The Six Year War: A Book Review
Dedicated to the late great Alison Brooks.
The Six-Year War, a book written in 2006 by Harry Nosirrah, is one of the fundamentally unlikely counterfactual history books that have recently been written, centred – in this case – around the world crisis in 1936. As we all know, the European Crisis of 1936 – when the temporary government of Adolph Hitler attempted to remilitarise the Rhineland – ended with the Allied incursion into Germany and the rapid fall of the Hitler Government. The reshaped Europe – and indeed the international community – that resulted from that display of political will, according to Nosirrah, might never have existed.
Nosirrah’s nine-book series, instead, focuses on a series of unlikely events. The cowardly behaviour of both British and French ministers in 1936 and 1938 – when Hitler attempted to absorb Czechoslovakia – stands in stark contest to their actions in 1939, where they agreed to defend Poland – a decision that was literally impossible to carry out. Even assuming for the exaggerated German prowess displayed in the book, Poland was undefendable, something that any halfway competent person reading a map would have been able to deduce. However, a slight amount of suspension of belief is possible; we will accept, for the moment, that Poland falls…to an alliance between Hitler and Stalin, who, as we know, died in 1940.
It is at that point that Nosirrah’s history becomes convoluted. His hatred of the French leads to their defeat in six weeks, followed by the criminal failure of Hitler to complete his victory by invading Britain. Although the logistics would have been very difficult to surmount, the superhuman prowess of the German soldiers and their commanders would have had little trouble at all in defeating the British defenders and occupying Britain. Instead, the French become collaborators and the British resole to fight on…but, again, they are aided by the incompetence of Hitler himself.
This reviewer makes no pretence to know much about Hitler, who fought in the Great War before becoming a politician and – briefly – supreme ruler of Germany, but it seems odd that Hitler would have made the series of mistakes that echo through this book. Having passed on the invasion of Britain – it would have stretched even Nosirrah to justify the US victory in the war had England fallen – Hitler then fails to defeat Britain in the desert, although this can be blamed, to some degree, on the Italians. As the performance of the Italians shows, in real history, the mark of gross incompetence bestowed by Nosirrah on the Italians is quite undeserved, serving only as a plot device when a section of the line is required to crumple. The character of Winston Churchill, in addition, ruins the plot further; Churchill, an ardent imperialist and founder of the Imperial Party, would not pass up the opportunity to snatch Libya and end the Italian Empire.
All of this pales, in contest, to the events in the book’s 1941, when Hitler heads east into Russia. Once again, the superhuman Germans triumph over all adversity, until Hitler’s incompetence prevents them from making a lunge at Moscow until it was too late to actually win. This piece of unbelievable writing is matched only by the book dealing with the Far East; Japan, insanely, launches a war against Britain, America and China at the same time. As we know, the Sino-Japanese War burned itself out in 1942; the Japanese were never faced with the strict sanctions placed on them by Nosirrah, in an attempt to justify the Japanese decision to commit collective suicide.
At this point, we realise what Nosirrah is really like; he is an unashamed US-wanker. The super-US of his story has no difficulty at all in gearing up for war, the stout bravery of the US citizen-soldier is contested with the Commonwealth soldiers who fought for the British, whereupon Singapore was surrendered without a fight, and Australia itself was threatened. The Japanese Fleet is devastated by a battle that, it should be noted, would never have occurred in real life. The super-US – in reality, the US economy never fully healed until 1950 – crushes the Japanese under a weight of firepower, while the US (aided by the loyal British) invades Europe in 1944.
The USSR, in the meantime, has somehow shaken off its shackles and advanced back towards the west. Nosirrah’s loving descriptions of rape and other primal atrocities committed by the Russians – contested with the welcome shown to US soldiers by the Frenchwomen, who offer themselves to US troops while shunning their own men and British soldiers – shows, once again, his true colours. Droll jokes about improving the quality of French genes, even to the point of a US General ordering his men to refrain from using condoms, only cheapen the flow of his writing.
The book’s conclusion can be summed up in a single sentence; the Germans and Japanese are crushed utterly. America has produced a super-weapon – the atomic bomb, developed in OTL by the British in 1949 – that destroys two Japanese cities. For some reason, this is enough to convince the insane Japanese government – Nosirrah is free with racist comments and insults – to surrender, whereupon a cowardly US General is appointed as Viceroy for the US Government. Quite how all of that worked out in his own head is astonishing.
The post-war world, I fear, is completely deprived of logic and reason. The USSR gets the entire region of Eastern Europe, while the US gives freedom to the Western European States, including Britain (quite how this worked is a puzzle). Instead of becoming part of a commonwealth, the European Empires break up with the US’s active encouragement, while Stalin somehow survives until well into the 1950s. Nosirrah’s US, meanwhile, makes only one blunder; an alliance with Saudi Arabia that somehow leads to an Islamic Insurgency against the West. The Jews – almost exterminated under Hitler’s orders – are given a state of their own which they then use to wage war on the Arabs, something that stands in odd contrast to the large Jewish communities in Germany, Tehran and Britain today. While we know that Hitler talked about such plans, we also know that he never lived to attempt to implement them.
Nosirrah was once an interesting writer, and The Six-Year War is not deprived of interesting points, but the dull repetitiveness of the writing and the shameless US-wanking can only spoil the plot. I give it three out of ten.
And, as you can probably guess, this book is non-existent…by Chris Nuttall