This post is part of an after-action report of Unconditional Surrender! (Salvatore Vasta, GMT Games) and therefore entirely fictitious.
Dresden, August 31, 1940
Tomorrow we complete one year of this war. I, like most Germans, did not want it. I am old enough to remember the World War of 1914—18, and this war looked just the same. Yet I confess that I was carried away when our armies swept through France and took Paris in just six weeks. It seemed like it could be a short war, just enough to restore our glory lost in 1918. But since then, nothing has gone right again. The front in France is bogged down just like in 1914. The Italians have joined the fight in the hope of plunder just like in 1915.
Just this time we don’t have the Austrians to take the blow, and apparently the Italians have taken the last 20 years to learn from their past blunders. I don’t know where the front exactly runs – nobody does, it’s a military matter not to be entrusted to civilians! – but one can put the pieces of the puzzle together: Klara always sent me letters from Munich, but they have stopped arriving in July. For some time, I was wondering if the city was just under martial law, but when Lore’s son was sent home for recovery after he had been wounded in Heidelberg, I knew that the Italians were much farther ahead already. Goebbels has announced on the radio that the cream of the German youth prepares its heroic defense of the City of the Party Conventions of the German People, Nuremberg. You know when Goebbels says heroic he means that they are going to die. So I assume that Nuremberg is still German, but that they stand no chance. Especially given the most shocking piece of news: You can try to obscure the situation from the people all you want, but you cannot hide an entire army being reconstituted in a city. So when the 14th Army was rebuilt in Dresden, of course we noticed, and soon we had word that they were so hastily amassed to march and retake Prague. Prague! Only 140 kilometers away from Dresden. A hostile army could advance that far in a week!
And in the meantime, the Bolsheviks have run amok in the east. There is much in the news about the heroic struggle against Bolshevism, but the heroes always change: First it has been the Latvians, then the Romanians, then the Finns. As they disappear from the newsreels, I know they have been conquered. Once the Soviets pocket Lithuania as well, East Prussia lies before them, and should they vanquish Poland, then Silesia, Pomerania, and even Berlin are under threat. And maybe soon after Dresden.
Now I’ve written a lot, and it’s all armies and frontlines and cities lost and cities threatened. That’s what a war is going to do to you. One year of it we have behind us, but how many are still to come?
See the current state of affairs in the game in the Twitter thread: