By 1945, Hitler was the undisputed master of Europe. With the war in Switzerland winding down, it was finally time for him to consolidate his gains. On 20 April 1945, the Fuhrer’s 56th birthday, Holland, Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Bohemia-Moravia, the General Government, and parts of Slovenia, France, and Switzerland were officially annexed to the Reich. The monarchies of Sweden, Norway, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium were dissolved and each state was dismantled into numerous districts in order to eradicate any nationalist feeling among these new citizens of the Reich. Luxembourg and Liechtenstein, two prior expansionist goals, had been annexed earlier. Population displacement was the norm in the organized chaos that followed. Walloons were ejected in their entirety into France, forced to leave behind their wealth and property which had been seized by the German government. The mortality rate in Russia continued to rise with the forcible eviction of millions east beyond the Urals, an undertaking even beyond Germany’s efficient planning and which eventually devolved into virtual death marches. This would also apply to the Poles and other people ejected from the Reich‘s annexations. The entire Dutch nation was also subjected to the opening stages of displacement that would see them herded east to Poland and settled along the Bug and Vistula rivers, all Dutch real estate and capital goods forfeited to the Reich and distributed among deserving SS men. Greece continued to suffer under the artificial famine created to feed both the German and Italian populations. India and German Afrika continued to see a startling drop in their populations brought on by German occupation. As for the Final Solution, Heydrich informed the Fuhrer that it would require roughly another two to five years to finish. Secretly to his intimate circle, Hitler made it known that he would only tolerate the multiple languages of Europe for a decade before forcing German upon the continent as a universal language.
Despite Himmler’s repeated queries regarding the creation of two SS states, Burgundy and Gotengau, Hitler would not concede to the creation of such independent states under Himmler’s control, Bormann constantly warning the Fuhrer of Himmler’s growing power. The most Hitler would agree to was the establishment of Gotengau as a gau within the Reich.
Economic dominance was easily achieved over the continent. While German forces were stationed in France, they forced French banks to call in all outstanding loans forcing the foreclosure of a vast percentage of businesses which were then bought up by their German counterparts at a fraction of the cost. Further German pressure would serve to cripple even the strongest French firms leading to their eventual acquisition.
The United Kingdom gradually suffered the same fate. Reparations payments to Germany and Spain, along with the debt accrued fighting two wars with Hitler and his allies, the loss of lucrative colonies, and the difficulty of financially supporting their empire politically and militarily, all served to cripple the British economy. The need to keep forces in the Falklands against repeated Argentine intrusions and having to station a sizable contingent in Palestine to prevent pogroms against the Jews living there proved financially daunting. This, coupled with cheap German goods flooding their markets served to put many English enterprises out of commission.
Croatia itself was a German puppet in more ways than one, its economy under a German monopoly. Spain, largely bankrupt and still not fully recovered from the Civil War, became overly reliant on Germany for her goods. Finally, an customs union was established between Germany, Italy, Spain, France, the United Kingdom, Finland, Rumania, Croatia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Serbia, and Turkey.
As for the domestic economy, slave labor served to boost industrial capacity as well as aid the agricultural sector. Gelded males from the former Poland, Russia, and numerous other conquered states became the property of their new masters. Even more beneficial to the Reich’s agricultural sector was a land rush initiated in the east as free land was offered to Germans with the promise of servants to work it and subsidies to help establish their homesteads.
With reparations payments coming in from France and Britain, and German goods making marked penetration into numerous markets due to their low cost brought on by slave labor, these factors would help to boost the German economy. Industrial output was further aided by Reichs Minister Albert Speer who helped to streamline production and increase efficiency.
Major changes were accepted and implemented in the German military including the introduction of jet fighters, rockets, wire guided missiles, and more forging the German military into the pre-eminent power on Earth.
War with the Church
“Take over the churches from within, using party sympathizers. Discredit, jail or kill Christian leaders. And re-indoctrinate the congregants. Give them a new faith – in Germany’s Third Reich.” This was the plan Hitler had initiated in order to break Christianity’s hold on the German Reich.
For over a decade, Hitler had been able to draw greater and greater concessions from all Christian sects within the Reich’s borders and eventually included: Nazi Censorship of Sermons, the Nazi Flag on the altar, and the removal of the Old Testament from doctrine and the Bible. With total victory in Europe, Hitler’s demands grew greater twisting and transmogrifying the faith to fit his ends. First, and most importantly, was a new law forcing all congregations to come under the authority of Reich Church leader Ludwig Muller. Those who refused were arrested and sent to camps.
With the churches firmly in the Nazi grip, Hitler set about “reforming” it. Jesus became an Aryan, no longer a figure suffering for the weak, the downtrodden, and the suffering but a figure of racial purity attempting to unify a singular people for their destiny of worldwide domination. Paganism would gradually seep into dogma, saints became demigods, and Hitler found himself embraced in this new creed that hailed strength, cruelty, and martial power.
Of all facets within German society, education had largely been left untouched. Though Hitler loathed most intellectuals, he understood the need for them. Thus only minor, though important changes were wrought on the Reich’s educational system. First and foremost, all Jewish and non-compliant teachers, roughly 15% of all teachers and professors, were removed. Next, religious instruction was removed. Subjects such as math, history, and science saw mild changes to subtly support Nazi goals such as mathematics lessons that phrased lessons in ways that supported sterilization and euthanasia, historical lessons that extolled on the greatness of Germany, and biology instruction that stressed the need to remove the defective from the genetic pool.
The Hitler Jugend gathered all young boys from 10-18 together into a tightly knit organization that focused on martial prowess and comraderie, but not at the expense of education. Hitler ordered that the Hitler Jugend could only meet after school hours and that a certain level of academic prowess be upheld. Soldiers were worthless if they were muscle without cunning. Hitler wanted crafty fighters, not fodder for his armies.
The Rising Birthrate
Hitler’s investment in various methods to encourage large families was reaping huge dividends by 1945.
First and foremost, Hitler had all working mothers forcibly removed from employment. Then he enacted various laws limiting what jobs single women could be employed in. A campaign celebrating motherhood was enacted, with all Germans told to honor mothers for the gift they gave the nation.
Free loans were offered to newly married German couples of 1000 reichsmarks to help them start out. For every child produced, a quarter of this loan would be forgiven coupled with a one-time payment of 100 reichsmarks per child combined with a monthly allowance of 10 reichmarks for every third and fourth child, and 20 reichmarks for each additional child.
These methods led to an impressive increase as the birthrate went from 14.7 per thousand people in 1933 to 23 .4 per thousand in 1945.
Of course, certain traditional opinions faded away as Germany became obsessed with breeding. The taboos of premarital sex and illegitimate birth were stripped of the social stigma once associated with them. Himmler, flush with wealth from numerous SS companies and investments, opened the Lebensborn program to financially support single mothers as well as to place bastard children in Aryan families.
The Reich Becomes a Nuclear Power
3 March 1945: the first successful detonation of an atomic bomb was accomplished near Ohrdruf, Thuringia. Its destructive capability was proven greater than earlier expected at an estimated 10 kilotons of TNT. Detonation destroyed an area roughly stretching 160 meters in diameter with varying levels of destruction beyond that and shockwaves reaching as far as 60 miles from point of impact. All 700 prisoners located on site were vaporized by the weapon. The light of the blast was blindingly beyond description. The whole area was lit by a searing light with the intensity many times that of the midday sun. It was golden, purple, violet, gray, and blue. It lit the earth with a clarity and beauty that cannot be described but must be seen to be imagined. It was death in all her majesty.
Herr Doktor Diebner stood vindicated, his hypothesis that a small, transportable atomic bomb was possible proven. He has requested greater amounts of uranium and other raw materials, better facilities and equipment, as well as an increase in funding for his project. Hitler assented, determined to harness this great weapon that would render him a virtual god.
The State of the Reich’s Allies
Hitler’s allies have encountered problems of their own. Italy struggles to hold onto Egypt and the African Horn as natives fight fanatically for their freedom. Mussolini, frustrated at his empire gradually slipping through his fingers, initiates genocidal policies that sees the deaths of millions. Numerous nations across the Middle East declare a jihad against Italian actions in Egypt leading to a draining war that Il Duce refuses to give up. The Greek population, because of Italy’s need for her crops, has dropped dramatically as they starve. Though there are uprisings, Italy’s German allies put them down brutally to protect Reich naval bases in the region.
Croatia, in order to craft a “pure” state, have enacted a bloody campaign of their own murdering Serbs by the thousands while forcibly converting the population to Catholicism. Italy, realizing that no further territorial gains are to be made in the Balkans, and needing troops in Africa, have removed their occupying forces granting Croatia greater autonomy, though German forces are still within their borders.
The puppet state of Serbia has seen a great deal of bloodshed. A failed guerilla campaign witnessed the execution of communist leader Tito. With Germans making up roughly one-seventh of Serbia’s population (500,000 Germans to 3,000,000 Serbs), a gradual system of depopulation was initiated in order to give Germany a tighter hold on the region. This included kidnapping Serbian children viewed as Aryan as well as the segregating of Serb citizens deemed worthy of Reich citizenship from those viewed as untermenschen. In but two years of occupation, over 100,000 Serbs have been executed.
Further to the east, the Japanese Empire was still embroiled in a bloody war with China. Guerillas continually hounded Japanese troops in the countryside despite Japan’s victory over the Nationalists in 1944. Covert arms shipments from America continue to slip through into partisan hands. Meanwhile, the Japanese, in frustration, initiate the “Three Alls” policy. The brutal strategy involved burning down villages, confiscating grain and mobilizing peasants to construct collective hamlets. It also centered on the digging of vast trench lines and the building of thousands of miles of containment walls and moats, watchtowers and roads. These operations targeted for destruction “enemies pretending to be local people” and “all males between the ages of fifteen and sixty whom we suspect to be enemies.” The death toll from 1942 – 1944 was 2.7 million as the Japanese struggled to defeat the Nationalists. 1945 sees that number double to 5 million Chinese citizens as, without an organized enemy, the Imperial Army is able to focus exclusively on the populace. By early 1945, the Japanese have caused over $383 billion dollars of damage to China, 50 times their own GNP, and have created 95 million refugees, one quarter of all Chinese citizens.