Two men travel to the 1940s in order to help Nazi Germany win the war and change history.
| April 24, 1941
It had been a long and dreadful meeting, and Hitler spent all night dealing with the implications. Eventually, he had been forced to give up in exhaustion and retire to his quarters. He had never received so much bad news in his entire life. Disaster piled upon disaster. Learning that Germany had lost the war was shocking enough. Even worse was how the nation had been split among the loathsome victors: East Germany to the Soviets, and west Germany to the British and Americans. The volk forced to accept the false dichotomy of capitalism vs communism: Two sides of the same Jewish coin. Spending 45 years in an undeclared war on their brothers, until the USSR finally collapsed from their own evil miasma. This was not how it was supposed to end! The Bolshevik filth were destined to die by his hands. But he (or at least, his counterpart in another world) had let victory slip through his fingers... Operation barbarossa had done tremendous damage to the Soviet Union, but it had not been a knockout blow. The Wehrmacht would continue with its impressive performance in the east, but it would never manage to inflict mortal wounds on the beast. And eventually, it would be overpowered and forced back to Germany in defeat.
It took a serious effort by Hitler to shake himself out of the defeatist spirit. The war had been a disaster, but that was a war that hadn't happened yet. Even though the hour of battle was drawing near, he could make last minute changes and even the odds. He repeated the phrase like a mantra... The meeting with the two men had left him rattled. After hearing their tale of events, and seeing the little movies they had played, he was ready to make wholesale changes if it would ensure victory. But the kindof changes that Lukas and Theodor asked for, those were things that were deeply uncomfortable to Hitler. They wanted to suspend generalplan ost, and to disband the Einsatzgruppen. And then, they had told him that Germanys economy should be fully mobilised for war! He shook his head im bewilderment. Both those questions would need their own separate meeting to be addressed. In the mean time, he had more pressing matters to deal with. Worse than the sensation of being defeated in a war, was the feeling of being betrayed by a friend. He had always known there were traitors and disloyal elements within the party.
But it had been a shock to realise just how high up the corruption went. Hess, Himmler, Canaris, Oster, the list of the damned went on. He was hurt to realise that so many of his trusted men would abandon him, regardless of the reason. Hess was obsessed with securing a peace deal with Britain. Himmler was more interested in his own ideology than in serving the party or his fuhrer. And he had been a coward in the end, trying to save his own hide when Germany had fallen. Canaris and Oster were hidebound fools who wanted a return to monarchy. He went into a fury when he learned that Canaris had persuaded Franco not to join him in the war. Hitler had depended on the man to convince Spains leaders to repay their debt to Germany, and he had went and sabotaged everything. Well, he and the others would soon be regretting their treachery. He and Halder had conferred with their staff and issued arrest warrants for all the culprits. It would only be a matter of time before they were all in custody, where they could be questioned.
Dealing with Himmler could be difficult, though. He had not yet committed any real crimes, nothing serious enough to warrant an execution. But the facts clearly proved that he was untrustworthy and duplicitous. Getting him out of the way now was the only expedient course of action. And, of course, there was the question of what to do about the two 'time travellers' who had brought with them all this stunning information. Lukas and Theodore were both German born, and seemingly loyal to the cause of national socialism. But they represented an enormous security risk. If they were ever captured and interrogated by the British, the course of the war would be changed. The men had so much knowledge on so many different topics that it boggled the mind. That included domestic policys that Hitler would rather keep a secret. They could conspire with other officials inside the reich and threaten his plans! He considers having the two men imprisoned or even killed, before discarding the idea.
He was not oblivious to their personal situation, after all. Lukas and Theodor had travelled to an entirely different world than their own, at great personal risk to themselves. They had shown great bravery and commitment to their cause. That was worth some praise, at least. After mulling it over, he decided the proposal Halder offered had been best: Keep the men under protective custody, and carefully manage who they interact with. As long as they didn't share information to anyone without the right security clearance, the situation would not be too bad...
Onboard the command train 'Amerika', General Halder was sweating profusely. He had a compartment all to himself, which was a good thing. If his subordinates saw the state that he was in now, they would ask questions he would rather not answer. It was past 1:00 am, and he had been in a state of fear ever since the two men stepped on board. Particularly when they started telling Hitler who would betray him in the future. He was certain that his own dark past would eventually come up, at which point he would have to beg the fuhrer for mercy. He decided to stay quiet and not betray any guilt until he was directly accused. To his profound relief, neither Lukas or Theodore had implicated him of any wrongdoing. And that was when Halder dared to dream... Was it possible? Could the knowledge of his disloyalty have been lost in the history books? It had to be. Otherwise, the men would surely have told Hitler and spoken over any objections he made. But even if that was true, he still wasn't in the clear. During that terrible meeting, when the four of them had poured over the list of individuals who would abandon the reich, Carl Goerdelers name had come up.
The revelation had set Halders stomach into knots. Two years earlier, after the conquest of Poland, he had been approached by Goerdeler in the interest of staging a coup against Hitler. While the offer intrigued him, he declined to get involved with the plot. Of course, this now left him in a bind. Goerdelers misdeeds had been exposed, and he would soon be apprehended by the Gestapo. If they resorted to their usual methods of interrogation, there was no doubt at all that he would cave in and tell them everything. If they found out that he had been involved in that episode, his lie was forfeit. That was why he decided to take drastic action. After Hitler issued the arrest warrants for all the conspirators, Halder had excused himself from the meeting and went to make a phone call. He got in touch with an old friend in the Abwehr. He briefly told him of the situation he was in, and told the man what kindof favor he needed done. It was a dangerous, risky favor that could get them both into alot of trouble. But his friend agreed to make the arrangements for him.
He would immediately dispatch a subordinate to track down Carl Goerdeler, and assassinate him before he was captured by the Gestapo. After making the phone call, he numbly walked back to Hitlers compartment, where an animated discussion was taking place. He had went through the rest of the meeting on autopilot. It was past midnight now, and Halder was waiting for word back from his friend. There were other tasks he should be doing, but they were all on the back burner. If his arrangements didn't pan out, then it wouldn't matter in any case. His thoughts drifted to the research team who were now pouring over all the historical documents that Lukas and Theodore brought with them. A handful of carefully selected men had been sworn to secrecy by Hitler, and tasked with studying the books, papers, and microfilm. About half was in German, while the rest was in English. The volume of information was such that the research team would inevitably need to be expanded. The opportunity to learn from mistakes they hadn't made yet was truly invaluable. Halder should have been elated: But instead, he felt sick with worry.
As the morning sun rose and brought a new day with it, the people of Monichkirchen gradually awoke from their beds. For the men aboard the command train Amerika, it had been a particularly unpleasant sleep. Many had been forced to stay overtime in order to put the fuhrers plans into effect, sending orders all across the reich. The smaller night shift wasn't able to handle this burst of activity by themselves. They could all sense that the mood around the headquarters had changed. But only a few of them knew the reason why. Lukas and Theodor were awoken by their guards, who acted more friendly than yesterday. This put both of them on alert. They made their way to the cafe where they were served a breakfast of coffee, sausage, and bread. Sliced bread, to be precise. They were then marched back onto the train, which was busier than before. When they finally reached the last compartment, both Hitler and Halder were waiting for them. Hitler was sipping coffee and playing a crossword puzzle, while Halder was looking rather pleased with himself. This puzzled the men, but they kept quiet and took a seat.
Hitler was the first to address them. 'Ah, I'm glad to see you both again. We have excellent news this morning. That list of top prioritys you provided was quite useful. We were able to act on this information and put it to good use.'
Halder was happy to put in his two cents, as well. 'We got word back from the Gestapo, and all the traitors you pointed out have been apprehended. None of them have confessed as of yet, but thats just a matter of time. We'll have to keep a tight reign over the media, though. So many high ranking men being arrested will cause quite the stir.'
Hitler grimaced at this, thinking of his old comrade, Hess. He was unsure on whether or not he should visit the man in prison, and find out what the hell he had been up to, planning that crazy trip to Scotland. The reports spoke of some mental deterioration on his part, but Hitler was sure he could make sense out of Hess. If he did turn out to be mentally unsound, then he planned to intervene on his behalf and urge the courts to show leniency. Blissfully unaware that this would contradict the T4 program he himself had devised.
Halder continued with his summary. 'The mens reactions were interesting, to say the least. Goerdeler caught wind of the orders and committed suicide. Canaris and Oster nearly fainted when the Gestapo showed up to arrest them. Shameful... Leutnant Shroder, please tell our guests about the other developments.'
From the corner of the room, Halders assistant could barely be seen under the a stack of papers. He had spent the previous night pouring through the documents brought by Lukas and Theodore. Wearily climbing to his feet, he pulled out a clipboard and began reciting the events that had transpired in the last 12 hours. The list was longer than either time traveler had expected. They learned that the communist central committee in Yugoslavia had been rounded up. Josip Tito was destined to form a resistance movement that opposed the Wehrmacht. But now, that would never happen.
The leutnant had nothing but praise for this. 'Nipping these partisans in the bud now will pay major dividends for us in the future. Tito and his gang caused alot of trouble in this other time. The Balkans turned into a powder keg by 1943. Fighting in that region had drawn at least 20 divisions away from other fronts where they were desperately needed.'
Lukas and Theodor also learned that the Duquesne spy ring in New York were making plans to flee the city and evade the FBI, who had been aware of their activitys for months. The ring would break up, make their way to the west coast, and set up a new identity. This was of particular interest to Hitler. If America ever became hostile to Germany, an established spy ring would be a great asset. When the time came, they would be used to neutralise members of the 'international Jewish cabal.' Now that the fuhrer knew of their plans, he was confident they could be stopped dead in their tracks. With particular emphasis on the 'dead' portion.