AH Vignette: Swing Low, Sweet Grasshopper



Himmler's Germany: The Agrarian Totalitarian (?)

===
"Heil Himmler," the SS man belted, sticking his arm straight out like a bolt.
"Heil Himmler," Alois said, returning the salute with somewhat less enthusiasm. The black-uniformed guard passed his papers back to him, and Frank found himself back in the German Quarter, a small bundle of rations pressed to his chest as though it was his child. Behind him, he heard the familiar call of "Papers, please!" repeated itself as another man tried to get ingress.

Alois looked around him. Even inside the Quarter, Staatspolizei men paced the streets, Walthers and batons swinging from their hips, grinning to each other but starting under their visors with eyes of cold steel. Security had only been going up ever since the uprising in Reichsgau-Weichselland. Eyes devoid of hope watched the men in Prussian blue and jackboots as they carried on their way.

The war was going poorly. Himmler's war. Rosenberg's speech after the disaster in the Caucasus only confirmed what everyone already knew. The Soviets were coming, and there was only so much the army could do to stop them. It had stopped becoming a question of "if", but "when".

Alois had cursed himself every day since then for accepting the position in Reval. But back then everyone thought the war would be over by Christmas. The Baltics represented new opportunities for everyone, so the propagandists claimed. New lands for the Aryan population to take charge of, which they'd been robbed of by the weaklings in Weimar in the last Great War. Alois had never bought into that line about "Aryanism" and the "Master Race", not truly. But as long as the entire civil service and now all the Junkers were parroting what Himmler and Weber before him were saying, why not?

That was the line of thinking which had brought him here, to Estonia, land of the future for the Germanic peoples, and just across the border from the Russians. Lebensraum indeed. The last thing anyone expected in there was life. Not least for his son. His son, sacrificed on the altar of the Nazi Party by the propagandists and the generals. All he'd received was a letter allegedly signed by the Reichsführer himself expressing his regrets not for his valiant sacrifice, undoubtedly face-down in a muddy field outside of Leningrad, but that he would no longer be able to serve the cause of Germany and witness the achievement of the eternal Reich.

Himmler's cause. Himmler's Germany. Himmler's "Thousand-Year-Reich".

That's when it all had gone wrong. Alois knew that everyone thought the same. He didn't need to ask them to know. He just had to see the look in their eyes. Weber had known when to stop. Weber had retaken Danzig, conquered Poland, and defeated the French and the British decisively and reversed the betrayal at Versailles. What had Himmler done? Betrayed that Bolshevist Czar in the Kremlin and sent Germany heedlessly rushing into Russia, promising the war would be over by Christmas.

Then Christmas came, and the youth of Germany began their slow death at the gates of Moscow and Leningrad. And all because Weber had dropped dead in the Reich Chancellery one night. Finger after accusatory finger pointed left and right, and Himmler and the SS had come out on top of the bloodbath that followed. Himmler, Rosenberg and Küchler. Those were the architects of the Drang nach Osten, the death-grapple in which the Wehrmacht now found itself, unable to let go despite being choked to death by the Soviet war machine.

He pushed open the door to his house. The middle hinge hung open in a mocking grin. The handyman had claimed to arrive "next week" two weeks ago. Everything was short, especially machine parts. Greta wasn't home yet. Probably still at the factory. She'd just fallen into the age-range of women that the NS-Frauenschaft had drafted into munitions work. Now the look in her eyes matched the same dead one all of Alois's fellow old men had. Working her fingers to the bone to make more guns, more bombs, all of which would end their lives on the Eastern Front. Manufacturing destruction.

Alois flipped open the paper from his ration bundle. The headline read, in the new stark font, JAPAN HOLDS OFF AMERICAN ADVANCE IN THE PHILIPPINES, stating the landings were meeting with "aggressive resistance" from the "fearless defenders of the Japanese Empire", along with the usual business about Germany standing by its allies in their time of crisis. Hirohito's war had become Himmler's war too, the day that the American Willkie and the Englishman Halifax had come to an agreement concerning Japan "and its allies." The day the Americans would enter would be the final nail in the German coffin.

He undid the strings holding his ration-package shut, spilling its contents on the table. No meat again. Bread and butter again, and the dreck which passed for coffee.

===
"Heavy reading there, Bill?"

The OSS man looked up from his copy of The Night of the Swastika. "Nah, science fiction."

"What's it about?"

"'Counter-history', if that's a thing. The Führer gets this guy Himmler on his side before he gets to power instead of sidelining him, and when he chokes on a schnitzel after peacing the Brits out Himmler takes over. Great Patriotic War goes way worse for the Nazis because Himmler's a dumbass and all the good generals got purged, and Germany loses by '45."

The SIS agent chuckled sardonically. "Sounds like a fantasy world."

"Wish we were both in that one?"

"It would mean we wouldn't have to sneak into Castle Wolfsburg tonight."

B.J. smiled. "Wouldn't miss that for the world, Wes."

"Heh. I suppose you wouldn't, Blazko. Get your kit, we're almost there."

High in the skies over Prussia, the C-47's engines roared, ready to drop the two spies off.
 
Himmler's Germany: The Agrarian Totalitarian (?)

===
"Heil Himmler," the SS man belted, sticking his arm straight out like a bolt.
"Heil Himmler," Alois said, returning the salute with somewhat less enthusiasm. The black-uniformed guard passed his papers back to him, and Frank found himself back in the German Quarter, a small bundle of rations pressed to his chest as though it was his child. Behind him, he heard the familiar call of "Papers, please!" repeated itself as another man tried to get ingress.

Alois looked around him. Even inside the Quarter, Staatspolizei men paced the streets, Walthers and batons swinging from their hips, grinning to each other but starting under their visors with eyes of cold steel. Security had only been going up ever since the uprising in Reichsgau-Weichselland. Eyes devoid of hope watched the men in Prussian blue and jackboots as they carried on their way.

The war was going poorly. Himmler's war. Rosenberg's speech after the disaster in the Caucasus only confirmed what everyone already knew. The Soviets were coming, and there was only so much the army could do to stop them. It had stopped becoming a question of "if", but "when".

Alois had cursed himself every day since then for accepting the position in Reval. But back then everyone thought the war would be over by Christmas. The Baltics represented new opportunities for everyone, so the propagandists claimed. New lands for the Aryan population to take charge of, which they'd been robbed of by the weaklings in Weimar in the last Great War. Alois had never bought into that line about "Aryanism" and the "Master Race", not truly. But as long as the entire civil service and now all the Junkers were parroting what Himmler and Weber before him were saying, why not?

That was the line of thinking which had brought him here, to Estonia, land of the future for the Germanic peoples, and just across the border from the Russians. Lebensraum indeed. The last thing anyone expected in there was life. Not least for his son. His son, sacrificed on the altar of the Nazi Party by the propagandists and the generals. All he'd received was a letter allegedly signed by the Reichsführer himself expressing his regrets not for his valiant sacrifice, undoubtedly face-down in a muddy field outside of Leningrad, but that he would no longer be able to serve the cause of Germany and witness the achievement of the eternal Reich.

Himmler's cause. Himmler's Germany. Himmler's "Thousand-Year-Reich".

That's when it all had gone wrong. Alois knew that everyone thought the same. He didn't need to ask them to know. He just had to see the look in their eyes. Weber had known when to stop. Weber had retaken Danzig, conquered Poland, and defeated the French and the British decisively and reversed the betrayal at Versailles. What had Himmler done? Betrayed that Bolshevist Czar in the Kremlin and sent Germany heedlessly rushing into Russia, promising the war would be over by Christmas.

Then Christmas came, and the youth of Germany began their slow death at the gates of Moscow and Leningrad. And all because Weber had dropped dead in the Reich Chancellery one night. Finger after accusatory finger pointed left and right, and Himmler and the SS had come out on top of the bloodbath that followed. Himmler, Rosenberg and Küchler. Those were the architects of the Drang nach Osten, the death-grapple in which the Wehrmacht now found itself, unable to let go despite being choked to death by the Soviet war machine.

He pushed open the door to his house. The middle hinge hung open in a mocking grin. The handyman had claimed to arrive "next week" two weeks ago. Everything was short, especially machine parts. Greta wasn't home yet. Probably still at the factory. She'd just fallen into the age-range of women that the NS-Frauenschaft had drafted into munitions work. Now the look in her eyes matched the same dead one all of Alois's fellow old men had. Working her fingers to the bone to make more guns, more bombs, all of which would end their lives on the Eastern Front. Manufacturing destruction.

Alois flipped open the paper from his ration bundle. The headline read, in the new stark font, JAPAN HOLDS OFF AMERICAN ADVANCE IN THE PHILIPPINES, stating the landings were meeting with "aggressive resistance" from the "fearless defenders of the Japanese Empire", along with the usual business about Germany standing by its allies in their time of crisis. Hirohito's war had become Himmler's war too, the day that the American Willkie and the Englishman Halifax had come to an agreement concerning Japan "and its allies." The day the Americans would enter would be the final nail in the German coffin.

He undid the strings holding his ration-package shut, spilling its contents on the table. No meat again. Bread and butter again, and the dreck which passed for coffee.

===
"Heavy reading there, Bill?"

The OSS man looked up from his copy of The Night of the Swastika. "Nah, science fiction."

"What's it about?"

"'Counter-history', if that's a thing. The Führer gets this guy Himmler on his side before he gets to power instead of sidelining him, and when he chokes on a schnitzel after peacing the Brits out Himmler takes over. Great Patriotic War goes way worse for the Nazis because Himmler's a dumbass and all the good generals got purged, and Germany loses by '45."

The SIS agent chuckled sardonically. "Sounds like a fantasy world."

"Wish we were both in that one?"

"It would mean we wouldn't have to sneak into Castle Wolfsburg tonight."

B.J. smiled. "Wouldn't miss that for the world, Wes."

"Heh. I suppose you wouldn't, Blazko. Get your kit, we're almost there."

High in the skies over Prussia, the C-47's engines roared, ready to drop the two spies off.

An AH piece set in the world of Weber's Germany? Good work on this one, Tom. :cool:
 
Continue this. Please.
Would that I could, but this was basically an exercise in getting myself off my bum and getting over my writer's block, meaning that Weber's Germany will be back to updating...soon. :p

A parallel history within another parallel history, inside a video game? How deliciously absurd!
An AH piece set in the world of Weber's Germany? Good work on this one, Tom. :cool:
Exactly my idea. It's based on The Grasshopper Lies Heavy, the AH-within-an-AH of the seminal The Man in the High Castle, and is also an exercise as to what sorts of assumptions people (the author may or may not be Phillip K. Dick, he was hardly the first or the last to write alternate scenarios concerning World War 2) make when writing alternate history. I thankfully didn't have to make the nested scenario too plausible because hey, it's fiction. ;)

The author in this scenario apparently believes in some variant of the "flight into war" theory and that Weber (despite all ideological basis for it) would've been content with not fighting the USSR, or doing so in a more cautious fashion. In the Weberverse, Himmler's only known as a fanatical weirdo and the full extent of his unpopularity never really emerged unlike OTL, making him kind of the "Freidrich Weber" (i.e. OC Stand-In [warning: TV Tropes link! {nested brackets, oooo}]) of the Weberverse.

The title draws inspiration from Swastika Night, a (then) futuristic novel written by feminist Katharine Burdekin before the outbreak of war predicting the effects of a victorious Nazi Germany. Here the "night" is perhaps more akin to a twilight.

Wesley and Blaskowicz.

Well played, sir.
GET PSYCHED
 

Japhy

Banned
Very Meta. I like it a lot, great proof of how experimental one can get with the vignette format.
 
Very Meta. I like it a lot, great proof of how experimental one can get with the vignette format.
Thanks! Glad I'm pushing the envelope here, with the nested "realities". :)

It was fun taking my changes to history in Weber's Germany and making them assumptions that these were the only way things could go from an in-universe perspective.

shit's gettin gut in here :D

Thanks muchly. :D

Very nice indeed.

Inspired me to put up a humble vignette of my own, in fact.
Thank you! As I said in your vignette, glad I could inspire something as simple yet as effective as yours was.
 
GET PSYCHED

Breathe in. Count to four. Breathe out.

"This is all very...not needed, Kapitain."

Breathe in. Count to four. Breathe out.

"I admire your resilience, but you see, your comrade was somewhat...lacking in that quality."

Breathe in. Count to four. Breathe out.

"He has revealed your mission to Schloss Wolfsburg - very mundane business, of course, sabotage the Volkswagen factories, steal plans for the newest tanks...but unfortunately to say, that was all he could get out before, well..."

The scarred face leant back, and turned to...somewhere else. His lip curled, as though he smelled something foul. For that matter there was. Something was burning. Not far.

"Hm. Pity."

The face of SS-Gruppenführer Wilhelm Strasse - that wasn't even his real name, just the street out of Berlin where he and his cronies used to work - head of the "Deathshead" Division, turned to his captive.

"So, you can still save yourself, my dear Kapitain. You simply have to tell us which elements of the Kriesau Circle you expected to link up with, and we shall set you free. Our intelligence is good enough to tell us who they are and where they meet. We simply let enough of them exist to make them believe that they're doing something of worth. Now, who are they? Clearly they've escalated from their usual drudgery to contacting foreign agents. This makes them rather too dangerous to exist. Now, I ask you again, where are they?"

B.J.'s lips moved, but his throat started to choke on its own dryness.

"Wasser! Schnell!"

A glass was pressed to his lips and its blessed contents tipped into his mouth. He gulped it down appreciatively, breathing shallowly. It'd been the first thing he'd been given as sustenance since he and Wes had been ambushed outside the castle. How long ago had that been? How many days? Did it matter?

Yes, yes it did. It made all the difference. Their contact had protocols to follow. The OSS would know soon enough that they'd screwed the pooch and respond. Or not.

"As you were saying, Kapitain...Blazcovicz?"

B.J. spoke slowly. "You'll find them..."

"Yes? Yes?"

"Right up your a-"

The lip curled again in that disgusting sneer. Without even turning away, he barked to the technician. "Again!"

B.J. heard the footsteps out of his range of view. He'd have seconds, at best.

Breathe in. Count to four. Brea-

Pain. Starting from where the electrical leads had been attached to his skin, then everywhere. Blinding pain. His muscles were contracting as he twisted and turned in some kind of danse macarbe. One where he wasn't dead. Not yet, but he wished to hell he was. Images flashed through his mind. Some, oddly enough, of a scene he'd once seen. It wasn't real. But it may as well have been.

===
"The Führer will see you now."

Dietl nodded to the lackey at the door. They were the same rank - he and Haase - but he'd earned his baton on the front lines, Haase in the
Führerreserve. The fit of their uniforms - his too loose, Haase's too tight - belied the difference.

It made no difference now. They would all be dead in a month. Even less, if they were lucky.

There, crouched over his maps, pushing toy troops around as though they would affect the real world, was the
Führer. Heinrich Himmler. Haase was the lackey's lackey. Himmler had been nothing but a burr on Weber's pant-leg, one which had managed to survive the ambuscade which had been the NSDAP leadership after Weber died under..."suspicious" circumstances. If Weber had been nothing but a veterinarian, Himmler was a mere farmer. Stupider and even less knowledgable about the first thing about running an army.

Around him were some of his top brass - lackeys, all like Haase. They had just been cowed by some tempestuous rant which Dietl had managed to catch wind of heading down the hallway.

"Ah, Haase. I see you have brought a real general at last! None of these fools whose only skills were in handling a knife and fork at the academy!"

Nobody in the
Wehrmacht liked or respected Himmler much, and the same was returned. Dietl, Haase, Fromm and the rest in the room were members of a thinning herd. Himmler had let the SS loose on the top brass after the attempt to kill him outside of this very bunker. It appeared that Eduard Wagner, a colonel in the artillery, had plotted to detonate a bomb on Himmler's private jet, counting on the fuel to do the rest. But the fuses had been off, and the Führer had been halfway in the bunker when it finally detonated. Dietl had known something of it. Thankfully he had been stationed in Sweden at the time and escaped the purges. The explosion had rendered Himmler half-blind and half-deaf, a defective Führer for a defective Fatherland.

"Report, Dietl!"

Dietl paused, glancing at the telegram and its damning contents.

"Well?"

"
Mein Führer...Generalfeldmarschall Erwin Rommel sends his regards, but-"

"What?"

The silence was deafening, perhaps even moreso for Himmler. Rommel had been the last chance. His force would've crossed the former Polish corridor to get them out of the Wolf's Lair. Himmler had refused to take the other plane after Wagner's attempt on his life. The Red Army was on the doorstep, and would encircle all of East Prussia soon enough. They had looked to the west, where the "Arctic Fox", Rommel was to lead a task force to liberate Himmler.

"He has, in the capacity of his position as temporary chief of the Oberkommando der Wehrmacht advised Deputy
Führer Gerhard Klopfer to begin negotiations-"

"TRAITORS!", Himmler screamed, banging his fist on the table, sending his toy soldiers scattering all over - and off - it. "TRAITORS! All of them! Wagner was just one hint - one small fraction of the traitors in Berlin! I should had all of them shot! ALL OF THEM!"

Haase spoke up: "
Mein Führer, please, listen to reason! The plane will take you safely to-"

"TO MY DEATH!!! I know that's what you all want! How shall it happen? Shall I go to the lavatory to find one of you snivelling cowards ready with a knife? Or will the pilot be compelled to crash, with his family spared from your purge and an honourable funeral promised from you to him?! Enough! If you want to see me dead, you shall have your wish!! Get out!"

"Mein Führer-"

"OOOUUUTTTT!!!!", Himmler bellowed.

They slowly filed out of the room, while Himmler stared, eyes wild, at the map of Ratsenburg, covered with advancing red arrows. The heavy metal door slammed. Haase pressed his ear to it.

"What is he doing?"

Haase turned to Dietl. "He's very quiet. Ah. I hear something. He's talking about his wife and daughter."

"What about them? They died in the first raid."

"I think he'll be seeing them soon enough."

Almost as if on cue, a shot rang out from the other side. Shrugging his shoulders, Haase pushed the door open to a small gap. The red arrows had been drowned in a sea of the same colour, and the skies over Himmler's head - the ceiling - slowly dripped red rain. His mouth, where he had jammed Walther pistol against his palate, remained open in one final hateful grimace.

A lieutenant came running down the hall.

"Sir! Sir! The Soviets are beginning to shell the village!"

All of them were transfixed on the scene inside.

"What shall we do?"

Dietl looked at Haase, Haase at Fromm, and Fromm at Dietl. None of them had an answer for the fresh-faced lieutenant.
===

Blazcowicz came back to reality. The leather straps were beginning to wear. He'd have to wait until the opportune moment. He only had one chance at this. Deathshead was gone, but the technician would have to check that he hadn't accidentally killed his prisoner.

Breathe in. Count to four.

There he was, peering over. Blazcowicz lay there, motionless, eyes half-open. The technician was leaning over to check his pulse. It was now or never.

Breathe out.

"Nazi scum."

With an almighty effort, B.J.'s wrist tore through the strap and his fingers wrapped around the technician's neck. His torturer's hands reflexively grabbed at B.J.'s arm, but he stood no chance. The two men locked glances, as both tired, until the Nazi gave up one last breath, falling to the ground unconscious. With his free hand, B.J. worked himself loose of the rest of the straps, and slowly, unsteadily, got off the table. His limbs felt like lead, and failed on him time and again as he headed to the other side of the room. It was as though they didn't want to take him, to the other table, not wanting him to see-

Wesley's corpse lay there, eyes already closed as he had embraced infinity in this dark, dingy, Nazi castle.

The burnt smell was overpowering. If there had been anything left in B.J.'s guts he might have heaved. But there were only the sick sensations in the back of his dry throat, which passed soon enough. Outside, guards exchanged "Heil dem Führer"s. They'd shortly have to check in on their star prisoner. Time to get out of here.

One Führer had already died in B.J.'s mind. Now just to make the dream into reality.
 
Yes, Even

Damnme Sir, even your vignettes are stellar quality!

And, from out of the fog, , I hear a TTL Mel Brooks singing, "Springtime for Weber, and Germany... Winter for Himmler and totentanz..."
 
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