Red Inferno: 1945
|Cover artist||Barbara Bachman|
|February 23, 2010|
|Media type||trade paperback|
|LC Class||PS3553.O51986R43 2010|
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (June 2011)|
Red Inferno: 1945 is a speculative fictional novel that depicts what could have happened if the Red Army had attempted to continuing the Soviet occupation zone into Bavaria and Hesse against the collapse of the Third Reich in early to mid 1945, engaging American forces in the process and initiating a third world war. The novel includes narratives by various historical and fictional characters as they come to terms with their new enemies, a defeated Germany, and the continued resistance of Imperial Japan in the Pacific Campaign. It centers predominantly around American garrison troops and German civilians under siege behind Soviet lines, sabotage attempts on the Red Army, intensified counter-intelligence operations, and the United States' attempt to defeat Moscow and a weakened Japan simultaneously.
The novel first introduces with what actual historical events happened in our timeline and then tells of the point of divergence of historical events before it begins its story; that in April 1945, the Allied forces in Europe under the command of Dwight Eisenhower halted all further advance into Nazi Germany at the Elbe River, all the while the Red Army battles surviving German divisions on its way to Berlin.
However in this timeline, instead of halting the Allied advance into Germany, the then-new US president Harry S. Truman authorizes the US Army to continue across the Elbe and head for Berlin to bring a quick end to the war, and thus guarantee the western nations' share of the to-be divided German capital with their forces in the city. However, Soviet premier Joseph Stalin, despite the agreed terms of dividing Berlin and Germany amongst his mutual allies, wants to take Berlin for himself on the grounds that the Soviet Union best deserved to conquer its arch-enemy's capital after the unparalleled brutality of the Eastern front. He even goes as far as to order the Soviet Army to attack any American forces on sight should they ever get near Berlin in order to intimidate the west into leaving Berlin to the Soviet Union.
Eventually, the lead divisions of the US Army just 60 miles from Berlin encounter Soviet Armour and, as ordered, they open fire on the Americans and began to drive the US forces back across the Elbe.
Word of the exchange between the American advance to Berlin and the Soviet forces reaches Moscow and Washington D.C., and it was confirmed that the US had crossed the agreed occupation boundaries. Stalin believes that both he and the US had voided the Yalta agreements and now technically meant that the United States and Soviet Union are de facto enemies. Combined with his paranoia of that the west wants to take the Soviet Union's chance of revenge on Germany from him and refuses to allow it, and with the invalidated post-war divide and already ensuing hostilities, he decides to conquer and occupy Germany and then all of Europe while The Soviet Union still has the chance, thus starting another World War.
Eisenhower and the US Army gets pushed back across the Elbe while losing thousands of troops and a whole US armored division, along with fleeing German civilians and POWs are cut off from the main force and holed up in Potsdam, which the Soviets lay siege to throughout the duration of the war. Over the course of a few months from late April to August, the Soviet Army wages a war of attrition as their overwhelming numbers slowly force the Allies west across of Germany to the Weser, while the Soviets also try to divide the Allies by spreading communist influence to surrounding nations hoping to spark revolutions within the allied nations to hinder the Americans' efforts to hold the Soviets east of the Rhine.
Part of the efforts to start in-fighting do work with Churchill's loss of position as Prime Minister to Clement Attlee and the Labour Party in the UK when the people of the UK violently protest that they are too tired to stay in the ensuing conflict; France and Italy are also plunged into the brink of civil war among their governments and their communist sympathizers, but the unrest is put down when the sympathizers are unwilling to kill their own countrymen, in fear of betrayal.
The plans to hinder the American war effort eventually do back-fire on the Soviets as Switzerland and Finland cease their neutrality and allow Allied armies to cross their borders to the front lines, thus ensuring a continuous flow of troops and supplies to the Allied forces. The US Air Force also conducts long-range strategic bombing sorties into the Soviet Union with the introduction of the B-29 Superfortress from the Pacific campaign (diverted from its initial targets at Hiroshima, Nagasaki and the Kure and Yokosuka naval districts, which left them relatively intact), and target Soviet fuel and oil production, starving the Soviet Army of any means to conduct further offenses. Things also take a drastic turn when the remaining forces and government of former Nazi Germany sign an armistice with the Allies and agree to fight alongside them against the Soviets.
Eventually the Soviets cross the Weser but instead head for the Rhine, they turn north towards Dortmund, where it stores all of the American forces' weapons and supplies for the front line. It becomes apparent that if the Soviets do capture it, they will have all the weapons needed to defeat the Allies in Europe (since the Soviets have more men to fight then they do with weapons to arm them). But the massive storage depot of Dortmund is a ruse masterminded by Eisenhower to lure the bulk of the Soviet Army into one place in order to have it wiped out by the atomic bomb.
The bomb is dropped and explodes over the Soviet Army's central divisions command center on the west side of the Weser to Dortmund on August 6, 1945, killing almost half a million Soviet soldiers instantly, including Georgy Zhukov and Vasily Chuikov. After another bomb dropped on Soviet forces in southern Germany, the Soviets are too demoralized to continue their advance and retreat in fear of more American nuclear attacks.
With the war virtually lost and Stalin seen as their destroyer rather than savior, a coup erupts in the Soviet government as Stalin is ousted from and executed as a new politiburo seizes control and signs an armistice with the allies, withdrawing all their forces from Europe. With the Soviet Union's conquest of Europe stopped and after the surrender of Japan (with only the bombing of Hiroshima and not Nagasaki) World War II and III were finally over.
The novel ends in the early winter of 1946, with communism collapsing and the Soviet republics breaking away from Russia to form their own sovereign nations parallel to the Commonwealth of Independent States today. China suffers from a civil war as a new communist government seizes power, and America becomes the world's sole nuclear superpower. All of Europe and Asia is in ruin as the exhausted troops, politicians, prisoners, and civilians alike of all nations involved in the conflict return home at last and begin to rebuild their world as they look forward to an uncertain but hopeful future.