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Authors: Christopher Nuttall

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Storm Front (Twilight of the Gods Book 1)

BOOK: Storm Front (Twilight of the Gods Book 1)
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Storm Front

 

(Twilight Of The Gods I)

 

 

Christopher G. Nuttall

 

 

http://www.chrishanger.net

http://chrishanger.wordpress.com/

http://www.facebook.com/ChristopherGNuttall

 

Cover by Brad Fraunfelter

 

www.BFillustration.com

 

All Comments Welcome!

 

Cover Blurb

 

In 1941, Adolf Hitler didn't declare war on the United States.  Now, in 1985, the Third Reich stretching from the coast of France to the icy wastes of Eastern Russia, appears supremely powerful.  With a powerful force of nuclear warheads and the finest military machine on Earth, there is no hope for freedom for the billions who groan under its rule.  Adolf Hitler’s mad dreams have come to pass.

 

And yet, all is not well in the
Reich
.  The cold war with the United States and the North Atlantic Alliance is destroying the
Reich’s
economy, while a savage insurgency in South Africa - a war the
Reich
cannot win and dares not lose - is sapping its military strength.  And, while the
Reich
Council struggles to find a way to save the
Reich
from its own weaknesses, a young German girl makes a discovery that will shake the
Reich
to its core.

 

But the
Reich
Council will not go quietly into the night ...

Author’s Note

 

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
some
German words, including a number specific to Nazi Germany and the SS.  I’ve done my best to keep this to a bare minimum and, just in case the meaning of the word cannot be deduced from context, I’ve placed a glossary at the rear of the book.

 

Please don’t hesitate to let me know if there’s a word I’ve missed during the editing.

 

CGN

 

Prologue

 

India, 1949

 

“It’s time, Your Excellency.”

 

Winston Churchill, 44th and last Viceroy and Governor-General of India, sighed as the functionary entered the office.  It was a magnificent office and Winston knew he would be sorry to leave it, but it wasn't important.  The important matter had been decided long ago, in London and Delhi, and Winston’s opinions had been dismissed as unimportant.  India would be granted her independence, the government in London having decided that a peaceful separation was better than a brutal civil war that would destroy everything Britain had worked so hard to build.  The Raj was dead.  It had died when Hong Kong and Singapore fell to the Japanese, when Japanese troops had reached the borders of India itself.  And Winston Churchill, who had fought so hard to save it, was charged with its funeral.

 

He rose slowly, feeling his old bones creaking under the weight.  It had been years since he’d been a reporter, years since he’d served as a soldier, years since he’d been able to keep up with the younger men.  The boundless determination that had driven him onwards, through years in the political wilderness and three years as Prime Minister, as Hitler’s armies scored victory after victory, was fading.  He had hoped - prayed - to go to his rest after the Nazi beast was slain in its lair, but he knew he wouldn't live to see it.  Hitler’s enemies had fallen before him, one by one; Stalin assassinated during the retreat from Moscow, De Gaulle killed by a sniper’s bullet in Indochina, Roosevelt felled by his own heart.  Winston was the last to survive and he knew it wouldn't be long before he too was lowered into the grave.  And the hopes and fears of the free peoples of the world would die with him.

 

Perhaps not
, he thought, as he looked up at the map. 
Hitler may yet overreach himself.

 

He had never admitted, not even to his wife, just how much he’d hoped Hitler would declare war on the United States.  Roosevelt had done all he could, but America couldn’t - wouldn’t - enter the war against Germany without good cause.  Winston had no illusions about what would have happened to the British Empire, overshadowed by its mightier cousin across the ocean, yet Nazi Germany would have been crushed.  Instead, Hitler had declared war on Japan, a stunt that had fooled no one but had been treacherously difficult to overcome.  He’d even withdrawn the u-boats from the Atlantic, gambling that it would avoid an incident that would bring America into the war.  And he’d been right.

 

Winston shook his head, silently tracing the lines on the map.  Hitler’s armies had fallen back from Moscow, true, only to resume the offensive in the following spring.  The Russians, their armies faltering as their industry staggered under the weight of the war, couldn't keep Hitler from seizing Stalingrad, then resuming the drive on Moscow.  And, if that hadn't been bad enough, Hitler’s forces had thrust into Egypt and then Palestine.  If the Americans hadn't moved troops into Iran, as part of an agreement to withdraw the Anglo-French occupation force, Winston knew that they might have stabbed into India itself.  The weakness of the British Empire had been exposed for all to see.

 

And now he sits, consolidating his gains, while we have to struggle to survive
, he thought, as he followed the functionary down the stairs.  He doubted Hitler could hold Russia indefinitely - although the horror stories from refugees had made it clear that the Nazis were far more brutal than the communists - but there was no one left on the continent who could challenge him. 
He may even start preparing to launch an invasion of Britain.

 

Outside, the hot air slapped him in the face as he made his way towards the podium.  Hundreds of thousands of people were gathered, watching and waiting for the moment when Britain finally granted India her independence, when they could set foot on the world stage as an independent country.  Winston couldn't really blame the Indians for wanting independence - thankfully, the looming threat of the Germans had forced the INC to come up with a reasonable plan for governing the country - but, at the same time, he couldn't help feeling a pang for everything that would be lost.  The Raj had been a proud achievement, bringing government and civilisation to India. 

 

Winston stopped in front of the podium and looked down.  The Indians were waiting, dark men in sober white suits; beside them, diplomats from the rest of the world watched with great interest, flanked by reporters ready to jot down whatever he said and misquote it to the world.  Winston had been a reporter himself, once upon a time, but his time in the political wilderness had left him with little love for the breed.  The age of the daring reporter, along with the brave explorer who brought civilisation to the natives, was over.  Instead, there were hacks, liars and bureaucratic beancounters.  The glories of the past were long gone.

 

He cleared his throat and stumbled through the speech Prime Minister Atlee had had written for him.  It was a cumbersome thing, clearly written and approved by committee; it was hard, so hard, to put any of his passion into his words.  But it was what the Indians wanted to hear and they cheered loudly as he told them that India was, from this moment forward, an independent dominion of the British Commonwealth.  Thankfully, they’d agreed to stay in the Commonwealth for at least five years.  The British Government had that long to convince them to stay permanently.

 

“But there is another matter I must discuss,” he said, putting the paper notes aside.  He hadn't told Atlee that he intended to add his own words to the speech before the world’s reporters - and the assembled world leaders and diplomats.  It would only have upset him.  “The world is not what it used to be.”

 

He took a breath.  “When I was a young man, a quarter of the world was red and the sun never set on the British Empire.  I remember campaigning along the North-West Frontier and fighting a war in South Africa, never dreaming that the glories before me would come to an end.  It never crossed my mind that Europe would destroy itself in war.  Nor did it occur to me that a great beast would rise from the ashes to enslave the entire continent.  I would have thought it impossible, if someone had told me, and laughed in his face.

 

“But I would have been wrong.

 

“An iron curtain has descended across Europe, yet we may still see glimmers of the horrors unleashed by Adolf Hitler.  A dozen nations have simply ceased to exist.  Countless populations have been enslaved or exterminated by the black-clad SS.  Those who dare resist are subjected to torture before they are killed.  A horror has descended that holds all of Europe, even Germany itself, in the grip of fear.

 

“I remember when the cabinet debated what to do, the day that Hitler’s troops marched into the Rhineland and dared us to evict them.  If we had known then what we know now, we would have gone to war and forced the Germans to retreat.  But we did nothing.  I remember when Hitler demanded the most valuable regions of Czechoslovakia and Chamberlain, a weak man, chose to appease the fascist beast rather than make a stand.  We allowed Czechoslovakia to be dismembered and, in doing so, sacrificed our best chance to stop Hitler without major bloodshed.  But we lacked the nerve to make a stand.

 

“We had our excuses, of course.  Britain lost nearly a million lives in the first Great War against Germany.  The French lost nearly twice that and had their country devastated by the war.  Our economies were weak, our forces ill-prepared and Hitler seemed to hold the moral high ground. 
Anything
seemed better than war.

 

“But all that matters, in the end, was that when we determined to take a stand, we had already surrendered far too much to the Germans.  When the Phony War ended, Hitler’s forces smashed France and pushed Britain to the wall.  Had Hitler focused more on naval matters, Britain too might have been invaded and occupied.  Instead, we were forced to watch as Hitler overwhelmed Russia and the Middle East.

 

“There is a temptation, on this day of all days, for us to forget the threat posed by the Germans.  There is a temptation to believe that Hitler is satisfied, that he will be happy with what he has taken by force.  There is even a temptation to be
pleased
that the communist regime that dominated Russia has been destroyed...”

 

He paused, silently cursing the American industrialists under his breath.  They’d
hated
communism - and, after Finland, they hadn't been alone.  Sending supplies to Britain was one thing, yet sending supplies to Russia was quite another.  They had hoped the communists would be destroyed, but what they’d got in exchange might destroy them.

 

“We can never relax,” Winston said.  “Right now,
Herr
Hitler is experimenting with jet aircraft, with atomic weapons, with rockets that will allow him to target New York or land a man on the moon.  It would be dangerously reckless of us to assume that the threat will go away, even if we do nothing to provoke it.  We must stake out our perimeter, establish our defences and never, ever, drop our guard until the day the fascist beast is slain in its lair.

 

“There can be no compromise with evil,” he concluded.  “The Nazis will never be satisfied until they have overrun the entire world.  And so we must remember, at all costs, that freedom is something that must be defended.  Europe forgot that and now Europe is lost.  I charge you all to remember that, when they start trying to soothe us.  We must hold the line or we will all be lost.”

 

He stepped back from the podium as the crowd burst into cheers, wondering just how many of them would understand what he’d said.  Far too many Indians considered democracy a joke - and who was to say they weren't wrong?  India had seen very little democracy under the Raj.  But they’d see less of it under Hitler.  The Nazis wouldn't hesitate to do whatever it took to crush resistance. 

 

Atlee wouldn't be happy, Winston knew.  It was unlikely he’d be offered another government post in the future, but he’d assumed the Labour Government wouldn't have a use for him in any case.  He was, after all, an embarrassing old lion, a relic of the past...

 

... But as long as he lived, he would do what he could to alert the world to the dangers of Nazism.  He could do naught else.

BOOK: Storm Front (Twilight of the Gods Book 1)
13Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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