- HITLER WINS
- For nearly half a century it has been an enjoyable creative exercise to imagine what kind of ALTERNATE WORLD might have evolved had Germany won WWII, and many novels and stories have been written to explore thatassumption. But the first Hitler-wins tales were not exercises in reconstructing history; Swastika Night (1937) by Murray Constantine (Katharine BURDEKIN), was not set in an alternate world, and nor were theseveral others published 1939-45. Any Hitler-wins story published before the end of WWII falls under the general category of the future- WAR or INVASION tale, and was almost certainly designed as a dreadful warning ofthe consequences of defeat. Examples include Loss of Eden (1940; vt If Hitler Comes 1941) by Douglas Brown (1907-) and Christopher Serpell, ThenWe Shall Hear Singing (1942) by Storm JAMESON, Grand Canyon (1942) by Vita SACKVILLE-WEST, When the Bells Rang (1943) by Anthony ARMSTRONG and Bruce Graeme (1900-1982), and When Adolf Came (1943) by Martin HAWKIN. A subcategory - novels in which Hitler seems about to win, but loses an important battle or secret at the last moment - includes many borderline tales of warfare and espionage; among the serious examples are detailed fictional prognoses like Fred ALLHOFF's Lightning in the Night (1939 Liberty; 1979), which predicts a US readiness to use nuclear weaponsagainst Germany as a final resort.The death of Hitler in 1945 marked the end of the real WWII in Europe, but for any number of reasons - the astonishing intensity of the evil he represented; the dreadful clarity of the consequences had the Allies failed; the melodramatic intensity of the conflict itself, with the whole war seeming (then and later) to turn on linchpin decisions and events; and (shamingly) the cheap aesthetic appeal of Nazism, with its Art Deco gear, its brutal elites, its Blitzes and Panzer strikes, its secrecy and paranoia - WWII very soon became a focusfor speculative thought, and it was only a few months before the first alternate-world Hitler-wins tale was published (in HUNGARY): Laszlo Gaspar's Mi, I. Adolf ("We, Adolf 1") (1945). The first significantexample in English was SARBAN's THE SOUND OF HIS HORN (1952), which sinuously intertwines sadism and aesthetics into a vision of decadence with roots in Germany's mythic past. This book may have influenced - and certainly served as a tonal precedent for - several works both within the field, like Keith ROBERTS's "Weihnachtsabend" (1972), and outside it, as in non-alternate-history novels of Germany like Gabriel Fielding's The Birthday King (1962) and Michel Tournier's Le Roi des Aulnes (1970; transBarbara Bray as The Erl-King 1972 UK).The most famous single Hitler-wins sf tale is probably Philip K. DICK's THE MAN IN THE HIGH CASTLE (1962), in which Hitler's victory becomes a kind of poisonous backdrop for a complex tale; and the most telling commentary on the moral underside of the subgenre is Norman SPINRAD's The Iron Dream (1972), in which the young Hitler, a failure at politics, becomes a pulp novelist whose tale Lord ofthe Swastika exploits, to savagely ironic effect, some of the responses of many readers to tales of "genuine" Nazi triumph.Half a century after the end of WWII, new Hitler-wins stories are less common, but the number written during this intervening period has been remarkable. They include Hilary BAILEY's "The Fall of Frenchy Steiner" (1964), Otto BASIL's Wenndas der Fuhrer wusste (1966; cut trans Thomas Weyr as The Twilight Men 1968 US), Greg BEAR's "Though Road No Whither" (1985), David BRIN's "ThorMeets Captain America" (1986), Len DEIGHTON's SS-GB (1978), J.R. DUNN's "Crux Gammata" (1992), David DVORKIN's Budspy (1987), Gordon EKLUND's "Red Skins" (1981), Harlan ELLISON's STAR TREK teleplay "The City on the Edge of Forever" (shown 1967), Gary Gygax's and Terry Stafford's Victorious German Arms: An Alternate Military History of World War II (1973 chap),Robert Harris's Fatherland (1992), James P. HOGAN's The Proteus Operation (1985), Trevor HOYLE's Q: Through the Eye of Time (1977), the film IT HAPPENED HERE (1966), C.M. KORNBLUTH's "Two Dooms" (1958), Fritz LEIBER's THE BIG TIME (1961), Brad LINAWEAVER's Moon of Ice (1988), Norman Longmate's (1931-) If Britain had Fallen * (1974), based on a 1972 BBC programme, Kenneth Macksey's Invasion: The German Invasion of England, July 1940 (1980), Richard MEREDITH's Run, Come See Jerusalem (1976), inwhich the Nazis do eventually lose, though only after nuking Chicago, Frederic MULLALLY's Hitler has Won (1975), Eric NORDEN's The UltimateSolution (1973), Andre NORTON's The Crossroads of Time (1956)and And All the King's Men (1990) by Gordon Stevens (1945-).An interesting theme anthology is Hitler Victorious (anth 1986) ed Gregory BENFORD and Martin Harry GREENBERG, which contains several of the stories listed above. PeterFLEMING's Invasion 1940 (1957; vt Operation Sea Lion 1957 US) describes in great detail the preparations Germany made to invade the UK in 1940, speculating in the last chapter on what might have happened had a successful invasion occurred. WWII, Fleming suggests, might in that event have been won by Hitler.JC
Science Fiction and Fantasy Encyclopedia. Academic. 2011.