Dominion by C.J.Samson (Pan Books)
What would have happened if Britain had not won the Second World War? This book looks at one possible permutation if things had not turned out as they did. Instead of Britain holding out and defeating Nazism they capitulate in 1940 and become a satellite of the Nazis. It is a great read with lots of detail and interesting insights into how life might have been. I read a similar type book by Steven King about how the world would have turned out if president Kennedy had not been assassinated by Oswald. Some interesting conjectures and surprises there. I always thought it would be great book for an author to consider what would have happened in Ireland had the First World War not intervened in the rise of the two volunteer armies. Would the Easter rising have taken place?
In Dominion , Winston Churchill has gone into hiding and leads the resistance movement in the country. The story centres on a David Fitzgerald a civil servant who joins the resistance. The plot centres on a friend in a mental institution, Dr Muncaster, who has the key to a nuclear secret. Both the resistance and the Nazis wish to talk to the Doctor and get the secret. There is a good story plot which goes along at a fair pace while also putting in lots of detail about a Britain cowed into submission and living under a foreign power. It is chilling in places to consider what would have happened if the Jews had been rounded up here as was done on the continent.
So after reading this a few questions come to mind. What would the Ulster loyalists have done had the Germans taken over the UK? What would the IRA have done? Thrown their lot in with the Germans? On a trip to Auschwitz years ago I learned that Germans had plans for all of Ireland. Firstly they had all the Jews identified (which arises the question how?) the white Prods where being taken to England to work as farm labourers while the RCs in Ireland would have laboured the land here. The English nation was seen as superior to anyone living in Ireland?
I feel there would have been a major split in the Irish population with some working with the Nazis while others would have been vehemently opposed to them and to fascism in general. On the Prod side the same applies. Some probably would have taken to the new masters while others would have fought and died against Nazism. It is a strange memory to consider my time in Compound 21 which was the essence of Britishness and opposition to a united Ireland that some of the lads had Nazi stuff on their walls much to the dislike and disdain of Gusty. I wasn’t too happy about it myself. At the same time there was also a liking by some for the Israelis and the Jewish fortitude on their fight to get a homeland despite huge opposition.
I think it is a fair assumption that should the Nazis have won, then Ireland’s neutrality would have meant little in the wider game of dominating Europe. Hitler would have got some pretext to march on Dublin and ensure that the Republic would not have been some sort of base or platform for American interests. It raises the interesting prospect of Ulstermen fighting alongside Irishmen against a common foe? Could a resistance movement have won against Nazi occupation? Was there enough of a fascist element within Ireland to have thrown their lot in with the Nazis? The reprisals against Irishmen of whatever creed or colour would have been so vicious as to defy belief. The Nazi atrocities in mainland Europe would have been brought here. The interrogation methods of the Gestapo would make Ladas drive and Palace Barracks look like a trip to Butlins.
And what about the longer term social repercussions? There would be no celebration on the 11th of November. There would be no British Legion clubs. I would argue that the 12th of July would have been made illegal if the Orange and Unionist sections were seen to be a seat of opposition and resistance. There would be no Union flag or Tricolour flying anywhere on the island. Financial sanctions would mean there would have been no economic gain or prosperity for our peoples as Germany would have taken all the benefits for its own people. Ulster and Irishmen may have been asked, or forced, to go and fight on the Russian front in a never ending war.
Imagine no Queen Elizabeth getting crowned, no coronation or sitting on the throne? It is generally accepted that the Royal family would have gone to Canada in exile. Imagine a completely different type of press utterly censured to Nazi interests? Would there have been a Common market? Imagine no BBC.
The list is endless. This is a book that entertains as well as making you think, just what would have happened?