Saturday, 23 April 2011
Fatherland Novel by Robert Harris, WW2 Operation Sealion 20mm Project Research.
The story begins in Nazi Germany, the Third Reich in April 1964, in the week leading up to Adolf Hitler's 75th birthday. The plot follows detective Xavier March, an investigator working for the Kriminalpolizei (Kripo), as he investigates the suspicious death of a high-ranking Nazi, Josef Bühler, in the Havel, on the outskirts of Berlin. As March uncovers more details he realises that he is caught up in a political scandal involving senior Nazi party officials, who are apparently being systematically murdered under staged circumstances. In fact, as soon as the body is identified, the Gestapo claims jurisdiction and orders the Kripo to close its investigation.
March meets with Charlie Maguire, a female American journalist who
works for The New York Times, who is also determined to investigate the case. They both travel to Zürich to investigate the private Swiss bank account of one of the murdered officials. Ultimately, the two uncover the horrific truth behind the staged murders. The Gestapo is eliminating the remaining officials who planned the Holocaust (of which the German people are not generally aware) at the Wannsee Conference of 1942. This is being done in order to safeguard an upcoming meeting of Hitler and President Joseph P. Kennedy by ensuring that the crimes of the Nazi regime are not revealed. Maguire heads for neutral Switzerland with the evidence, hoping to publish it in The New York Times. March, however, is denounced by his ten-year-old son and apprehended by the Gestapo.
I've omitted the ending as not to totally ruin the book if you haven't read it but you have it pretty much covered by the book description, the book was a good read and it gives me a basis and some far fetched but plausible reasons for why the third reich is still hanging around in 1964 including why England is an ally?
Alternative History WW2
Throughout the novel, Harris gradually explains the fictional historical developments that allowed Germany to prevail in World War II. The earliest point of divergence mentioned is that Reinhard Heydrich survives the 1942 assassination attempt in Prague which actually killed him. Shortly afterward, Germany embarks on a series of decisive victories.
The German armies on the Eastern Front are stopped at the gates of Moscow at the end of 1941, as in our history. However, the second major offensive into the Caucasus proves far more successful than it was in reality, cutting the flow of oil to the Red Army. With his armies immobilised for want of fuel, Joseph Stalin is forced to flee to the east and a rump Soviet government surrenders in 1943.
Around the same time, German intelligence (in a way never explained) learns the British have cracked the Enigma code, which is leading to the sinking of German submarines. They withdraw their submarines from the Atlantic temporarily and send false intelligence to lure the British fleet to destruction. The U-Boat campaign against the United Kingdom resumes, starving Britain into accepting a humiliating armistice in 1944. King George VI makes Canada his predominant country of residence and prominent British officials, such as Winston Churchill, follow him there in exile. Edward VIII regains the British throne at the helm of a pro-German puppet government and Wallis Simpson is his queen.
Germany tests its first atom bomb in 1946, and fires an unarmed "V-3" missile that explodes above New York City, to demonstrate Germany's ability to attack the continental United States with long-range missiles. Following this demonstration of power, the United States signs a peace treaty with Germany. This results in the Third Reich being one of the two superpowers of the world, along with the US, which defeats Japan in 1946 (a year later than in reality).
As I said far fetched but plausible (it's the beauty of a What If? campaigns), now just need to see the movie adaption and I have just started reading SS-GB by Len Deighton.