Fatherland (novel)

From Academic Kids

Fatherland is a 1992 thriller novel by the English writer and journalist Robert Harris which doubles as a work of virtual history and postulates a world in which Nazi Germany was triumphant in World War II.

The story follows a police detective investigating a murder, who gets embroiled in a political scandal involving Nazi party officials. In Harris' history, the United States never got deeply involved in the European Theater of Operations, concentrating on its struggle with Japan. As a result, Germany largely triumphed in Europe, although it was still fighting an ongoing guerilla war in the East, which many Nazis relished as a way of keeping the Wehrmacht sharp. Albert Speer's plans for Berlin had been realized; it had become a truly monumental capital.

In the novel, Germany is preparing in the early 1960s for Adolf Hitler's 75th birthday celebration. A visit by the American President, Kennedy, is planned as part of an attempted reconcillation between the onetime rivals. However, this President Kennedy is Joseph P. Kennedy, Sr., not his son John. (In real life, Joseph Kennedy, Sr. was often accused of having been a Nazi sympathizer.) The Holocaust has been explained away to the satisfaction of many as merely the relocation of most of the Jewish population to the East into areas where communication and travel are still very poor, explaining why it was impossible for most of their relatives in the West to contact them. However, many prominent Nazi party officials begin to be murdered. Eventually, the common link that they have is determined that they were all involved with the Wannsee conference and know about the reality of the Holocaust, and thus need to be silenced before Kennedy and the Americans can learn of this.

A TV movie of the book was made in 1994 by HBO, and starred Rutger Hauer and Miranda Richardson. It was also serialised on BBC radio.

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