AFTER THE WAR
The Peace of Brussels
When Napoleon I died, his successor, Napoleon II, was willing to make peace, provided that the crowned heads of Europe recognised the Bonaparte family as legitimate dynastic rulers of France. The original aims of the French Revolution had now completely disappeared from view.
The Peace of Brussels in 1842 re-established the status quo, with national borders virtually unchanged from the start of the war 50 years ago.
The Fifty Years War had brought rapid industrialisation to every country of Europe; factories burned immense amounts of coal, and no one considered the consequences of such unregulated pollution. Great Britain, which had seen no fighting on its own territory since 1807, escaped most of direct destruction of war, but large areas of the country were covered in a permanent blanket of dense smog.
Many areas were also reduced to uninhabitable wasteland by poisonous run-off from factories and foundries.
Prisoners, Workers, Returning Soldiers
The concentration camps (see right> were once more filled with prisoners who had been drafted to labour in the factories while the war lasted.
After the war, when munitions and war supplies were no longer needed, many factories closed their doors and threw their ordinary workers out of work.
The unemployment problem was made worse by large numbers of returning soldiers, who found there were no jobs available for them. After serving their country, they were embittered by the general indifference to their plight.
King and Parliament
As the capital of the country, London had suffered fire-bombing by airships during the war. Like all major cities and industrial centres, it was also covered in dense smog. However, many of the entrepreneurial plutocrats who had made their fortunes from the war took up residence in the fashionable districts, and spent freely in the luxury shopping areas. In London, the contrast between wealth and poverty was at its most extreme.
King George IV ascended to the British throne in 1837. At the time, the Progress Party, representing industrial entrepreneurs and factory owners, was in power, and favoured the continuation of what was, for them, a very profitable war. George IV inclined towards peace, and the traditionalist Rural Party adopted the same view. When peace became a real possibility after the death of Napoleon I, defections from the Progress Party enabled the Rural Party to take over government, under Prime Minister Hassock. The Rural Party won a resounding election victory after the Peace of Brussels, and another, narrower victory in 1845.
However, the Progress Party, revitalised under Oppostion Leader Ephraim Chard, sought to regain power by constitutional or extra-constitutional means. They were aided by the winter famines that afflicted Scotland and the North of England in 1844 and 1845, and the disaffection of ex-soldiers, who found themselves unemployed and unemployable on their return.
The original Houses of Parliament in 1842