|The Man With the Iron Heart|
|Illustrator||Big Dot Design|
|Publisher||Ballantine Books (Del Rey)|
|Publication date||July, 2008|
The Man with the Iron Heart is an alternate history novel by Harry Turtledove. Published by Del Rey in 2008, it takes as its premise the survival by Reinhard Heydrich of his 1942 assassination in Czechoslovakia and his subsequent leadership of the postwar "Werewolf" insurgency in occupied Germany, which becomes a far more formidable force than was the case historically.
This novel follows the format typical of Turtledove novels of following events from multiple points of view. These include the historical figure of Heydrich, Soviet NKVD officer Vladimir Bokov, American Counter-Intelligence Corps officer Lou Weissberg, American soldier Bernie Cobb, Congressman Jerry Duncan, reporter Tom Schmidt, and housewife Diana McGraw, who leads a movement to withdraw American forces from Germany.
February 1943: With Nazi Germany in mourning after the fall of German-held Stalingrad, Reichsprotector Heydrich meets with Heinrich Himmler, the head of the SS. Foreseeing Germany's probable defeat, Heydrich convinces his superior to begin preparations for a possible partisan campaign should German forces lose the war.
Two years later, the Allies have conquered Germany. With the Nazi government having surrendered, Heydrich's forces begin a series of attacks against the occupying forces, using car bombs, anti-tank rockets, and suicide bombers. The terrorists assassinate Soviet Marshal Ivan Koniev and American General George Patton. Though occupation officials quickly become aware of the campaign, they are unable to find any quick solutions to it. The American military attempts to tighten security in their sector, while the NKVD spearheads a ruthless suppression of German civilians, including deportations and reprisal killings.
As the casualties mount, Americans at home begin to question the effort. Diana McGraw, an Indiana housewife whose son Pat is killed on occupation duty, turns against American policy and forms an organization agitating to bring American soldiers home. Her Congressman, Republican Jerry Duncan, uses the issue to launch attacks against the Truman administration and is soon joined by other members of his party. In Germany, a truck bomb destroys the Palace of Justice in Nuremberg, killing several officials and forcing a postponement of the trials of Nazi war criminals. In Berlin, dozens of Soviet officers are killed at a New Year's Eve party when the insurgency succeeds in poisoning their drinks using wood alcohol. Though the demonstrations in America grow, the Soviets respond by tightening their crackdown further.
Undeterred, Heydrich continues his campaign. The American attempt to establish democratic institutions is thwarted when a mortar attack at a rally kills Konrad Adenauer, while the recapture of German nuclear physicists (during which Werner Heisenberg is killed) leads Heydrich to a supply of radium that he uses in a dirty bomb which contaminates the American residential compound in Frankfurt. The Americans and the Soviets enjoy small successes against the insurgency, but the spectacular destruction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris and Westminster Abbey and St. Paul's Cathedral in London by truck bombs further erodes Western resolve to remain in Germany.
In the United States, the Republicans win the midterm Congressional elections of 1946. Now in control of Congress, they increase pressure on President Harry Truman to withdraw American forces. Though American officers appreciate the need to remain, discontent grows with the enlisted ranks, as many draftees begin staging protests demanding to be returned home. Another attempt to convene war-crimes trials against the Nazi leadership in the Soviet sector is frustrated when a C-47 Skytrain loaded with explosives crashes into the courthouse, killing the judges and staff inside.
With American troops now being withdrawn in increasing numbers, the latest attack finally brings about a degree of cooperation between the Soviet and American counterintelligence services. At a meeting the Soviets turn over a genocide survivor who worked as a slave laborer constructing the bunker system Heydrich is using. He leads American forces to the bunker where the insurgent leader is hiding, and Heydrich dies while trying to escape. This success does not end the insurgency, however; Joachim Peiper takes over and orders the hijacking of three civilian airliners. While the Soviets remain committed to the occupation and to crushing the resistance, the Americans and British complete their withdrawal, leaving the Nazis ready to reemerge.
The anti-war movement in the novel is largely based on the OTL movement against the Iraq War in the 2000s. Turtledove's short piece "News From the Front" similarly transferred a 2000s-style peace movement to the early 1940s, which threatens to nip in the bud America's chances for winning World War II. Of his own political stance, Turtledove has stated that anyone who tries to determine it from the content of these tales is an idiot.