Thursday, January 15, 2009

DBTL 3: 1939 - Where are they now?

It's the morning of 1 September 1939 in the Drowned Baby Timeline.

ADOLF HITLER has been dead for fifty years, having died shortly after his birth.

JOSEF KIEMENS PILSUDSKI has been dead for a year and a half. His defeat of the invading Brownshirt army from Germany was his last service for the nation he helped recreate.

STANISLAW SKWARCZYNSKI has been First Marshal of the Polish Army, Minister of War, and Inspector General of the Armed Forces for almost two years. As the foremost hero of the German War and Piłsudski's hand-picked successor as "uncrowned King of Poland", Skwarczyński has greater control over the Polish government than either President WALERY SLAWEK or Prime Minister JOSEF BECK.

ERNST ROHM, ex-Führer of Germany, has been dead for two years, having committed suicide just before the fall of Berlin to the Polish Army on 28 June 1937.

REINHARD HEYDRICH has been dead for two years. Head of Röhm's Ministry of Security, he committed suicide after being captured by the Polish Army on 29 June 1937.

HORST WESSEL has been dead for two years. Commandant of the Sachsenhausen concentration camp, he was executed by Piłsudski on 8 July 1937.

HEINRICH HIMMLER has been dead for five years. Appointed Minister of Agriculture by Röhm, Himmler became involved in a bureaucratic turf war with Security Minister Heydrich, and was arrested and executed for treason in 1934.

JOSEPH GOEBBELS has been dead for just under seven years, a victim of Ernst Röhm's initial purge after gaining power in October 1932.

STANLEY BALDWIN is Prime Minister of Great Britain. His successful prosecution of the Danzig War against Germany has made him the most popular PM of the century. However, he has tired of public life, and plans to step down before the year is out. His most likely successor is his Chancellor of the Exchequer, NEVILLE CHAMBERLAIN.

BENITO MUSSOLINI is Duce of Italy. Events in Germany following the Röhm Coup forced him to postpone his planned invasion of Ethiopia in 1935. Despite his declaration of war on Germany in April 1937, Mussolini has been unable to increase Italy's influence in Europe. His current timetable calls for the invasion of Ethiopia to begin on 1 February 1940.

FRANCISCO FRANCO is living in exile in Buenos Aires, having fled Spain following his unsuccessful attempt to overthrow the Republican government in 1936.

JOSEF STALIN is General Secretary of the CPSU. He deeply regrets that Röhm's invasion of Poland occurred before he had finished purging the Red Army of unreliable elements. Poland's alliances with Finland, Estonia, Latvia and Romania have complicated his plans to restore the territorial integrity of the former Russian Empire.

FRANKLIN DELANO ROOSEVELT is President of the United States. He has started to make plans for his retirement in January 1941.

EDWARD ALBERT CHRISTIAN GEORGE ANDREW PATRICK DAVID WINDSOR was King of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland (and Emperor of India) for a year and a half. Wartime press censorship enabled him to keep his relationship with WALLIS SIMPSON secret until her divorce became final in June 1937, when he announced his engagement to her. Encountering stiff resistance from his cabinet ministers but determined to marry her, Edward finally abdicated from his throne on 10 December 1937, and was succeeded by his brother ALBERT FREDERICK ARTHUR GEORGE WINDSOR, who now reigns as George VI. Edward, now Duke of Windsor, moved to France, where he married Wallis on 3 March 1938.

LEON BLUM has been Premier of France since 2 May 1936. His successful prosecution of the Danzig War against Germany has enabled him to continue his pursuit of social reform.

PIERRE LAVAL is Military Governor of the French Zone of Occupation. His task for the next five years will be to prepare southern Germany for statehood as the Republic of Bavaria. He has already begun intriguing to have himself named President of Bavaria.

WINSTON CHURCHILL is Military Governor of the British Zone of Occupation. His task for the next five years will be to prepare northwestern Germany for statehood as the Republic of Hanover. He is rather surprised by the number of the Zone's inhabitants who wish to form a monarchy under King George's brother, the Duke of Windsor.

Ex-Kaisar FRIEDRICH WILHELM VIKTOR ALBERT VON PREUSSEN of the House of Hohenzollern still in exile in the Netherlands. He too is surprised by the popularity of his young cousin Edward in the British Zone, and dismayed as well. He hadn't suspected the Hohenzollerns were that unpopular.

WERNER KARL HEISENBERG is the director of the recently renamed Maria Sklodowska Institute in Berlin. Together with Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassmann, he is preparing a paper on the mechanics of uranium fission.

LISE MEITNER has been dead for four years, a victim of the Dachau concentration camp. Her arrest in 1933 caused a permanent diplomatic rift between Germany and Austria.

ENGELBERT DOLLFUSS has been Chancellor of Austria since 1932. An attempt on his life in 1933 by German agents led to a military alliance between Austria and Italy. Although he declared war on Germany at the same time as Mussolini, they were unable to mobilize their military forces in time to participate in the war.

ENRICO FERMI is Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Rome. He occasionally correponds with his colleagues LEO SZILARD in Budapest and ALBERT EINSTEIN in Princeton, New Jersey.

HERMANN GOERING, ex-fighter pilot and widower of the Baroness CARIN VON ROSEN, lives in Los Angeles with his second wife, INGRID BERGMAN.

KONRAD ADENAUER survived a three year stay in the Buchenwald concentration camp, and has regained his old position as Mayor of Cologne.

KAROL JOSEF WOJTILA, inspired by his country's victory over the Germans, has chosen to follow in his father's footsteps and enlist in the Polish Army.

ALBERT SPEER is an architect in Berlin.

GELI RAUBAL is a housewife in Vienna.

ANNELIES MARIE FRANK has been living in Amsterdam since her father moved the family there from Frankfurt am Main in 1933.

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