Part 36, Chapter 442
Chapter Four Hundred Forty-Two


31st December 1944

Phan Thiet, Bình Thuận Province, Vietnam

Things moved at a different pace here. That was exactly what Tilo had been looking for and because they used a different calendar there was no indication that in a few hours it would be 1945. A few days earlier he’d gone on leave and found himself at the airfield on Formosa with the option of flying wherever the Luftwaffe Transport Command went. On a whim he had flown to Saigon and then for lack of a better idea was camping on the beach not far from where he, along with the rest of the 3rd Division had first landed in Vietnam almost two years before. Every morning he had gone into town and bought bottles of beer, rice and the extraordinary luxury of crushed ice. Then he went out to the beach and watched the fishing fleet come back in. That was usually when he acquired his dinner, purchasing it from the fishermen off their boats.

The locals had been friendly enough, gently correcting his clumsy attempts to speak their language. They tended to speak in honorifics regarding the German Marines who had come to Vietnam as Allies against the Japanese and, true to their word, had left afterwards. That had made Tilo uncomfortable. He didn’t know enough about colonialism to have an opinion but the French and the Chinese before them had made an impression on this land, all negative. Tilo was watching the harbor from the beach as the shadows grew long towards sunset.

“I had heard that a crazy Tây was camped out on the beach here” Tilo heard a voice say, “That you?”

Tilo looked over and saw Duc Phan walking towards the tarp shelter that he was camping in. “See anyone else here?” He asked, “Have yourself a cold one, Phan.” Tilo had put the beer bottles into a wooden box with the crushed ice, perfect for a day at the beach. He figured that the Vietnamese Government had sent Phan to figure out what Tilo was up to. Tilo had heard that the Vietnamese soldier had done well for himself over the last year. Among other things Phan had been tasked with setting up a local version of the SKA or MA.

“Thank you” Phan said, “I was surprised that you came back to Vietnam.”

“My hope is that I can find some perspective” Tilo said, “The Brass offered me the option of going home and told me to think about it while I’m on leave.”

“Why not?” Phan asked as he opened up one of the bottles of beer.

“I’m not sure what home even means anymore” Tilo replied, “My mother still lives there but I fear that she’d find who I’ve become totally foreign to her and I’ve been left with nothing but questions as to what my father actually is.”

“When I first met you, I told you that Tây believe that they own whatever ground is under their feet. I might have been wrong about your particular sort of Tây” Phan said, “My thought on the matter is that home is the place where your ancestor’s bones are buried.”

“There’s not a whole lot for me in Bavaria either” Tilo said, “And the Marine Infantry only wants to send me as far as Cuxhaven.”

“Then it sounds like your home for now is the Marine Infantry” Phan said matter of fact.

“I guess” Tilo replied, that didn’t exactly sound like a great set of options.

“What’s this?” Phan asked when he found the fish that Tilo had packed in the ice under the beer bottles. Changing the subject.

“That is tonight’s dinner” Tilo said, “Your welcome to stick around, there’s plenty for two people.”

“You provided the beer so I’ll take care of having this cooked up” Phan said.

“No need” Tilo said, “You’re my guest, I can take care of that.”

“No offense” Phan replied, “But you Germans are good at many things, cooking rice is not one of them.”

“What do you have in mind?” Tilo asked.

“You are camped out a stone’s throw from a fishing village and you are cooking for yourself?” Phan asked as an answer.

“I didn’t want to impose upon them” Tilo said.

“No wonder they thought you were crazy” Phan replied.


Berlin

As the last hours of 1944 wound down Manfred von Richthofen reflected on the last year. As a young man he’d had survived the brutal war in the skies over France by having an understanding of strategy, tactics and the development of the Jasta hunting group concept. He had refined that over Poland and Spain, conducting air offensives on a massive scale. He had later controlled the skies over Russia in what could only be described as his masterpiece. It was inevitable that sooner or later he’d meet his match but the assumption had always been that it would be in the air, not in the unfamiliar world of social circles and the politics of the Imperial Court. He’d been out maneuvered by his own daughter.

Helene had introduced Hauptmann Johannes Conrad Mischner as her intended to the Emperor and the Empress. If that had been true prior to that the two of them had done a masterful job keeping it secret. Manfred could hardly forbid the union without going against the Thone, Louis Ferdinand had told him that he looked forward to the wedding. But that didn’t mean that Manfred didn’t still have some cards left to play and those had enabled him to have Käte firmly on his side this time. It was going to be a wedding that reflected Helene’s standing as the daughter of a Freiherr and Field Marshal, which would require a great deal of planning and preparation. That meant that it would not take place for months, possibly a year or more. That was plenty of time for Helene to come to her senses.
 
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I always like the end of the year posts as sometimes they will setup what will happen in the coming year, sometimes there is a big development, or like this one quiet reflections.

I can see that this maybe the start of the end of the Lang government because of several different issues.
First is the railroad disaster, while not directly Lang's fault, the opposition will use the opportunity to bash him for not keeping the rail system in good repair and the fact that there was only so much resources available with the war going on doesn't matter to the opposition at all.
Second the people with the war against the Soviet Union over, the people want rationing to end along with wage and price controls lifted, but with the occupation of the Soviet Union, the war against Japan still going on, and the fact that the summer of 1944 in Europe was wet and cold along that this winter is one of the coldest on record means that Germany still has to import a lot of food from other countries like America but they can now get loans at a good rate instead of paying hard cash for it.
That means prices may have to rise in order to pay for the imported food and the people may not like it. Also with this winter being so cold more coal and heating oil is needed and some of that may have to be imported also, so more loans have to be taken out, and prices may have to rise also.
Third there may be calls from the younger generation for the draft calls to be limited and they may have resentment against returning veterans for taking "their place" in college.

In order to survive this, the members of the Lang government may want Chancellor Lang to take any thing remotely resembling a reasonable peace deal even through the Americans may get some influence in Asia.
 
He doesn't know his daughter very well, does he?

Evidently not. A phrase I remember from the Battle of Britain movie comes to mind: "Diamond cut diamond." Unfortunately, proverbhunter.com says "The phrase refers to opponents who are an equal match in wit, cunning, or strong-mindedness. Any conclusion reached is not without mutual injury." It is to be hoped that the combination of Helene, Kira and Manfred's wife Käte can prevail without hurting him too badly.
 
Sounds like Tilo will become one of the first generation of hippies.
Freimensch? Fremes?

I don't know, something in German, concatenated meaning free people, free spirited, doesn't like soap? Something like that. x'D
 
The locals had been friendly enough, gently correcting his clumsy attempts to speak their language. They tended to speak in honorifics regarding the German Marines who had come to Vietnam as Allies against the Japanese and, true to their word, had left afterwards. That had made Tilo uncomfortable. He didn’t know enough about colonialism to have an opinion but the French and the Chinese before them had made an impression on this land, all negative. Tilo was watching the harbor from the beach as the shadows grew long towards sunset.

Tilo Schultz: Future Ambassador to Vietnam
 
After reading that last part about Tilo for some reason I thought of him setting up some sort of an Eastern religion Ashram or some resort like place in Vietnam where Europeans would go on a retreat.
 
Part 36, Chapter 443
Chapter Four Hundred Forty-Three


As 1944 came to a close the German Empire and Europe were still picking up the pieces and attempting to determine the new post war order. The war in the Pacific was building towards its final crescendo. Distant from all of this was the United States which had sat as an island of peace on a chaotic world. After it had emerged from the Great Depression and having profited greatly from the Second Great War without being a participant, the U.S. was believed to be entering a new period of optimism. This was the theme of the inaugural speech delivered by Thomas Dewey on the Saturday, 20th of January 1945. What he didn’t know was period of isolated peace was about to come to an abrupt end due to events far from the Capitol that were beyond his control that were happening at almost that exact same moment.

-Excerpt from Things Fall Apart, 2017


21st January 1945

Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A.

Having just celebrated his sixteenth birthday Martin was already attempting to enter College if he could gain early admission. He had spent the last several months basically doing independent study at the direction of his teachers who feared that if he got bored they might lose him to the streets. It was just the reality of the segregated school system and there was not a whole lot that they could do about it. Just one more injustice among the hundreds of others that were even more extreme. Today, he was getting a different sort of education.

A month earlier a Black man by the name of Leroy Morris was found washed up on the bank of the Savannah river wrapped in several yards of chain. The County Sheriff had joked to several journalists, “Only a nigger would stupid enough to steal this much chain and try to swim across the river with it.” Anyone with an ounce of sense could read between the lines. If that same Sheriff bothered to investigate the matter it would probably point right back at the local chapter of the Ku Klux Klan probably including himself and his Deputies.

In response several Black Churches had been holding silent vigils on the State House steps in hopes of shaming the Governor and State Assembly into at least acknowledging that justice wasn’t being served every Sunday for the last several weeks. Demanding the redress of grievances as is spelled out in the State and Federal Constitutions. While the men inside the State House were doing their best to ignore what was going on outside the rest of the world was taking note. They had reporters from the New York Times and other international newspapers. Today they even had included a newsreel crew. Unfortunately, because this had become such a visible event the State Militia had shown up as well.

The leaders of the vigil had made clear that they only wished to speak briefly with the Governor and the Assembly leaders. Instead they were being told that they had disperse immediately and were looking down the barrels of Garand rifles. It was unknown if it was nerves or malice but once it had happened things spiraled out of control. A single shot rang out and one of the vigil leaders collapsed. What followed was a fusillade fired into the crowd. Martin had been standing towards the back of the crowd and had managed to hit the ground. But he would have the sound of bullets flying like angry hornets overhead and the meat cleaver sound of bullets hitting bodies were what would be forever burned into his memory.

After what had seemed like an eternity the Officers were able to regain control. Even so Martin could hear the sound of the Militiamen whooping it up. He was able to take a quick assessment and realized that by some miracle he was unhurt. He was on his feet and away from the State House as fast as his feet could take him. While he expected a rifle bullet in the back any second he realized that he could hear laughter. They thought that him running away was funny. A couple of blocks later he ducked into an alleyway. He felt shame that he’d run but what was he supposed to have done, stood there and waited to die?

The leaders of the vigil had simply wanted a quiet word with the Governor. In the days that followed Martin realized that the Governor had sent a message loud and clear in the only language that he understood. Martin had considered eventually going on to the Seminary after College, while he understood the message of the Sermon on the Mount even Jesus had overturned the money changers tables in the Temple. He knew he would need to make other plans, the careful sort of plans that smart men didn’t speak to others if they wanted to live past the next day.

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It was hardly a surprise that the State National Guard Company would eventually be exonerated for what some were divisively calling the Atlanta massacre. They had fired while performing a lawful duty upon a mob that had failed to comply with clear instructions. That was the conclusion reached by a panel convened in the Georgia at the behest of Governor Talmadge. It was a formality and only necessary because the shooting had happened right in front of the National Press.

“I hope that this ends this matter” Talmadge said. As it would turn out, he was wrong as he would find out when several pounds of dynamite exploded under his car two weeks later. It would turn out to be first such incident that would be attributed to a mysterious figure who would go on to play a large role in what happened in America over the following years, Martin Luther King.
 
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