This Chaos in Styria arc will be 2-3 Parts, then it’ll full steam ahead on towards the Depression.

I have had an idea on how Hitler becomes Führer of Austria for a couple years now, but I recently refined the idea. It probably won’t be the way y’all expect as it mirrors OTL to a degree but is done in a much different fashion as a whole.

If y’all enjoyed the chapter, please leave a like. It helps motivate me! And if any constructive criticism or thoughts on the story, please share. The discussions amongst the Der Kampf Community is a well of Inspiration.
I have had an idea on how Hitler becomes Führer of Austria for a couple years now, but I recently refined the idea. It probably won’t be the way y’all expect as it mirrors OTL to a degree but is done in a much different fashion as a whole.
He gets democratically-elected? And just keeps getting elected by the people afterwards?
I have had an idea on how Hitler becomes Führer of Austria for a couple years now, but I recently refined the idea. It probably won’t be the way y’all expect as it mirrors OTL to a degree but is done in a much different fashion as a whole.
Alt Austrian Civil War?
Oh wait,this is genius,Hitler's not going to allow Pfrimer to usurp his authority like that and the party rank and file and the high command are mostly loyal to Hitler and Hitler's more charismatic,So if Hitler successfully angled himself he could get the reputation his OTL counterpart had as the most moderate member of his own party leading to other parties bring far more willing to form coalitions with him (Him opposing Pfrimer could also be taken by the other parties as a sign Hitler has moderated with time and matured too).
Oh wait,this is genius,Hitler's not going to allow Pfrimer to usurp his authority like that and the party rank and file and the high command are mostly loyal to Hitler and Hitler's more charismatic,So if Hitler successfully angled himself he could get the reputation his OTL counterpart had as the most moderate member of his own party leading to other parties bring far more willing to form coalitions with him (Him opposing Pfrimer could also be taken by the other parties as a sign Hitler has moderated with time and matured too).
Mhmm, for sure. Even though the Pfrimerists are the ‘radicals’ they are just more open about their intentions while TTL Hitler is much better at the realpolitik and hiding his true motivations. He comes off far more moderate than he actually is.
The sheer imagery and abundance of literary devices... this has got to be one of the best sentences I have ever read. Truly impressive; the mark of a true author. 👏
Thank you! I really appreciate that.
What is this guy doing?
Honestly, I’ve never heard of the guy. Can you give me a rundown of him ?
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Mhmm, for sure. Even though the Pfrimerists are the ‘radicals’ they are just more open about their intentions while TTL Hitler is much better at the realpolitik and hiding his true motivations. He comes off far more moderate than he actually is.

Thank you! I really appreciate that.

Honestly, I’ve never heard of the guy. Can you give me a rundown of him ?
He was the leader of South Tyrol Nazi Resistance.
He was the leader of South Tyrol Nazi Resistance.
Ah ok, well I’ll need to mention him in the final drafts. Let’s just say he was Kuhr’s second when Kuhr was there but when Kuhr left, Hofer became the ‘leader’ of the Sozinat movement in South Tyrol.
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chapter Thirty-Nine
Chaos in Styria, Part II
Weiz, Austria
Republic of Austria
April 1929

“I’m sorry, sir, but you cannot continue. The road is blocked.”

It was a chaotic scene. Dozens of cars and trucks, mostly military and police, had formed two blockades, one facing Graz and the other facing in the opposite direction, the early stages of a defensive formation. Soldiers and police milled back and forth, orders were barked and confirmed, all the while a few reporters on a nearby hill eagerly snapped photos and wrote furiously in their notepads, each believing that this story would make their career. Heavier weaponry, such as machine guns and mortars, were being hastily readied. Overhead flew a biplane that that was ostensibly not part of the military, rather owned by a private citizen who volunteered to aid his country, but Olbrecht knew the pilot was indeed a military man, a member of the open secret that was the Österreichische Luftstreitkräfte. The plane flew slowly overhead in wide, sweeping circles, almost lazily. Olbrecht could vividly imagine the pilot using binoculars to scan the road approaching Graz, on the lookout for Pfrimerist positions.

Franz Olbrecht looked over the Bundesheer soldier, the Austrian coat of arms blazoned proudly on his stahlhelm, and frowned. The corporal, who stood on the road through Weiz, stood there in a nonchalant manner that irked Olbrecht beyond reason. Olbrecht slammed his fist hard on the hood of the car.

“I need to get by, soldier. It is an urgent matter.” He used his height to his advantage but the corporal stared up with amused green eyes, as if he were enjoying this.

“Urgent it may be, sir, you are still not allowed through. I have orders from my commander who has orders from the General Staff and the Army Minister. The Chancellor and the President both have ordered Graz to be cut off from the rest of the country.”

Olbrecht ran his hand through his hair in frustration. Looking back at the column of six cars, full of Sturmwache men, he felt like forcing the issue but there was only so far he could go. With Walter Pfrimer blackening the name of the Party, the true loyalists to the Führer’s will, any unwise move could be damning to Social Nationalism.

“Goddamnit, soldier! My name is Franz Olbrecht. I was a Colonel in the Landwehr. I demand to speak to your commanding officer.”

“I’m sorry, sir, I cannot allow that.” The soldier gestured at the blue clad men waiting in the cars behind Olbrecht. “It is men dressed like that who have overthrown the Graz government and started an insurrection. For all we know, you’re here to reinforce Pfrimer.”

“Walter Pfrimer is a traitorous bastard. He is not only initiating a coup against the government but also against the Party. We are simply trying to get to Villach, to see if the Führer will survive.”

The possibility that Hitler might die haunted Olbrecht, his mood was sour and bitter since he had spoken to Kuhr and learned of what happened only a couple of days ago.

“Be that as it may,” the soldier said, visibly growing more frustrated, “I cannot and will not allow you passage. If you want to reach Villach you’ll have to take an alternate path. If you try and shoot your way through, sir,” the corporal snapped, “then I suggest you call your Sozinat henchmen in Vienna to come collect your bodies after we finish putting you down.”

Olbrecht looked over the soldiers flanking the corporal. Heavily armed with a no-nonsense attitude, their faces were hard and unforgiving. Beyond them were Bundesheer trucks and sandbags as a roadblock, with a handful of Schwarzlose MGs pointing west towards Graz. Those could easily be turned around and now down his men who were armed with pistols mostly, alongside a handful of rifles and shotguns. It would be a slaughter and vilify the entire ÖSNVP to the whole country.

He couldn’t risk that. Hitler wouldn’t risk that.

Olbrecht delivered a curt nod before returning to the lead SW car. Karl Leichtenberg sat in the driver’s seat and looked up at him.

“What do we do?” The newly elevated Personal Secretary to the Führer asked. Though new, Olbrecht could see why Hitler trusted Leichtenberg. His bureaucratic efficiency in conjunction with a total embrace of Social Nationalism set him apart from the rank-and-file. Olbrecht could tell the man would go far in the Party.

Sighing in frustration, Olbrecht shrugged.

“We’ll have to take the long way.”

Berlin, Germany
German Reich
April 1929
He was, Paul reflected, high enough on the totem poll that he could delegate away the work he was doing. But, he admitted to himself, he actually enjoyed the labor. Gave him purpose, helped him focus. It also passed the time.

Grabbing two nails from the pack at his waist, putting one between his lips, he hammered once into the wooden beam, right where the stencil dot was marked. He pulled the nail from his mouth and hammered it in.

He was reaching for another couple when a whistle was sounded and the booming voice of the foreman rang out, “Lunch time!”

Paul set down the hammer and unbuckled his utility belt, and walked down the stairwell, the smell of sawdust and cured wood strong in the newest home under construction in a well-to-do neighborhood of Berlin.

Reaching the front of the house, he sifted through the lunch pails until he found his. Opening it, he brought out a ham and cheese sandwich. Biting into it, he savored the food, and sipped his water.

All around him were his construction workers, clumped together in twos and threes, enjoying their half-hour lunch. As an on-site supervisor he mainly dealt with paperwork and managing the construction on several jobs. Sometimes, like today, he rolled up his sleeves, grabbed some tools, and went to work, earning an honest wage with honest labor.

He no longer worried if the money he would be paid on Friday would depreciate by Saturday. He no longer had to freeze in his apartment come winter nor did he have to stretch every pfennig for what it was worth to survive. Having two incomes did that, as did the recovering economy.

All the men under him knew Ursula was a Communist. Kind of hard to hide when she worked in the KPD propaganda as a spokeswoman, making speeches and holding assemblies for employed females from a host of different careers. His workers knew that Communists were far more egalitarian than many other political parties yet still they found it strange for a German woman to hold a job other than teacher, childcare worker, secretary, clerk, nurse or hausfrau. And that she made more than he did!

He smiled, thinking of his stubborn Marxist-Leninist-Sverdlovist wife. Her temper matched her party’s favorite color, but he loved her all the same. Thinking of his wife, he also thought of his daughters. Frederica and Karla kept Ursula and him up half the night with their crying but they seemed to be sleeping longer which was good because then he wouldn't get a tongue lashing by his wife whenever he slept through their cries on the nights he was to take care of them.

Ursula couldn’t believe him, not really at least, that he did not hear them at all on those nights. He would simply sleep away, snorting like a truck engine according to her. His hearing while asleep was quite selective. He woke up one night, hand reaching into the night drawer next to him where a revolver rested before he realized it wasn’t gunfire but a car backfiring.

She had lived through the war but she had not lived it. He had and even though the war was eleven years past, some reflexes never truly went away.

Finishing his meal, he watched his men eat. He did not talk to anyone, few wanted to talk to the boss in the best of situations, so he rose to stretch his legs. It was as he was passing one of the half-finished rooms near the stairs when he heard what sounded like the beginning of an argument.

“You lied to me! How the hell could you support the FDAS, Anton? I thought we both agreed we would vote Social Nationalist in the last election!”

Paul stopped out of sight and listened.

“I didn’t want to waste my vote, Günther. The Sozinats only have a few seats in the Reichstag and barely have a presence here in Berlin. The FDAS has three times that number of seats! And they are friendly with some of the DNVP, they could actually influence and pass laws. The Sozinats, they’re extremists, and they won’t go anywhere. You’ve heard what’s been happening in South Tyrol and now Styria. It’s madness, simple bloodthirsty madness. You’d think after the Great War, no one would want another.”

“I didn’t realize you were such a coward, Anton,” Paul heard Günther hiss. “The Party is better off without you. You can take your Italian Fascism and shove it down your throat. And don’t come crawling back when Social Nationalism rules from the Baltic to the Mediterranean.”

“If you truly believe that, then you are more deluded than that warmongering fool in Austria…”

“Enough!” Paul stepped around the corner, spine ramrod straight, using his height and build to his advantage. Anton’s eyes flicked to the ground in embarrassment but Günther stared daggers at him. “This is done with. You know better than to talk about politics at work. Just feel lucky I don’t report this and have your pay docked. Now get back to work.”

“I didn’t fight in the Great War to be reprimanded by a damn Commie-loving bastard like you, Lutjens.”

Paul felt his face heat up with rage but the words he spoke next came out cold and toneless.

“Careful, Günther, wouldn’t want anything unfortunate to happen.”

If Günther had ended it right there and then, Paul could have pretended nothing had happened. Günther, however, was a vocal supporter of the German Social National People’s Party, a sister party to the ÖSNVP, and was fanatical about Hitler’s pan-German nationalism and the belief of German racial superiority. Many felt that way, though the FDAS was more popular by numbers alone but the DSNVP were more prone to murderous violence, willing to fight and kill for their ideology even more so than the FDAS brownshirts.

Paul despised both equally, but he felt in a way guilty. Sometimes he pondered that he should have stayed in Austria. Maybe he could have tamed Hitler’s more severe tendencies which could have seen the Sozinats never being created. But he left, for good reason, but as he lied in bed with Ursula he sometimes wondered if he should go back and try to show Hitler that hatred, racism and revanchism would only bring ruin to Europe once again…

Günther, however, was not as smart as he pretended to be. His self-control was practically non-existent, and Paul knew that. Perhaps he unintentionally wanted to egg the Sozinat on to do something he couldn’t turn back from.

“You want to destroy Germany, you and your Red bitch-”

Günther was too arrogant, or stupid, to react in time to Paul’s first punch. His fist smacked Günther in the jaw and Paul could hear and feel something break there. As the Sozinat fell, Paul grabbed his shoulders and impaled him onto Paul’s knee followed by another punch to the face, breaking the man’s nose with a sickening crunch. Günther fell to the floor, screaming in pain through sealed lips thanks to his broken jaw. Paul stood over the man, foot raised to kick the downed man in the groin, feeling his heart thundering in chest, fueled by anger, ready to teach a lesson, ready to kill… but he paused, foot hovering in the air for a moment before he settled it back on the unfinished floor. Günther was crying, snot and blood from his broken nose spilling onto the ground. His breathing was ragged but steady.

Paul had killed men and seen men killed, but at that moment he had never felt so disgusted with himself. Günther was young, perhaps only fighting for a few months in the Great War, a year at most, and likely not at the frontlines. Probably volunteered right out of Gymnasium. He was a bitter man, seeking solace that everything he saw was to be worth it. Günther had pledged his loyalty to Social Nationalism, feeling that within that movement of thugs, murderers and racists that he could find validation and comfort. Now all he found was pain and a reminder that the universe does not revolve around one man’s will.

Damn you, Adi!

Leaning down, Paul reached for the man’s face, Günther flinching and trying to squirm away but failing. Paul grabbed Günther’s broken nose and set it back in place with a painful pop.

“You’re fired, Günther. Go see a doctor on the way home. I’ll make sure you get your last week of pay.” He leaned further, whispering into the terrified man’s ears. “If you go to the police I’ll tell them you tried to attack me and Anton won’t corroborate your side of the story, I’ll make sure of that. If you ever insult my family ever again, or try and come after them or me, the last thing you’ll ever see will be my fists wrapped around your neck as I strangle you to your death.”

Backing away, seeing his threat was understood in the man who shook with fear, Paul gestured for Anton to haul him up which the pale-faced man did, shaken by the brutality he witnessed.

As they left the room, Paul could hear the surprised outcries by the other workers as they got ready for the afternoon half of their day. Paul sighed. He shouldn’t have let his anger go so far but he didn’t necessarily regret why he did it, only that he hurt someone so badly.

Adi, what you have done has inspired such terrible hate.

Moscow, Russia
Union of Soviet Socialist Republics
April 1929

“Comrade Premier, I once again urge you to take advantage of the situation in Poland. It is a house of cards. All it would take would be one strong push and the whole rotten structure will collapse in on itself.”

The room was silent at Leon Trotsky’s declaration. All eyes turned to the small thin man with glasses at the head of the table. Yakov Sverdlov was not an imposing man, in fact he looked like some librarian or some rural bumpkin administrator, yet his mind was sharp and not in doubt, nor was his ruthlessness. In the five and a half years as Premier of the Soviet Union, Sverdlov had sent hundreds of thousands to the gulags or to their death, oftentimes both. Through sheer will of ambition, through playing his rivals off one another, and through government-sponsored terror, Sverdlov had reshaped the Soviet state.

Soviet propagandists in the People’s Commissariat of Culture, Education and Truth declared over radio waves and in printed media the rebirth and renewal of the Soviet peasant and worker, that life was steadily improving as the USSR left behind its imperial roots and embraced Communism. Food was aplenty, wages high, and the Soviet military was one of the best in the world with other nations fearful of its righteous might..

This was a lie.

A convenient lie, a false truth, hollowed words. Many faults remained riddled in the bloated bureaucracy of the Soviet state. While the famine that had plagued the Soviet Union in the early 1920s had passed, over a million still worked on near-empty stomachs, going to bed as the aching of starvation rumbled in their bellies. Wages, while often higher than during the Russian Empire, were entirely dependent on production quotas which made manipulation of production figures rampant. Even though the USSR declared itself a classless society, one in which hard work and determination could get you anywhere, it frequently stumbled on that hollowed promise as systemic cronyism permeated the government, the party, and society.

Not only that, the Soviet Armed Forces were experiencing a host of issues, ranging from an insufficient logistics system, outdated weaponry, and archaic military strategy. Trotsky had done much to overhaul the Armed Forces, but even five years was not enough to rid the military of its handicaps and inefficiencies. In spite of the flaws, Trotsky remained proud, prideful even, of the Soviet military and frequently called for it to be used, to flex its muscles against the capitalist-imperialists of the West, starting with Piłsudski’s authoritarian regime in Poland. It seemed Trotsky wanted a rematch of the Polish-Soviet War, either due to ideological, ambition or even personal reasons.

Sverdlov steepled his fingers and stared at the other bespectacled Jew with a glare that could be described as loathsome.

“As I have told you many times, Comrade Trotsky, the answer is no. The Soviet people and industry are not yet ready for revolution to be exported by force of arms. We tried that in 1918 and it failed miserably. Communism must first cement itself in the Motherland before it can spread to our neighbors.” Sverdlov glanced at Stalin whom Kolganov sat behind, against the wall. “Comrade Stalin, speaking of our neighbors, how goes the arming and funding of our various junior sister parties elsewhere?”

“It goes slowly, Comrade Premier, but steadily. We cannot risk sending too much at once, otherwise they could be caught and that would complicate matters. A shipment of weapons here, a briefcase of currency there, and slowly we are building up Communist movements abroad.”

“Which ones are seeing the most success?”

“The Communist parties in France, Germany and China, with growing movements in Austria, Yugoslavia, Greece and Finland. Our efforts in America have faced increasing difficulties. The Bureau of Investigation has carried out raids on a dozen regional headquarters for the CPUSA, the latest being in Jackson County, Missouri. The presiding judge there has been ruthless in hunting down our American comrades.”

“Should this judge be a target?” Sverdlov asked. Foreign assassination was not an uncommon method the NKGB carried out in aiding their sister parties abroad, but it was rarely exerted.

“I would say no, Comrade Premier. If it looks like we are targeting American officials, then whatever influence the CPUSA has garnered amongst the labor unions will disappear. If we are to influence the direction of the American government in the future, we will need their labor force sympathetic to our views. As of now, we should take a step back in North America, focus our energies in Europe and Asia.”

Sverdlov nodded and gestured for Stalin to continue.

“Our efforts in Japan have been disrupted due to increased security following the, uh, incident from several years ago. Anything that could appear moderately leftist is being persecuted with lethal force in Japan.”

“Ease up the flow of money and arms to them, at least for the foreseeable future. Let the JCP wither on the vine for now. We can always resume support for them at a later date when it is more convenient for us, same as we will do in the Americas in time.”

“Yes, Comrade Premier.” Stalin wrote the note down.

Sverdlov looked out over the faces of the other members of the Heptarchy and their aides and adjutants. Those dark eyes scanned over them, seemingly looking into a soul good Communists swore did not exist. Even though the eyes just glanced over Andrei Fyodorrovich Kolganov, the NKGB officer felt a chill go down his spine. That brown eyes had ordered more people to death than even the tsar had done in a far lengthier rule. But Communism’s color was not red by chance, it represented the blood of martyrs and traitors alike, all for the betterment of the peasants and workers.

Kolganov glanced at Davydov who similarly maintained an air of professional coolness, so as not to be seen as alarmed, or nervous. Others had been killed for less, with accusations of ‘wreckers’ and ‘saboteurs’ cast out with contemptuous ease.

Kolganov kept glancing at Trotsky and his adjutants, who sat there fuming as Sverdlov moved forward with the meeting. The Soviet Premier discussed the creation of hundreds of new factories across the country to act as the initial wave of mass industrialization, something Stalin had pushed for over the last year but one that had been delayed by retaining aspects of the New Economic Policy to create a stable economy to further fund the planned expansion in light and heavy industries.

The room was tense, Kolganov could practically hear Trotsky grinding his teeth in frustration. Everytime the Heptarchy convened in the Kremlin, an air of disgruntlement permeated whenever Sverdlov and Trotsky would meet. Arguments, though never shouting matches, were nonetheless present. Trotsky aggressively advocated for world revolution, believing that the USSR must initiate or aid revolution in every country, with the first targets to be Poland and the Baltics. Furthermore he lobbied for more funding to be directed towards the military, as well as removing Stalin’s NKGB political commissars from Red Army, Navy and Air Force units, only to be replaced by commissars under the direct purview of Trotsky’s People’s Commissariat for Military and Naval Affairs.

The atmosphere was humid, tempers flaring, as the two stared each other down.

“Is there something you would like to add, comrade?” Sverdlov asked icily.

“No, Comrade Premier, I do not. Not at this time anyway.”

“Well, whenever you would like to broach the subject again, inform my office,” Sverdlov’s tone was dismissive and demeaning. The hatred between the two was becoming more obvious with each passing day.

“Oh I will, Comrade Premier,” to Kolganov’s keen ear, something about Trotsky’s tone was disconcerting. “I will.”

Villach, Austria
Republic of Austria
April 1929
It was agony to simply stand there, as he had for days now. The only time he wasn’t on duty was for the few hours every day he was able to snatch some restless sleep in the room behind him. The bustle of the hospital was never ending, even at night, yet everything seemed to happen in slow motion for him. The wait, the confirmation of news, was draining.

It had been almost a week since what the newspapers were calling the Villach Massacre had occurred, and everyone walked softly around the Stoßtrupp-Adolf Hitler bodyguards who installed themselves at key points around the hospital. They were tall, angry, veterans all, their failure at defending the Führer had made them paranoid and brooding. Wanting to avoid a damning incident and so as not to antagonize the several police officers keeping a watchful eye on them in the building, Kuhr had ordered that none of the SAH bring guns inside the hospital, though that order did not pertain to the half-dozen who patrolled outside the hospital’s grounds.

Jakob Kuhr scanned the lobby, eyes wary of any assassin intent on finishing the job. He stood in front of the private room that Hitler had been resting in, unconscious and in a coma, nurses coming in and out semi-regularly.

The doctor walked by, clipboard in hand.

“Doctor Heyman?” he queried.

“Yes?” the doctor responded, visibly annoyed.

“When will he wake up?” Kuhr gestured behind him. Through the glass window, the figure of Adolf Hitler lay there unmoving, appearing all but dead if not for the steady rise and fall of his chest. “He’s been like that for a couple of days.”

“It’s hard to say. He took two rounds to the chest. It is a miracle that they didn’t cause any organ damage, missing the vitals by centimeters. But he lost a lot of blood, slipping into a coma as a result. It could be in an hour, it could be in a week, or it could be never. Now if you’ll excuse me-” Kuhr held out an arm.

“Doctor, please ensure nothing happens to him.”

The doctor looked at him, disgust hidden behind a mask of professionalism. “I will do my best, as is my sworn duty, no matter who is in my care.”

Kuhr nodded and let the doctor by, feeling annoyed at himself. He knew the doctor wasn’t a Party member, he had already asked Kapitelleiter Stuecker if any in the hospital were.and only a handful were, mostly maintenance and custodial staff. Social Nationalism was not notably popular with those in the medical profession, especially as the Party called for healthcare to be excluded to only those of Aryan descent, going against the tenets of their Hippocratic Oath and other life-saving duties they blindly swore too. Social Nationalist ideals appealed more to the working lower and middle-classes, rather than the upper crusts of society. Hitler’s fiery speeches railed against the Seipel government, the big businesses whose concern revolved around profits and stockholders, as well as what Hitler saw as the degeneracy of the Austro-German race due to its lack of revanchist beliefs and acceptance of minority groups. It was akin to class war without the emphasis, such as what the Communists decried, with a focus on racial purity and segregation of those with inferior heritage from those of the various Aryan strains.

For comfort, Kuhr played in his mind the words of the Führer, the calls for final victory over the fragility of democracy, over the decadence of capitalism, and over the degeneracy of Communism. Austria had so many enemies, those who would one day bow to the supremacy of the Austro-German people, but before it could do that it must first deal with dissidents and traitors within its own borders.

His thoughts were interrupted when he saw Franz Olbrecht turn the corner, followed by three men. Kuhr felt relief as the Deputy Party Chairman approached. Olbrecht walked right past Kuhr, making the man feel small, insignificant. Not even a glance or acknowledgement. Olbrecht was angry, and Kuhr was sure it was directed at him, rightfully so.

Though two more Sturmwache men followed Olbrecht, who took sentry facing Hitler’s room, the other man was in his early to mid-thirties, with sandy hair and gray eyes. The stranger stood at the window, looking into the hospital room, sorrow etched on his face. The man saw Kuhr’s questioning look from his periphery and turned to address it, hand outstretched.

“I’m Konrad Leichtenberg, Obersturmbannführer. I served with Hitler in Japan as the Embassy’s First Secretary and now as the Personal Secretary to the Führer.” The man’s face twisted into a frown. “My official first day was the day he was shot. Not exactly the promising start to a new career I had hoped.”

Kuhr nodded. “The Führer always spoke highly of you. He claimed you were his right-hand man over there.”

“Much appreciated, Obersturmbannführer.”

“Please, call me Jakob.”

“Very well, but only if you call me Konrad.”

“I’m sure I can manage that.” The two shook hands, equals and comrades alike.

“Prepare yourself, Jakob.”


And then he saw her. Lieselotte Hitler née Aigner was an attractive woman, in a fierce no-nonsense way. Reddish hair that fell past her shoulders framed an angular face inhabited by pale blue eyes that stared out in frustrated worry. Her clothing was modest, conservative even, a simple dark green dress that defied the promiscuity of flapper girls, and crucifix necklace hung from her narrow neck. A simple yet pretty engagement ring dominated her left hand while the more formal wedding ring rested on her right. She walked slowly and steadily as she was heavily pregnant with her third child. A female Party member accompanied her, keeping an eye not only on her but the two children following beside their mother, hands interlocked with hers. The boy was Wolfgang and the girl Amalie were fraternal twins, both blue-eyed but Paul had dark auburn hair, similar to his mother’s, while Amalie had cherry blonde hair.

She walked up to Kuhr, caged fury in each careful step.

Frau Hitler, I-”

She slapped him. It was sudden, it was loud, and it hurt, but above all he deserved it. Face burning from the impact, Kuhr just stood there and did not retaliate.

“Ma’am,” he began.

“Be silent, Jakob! You had one job, one you swore an oath for, and you screwed up. Look at my children!” she shrilled. He did so. “You almost made them grow up without a father, you realize that? Did you want me to become a widow as well? Imagine what would have happened to the Fatherland if he had died!” she pointed into the hospital room.

Shame filled him, as did anger but that sentiment was directed inward at himself. She clicked her tongue in distaste and walked past him, ushering in the twins to see their father, all the while Kuhr stood there, committed to carrying out his duty… no matter what.

Graz, Austria
Republic of Austria
April 1929
Walter Pfrimer was tired. It had been a week since he had launched his coup d’etat, and things were not going to plan. The overthrow of the Graz municipal government had gone on without issue, but the expected success to follow had not happened. The other Social Nationalist sections, seeing the strong and quick-thinking leadership of Pfrimer, were to throw their allegiance to him following Hitler’s incapacitation, leading to a revolution on a nation-wide scale. Tens of thousands were to take to the streets, with the police and military either standing by or joining their movement. Yet that did not happen.

Aside from a few dozen Social Nationalists in Styrian villages close to Graz who had made their way to him, the majority of the Party had rejected his vision, remaining under the command of the Deputy Chairman. Olbrecht, that blue-blooded bastard, swore that he and only he accurately represented the Führer’s wishes. How could that be if the man both he and Olbrecht were swearing ultimate loyalty to was comatose on his deathbed? How was it that Olbrecht was being praised by the Central Committee while he was lambasted as a traitor by the Party faithful? It was unfair. In his eyes, Olbrecht was the traitor, the naysayer, the one who held the Führer back from seizing power.

Olbrecht was the canker in the Party. How could no one see that? Pfrimer stared out over the office of Graz’s Mayor, feeling the heavy burden of failure lay upon his shoulders, crushing him beneath the weight of history.

A knock on the door interrupted his thoughts. “Yes?” he said weekly before clearing his voice. “Yes?” he said louder, more confidently. “Enter.”

Hermann Hiltl, commander of the Frontkämpfervereinigung, walked in, boots clicking on the polished wood floor as he made his way to Pfrimer who sat behind the Mayor’s desk. The man belonged to the loosely organized Heimatschutz and had been a vocal supporter of Social Nationalism and the Heimatblock, urging for more assertive actions to be taken by the government which had thus far failed to do so. He had long been an ally of Pfrimer, another one who privately pushed for Hitler to launch a Social Nationalist coup.

Hiltl had been just as confident as he, yet now the man looked haggard, as if the past few days were worse than the four years in the war.

“What?” Pfrimer asked, dreading the response.

“Another two hundred civilians got out.”

“Damnit!” Pfrimer leaned back and sighed. “How many is that now?”

“A couple of thousand, with more every night. We simply don’t have the manpower.”

And it was true. Having barely nine hundred armed men, lacking heavy equipment and sufficient vehicles, it was impossible to hold down a city of nearly two hundred thousand, especially if said city wasn’t receptive to their authority. The first day after they had seized power and arrested the city council, there had been mass protests. The summary executions that followed quickly dispelled the civil disobedience but now some of his men feared going out alone on patrol, wary of being killed by angry citizens.

Not only was the Graz populace against him, there were some within his own ranks who had defected, either in their lonesome or leading groups of people to the Bundesheer forces that surrounded the town. Not only that but the military and police blockade was seeing the city quickly run out of food and other supplies. Pfrimer figured they would attack within the next few days, waiting for a few hundred more soldiers to establish an overwhelming force.

It wouldn’t be long until a choice would have to be made: either go out fighting or surrender. The last thing Pfrimer wanted to do, in spite of the dire situation, was to give up. He knew within his heart he was right. He knew what was best for Austria. If Hitler’s couldn’t see that then Pfrimer hoped he never woke up from his coma. If the Führer died, perhaps it would galvanize the Party masses to take action, to spur them toward national revolution to depose the ineffective Seipel government and replace it with one that had Walter Pfrimer as rightful leader of the country.

Adolf Hitler would be a footnote in history, it would be Pfrimer’s name that people would remember, he would be the one to return Austria to greatness… It was a long shot, likely to end in failure, but better that than the shame of giving up.

But it could only work if Hitler died…

He knew what he had to do.

“Who are your best men, Hermann?”


“I think I know a way out of our predicament.”

Villach, Austria
Republic of Austria
April 1929
He awoke with a sudden intake of breath, startling the nurse standing nearby. She rushed to him after recovering.

“Are you okay, mein Herr?” she asked.

“Thirsty,” he rasped.

The nurse reached for the glass of water but another hand snatched it. His Lieselotte glared daggers at the woman. “I got it.”

“Yes, ma’am.” The nurse left, rushing to the doctor’s desk. Hitler saw Olbrecht and Kuhr through the window, talking. What were they discussing? Kuhr noted he was awake, and motioned for Olbrecht to look. Both men, his confidants and friends,

“Adi,” came his wife’s voice. “Here.” She offered the water and he drank from it, leaving nothing but droplets.

He looked around. “Where is Wolfgang and Amalie?”

“They are in the waiting room, resting. The guards and nanny are with them.”

“Good,” he rasped, coughing to clear his voice. “What happened?”

Lieselotte gave a small smile.“I think Franz, Konrad and Jakob can answer that better.”

“Konrad? Konrad Leichtenberg?”

“Yes, dear, he arrived to Vienna the day before you came to Villach.” His wife walked to the door, calling the three men in, Leichtenberg having stood out of his view.

Lieselotee remained, holding his hand as tears fell gracefully down her cheeks, as the three men took position at the foot of the bed, standing at near-attention.

“Now, please, tell me what the hell is happening?”
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Great update and I have to say, watching Walter Pfrimer plan just blow up on his face is good to see. And it seems, no matter the timeline, Trosky seems to be hated and about to be ousted.
I doubt Trotsky would be so staunchly advocating for plunging headfirst into a war with the rest of Europe to export the revolution. He was more of a pragmatist than he's often been painted as.
Great update and I have to say, watching Walter Pfrimer plan just blow up on his face is good to see. And it seems, no matter the timeline, Trosky seems to be hated and about to be ousted.
Trotskyism will be the target of the First Great Purge.
I doubt Trotsky would be so staunchly advocating for plunging headfirst into a war with the rest of Europe to export the revolution. He was more of a pragmatist than he's often been painted as.
Ah, how bout this for a compromise:
Trotsky advocates the Soviet Union to take Poland and the Baltics as buffer space against the West. Or to take the Baltics in a preparatory move for an invasion of Poland. Stating that the Red Army is strong enough (on paper) to take these areas and this will put Germany; France, Britain and USA on the back foot.
How does this sound?