Christopher G. Nuttall
Cover by Brad Fraunfelter
All Comments and Reviews Welcome!
I’m not particularly fond of books, even alternate history books, that attempt to reproduce foreign accents or make excessive use of foreign terms. Unfortunately, writing a book set in Nazi Germany makes it impossible to avoid the use of
Please don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s a word I’ve missed during the editing.
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Berlin, Germany, 1950
It was very quiet in the
Karl Holliston kept his face impassive — and his mouth closed — as the uniformed flunky displayed photograph after photograph on the big screen. Four cities, all in blackened ruins; the charred remains of hundreds of thousands of bodies clearly visible towards the edge of the blast zone. The dead were the lucky ones, Karl told himself; the survivors, if they somehow managed to escape the
But no one would have cared about his opinion, if he’d given voice to it. He was just Heinrich Himmler’s aide.
“Four cities,” Field Marshal Albert Kesselring said.
Himmler showed no emotion as he leaned forward. “Four cities that rose up against us,” he said, his voice utterly dispassionate. “I saw no reason to waste the lives of our soldiers in teaching them a lesson.”
“The Americans have already announced that they will cancel the trade deals,” Speer said, flatly. The civilian licked his lips, nervously. “They’re calling it mass murder.”
“Tell them to tell it to the Indians,” Himmler said. His face twisted into a sneer. “Or to the Japanese.”
Kesselring slapped the table, hard. “It was decided that the atomic bomb would not be used…”
“… Unless the
Speer looked incredulous. “You plan to argue that a bunch of religious fanatics in the desert could somehow threaten the
Himmler gazed back at him, evenly.
He nodded towards the map. “Or do you believe that we can continue to hold the
“You used nuclear weapons on four defenceless cities,” Speer said.
“I destroyed four cities that would have been destroyed anyway, in the fullness of time,” Himmler countered. “Were we going to leave the useless
He smiled to himself. The Arabs had been foolish to side with the
“I did what I had to do,” Himmler said. “The
Karl nodded in agreement. Adolf Hitler might have been declining in his later years — he flinched away from the thought hurriedly, knowing that expressing it meant death — but no one had doubted he ruled the
“Never again,” Speer said. “The decision to deploy nuclear weapons will
“Oh?” Himmler asked. “And you intend to enforce it… how?”
“There will be a new division of the military specifically charged with handling nuclear weapons,” Kesselring said. “They will take their orders directly from the
He weighed up the odds in his head. There were a dozen crack SS units deployed near Berlin, but there were also a number of
“The revolution begun by the
Speer looked even paler than usual. “Even at the risk of war with America?”
Himmler snorted, rudely. “Do you really think the Americans would sacrifice New York or Washington for the sake of
He cleared his throat. “The Americans will moan and whine because that is what Americans do,” he said. “They won’t risk war with us.”
“They crushed the Japanese,” Speer said.
“Little yellow men,” Himmler countered, dismissively. “
“They can destroy us,” Speer said.
“They will not risk their existence by waging war against us,” Himmler said.
Kesselring tapped the table, sharply. “We have a compromise in mind,” he said. “You — the SS — will be given Russia as your private domain. You’ll have complete freedom to reshape society any way you choose. In exchange for this, you will accept the position of the
Karl looked at Himmler, wondering how his ultimate superior would react. The SS
It wasn’t ideal, he knew. Germany itself would not be transformed so radically. The civilian bureaucrats were already objecting to some of the more important transformations — and their influence would only grow stronger if the SS concentrated on Russia. But the
Himmler took a long moment to compose his reply. “You believe this will appease the Americans?”
“This is not about the Americans,” Kesselring said. “This is about preventing a civil war.”
Karl had to fight to keep his face impassive. He’d known what was at stake — everyone knew what was at stake — but he’d never heard it expressed so bluntly. There were just too many competing factions withi ...