The First EU: An Alternate History
by Alan J. Caulfield
AuthorHouse UK

"Rumour spread that the German occupation was going to be much better now, concentrating on a new way forward under a united Europe guided by Germany."

The alternate history imagined by Caulfield leads ultimately to Great Britain working collaboratively with Germany but with little economic control or true power. The rule of Germany in Europe is absolute but is coordinated through a “charm offensive” with incentives for cooperation and acquiescence. In this fictional version of history, once the United Kingdom surrenders in 1942 and a more moderate German government comes to power after Hitler is killed, a friendship campaign is initiated to encourage joint economic prosperity. However, the Gestapo is still a threat, propaganda is unleashed, and the resistance is still alive.

Caulfield’s "what if" story is rooted in plausibility and possibility. He fills in the history with the major players of the time period and also considers the reasonable reactions societies have when faced with occupation, surrender, or continued resistance. As characters wrestle with their willingness to work with the Germans to make their farms more efficient, and as they befriend the Germans, they each adapt to the new order in their villages. Caulfield carefully lays out the factors that allow this alternate history to take place.

While readers must suspend historical fact in favor of imagined realities, believability is still paramount as Caulfield delivers. The story concentrates mostly on the immediate years after the surrender, but it does include a summary of present-day ramifications and draws fascinating connections to the real European Union of today. This provocative parallel will intrigue readers as the best of alternate historical fiction is meant to do. It is an exercise in wonder and curiosity to consider how different things could be on the road to creating a European Union.

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