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The Atomic Reich

announcement (October 2020)

I believe that the very title of this novel is indicative, that is, it is easy to conclude that it is about the success of the Nazis in the constructing the atomic bomb and their subsequent victory in World War II.

 

I do not intend to disclose the plot-lines of my books to potential readers because I myself do not like to know the outcome before I arrive - page by page - to it myself. Consequently, this title is just meant to place the book in the alternative history genre. Everything else is - I believe - unpredictable. From the way the Reich achieved this, to the development of a global geopolitical situation that will head in a different direction from the Yalta Conference.

Though the topic is challenging, I long resisted the idea of developing my own version of historical events in which Nazi Germany claimed victory. The three main reasons are:

1. I have no sympathy for the Nazi worldview, yet the subject requires their victory.

2. I was already overwhelmed with 'books on hold', so I did not want to begin developing another novel.

3. This is probably the most widely-considered version of alternative history (which also makes it even more intriguing).

Yet, one reason overwhelmed the others: the story began to impose itself to me:

In the fall of 2016 (as I was developing the plot for the fourth book of the series United States of Erika) I began researching the early development of various aircrafts. I was particularly interested in the first helicopters, jet engines and rocket launchers. Of course, this inevitably led me to the very beginnings of the development of particular technologies, with the particularly significant contributions made by scientists and engineers funded by the Nazi authorities (certainly the most famous was Wernher von Braun with his V-2 rocket).

Although this field of technology is not directly related to the development of the atomic bomb, the information clearly indicated that the Germans had very promising projects in a variety of fields. This knowledge prompted me to ask myself how big was possibility for the Nazis to really win the war. Soon I came to the conclusion that victory would not have been possible with any of the new weapons except for the atomic bomb. Some more information I discovered (at the same time reassuring myself, 'This will not be a novel, I'm just interested in some facts') revealed to me that the Germans were predestined to create this super-destructive, conquering device. At the same time, it was clear that the Germans led by the Nazis were not destined to achieve such an advantage.

And so I wondered what would have happened if a scientist who could win the fight against the allies in designing 'fission chain reaction' devices had existed. This is how Dietrich Schwarzpflanze was created: a German whose life story – beginning with his early youth – would be presented in the Atomic Reich.

The tale will simultaneously follow Dietrich's life as well as global events that he will increasingly be able to influence. And while penetration into the nucleus of the atom will be relatively easily for him, the journey into the depths of his being will be a much harder task.

By reading this book, you will find out many details of history, especially those occurring between 1933-1945 - years during which events will not veer from their well-known historical course. A course that will at one point separate from ours, becoming something else entirely – like an atom of uranium being hit by a neutron.

In particular, I am thinking of the history of theory and practice that created the preconditions for the construction of the atomic bomb, but also the history of the Nazi movement. The plot itself (inevitably) will involve many real people. Aside from the well-known (Hitler, Albert Speer, Niels Bohr ...), it will include those who played an important role, but aren't so well known (Lise Meitner, Otto Hahn...)

Unlike my first novel from the same genre - the United States of Erica (the Founding Saga) - where I had to use scarce historical and pseudo-historical sources, for the Atomic Reich, more than enough material was accessible to me. However, details that I was interested in were often eluded me, so I had to work hard to discover them (for example, when exactly Niels Bohr found out the implications of Hahn-Strassman's experiment).

I reconstructed the mindset and everyday life of the Nazi leadership mainly by reading Hitler's Mein Kampf, Inside the Third Reich by Albert Speer, and Hitler's Beneficiaries by Götz Aly. Besides that, I looked to numerous shorter documents, documentary and feature films, as well as stories of participants. Of course, while writing this, I am still discovering new sources that will further affect the story.

The specificity of the Atomic Reich lies also in the fact that I have been keeping track of the development of the subject from the beginning, so that one day I will be able to analyze the "history" of the creation of this story.

When will it become available to readers?

I still do not know whether I will complete this book or the United States of Erica - Book II (A Clash of Worlds) first. It could be a tie. In any case, by the end of 2020, I expect the completion of my third novel.

But even before I finish writing, I intend to publish the first few chapters in electronic form. If you are interested in reading them, you can register your e-mail (at info@listpolist.hr) so that I can send you the first chapters.

Ante Kr.

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