Friday, October 9, 2009

DBTL 33: And We're Living Here in Speerburg

This is the latest installment in the Drowned Baby Timeline, an alternate history where Adolf Hitler drowned at birth and where World War II never took place. The largest state in Central Europe is the Polish Commonwealth, which includes the historical Second Polish Republic, eastern Germany, and following the Second Polish Soviet War of 1944 - 45, the former Soviet republics of Byelorussia and Ukraine.

From the archives of Polskie Radio i Telewizja
First broadcast 11 June 1946

[opening credit sequence]

AD: Good evening. I'm Arkadiusz Danilecki, and this is "Poland Tonight". Our first story tonight takes us to the outskirts of Kiev in the Ukrainian Devo, where a startling new development in architecture could mean an end to the housing shortages that have plagued the former Soviet republics of Belarus and Ukraine since the end of the war.

[cut to exterior view as camera PANS across identical single-story houses]

AD (voice over): These modest houses seem unremarkable at first glance, and so they are. They could be located anywhere from Moscow to Los Angeles. What makes them unique is the speed with which they were built. Just a month ago, the street you're looking at looked like this.

[cut to exterior view as camera PANS across empty field]

AD (voice over): In just thirty days, an entire village of five hundred houses complete with indoor plumbing and hot and cold running water was built in a vacant field. In another month, another five hundred houses just like them will be built in an adjacent field.

[cut to exterior view as camera FOLLOWS moving van pulling up to house]

AD (voice over): Already the newly-built houses have been purchased by people fleeing a city still bearing the scars of war and rebellion.

[cut to interior view as camera ANGLES on Gradenko family]

MAXIM GRADENKO: When we first heard about it, we couldn't believe it was true. I never thought I could afford my own house on my salary.

[cut to interior view as camera ANGLES on Maxim and Natalia Gradenko carrying folding table through front door]

AD (voice over): A typical two-bedroom house in Kiev can go for as much as fifty thousand złotys. The Gradenkos bought theirs for ten thousand, with a five hundred złoty down payment and monthly payments of one hundred złotys. The Gradenkos' new house, together with its four hundred ninety-nine counterparts, was the brainchild of this man: Albert Speer.

[cut to interior view of office as camera ANGLES on Albert Speer standing at drafting table]

AD (voice over): Herr Speer is best known as the architect who designed the Bundestag building in Berlin and its counterparts in the capitals of Poland's other devos.

[cut to exterior views of neoclassical buildings in Berlin, Konigsberg, Lwow, Breslau, Wilno]

[cut to interior view of office as camera ANGLES on Albert Speer]

ALBERT SPEER: In a way, it was a logical development of my work on the legislative buildings. They were all basically patterened after the original in Berlin, and it got to the point where I could just call up my suppliers and order so many standard-size windows, doors, wall panels, even corninthian columns. When the Ukrainian government asked me to assist them with the housing shortage, it was no great feat to apply the same principles to single-family dwellings.

[cut to exterior view as SUCCESSIVE STILL SHOTS show a row of houses being assembled]

AS (voice over): It's rather like working on an assembly line, only instead of television sets or cars we're building houses. I call them volkshäuser.

[cut to exterior view as camera PANS across identical single-story houses]

AD (voice over): The Ukrainians have named this first village of assembly-line houses Speerburg in honor of their designer. The devo's Ministry of Housing has announced plans to build thirty thousand volkshäuser over the next year in cities across the Ukraine.

[cut to studio as camera ANGLES on Danilecki]

AD: Herr Speer is currently in Minsk at the invitation of the Belarus Ministry of Housing. Coming up next, the growing reaction to the controversial Zagorski Memorial Act.

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