Red Inferno: 1945
|Cover artist||Barbara Bachman|
|February 23, 2010|
|Media type||trade paperback|
|LC Class||PS3553.O51986R43 2010|
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. In our timeline, in April 1945, the Allied forces in Europe under the command of General Dwight Eisenhower halted all further advance into Nazi Germany at the Elbe River, all the while the Soviet Army battles surviving German divisions on its way to Berlin.
However, in the alternative 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 with his mutual allies, wants to take Berlin for himself on the grounds that the Soviet Union best deserved to conquer its archenemy'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 if they ever get near Berlin to intimidate the west into leaving Berlin to the Soviet Union.
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, 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, with the invalidated postwar divide 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, 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 Germany to the Weser while the Soviets also try to divide the Allies by spreading communist influence to surrounding nations and hope to spark revolutions within the allied nations to hinder the Americans' efforts to hold the Soviets east of the Rhine.
The plans to hinder the American war effort eventually backfire on the Soviets as Switzerland and Finland cease their neutrality and allow Allied armies to cross their borders to the front lines, 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.
The novel ends in the early winter of 1946, with communism collapsing and the other 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.