Fatherland by Robert Harris - review by Dennis Sewell

Dennis Sewell

A Good German Policeman Exposes the Holocaust



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Consider Hugh Trevor-Roper’s description in The Mind of Adolf Hitler of the European cultural order we would have grown up with if the Panzers had prevailed in 1945: ‘The hundred million self-confident German masters were to be brutally installed…and secured in power by a monopoly of technical civilisation and the slave labour of a dwindling native population of neglected, diseased, illiterate cretins, in order that they might have the leisure to buzz along infinite Autobahnen, admire the Strength-Through-Joy Hostel, the Party headquarters, the Military Museum…trot around local picture galleries, and listen over cream buns to endless recordings of The Merry Widow. This was to be the German Millennium, from which even the imagination was to have no means of escape.’

Robert Harris quotes these words at the front of his novel where they mark the starting point of his own imaginative recreation of a Nazi dystopia. It is the early Sixties and there are two superpowers, the United States under the Presidency of that old appeaser, Joe Kennedy, and the

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