The Bulgarian Gambit

November 10, 1940

Von Schulenburg carefully pressed his tie against his ironed shirt, as he waited in the marble hall. He repressed the need for a cigarette, knowing that the smell might well imperil his chances with the Fuhrer. Suddenly the large ornate doors to the outer office opened and a uniformed aid in brown motioned for Von Schulenburg to enter.

To his surprise when he came in the Fuhrer was alone. He had expected Von Ribbentrop or another senior foreign ministry aid to be present. Instead Hitler was reading over a sheaf of papers. Standing at rest he could see that the Fuhrer was reading over Von Schulenburg's own memo on the Soviet situation. Hitler motioned for Von Schulenburg to sit.

"I have read over your proposals for Molotov's visit." began Hitler "You make some interesting points. I spoke with our foreign minister and various others, many are intrigued with your ideas.” Hitler paused and fixed the ambassador with a casual glance. “Although some consider it a betrayal of National Socialist principles."

Von Schulenburg repressed the urge laugh and to say that the use of the terms principles and National Socialist in the same sentence as bordering on comedy. Still he served Germany.

“I am loyal to Germany, my Fuhrer. I know that we can bring Stalin into our great Axis. Molotov’s trip to Berlin must mean they are ready to negotiate. We simply have to offer them something that every Russian since Peter the Great has desired.”

“Yes, yes, I understand those subhuman’s desires. But Germany too has desires and we have a legitimate claim to the Balkans. The Bulgarians will soon be brought into our camp, why give them to the Russians?”

“Ah, my Fuhrer, we needn’t abandon them. The Russians will need Burgas and few other bases to be able to rattle their sabers at Turkey, but the bulk of the country can remain under German, observation.”

Hitler was silent for a moment. He turned away from the ambassador and stared at a picture of Frederick the Great. The seconds stretched out and Von Schulenburg wondered if he should say something. Then Hitler spoke, “It is done, you will attend the conference with foreign minister Molotov as my personal negotiator. If Von Ribbentrop does not recover in time you will lead the negotiation team. See Hess on the way out to clear it all with security.”

November 12, 1940

The railway station was decorated with alternating Soviet and Nazi flags. Von Schulenburg waited patiently as the train carrying Molotov came to a graceful halt. A military band, some distance back, began to play the Internationale. He couldn’t suppress a smile, thinking that most of the SS on the platform probably heard that song just before wading into a fight with the German communist.

Molotov stepped down off the train and smiled. He noted that Von Schulenburg was not accompanied by Ribbentrop, so the latest intelligence about the German foreign minister’s accident must be true, unless it was some ruse. For a moment he wondered what double game the German’s might be playing, rapidly move and countermove raced through his head. He reached out to shake Von Schulenburg’s hand.

“It is good to see you again Ambassador” said the Russian

“Yes, it is good to see you too.” Answered Von Schulenburg in flawless Russian.

“I take it that Minister Ribbentrop is unable to attend?” Molotov asked

“Unfortunately the minister is still in bed recovering from his fall. But I have been appointed personally by the Fuhrer to meet with you.”

Molotov smiled, but inside he was disappointed. The German foreign minister was an amateur, Von Schulenburg was a professional. He would much rather have dealt with the ‘champagne salesman’ rather than the ambassador. Best to establish some degree of advantage immediately

“I had hoped that your government would have taken this matter more seriously. I am the foreign minister of the Soviet Republic, I would expect negotiations to be between equals, not functionaries.” Molotov gave him a cold smile hoping the barb would unsettle the German.

“Ah then you are fortunate Minister. I have been named acting Reich Minister during Von Ribbentrop’s recover.” He didn’t add that his authority extended about as far as this railway platform and he would have to have Hess, Goering and Himmler all sign an order in triplicate if he wanted to so much as change the order of flags.

“Well then” replied Molotov, not missing a beat “congratulations on your temporary promotion. I am sure the Reich will be well served by your skills.” He looked over and saw another civilian at von Schulenburg’s side. He recognized him, but refused to show he did.

“You know former Chancellor Von Papen, of course” offered Von Schulenburg, stepping aside and offering a formal wave of the hand in the chancellor’s direction. Molotov nodded “He is hear to help us with the negotiations. The Fuhrer himself ordered him to return from Turkey especially for this meeting.”

Molotov smiled, but this time it was genuine.

November 13, 1940

The Germans sat across from the Russian delegation. Von Schulenburg had pulled the large map of the Bulgaria back towards the German side. “Alright we can agree that the Soviet bases and observers will be total in the three Eastern Zone and that German advisors will guarantee order in the West. But we are clear that economically German interests will predominate in all zones correct?”

Molotov nodded, thinking that once Soviet troops were in Eastern Bulgaria the Germans would find it difficult to extract much. They had done it to the Germans in the Baltic already. “I think we can sign off on this division than”

“I think given Chancellor Von Papen’s expertise that he should begin our discussion of the Turkish Issue.” Stated Von Schulenburg.

“Thank you, minister” said Von Papen “As you know from your meeting with him last night, Minister Molotov, the Fuhrer has agreed that the Russian, er excuse me, Soviet – desire for freer access to the Mediterranean is a legitimate concern. The Reich is prepared to agree to support your claims on the Straits and to a readjustment of the Iranian border. Unlike our English cousins we feel that you have a legitimate right to expand South.

“Which neatly brings us to the subject of the English. I very much doubt that they will tolerate our moves South. Historically they have always been suspicious of our need for adequate protection in the Southern areas.”

“We have driven the English from the continent, they are confined to their tiny island and will soon see reason.” Interrupted Henrich Muller.

Molotov laughed openly. “Then those bombers last night were what?” The Gestapo chief scowled. Not for the first time he felt out of his depth here. He was supposed to be keeping his eye on all these damn communist and aristocrats, instead he was floundering. Having silenced the policeman Molotov continued. It could well mean war with England if we try to exercise our rights to Iran and Turkey. This was obviously a decision for the boss.

“Your proposal of alliance and a free hand in Turkey and Iran are quite interesting Minister Schulenburg. Of course I will continue my discussion with your Fuhrer tonight, but I also need to consult with Comrade Stalin.

November 20, 1940

It was almost 3 AM but the Kremlin was brightly lit. As usual Stalin had kept his inner circle up drinking and watching movies until quite late, than the drove them to critical matters.

“Alright Comrades we will need to answer the German’s proposal for alliance.” He drew out a large map and beckoned his guest over. “Hitler offers us a 1/3 of Bulgaria, Turkey and Iran. Plus the economic agreement to help our industries.”

Beria studied his master, looking for some hint as to which way Stalin’s mind was working. “It is a generous offer, of other people’s land. But they have kept their word in the Baltic and Poland.” He hoped it was neutral enough to not alienate his boss.

Timoshenko stared at the policeman. He loathed Beria, but he knew his army needed time to recover from the disastrous winter war. An alliance with Germany would give him time to get new tanks and planes deployed. He shuddered to think how his formations would hold up to a German onslaught launched this year. “Peace will give us time to secure our borders, and war with England will be limited. After all how could they attack us? Already it is German trade and machines that we exchange for wheat and minerals, not English. It seems worth the risk. Perhaps they won’t even declare war? The Germans may be right they may be beat, or too weak to risk widening the war to include us.”

“Yes” offered Stalin “I feel I can trust Hitler. The capitalist have had their chance at alliance and offered us nothing. If we join the Axis we also secure our Eastern borders with Japan. Molotov you may cable our German friends and tell them we agree to join the Axis.”
Yesterday 11:19 PMhiiamthiefSoviet late night movie parties? Thats new. Soviet late night movie parties? Thats new.

Actually Stalin believe it or not was a real night owl. He loved to drink late into the evenings and watch films. According to an old Soviet History prof of mine he actually fancied himself a real critic of cinema. After WWII he got a lot of movies out of Germany and apparently like Chaplin, Spencer Tracy and even the Tarzan flicks.

Directing the Soviets towards Iran/India was what the Germans tried IRL.

What would make the Soviets risk everything in this timeline?

I doubt Stalin would agree to take land which would mean certain war with the Allies.
Directing the Soviets towards Iran/India was what the Germans tried IRL.

What would make the Soviets risk everything in this timeline?

I doubt Stalin would agree to take land which would mean certain war with the Allies.

In our TL the Soviet-German talks about the USSR joining the Axis actually advanced pretty far. They broke down in part because the Germans (Hitler) didn't want to make any concessions in Bulgaria, Turkey and Romania.

By Nov of 40 the Finnish issue was being settled and Molotov visited Berlin to explore greater cooperation. Stalin certainly seemed interested, and Hitler flirted with the idea of alliance. I actually think that this is one of those moments when geopolitical forces take a back seat to personalities. If Hitler will make concessions in the Balkans and if Stalin believes him then an alliance is possible.
I don't think Britain will declare war on Russia it would be disastorous for the Middle East and India. I also doubt Hitler would do this though,his flirtation was only to keep the Soviets close to the Germans and not expecting anything whilst getting nothing.

The entire point of the M-R Pact was for both sides to get time that was pretty explicit and by 1943 the Red Army will have finished it's reforms coompletely and will be ready to attack Germany. Even if Germany attacks in 1942 its going to have a much tougher time.
Part 2

New York Times
December 1, 1940

Moscow, Foreign Minister Molotov announced today that the USSR has signed a treaty of alliance with Nazi Germany. He stressed that it is a defensive alliance and did not entail the Soviet Union entering into the current Anglo-German conflict. He went on to state that it is the desire of peace loving workers everywhere that the conflict between the United Kingdom and Nazi Germany end. He further stated that he would be willing to offer the services of the USSR to help negotiate a reasonable peace between the two nations.

London – December 3, 1940, 2 AM

A dense pall of cigarette and cigar smoke hung in the Cabinet meeting room. Prime Minister Churchill sat back and glanced over at the deputy Prime Minister.

“And So Clement, just what will your constituents reaction be to this rather shocking announcement?”

Atlee fidgeted nervously under Churchill’s stare. “I think Winston that they will be as shock as I am. I think they will be as shocked as they were when the Nazis and Soviets signed the non-Aggression Pact. I know that many in my party looked to the Soviet Union as a bastion of worker’s rights and as the hope of the future. I am sure they will be feeling the same bitter disappointment that I am feeling now. I rather think they will also ask what do we do now? Some will ask if we should take up the Soviet offer of negotiation.” The Cabinet room fell completely silent. Churchill took a long draw on his cigar, waiting. “Of course as for myself and the vast majority of Labor there can be no compromise with Herr Hitler. We have beat back the Huns once when the Russians left and we can do it again!”

Churchill smiled and nodded. He looked around the room, pausing for a second on Lord Halifax. There were, he thought, some in his own party who would favor negotiations. Ironic that it was with Labor that he could hold the majority for continuing the war. “The Russians have made a deal with the very devil himself. I am sure that they will soon find that Herr Hitler is not one to keep his promises. But the question is gentlemen what will this alliance mean for the war. Certainly more raw material will flow now into Germany, but what is the price that the Russians have extracted?”

Lord Halifax cleared his throat. “I would expect that the new Soviet bases in Bulgaria are aimed squarely at Turkey. Give the Russians a month or two to consolidate their hold and soon enough they will make demands on Istanbul.”

“I can not, I will not let the Russian bear get his grubby paws on Constantinople. It has been the policy of this nation for more than a century that Russian must not control the Hellespont. I have, in my hands, a request from the Turkish ambassador to meet with Lord Halifax. There can be little doubt that he is going to request from us guarantees of his nation’s borders. The question we are faced with gentlemen is do we risk adding Russia as an active partner for Herr Hitler, or do we reject the ambassador’s request and let Stalin act like a thief in the knife. And let me just say that if we let Stalin once take control of the Constantinople, than we shall never be rid of the Russian bear. He will wrap a steel curtain around his conquests and never let them go short of war. I propose that we grant Lord Halifax permission when he meets with the Turkish ambassador to guarantee his nations borders.” Churchill paused. “Yet, I think we can and should expect that such a promise should be met with Turkish concessions as well. Lord Halifax should insist that the Turks join the war against Hitler at some firm date in the future.” He looked around the room, Atlee nodded as did Halifax.

News and Observer
December 15, 1940

AP, London. Prime Minister Winston Churchill announced today that the United Kingdom has guaranteed Turkish borders against the aggression of any foreign power. “It is my intent” he intoned in Parliament “that the historic neutrality of the great Turkish people shall be maintained. That the shadow of the twisted cross nor the star of some other great power shall not drag those brave people into the perpetual night of tyranny.”
In Washington Secretary of State Cordell Hull praised the British move. “It is in the interest of all nations that no international boundaries be altered by brute force. The British guarantee is a step to protect the rights of small nations everywhere. The United States supports the national sovereignty of Turkey and welcomes the British guarantee.
I don't think Britain will declare war on Russia it would be disastorous for the Middle East and India. I also doubt Hitler would do this though,his flirtation was only to keep the Soviets close to the Germans and not expecting anything whilst getting nothing.

Agreed It would be insane for the UK to declare war on Russia. Yet entry into the Axis does not entail the USSR declaring war on the UK either. Japan entered the Axis while Germany was at war with England and didn't enter the war against them (yet).

The entire point of the M-R Pact was for both sides to get time that was pretty explicit and by 1943 the Red Army will have finished it's reforms coompletely and will be ready to attack Germany. Even if Germany attacks in 1942 its going to have a much tougher time.

I would agree that each side was using the other, but that is what nations do. Also clearly in our TL Hitler decided to invade Russia (actually in December after the failure of Molotov's talks in Nov in Berlin). Here Hitler is more flexible because Von Ribbentrop is removed and a more professional diplomat is in his place. Hitler did love grand plans and he certainly toyed with the idea of a Soviet-German alliance. Here he took the extra step.
Operation Marita

February 15, 1940

Hitler fumed as he regarded Von Schulenburg. What a prim little man he was, thought the Fuhrer. To come in here in his fine suite and give me such news, then to sit there so smug, but he mustn’t give the little prick the satisfaction of seeing him lose his temper. He would be cold, as cold as ice with this one, that would work best. “Your news Minister is upsetting. I have just now been discussion with my staff the necessity of dealing with the Balkan situation with a firm hand. In fact I had decided to commit troops to rescue our Italian allies.” He paused. He let the moment draw out and could see it upset the little man, good he thought, he was regaining the advantage. “You honestly think our Soviet allies are being truthful with their reports on Yugoslavia?”

Von Schulenburg didn’t hesitate. “The Russians have far better sources inside Yugoslavia than we do. The Serbs have deep historical ties with the Russians. I think we can safely assume that our allies know more than we do. It seems that the Serbs refusal to meet with the Eden was not a popular decision. Prince Paul seems ready to accept German leadership, and his minister Dragiša Cvetković is supportive, but there is opposition.” He waited, usually Hitler would be interrupting with a dozen frivolous questions and reams of useless facts, instead the Fuhrer stared at Von Schulenburg. He pressed on “The air force in particular seems ready to move against the government if Paul signs a formal alliance.”

Finally Hitler Spoke “Then we need to put a little iron into our fist.” Hitler motioned to Hess who had been standing silent beside the desk, “Get me Heydrich he understands these Slavs.” Hess went out into the anteroom. Von Schulenburg could hear him left the receiver to the phone, just before the door shut. Hitler continued speaking “You know there are some who feel that your temporary position as Foreign Minister should be made permanent. Of course others oppose it. But it is obvious now that Von Ribbentrop will not be well enough to resume the duties of his office for some time.” Hitler could see small beads of sweat on the former ambassador’s neck. They were all alike, they might look down on him and what he made, but they all craved the power he could give them. Perhaps it was time to create another rival for the others. Schulenburg wouldn’t have many contact inside his circle, but he would get a great deal of support from the professionals over at the Foreign ministry. Plus, despite being a prig, he had brought Stalin into an alliance. “I think they are wrong. You would do well for Germany in a position of more responsibilities.” Hess re-entered. Perfect thought Hitler, I can leave him in suspense and the others will jockey for position. Hess motioned to the phone on Hitler’s desk, the Fuhrer picked it up “Reinhard!” he bellowed “I want to use your expertise for a special assignment. We need a team of men. Tough men. Men who are bold and capable of action. You have my permission to review any files you want and draft whoever you chose for this. I will explain all the details later, but at the center will be the necessity to protect our would be ally Prince Paul. Get a report together and have it to me by the end of the weekend.” Then he simply hung up.

Belgrade – March 12, 1940

The café was quiet. Several of the men had slipped in earlier and then seated themselves quietly to await a quorum. Finally Simovic arrived. Two men in ill fitting plain clothes stood just outside, casually smoking cigarettes. Simovic motioned to the other men inside the café. The all slowly joined Simovic at a large table in the back. A tall thin man with a slight accent spoke first.

“Let me assure you General that my government is very concerned with the pressure being placed against your kingdom. You well know that any accommodation with Hitler will be fatal for you and your people. Von Schulenburg’s promises are vapor and Hitler’s friendship would shame the devil in it insincerity. We are prepared to assist you in every possible way in fighting this evil that threatens to take hold of your country.”

Simovic looked at the Englishman. He gave a glance to the others. “It may come to a fight or not. Paul has gotten himself a little help from the Germans. This new Untersturmführer named Skorzeny is a little to efficient for my tastes. In fact...” but he never completed the sentence. Just at that moment Simovic saw both his bodyguards go down. He scarcely heard the pop-pop of machine pistols going off. He stood up and reached inside the pocket of his coat, but it was too late. Men flooded in the front of the café and each was already shooting at anything that moved. Three bullets slammed into his chest just as his hand reached his lapel, he was dead before he hit the floor.

Herald Tribune – March 14, 1940

Our correspondent in Belgrade confirms that the head of the Yugoslavian Air Force and the chief of staff for their army was assassinated yesterday. Apparently General Simovic was meeting with several junior officers late yesterday when he was ambushed by a squad of unknown men. The Yugoslavian government has also disclosed that Colonel Parkingham-Trevor of English army was meeting with Simovic and was wounded. He is in hospital and expected to recover. Yugoslavian Authorities are anxious to question the Colonel, having no explanation as to why he was meeting with General Simovic and the junior officers.

March 25, 1940 – Vienna

Prince Paul looked down at his signature and then over at Hitler, Von Schulenburg and Oshiona. It was done. Yugoslavia was inside the Axis. He wondered briefly how things were in Belgrade. Skorzeny seemed quite competent and his team had eliminated most of the obvious opponents. Still the country might not like what he had to do here. He hoped that Cvetkovic could hold it together
Plans are laid

April 20, 1941

(On the Soviet - Iranian Border)

Lt General Dimitri Kozlov look over his operational orders one last time. Then he stretched and rose from his desk. Intelligence said that the Iranians were not well prepared. Personally he doubted some of what the NKVD had put in their reports, suspecting a lot of it was from German sources, but overall he was satisfied. He had the additional Mechanized Corp deployed perhaps a little too close to the Turks, but he understood the need to offer threatened invasions there. The 28th Corp was his fist, that was the armor that would break into the Persian heartland and give him Tehran. Once he had the capital he wondered if the Persians would surrender. Beria’s reports assured him that Reza Shah had little popular support. He looked down at one of the summaries “The liberation of the peasants and workers who have long been oppressed by the plutocratic artisto….” Kozlov let the paper fall. Public talk like that was permissible, even wise, but in an internal report? He bordered on insanity and made him question the rest of Beria’s work. Kozlov was a son of the Revolution and a loyal party man, after all who was left that wasn’t? But, men knew truth from fiction. He would wager his rank and party membership that most ‘workers and peasants’ in Persia hated Russians more than they embraced the world Revolution. Kozlov shrugged hatred only mattered in two cases. First if there wasn’t more fear than hatred and second if they could do anything about their feelings. Kozlov would make sure about the fear and that the Persians couldn’t act.

Letter to the Prime Minister of Great Britain – From Reza Shah Pahlavi

- and so it is with a heavy heart that I must beseech you and your valiant nation. The invasion of my nation by the Axis poses a grave threat to the peace loving peoples of all the world. Should Iran and its vast resources fall to the Soviets it will be a heavy blow against freedom in this world. The great Persian people and my dynasty are proud, but not too proud to appeal to the English Lion for succor in this hour of need. The fame of English justice and protection of the innocent is known throughout the world. Now in this hour of great peril it is time for the justice to shine like a beacon against those who would extinguish the will of free men….

Churchill looked over letter and glanced over at Eden. “I would say that he lays it on a bit thick does he not? The reference to great resources however is not to be missed. We really can’t let the Russian bear also seize the oil fields of Arabia. But I know that the House will never continence a declaration of war.” He brooded for a moment in silence. Eden knew enough to wait, the monologue would continue. “But it is only the threat of war that may make the bear pull in his claws. We shall have to act.” More silence. “I shall order Sir John to take action. We will have to move in and protect the oil and” he added almost as an afterthought “the venerable Persian dynasty, stretching back almost 15 whole years.” Winston chuckled. “Dill will have send troops to move into the South, perhaps this will give the Russians pause. Also I will go to the House and demand a guarantee for Turkey this very week.”

Eden cleared his throat. “I think Mr. Prime Minister we will have to recall our ambassador as well. The Conservative party will demand it, and frankly given the behavior of the Russians it is the proper thing to do.”

“The proper thing to do,” replied Churchill, rolling the phrase around in his mouth. The man had all the oratory skill of a fourth rate back bencher. Still he knew the Party and he was a damn bright otherwise. “I quite agree”

- Abwehr Headquarters

Von Schulenburg watched the two dachshunds playing underneath the Admirals desk. It was quite late and he wondered why General Oster had sent a car for him at this abysmal hour and in this weather. Still the Admiral and his aid were comfortable companions, old school officers who seemed so different than some of the Nazi toadies he put up with at the Foreign Ministry. Plus the Admirals liquor was real vatted malt, one of his real weaknesses, and with the British war raging devilishly hard to find. He raised the glass to the two officers. Each returned his liquid salute. “Now Herr Admiral, much though I enjoy drinking your scotch, I expect that this visit was not arranged for the benefit of my liver.” The Admiral smiled and murmured something to Oster who went over to the door, exited a moment and returned with a thick file. He handed it to Von Schulenburg. The Foreign Minister opened the file and began reading. Both the Admiral and the General sat in silence as Von Schulenburg read on. After a quarter of an hour he looked up. “He’s mad.”

Oster and Canaris exchanged a satisfied look. Then the Admiral spoke. “Which is why, my dear Count, he must die before this insane gambit is launched.”
Plans and Guesses

May 1, 1941

Field Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch look over at Tresckow. He felt both shame and anger at the General. “I have already protested that insane order, General” he slapped the paper that Tresckow had handed him at the beginning of this conversation. “I have sent Muller and others to Hitler, he will not be moved!”

Tresckow looked at the commander of the OKH. He locked eyes with the general, willing him to silence. As the moments dragged out he reached into his briefcase and drew out a dark green file. He tossed it across the desk at the Field Marshal. “There Herr Field Marshal, there is your proof about your Fuhrer. The Admiral is quite good friends with Heydrich. He was able to convince him of the necessity of documentation of what our good friends in the SS and their Einsatzkommandos have been up to and what they have planned for Russia. This is a crime that will stain the honor of German arms for a hundred years!” Brauchitsch looked shocked and curious at the mention of Heydrich. Tresckow saw the reaction and answered before the Field Marshal could raise a question “The Admiral has convinced Rienhard that Himmler will never let him advance in the SS. In Fact he had our Foreign minister confirm that Heydrich is slated to be moved out of Berlin, Bohemia and even the General Government in Poland have been discussed. Heydrich believes the Admiral will use some of this against Himmler, weakening him enough that Heydrich and move up. But look at the photos Her Field Marshal. It is a thousand times worse than what they sacked Blaskowitz for complaining about. It is a long and sad list – rape, torture, brutality beyond belief, and now they plan to multiply their crimes times ten.” He paused and thought he saw the general waiver, then Tresckow plunged ahead. “We have to act before June. If he manages to start the war in Russia.”

“Enough” said Brauchitsch. He was looking down at a photo of a small girl. A SS man was sodomizing her with a ‘honor’ dagger, while his three friends grinned and looked on. He felt ill to his stomach. “Whose support do you have?” Tresckow took a slim piece of paper out of this case. It was almost tissue, and the Field Marshal held it in his hand. A list of names and organizations were on it. He scanned down and saw most of the officers he knew, including his own name. He also saw a number of civilians and most surprisingly Heydrich. “This man he said, is loyal onto death to Hitler.” Tresckow cocked and eyebrow and the Field Marshal understood. He held his breath and turned his back to the General. After a moment he spoke in slow measured tones, “I will order Blaskowitz home from Southern France. He has a capable subordinate that can handle the 1st Army for a few weeks. I will also prepare an emergency appointment of the General for the Military District and Forces of Berlin, to go into effect should a civil emergency arise and the state become leaderless. More than that, I can not do.” Tresckow nodded, it was enough, more than he had hoped for.

May 16, 1941

The air raid all clear had sounded as Hitler strode into the conference room. He was highly agitated and his eyes darted about looking for a victim. He saw Fat Herman and Himmler but they were too high a target for tonight. No he needed a small fry, someone to use his anger on and bring the others to heel. He focused on Groscurth, the bespectacled little Prussian shit! “It is all the fault of you damn Prussians!” he shouted. “If I had had my way Barbarossa would have started a month ago! It was you geniuses that force me to delay, with your bleating and crying about the need for firm roads. Then I get this shit from Rommel that O’Conner is attacking in Africa and he needs more troops! Don’t you ‘officers’ have any concept of duty? Don’t you have any concept of commitment? You disgust me! Get out of my sight” He gave a curt wave of his hand dismissing the colonel. Ironically it had been just 15 minutes before that Helmuth Groscurth had proven how well he understood duty and commitment, by breaking several small glass cylinders and inserting them into four large blocks of explosive. Relieved, that he would have a chance to live, Groscurth walked out of the room after setting his briefcase down.

The explosion was quite spectacular. The charges went off only 7 minutes after Groscurth left the room. The leader of the German Reich was actually standing with his left side partially over the brief case. The concussion collapsed his lungs and stopped his heart immediately. The flash and shock shredded his body severing his head, which flew some fifteen feet to impact against a very second rate ‘realist’ portrait of Count Karl-Wilhelm Frinck von Finckenstein. Goering lived perhaps a few seconds longer as he was partially shielded by three officers from the blast. None the less his heart was stilled by the concussion and he died in a pool of his own blood and shit. Himmler survived the longest, perhaps a full minute after the blast. A few of the guards who rushed into the room reported that he was cradling a phone, from the desk at the end of the study, making him the person farthest from the blast. But he too died as blood filled up his lungs from several wooded splinters driven through his body.
May 16, 1941 – Radio Berlin

Attention all citizens of Berlin. At approximately 10 PM this evening our beloved Fuhrer was killed when a British bomb crashed through the roof of the chancellery where he was working to coordinate the defense of the city from the British gangsters. General Walther von Brauchitsch of our First Army is in Berlin and has been appointed temporary military governor of the city and surrounding district. All military units are now directly under his command. Citizens are ordered to remain calm and inside until further notice.

May 18, 1941 – Moscow 3 AM

Stalin puffed on his pipe and listened to Beria’s report. “It appears Comrade Stalin, that the blast was not a British bomb. Although the German Press and Minister Goebbels continues to promote that it was. Instead it appears that some reactionary elements of the military planted a bomb in the chancellor. Hitler is confirmed dead along with Air Minister Goering and the Security Chief Himmler. The army, the security services and the party are for the moment all cooperating and continuing to spread the British ‘bomb’ story. It appears that one of the SS generals Reinhard Heydrich has taken control over the security services and parts of the field SS. However it appears that the Gestapo is his base of power and that is resented by some elements. The party is in greater disarray. Hess and Goebbels appear to have moved to consolidate control over the formal structure, but many of the party outside Berlin remain uncommitted. The Army appears to be the most unified. General Von Brauchitsch seems in firm control of all forces inside Germany and in their external territories. The Air Force is operationally cooperating with the Army but is politically is politically in chaos.”

“What do you think Comrade Khrushchev?” asked Stalin “Have the reactionaries taken over for some purpose?”

The bald Russian Commissar looked back at Stalin. “I would bet that they have plan’s but I would think that Comrade Beria would better know exactly what they are up to. That would seem to be his job, eh?” Beria shot him daggers from his eyes, but remained silent. Stalin chuckled – “It would seem your speculation might be more valuable than our NKVD’s commanders” Khrushchev smile and took a shot of Vodka. Personally could have done without it, but the boss liked it when they all drank, so he drank. “Well if our good commander doesn’t know perhaps the Army has an idea?”
"We really can’t let the Russian bear also seize the oil fields of Arabia."

A little nitpick here : I think the Arabian oil fields were not tapped before 1945, though the presence of oil reserves was suspected way before.

If you want to give The British Cabinet a more pressing concern, pick the Persian city of Abadan. It holds the world's biggest oil refinery, and it's a British one (Anglo-Iranian Oil Company).
A little nitpick here : I think the Arabian oil fields were not tapped before 1945, though the presence of oil reserves was suspected way before.

If you want to give The British Cabinet a more pressing concern, pick the Persian city of Abadan. It holds the world's biggest oil refinery, and it's a British one (Anglo-Iranian Oil Company).

I actually just used the term Arabia because I thought Churchill would use it instead of "Middle East" he was so fond of classical references and used so many great if dated terms.

I am also working on a post today/tomorrow about Iran - I hope a logical if nice suprise.

JC = Gemellus