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Fiction and What-If Alternate History books

Third Reich and World War II Fiction and What-If Alternate History books.
Latest hand-picked WWII news. See also: WWII Archives, War Journalists, WWII movies.

12 Interesting Ways WWII Could Have Ended Differently
(12) The Allies Invade France in 1942: After Pearl Harbor was bombed the British and Americans met for the first time and plans were made on how to defeat Nazi Germany. The Americans favored a direct approach, cross the Channel in the fall of 1942 and take the shortest route to Berlin. They would land in Normandy at either the port of Cherbourg or Brest and establish a second front. The hard-pressed Soviets were in support of this plan as it would release them of some of the German pressure. The British were to bear the brunt of this operation as the American forces were not yet in Britain in strength. They were appalled by this plan as they could only land 6 division in France, whereas the Germans had 15-20 division is France. Not to mention the fact that there was no air-superiority nor enough landing craft available to support this undertaking.

What if Hitler had Developed Nukes in WWII?
In the early years of World War II, it looked as if Germany might have the luxury to spend its time developing a new generation of super-weapons. The Nazis haphazardly pursued the idea of building an atomic bomb, with an eye toward eventual conflict with the United States.

If France Kept Fighting: How World War II Might Have Gone Very Differently
France surrendered to the Nazis in 1940 for complex reasons. The proximate cause, of course, was the success of the German invasion, which left metropolitan France at the mercy of Nazi armies. Instead of fleeing the country and keeping up the fight, as the Dutch government and a residue of the French military did, the bulk of the French government and military hierarchy made peace with the Germans. But what if key figures (such as Marshal Philippe Petain) had viewed the situation differently? If the French government had decided to go into exile in the Empire, rather than re-establish itself in the German protectorate at Vichy, then the rest of World War II might have gone very differently.

Could the Nazis have conquered the United States?
Considering some of the different outcomes that could have happened during World War Two, historians and researchers have looked closely at how and what would have happened if Germany and the Nazis had tried to invade the US.

The Man in the High Castle: What if the Nazis had won?
What if the Allies had lost World War II and the Germans and Japanese ruled a conquered America? This chilling hypothetical is the premise of Philip K. Dick`s 1962 novel, `The Man in the High Castle,` as well as of the new series of the same name, which begins streaming Nov. 20 on Amazon Prime. In the drama`s alternate reality, the occupied country is divided into The Greater Nazi Reich in the East, The Japanese Pacific States in the West and a neutral zone in the middle. Americans live without rights or freedoms and resistance is punishable by death, but an underground rebel movement exists and is central to the story.

Why The Nazis Believed They Could Win the Battle of Britain
This year marks the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain, the first time in history that one nation tried to defeat another using airstrikes. Here`s how the Nazis thought they could do it—and how agonizingly close they actually came to achieving victory.

Operation Sealion - Summary of an exercise held at the Staff College, Sandhurst in 1974
The full text is in ‘Sealion` by Richard Cox. The scenario is based on the known plans of each side, plus previously unpublished Admiralty weather records for September 1940. Each side (played by British and German officers respectively) was based in a command room, and the actual moves plotted on a scale model of SE England constructed at the School of Infantry. The panel of umpires included Adolf Galland, Admiral Friedrich Ruge, Air Chief Marshal Sir Christopher Foxley-Norris, Rear Admiral Edward Gueritz, General Heinz Trettner and Major General Glyn Gilbert.

Hitler's Ashes: How Hitler's Assassination Leads to the Development of Germany's Atomic Bomb by John T. Cox (fiction)
"Hitler's Ashes" by John T. Cox is a fictional book in a genre known as "what if." The "what if" genre, also known as alternative history consist of stories in which history has diverged from its known course. Operation Valkyrie has succeeded. Hitler is dead and so are his henchmen Göering, Goebbels, Himmler and Bormann. Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg is the new Chancellor of Germany - and his scientists are now working at full steam develop the Messerschmitt 262 jet fighter, the Arado 234 Blitz Bomber, and the Type 21 super submarine as well as beating the Americans into developing the first atomic bomb.

How Hitler could have won WWII: Struck a treaty with the Ukrainians who hated their Russian rulers
Speaking at the Edina Historical Society in Minneapolis, Mike Hansen, a former history teacher, listed numerous decisions made by both the Nazis and the Allies, which could have resulted in a different outcome. "The two finalists for British PM in May of 1940 were Lord Halifax and Winston Churchill. Halifax wanted to sue for peace with Germany in return for the continuation of the British Empire... Had Halifax been named to replace Neville Chamberlain, the outcome would most likely have favored Germany." Once Operation Barbarossa was underway, the Germans could have struck a treaty with the Ukrainians, who hated their Russian overlords, but Hitler opposed this since the Ukrainians were Slavs and, in his mind, needed to be liquidated.

Britain could have crushed Germany in 3 years if RAF had not rejected plans for world's first jet fighter
The Allies would have crushed Nazi Germany 'within three years' if the RAF had not rejected plans by a British inventor to build the world's first jet-powered fighter planes, claims a new book called "JET: Frank Whittle and the Invention of the Jet Engine". Inventor Sir Frank Whittle was told his designs for a 500mph jet were 'totally unrealistic' and RAF refused to invest a penny. Unfortunately the document fell into enemy hands and was used as the blueprint for Nazi jet development programme. If the RAF had backed Whittle, Britain's air force could have defeated the Luftwaffe's fleet of propeller-powered aircraft by 1942.

Maps exploring the possible Nazi invasion of North America
The March 2, 1942 issue of Life magazine pondered the possible Nazi invasion of America after the attack on Pearl Harbor. As a follow-up science fiction author Philip Wylie created several maps with diagrams exploring the potential invasion routes.

If the Allies Had Fallen: Sixty Alternate Scenarios of World War II (book review)
Scores of WWII alternate history scenarios - from the war breaking out in 1938, through the controversies of Pearl Harbor and the Eastern Front, to the last days of the war - are explored in this mixed collection of scholarly essays.

Alternate history: The War That Came Early: West and East by Harry Turtledove (Book review)
Turtledove often follows the minor characters in his book. This time, General Jose Sanjurjo: What if the would-be leader of the Fascist Spain didn't overload the aircraft he used, avoiding the crash? Would he have fully supported Hitler in the Second World War?

The Legacy of the Second World War by John Lukacs (WWII book review)
In "The Legacy of the Second World War" historian John Lukacs asks, and ambiguously answers, 6 major WWII questions which are often debated: "Was the Second World War inevitable?" --- "Was the division of Europe inevitable?" --- "Was Hitler inevitable?" --- "Was the making of the atomic bombs inevitable?" --- "Was America's war against Germany inevitable?" --- "Was the Cold War inevitable?" One chapter deals with Rainbow Five - a secret plan developed by U.S. military strategists more than a year before Pearl Harbor - which demanded a "Europe First" strategy should America find itself in a 2-front war.

Did Nazi scientist Otto Ambros save the Allies from Hitler's deadly nerve agent, Tabun
Many think Hitler's reluctance to use chemical weapons originated from his own experiences of being gassed (in 1918 Corporal Hitler faced British mustard gas attack), but chemistry professor Frank J. Dinan disagrees. In May 1943, after the defeat at Stalingrad, Hitler summoned armaments minister Albert Speer and scientist Otto Ambros to Wolf's Lair headquarters to talk about the use of chemical weapons. Hitler feared the Allies also had access to similar weapons, asking Ambros whether his fears were justified. Ambros lied that Allied also had Tabun and Sarin, and disappointed Hitler abandoned the meeting.

Would Allies have failed D-Day - and lost World War II - if Hitler had used deadly nerve gas Tabun
Professor Frank J. Dinan has revealed what could have happened if Nazi dictator Adolf Hitler had used the nerve gas Tabun during the D-Day. The Allies could have been forced back into the sea with intolerable casualties. The political consequence of a D-Day defeat for Franklin Roosevelt, Winston Churchill and commander-in-chief Dwight Eisenhower, would have been crushing. The Tabun story began on Dec 23, 1936, when a single drop of the chemical fell to the floor of a laboratory in Germany. The two men working there suffered diminished vision and a loss of muscle control - and the chemical's military value was realized.

Assassination attempts that almost changed the world
(1) Fanny Kaplan was a Socialist revolutionary during the Bolshevik Revolution. Her party was banned by Lenin, and Fanny thought killing Vladimir Lenin would be the way to get her party back on track. What if she had succeeded? The Bolshevik Revolution would have failed, and most likely the Nazis would have won WWII (no Lenin, no Stalin, no industrialisation). (2) In Feb 1933 Franklin Roosevelt was a month away from his first inauguration, when Giuseppe Zangara showed up at an FDR speech in Miami... What if he had succeeded? Would America maintained isolationism through the war.

What if Hitler had survived -And how he could have escaped the fuhrerbunker
Flying in and out of Berlin: There were few better pilots in the Third Reich than Hanna Reitsch, and none more loyal to its leader, Adolf Hitler. Her flying skills and fanaticism were displayed on April 26, 1945, when Reitsch landed her Fieseler Storch plane on a makeshift airstrip on the Tiergarten. Accompanied by General von Greim, the head of the Luftwaffe, Reitsch made her way to fuhrerbunker, where she found a scene of chaos: Drunken Wehrmacht officers partying with secretaries. It's also possible that Hitler could have escaped by foot: After all many senior Nazis - like Hitler Youth leader Artur Axmann and Hitler's chauffeur Erich Kempka - had done so.

What if: Adolf Hitler had not invaded the Soviet Union in 1941?
if Adolf Hitler had not invaded the Soviet Union in 1941, he most likely would have sent a bigger force to North Africa to destroy Great Britain's hold on Egypt and the Suez Canal. With a larger Afrika Korps, it is likely that the Germans would have reached their goal. They would probably have taken the opportunity to solicit Arab and Iranian help for an assault through the Caucasus Mountain Range to connect with the German Army coming from the West to put them in a position to take over the oil reserves in the area. With that in mind, it is difficult to see how an invasion by the Allied in France would be successful.

How history would be different if D-Day invasion had failed
If the D-Day landings had not succeeded, what kind of a Europe would have prevailed? D-Day success was no sure thing and failure would have meant disaster. No-one knew this better than the Supreme Allied Commander, General Dwight D Eisenhower. On the night of 5 June, after he'd given the order for the Allied invasion to proceed, he took a scrap of paper and wrote out the text of the press release, just in case: "Our landings have failed to gain a satisfactory foothold and I have withdrawn the troops. My decision to attack ... was based on the best information available. The troops, the air and the Navy did all that bravery and devotion to duty could do."

Skeletons at the Feast - Fleeing Red Army as Third Reich crumbles
Inspired by a journal kept by the grandmother of a friend, Chris Bohjalian in his novel "Skeletons at the Feast" re-creates an aristocratic Prussian family's flight on foot toward the Allied lines as the Third Reich falls apart in 1945. The Emmerichs, who start out as Nazi sympathizers, join thousands of refugees desperate to save themselves from the advancing Red Army. The Russians rape, torture and murder in ways detailed so graphically that it's hard to continue reading. Bohjalian's descriptions of terror on the road has just as much impact as watching newsreels from the end of World War II.

1940 - Novel follows Adolf Hitler's doctor Eduard Bloch in NYC
In "1940" Jay Neugeboren builds his narrative around a historical figure from Adolf Hitler's life - Eduard Bloch, the Jewish doctor who was the Hitler family physician when the Führer was growing up in Linz. Bloch not only treated the young Adolf, but also cared for his mother Klara. After Klara's death, Adolf expressed his gratitude, first in person, then in hand-drawn cards. After the "Anschluss" Hitler asked about Bloch's wellbeing and declared him "an 'Edeljude'- a noble Jew." Bloch remained under Gestapo protection, and he got the same food and clothing ration cards as other Germans.

1945 - What if Japan doesn't surrender
Alternate-history author Robert Conroy, whose novel 1945 is a finalist for Sidewise Award, explained that the book is based on a real historical coup that almost took place toward the end of World War Two. "Immediately after Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japanese Emperor Hirohito convinced the Japanese militarists to surrender, but there was a coup to stop the surrender and set out a fight to the death. The coup almost succeeded. In 1945 it does succeed." The novel uses the actual plans by the U.S. to invade Japan that had been developed independently from the atomic-bomb program.

Killing Rommel - Excerpts from the book [fiction]
Now elevated to Lieutenant-General, Rommel lands at Tripoli in Feb. 1941. In his first campaign, before half his men and tanks have arrived, he chases Western Desert Force out of Cyrenaica, driving our armoured divisions back a thousand miles to the frontier of Egypt. The British press knight him by bestowing the title "Desert Fox." So powerful is Rommel's hold over our Tommies' imagination that General Auchinleck, C-in-C of 8th Army, felt it necessary to publish the following directive: "There exists a real danger that our friend Rommel is becoming a kind of magician or bogey-man to our troops, who are talking far too much about him..."

3 Nazi themed thrillers: A Quiet Flame, Death in Breslau, Silesian Station
From 1945 onwards Nazis have supplied entertainment from the gruesome to the absurd. We have had SS men on the run in Frederick Forsyth's The Odessa File, the Reich rebuilt in Robert Harris's Fatherland, mini-Hitler clones in Ira Levin's The Boys from Brazil. Philip Kerr's Weimar Republic private detective Bernie Gunther has returned in the aftermath of a war in which he was forced into the SS. In A Quiet Flame he is getting off the boat in Argentina in the company of, among others, Adolf Eichmann, all set for new lives. (+ Death in Breslau by Marek Krajewski, Silesian Station by David Downing)

Fiction: My Enemy’s Cradle - Woman entrapped by Lebensborn project
"Lebensborn" was Heinrich Himmler’s project to use young women to increase the population and breed a purer race. The program started in 1935 with German women who would have blond, blue-eyed children, often by SS officers. Later it included kidnappings of girls, particularly from Poland. "My Enemy’s Cradle" is a novel about a young woman with those Aryan looks (but a secret half-Jewish identity) who becomes entrapped in the plan. The rescue she’s waiting for doesn’t materialize, and she spends week after week fearing detection, trying to figure out whom to trust, striving for some normalcy, and hoping.

How Hitler invaded Wales - Resistance by Owen Sheers
Resistance takes place in 1944 in a world in which World War II has ended differently. The D-Day landings have failed and the Germans have invaded and occupied half of Britain. The village of Olchon, a real place in the Black Mountains, is abandoned by its men overnight as the Nazis approach. The women are left behind to cope. Owen says that he did not want to rewrite military history, but to demonstrate how easily it could have turned out otherwise. "People have written to me saying an invasion would have been much more plausible in 1940... But I was imagining a world in which Hitler had won his war with Russia..."

[Fiction] Killing Rommel by Steven Pressfield
Based on real-life events, "Killing Rommel" concerns the daring British and Commonwealth soldiers who faced German General Erwin Rommel's desert forces, which in 1942 dominated Northern Africa west of Egypt. The story is narrated by R. Lawrence "Chap" Chapman, a minor player in the dramatic African action of World War II. As a very young British officer, he was tasked to the Long Range Desert Group (LDRG), a glamorous posting in an outfit prizing resourcefulness and improvisation, qualities necessary to surviving LDRG's extreme dangerous assignments. The story is so rich in details that it is hard to read without maps at the elbow.

What American soldiers are reading: Devil's Guard - Waffen SS soldiers
One of the top 10 novels delivered to American soldiers by Abe was Devil's Guard by George Robert Elford. Presenting "the true confessions" of a German SS officer Hans Josef Wagemueller as fact, the book is categorized by merchants as fiction and by historians as nonsense. Elford's hero recounts his bloody exploits as a soldier in the Waffen SS, fighting on the Eastern Front in World War II. The tone is unapologetic, and nazi atrocities are justified by the inhumanity of the Communist enemy. After the collapse of the Reich, Wagemueller escapes into the French Foreign Legion. Under his new flag he fights in the Indo-Chinese war against the Communist Viet Minh.

What if Adolf Hitler Had Been Assassinated
In 1936 Helmut Hirsch travelled to Nuremburg to blow up Hitler; he was sent by Otto Strasser, one of the remaining challengers to Hitler in the Nazi Party. In 1937 Josef Thomas plotted to shoot Hitler and Goering, and in 1938 Maurice Bavaud made attempts to shoot Hitler but failed. Once WWII started in 1939 matters shifted to those who were in a much better position to kill Hitler - the military. Many attempts were cramped by soldiers' unwillingness to break their oath to Hitler and by the fact that when it looked like Hitler was about to fail, he succeeded. Many of the conspirators were from noble families, maybe they found it easier to kill the working class Hitler.

Hitler's Judas by Tom Lewis - Historical fiction of the World War II era
In the midst of World War II, Martin Bormann is the closest man to Fuehrer Adolf Hitler and possibly the second most powerful man in the Nazi regime. In the wake of Hitler’s insane plan to invade the Soviet Union, Bormann designs a covert escape to an island off the coast of North Carolina, and a heist of 50 million in gold.

Military historian poses the question: what if they had killed the Fuhrer?
In 1944 Hitler commended: "Finally, a general staff officer with imagination and intelligence!" Fuhrer was delighted to meet one officer who knew what he was doing. And von Stauffenberg did, he was planning to kill Hitler. On July 20, 1944, at the Fuhrer's HQ at Rastenburg, he detonated a bomb, of which Baron Justus Delbruck said: "I think it was good that it happened, and good too, perhaps, that it failed." Panzer commander von Manstein said: "Prussian field marshals do not mutiny! Count me out. That would destroy the army." Had Hitler died, it's hard to believe that Himmler or Goering could have persuaded Wehrmacht to keep up resistance in the West.

Hitler's Peace by Philip Kerr [fiction]
Philip Kerr is best known for his German trilogy Berlin Noir, made up of 3 novels: March Violets, The Pale Criminal, and A German Requiem. The next installment of the series, The One From the Other appeared in 2006. A highlight of all 4 novels is Kerr’s ability to make historic figures like Heinrich Himmler and Reinhard Heydrich come to life. Kerr’s novel Hitler’s Peace builds on these talents, bringing figures like Roosevelt, Churchill and Stalin into formidable focus. Hitler and Himmler, wanting to deter engaging the U.S. in a second front, are seeking a loophole in Roosevelt's demand for an unconditional surrender.

Mailer's young Hitler angers Germans - The Castle in the Forest
Council urges artists to leave history alone: Writer says factual books fail to explain dictator. Norman Mailer has walked into a maelstrom in Germany with his novel, which depicts a young Adolf Hitler. "One can't forbid artists from dealing with Hitler but art will never achieve an understanding of the phenomenon - it will rather serve as a distraction." 467-page tome traces 3 generations of Adolf Hitler's family in late 19th-century Austria. The first-person narrator, a former Nazi intelligence officer who reveals he has been sent by the devil, starts the book with the claim that he understands Hitler.

Fiction: The Castle in the Forest - Hitler Youth
Norman Mailer has decided to probe Adolf Hitler's family: his father, Alois, his mother, Klara, their relatives and his siblings. The period covered is 1837 to 1903, the lifespan of Hitler's father. When Alois died, Adolf was 14 years old. So far, so straightforward. But Mailer is not content with a third-person, historical account of the antecedents and early life of perhaps the most vicious man who has walked this Earth: He has decided instead to have his novel narrated by a devil. Mailer knows Hitler's life intimately, and his insights and intuition into how that warped mind was influenced and grew are intriguing.

Book considers NZ history's "what ifs?"
What would have happened to New Zealand if Japan had invaded Wellington during World War 2? It may sound far fetched but military historian Ian McGibbon believes that if Japan had not been defeated by America in the Battle of Midway, they may have targeted New Zealand. "I don't think people realise how on a knife edge their security was in June 1942." At that time, most Kiwi soldiers were in the Middle East leaving New Zealand almost undefended. McGibbon contends an invasion force would have hit the lower North Island before seizing Wellington.

Fictional Waffen-SS Third Reich epic sparks bidding war
It is 900 pages of closely typed text, in French, with harrowing details of torture, mass executions, the bureaucratic battles at the heart of the Third Reich - and now it has sparked a publishing feeding frenzy. "Everyone is desperate to get their hands on it. The sums being spoken about are astronomical," said one agent. Les Bienveillantes is the fictional memoirs of Dr Maximilien Aue, a Waffen-SS officer, and readers are plunged into a labyrinth of Nazi bureaucracy and mass murder. It took its author four months to write after four years of research.

Fiction book - The Berlin Cross
Hitler's architect is after a relic of the cross of Jesus in this creaky thriller set in post-war Germany. Berlin in the late 1940s has enough atmosphere to support an entire crime-writing industry and Greg Flynn evokes a city on the outskirts of hell. It is a place with few reliable points of reference.

Lolita was created by Nazi journalist
Lolita, the temptress whose seduction of an older man caused a sensation when published by Vladimir Nabokov and a scandal when filmed by Stanley Kubrick, was originally the creation of a leading Nazi journalist, according to an analysis published in Berlin. Von Eschwege, who wrote under the name Heinz von Lichberg, became a well known journalist in the Third Reich, not least for his commentary on national radio of Adolf Hitler's torch-lit procession to the Reichstag after becoming chancellor in 1933.