Previous Challenge Entry (Level 4 – Masters)
Topic: ASKEW (06/07/18)
- TITLE: Britain's Secret German Soldiers...
By Noel Mitaxa
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Beneath the inexorable build-up towards the outbreak of any war lies a tragic litany of exaggerated claims, counterclaims, skewed interpretations and threats.
Strict censorship throughout the ensuing conflict allows few reports of defeat - or of the strength and progress of the enemy. All to maintain national morale and to feed suspicion into anyone who witnesses anything out of the ordinary.
And once peace finally breaks out, truth is handed its ultimate irony – when previous sworn-enemies suddenly become trusted and valued trading partners in the mutual needs imposed by the need for post-war recovery.
Germany limped along as an emasculated political and economic basket-case for ten years after the crippling post-war reparations and territorial losses imposed by the 1919 Versailles Treaty began to take effect.
However, sustained hyperinflation, which meant that basic foods like bread cost millions of marks, produced the unexpected twist of enabling war debts to be repaid at a worthless numeric value - instead of a feasible exchange rate.
Trapped in a gauntlet between communism’s attraction from the east and with no western capital to underwrite any business ideas, Germany was ripe for a leader to emerge. And when world stock markets imploded in the wake of the 1929 Wall Street collapse, one man was ready to become that leader.
A morose, manic Austrian corporal grabbed the spotlight, manipulating his way to power as the Fuhrer; armed with a warped philosophy of accusation and hatred that exploited the national malaise.
The result? An economic, political and militaristic miracle; tragically powered by the politics of blame. Firstly, that undefeated German fighters had been stabbed in the back by a conspiracy between weak politicians, western capitalists – and the Jews. From this spurious base, Hitler tapped into sullen anti-Semitism; before the blame became an avalanche that also enslaved and then slaughtered gypsies, communists, Slavs, intellectuals – and anyone who dared to disagree with this Fuhrer.
Constitutionally tied to the state, the church struggled to resist his malice – even though a respectful greeting of “Heil Hitler” also carried a secondary connection with “salvation,” an achievement that even Hitler could never claim.
Yet as storm clouds built towards the Nazi tornado of impending war; threatening Europe for the second time in two decades; war-weariness and pacifism continued to cast its skewed veil of optimistic denial over the minds of vacillating Allied decision-makers.
Clearer minds prevailed among those who saw how Nazism skewed patriotic values and attitudes, and mercilessly crushed any opposition. Realising that internal opposition would be futile, they began a trickle of migration that became a flood; so that when war eventually broke out, over thirty thousand Germans and Austrians had taken British citizenship and enlisted to fight Nazism.
To protect any family members still in Germany should they be captured, they were all given new names and identities - but no weapons - and they began building army camps and munitions factories across the United Kingdom.
Many became spies with special operations; working behind enemy lines. Before the Dunkirk evacuation, they were deployed in sabotaging French roads and bridges in an attempt to slow the armed German juggernaut. But it was only as exploding German shells came into earshot that they were finally given rifles – with their first lessons in weapons-handling focusing on holding them at the correct angle - during two hours of parade-ground drills!
A case of military intelligence or priorities being only slightly askew here???
As the war progressed, they manned UK-based radio stations to broadcast fake news items, using local dialects and details and claiming greater audience loyalty than official Nazi newscasts.
Yet after D-Day – June 6, 1944 - these new British citizens stepped into their most important work. As the Allied juggernaut began to liberate war-ravaged Europe, refugees needed to be fed, housed and repatriated.
But among those refugees were cunningly-disguised former Nazis, who never suspected that their counterfeit documents and contrived stories could be so quickly unravelled by inquisitors who sounded like accursed Englanders, but who suddenly arrested them; somehow knowing more about the localities and local dialects than these criminals against humanity could have ever imagined...
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