Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Hitler’s War-Harry Turtledove

Hitler’s War
Harry Turtledove
Del Rey, Aug 4 2009, $27.00
ISBN: 9780345491824

In 1938 England and France were prepared to tear away the Sudetenland from Czechoslovakia and cede it to Germany until the leader of Sudeten Germany Konrad Heinlien takes refuge in Germany. A Czech assassinates him giving Hitler the excuse to invade. Neville Chamberlain and Messer Daladier refuse to sign the treaty that Hitler offers them. Hitler declares war.

The Czechs fight bravely, but are easily overwhelmed by the superior Nazi army abetted by Slovakia independence supporters. The German war machine quickly conquers Holland, Belgium and Lichtenstein. While leaders of both sides map strategic objectives, individuals struggle with the effect of the hostilities. Peggy Druce came to take the waters at Marianske Lazne but ended up a neutral stuck in Berlin unable to go home. The Goldmans always thought they were Germans first and Jews second until the Third Reich destroyed their beliefs. Their son joins the German army under a false name. Besides the prime fronts, there are other local wars like the Spanish Civil War where American Communists fight against Fascist forces. In China, the Japanese have invaded China while American marines have a ringside seat to the pacific Theatre. However, the biggest news is the German blitzkrieg heading towards Paris.

Harry Turtledove once again changes a pivotal point in history and provides his answers to what if Chamberlain said no to Hitler. In HITLER’S WAR, neither side is at full readiness especially the Allies who were stunned when war broke out as they adhered to their belief that they fought two decades earlier “the war to end all wars.” Mr. Turtledove shows the impact of war on individuals who are powerless and quickly lose all hope. Although the alternative history premise is fun to follow due to a strong execution, it is the little people who bring heart and soul to the epic of “war what is good for, absolutely nothing: (Edwin Starr).

Harriet Klausner