First The Skies.
By: Lincoln Stanley
Ernst Woehller, engineer and Captain in the Luftwaffe, the air force of the German Third Reich, sat in the hot and humid atmosphere of the basement of the a non-descript Berlin office building. He was focusing intently on the plans laid out on the table in front of him. Hazy smoke coming from the cigarette in between his fingers swirled lazily in the hot air, stirred by a near-by mechanical fan. The object of his attention, blueprints of a dazzling array of complexity, were sprawled haphazardly on the desk. They showed the interior workings of the engines of the He-177. The He-177, built by Heinkel Aircraft Works, was a heavy, four-engine bomber. Bigger than the American B-17, the aircraft was capable of carrying nearly 40,000 pounds of bombs and had a combat range of nearly 1,000 miles, which was more than enough to hit England from the Reich's airbases in occupied France. None of these statistics were on Woehller's mind at the moment, though. He was simply concerned with the perceived pig-headedness of the Luftwaffe and Reich leadership.
"Schiesse," he muttered, hanging his head in defeat and letting his weight rest on his outstretched arms as they straddled the desk. "Goering asks for the impossible. Why he won't let Heinkel build a four-engine variant...." Woehller sighed.
At this, the other figure in the room leaned forward from the shadows in the corner of the room, his desk tucked between a filing cabinet overflowing with papers and a large architect desk, also strewn with debris, and spoke to Woehller's back.
"I'll tell you why," said Hans Schwieger, a fellow Luftwaffe Captain. "Goering is a fat fool, for one. And for another, he is on Hitler's leash and he fears to bring his master's reproach. If I were Fuehrer, I would take him and back and put him down like the dog he is."
Woehller chuckled at his friend's speech, but sobered up almost immediately.
"You may be right, in fact, I know you are, but that fat fool still controls our budget and decision-making. If we are to have a bomber that can strike the English and do any serious damage, we need to eliminate this absurd dive-bombing nonsense. Fine for Stukas, but for a four-engine behemoth? Goering must be made to see the light."
"He may yet see it. After his failure with the English before, he is treading on thin ice with Hitler as is. He needs to assert himself again if he is to get back in the Fuehrer's good graces."
Woehller sighed once again.
"We'll see. For the hope of the Vaterland, I hope you are right."
Englander Billy Hayes had just sat down for a beer in a pub near the waterfront of London's docks. With the night time blackout still in affect, him and the bartender, the only ones in the bar, were drinking and playing cards by candlelight. Hayes had just thrown down a royal flush ("Finally, some luck!" he thought), when the air raid sirens began to wail ominously through the quiet city streets.
"Great," said Hayes to the heavy-set, balding bartender. "How many months without a raid by the Jerrys? I thought this damn blackout would be lifted soon. Now with one damn Stuka raid, that means I'll be drinking by candlelight for another six months."
The bartender just grunted in response, threw down his cards, and turned to pour himself some more of his bathtub brewed ale. He had just bent down when a massive explosion rocked the street outside, sending glass whistling threw the enclosed confines of his tavern. He instinctively threw himself down, covering his head and opening his mouth as wide as possible. He had seen the effect of what happened when people ignored this simple rule, and didn't want to have his lungs exploding out of his mouth. As a second explosion sounded from near-by, followed by a smaller secondary one, the bartender rolled to the end of his bar and peeked his head around to check on that loudmouthed kid. He was spectacularly dead. Glass had punctured almost every part of his body and a large piece of metal debris, ("Probably from my car," thought the bartender idly), had ripped him open groin to sternum, spilling his insides all over the floor. Swallowing against the vomit, he stood up and went out into the street. Already, fire brigades were swarming over the street, putting out the small fires and tending to the wounded people screaming and writhing on the ground and the more heavily wounded who just laid there and moaned. With these brief respite, he began to hear the pounding of the AA guns throughout the city and the various pops of rifles and machine guns fired hopelessly in the air. He was running to help a woman who was staggering down the street, sans her arm, when it occurred to him that he hadn't heard a whistle. Didn't Stukas always whistle? He turned and stared down the street, the sounds of distant explosions washing over him.
Adolph Hitler, Fuehrer of the Third Reich, was sitting down at his dining room table sipping on vegetable soup when Walter von Ribbentrof, his top foreign diplomat, sauntered into the room, a smile splayed across his usual sombre features. He pulled out a chair facing Hitler and sat down in expectant excitement.
"My Fuehrer, the British have agreed to our terms," he said with flourish. Hitler slurped down a spoonful of broth and looked up at Ribbentrof through wide eyes.
"Truly?" he gasped. Leaning back in his chair, he wiped his mouth with an embroidered napkin, grinning into space the entire time. "Yes. Yes. Without the British dogs, and their American counterparts, nipping at our rear we can focus all our strength on the Russians. Let Churchill and his queen keep their territorial trophies. They'll be ours soon enough."
"Yes, exactly my Fuehrer. Stalin will rage and bluster, but without American supplies he will not be able to hold us off much longer."
"Ha!" exclaimed Hitler, clapping his hands. "Stalingrad will be ours! Victory from defeat! Honor from humiliation! Ribbentrof, plan this out with Goebbels. Do not villianize the British and Americans. Let them feel we are grateful for their, heh, mercy. Once I have the Bolsheviks on the chopping block, the Anglo-Saxon traitors and that Jew Roosevelt will be next."
"Sir, what of the Japanese? Will we still honor our pact?"
"As much as they honored it when we attacked the Soviets. We could have put Stalin and his pets in a noose if not for their cowardice. Bah, let the Americans have them. Without us to fight, they shall crush them soon enough."
"And what of Goering and his bomber? If not for the destruction it caused, the English might never have capitulated."
"Throw him a bone. Invite him to the celebratory dinner, which we'll hold tomorrow night. And give that man who pushed the issue, what was his name again?"
"Aah..." pondered Ribbentrof, checking his notes. "Here it is: Woehller."
"Yes. Promote him and give him the Iron Cross. If not for his constant pushing Goering and, daresay, myself might have stayed to our original plans."
"It shall be done, my Fuehrer."
"Yes, I suppose it shall," Hitler said with a chuckle, returning to his soup.
Sunlight streamed through the American History class at Highland High School, in the middle of Ohio.
Toby Little, 17 years old, sit idly at his desk, twirling his pencil in pointless circles.
"Toby!" yelled his teacher, Roger Nory. "Tell us, how did the Nazis win World War 2?"
Little sat up straighter, sweat popping out on his brow. He could literally feel every eye in the classroom on him.
"Uh," he began. "By...beating the Russians?"
"That's part of it," confirmed Mr. Nory. "Why else?"
Little didn't know. He never read the assignment and didn't see the point of history. What was done was done, right? However, he was already on thin ice with Mr. Nory and didn't want another detention.
"By getting the other Allies to stop their push through Africa and Italy?" he guessed.
"Exactly. Without America and England on his back, Hitler could focus on Russia. After taking Russia in the spring of 1945, he pushed the remnants of the Red Army all the way to Pacific, giving Germany control over all of Europe and a significant chunk of Asia, allowing him a striking ground to old America through Alaska. After finalizing his alliance with Mexico, he was able to push the U.S. Army to the sea. Who knows how history might have came out if not for this set of circumstances.
At this, the bell rang, signalling the end of the day. Little sighed in relief. When "Deutschland Uber Alles" began to play, him and the rest of the class turned and saluted the picture of Adolph Hitler hanging behind Mr. Nory's desk. While mouthing the words, Little couldn't help but think of what the world may have been like had Germany lost. He pushed the thought aside, however. Like he thought earlier, what's done is done. What's the point of imaging a world that would never be?