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If Britain Had Fallen: The Real Nazi Occupation Plans Norman Longmate Greenhill Books


31st August 2012 History Books 6 Comments

If Britain Had Fallen covers every phase of the subject, from the German pre-invasion manoeuvring and preparations, the landing of troops, to the German seizure of power. What follows is a fascinating contemplation of what it would have been like to live day to day under German occupation, creating a new reality that is thoroughly believable and thus all the more frightening. Would America, Canada or Australia come to the rescue? Would the British people have come to accept the occupation? Would the deportation of friends, the flying of the swastika from Buckingham Palace incite passive compliance, or brave resistance? All these questions and more are explored to their full in this thought provoking and chilling book. This is a classic book, with fresh material from Norman Longmate. –This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Norman Longmate is a respected historian and author of a number of books including the critically acclaimed How We Lived Then: A History of Everyday Life during the Second World War, Defending the Island: From Caesar to the Armada, Island Fortress: The Defense of Great Britain, 1603–1945, The Doodlebugs: The Story of the Flying-Bombs and The Real Dad’s Army: The Story of the Home Guard. –This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

The question ‘what if’ Germany had invaded the British Isles has long preoccupied writers, but none have dealt with the subject as comprehensively and effectively as Norman Longmate. Based on a classic television film of the same name, If Britain Had Fallen covers every phase of the subject, from the German pre-invasion manoeuvring and preparations, the landing of troops, to the German seizure of power. What follows is a fascinating contemplation of what it would have been like to live day to day under German occupation, creating a new reality that is thoroughly believable and thus all the more frightening. What would have happened to the King and the Government? Would America, Canada or Australia come to the rescue? Would the British people have come to accept the occupation? Would the deportation of friends, the flying of the swastika from Buckingham Palace incite passive compliance, or brave resistance? All these questions and more are explored to their full in this thought provoking and chilling pastiche of the centuries most enduring and darkest episodes. This is a classic book, with fresh material from Norman Longmate.If Britain Had Fallen: The Real Nazi Occupation Plans

The World Hitler Never Made: Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism

“With The World Hitler Never Made Gavriel Rosenfeld takes a completely fascinating and highly original cut into the complex of questions concerning the relationship between history and memory on the subject of Nazism and its place in post-1945 popular culture. He tackles these themes with great verve, writing with admirable clarity, and marshalling a prodigious array of speculative fictions and ‘alternate histories’ in order to build his arguments. The resulting book is both accessible and challenging, densely documented and thoroughly absorbing. All German historians will want to read it, as will anyone interested in Holocaust memory and the legacies of Nazism.” Geoff Eley, University of Michigan

“Gavriel Rosenfeld’s analysis of ‘alternative historical’ treatments of Nazi Germany, embracing a broad range of popular media, is bound to raise hackles. Yet in seeking to comprehend the comparative, changing mentalities of postwar America, Britain, and Germany he has conceived and produced a provocative and deeply insightful book. The World Hitler Never Made is a strikingly original and imaginative cultural history that reveals a great deal about the post-war world by examining ‘alternative historical’ forays into Nazism and the Holocaust. It is perhaps the most accessible, as well as one of the most important scholarly books ever written about the role of the Holocaust in popular consciousness from the war’s end up to our own time.” Michael Berkowitz, University College London

“A history of alternative histories, The World Hitler Never Made is an imaginative and intriguing look at our culture’s fascination with what might have been, had things gone differently during the Second World War. With panache, erudition and a broad comparative sweep, Rosenfeld analyzes these distorted images of what occurred, unearthing our evident pleasure in imagining other outcomes and what that says about our relationship to the Nazi past. The possibility of evil winning, or at least sidestepping defeat, cuts perhaps all too close to the bone today.” Peter Baldwin, University of California, Los Angeles

“In this wide-ranging and highly stimulating book, Gavriel Rosenfeld explores the changing nature yet strange persistence of alternate histories of the Nazi past, showing the ways in which Hitler and the Third Reich have occupied Western popular culture long after the regime’s demise. In so doing Rosenfeld does more than simply advance a persuasive case for why such mass market myth-making and counterfactual history deserve to be taken more seriously as revealing expressions of popular memory; The World That Hitler Never Made goes a long way towards furnishing a cultural history of some of the most powerful fears and fantasies haunting the Western social imagination from the end of the Second World War to the present.” Paul Betts, University of Sussex

“The World Hitler Never Made is an impressive work.” -Financial Times, Vernon Bogdanor, Professor of Government at Oxford University

“There is no better guide than The World Hitler Never Made, which takes us through this strange domain without descending into it.” -The New Leader

“The World Hitler Never Made is an important, well-researched book.”
Ronald Hilton

“Gavriel Rosenfeld’s recent study is an interesting and original contribution to our understanding of history and memory.” -Clifton Ganyard, German Studies Review

What if the Nazis had triumphed in World War II? What if Adolf Hitler had escaped Berlin for the jungles of Latin America in 1945? What if Hitler had become a successful artist instead of a politician? Originally published in 2005, Gavriel D. Rosenfeld’s pioneering study explores why such counterfactual questions on the subject of Nazism have proliferated within Western popular culture. Examining a wide range of novels, short stories, films, television programs, plays, comic books, and scholarly essays appearing in Great Britain, the United States, and Germany post-1945, Rosenfeld shows how the portrayal of historical events that never happened reflects the evolving memory of the Third Reich’s real historical legacy. He concludes that the shifting representation of Nazism in works of alternate history, as well as the popular reactions to them, highlights their subversive role in promoting the normalisation of the Nazi past in Western memory.

The World Hitler Never Made: Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism (New Studies in European History)










  • 6 responses to "If Britain Had Fallen: The Real Nazi Occupation Plans Norman Longmate Greenhill Books"

  • Ritu Raj Mishra
    10:10 on August 31st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This book essentially consists of educated speculation about what might have happened had Nazi Germany successfully invaded and occupied Great Britain. The first portion of the book consists of an imaginary scenario in which the German “Field Greys” successfully stage landings in Kent and other locations on the British Isles. The author does a creditable job of arguing that such an event was at least possible, if not something the Germans could have accomplished easily. As is known by all, such success was dependent upon defeat of the RAF by the Luftwaffe, and the author certainly explains this.

    The book then shifts to what the occupation would have been like, and mainly examines life in the occupied Channel Islands (small British island possessions which the Germans did successfully occupy) and prognosticates as to how the Germans would have conducted an occupation of the entire British Isles. Some intriguing questions emerge. Would the Nazi regime truly have carried out its written plans to evacuate the entire young male population of Britain to camps on the Continent? This would have involved at least 12 million young men, and would have constituted a stupendous act of genocide. Although the Nazi regime certainly showed itself capable of such acts of inhumanity, the author argues that sheer matters of practicality probably would have caused a softening in such draconian plans. Other similar interesting details abound in what is probably the most detailed look ever at a scenario that the world averted by all too narrow a margin.

    This is a readable book, and in my opinion a very honest and authentic one. If this subject is of interest to you, don’t pass it up.

  • Andrew Daigle
    13:43 on August 31st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    This is a very well written and scholarly text which provides a nigh on encyclopedic coverage of material published on alternate histories of the rise and fall of Hitler. It also reviews what those histories may signify for an understanding of the cultural import of the rise and fall of fascism and, in fact, the perception that “national socialism” never went away, it just returns under other guises.

    From a British point of view the book manages very clearly and persuasively to present the changing manner in which the defeat of Nazi Germany was represented in the general media, not only novels and plays, but as importantly in comic books, television and film. The author shows commendable scholarship in his ability to review work from a broad spectrum of genres, from newspapers and literary plays to sci-fi novels and comics.

    I would recommend this work to anyone who wishes to get a very up to date “crash course” in thinking on the impact and the import of events in the middle of the 20th century on contemporary culture, on the consciousness of that culture and of the scholarship of those reflecting upon those events. It is not a book in the same vein as the superb volume on alternate history “Unmaking the West”Unmaking the West: “What-If?” Scenarios That Rewrite World Historyconcerned as it is with the second order issue of the role of popular culture considering the impact of alternate histories,but it has to be reviewed on its own terms and therein it does an excellent job.

  • Dom Wrinkles
    9:56 on September 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    As I’ve said in previous reviews I’m a big fan of alternate history, with my favourite scenario being ‘what if the Nazis had won WW2?’. So far I’ve only ever read novels in this genre – but ‘The World Hitler never made’ is my first sortie into non-fiction.

    This book is a summary and analysis of the victorious Third Reich books, films and TV shows of the past 70 years or so. It’s incredibly detailed and unearths some real gems, as well as stinkers and books/films that are mostly forgotten now.

    Rosenfeld puts forward an interesting argument as to why this sub-genre of alternate history continues to haunt the imagination. He also shows how the genre has changed and why it has been so successful. One interesting parallel he points out is the link between recessions and ‘what ifs’ selling well. That being the case, and given the state we’re in, I guess we’re due another big hit any day soon! ‘Fatherland 2′, anybody?

    Two criticisms: it can be a bit repetitive (he shows again and again how the books/films fit his pattern; I got it the first time!) and some of the analysis is a bit dry. This is clearly meant as a more academic leaning book rather than being for the general reader. Nevertheless a fascinating volume and I would recommend it to anyone interested in the subject.

  • Andy Saunders
    14:27 on September 1st, 2012
    Reply to comment

    Gayriel Rosenfeld’s very interesting “The World Hitler Never Made” is a fair and thorough survey of the literature (particularly fiction) that sprang up after World War II asking “what if” the war had turned out differently. Not surprisingly, much of what Rosenfeld examines is science fiction, since that is the genre that is most able to handle that kind of historical/social speculation. This book looks at Philip K. Dick’s masterful The Man in the High Castle; Robert Harris’ Fatherland: A Novel (Mortalis) both book and movie; C.M. Kornbluth’s novella “Two Dooms”, which is found in His Share of Glory: The Complete Short Science Fiction of C.M. Kornbluth; Stephen Fry’s comic Making History; the almost forgotten-by-everyone pulp novel Who Will Watch the Watchers which I read when I was a kid; and many others.

    My favorite of this genre is Norman Spinrad’s amazing The Iron Dream which I urge everyone to go out and buy immediately. Rosenfeld raises the question whether Spinrad’s historical pessimism lets Hitler off the hook a little bit: in the novel, the Holocaust happens anyway in the Soviet Union even though Hitler never came to power and ended up a hack sci-fi writer in America. I don’t agree with this spin on Spinrad, but it’s interesting to think about. In spite of all the large historical forces at work, individuals have to be held accountable for the evil that they do. Rosenfeld’s not unexpected conclusion is that Hitler was a dominant, horrific figure in the imagination of the culture and we are unlikely to forget him for the foreseeable future.

    Incidentally, this book is advertised as a survey of the literature about alternate histories, not as a factual “expert’s perspective of what a world in which the Nazi’s won WWII would look like.” So it’s missing the point to give this book only two stars for not being something it was never intended or advertised to be in the first place.

  • not cool
    2:06 on September 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    The scope of this book is what attracted me. It provides insight into how historical eras are remembered and does so by analyzing scholarly as well as popular sources. A unique and very helpful document, especially for the serious historian.

  • JUDI BANGE
    17:08 on September 2nd, 2012
    Reply to comment

    I first encountered this book back in the Bel Air public library when I was a high school student and quickly picked it up.

    It’s a little cold in reading but most informative on what life under the Germans might have been had they been inclined to invade.

    It is also a good refurence book in regards to life during the occupation of the Channel Islands.

    My only fault with the new edition is that since its first publishing more information has come out especially in regards to the plight of the Jews of the Channel Islands.

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