|Series||The War That Came Early|
|Preceded by||Coup d'Etat|
|Followed by||Last Orders|
The novel covers the period between December 1941 through March or April of 1943. This is a continuation of the story, but the war is on two fronts for Nazi Germany as the world moves into 1942-3, with the French and English now fighting the Germans in Belgium, and only the Russians fighting them in the East. Due to the shift of men and matériel to the Western Front, Germany is now starting to lose ground in Russia. On the other side of the world, the Empire of Japan starts biological warfare with the Americans by dropping bio bombs on Hawaii.
The Germans are forced to move many men and materials from the Russian front to the new western front. French and English troops are also moved from directly helping the Russians back to the Western front in France and Belgium. English forces are pushed back towards Egypt and Field Marshall Bernard Montgomery is killed when his transport plane is shot down by the Germans. The 1942 elections really don't change the composition of Congress much: a few Democrat seats are lost, but the USA remains out of the European theater of war. FDR does send England some B-17s that the RAF uses for daylight bombing raids of German cities. The German U-boat U-30 sinks the British navy aircraft carrier HMS Ark Royal.
The British military still holds the reins the power in the U.K., very carefully maintaining the rule of law, but successfully exiling many of its enemies to diplomatic positions in distant countries.
Due to the shift of manpower to the Western Front, Germany is now starting to lose ground in Russia. While many tanks, Stukas, and infantry units are moved to fight on the Western Front, there are just barely enough left to hold off the Russians. The biggest difference is Germany's use of Panzer IVs as medium battle tanks instead of just infantry support. They receive larger guns (75mm vs the 37mm of Panzer IIIs and better armament so that can now go toe to toe with Russian T-34 tanks. The bigger shock for the Russians is newer German Tiger tanks with their 88mm guns that are true "tank killers". The Luftwaffe also introduces the |FW-190 into the mix with their Me-109s.
In the Pacific, the Japanese are at a stand still. While they now have Midway, they still don't have the Hawaiian Islands. Moreover, with their position in Vladivostok, China, and Southeast Asia in addition to their push west, their supply line is increasingly thin. The Americans are down to only one fleet level aircraft carrier, the USS Ranger that stands guard over the Hawaiian Islands, but is later joined by two "baby flattops" (converted merchant vessels that each carry only 1/2 the aircraft of the Ranger). From Midway, the Japanese launch a biological attack against Honolulu by dropping canisters of bubonic plague-infested fleas living on rats, as well as anthrax.
Nothing in Spain has much changed, as both sides are still in a second-level theater of war with limited support from their bigger allies. However, now that France is fighting the Germans once again on the Western Front, the regiment of Czechs are requested by the French government to return to France to help the French Republic fight the Germans in Belgium.
Life for the Jews in Germany goes on as before. There are strict rules and curfews with no let up on miserable treatment by the Nazi authorities. The RAF starts daylight bombing raids on German cities that kill both Jew and Nazi alike. On one bombing raid, the Bruck family is killed when their bakery/home is destroyed by bombs from RAF B-17s purchased from the USA. Sarah Bruck survives because she was out shopping at the time, but the Nazi government takes the remaining property and assets of the bakery just the same. However, Germany sees growing discontent with the German government in general and the SS in particular due to the continued imprisonment of Bishop Clemens August von Galen, and a slaughter of protesters in Münster.