Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Focus of this Book

Checkmate: The Enigma of Reinhard Heydrich is a fictionalized, yet historically accurate story about the plot and assassination of Reinhardt Heydrich in May, 1942. Reinhardt Heydrich was the founder and head of the Nazi SS and Hitler’s designated successor. This was the only successful assassination of a high-ranking Nazi officer during WWII).

The focus of my story is Heydrich, specifically why he was so vitally important to Hitler and Nazi Germany - and why the British Intelligence plotted to have him killed.

Although there have been excellent films about Heydrich's assassination by the Czechs in black and white and a Czech German co-production in color for Cable TV Network, most of the scenes focus on the role played by the Czechs and the terrible price paid by them to carry out the assassination. These movies retell the actual assassination and what happened to the four partisans who carried out the actual assassination, hiding in the Cathedral of Saints Cyril and Methodius, as well as the brave deaths of the priests who sheltered them. It also tells the story of how they were betrayed by one of the Czech partisans who eventually sold the information about their whereabouts to the Nazis. Another prominent part of these stories tells about the Nazi response. The town of Lidice was wiped out from the face of the earth, all its inhabitants slaughtered, its buildings and houses burnt to the ground, tons of salt tossed over the land, the name of Lidice removed from all the maps of the Third Reich and the site replanted with trees.

What these movies don't explain is why Heydrich was so important ... and what has fascinated me the most - how did Heydrich get to become so important. What I found out during my research was that he wasn't killed because of actions he took towards the final solution (in fact he had very different ideas about this than Hitler did) - it was about France - his next posting after Prague.

Young, handsome, cultured, very-intelligent, brave, ambitious and very efficient Reinhardt Heydrich was the real prototypical James Bond - a man of action who wanted to be the best at whatever he did. Heydrich was an accomplished athelete, violinist, pilot, fencer, a master of disguises and languages - who went on many missions personally - even escaping from Russia when his plane was shot down.

For more about the two sides of Heydrich go to: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rV25qUZcZt8

Heydrich was smart - not just intelligent - but as a strategic thinker. Heydrich’s creation and running of the SS and masterminding the Roehm massacre cleared the way for Hitler to assume the chancellorship and his masterminding the takeover of Poland and Czechoslovakia helped solidify his position as Hitler’s favorite, and designated successor.
His brilliant strategy resulted in Stalin killing off more than two-thirds of his Generals before Hitler's invasion, and his strategy with the British opened the door for the invasion of the Benelux countries - and bypassing the Maginot Line.

The death of Heydrich in May, 1942 dramatically changed the Third Reich and quite probably the course of history. A strong argument could be made that this single action was even more important to the long-term war effort then cracking the Enigma code. Even if Hitler had been killed or committed suicide after the defeat of Nazi Germany, a diabolical Heydrich somewhere in the world in a safe haven could have redirected the course of events – and of history.

My story starts with the telling of Heydrich's life, expands during the war years and ends with the on the planning of the assassination in London by British Intelligence, and the behind-the-scenes intrigues.

Most of all it will profile Reinhardt Heydrich in Prague and why he was such a serious threat to the Allies. A series of laboratories conceived by him are conducting tests on time travel and their experiments are showing more and more promise. British scientists, Czech scientists and physicists in London have been able to piece together enough from the bits of information decoded by Dr. Alan Turing and his team at Bletchely Park to be so alarmed they have threatened to leak this to the Press unless they are taken seriously by the Prime Minister Winston Churchill.

The information which was being decoded and decrypted at Bletchely Park led the Allies to believe Adolf Hitler, evil as he was, was a lesser malevolence than Heydrich. Hitler was intelligent but Heydrich was a many faceted genius. He was young – in his mid-thirties at the most. He supported the sciences and saw their strategic importance - unlike Hitler. His rise had been meteoric and his political and scientific insights were uncannily accurate.

Yet Reinhard Heydrich thought himself invincible and invulnerable. That would be his Achilles’ heel. That is where the English mastermind in the British Secret Service will concentrate. On Heydrich’s sense of immortality.
Like Alexander the Great and other dominant characters of history Heydrich acted like a God – or so he thought. The Eastern Europeans, Slavs, the gypsies, the political prisoners, the Jews were so cowed they went meekly to their deaths. Who would dare to kill him? He rode in an open Daimler convertible, sitting arrogantly in the back seat looking very much like a Norse god. He never used escorts or bodyguards. Heydrich had his Walther 38; he carried two. He could shoot a match in two at a great distance. They were holstered. It ruined the line of his attractive uniform and that of his tall, elegant Aryan frame to leave the flaps of his holster open.

The assassination plot was brilliantly masterminded from London by the British Secret Service, with the participation of the Czech Resistance. The hero of our story is the fictional British Intelligence chief “Sir Branwell Swift” who masterminds the plot and recruits the two members of the Czech team who were trained in England to carry out the kill.

The title “Checkmate” reflects Sir Branwell’s Swift goal to kill the opposing king – but unlike a normal chess board game, the moves and counter-moves cause the deaths of millions. The outcome on the war may just depend on whether or not Sir Branwell Swift can achieve the checkmate the allies so badly need.

Extensive research has been done to date regarding Reinhardt Heydrich – which will be used to create a compelling story of why the killing of Heydrich was even more important to the long term war effort then the more publicized decoding of Enigma.

The fact he was important to Hitler and the German's was clearly evidenced during the largest German funeral during WWII - see: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AtyWAf2xCq0

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