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Alternate History Fridays: The Butcher of Prague Remembers

Georg Elser stampReinhard Heydrich watched his Leader speak with pride, as they celebrated the Beer Hall Revolution, right in front of the BürgerbräuKeller, where it had all began.

Just sixteen years ago, in 1923, Hitler had stood at the very spot where he spoke now, his voice captivating a nation as he promised an end to the injustices heaped upon the German people.

He thought it was ironic. While the perpetrators of those injustices — the French and the British primarily — marked their maudlin November 11th holiday as a day to remember their soldiers killed in the Great War the proud German people had a celebration. By winning power, Hitler had transmuted the Armistice Day into a victory — the Leader’s Day.

Heydrich could not imagine what might have happened if the revolution had not been successful. What might have become of the Fatherland?

Hitler was warmed up now, and Heydrich allowed himself to be swept away in the Leader’s oratory, as he watched from a distance. He should have been standing next to him, but Himmler had grown suspicious of Heydrich’s popularity with the Leader, and not allowed him on the platform with the other Party officials.

A lot of what Hitler said didn’t really make much sense, but that did not matter. What the Leader had was certainty. Perhaps not sanity, but it was his conviction and confidence that was important.

The certainty that Austria, Czechoslovakia and Poland were not enough.

The German people needed more land, Hitler said. And it was only a matter of time before they took it. So far the war with France and Britain had been quiet, but in the spring, he knew it would explode.

Then a wall of sound assaulted his ears, drowning out the Leader’s compelling voice, and he was thrown through the air, landing hard on his elbow. He stood up, dazed, but through the smoke and his ringing ears he could see the disaster that had befallen them.

Hitler had been assassinated. Not only him, but the entire top echelon of the Nazi Party. Amidst the horror and loss, Heydrich felt a thrill of excitement. That left him as the natural successor.

He would be Leader. And though he did not have the charisma of Hitler, Heydrich knew he could be twice as ruthless, and much more efficient.

Inspired by:
Georg Elser’s attempt to kill Hitler

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