1948 – 1951
Recovery - Hitler was generous to America, in his way. During the surrender meeting with Douglas MacArthur, Albert Speer laid out a plan by which German technicians and engineers would help re-build America’s cities and factories, in return for vital resources (such as oil and rare minerals) for Germany. In April 1949, the first thousand German “Helfende Freunde” or “helping friends” had arrived in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Boston. Thousands more would arrive uptil 1950. It was known as the “Speer Plan”.
Of course in addition to technicians and engineers, POLITICAL advisors arrived, as well as “security” for them and for the resource centers vital to the Third Reich, especially the Texas and Oklahoma oil fields. Schools were re-built, with a decidedly “Germanophilic” tone to the lessons taught. Leaders, first on a municipal and county level, later on a state and finally on a Congressional level were chosen. All loyal to the new regime and spouting Nazi propaganda.
American technical developments were seized as well. The atomic bomb program, which had stalled in early 1948, due to supply shortages, was only six months away from its first test, when the surrender came. German “investigators” packed up all the material at Los Alamos, Oak Ridge, and Richland, WA. American scientists were “consulted with” in Germany (though the Jewish ones were promptly sent to concentration camps).
May 1949 By mid-1949, Diebner and his team had a fully functional A-bomb and a test detonation in the Sahara Desert was made on the 9th, 1949. By 1951, the Germans would possess ten fission bombs and (based on Edward Teller’s notes, seized before his internment) would be a year away from a hydrogen bomb.
In the first two years, much of daily life in the United States had almost returned to pre-war normality. Employment rose as workers were needed both for recovery and to man new mines, lumber mills, oil rigs, factories, etc. Food production grew, as farmers were able to get fertilizer (in short supply during the bombings).
Of course, much of this was shipped to Europe.
Germans saw a rise in their standard of living unseen since the days of the Roman Empire. With an empire stretching across the Western Hemisphere and far into the Eastern, the Third Reich ruled over a billion people and 70% of the wealth and industrial capacity of the world.
Something quite noticeable to a very nervous Japanese Empire.
As part of the Allied surrender, Japan had gained all of the Pacific Islands, Hawaii, and eventually Australia and New Zealand. (The ANZAC forces surrendered two days after MacArthur went to Berlin.) Though valuable, those holdings hardly matched the Germans, in population or resources. Tojo immediately began a crash program in both jet development, missile development, and a nascent atomic bomb program. Everyone on both sides knew, “World War-II” was not going to be the “last World War”.
Racial relations in the new “Amerika” changed only slightly. Jews were of course promptly rounded up and put into American detention camps in the Southwest and Southeast. Though not the death camps of the Germans, they were slave labor camps, with German “advisors” showing the Americans how to use the Jews for work that was both grueling and dangerous. (Particularly the use of slave labor for mining coal and mining uranium for the German nuclear program, with little or no safety procedures).
American blacks (then, as in OTL, called “Negroes”) faired only slightly worse than they had been in the South, but much worse than they had been in the rest of the US.
“Jim Crow” became a national standard. Southern racists, easily allied with the German ones, were more than happy to see the end of any “liberal treatment” of blacks in the North, Midwest, and West Coast. “Whites Only” signs were everywhere. And not just for blacks, but Hispanics and American Indians as well. With Jews in short supply in many parts of America, chain gangs (almost exclusively Negro) made a comeback and could be found from Birmingham, Alabama to Bellingham, Washington State to Bangor, Maine.
Across the rest of the world, a bi-polar political tension developed; nearly paralleling the Soviet/American tension of OTL’s Cold War, but much more dire. With sole control of nuclear weapons, the greatest army and air forces, and most of the industrial base, the time where Hitler’s greedy eye would turn towards Asia was fast approaching. However, fate once again played a hand.
1951 The Reich Civil War
Since the deaths of Borman and Goebbels in the LeMay Raid on Berlin, several key power positions had been usurped. Himmler had attempted to gain more power in the Reich Chancellery, offering to “generously use the SS to help with bureaucracy”. Hitler had acceded to this and in 1949 even named Himmler head of the Party.
Meanwhile Reinhard Heydrich, who unlike OTL had never even been threatened with assassination, was taking over Goebbels work at the Ministry of Propaganda and developing a relationship with Goring, Speer, and Wilhelm Keitel, head of the High Command and General Erwin Rommel.
Both men and their allies knew that Hitler’s time was soon coming to an end. His tertiary syphilis was worsening, exacerbated by Parkinson’s disease. Already in 1948, he was spending more and more time in Berchtesgaden, leaving more and more of the daily running of things to Heydrich and Himmler. (His surrender meeting with MacArthur was one of only three public appearances that year. He made only one a year after that and scheduled none in 1951.) On the 2nd, 1951, his doctor was summoned to the compound “Kehlsteinhaus”. Hitler’s personal guards refused all visitors and his phone calls were screened.
When the doctor did leave, he reported simultaneously to Heydrich and Himmler, that Hitler had suffered a syphilitic-induced aortic aneurysm and died the following night, the 3rd. The Führer was dead.
Calm and quiet descended over the Third Reich. Few were surprised, though the news was never officially revealed, that Hitler’s health was failing. Only a few more were shocked by his death.
For two weeks, a “Reich-wide” mourning period was declared by the Ministry of Propaganda. All possessions and “allies” of Germany were expected to honor the passing of Hitler. American radio ran continuous coverage (all positive of course) of the funeral and the various memorial services.
Hitler was interred in a special mausoleum, designed by Speer a year earlier and finished under the “cover” of being a “war memorial shrine”. Eulogies went on for five days, with Himmler, Goring, Speer, Walther Funk, Heinrich Muller, and von Ribbentrop speaking. At the end, Heydrich made his speech. He and his staff had been crafting it since the doctor’s announcement.
On the 17th, he took to the podium and began speaking. Simultaneously, as had been planned since well before Hitler’s death, troops loyal to Keitel and Rommel began surrounding encampments and barracks of the SS as well as the Reich Chancellery. Himmler, expecting some move by Heydrich, had returned to Bavaria earlier in the week, but still believed that an open attack was going to be after the memorial.
Heydrich praised Hitler, his courage and where he had led Germany, but then moved on to the “new enemies” that the Reich faced. “Indulgent, even decadent forces, corrupt and immoral…taking the Führer’s noble goals and using them to serve their own purposes.” When Himmler heard that on his car radio, he ordered the driver to stop. He also heard gun-fire coming from his headquarters in Bavaria. The Civil War had started.
Wehrmacht and SS forces clashed across the Reich….from Berlin to distant Siberia and even the outposts in India and Palestine/Trans-Jordan. Though the SS were disciplined and highly loyal to Himmler, the regular army units were seasoned from nearly a decade of war and controlled vital supply depots and communications centers. (Heydrich had cleverly used the Ministry of Propaganda’s control of all public media, to send coded messages to his Army and Luftwaffe allies.)
May The battles went on for nearly two months. Finally on the 4th, 1951, Himmler’s last stronghold, in Munich, fell. Himmler himself was captured, tried for treason (with numerous phony charges as well as many true ones), and sentenced to death. On May 20th, a loyalist slipped him a cyanide capsule and he killed himself before Heydrich could have him hanged. It was a meaningless gesture, as Heydrich now fully controlled German state-run media and simply reported that Himmler HAD been executed, even showing the body on the newly-emerging German television network.