadlocks and even more because the stubborn factions see there is no point in forcing things that far in the first place. Like judges, kings shouldn't be voted in because they shouldn't be placed under threat of being voted out, which would imperil their impartiality - though they can always be removed like James II if they push things so far that that is the lesser evil; we are not utterly at their mercy.
The U.K. is a successful constitutional monarchy, and Eire is getting close to the point where we should count it a successful republic (that is not to call it unsuccessful, simply to insist on its lasting a decent span of time before counting it).
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Here again are two countries so intertwined that they should be considered together. The U.S.A. is one of the only two long-lived republics I know of, and if it did not exist I would call the republican concept demonstrably poor. You should note that they were lucky to have wise statesmen; they did not make their republic from whole cloth, but from the patches of the existing states with their pre-existing laws and traditions. They followed a minimalist pattern, unlike the French later on, and it got them through their disturbed first three generations until the U.S.A. had its own traditions to support it. Today, when an American says "God bless America", we cannot doubt the sincerity behind it; but it took a long time to get there. Here are some milestones on their progress:-
First of all, they did not have any significant undigested lumps during their first three generations, except for the Mormons and the loyalists, and both groups were pushed out; the melting pot then was happily digesting away.
Second, not only did Americans give birth to the U.S.A., but it gave birth to them. After two generations Jacksonian democracy evolved - their republic fits them so well partly because they have grown to fit it. Any other long-lived republic would give birth to similar changes, and it is entirely a matter of taste whether you would like it or not. That is, it is not a matter for rational argument but it is not something that can be overlooked. [A republican Australia would be a very different Australia; in the long run there is no such thing as a minimalist republic - and I suspect the minimalists know that very well; but I digress.]
Third, there were unresolved differences between different parts of the U.S.A., and I don't just mean those that led to their civil war. At one stage the state of New York nearly seceded, at another the Carolinas nearly did; you might call the states undigested lumps, but on the other hand they underpinned the beginnings of democracy and gave nurseries for its practice. It was not so much the individual states that formed the natural units, rather there were larger areas; when the civil war came, even at the time observers noted that it was not between the north and south so much as between the south on one side and a coalition of the north and west (meaning what we would call the north-east part of the midwest), with California and the Pacific coast an embryonic beginning of yet more regions. Today these regions with divergent patterns still exist, but are overlaid by the sense of identity of the U.S.A.
The fact of their existence does not mean that the U.S.A. will disintegrate along those lines - although no human institution lasts for ever - but, like earthquake fault lines, those are the places to watch out for in case of trouble, to try and head it off; currently the continental U.S.A. is divided into three to five such regions (depending on how you count them). Also, these regions are misleading; the borders of the U.S.A. are not natural. In the south, where these natural regions crossed the Mexican border, U.S. imperialism conquered these areas (that was how the Mormons found themselves back in the U.S.A., once Utah had been annexed). In the north, where these regions overflowed into Canada, there was a movement to annex these too ("Fifty-four forty or fight"), but two factors prevented it: the British Empire did have some strength - though even so, not enough to fight and win a war in North America - and the then-dominant southerners had it drawn to their attention that while expansion in the south meant an increase in southern political strength, expansion in the north could only weaken southern hegemony. This was one of the few occasions on which the British Empire showed low cunning - more usually it just blundered from strength to strength while the tide was in its favour, and was totally bewildered when the tide turned. Anyway, the U.S.A. saw the point and Canada was given an arbitrary, near geometrical border with the U.S.A. I mention all this to show that the U.S.A. is not totally successful in the sense that it has swept all its problems away, but to show that it has succeeded despite having a continuing burden of built-in problems. So long as the U.S.A. lasts, like the U.S.S.R., it will have a tendency to break up; even today there is talk of "Cascadia", a union of parts broken off from north-west U.S.A. and south-west Canada. The success of the U.S.A. lies largely in keeping these trends under control. It is a successful republic, even with this natural weakness and its notorious social problems such as race and drugs; but only because Americans have grown to fit their institutions, like Chinese women with bound feet in the old days.
Canada is another story. In the English-speaking parts of Canada we see what American loyalists are like; quieter, more reserved (although I have met exceptions). The French-speaking parts show continuing separatist tendencies; does that prove that Canada is making a worse job of holding together? well, maybe now, but please note that this is a development of the years since the decline of the Empire; that is, since the Empire ceased to be a useful and productive thing. The last part of Canada to be added to the Federation was Newfoundland, which had asked to be brought back under direct British rule during the depression, rather like a sickly infant being put in an incubator. The point is that even in the thirties the Empire - and so the centralised monarchy - made sense. Newfoundland joined Canada when the dust settled after the war. Does the monarchy help now? well, in British Columbia they think so; they think it helps provide a unifying influence for Canada as a whole, and on the whole they like that.
By the way, they designed the Canadian constitution with half an eye on the U.S.A., and they did not consider that a success but an awful warning; this was just after their civil war, and the Canadians did not read victory for the north as victory for the constitution, but rather as proof that it easily let matters reach such a destructive extreme. Also, at the time Booth's views of Lincoln did not seem absolutely crazy; Lincoln had suppressed civil liberties, portions of the U.S.A. such as Baltimore had experienced a police state, Lincoln had introduced the beginnings of a secret police to safeguard the currency. All of these had good reasons, but they also had plausible bad explanations, if you were suspicious; and just then it was the fashion in America to imitate France, the same France that had become an empire under Napoleon III when he hijacked the French republic which had been entrusted to his care while he was its president. There was no special reason to suppose that Lincoln planned anything like that, unless you were pathologically suspicious - but all the same the Canadians could see that the U.S. constitution had no effective safeguards against such extreme stresses as those of the civil war. Republics can work, because some of them do work; but it is bloody hard work to make them work.
The U.S.A. is a successful republic, and Canada is a successful constitutional monarchy.
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France has gone through a lot of history in an extremely short time. A useful cut-off point to start looking at it is the French Revolution.
The first republic didn't work - Napoleon I nobbled it after the coup Brumaire. The First Empire didn't work, but not only because Napoleon was defeated; it required a diet of constant military success, for instance to allow it to "evacuate" the resources of Italy and the low countries. Napoleon himself remarked (as the English parliamentarians had before him) that his enemies could be defeated and defeated and defeated, and still go home and still be little kings upon their little thrones, ready to rise up against him yet again. As for Napoleon, let him once be defeated and he was doomed. Characteristically, he set about remedying this situation. He recognised the value of tradition in producing this legitimacy of royal authority - the same legitimacy that had been recognised as an instrument of statescraft in England, centuries before - and he set about undoing royal authority and setting up his own with the Napoleonic myth. He also dismantled a great many petty principalities, reducing the total number in Germany from about 360 to about 36 by giving their lands to each other. Just like his continental strategy against the U.K., designed to cripple its navy by starving it of vital naval materials, the plan was good and would have worked - if his enemies hadn't done something about it in the mean time. In fact, the Napoleonic myth did eventually work. In 1814 he lost, and sure enough everyone turned against him; but in 1815 he came back, and was gratified to find that he was still accepted as emperor. Like the kings of Europe, his defeat wasn't counted against him. This wouldn't matter so much, because Napoleon was overthrown in 1815, but the Napoleonic myth kept working. This affected not only the later history of France but also the history of all continental Europe. Quite possibly, it has had an effect on the Australian perception of the value of monarchy.
The Bourbons returned as kings, but they no longer belonged; they identified with a particular class rather than all of France, first the aristocracy and then the bourgeoisie, and by degrees they declined from ineffectual absolutists on a par with James II of England, through compromisers with bourgeois forces, to silence, their only legacy North Africa. Napoleon and the republic had won.
Napoleon and the republic? say rather, Napoleon or the republic, for the first and last president of the second republic was Napoleon III. The second republic didn't work - Napoleon III nobbled it in a coup, just like his uncle before him, only he did not do it on the back of his own military success but on the back of that Napoleonic myth. This too did not last, as this capital stock of legitimacy was used up, largely in foreign adventures in such places as Mexico and Italy; when defeat came at Sedan for this Napoleon, the Franco- Prussian war left Napoleon without a throne. Emperors were not kings after all.
Then came the third republic. To avoid being knocked over by a powerful president who might abuse his trust, this was designed with an ineffectual, near-ceremonial presidency. This republic lasted clear through to the second world war, and a rump of it continued as the Vichy republic. This achieved stability, either by design or by accident, by making certain topics thoroughly off the agenda and making others so much up for grabs that no question could ever be settled - that meant democracy kept the politicians off the streets and out of harm's way, while the few statesmen to emerge from the ruck got on with the job. So for instance they went through government after government, ministry after ministry, and issues such as the support of the French peasant, colonialism (inherited from the Bourbons and the Second Empire), and the conflict with Germany were above politics; the only admissible questions were not whether, but how. The third republic weathered Boulanger and won the first world war, then lost the second (as far as it was concerned). Vichy borrowed prestige from Petain, a first world war hero, which helped prop it up; one of the main built-in props of stability for the republic had been its single-minded focus on struggle with Germany, and this had been undercut.
Well, the war ended and it turned out the French had not lost after all. They picked up where they had left off, just changing the number on the republic to four. Unfortunately, it turned out that while the republic had not changed, the world had; the French were locked into colonialism, especially in Indochina and North Africa, and there was no German enemy to brace themselves against. It was too difficult to keep supporting the French peasant, and they were locked into that; that drew them round to Spaak's way of thinking in building the E.E.C. to help those subsidies, that and helping to prevent a potential German threat from re-emerging. [It's worth another digression here: the E.E.C. was never designed to subsidise agriculture, and any negotiations on that topic that start from that idea are misguided. It all goes back to subsidising, not the production of agricultural commodities, but the production of peasants, especially French peasants, because they were essential for the defence of France against a consistently numerically stronger Germany. The need has gone, but the policy objective is still locked in; from the point of view of producing peasants, the less efficient the agriculture the better, because you need more peasants for the same output. End of digression.]
So the fourth republic collapsed and was replaced by the fifth, this time designed by De Gaulle with a separation of issues - very roughly - into domestic ones to keep the politicians busy, and larger issues of statescraft and foreign policy for the real and powerful president; De Gaulle, for instance. This is going strong so far, but it's worth noting that the French can still get locked up when there is opposition between the president and the elected representative bodies; this is happening right now. Also, they still end up locked solid on issues of world importance, such as agricultural subsidies.
Well, are these republics successes? The fifth may be, but it hasn't been around long enough to tell. Was the third/fourth (for I believe we should consider them as one single entity)? yes and no. It served one single purpose, and it served that purpose well; but it carried the seeds of its own destruction. If you consider the purpose of a republic the good of the public, then we must say this was never the greatest consideration, at least not in practice. Let Australia follow that model and it follows that fate; for instance, we would now have an Australia locked into the British Empire and a white Australia policy if the creators of the Federation had been republicans of this sort. I doubt if either the republicans or the monarchists like the implications of that. Anyhow, consider this: the French are already on their fifth republic, like hardened gamblers.
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A convenient place to take up the story of Austria, Germany, and all the little states of Europe is where Napoleon left it. These states were fewer in number, and the Napoleonic myth was carried on, especially in the German culture by the romantics. This made for German unity, as the individual statelets commanded less and less loyalty. It also made for Austrian fragmentation, for Austria was only partly German, and to pull off the German parts would have been tricky. It took longer for ideas of disrespect for the Austrian monarchy to spread beyond the German parts, because of the language barrier and the greater distance from the centres of romanticism on the Rhine, but it got there. First it reached the Hungarians, both because they were more civilised than those further east and because they had more history and greater numbers than some of those other groups; the Poles in Galicia were divided from those under Russian and Prussian domination, and did not form the vanguard of Polish development. Bohemia and the rest were affected too. So was monarchy a failure? not at all. The Austrian Empire became Austro-Hungary with the dual monarchy, and with the personal prestige of Franz Joseph this helped hold things together clear until the first world war put an end to it. But even monarchy would probably not have prevailed against nationalism indefinitely.
Bismark contrived German unity under Prussia but he left out the Austrian part, partly because it was too awkward to digest with the non-Germanic elements. Even so, the constituent parts like Bavaria were not fully assimilated into this new Germany, partly because of the example of elcaderism in some of them - futile, doomed guerilla resistance. The separate parts were not fully rationalised until Hitler, and he made effective use of some of the components in his early days in power - the Gestapo was Prussian, for instance. These divisions were still present at the end of the first world war, and the French gave serious thought to repartitioning Germany; but assimilation and nationalism had gone too far, and they had to settle for the Weimar republic. This had strong parallels with Vichy, being the republic of a conquered country, not enjoying the support and respect of its people and propped up by the presidency of a war hero, in this case Hindenburg. Germans may or may not have a sense of humour, but they have a marvellous sense of irony; they must have really enjoyed Vichy.
Then came Hitler, and German unity in Anschluss, and war, and the loss of all in night and fog.
Developments since, at Bonn and at Berlin, have not lasted long enough to tell if this latest round of republics will last; and we can certainly say, there was something artificial about their creation. Neither monarchy nor republic lasted long enough to count for anything - but somehow, Germany endures quite apart from its institutions. As for Austria - they still sell commemorative medallions of Hitler, the streets are crawling with grands mutiles who fought for Germany, and when Becker plays at Wimbledon they cheer; you should not consider Austria a state with a separate destiny, even now.
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Russia had problems under the Czars, and they fell; but they lasted centuries till then. The U.S.S.R. did not reach its three generation mark before it fell (counting from their last civil war). The Czars fell so hard we cannot call monarchy a success, and besides it was not a constitutional monarchy; we cannot count it, despite its longevity. You may say, communism fell, not the republic, and point to the republic they have there now. You may say, the difficulties their republic faces now are mere transitional difficulties, to be expected in a new republic. What you cannot do, you cannot say both - and, with all due respect, a great many parts of the old U.S.S.R. are not Russia and are facing real difficulties, not short of civil war. Don't point to the special circumstances of communism with special pleading - this survey is taking the rough with the smooth; if we allow the U.S.A. as a success even with its special circumstances (let's face it, they were lucky), why then, we must count the U.S.S.R. as a failure even with its special circumstances.
A republic, and a failure.
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These are two more countries whose histories march with each other. Again, the right place to take up the story is with the disruption after the Napoleonic wars.
Spain went through a period of civil wars over which claimant should inherit the throne, and became something of a pawn in other powers' games for a while; all this time its overseas empire was falling away, except for a few salvaged parts it hung on to until the end of the century. On the other hand, the Iberian peninsula, like the British archipelago, is a region of distinct nationalities united as a convenience; it was still held together by the monarchy. Portugal is the odd loose end, once ruled by Spain, the way Ireland is for the U.K. The Rif wars did something to rebuild Spanish pride, and although the monarchy went through a rocky patch everything seemed set fair for a rebuilding in the twenties, particularly as Primo da Rivera seemed to be filling the same role of real power propping up traditional authority that Monck had in England, centuries before. Some thought he might have been imitating Mussolini; the question was never satisfactorily resolved, as he died and the monarchy was overthrown by a republic. Again, like the Weimar republic, one that enjoyed majority support but nothing like universal support. Franco started a civil war, and won; he installed Fascist institutions but not too much ideology, and weathered the storm of no longer being fashionable after 1945. He also set up for the return of monarchy after his death, as though Cromwell had left instructions for a restoration. This time the unification of royal power in the king and real power in the chiefs of the armed forces seems to have worked; at any rate when a military faction attempted a coup it failed and could be dealt with without bloodthirsty recriminations.
Portugal we have mentioned more directly, in that Brazil ruled Portugal for a while. In Portugal as in Spain the dust settled after Napoleon with an ineffectual monarchy, humbled abroad, ruling more or less constitutionally at the turn of the century under the influence of foreign opinion. A revolution gave Portugal a republic which declined into Fascism in the twenties as that too became fashionable - and was dominated by the Allies during the war, and so was tolerated after it. It resisted foreign opinion and tried to hang on to its colonial empire, and was humbled abroad again; the Fascist republic fell and the new democratic one - like so many - has not been around long enough to tell.
In Spain, we have seen one constitutional monarchy that is a definite constructive influence - though it is too early to call it a success - and a definite improvement over the last republic with pretensions to democratic support. In Portugal we have seen a republic that is doing well, but again, one too young too comment on.
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Italy has a longer history of culture than most of Europe, and a shorter history as a single state. This makes it harder to find a natural point to take up the story. At the end of the Napoleonic wars, when the last of the famous republics died? with Garibaldi? let us take only one point from the earlier phase: whether monarchical or republican, Italy had great experience in statesmanship and politics, but very little experience of making large states work or of being master of its own destiny; why fight anything to a conclusion, when some distant diplomat will only make a different final disposition? and these habits embedded themselves. Garibaldi and the risorgimento smashed the old, working with one part of these national traits, but found he could not build the new because Italy was not master of its destiny even so.
Cavour wrong-footed the Austrians over the Crimean war, and so Savoy became the only possible inheritor of a unified Italy; it had a place at the peace negotiations, Austria didn't, no other Italian state did, and France - still meddling in Italy - did, so Savoy and France could come to an arrangement, what with France getting most of Savoy in exchange for the house of Savoy getting Italy, apart from the papacy. From one point of view, this was Italy turning the tables and getting a controlling diplomatic position while its old overlords were pushed aside; from another point of view this was an outside monarchy sidling in and grabbing the hard-earned fruits of republican victory, the same game as before with a different outsider elbowing out the Italians. Italy was united under the monarchy, and more got added to it when yet further outside developments edged France out as well as Austria, so suddenly no outsider was dominating Italy any more. However, this unification started under a cloud as the monarchy was not universally supported. There were several referenda down the years, and the monarchy survived, but democracy was not a highly entrenched tradition; whether they were valid or not, their results never commanded universal respect.
This brings us to the first world war. Italy joined late and was not as drained as the other European participants, and with the turmoil of communism and the breath of revolution in the air, Mussolini brought in Fascism. Unlike Nazism, this could not truly aim at being a total takeover of the machinery of the state; it was just a takeover of the democratic parts of it under the constitutional monarchy, since the monarchy itself still commanded respect and the power of legitimate authority. When Fascism was finally overthrown more than twenty years later at the end of the war, this long association had had two effects. First, those reserve powers were still in place, with the Fascist grand council nominally above Mussolini in a relationship with the crown. At the crucial moment in 1943, they were used. Better late than never, but they were used: monarchy was the sole remaining constitutional safeguard against Fascism; only, not much of one. (Hitler had other ideas, and put Mussolini back in power - but he could only do it in the north.) The second effect was that the anti-fascists didn't really think a few months of resistance to Fascism by the monarchy adequately offset twenty years of sharing its spoils; the monarchy dropped to a low ebb of esteem.
After the war, the republicans had a referendum and booted the monarchy out. The king abdicated first, so his son would not be tainted with any associations that were purely personal and the referendum would be about monarchy, not the person who happened to be king, but even so the republicans won. This result was not clear cut - twelve million mostly northern republicans, against ten million mostly southern monarchists, and never mind that the monarchy was being damned for its association with a mostly northern Fascism; these things are never rational. In fact, the referendum said more about Italian unity than about support for the monarchy; a more democratic result would have been partition, and the new king considered civil war - the referendum had been nearly as dubious as any of its predecessors, except that in some areas the Allies had been in effective control (with dubious practices on both sides of course - the result was probably a fair reflection of the popular will). The king thought better and departed, but the Italian constitution bars the return of any member of the house of Savoy, just in case.
The particular republic the Italians chose was broadly similar to the French one and shared its defect of constant turmoil. This is a large contributory factor behind the problems Italy currently faces, along with the above-mentioned lack of experience in making a large state work. A prominent Australian recently mentioned Italy as an example of how bad a republic could be; he was rounded on by members of the Italian-Australian community and condemned for making disrespectful remarks. At the risk of incurring a similar fate, I would like to tread on the same dangerous water: without irony, let me say that Italians do indeed have a long history and tradition of culture, and they are deeply sensitive people with a profound understanding of human nature; even such a talented people as this have had difficulty in making a republic work, at least one of approximately French design - although they have clearly made this wreck last two or three times as long in the post-war climate as the French could make theirs last, which is a profound if back- handed compliment to the Italian spirit. [I write this on the assumption that there is not a large French-Australian community.]
The Italian republic is working, even though it is not old enough to count it as a success; it is clearly imposing a great burden on the Italian people. Their monarchy was indeed a success in its day, and was a victim of Fascism; but it would not be worth restoring because there are the same arguments against that - a lack of widespread support - that there were against instituting a republic in the first place.
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The story here resumes not with the aftermath of Napoleon but with the aftermath of Turkey at about the same time. These countries too benefitted from outside support through romantic ideals of liberty, just as Latin America did. They nearly all became monarchies, although large parts of the Balkans were taken over by Austria or dominated by Russia; Turkey did not finally pull out of the region until this century.
These monarchies helped civilised values trickle down from above by example, but it is only fair to say that they often took root because of the lack of sophistication needed to support a republic; however that is only another way of saying that it takes more work to make a republic work. A fairer criticism is that in many cases these countries were influenced by the need to become legitimate in the eyes of outside powers, both potential aggressors like Russia and Austria and potential allies like the U.K.; in other words, if these had been republics there would have been a tendency towards republicanism, and to count these monarchies is something like double counting. They took up monarchy to impress others, goes this theory, and they took on monarchs from outside princely families for the same reason. They didn't always take on foreigners, and in point of fact one reason for taking on outsiders as monarchs was that it ensured fair play; no existing group would get the chance to work out long nurtured hostilities against others. Having an outsider as monarch was like a mother telling squabbling children "right, nobody gets it". One telling point in favour of monarchy as a method suitable for the Balkans is that the ability of monarchies to hold different parts together worked there (if you doubt it, look at the Balkans now, with the restraining fear of the U.S.S.R. gone).
The second world war swept away the monarchies behind the iron curtain, while Britain supported that of Greece to help keep out communism. The Greek monarchy fell, largely through a repeat of James II's mistake - an attempt to take over a direct part in affairs - but it was succeeded by a military dictatorship that was clearly worse. Eventually a democratic form of republic came in, but it is too young to comment on further. As for the old Iron Curtain countries, Yugoslavia is a clear-cut failure while many of the others are already arguable failures - where is Czechoslovakia now? and it will be three generations before we can see how the others work out.
None of these monarchies obviously failed - they were overthrown - but it would not be fair to count them; some of the republics are definite failures, and of the rest it is too early too say.
[This is a useful place for rather a large digression.]
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It's surprising how many people think Egypt was a British colony; it wasn't. At about the same time Greece emerged from Turkish rule, a local commander in Egypt became de facto independent. He consolidated his position and gradually the situation became more legitimate; outside powers such as Britain, France and Russia dealt with him directly which reinforced his position locally, and since he controlled Egypt this reinforced his position with the outside powers. This gradually evolved towards a hereditary monarchy, although this was not formally recognised at first; for diplomatic reasons Turkey continued to be recognised for quite a while. Anyhow, at the same time as this became hereditary, naturally his heirs and successors gradually lost their original military power; the king became a puppet of the British at the point late in the nineteenth century when the French conceded a superior position in Egypt to the British. One thing to note is that the British did not set up this dynasty; they reinforced it, but it was not all a one way thing; the dynasty's existing position was an asset the British wanted to make use of - which is what puppet rulers are all about. It's just that this tends to use up those very intangibles that tend to strengthen the ruler's position at home. It's a very fine balancing act, and some puppet rulers cope while others can't; if they fall off, it's a very slow decline. On the other hand, even though the puppets may be selling out their country, precisely because they do it by instalments they help preserve their countries' identities against a later date - it all comes down to whether time is on their side or not. Outright annexation or conquest may cost the outsider more, but if it succeeds it makes the victim's obliteration that much more likely.
By the time King Farouk came to the throne British influence had made Egypt into a more or less constitutional monarchy, although the king enjoyed great personal wealth and power. Culturally - and partly for diplomatic reasons - Italy also enjoyed a great deal of influence, although the British never let this become real power; the dynasty was still trying its balancing act. Farouk was in place at the beginning of the second world war, and he was in place at the end of the second world war; for a moment it looked as if he had weathered the storm and the dynasty would outlast imperialism. It was not to be. His own personal prestige suffered in the first of many Arab-Israeli wars, and his own personal habits - corruption, if you will - undercut his position in Egypt; and the outside powers were no longer in such a position to support him. The dynasty fell.
There are two main reasons for looking so closely at Farouk and Egypt. One is that it serves as a case history for a puppet ruler - which, even so, has its advantages for the dominated people, especially if there is an influence towards constitutional forms which can gradually take root. The second is the exceedingly statesmanlike example the Egyptians set in getting rid of the dynasty and not frightening the outside powers - after all, Britain was still strong in the area. What the Egyptians actually did was to depose Farouk in favour of his infant son, putting Farouk on his yacht and sending him to Italy; the yacht remained his until he disembarked, while he lost all the rest of Egypt when he embarked. The son remained king for a few months or a year or so, and then Egypt became a republic. Working in two stages allowed Farouk to be deposed for his corruption while not frightening any internal or external groups that supported monarchy; the second stage came after the monarchy had been allowed to atrophy, and there was no point in trying to preserve it. That may or may not be the thinking behind all this, of course; it was also the period when Nasser was consolidating his power. Then again, the Egyptians may have profited from a close observation of the Italian experience; ex-King Victor Emmanuel had gone into exile in Egypt, partly because of the Italian connection.
The monarchy lasted long enough to be called successful, even if you only value it as a transitional stage like the Brazilian one. So far, the republic has not, and it has gone through significant metamorphoses such as the U.A.R. It looks healthier than most beginning republics, showing astonishing maturity in its conduct of its own affairs, beginning with the handling of the abolition of the monarchy in the first place.
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At first sight these two countries do not seem appropriate to consider together; however, they do face a similar problem - being composed of disparate parts - and they have found very different solutions with different side-effects, one monarchical and one republican. Strictly speaking, they are not nations at all - just countries or states.
After the Napoleonic wars Belgium emerged from the tangle of low countries that were rich and weak and had formed a constant temptation to stronger powers to wage war. The great powers attempted to defuse the situation and the low countries almost fell completely under Dutch domination, but the Flemings and the Walloons who lived there wouldn't have it. They wouldn't live comfortably with each other either, and their villages and towns were intermixed all over the map just like the minorities in the Balkans now. The arrangement that the great powers and the soon-to-be-Belgians came to was Belgium: a constitutional monarchy, committed to a neutrality guaranteed by the great powers, with the king holding the ring between the French and Flemish speakers. A lot of history has happened since, but internally broadly this arrangement continues to this day; the king has more power and influence than most other constitutional monarchs, mainly so as to stop the people from having it - just precisely because they are not one people, and this is one of the weak areas of democracy. There is only one downside to this arrangement: the king is far more on the spot, for instance being directly in charge of the armed forces in both world wars. This helped the prestige of the monarchy after the first world war, as the king very obviously stood out as the defender of Belgium; but as the king was equally associated with defeat in the second world war, and did not help form a government in exile, after the second world war there was a referendum on the monarchy, as in Italy. What with the very real internal problems for which monarchy was a visible treatment, and what with the distinction between the person of the king and the office of king, the monarchy was able to survive with the abdication of the king - what had not been enough for Italy worked for Belgium. It is worth noting that the stability of the Belgian kingdom has been much greater than that of the Italian republic since the war - you may distinguish between the effects of different national characters and different national institutions, but remember that in the long run characters form institutions and vice versa.
Switzerland has a similar problem of uniting disparate parts: we normally think of the Swiss as being obsessed with aggressively defending their neutrality, and this is true; they have a republic with that issue locked in and not up for discussion, the way the various French republics locked in issues. This makes for inflexibility and means that the Swiss are dependent on their defence needs continuing, both because their republic will have trouble if that load is taken off and because conscription is one of the few unifying social institutions they have. They all join the same army, they live in identical barracks in areas other than their home cultures, they have a commonality of training, they are obliged to serve regularly throughout maturity to keep their training up. All this helps because they are composed of four distinct language groups with a history of the strong dominating the weak - Napoleon is considered a liberator because he saved non-German speaking neighbours of Bern from Bernese hegemony. As well, they have distinct religious groupings; when the rest of Europe was having revolutions against absolutism and police states, the Swiss had a small religious war. To make the present arrangements work, their cabinet almost has to be filled by roster from the different cantons that Switzerland has to be broken up into - and it is a very small country to be needing federalism.
The Belgians and the Swiss both faced and solved the problem of uniting disparate parts, one through monarchy and the other through federalism and a republic with solidly locked in issues. Belgium could never make federalism work, because geography has not separated the minorities, and Switzerland can only afford a republic because with its natural defences it has never needed the flexibility of response which is the price it has paid. Circumstances alter cases; both are proven successes.
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These three Scandinavian countries are among the oldest and the newest of monarchies, constantly connecting and disconnecting their histories.
Denmark is the oldest surviving European monarchy, and it was also the last holdout of absolutism, becoming constitutional by degrees during the second quarter of the nineteenth century at the same time as it withdrew from non-Scandinavian involvements it could no longer sustain in a world of undistracted great powers. It weathered this process, and is still with us today despite the stresses of two world wars.
In fact Denmark proved such a good example of workable government, with the added advantage of being distinctly non-Swedish, that when Norway became independent this time round early this century, the Norwegians adopted monarchy as their method with a king from a branch of the Danish royal family. It too weathered two wars, but it may be too young to be counted as a success.
Sweden is a different case. Towards the end of the Napoleonic wars the Swedish royal line died out, and they needed an outsider as a king to prevent their system from falling prey to one or another dominant faction; their country was not so much divided into disparate groupings by culture or language - though it is - as divided by class. At that time there was a grave danger of a dominant upper class oppressing the rest, and of one or another aristocratic family dominating the others. The Swedes were more aware of the second of these two related problems, and invited Marshal Bernadotte to be their king; he had been one of Napoleon's victorious marshals, and had the prestige to go with it. A number of other Napoleonic marshals became kings at about that time, but Bernadotte had three distinguishing features:-
Bernadotte's line has continued ever since, presiding over a Swedish transformation away from upper class domination. This has been partly a reaction against the domination, and partly a reaction against the upper class's association with Germany and what it stood for in two world wars. (This is not as unjust as it might seem, because historically this association was not only a case of Swedish aristocrats imitating German ones, but also of German aristocrats imitating and adapting Swedish examples they were shown during and after the thirty years war. For instance, Prussian thoroughness and efficiency is only Swedish thoroughness and efficiency writ large; this helps to explain why Swedish socialists are so inefficient and disorganised - that was one of the babies they threw out with the bathwater.) For that reason there has been a drift towards a Swedish republic, which may yet happen, and no doubt many will wish to count Sweden, if not as a republic, at least as a failed monarchy. It seems likely that this will happen, but we should play fair; we must count what we see, not what we anticipate, and if we are to bend the rules for Sweden, please remember that playing fair leads us not to count Norway as a successful monarchy. Sweden is an incompletely successful monarchy in another respect: it could not adequately contain its minorities such as Finland, Norway, and its Baltic possessions - though much of this was a result of Russian and German expansionism. We cannot condemn the monarchy on these grounds as history is too unclear on these matters, but we must suspend judgment.
Scandinavia contains one successful monarchy, one monarchy which has a strong claim to being called a success but which I will not insist on, and one monarchy which looks successful but is too young to call - but, like Eire, it is getting very close. (There are also the republics of Iceland and Finland, and the anomaly of the Alund Islands, but these are too new to call successes.) Even falling over backwards to eliminate monarchies, Scandinavia is a success area for monarchy.
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Holland moved from republican forms - though not exactly democratic ones - to monarchy after the Napoleonic wars. This helped hold together the culturally and even linguistically distinct groups of the United Provinces, but they had been doing fairly well as a republic; the monarchy was mainly a matter of staying in step with European developments - by that stage everyone was fairly cynical about republics, as they had seen a generation of bloody war and exploitation of conquered peoples from that cause. Still, monarchy added nothing positive to Holland; it could not even bring together the rest of the Netherlands that was culturally too far separate. On the other hand, constitutional monarchy has worked and not harmed the Dutch; their republic suffered from letting one class oppress another, while monarchy gradually diminished that. (Not that all the Dutch hold their monarchy in high esteem: it is not known as a bicycle monarchy for nothing, and I once heard of a Dutch girl who had a pet rat called Juliana.)
On the other hand, these oppressive traits did not entirely vanish from the Dutch character and continued to express themselves abroad in such places as the Boer Republics and the Dutch East Indies (now more or less Indonesia, give or take a Timor or two). It is fair to say that the Dutch proper, since colonialism ended, have changed; but all this left its mark and I specially mention it because both these successor states are significant for Australia.
Let us consider Indonesia. Apart from a brief interlude under the British - the same interlude that became permanent for South Africa - the Dutch gradually moved into a great many different countries in the one general area of the East Indies. As they went they tended to unify the area, partly as a reaction against them, partly as an administrative convenience (divide and rule was not so necessary in an island region when the Dutch controlled the sea, and when there were so many divisions anyway), partly through trampling over instead of respecting distinctions and partly through using puppet rulers who, as a consequence, were able to make greater inroads into the tribal areas that they had previously only claimed. "Mesok Melayu" is the Malay cultural analogue of the old expression "turn Turk". (One example of the Dutch blurring distinctions was their considering neighbouring Sarawak as part of the British Empire, when it was actually an anomaly closely associated with the British. This was not usually an important distinction, but the point is that the Dutch ignored it consistently.)
Indonesia gained independence after the second world war, in a manner largely determined by American pressure - that is, this pressure affected both the transition to independence and the entity that was achieved. Now, since independence, Indonesia exists as one entity and carefully blurs any of these distinctions; it is vital for Indonesia's continued existence as one whole. East Timor is not just one place, it is merely the most recent and least assimilated of many colonial legacies. To exist at all, Indonesia has to fight any tendency on the part of these pre-existing units to separate, and this naturally translates into a requirement to attempt to assimilate any parts that seem to belong but have not been absorbed - not just East Timor and Irian Jaya, but also (during the confrontation) Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak. If it does not do this, that gives a standing invitation to secede to other entities, such as the South Moluccas; Indonesia had little choice but to invade East Timor, although it is a shame that they are using the methods of the Dutch in the police actions.
Whatever, Indonesia is not a successful republic, both because it has not been around long enough and because it is faced with this constant struggle to suppress its undigested lumps, indeed to keep their existence from being noticed. It is not completely succeeding. The inheritors of power are a ruling elite, paradoxically largely derived from Dutch colonial influences in previous generations, and in a fair way to becoming a distinct class (highly reminiscent of the old Dutch habits, and often Christian in a predominantly Muslim area). It has certainly experienced military dictatorship and serious periods of disruption.
Holland is a successful monarchy and Indonesia may yet become a successful republic - but it has several things working against it.
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These also offer examples of puppet monarchies under colonialism, but there is obviously more to them than was the case in Egypt, and they still survive as monarchies today. They should be considered together because they illustrate what happens when an independent monarchy goes through a period of puppet existence and then brings the country out of foreign domination to a renewed independence. They are also examples of non-European models of monarchy.
Morocco had a long and distinguished history as the western outpost of Islam holding out against Spanish expansion, and by the nineteenth century its ruling dynasty was becoming decadent. Still, it held together Berber and Arab groups, and when the French began to take effective control of the area, they did it through gradually making the Sultan into a puppet ruler and removing his most effective and remunerative powers - the customs were handed over to a French syndicate. This was not a purely one-sided arrangement; the French had to recognise the interests of other powers in the area, so the northern part of Morocco became a Spanish protectorate and Tangier came under international administration as a free port. France gained a protectorate over most of Morocco, and ruled through local intermediaries. Unlike countries taken over by the British, where the natural assumption was that kings and local rulers were right and proper, countries taken over by the French had different fates. The French as republicans themselves had no such prejudices; they only worked through locals when this really was convenient, and had no compunction about eliminating these puppet rulers. In particular, as well as the Sultan they also supported powerful local aristocrats who the Sultan had been trying to control; these people gained more power, but the French could and did drop them without hesitation. This also led the French, like the Dutch in Indonesia, to ignore grass-roots distinctions and the aristocracy was able to consolidate its authority at a local level; paradoxically the long-term result was a greater penetration of Muslim forms, not of European ones, once the French left. The fact that the French continued to work through the Sultan demonstrates his genuine, near-religious, position in the hearts of Moroccans. The dynasty outlasted the French and the aristocrats like El Glaoui; it rules now. Morocco emerged fundamentally unscathed from colonial domination, through the effect of monarchy in uniting the country.
Most of Borneo, with part of what is now the Philippines, was once a mighty kingdom. Today all that is left is Brunei. But that little is still left, and in between it had to weather the erosion first of great colonial powers and then the consolidating impulses of an emergent Indonesia.
By the early nineteenth century Brunei was decadent and declining, essentially confined to the northern coast of the island of Borneo, controlling the interior as far as the mountains by controlling forts at strategic points on the rivers. Many of these forts were no longer under the Sultan's control, and the whole area became a nest of pirates. A British ex- officer, James Brooke, moved in and restored order at the south-western end around Kuching with the assistance of British naval forces in the area; the Sultan conceded this area to Brooke and he became Rajah of Sarawak, recognised by the British. Throughout the nineteenth century and even into the twentieth, the Sultans conceded river system after river system to the Brooke dynasty of Sarawak; what they had going for them, apart from being less decadent, was British support as they were a civilising influence and their consequent ability to penetrate and take effective control of the interior. From the British point of view, the Brookes were not so much part of the British Empire as a separate power within the British sphere of influence, and so reliable that no further steps need be taken and - more importantly - no financial commitments need be incurred by the home treasury. Colonies were always cost centres, to be avoided if lesser measures such as protectorates would serve. During this process of retreat, Brunei became a British protectorate, which is to say a puppet state.
Beyond Brunei to the north-east, the British North Borneo company acquired Sabah from Brunei and by the inter-war period Brunei had shrunk to a geographical rump. In an attempt to stave off what looked inevitable, the Sultans had done what Byzantium had done in the face of the Turks; it had made strategic retreats to buy time at the expense of area. However, this time turned out useful: after the second world war, the British twisted the Brookes' arms and finally brought Sarawak within the British Empire so that, together with Sabah and the Federated Malay States, the British could create Malaysia on independence. Brunei remained, diplomatically resisted assimilation with Malaysia and resisted assimilation with Indonesia with British military help. Finally, it ceased nominally to be a protectorate, although in practice it still is; it is certainly not "viable", the excuse the British are using to hand Hong Kong over to China rather than giving it independence. The monarchy survives and works, being a modified despotism; it is probably fair to call it a constitutional monarchy, although it is hard to call it a success as a state. Monarchy certainly worked to preserve an identity beyond colonialism, but the hard part is to distinguish any national identity from the general background of Malay culture.
In both cases monarchy worked to preserve a national identity; however in one that identity itself is not clearly national, and the country has not obviously been kept a going concern. Call them one success and one partial failure.
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Colonialism was never a European scheme to oppress the rest of the world; rather it was a reaction to circumstances. If anything, colonialism in East Africa was a reaction to the oppression of Africans by Arab slavers, and the takeover of Muscat, Oman and Zanzibar was an attempt to stop the oppression of the Africans by a different non-European group. These three places should be considered together because they formed one empire of their own, ruled by the Sultan of Muscat. When the British set up a protectorate - read, puppet kingdom - a century ago, they forcibly split Zanzibar off under a different member of the ruling house and their histories diverged. These are more examples of non-European monarchies.
Zanzibar survived in an impoverished and tranquil way until independence, when the people of the mainland annexed it; Tanganyika and Zanzibar were combined as one country, Tanzania. This annexation was not a simple invasion once outside restraints were removed, the way the annexation of Timor was; rather, almost the moment the British protectorate lifted the ruling Arabs were overthrown in a bloody revolution by the black population, rather like the French Revolution, and the Arabs (and Parsees) began to be oppressed in their turn. The annexation by Tanganyika was partly an attempt to moderate this, partly an attempt to reinstate a protectorate without the stigma of colonialism since independence clearly hadn't worked. These days the Arabs and Parsees are still being oppressed, but less bloodily and more discreetly; it is worse for the Parsees, as they have fewer places to go. The monarchy in Zanzibar was of too artificial a creation, and this is a clear failure for monarchy.
Muscat and Oman survived as a protectorate until very recently, and still exists with some degree of independence. Muscat had used Baluchi mercenaries to hold down the hinterland of Oman, and the practice continued; the monarchy did not enjoy popular support, existing in the way it did only because of the strategic position of Muscat dominating the Straits of Hormuz at the entrance to the Persian Gulf. During the twenties the British had to prop up the Sultan with battalions from the Indian Army, and during the sixties a similar role was played by units of the British Army and the Shah of Iran's forces. By the seventies things had got too difficult, especially as the Sultan was not implementing the sort of "hearts and minds" reforms that would have made it easier to put down guerilla resistance to him, so the British engineered his removal with the aid of the S.A.S. and replaced him with his son who is ruling today. It is still a strategically important area, so it is difficult to say if the Sultan is ruling more through his own authority or through outside support; but we can certainly say monarchy here was never a success on its own account before. (During the recent gulf war, western intelligence was more concerned by the risk of pro-Iraqi uprisings in southern Saudi Arabia and North Yemen - "Arabia Felix" - than any trouble in Oman, and western media went to some trouble to present the Sultan of Oman in a favourable light, showing his birthday celebrations on TV and so on; presumably they felt things were well under control.)
These monarchies look like failures, one definite and one probable; but it is only fair to say that states in these particular parts of the world have never been given a chance by outsiders. Deservedly so, when they indulged in the slave trade.
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Three more non-European monarchies, considered together because they are neighbours; now, of course, only Jordan is a monarchy. Their similarities and their differences provide an interesting contrast.
Iran's modern history may be considered to have started just before the first world war. It was going the same way as Morocco with a dynasty in decadence and outside powers contending for influence. At the start of the first world war the British had the South Persian Rifles formed in the south to protect their oil interests, and the Czarist Russians had the North Persian Cossacks controlling a large area of the north, especially a road system they were building to penetrate and open up the interior from the northern frontier and the Caspian Sea. The Russian ambitions were for territorial expansion and a warm water port, while the British ambitions were defensive. Both of these forces were nominally under the Shah's authority, but things looked set fair for a partition along Moroccan lines with the British getting the smaller part; presumably Russia would have assimilated its part rather than continuing with a protectorate. Anyhow, the first world war supervened before the Shah's rule was overthrown, and Czarist control ended with the Russian Revolution. This left the North Persian Cossacks in place as the only strong and disciplined force in Iran, nominally owing loyalty to the Shah but in practice owing no loyalties whatsoever. Pahlavi was a senior officer in this force, and he used his position to oust the previous Qajar dynasty and install himself as the first Shah of his own dynasty, Reza Shah Pahlavi.
There are two points to note in the story to this stage. Firstly, the existence of the Iranian monarchy under the previous dynasty had preserved Iran from Russian encroachment by buying time, and as with Morocco it had outlasted the foreign threat. Secondly, when the previous dynasty was overthrown and Pahlavi took over, it was not as a British puppet. British influence was still in place, true, and dominated the next two generations of Iranian history, but this particular development had nothing to do with the British.
When the second world war occurred, the Shah was restive under British hegemony and intrigued with the Germans; British influence had increased by then, partly because the oil resources were so much more strategic. The Shah thought that the British had their hands full and he would get away with it; however the area was very important and the British were juggling eggs, and they removed the Shah. [A digression for Australians: certain elements of Australian political life like to point out a number of occasions about this time when the British dropped some of these eggs and Australians got hurt. In point of fact, Britain juggled most of these eggs successfully.] After the war the dynasty continued under his son Mohammed Reza Shah, who was the late Shah who was recently overthrown. The dynasty was by that stage propped up by the British, and severely compromised in the eyes of the Iranians; the Shah was pushed out in the fifties and restored by the Americans with the C.I.A.
There are again two points worthy of notice about this restoration. Firstly, the U.S.A. was acting uncharacteristically pragmatically in favour of monarchy, in other words listening to their men on the ground. This episode redounded greatly to the credit of the C.I.A., who were unhappily entrusted with a great many responsibilities in the sixties at a time when they were running far more on their own self-generated American prejudices. Secondly, in Iranian eyes nearly everything could be blamed on the British by then, as they had seen decades of British manipulation; the Iranians could not believe that the British were not involved in this round of manipulation. In point of fact, the British had a pretender from the previous dynasty in reserve they could have restored, and using the Pahlavis was almost entirely an American plot.
After that the Shah gradually rebuilt his position in Iran with things like the "White Revolution" and such artificial democratic developments as "Iran Novon", but his position was never totally secure. When the U.S.A. stopped its pragmatic support of the monarchy and reverted to its usual prejudice in favour of republics, Iran had a revolution and the Shah was replaced by the Islamic Republic we know and love today.
The monarchy clearly failed, but the republic which replaced it cannot be called a success either, both because it has not lasted long enough to tell and because many consider it bad in itself.
Iraq had a different experience of transition to a republic. Before the first world war it had been three Turkish Pashaliks - Mosul, Baghdad, and Basra - and British influence had been confined to such things as securing the independence of Kuwait as a protectorate; its interests were limited to maintaining communications with India and, later, securing the oil resources. (There was one inadvertent piece of meddling; in a nineteenth century attempt to prevent massacres of Christians in the European Pashaliks, Disraeli pressured the Turks to agree to one Christian Pasha. They agreed to this, but they fooled him; they made an emigre Russian Pasha of Mosul, well away from the area where Christians were being massacred at the time.) As part of the peace treaties after the first world war, and because they couldn't deliver Arabia after all (the Saudis had conquered it), the British gave the Hashemite clan control over two new kingdoms, one for each of two branches of the family. Iraq was one of these new kingdoms, and it was something of an artificial creation since it was made up of these three Pashaliks with different ethnic, religious and agricultural backgrounds. However, it was Arab enough to hold together.
During the second world war, Iraqi politicians such as Rashid Ali tried the same sort of thing as the Shah, intriguing with the Germans to overthrow British control. Iraq not only had significance for oil, but as a strategic link on the way to India and the Far East; the British had to treat this as an egg to juggle even more than Iran (that was not a link to anywhere important before the U.S.S.R. entered the war) and they didn't drop this one either; this was another arena where Australians contributed. [Another digression: since Iraq was a vital link on the way to Australia, it ill becomes any Australian to belittle this contribution. Maybe Singapore fell, but another British outpost was saved: Habaniyeh, in northern Iraq, and I venture to think that was of more importance to Australia. The fall of Singapore brought the enemy closer, but the fall of Habaniyeh would have brought the enemy in Australia's rear. End of digression.]
After the war British prestige in the area reached a high with the Baghdad Pact, but declined abruptly with Suez. When that happened the ruling dynasty was imperilled, but it thought it had procedures in place to defend itself, keeping the Army disarmed when in the capital and keeping the royal family from ever being in one place at the same time. They were wrong. The Army used weapons from the Police to stage a coup, after contriving to have all the royal family together in Baghdad where they could be killed. [I recall our Armenian nanny telling us that the ringleader had been the Prime Minister, and that he had surprised the king and cut off his head himself with a huge sword. This story may not be entirely accurate.] Power has been exercised largely by the Baathists since then, using republican forms and culminating in the presidency of Saddam Hussein with whom we are all familiar; the last phase of this, too, was largely a creation of American intervention, one which they probably regret if they ever think it might have anything to do with them.
We can make the same judgment on Iraq as on Iran, word for word: "the monarchy clearly failed, but the republic which replaced it cannot be called a success either, both because it has not lasted long enough to tell and because many consider it bad in itself".
Transjordan - now Jordan - is the third of these monarchies. It was the other monarchy set up for the Hashemites, less rich and populous than Iraq. It has continued to this day, and this success is largely attributable to the statesmanship of one man, the present king, King Hussein. Its most noticeable post-war feature has been its continuing relationship with the state of Israel, both directly and indirectly through having to live with the Palestinian problem. Israelis are fond of saying "there is already a Palestinian state, Jordan"; they deceive themselves. All this has made Jordan's survival as a state remarkable, let alone its survival as a monarchy. Without the Palestinians it is a far more unitary state, but even with them it is plain that the monarchy has helped Jordan to continue; of course, this was partly because of the decisive action Hussein took in expelling the more prominent terrorist elements that would otherwise have taken over the state.
Nor was this the first time Hussein had taken decisive action in asserting Jordanian independence. Transjordan had been a British protectorate, with a British officer known as Glubb Pasha effectively running it through a British-organised force, the Arab Legion. Glubb Pasha took on this role before the second world war and continued it until the fifties. In the aftermath of the creation of Israel the then king was assassinated and died almost in the arms of his young grandson Hussein, who succeeded him. Hussein held the country together as a puppet king until the mid-fifties, when he took over direct control and expelled Glubb Pasha; British domination was at an end.
Jordan appears to be a success; however, it is very much the success of one man rather than of constitutional monarchy, and it is not old enough to be sure that it will endure without that one man. As with Brazil we can say that monarchy has served Jordan well, but we cannot come right out and call it a success.
Taken all in all, we have two failed monarchies which have made the transition to what may be even worse republics, and one partially successful monarchy. It may be unfair to condemn the republics: they only stand condemned by outside standards, and it is fairly certain that both the Iranians and the Iraqis like what they now have. This does provide a useful lesson against what may be called unthinking republicanism, the sort Americans apply without regard to circumstances: if you apply one set of standards across the board, one size fits all, you may well find something like this happens. If you sincerely believe republics are always good regardless, you shouldn't complain if you don't like the result. Here it happened twice, so it cannot be brushed off as a coincidence.
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What these two countries have in common is that they are both former monarchies (or at any rate principalities) that were casually destabilised and overthrown by the U.S.A. a generation ago, with very obviously great harm to their peoples and ambiguous results for the U.S.A.
Afghanistan split off from Iran some two centuries ago, and since then it has had its major impact on history as a buffer state between Russia and India. The British tried to make a puppet state out of it but failed; it can be said unequivocally that the Afghans achieved their own monarchy and did not have it thrust upon them (although that is not necessarily the case for the various minorities in the area). By this century Afghanistan had achieved a status as a buffer state, with borders chosen for the convenience of Russia and the U.K. rather than Afghanistan, but it was a real and independent state. Matters continued with no major change until it got dragged in to the American drug problem; the U.S.A. believed that the monarchy was dragging its heels over the issue - it may have been an incident involving Timothy Leary of LSD fame that decided them - and since they did not respect monarchy they overthrew it in favour of a republic fronted by a strong man. It turned out that the lack of results in the drug area had not been a lack of will after all; centralised power simply could not achieve the desired results, and the republic was even weaker. It staggered from bad to worse, fell under Soviet influence because the U.S.A. no longer had the moral high ground to forbid outside intervention, and then the pro-Soviet government was not enough for the U.S.S.R., and they invaded to install their own puppet government. (There is a school of thought that the invasion was not Soviet policy but a bureaucratic cock-up due to an over-reaction by an underling. According to this theory, the underling thought he was being disobeyed and called in the troops; everything escalated and the entire U.S.S.R. was committed to go in, just to save face.) Now the music has stopped and some form of independent Afghanistan seems to be re-emerging.
The monarchy ended, but we cannot call it a failure; it lasted a long time, and it was deliberately destroyed by outside forces. The republic that replaced it was a definite failure. The U.S.A. seems to have ended up with a favourable result, although a completely unintended one - they completely failed in what they intended.
Cambodia under Prince Sihanouk and his predecessors had followed the usual pattern of preserving Cambodian identity as a puppet principality, luckily still being in place when the colonial power, France, withdrew. As before, any puppet ruler under the French had to be genuine because they had no prejudice in favour of monarchy. All was well with Cambodia, and might have continued so, only the U.S.A. was botching its defence of Indochina against communism; it wanted to drag the Cambodians in, and found Sihanouk's neutralism unacceptable. The fact that it was the best thing for the Cambodians did not count. The U.S.A. did the same thing as in Afghanistan, destabilising the principality for a republic under a strong man, and as usual it achieved nothing useful - certainly nothing useful for the Cambodians. The dust has not settled even now, and there has been massive disruption and painful suffering in Cambodia ever since. As I write, the royalist party is enjoying considerable success in Cambodia.
We can end with almost the identical comment: "The monarchy ended, but we cannot call it a failure; it lasted a long time, and it was deliberately destroyed by outside forces. The republic that replaced it was a definite failure." This time, the result was definitely harmful for the U.S.A.
Here we have two successful monarchies, both destroyed by outsiders and replaced by abysmal failures of republics. What these two results show is similar to the results for Iraq and Iran, in that the U.S.A. created something unpleasant when it only did what it thought right; the difference here is that the people who received this gift did not like it, while the first pair of countries did. It won't do to blame special circumstances - those who overthrew the old order couldn't have taken account of those circumstances or they wouldn't have used a standard scheme.
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On Indian independence three himalayan kingdoms were left independent, as they had been by the British: Nepal, Sikkim and Bhutan. These were the only ones left in an area that had once been "noisy with kingdoms". They had been protectorates, but not so much to make them puppet states like the native states of India under the British Raj; rather, they were buffer states against China to the north. Theirs was a more real independence, since they were caught between two strong powers - and before you laugh at the idea of China being strong then, consider that in the 1840s it had successfully launched an expedition to subdue part of central Asia before the Russians could, a whole two years journey from Peking; the himalayan kingdoms were just as vulnerable to China, so much so that they sent tribute; after the fall of the Chinese Empire early this century an expedition arrived bearing tribute from one of the himalayan kingdoms after a two years journey. These kingdoms represent yet another model of monarchy.
India annexed Sikkim a generation ago, after a referendum giving a 97% majority; this looks convincing, except that this is precisely the sort of question the methods of democracy have trouble with. What proportion of the population had been forced to migrate through poverty? what proportion of Indian or Indian-educated professionals had arrived to replace them? is that fair or unfair? It is always more objectively accurate to determine the right or wrong of these things by other means. In this case, it is probably fair to say that Sikkim has no reason to complain; it was that or China, and the ruling family was not preserving Sikkimese traditions (the last king married an American tourist, for instance). This was a monarchy that failed.
In Nepal, the king overturned a democratic form of constitutional monarchy a generation ago, and attempted to replace it with a non-Westminster style approach that avoided political parties. This had both good and bad to it. The good was, that the parties definitely were mischievous and, worse, there were reasonable grounds for suspecting that they represented a stalking horse for Indian encroachment after the fashion of the Nazis in Austria and the Sudetenland (not that wicked, of course, just using the same tactics). The bad side of it was that this was the identical rationale for Fascism in tidying up party politics, with the same evil consequences, and the king's invented political system had no more chance of imposing democracy from above than the Shah of Iran had with Iran Novon. After recent protests a more constitutional monarchy has been attained, presumably now that Nepal has had the example of Indian practices for one further generation. Unfortunately, it has not only had the example, but also a certain degree of immigration which clouds the issue and is hard to quantify (public servants and such). The trouble is, this does not resolve the old worries and it is not completely certain how representative those protests were; my personal feeling is that they were genuine in their result, but partly Indian-inspired and omitting the views of more remote areas with more old-fashioned views. That is, I suspect India deliberately or accidentally affected the result of the experiment, so to speak, but not in any significant way. This is a monarchy that has succeeded, but it remains uncertain whether that will last.
Bhutan faces similar risks of being absorbed by India, only in this case it faces a risk of losing its own identity because of immigration by Nepalese as well as Indians. Whether that is good or bad is again impossible to say, but it is possible to say that if things are allowed to slide it will lose its identity, and monarchy is one of the means by which that identity may be preserved. Again, this is a monarchy that has succeeded, but it remains uncertain whether that will last.
Here we have two monarchies that succeeded but are doubtful, and one that definitely failed. The only question at issue is how artificial the problems are. These do not appear to have been inspired by the U.S.A., but there is a possibility of Indian involvement.
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India was a country ruled by the British, and by the end of the second world war pressure for independence had become too great to be resisted. There are some misconceptions in that that should be cleared away before we continue. Firstly, it was not a country but "a geographical expression, like the equator". (Of course, the man who first said that meant to emphasise it in order to obscure the real if diverse aspirations and common interests of the Indians, trying to hijack discussion by selective omission. No Australian politician could ever be so intellectually dishonest.) Secondly, it was not ruled by the British, just dominated by the U.K. - there were five non-Indian powers ruling territory in the subcontinent at independence, and about a third of India was made up of native states with a real independence of the limited sort enjoyed by puppet states. Thirdly, while pressure for independence had indeed become too great, some of this pressure was from the U.S.A. and some from within the U.K., and this influenced the particular shape Indian destiny took immediately after independence - rather like that which shaped Indonesia, only in a milder form.
Independence itself showed the truth of the "geographical expression" description, because India the subcontinent could not form one country as India the sovereign state; Pakistan was formed and split off. Partition led to dislocation of populations - ethnic cleansing is no new thing - and violence was only kept to a minimum by a transitional British presence that had not been interrupted by defeat in war as in Indonesia and Indochina, and the able command of Mountbatten, the last Viceroy (somewhat analogous to Governor- General). The beneficial effect of Mountbatten's rule was not only due to his personal qualities but also to the prestige he enjoyed from his war reputation and his association with the British royal family. Both India and Pakistan eventually shed British ties and became republics, but even so neither has attained stability; it is worth following their progress since.
India started by annexing those native states that wished to go it alone, and which could indeed have turned their puppet state status into real independence. In particular, Hyderabad was invaded after a propaganda and infiltration campaign unpleasantly reminiscent of Nazi tactics in the Sudetenland; and Kashmir was invaded after a difference of opinion between monarch and people over the three options of independence, accession to Pakistan and accession to India. The disagreement continues to this day in a lower key way, but with added Chinese complications. As far as these native states are concerned, some people have tried to rubbish British rule by pointing out how the native states were better off and happier on the whole; they are implicitly suggesting that these states had some legitimacy, which in turn implies that it was wrong to annex them - Hyderabad may have been the only major one to put up a fight, but to suggest that that meant the others acceded freely would be to accept an argument that would justify many rapes. However, we need not read that much into it; the reason the British areas were the more troublesome was that the British preferred not to take over responsibility, and were only urged into it in the more troublesome areas against their will. In point of fact, these states - even those of considerable antiquity - were only emerging or re-emerging gradually in the same power vacuum after the collapse of the Mogul Empire that had allowed and compelled the existence of the British Raj; they lacked sovereignty, a matter that the British went to some pains to emphasise in such protocol points as only allowing rulers to be called "His Highness" and never "His Royal Highness". Any description of these rulers as "royal" is either journalistic sloppiness or latter-day pretentiousness gaining belated acceptance. (This is not an attempt to justify past imperialism; if we don't allow latitude on this point, not only are Indian tactics reminiscent of Nazi ones, they are morally on a par with them. In point of fact, to read misbehaviour into Indian actions is to apply western concepts like "hypocrisy" where Indian ones like "Maya" are more appropriate - cultural imperialism at its worst.)
Of the five non-Indian powers - the U.K., France, Denmark, Portugal and Oman - all of them except Portugal handed over their possessions or were bought out (the Omani possession passing to Pakistan). India used the same approach of infiltration, subversion and outright invasion in Portuguese Goa; you can still sometimes find Goan ship's stewards who speak wistfully of the old days and wish they had never gone, and it was rather sneaky of India to host a Commonwealth Conference in Goa so obtaining other countries' implicit recognition of Indian sovereignty there. However, on the whole, annexation was probably justified as in Sikkim. The only problem is, it was rather a bad example to set for Indonesia over Portuguese Timor.
There has never yet been a serious threat of a military coup in India; an Indian General once gave a remarkably frank TV interview in which he admitted that India was both too large and too diverse for the military to be able to run directly; not only would they need public servants, but they also need the politicians as an intermediary buffer layer - so the military could not afford to overthrow civilian government.
All seemed to going well for the Indian republic until recently, when massive religious disruptions came through again with the Sikhs and Hindu- Muslim clashes. It is just as well we are applying a several generation test for success, as India now appears to be a failure. Its constituent kingdoms might have become successes, but we will never know.
Pakistan shared the same legacy from imperialism, and its experience was only different in being less stable. It experienced military coups - several of them - presumably because, unlike India, it was considered small and integral enough for military rule to be workable. This was at best only partly true, because East and West Pakistan split up and most military governments found it such hard work that they tried to hand back power to civilian governments - preferably ones that shared similar views to the military. Again, a republic and a failure.
These are two more failed republics to add to the list, but this time there has been no apparent significant involvement since independence on the part of the U.S.A.
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These three countries should be considered together not only because of superficial geographical connections but also because they shared certain cultural links - in particular, a model of monarchy with an emperor at the top. This was greatly varied by adaptation to local circumstances, and was even found in various units that did not survive colonialism (Cochin, Annam, Tonkin), but in essence they all derived from China.
In China the monarchy became decadent and fell early this century. It was not replaced smoothly by a republic; first of all, there was pressure from western-influenced intellectuals in favour of a republic, but on the other hand military power remained with surviving elements of the Chinese Army that no longer owed any loyalty to an established authority. General Yuan supervised a constitutional convention that had been briefed to create a republic, but things developed in such a way as to cause deadlock. One theory is that this was deliberate, to give the reformers enough rope to discredit themselves and then allow Yuan the chance to step forward as a new emperor of a new dynasty, claiming that only the old ways had shown themselves to be workable. Yuan died, so it never happened. What did happen was worse. Without central control the military fragmented even further, and what with alliances with brigands and such, local warlords emerged with no single one the strongest; eventually the reformers organised themselves as a Nationalist government based at Canton, and set about re-establishing a single effective government for all China. It didn't help that foreign powers enjoyed sovereignty over various key points which they were willing and able to back up with force, an arrangement dating back to the previous century. It also didn't help that Woodrow Wilson, then president of the U.S.A., exercised his authority to cut off supplies to all the warlords and allow them to the Nationalists; he was acting on the assumption that the Nationalists were democratic and therefore legitimate, a prejudice reinforced by the reporting back of Methodist missionaries. This assumption was only valid in western terms, and did not correspond to the realities of Chinese culture; the effect was to deny additional military resources to warlords who were already strong, and give them to a group of dubious authority that happened to be weak. [A digression: Woodrow Wilson didn't know any better, but on the one hand he wasn't being paid for not knowing any better, and on the other he didn't learn from this experience; he applied the same set of standards out of context in framing his objectives in the Versailles peace negotiations after the first world war.] The result was a generation of civil war with the warlords, which merged with war with communists who had a similar level of justification for their existence as the Nationalists did, and then with war with Japan. The fog of war obscured everything and, except for a few Nationalist outposts, the communists won in a final phase of the civil war after the end of the second world war. Then came the cold war, and such things as Tiananmen Square when that ended. It does seem that China does have a republic - in fact, two - and that these will last in some form or other; but this is not a success for a republic.
Japan entered modern history after it was opened up by the U.S.A. last century; but if it had not been them it would have been someone else. In Japan the emperor only ruled nominally, because the existing social system was based on a clan system where each clan had retainers and ruled particular isolated productive areas. This was enough like the mediaeval Scottish situation that one of the few points of cultural contact the Japanese have with the west is an appreciation of the play Macbeth; this is paradoxical because modern history has moved us so far away from that world that we often miss many of its subtleties ourselves. Soon after Japan was opened up there was the Meiji restoration; a general feeling that the de facto clan rulers of Japan had let Japan down, and a rise of support for the respected if nominal authority of the emperor, led to the overthrow of the de facto rulers and a restoration of real imperial power. Over the decades until the end of the second world war Japanese society modernised and industrialised, and some degree of de facto rule returned, this time in the form of Army and Navy groups. After the first world war American failure to understand Japanese requirements, and British following an American lead because their arms were being twisted, led to a naval treaty that discredited the Naval faction. The Army faction was less sophisticated, had less understanding of westerners, and was more inclined towards direct forms of aggression; Japan started a more military phase of expansion which led inevitably to the Pacific war and Japanese defeat. This ended with Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and a new constitution imposed on Japan by MacArthur.
It is also worth noting that the Japanese "empire system" did not lead to comfortable absorption of Korea, Formosa (both under Japanese rule for two generations or so) or even Okinawa - an island that has been under Japanese rule for centuries. It is not fair to comment on the status of the Japanese underclass; on the one hand it is no trouble even though it is oppressed, but on the other it is unclear whether this has anything to do with the monarchy.
It is worth stopping at this point for a review. While there was certainly malice involved, mutual misunderstanding played a far larger part in leading to the Pacific war. This misunderstanding continues, so while I cannot claim any but the skimpiest insight into the Japanese character, I feel justified in commenting on the one or two points I do know about.
Firstly, the war did not end because Hiroshima was the biggest and most horrific raid of the war - Tokyo and Dresden were probably worse. It did not even end because it was the biggest man-made explosion there had ever been - Heligoland had been bigger. It ended because Hiroshima equated to Kagashima. During the previous century a Samurai had killed a British tourist for insolence, and quite naturally the British sent a gunboat to the area; it practically wiped Kagashima off the face of the map. Where modern thinking might find that tactless to say the least, the Japanese reaction was respect for the British; it was just exactly what anyone respectable would have done, if insulted the way that Samurai had insulted the British. Also, the treatment was obviously capable of being repeated indefinitely. Far from harming Japanese-British relations, it improved them - an effect which lasted until the British were visibly forced to take a subordinate position to the U.S.A. in the matter of the naval treaty.
Secondly, while the Japanese accepted their new constitution which made Hirohito a secular figure without any pretensions to divine authority, he immediately subverted this by getting permission to worship at the shrine of his ancestors and paying respects to the king of heaven instead; a code message lost on the American occupation authorities but immediately understood by every Japanese beyond infancy as meaning "but I am descended from the supreme deity after all". Some Americans are aware of this now, but they choose to overlook it.
Thirdly, Japan today has been through many strange experiences since then; we cannot be sure how many of these hard-learned lessons apply in precisely the same way these days. Almost certainly they do apply, but in a warped and patchy way; a Japanese who reacted in this half-western, half- eastern way would be dangerously unpredictable - he might even react even more strongly than a predictably dangerous old-fashioned Japanese, being impelled by half-understood traditions but unconstrained by old inhibitions (cf Yukio Mishima). There is no easy way of knowing, for instance, if a Japanese would respect Australia for throwing off ties with Britain or despise Australia for abandoning a form of government that they can respect. Well, there is one way to find out, the hard way.
Given all this, we cannot say that the monarchy Japan has now is successful; it has not been around long enough to settle down, and there are good reasons for believing it is very different from what anyone intended. The one before - the one destroyed by outside defeat in the second world war - was probably a success.
The Korean monarchy was overthrown by Japan a century ago, after a period of decline in which Russia and Japan both contended for it; Russia lost early this century, and Japan set up a system of government called a directorate- general (and, later, a puppet state in neighbouring Manchuria). After the war there was nothing in place to attach independence to, and Korea had been effectively partitioned by American and Soviet occupation forces, so a republic never had a chance; the cold war and a bout of hot war created North and South Korea, a situation which continues to this day. Not a successful republic, but we cannot attribute this to the republic itself.
Here we see several failed republics and a doubtfully successful monarchy; however the original forms of Chinese-style monarchy are eminently successful in their own terms - it is just that we would probably not like them.
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At the mid-point of the Napoleonic wars the British mopped up a few overseas holdings of their enemies of the time, and they kept some of these after the peace treaties. One of those they kept was the Cape of Good Hope and its associated hinterland, an area that had been settled by the Dutch centuries before. These Dutch maintained their old identity and, rather than be assimilated, they retreated further into the interior during the course of the nineteenth century, leaving the British in control of coastal provinces such as the Cape and Natal. Their identity was being threatened from several directions: from the British; from the half-breed tribes ("Griquas") that had European technology and African numbers; from true Negro groups that they encountered for the first time; and from their own dissolving sense of Dutchness (the first man to describe himself as speaking Afrikaans was prosecuted for it, during the nineteenth century). They struggled and they survived, forming two Boer republics of the Transvaal and the Orange that were in those parts they could settle - mostly the high veldt where they could practise their own pattern of agriculture. They were preserving their own model of government; at the time they had separated from Holland the Dutch were still a republic. They fought off the Zulus and the British, and they tightened their own inwardness to avoid dissolving into the Griquas - which led to their present attitudes towards intermarriage.
Late in the nineteenth century, diamonds and gold were discovered; British imperialism attacked the Boers a second time, this time in force. Part of the excuse given was to prevent the Boers oppressing the natives; a true statement, but not the real reason. At this time the black population was of no real significance to world opinion. Part of the excuse was Boer discrimination against individual uitlanders - foreigners - who had been coming in to try to displace the locals and generally act like carpetbaggers. Behind a lot of this was the orchestration of Cecil Rhodes, who gave the British Empire an image of deliberate policy its creation had never really had. The second Boer war was a long and bloody struggle, but eventually the British won and - apart from a few bitter enders - the Boers surrendered. This was partly because a compromise of sorts was proposed: rather than force the Boers to accept the uitlanders, they accepted vereeniging - union - with the other provinces of South Africa, forming the Union of South Africa within the British Empire under King Edward VII. This has a great significance for Australian history: happening at the same time, the Union of South Africa and the Federation of Australia were models for each other; it was the high tide of the British Empire; and Australia participated in the struggle.
In practice the Boers were an underclass until the second world war, largely because their way of life was not suited to the modern world; the very reason they had had to resort to discrimination against the uitlanders in the first place. At about that time they got themselves together and transformed themselves into a group capable of holding its own against the British- descended whites, who declined in significance; however, British domination had been enough to get South Africa into the war on the British side in each world war. After the second world war, the last vestiges of British domination ended, and the stage was set for apartheid.
We generally think of apartheid as wicked; so it is, but things are a little more complicated than this. It is very unusual for people to set out deliberately to create something wicked; the more usual explanation is a combination of circumstances including human fallibility, and so it was here. It was plain to the social theorists of the day in South Africa that the Union had had trouble enough holding together two different lots of whites, who were in geographically distinct areas. It was becoming plain that South Africa had to come to some sort of arrangement that included the black, coloured, Indian and all other groups that were finding their place in modern society - the Boers themselves had only found that place in the twenties and thirties, and the Indians were right behind them. The Boers happened to be in a strong position in the late forties, they knew and understood themselves to be a distinct entity, and they feared assimilation which they had fought off in the previous century. However, they could no longer retreat geographically, because these new groups were everywhere in the same place as the Boers. They could have enforced a physical separation, but on the one hand that would have been very difficult to accomplish and on the other hand they were already being seduced into depending on an underclass; they wanted to have their cake and eat it, being separate from the blacks and others yet keeping their resources on tap. Apartheid was a genuine and indeed well-meaning attempt to have their cake and eat it, imposing an artificial as opposed to a geographical separation between the races and aiming to provide a separate but equal development. There were only two things really wrong with it: it never could work with the two lots of groups so mingled; and the system was being run by one of the factions it was intended to control. It was like putting the fox in charge of the chicken-coop; it would have tempted a saint, and the Afrikaners had all the moral tunnel vision of their origins. Anyone who condemns apartheid now - and we all should, not only in the light of our prejudices but also in the light of our observations - should also remember that it was designed as a solution to problems, namely conflict between races and the risk of extinction of whites as a group. Removing apartheid will not of itself remove those very real problems; rather it should be taken as a first step before addressing those problems. [The history of apartheid should remind Australia that good motives never stopped actions being harmful, so you cannot justify republicanism by the undoubted sincerity of republicans. The position in South Africa now has one other consequence for Australia: many South Africans may end up in Australia as refugees if the present situation explodes in violence and the whites are ethnically cleansed.]
During the last two generations South Africa unravelled its links with the outside world, as world opinion rejected the consequences of apartheid it could see all too plainly. The South Africans themselves did not see it, because they were too close to it and to accept it as a mistake would have been to admit to themselves the damage they had been causing. This is how South Africa ceased to be a constitutional monarchy and became a republic; when you are too close to what you are doing wrong, an outside point of reference can help; they abandoned that advantage. By its nature you never can tell when you are in that position; they had a lifebelt and they threw it away. The same might happen to Australia; we cannot call it impossible - after all, the South Africans framed much of the mechanics of their apartheid legislation on legislation for the control of aborigines that had been equally well-intended. In South Africa a constitutional monarchy had failed; but the republic that succeeded it was even worse. We have to call South Africa a republic and a failed one.
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It is not fair to consider the constitutional development of modern states without looking at some black African ones. Practically all of these are modern creations since independence, which rules them out on the grounds of recency, but there are some with enough history to put them in perspective. Curiously, these include large elements of monarchy. One feature all Africa shared is a degree of destabilisation caused by contact with the forerunners of the outside world, such as pirates and slavers. Sometimes this worked to break down existing structures, and sometimes it worked to reinforce one group at the expense of others. Either way, these processes were well advanced by the time Africa entered history as we know it, so we only get a distorted view of developments; in fact, this is largely what led colonialists to have a poor view of Africans - they only saw the Africans after one or two generations of disruption, and got the same sort of distorted impression that an African would have got of Europeans in the dark ages.
Ethiopia had already had a long history when it successfully defended its independence against the Italians a century ago; it was itself an empire, with disparate groups held together, some unwillingly, under a central monarchy and an aristocracy of one central group (this country with institutions of its own had racial prejudice based on degrees of blackness of skin colour; it is not peculiarly a white man's failing). Italy overwhelmed it in the thirties but not only had it not assimilated Ethiopia by the second world war, it had not even managed to obliterate the aristocracy and power structures. The Ethiopians were able to provide British forces under Ord Wingate with able help, and the British were able to defeat the Italians and hand power back to the emperor, Haile Selassie. Monarchy and aristocracy together had been able to keep the country's identity together, even in the face of distinct elements wanting to separate. After the war, former parts of the other Italian colonies were added to Ethiopia; the empire was not so well able to keep them aligned, especially Eritrea. Even so, matters did not disintegrate and major violence did not ensue - certainly there was less trouble than in, for example, Waco. During the sixties there was an uprising that was quelled simply by Haile Selassie appearing to the mob; they immediately prostrated themselves before him to a man. By the mid-seventies internal pressures had increased and the aristocracy was becoming an excessive burden on the peasants and the ethnically non-Ethiopian; the empire was overthrown. However, the republic that followed was even worse, did not unite the groups but instead exacerbated matters, and oppressed everybody in its search to root out the old aristocratic social structure. By the nineties it too had collapsed, with its president fleeing. Here the monarchy failed, but a republic has been even worse.
Uganda is a modern state, but within this central African country was a fairly well developed state which the first European explorers found: this was Buganda. The first missionaries found its king - the Kabaka - to be a vicious and bloodthirsty tyrant, and the area became so risky for foreigners that outside intervention of some sort became inevitable. (Another motive for intervention was keeping down the slave trade.) The two outside powers concerned in the area were Germany and the U.K., and the British set up a protectorate in their usual manner while the smaller adjacent kingdoms of Rwanda and Burundi became Belgian protectorates. However, the existing state was not fully developed and did not provide enough of a framework to support modernisation; the result was a mix of a protectorate over the kingdom and a colonial arrangement over the other tribes in the area. When independence arrived - after the failure of attempts to set up a federation in the region - the British thought that Uganda was the country with the most promising future, having good agricultural prospects, inhabitants who were well educated and familiar with modern political and agricultural methods, and a fairly stable constitutional arrangement. This arrangement in essence perpetuated the protectorate and colony division, with the Kabaka of Buganda co-existing with an elected government under the man who led Uganda to independence: Milton Obote. Obote promptly displaced these arrangements and eliminated the Kabaka, but in so doing he created the usual one African party state with no supporting institutions or traditions: he was in turn thrown out after a military coup by Idi Amin, and things went from bad to worse. When other African countries - in particular Tanzania - could no longer live with the disruption on their borders they invaded to throw out Amin and reinstate Obote, but stability was not restored: there has been trouble there ever since. This is a republic that grew out of a kingdom, but the kingdom failed to carry an identity successfully through a colonial period and was displaced by a republic that failed dismally. STOP PRESS: the Kabaka is back. Uganda has just restored Buganda.
Madagascar is not really African except by the accident of geography, any more than Australia is Asian. In fact, the Malagasy are as offended at being called "African" or "Negro" as someone of Scottish or Irish origin is at being called English, though they will similarly put up with it for the sake of communication. Madagascar has a non-African ecology, a not entirely African climate, a non-African agriculture and way of life, and inhabitants who did not originally come from Africa and who have a non-African language (they originally came from what is now Indonesia, although many years of separate development have brought in an admixture of individuals from the mainland). It is especially worth considering because of its geographical, cultural and ecological parallels with Australia and its historical parallels with Hawaii, which escapes this survey because occupation by the U.S.A. has not so far ended (so it never became an independent country for consideration here). All these things, plus comparative isolation from Arab slave raids, led to a different pattern in Madagascar from that in mainland Africa. By the time the Portuguese reached the area in the sixteenth century on their way to India, Arabs were only just reaching it in force; Spanish and Portuguese raids prevented the Arabs from ever establishing themselves, but the Portuguese could not establish themselves either in the face of fierce native resistance. The locals experienced regular contact with the outside world over the next two or three centuries, especially with pirates who set up bases and forts there. These pirates stayed on good terms with the locals - after all, they wanted their backs covered while they raided Europe's trade with India and the Far East - and gradually modern technology penetrated the interior. Guns, for instance.
Some groups were better than others at picking up these new methods, and by the time the modern world was ready to turn its attention to Madagascar, Madagascar was ready to receive it. The Hova or Imerina kingdom ruled most of Madagascar by the early nineteenth century, and claimed all of it. The French tried to set up small protectorates over independent tribes on the west coast, as a wedge to get in to the interior controlled by the Hovas; the French had already been thrown out of the east coast. Meanwhile, the British supported the Hovas, both as a civilising influence and as an independent state that did not need protecting and offset French ambitions in the region - British protectorates were not always stalking horses for imperialism, and the British were often quite willing to leave well enough alone.
There was one generation of interruption: a queen came to the throne who favoured the old ways and kept all foreigners out. However, she was not only acting as she thought proper; she was also expressing the genuine will of the people. It is worth quoting the text of the judgment expelling the foreigners, which was arrived at by the popular assembly: "You are accused of having wished to establish a republic, to liberate all slaves, and to establish equality without distinction of nobles. We drive you out of the land over which Ranavalo is ruler. It is not the Queen nor the chiefs, but we, the people, who do it." This leaves us with mixed feelings, because we deplore slavery and recognise that class structures usually cause trouble (but that is only in modern conditions), while we know that the French really were working towards overthrowing Madagascar, and we usually also deplore imperialism and colonialism. When we look at the issues on the ground like this, we see how they were hardly ever clear-cut. The British never returned as outside supporters, because by the time that queen died Madagascar was isolated diplomatically and French ambitions had increased.
During the second empire France attempted a more peaceful penetration, but while Madagascar was willing to have friendly relations it feared imperialist ambitions; Madagascar threw out the new French attempt. They were probably right to do this, because a generation later the French established a protectorate and then, in short order, abolished the monarchy and established a regular colony. It did this because the monarchy - queen and cabinet both - was actively resisting; it truly did represent the interests of the Malagasy (unless you take the view that France was right to take over the place). Just before the conquest the last queen wrote this plea: "That Madagascar may be allowed to remain a kingdom as God had created it. For my land is not a part of Europe, nor of Asia, nor of Africa, but an island of the sea, [does this remind you of anywhere?] and if left in peace and undisturbed, it will continue to advance in all that is good both in commerce and civilization."
Madagascar was not allowed to remain free. Neither was it allowed to join France in full equality as more of its population became fully educated in the thirties; so an independence movement started. After some disruption during the second world war (the British occupied it to stop Vichy allowing the Axis to take advantage of it, e.g. for Japanese submarines), Madagascar progressed steadily towards independence which it attained in the sixties, but in a very neo-colonialist form. At first, French and Malagasy citizens enjoyed considerable reciprocity, but this did not work out to the advantage of Madagascar: for instance, there was no scope for advancement of Malagasy professionals at home - at one stage practically all university lecturers were French. There was a mild series of military coups and re-establishment of the republic (after all, that had been good enough for the French), but internal social strains continue: it is one of the poorest yet most sophisticated third world countries, due to the lack of resources and the educational legacy. It is a republic and a failed one, and it was a successful kingdom once - it is recorded that under the first powerful king there was never any famine.
Here we have three countries that all started as kingdoms with strong aristocratic elements, which helped them stave off outside pressures, first of raids then of imperialism. In none of these did monarchy survive the stresses of colonialism then independence; two of these republics are definite failures while the third, Madagascar, is too young to tell (their latest republic, the third, has only just been established this year). In all cases the republics inherited at least some identity from the monarchies.
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One of the arguments raised in favour of a republic is that people - migrants - from other traditions find difficulty adjusting to a monarchy; and yet a monarchy, being less abstract, is actually one of the easier forms to adapt to. As a case in point, the most fervent monarchist I ever met was a Rumanian. I was then living in London, and I was walking home late one night along my usual route which took me past the back of Buckingham Palace at a point quite near Victoria Station, which is the main station for connections to the continent. There was a thin drizzle, and I saw a middle-aged man looking lost. Naturally enough, I asked if I could help, and it turned out that he was very lost indeed; he was a Rumanian, but we did have one language in common - his fluent German to my mangled German. It turned out that he had come all the way from Rumania to London to see the Queen, and he had with him a presentation set of silver jubilee coins to prove it, along with colour postcards of the Royal Family. He was completely broke, having spent his last few Fiorints or whatever on the trip, and I became rather more concerned for his wellbeing. I should have been even more concerned for the Queen's wellbeing, for this was shortly before Fagin broke in to her bedroom, and this somewhat disturbed Rumanian was quite capable of doing that; but of course I didn't know that it was practical to break into Buckingham Palace.
So we broke into the West German Embassy instead.
I didn't know where the Rumanian Embassy was, but I did know where the West German one was, so I led him along there on the excuse that there would be people there better able to understand him and help him. I knew they would understand him, but what I had in mind by "help" wasn't exactly help in seeing the Queen. By the time we got there the Embassy was shut, with great steel grills rolled up in front of the doors by electric motors. Well, there are quite a number of ways of getting past security if you know how, and the very first one I tried worked; thirty seconds later we were inside and I was confronting a startled security guard.
That was when our problems started. He was tall, and blond, and Aryan, and he wanted to do everything by the book. Rumanian? not his problem. So I escalated matters, and kept hanging around. I suggested to him and his colleague - for there were two of them by then - that they might, perhaps, like to telephone for help, the police perhaps or the Rumanian Embassy. They declined to use the telephone except on official embassy business. A third tall, male blond arrived and finally a petite, female blonde who took one look and told them not to be so silly - and they practically jumped to attention, which looked absolutely absurd. I telephoned the police who were rather reluctant to come round; the Rumanian Embassy was no longer answering its calls that late at night. The police suggested I dump the deranged Rumanian on the Y.W.C.A., and I had to explain rather tactfully that a middle-aged male with no English might not be too well received at midnight in a hostel for young ladies. Eventually the police came round from Cannon Row, and they spoke even worse German than I did. The West Germans wanted nothing to do with a Rumanian; not being one of theirs, the sooner they saw the back of him the better they would feel. No sooner did the police begin to enquire into his circumstances than this Rumanian pulled a fast one on us; he pulled out a West German passport and revealed that, although Rumanian, he had been an ethnic German all along. He was their responsibility after all. He could have said that in the first place, but I suppose that was too much to ask. At that point I left them, and for all I know they may still be there arguing over custody.
What is the point of all this? only that even a bloody foreigner can be a monarchist, and it is a form of inverse racism on the part of republicans to suppose otherwise. Mind you, I do have to concede that this particular bloody foreigner was off his nut.
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