Sep 1, 1939, 5:00 AM
Nineteen year old university student Karol Wojtyla looked up. Luftwaffe! German fighter planes were roaring in the sky and dropping bombs at will. Houses had been flattened and people were running for safety. He rushed to help an injured old man lying crouched on the street.
“Leave him! He is a Jew!” someone shouted, speeding past him.
Aren’t all humans one under God?
Stung by the indifference shown to a fellow human being, he carried the injured man to the bomb shelter by the Church. He briefly closed his eyes in prayer for the safety of Poland, of Europe, of the world and of humanity.
The invasion of Poland by the German forces had begun.
Sep 1, 1939, 9:00 AM
Panic set in the streets of London as BBC radio blared the news of Hitler’s invasion of Poland.
The thickset man put on his coat and hat and twisted and chewed his cigar angrily. At sixty three, he was what many considered a spent force, despite having had a distinguished military and a political career.
He thought of how famously the Prime Minister Chamberlain proclaimed of peace for Europe barely a year ago when he had signed that treaty with Hitler at Munich, ignoring the plight of Czechoslovakia and of the thousands of poor Jews in Austria. What sane man would ever trust Hitler to honour a peace declaration?
Feeling vindicated, sad and angry, he bemoaned his country’s weak leadership as he got ready to head to the House of Commons. Neville Chamberlain would get an earful today. He, Winston Spencer Churchill would see to that! What a shame it was that the mighty British Empire was being seen as a weak and a spineless nation whose treaties can be trampled with at will!
If it was war the Germans wanted, then war was what they would have - by sea, by land and by air.
The Second World War had begun.
Sep 1, 1939, 7:00 PM
On the same day Hitler’s Luftwaffe launched an unprovoked air strike on Poland marking the beginning of the bloodiest of battles the world had seen, unbeknownst to the rest of the world, a secret project had begun.
Hans Krauer had absolutely no doubt of the outcome of the war once it expanded to all of Europe. The might of the Luftwaffe was far greater than that of the combined air forces of England and France. Their Bismarck was easily the most powerful battleship in the Atlantic, and their Unterseeboots, the submarines or the “U-boats” as those stupid English called it were the scourge of the world.
But once their project was completed, Germany would have the most powerful weapon of all – one that would bring the world to its knees. While it was unfortunate that many great minds had fled his country to other parts of Europe and America, there was no dearth of scientific minds here. Their most advanced warfare and this Uranverein club were testament to that. The British and the French would have no clue to an attack from such a weapon. All the bomb shelters and the gas masks in London would be of no use. The lazy and lethargic Americans wouldn’t get involved until it served their interest, and by the time they did, it would be too late for them.
Headed by some of the top scientific minds of the country and answering directly to the Fuhrer, these select personnel had vowed their absolute secrecy and loyalty to the Fatherland.
“Thank you, Irene” Hans said, as Irene brought him a cup of coffee. It had been a long day, the news of the outbreak of the war not withstanding.
“You should go home. We have made some significant breakthroughs today” she smiled at him.
“You’re right, and I’m sure we will be able to complete the prototype successfully. The world will not have seen anything like it.” The previous attempt earlier the year had been abandoned, but it had been reinstated following the discovery of nuclear fission and Germany’s sole access to all of the Uranium in Czechoslovakia. The Fuhrer had been awaiting the news of success of this project.
He locked his cabinet, switched off the lights and closed the door behind him. He would treat his staff to a nice dinner and drinks tonight, to celebrate the start of a great project, and to glory of the Fatherland.
He watched the tall blond haired Irene Becker walk ahead of him, trying to conceal the attraction he felt for her. Picking her as his research assistant had been an easy choice. At twenty eight, she had impeccable references, was highly talented, attractive, hardworking and fiercely loyal. He just didn’t know that her loyalty lay elsewhere.