Jackboot Britain

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Template:EngvarB Template:Infobox book Jackboot Britain is an alternate history novel by English writer, poet and journalist Daniel S. Fletcher.[1] The book depicts a United Kingdom that has been occupied by the forces of Nazi Germany following their 1940 victory over the British Empire.[2]

Jackboot Britain is the author's debut novel.[3]

Plot summaries

[2] A three-part prologue sets the scene in Jackboot; categorised as 'A Priori' (before the event), 'Quies ante tempastatem' (during the action) and 'Allegro' (increase of volume and tempo). The first part is a diary entry penned by an as-yet unnamed character, denouncing fascism and totalitarianism, that addresses social progression and enlightenment, in a humanist vein. The second part is a play on the famous Winston Churchill 'We shall fight on the beaches' speech, a rallying call to arms and continued defiance in the face of German onslaught; in the Jackboot Britain narrative, Churchill is booed and heckled, and a collapse seems imminent. The third part focuses on the SS Einsatzgruppen, as an Einsatzkommando led by Amon Goeth stages a nocturnal murder raid in Garforth, a quiet village east of Leeds.

One story begins in France, as the survivors of a company of the British Expeditionary Force are introduced to life in a Prisoner of War camp ran by the Waffen-SS, led by Commandant SS-Sturmbannführer Jochen Wolf and his chief lieutenant Walther Hoffman.

Another plot line involves a group of anti-fascist freedom fighters who are veterans of the Spanish Civil War, and are now members of the British Resistance Organisation of auxiliary partisans.

In the north of England, a zone only recently scarred by resistance to the arriving German military forces, the continuing instability is depicted in Leeds as young Jewish teacher Naomi and her friend and colleague Paul face the challenges posed by life under the jackboot, with German anti-Semitic legislature and social dehumanisation imminent.

Simon, a humanist, anarchist and liberal journalist recounts his experiences of the invasion and occupation thus far; he is shown to be the narrator of the prologue's opening scene, and his ongoing diary journals depicts events in London both during the war and its subsequent occupation. Along with George Orwell and an unspecified network of kindred spirits, Simon helps produce and distribute 'subversive materials', a charge punishable by extrajudicial death in the SS police state of Germany since Hitler's rise to power.

Maisie, a London shop girl encounters the arrogance of British fascists, and then meets German Wehrmacht soldier Hans; a Berliner from 'Red Wedding' who hates ideological extremism and conflict, yet was unwillingly drafted to the army and sent to fight.

Bill Wilson is an almost-monosyllabic alcoholic, whose time is spent in taciturn fashion in the Royal Oak pub in Bloomsbury, also frequented by Jack, Alan, William and Mary. The enigmatic peripheral figure is ultimately found to have a compelling story of his own; a survivor of the unspeakable horrors of World War I and the personal tragedies of his family life; Bill Wilson is a quintessential member of the Lost Generation.

Reinhard Heydrich secures enhanced authority for himself and his SS Sicherheitspolizei and SD jurisdiction as, through his machinations in the highest ranks of the German Reich and his dealings with Adolf Hitler, Hermann Goering, Heinrich Himmler, Martin Bormann and more, he is able to advance in his personal fiefdoms, gaining civil authority at Ministerial level, and even becoming Reichsprotektor of Great Britain.

Other characters in the Wehrmacht and SS feature, from former Dachau concentration camp guard Walther Hoffman to Hans and his friend Johan, to the capricious, bullying Lieutenant Sebastian Koller and his underling Helmut; to the men of the various Einsatzgruppen mobilised across England and Scotland.

During the course of the novel, each storyline runs parallel to its own denouement, as the effects of war, ideology, totalitarianism, political extremism and internecine intrigues leave their mark on each character, willing and unwilling alike, however great or small their place is in the narrative, as the wider story of military conquest and dictatorial tyranny plays out to its violent conclusions.[4]

Main Characters

Fictional

  • Major Jochen Wolf.

An SS Sturmbannführer, or major, Wolf is the camp commandant at St. George no.5 - the re-education facility disguised as a Prisoner of War camp. He is responsible for the company in which the 'Stanley's Boys' platoon is part.

  • Walther Hoffman.

A Lieutenant in the SS, subordinate to Wolf; Hoffman is the designated liaison officer between the SS and the enlisted men of the BEF. He develops a close bond with the men, facilitated by his providing them with alcohol and tobacco, and otherwise favouring them. He is a former guard at the notorious Dachau concentration camp, and a veteran of SS Einsatzgruppen-style 'anti-partisan' raids against the Jewish population in Poland.

  • Tommy Watson

An enlisted soldier of the BEF; captured in France, and interned at St George no.5. Tommy is a cockney from East London.

  • James Wilkinson

An enlisted soldier of the BEF; captured in France, and interned at St George no.5. James is from Bradford, Yorkshire; the stereotypes of north and south, Yorkshire and cockney are a source of amusement to both Tommy and James, whose relationship centres on its humorous pseudo-tribal banter.

  • Sgt. Stanley Hitchman

Platoon leader in the company after the death of their lieutenant in the Battle of France. Hitchman is an educated man, but spurned the officer corps to enlist for the war. From Norfolk, speaks with cultured tones; of a gentleman's disposition. Considerable courage, beloved of 'his' men.

  • Brian Marshall

An enlisted soldier of the BEF; captured in France, and interned at St George no.5. Brian is part of the Stanley's Boys platoon, friends with Tommy and James, and is from an unspecified part of southern England.

  • Jack Harrison

An anti-fascist freedom fighter from London; veteran of the Spanish Civil War and auxiliary partisan in the British resistance with William, Mary and Alan.

  • William

An anti-fascist freedom fighter from Edinburgh; veteran of the Spanish Civil War and auxiliary partisan in the British resistance with Jack, Alan and his lover Mary.

  • Mary

An anti-fascist freedom fighter from Barcelona; a Spanish/Catalan Jew. member of the Marxist POUM militia in the Spanish Civil War and auxiliary partisan in the British resistance. Lover of William.

  • Alan

An anti-fascist freedom fighter from Newcastle; the Geordie is veteran of the Spanish Civil War and auxiliary partisan in the British resistance.

  • Bill Wilson

A 'monosyllabic alcoholic' who spends his time in the Royal Oak pub in Bloomsbury in a quiet drunken stupor; the character is ultimately revealed to have been a Victoria Cross winning soldier and a veteran of World War I. He is most notable for his transformation in the narrative, and bitter, powerful monologues about the real nature of war.

  • Naomi Rosenberg

A 'Leodensian Jew', Naomi is a young teacher in Leeds who had been part of the auxiliary fire service during The Blitz, who returns to teaching with the north of England under occupation to find the effects of the Nuremberg Laws slowly encroaching on her desire to continue 'life as usual.' German anti-Semitic policy directly affects her.

  • Paul Heggerty

Naomi's colleague and friend; after the call for Jews to register with their local police, and the enactment of the Race Laws banning Jews from certain professions, he allows Naomi to live at his flat and avoid detection from an increasingly hostile state.

  • Maisie

A shop girl on Tottenham Court Road, London; she deals with visits to her tobacconist's from arrogant British fascists and German soldiers.

  • Hans

An unwillingly drafted Wehrmacht soldier in the British occupation force; the young man from Wedding (Berlin) becomes smitten with the quirky, cool Maisie.

  • Simon

A humanist and libertarian journalist; Simon's diary entries and reminiscences chronicle the experience of The Blitz, the famous East End 'invasion of the Savoy' and life in occupied Britain. An associate and friend of 'dear Eric'; Blair, whose pen name was George Orwell, Simon was part of the sect of dissident writers, circulating anti-Nazi materials under the German-led regime.

Historical

SS & Police general (Obergruppenführer und General der Polizei); Chief of the Reich Main Security Office and its Kriminalpolizei (criminal police), Gestapo ('secret' political police) and Sicherheitsdienst (SS and Nazi Party intelligence service), and the mastermind of the Einsatzgruppen; Heydrich manoeuvres his way into more positions of power during intrigues at the highest levels of the German state, through a mixture of opportunism and manipulative strategems; earning enormous remit for his SS Security Police while becoming 'Minister Responsible for Jewish Affairs in the Reich', 'Minister Tasked with finding a Final Solution to the Jewish Question, President of INTERPOL, the international policing body, and Reichsprotektor of Great Britain.

President and Chancellor, or 'Führer' (Leader) of the Greater German Reich.

Reichsführer-SS and nominal Chief of Police; in Jackboot Britain - as in the final two years of his life - Heydrich begins to outmanoeuvre his nominal boss in his personal seizure of political and policing authority.

An Austrian SS brigadier; Globocnik is brought from Lublin, Poland, where he was SS & Police Leader, by Reinhard Heydrich to run the Catterick Konzentrationslager. Enjoys inflicting brutal punishment, and extra-judicial killings in the camp appear to be common practice.

The chief of the Kripo, Nebe has been downgraded in the apparent structure of the Reich Security Main Office by Heydrich, placed as chief of the Einsatzgruppe in Manchester, yet with a subordinately ranked SD brigadier in Franz Six entrusted with operational command of both London and the 'EGB' whole on a day-to-day basis.

Commander of SS-Einsatzgruppen Leeds, Captain.

SS Oberführer; SD Chief of the Northern Zone. Oversees raid on known dissident writer Eric Blair, whose pen name was George Orwell.

Deputy-commander of Einsatzgruppe Manchester under Arthur Nebe; Jost is senior in rank to "SD Chief of the Northern Zone" Schöngarth, and equal in rank to Einsatzgruppe London commander & EGB Operations chief Franz Six; Jost attributes the slight due to his continued friendship with Heydrich's estranged former deputy in the Reich Main Security Office Werner Best. Jost is joined by Schöngarth on the raid launched by Einsatzgruppe Manchester into Yorkshire to snatch a key target for Heydrich; subversive 'degenerate' writer George Orwell.

Commander of Einsatzgruppe Liverpool.

Reichsmarschall, Prime Minister of Prussia, Reichstag President, Luftwaffe Air Force chief and designated successor to the Führer. Göring acts on behalf of the German Reich in securing friendly business and financial dealings with the plutocratic class of the British Empire, and is politically instrumental in bestowing power and increased authority upon SS and police general Reinhard Heydrich, such as 'Minister Responsible for Jewish Affairs' and 'Minister Charged with Finding a Final Solution to the Jewish Question, as well as ostensibly supporting his promotion to Reichsprotektor of Great Britain. It is assumed by Heydrich that Göring favours him in order to weaken Himmler, as opposed to sentimentality or gratitude for past services rendered.

Gauleiter of Berlin and Reich Minister of Propaganda. Goebbels is responsible for helping shape public opinion in Germany and the Reich through control of all public broadcasts, including print and broadcast journalism and the German film industry.

The right-hand man of Deputy Führer Rudolf Hess in the Party Chancellery, but de facto Party chief and Secretary to the Führer. Heydrich manipulates him into persuading Hitler to grant civil authority to the SS and Security police leader in occupied Britain.

Background

Alternate World War II history

Using action, dialogue and exposition alike to depict the story, Fletcher paints a picture of disarray at the political and civilian levels during the Dunkirk disaster, combined with a worsened military situation due to the evacuation attempts failing, more Luftwaffe success in the Battle of Britain against the Royal Air Force's Fighter Command; the BEF captured en masse and the French, Italian and Spanish navies all joining the Kriegsmarine - Vichy France and Francoist Spain unofficially - to wage war as a combined Axis force.[5]

Operation Sealion in reality has been proven to have little chance of success; Jackboot Britain's narrative does not focus for too long on the unlikely invasion, instead alluding to the multitude of difficulties faced by Britain that did not transpire in reality, and with the book starting after the invasion point had happened, two-thirds of the prologue and subsequent flashback sequences excepted.

Alternate post-war history

Defeating the British Empire in 1940 allows Hitler a free hand to focus his attention on the problems in the east; the inevitable showdown between races, civilisations and ideologies, launched by Operation Barbarossa in real life on June 22, 1941.

In Jackboot Britain, the nuances of Hitler's alliances with fellow Axis members and Japan in the east is explored, as his stated views of the British Empire come into play, and realpolitik meets ideological issues in the delicate balance of world politics in the New Order (Nazism) and Generalplan Ost.

British society & Themes in the book

In the novel, the storyline of each character depicts the nature of the occupation and the consequences of German military success in each field of life and geographical location in Britain (and elsewhere). Key themes include love and loss, suffering, the effects of dehumanisation and scientific racism, prejudice, war and power.

The group of anti-fascist freedom fighters who act as auxiliaries in the British Resistance Organisation are shown to be isolated in an occupied London; with no radio intelligence or Special Ops Patrols reporting from elsewhere, we see the situation as it appears to them in the capital and other zones of the country.

Simon, the libertarian journalist keeps a diary journal chronicling events from his perspective; including the East End socialist 'invasion of the Savoy', The Blitz, the varying attitudes of defiance and defeatism circa the time of military and political collapse; subversive materials printed during the occupation, the mood of the general public; the German government's dealings with big business and the financial institutions and British complicity, the continued uncertainty of the situation, and more.

Maisie's perspective from the tobacconist's on Tottenham Court Road involves day-to-day dealings at street level, with British fascists and German occupational troops of the Wehrmacht.

Naomi and Paul reveal the aftermath of resistance in Leeds in the northern zone, and the city's adjustment to life under German occupation, including the encroachment on the Jewish Naomi's life as the anti-Semitic Race Laws are brought into effect, and the Protocols of the Elders of Zion become compulsory educational material for children by decree, the requirement of Jews to register as 'illegal aliens', and more.

The men of the British Expeditionary Force are contained in gentle captivity at St. George no.5 as POWs, following defeat and capture in France; their captors, specially assigned men of the Waffen-SS led by Major Jochen Wolf and Lieutenant Walther Hoffman, are shown in their conflicting beliefs and attitude towards the Nazi regime, Adolf Hitler and the British soldiers. The stories of Commandant Major Wolf and former Dachau concentration camp guard Lt. Hoffman are told, in the narrative of the story of the camp.

Bill Wilson is a character seen peripherally; a monosyllabic alcoholic in the Royal Oak pub, in Bloomsbury, London. He represents a quintessential figure of the time - a survivor of World War I, and member of the Lost Generation who were so decimated by the horrors of war.

The men of the Einsatzgruppen shows the brutality that ensues following a national policy of institutional scientific racism, prejudice, militarism and glorification of conflict. The officer class of the Sicherheitsdienst to whom the Action Groups were attached were - unlike the Gestapo and Kriminalpolizei whose personnel staffed the groups - mostly educated men with degrees, and many had doctorates. Yet the SS Action Groups ran by Heydrich's "intellectual gangsters" of the SD were responsible for some of the most heinous massacres committed in World War II, in what effectively consisted of active participation in The Holocaust and in Jackboot Britain, their lethal role is reprised on UK soil.

Heydrich; SS & Police General, Security Police & SD Chief, Reichsprotektor & INTERPOL President, is shown manoeuvring his way through the upper echelons of the German leadership; his acquisitions of power examine the nature of widespread suffering and tyranny resulting from the individual ambitions of ruthless men.[6]

See also

The above page includes an extensive list of other Wikipedia articles regarding works of Nazi Germany/Axis/World War II alternate history.

The above page lists works of alternate history fiction.

The above page lists works that include reference to or depiction of a Nazi implementation of Operation Sea Lion, the planned invasion of the British Isles.

References

External links

Jackboot Britain website Jackboot Britain | Alternate history novel by Daniel S. Fletcher on Goodreads Daniel S. Fletcher | author profile on Amazon.com Daniel S. Fletcher | author page, Goodreads.com