A bomb-ravaged Palace draped in swastikas? It could only happen on TV. Could it?

Bombed and draped in swastikas, the ruins of Buckingham Palace symbolise the shameful defeat of a once-proud nation in the Second World War. Jackbooted and heavily armed German soldiers patrol the streets and Britons live under the yoke of a brutal Nazi occupation.

It is November 1941 and, having been invaded after losing the Battle of Britain a year earlier, the UK has become the last part of Europe to fall to Hitler’s armies.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill has been executed and King George VI is held in the Tower of London.

The so-called ‘alternate history’ is a nightmare come true and the basis of a gripping new five-part BBC drama series, SS-GB, which is due to start later this month. But it could never have happened, could it?

A bomb-ravaged Palace draped in swastikas? It could only happen on TV. But the BBC's intriguing new thriller draws on REAL Nazi plans for life under... SS-GB

By Valerie Elliott and Simon Murphy for The Mail on Sunday

5 February 2017

The upcoming BBC drama SS-GB is based on the 1978 Len Deighton novel

Bombed and draped in swastikas, the ruins of Buckingham Palace symbolise the shameful defeat of a once-proud nation in the Second World War. Jackbooted and heavily armed German soldiers patrol the streets and Britons live under the yoke of a brutal Nazi occupation.

It is November 1941 and, having been invaded after losing the Battle of Britain a year earlier, the UK has become the last part of Europe to fall to Hitler’s armies.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill has been executed and King George VI is held in the Tower of London.

The so-called ‘alternate history’ is a nightmare come true and the basis of a gripping new five-part BBC drama series, SS-GB, which is due to start later this month. But it could never have happened, could it?

Bombed and draped in swastikas, the ruins of Buckingham Palace symbolise Britain's shameful defeat in the Second World War

As far-fetched as the idea seems, Len Deighton, on whose 1978 novel the drama is based, used secret German plans prepared for the post-invasion administration of the UK as source material for his bestseller.

In reality, the invasion, codenamed Operation Sea Lion, never took place because Hitler dithered and his Luftwaffe was beaten by the RAF over the skies of Kent and Sussex in 1940. But that didn’t stop the efficient German armed forces from planning for the occupation of the UK.

SS-GB scriptwriting duo Neal Purvis and Robert Wade, who have collaborated on the past six James Bond movies, were handed copies of some of the Nazi plans by Deighton, 87, while adapting his novel for their screenplay.

‘The document showed how the Germans would run Britain before they invaded us,’ Purvis said. ‘Plans for running the country were drawn up before they had even drawn up their plans for an invasion. It was very efficient.’

The so-called ‘alternate history’ is the basis of gripping new five-part BBC drama series, SS-GB

Wade added: ‘They weren’t going to bomb Blackpool, as they wanted that as a place for R&R for their soldiers. Meanwhile, Hitler wanted Blenheim Palace, where Churchill was born.’

One chilling Nazi document – known as the Special Search List GB, also dubbed The Black Book – contained the names of 2,820 prominent people to be arrested after the invasion. It was an appendix to the Gestapo handbook for the invasion, which contained information about politically important aspects of British society.

It included institutions such as embassies, universities and Freemason lodges, which would help facilitate the Nazi occupation and administration of Britain.

Separately, generals had earmarked a selection of the country’s grandest stately homes for top Nazis to reside in, as well as handpicking Eton as the school of choice for their offspring.

The dossier, dubbed a ‘Nazi A to Z of Great Britain’, is littered with postcards and maps of iconic landmarks such as Blackpool Tower and the Mersey Tunnel, which were intended to help troops successfully identify locations during the invasion.

Blackpool Tower

Meanwhile, other wartime papers revealed the Nazis had singled out Bridgnorth, in Shropshire, as a major base, leading historians to conclude that Hitler wanted his personal headquarters there.

Even though the occupation is imaginary, every other detail in the TV drama was meticulously researched over a three-year period.

The London of SS-GB is one of smoggy, dirty streets, dimly lit pubs, and people wearing browns, greys, tweeds and heavy fabrics. Even the smallest item was painstakingly recreated, including identity passes and train tickets.

Graffiti from the 1940s was also reproduced, with slogans such as ‘Wot, no sugar?’ seen on walls.

Executive producer Sally Woodward Gentle told The Mail on Sunday the production was ‘very sensitive’ because the team was conscious viewers might be distressed and uneasy about the depiction of a Nazi-occupied London.

‘We felt an enormous responsibility about it,’ she said.

Detective Douglas Archer, who is forced to work under the brutal SS in occupied London, is played by Sam Riley

‘It is shocking, but we have to remember that mainland Europe suffered. It’s absolutely terrifying and we were so incredibly lucky that we prevailed, and the whole production is in a way an honour for all those who served with the Allied forces.’

The drama stars Sam Riley – who played Joy Division star Ian Curtis in the 2007 biopic Control – as Detective Inspector Douglas Archer, and Kate Bosworth as US journalist Barbara Barga.

Working on a routine murder case at SS-controlled Scotland Yard, Riley’s character soon becomes involved in espionage involving the British resistance movement, which attracts the interest of German authorities. SS-GB, widely expected to become the BBC’s new Sunday-night blockbuster, continues the trend for raunchier viewing.

The series includes at least three sex scenes, including an opening sequence in which Riley’s naked mistress is draped in a swastika.

Historian Max Arthur said: ‘There is no doubt the Germans spent a great deal of time planning how they would run the UK in the event of a successful invasion and our surrender.

‘In many ways, they were far more efficient planning for the post-occupation than the actual invasion across the Channel, which many of Hitler’s senior generals doubted would succeed.

‘Deighton’s fascinating book was one of the first so-called alternate histories where people imagine what if?

‘Thankfully, the RAF triumphed in the Battle of Britain and retained our air superiority.

‘Hitler turned his eyes from the UK and fatefully invaded Russia, so we will never know what might have happened if Hitler’s plan had succeeded.’


Len Deighton, on whose 1978 novel the drama is based, used secret German plans as source material for his bestseller, left, while this famous photograph, right, shows a German soldier talking to a policeman on Jersey

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by Germany during the Second World War.

Just 20 miles off the coast of France, the islands of Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark and Herm provided a key strategic outpost for Germans when they invaded in the summer of 1940.

The islands remained under Nazi rule – with German soldiers famously pictured parading outside a branch of Lloyds Bank in Guernsey and asking policemen for directions – until they were liberated in May 1945.

Read more: BBC show draws on REAL Nazi plans for life under... SS GB | Daily Mail Online
Follow us: @MailOnline on Twitter | DailyMail on Facebook
Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 5th, 2017 at 01:09 PM..
lone wolf
You'd find this interesting:


Curious Cdn
Good reason for Brexit, innit?
Have you read this or seen the TV series?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ma...he_High_Castle (external - login to view)
Curious Cdn
Quote: Originally Posted by eh1ehView Post

Have you read this or seen the TV series?

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Ma...he_High_Castle (external - login to view)

Is Canada the only free place left or did the author think that its empty?
What if the Nazis had won the Battle of Britain?

9 Comments (external - login to view)

Swastikas swathe Buckingham Palace in scenes from the BBC's new drama, SS-GB Credit: Sid Gentle Films Ltd

Andrew Roberts (external - login to view)
18 February 2017
The Telegraph

Summer 1940 and the Battle of Britain (external - login to view) was an unqualified victory for the Luftwaffe - the tiny RAF crushed in a matter of weeks after the German air force managed to destroy Britain’s radar stations and leave it flying blind - Operation Sea Lion (external - login to view), the Nazi invasion of Britain, was put into full assault mode.

The Royal Navy steamed down from its northern base at Scapa Flow to try to protect the Channel ports from invasion, but met catastrophe off the eastern coast at the hands of the massed U-boat 'wolfpacks’ that were lying in wait.

The Wehrmacht, once successfully landed in a flawless amphibious operation that the German General Staff had been meticulously planning ever since Adolf Hitler had come to power in 1933, raced for London, using Blitzkrieg tactics to easily knock aside the only fully-formed motorised British army division that had not been lost in the disastrous retreat to Dunkirk, where a quarter of a million soldiers of the British Expeditionary Force had been captured.

Winston Churchill refused to escape alongside King George VI and the Royal Family to Canada, but decided to fight it out in the secret government bunker in Dollis Hill in North London.

“You can always take one with you,” he famously said, and was credited by eyewitnesses with killing three German stormtroopers before turning his Colt .45 on himself.

Within weeks all organised resistance was over. The Third Reich now extended from John O’Groats to the Polish border with Russia, as the huge swastikas all the way down the Mall from Kriegsflotte Arch to the former Buckingham Palace signified. For we British, the war was over.

“To speculate on who would have collaborated if the Germans had invaded Britain,” Sir Isaiah Berlin once told me, “is the most vicious game a Briton can play.”

It’s true, yet we love playing it over and over again, with the excellent dramatisation of Len Deighton’s superb thriller SS-GB (external - login to view) as the latest manifestation, hard on the heels of the second series of Phillip K. Dick’s Man in the High Castle.

Yet we don’t have to turn to fictional accounts to imagine what would have happened if Britain had been successfully invaded by the Nazis.

They made enough plans for the administration of this country (external - login to view) that were captured after the war to let us imagine the horrific outcome for this country if we had lost the Battle of Britain and been subjected to the full force of the kind of successful Blitzkrieg that had already devastated Poland, Norway, Denmark, France, Belgium and Holland, and was shortly afterwards to crush Yugoslavia and Greece, too.

The Occupation would have been much worse even than that depicted by SS-GB (external - login to view). Under Field-Marshal Walther von Brauchitsch’s 'Orders Concerning the Organization and Function of Military Government in England’ drawn up in September 1940: “The able-bodied male population between the ages of 17 and 45 will, unless the local situation calls for an exceptional ruling, be interned and dispatched to the continent”.

With a quarter of the male population being shipped off to slave-labour in Germany and Occupied Europe, the kernel of any future resistance group would be removed, as happened to millions of troops of the French Army after their defeat in 1940, who were only allowed to return home in some groups gradually over the following months and years, depending on hard work and good behaviour, and of course unquestioning allegiance to the Reich.

The Duke and Duchess of Windsor during their controversial meeting with Hitler in Munich, in October 1937 Credit: PA

A puppet government akin to the one set up by Vidkun Quisling in Norway (external - login to view) would almost certainly have been created at Westminster and Whitehall, though who would have served in it is open to doubt. The Fascist leader Sir Oswald Mosley is most often mentioned, but he had very little political support before the war.

A more likely candidate might have been the former Liberal prime minister David Lloyd George, who had admired Adolf Hitler when they met before the war, and who might well have performed much the same role that Marshal Philippe Petain did after the fall of France.

It is also not impossible that the Duke of Windsor (external - login to view) might have been reinstated as King Edward VIII, with the Abdication Act of 1936 repealed by a Vichy-style parliament. Like him, some of the more enthusiastic of the pre-war appeasers (external - login to view) might have persuaded themselves that their serving in government could possibly soften the severity of the Nazi occupation.

Like the Vichy Government in France (external - login to view), any British Government would have been expected to participate in the rounding-up of Jews, 300,000 of whom lived in Britain in 1940, for transportation east to the extermination camps of Poland and eastern Europe.

SS-Brigadeführer Dr Frank Six was given the job of setting up six einsatzgruppen death squads based in London, Manchester, Birmingham, Bristol, Liverpool and Edinburgh, which would carry out that operation and also conduct vicious reprisals against any resistance.

Sam Riley plays Detective Superintendent Douglas Archer, struggling to reconcile his job as a Met policeman within the repressive Nazi machine Credit: BBC Pictures

The Metropolitan Police would have been conscripted into that monstrous task, just as the French police were. The extermination (external - login to view)programme would also have been carried out against all Communists, gays, gypsies, the 'racially inferior’ and the mentally and physically handicapped, in the same way as it was across the rest of Occupied Europe

As in Italy, Greece and Yugoslavia, hostages would have been taken from the local population, including women and children, who would have been executed if any resistance was shown (external - login to view).

Limiting access to food would have been used as a way of cowing and weakening the local population, as it was in the USSR, with starvation constantly beckoning. If anything, the good-looking cast of SS-GB are far too well-nourished.

Home Guards practising throwing hand grenades from a sunken railway track doubling as a trench Credit: M. McNeill/Fox Photos/Getty Images

Despite the terror and torture, there would undoubtedly have been immensely brave resistance (external - login to view), not just by the Home Guard that was being joined in huge numbers at the time of the evacuation from Dunkirk in June 1940, but also from special 'Auxiliary Units’ (external - login to view) that were being organized by Colonel Colin Gubbins.

Typically comprising six or seven men each, whose purpose was to sabotage German supply lines, they were to be supported by 'secret duties personnel’ (civilian spies) and were intended to be the kernel for a post-invasion Resistance movement.

Housed in corrugated iron shelters underground – one was under a cucumber frame in the orchard of a Hampshire manor house – they also served as supply dumps for sub-machine guns and explosives. They might not have been able seriously to disrupt Nazi control, but as one of their commanders later put it: “The true purpose of resistance is to preserve a nation’s soul. (external - login to view)

From the experiences of the European resistance movements (external - login to view), especially the Dutch, Danish, Polish and Norwegian, it is possible to state with certainty that immense bravery would have met with truly horrific reprisals.

Patriotism, identity and loyalty would have been strained to the limit. British women who slept with the Germans and had babies by them, as tens of thousands of French women did, would have been despised by their neighbours.

Kate Bosworth plays US journalist Barbara Barga alongside Sam Riley in SS-GB Credit: BBC Pictures

In order to decapitate any organised resistance movement (external - login to view), Dr Six was furnished with the Sonderfahndungsliste G.B. (Special Prosecution Book for Great Britain), drawn up by the counter-espionage unit (external - login to view) of Directorate of Reich Security, the Reichssicherheitshauptamt.

Known as the 'Black Book’, this listed the 2,820 Britons who were to be “taken into protective custody” – i.e. arrested and in most cases executed - after the invasion.

It included Winston Churchill and the government, of course, but also writers such as H.G. Wells, Rebecca West, E.M. Forster and the singer-playwright Noel Coward. (When the list was published after the war, West joked to Coward: “My dear, the people we should have been seen dead with!’) It was planned to shut down the Freemasons, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Boy Scout movement as potential areas of future opposition.

Yet the Black Book was out of date before it was even printed: Sigmund Freud and Lytton Strachey had both died, and it featured others like Aldous Huxley who had been living in America since 1936.

To their shame, George Bernard Shaw and David Lloyd George were absent from the list because of their public statements in favour of peace once the war had started.

Noel Coward, seen here in The Scoundrel in 1935, was listed in the Nazi's 'Black Book' Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection / Rex Features

The Nationalities Plan that the Nazis hoped might weaken loyalty to the British Government would have been put into immediate operation, with independence (under the Reich) being granted to Scotland, Wales and a United Ireland, and a semi-autonomous status for the West of England.

Of course these governments would all have been ultimately controlled by German Gauleiters, but on the surface it would have been presented by the newspapers, radio and newsreel broadcast news – all of which would have been completely controlled by the Nazis – as a form of national liberation from Westminster. (London’s public buildings swathed in swastikas (external - login to view) in SS-GB are very true to life; the French parliament building had them hanging from its from 1940 to 1944.)

If Britain had fallen, and without the United States being able to use us as an unsinkable aircraft carrier as she did after 1941, it is hard to see how liberation would ever have come about.

Churchill predicted that defeat in 1940 would have meant that everything, “including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age (external - login to view).” SS-GB reminds us yet again how right he was.


SS-GB starts at 9pm on Sunday, BBC One (external - login to view)

Andrew Roberts is author of The Storm of War : A New History of the Second World War (Allen Lane, £16.99).
To order your copy for £1​4.99 plus p&p call 0844 871 1514 or visit books.telegraph.co.uk (external - login to view)

What if the Nazis had won the Battle of Britain? (external - login to view)
Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 18th, 2017 at 04:58 AM..
Nazi rule in the British Isles isn’t an alternative reality: just ask the people of the Channel Islands...

Nazi rule in the British Isles isn’t an alternative reality: it happened here

February 19 2017
The Sunday Times

A German marching band in Saint Peter Port, Guernsey's capital

Of all the “what ifs” of Britain’s history, the most persistent concerns a period in the lifetimes of millions still around today. The first episode, tonight, of the television version of Len Deighton’s 1978 novel SS-GB is only the most recent example of fascination with the question: how would Britons have behaved if this country had fallen under Nazi rule?

Yet we don’t need novelists such as Deighton or, more recently, Robert Harris (Fatherland) and CJ Sansom (Dominion), to answer a hypothetical question. The Channel Islands were occupied by the Wehrmacht from June 1940 to May 1945. Many of the facts about that occupation were made available in 1995 with the partial release of British Home Office archives 50 years after the islands’ liberation. They had originally been classified as not to be released for up to 100 years. Given their contents, that is hardly surprising.

What they revealed was an extraordinarily friendly relationship between the British Crown’s designated authorities and the Nazi regime’s occupying force. Victor Carey, the Bailiff of Guernsey, did whatever was asked of him by the latter, punctiliously.

For example, he offered a £25 reward for information about anyone daubing a “V” for victory (a token of resistance) “or any other sign or any word or words calculated to offend the German authorities or soldiers”. In other words, he was encouraging the island’s inhabitants to turn informer. Many did, with the result that a number of those engaged in subversive behaviour were rounded up and deported.

A British policeman and a German soldier

An even worse fate befell the Channel Islands’ small Jewish population. The civil authorities carried out the Nazis’ request to make available the identities of all Jewish inhabitants and imposed the “Nuremberg laws”, which designated as Jewish anyone with at least one Jewish grandparent.

The Feldkommandantur received several letters from Carey itemising whatever could be ascertained about all “the Jews on the island”. One ended: “I have the honour to report that the order which accompanied your letter was communicated to the royal court of Guernsey . . . I can assure you there will be no delay, in so far as I am concerned, in furnishing you with the information you require. I have the honour, sir, to be your obedient servant, Victor Carey.”

This attitude flowed effortlessly down the lines of command. An American radio journalist who visited the Channel Islands during the first year of occupation broadcast: “I noticed whenever English policemen saluted German officers in the street it was done with both parties generally exchanging polite smiles . . . Everywhere I went . . . I heard only praise in the highest terms of the German soldiers’ conduct.”

Such broadcasts caused some consternation in Whitehall, only months after Winston Churchill had himself declared the British determination to fight the Germans “on the beaches . . . we shall never surrender . . . whatever the cost may be”. The government feared the British people’s resolve could be weakened if they formed the impression that an occupying German force would behave with impeccable courtesy.

Not to the Jews, of course. But that would hardly have been a consideration to most Britons at the time. It is a rewriting of history, now widely believed, that the reason for Britain’s declaration of war on Nazi Germany, and the great cause for which allied troops risked and gave up their lives, was that regime’s policy of persecuting and, later, exterminating the Jewish people.

Slave labourers of Organisation Todt laying railway tracks in Saint Helier, Jersey

It had nothing to do with that at all. Its purpose and origin was the need to thwart a militaristic German hegemon on the European continent. Had Hitler contented himself with exterminating the Jews of Germany and Austria and kept his military within those borders, there would have been no conflict with Britain.

And had Britain been defeated by or surrendered to the Nazis, would its Jewish population have been better protected by the civil authorities than that of the Channel Islands? There’s little reason to suppose it would have been, although I like to think that the British would not have been as disgustingly enthusiastic in rounding up the Jewish population as were the authorities in Vichy France.

My mother’s family, readily identifiable as the Jewish owners of Britain’s largest food manufacturing business (J Lyons & Co), had — or so I was told as a child — manufactured suicide pills to take if Britain did fall to the Nazis. They were not optimistic.

For a sense of the opinion on the streets of Britain at that time, it’s essential to read a (neglected) 1945 essay by George Orwell, Anti-semitism in Britain, in which he observed: “It is generally admitted that anti-semitism is on the increase, that it has been greatly exacerbated by the war and that humane and enlightened people are not immune to it.”

Orwell illustrated this with several encounters from his daily life, such as: “Intelligent woman, on being offered a book dealing with anti-semitism and German atrocities: ‘Don’t show it to me, please don’t show it to me. It’ll only make me hate the Jews more than ever.’” He went on to argue: “If, as I suggest, prejudice against Jews has always been pretty widespread in England, there is no reason to think that Hitler has genuinely diminished it. He has merely caused a sharp division between the politically conscious person who realises this is not a time to throw stones at the Jews, and the unconscious person whose native anti-semitism is increased by the nervous strain of the war.”

German observation tower at Les Landes, Jersey

It was therefore quite understandable that the British war cabinet was sensitive to the Nazi propaganda line that British soldiers’ lives were being sacrificed purely “for the Jews”: this helps to explain why no special effort was made to put obstacles in the way of the Final Solution. Its stopping was a by-product of the defeat of the Nazis, not the purpose. That was fair enough: total concentration on bringing that defeat about, as quickly as possible, was the correct military strategy.

And when that victory was won, with the Channel Islands freed, what happened to the administrators who had served their German masters so obediently? Julia Pascal, whose play Theresa is about a Jewish resident of Guernsey gassed at Auschwitz, recalls one of Victor Carey’s grandsons telling her: “At the liberation, the government didn’t know whether to hang my grandfather for treason, or knight him.” They chose the latter. With indecent haste, Carey was knighted by George VI in 1945.

Many of the Channel Islands' authorities were similarly honoured. No prosecutions were brought against those named by angry islanders as having betrayed resisters. It was politically convenient to take the view that all on the islands were victims and none collaborators. The British government knew it had abandoned the islands, and had done nothing to encourage resistance there. It was mutually beneficial to close the book and award honours all round.

In any case, can anyone who has not been put in that position know for certain how he or she would have behaved in similar circumstances? What we do know is that Britain itself did not surrender, or sue for peace in 1940 after the fall of France.

So the real history is still one of which this country can be proud.

The Channel Islands, off the Normandy coast, were the only part of the British Isles to be occupied by the Nazis

dominic.lawson@sunday-times.co.uk (external - login to view)

Nazi rule in the British Isles isn (external - login to view)
Last edited by Blackleaf; Feb 19th, 2017 at 09:26 AM..

Similar Threads

Flags Replaced With Swastikas in Wash.
by sanctus | May 31st, 2007
Swastikas daubed on French mosque and schools
by Blackleaf | Mar 20th, 2005
no new posts