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Alternate History Books   >   Books   >   If Hitler Had Won


If Hitler Had Won: The Plans He Made, The Plans He Carried Out, The Plans He Hoped To Achieve

    What if Hitler had won the war in Europe?

Review of If Hitler Had Won: The Plans He Made, The Plans He Carried Out, The Plans He Hoped To Achieve:

This is an unusual book which I enjoyed tremendously, but which I can also see would not appeal to every reader. It mixes real historical events with plans and ideas expressed by Hitler in Mein Kampf and his table talk (informal lunchtime discussions), as well as the author's speculation. The real historical events are shown in a normal font, and the counterfactual elements are shown in bold. It also generally assumed, that Hitler would have implemented the precise plans that he discussed, given the opportunity, rather than change his mind, and adapt them to different circumstances. Moreover the book generally follows the events in historical order (with the exception of a very short introductory chapter explaining the point of divergence that actually occurs in late 1941).

There are two main consequences from this decision on structure:
  1. A lot of the book, especially in the first half, is simply another retelling of the Nazi rise to power and the early years of the war. While interesting, it isn't "alternate history". Only later in the book, do counterfactuals start to appear, initially in a small way, but towards the end they dominate as the alternate timeline diverges further and further from our timeline.

  2. There is inevitably a fair number diversions and repetitive elements that flow from this structure. For example, we get a description (with a map) of the German foreign ministry's plan for a redivision of African colonies (the "Bielfeld plan") in Germany's favor early in the book - but nothing like it ever occurs even in the alternate timeline of the book.
That said, I did like some elements of the book, and I did read it cover to cover without getting too bored. I particularly liked the fact that the author used only a small point of divergence, one that initially would hardly be noticed in a global war, and then gradually made larger and larger consequences flow from it. Other things I like about the book were the maps (which incidentally clearly capture an important element of Nazi megalomania), although I did think they could be improved - for example, there is no map which shows the entirety of postwar Europe.

On the negative side, are rather too many typos and proofing errors. Even the back of the book contains an error of this type ("Would the United State [sic] have been invaded?"). I also felt the Nazi military advances towards the end of the book were unbelievable, and likely to be logistically impossible, and that the very end of the book stretched credibility a bit too far.

One other thing I should make clear is that this book is very much written from the German perspective. The Allies are mainly seen responding to German actions, and we get little sense of what is going on in the Allied countries during the period covered by the book. The book does mention German attrocities and war crimes, but there is little emphasis on this - the main focus is on battles, military victories and defeats, etc.

In summary, this is an interesting book and unique book. It is a brave experiment to try and blend historical and counterfactual events so deeply across an entire book, and I would say this experiment succeeds more than it fails. In some ways the book is also a disappointment - it is not quite as good as it could have been - but do not misunderstand me - I certainly am glad that I bought this book, and would buy it again in a heartbeat.

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If Hitler Had Won: The Plans He Made, The Plans He Carried Out, The Plans He Hoped To Achieve

By Richard Osborne

Released: September 19th, 2004
Paperback (328 pages)

If Hitler Had Won: The Plans He Made, The Plans He Carried Out, The Plans He Hoped To Achieve
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If Hitler Had Won: The Plans He Made, The Plans He Carried Out, The Plans He Hoped To Achieve
  • Manufacturer: Riebel-Roque
  • Brand: Riebel-Roque
  • ISBN: 0962832464
  • EAN: 9780962832468
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  • Edition: First Edition
  • Number of Pages: 328
  • Author: Richard Osborne
  • Publication Date: September 19th, 2004
  • Release Date: September 19th, 2004
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If Hitler Had Won

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