War and Peace Earth - Vol 1 (1926 - 1962)

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Romance  |  House: Hitler, Trump, Hope

Chapter 2 (v.1) - PART TWO: POTSDAM

Submitted: December 17, 2017

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Submitted: December 17, 2017

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CHAPTER THIRTY: Kriegsschule

The Kriegsschule Potsdam military academy—Potsdam being the largest city of the state of Brandenburg forty-five minutes to the southeast of Berlin—offered Heinrich a change of pace. Before the crack of dawn, two-hundred young men were loaded onto gray buses at a collection point on May 30, 1931 at the Central Bus Station Berlin ZOB located in Berlin’s western district. They were transported to the academy built by Frederick II in 1765 for the best officer candidates.

The young men spent their morning shuffling from brick building to brick building, signing forms, taking medical exams, collecting new uniforms and boots and other sundry things. Groups of ten cadets were divided out and quartered into large barracks with drab bunks. An unteroffizier was assigned to each group of cadets to lead them through the first phase of officer training.

Unteroffizier Beresel was assigned to Heinrich’s group. He was portly, gruff, and not courteous in the least.

“I will turn you ladies into officers and gentlemen that Hitler can be proud of, lord help me,” were his first hoarse words spoken through crooked teeth and uneven eyes. “Now get outside, dogs! We’re going for a ten-mile run and I don’t want to see anything but elbows and assholes!”

The sun was low when Heinrich’s group of ten started their run along a well-worn trail. Heinrich made his way to the lead, but Peter Wohlthat, a farm boy from East Prussia who could have been Heinrich’s brother, blond-haired, just as tall and fit, sporting the same short haircut, caught up to him.

“Nice to meet you,” the lad said to Heinrich as he passed him by.

Heinrich picked up his pace and caught up to Peter. “Nice to meet you,” he told Peter as he passed him in turn.

“Let’s stop this,” Peter told Heinrich after he caught up. “But let’s stay up front. The stragglers are already puffing hard, and they’ve got Beresel’s personal attention.”

“Pretty smart,” Heinrich agreed looking back at Beresel berating a chubby cadet.

It was dark when Peter and Heinrich made it back to the barracks, having enjoyed the brisk run. The last of the stragglers returned half an hour later with Beresel screaming at them every step of the way. One of them vomited, another collapsed when they reached the barracks.

Beresel afterwards walked over to Peter and Heinrich as they stood up at attention. “As for you two, leaders,” Beresel said, “I’m impressed. You’re in damned fine shape. But what about teamwork?”

Scheiße, Heinrich thought to himself feeling stupid as his guts sank.

“I want you two ladies to think about this as you do the run again. Oh, and pick up that log over there. Take it with you and bring it back. Go!”

“One down, one-hundred days to go,” Peter said to Heinrich as they limped back to their barracks an hour later with bleeding hands and blistered feet. “But who’s counting, huh?”

***

Day two began at 4:15 a.m. when an empty fifth-five-gallon barrel crashed into the center of the dark barracks with thunderous booms as it tumbled along the concrete floor.

Okay, ladies,” Beresel barked while he switched on the lights, “let’s go out for a run before cleaning the horse stables. Breakfast afterwards?”

Heinrich and Peter exchanged glances. “If I must shovel shit before I can fly fighters, I will,” Peter told Heinrich.

Heinrich agreed as they headed out into the cold darkness of the morning with stiff limbs, the blisters on his feet smarting. “Shall we stay in the middle of the pack this time, Peter?”

“Indeed,” Peter replied. “You help the first straggler. I’ll help the next one. It should please Beresel.”

“Sounds like a plan,” Heinrich agreed, still bleary-eyed as the cold air bit his hands.

Unteroffizier Beresel treated Peter and Heinrich to latrine duty after the run. “Do you think I’m that stupid?” he asked the pair with the lower of his two eyes twitching.

With all the extra duties Peter and Heinrich picked up, they took to each other drawn in by their mutual passion for all things flying and a defiant sense of humor turned loose by the inanities of boot camp. By the end of the first month, Peter and Heinrich played their first practical joke. They replaced the bullets for the first firing range exercise with blanks. The instructor of the range was none too happy when an entire row of ten cadets, firing their first shot, missed. On another occasion, they fed Beresel laxatives diluted in his soup when the squad was on field exercises.

“That’ll teach him,” Peter told Heinrich, the two laughing at the sight of Beresel running to a foxhole, cursing.

***

Lise’s experience was more collegiate.

She burst out laughing when she opened Heinrich’s first letter. It contained a picture of him looking quite muscular without his shirt. He was standing outside a stable with one hand resting on a horse’s posterior and the other holding a grimy shovel. “It stinks here,” he wrote.

Poor dear,” she wrote back. “I’ve decided to go into nuclear physics. I’m the only woman in the program. I wish Hans had gone elsewhere, but the leaders in his field of interest are at this university as well. Unfortunately, he continues to pursue his interests in Nazi politics. He attends all the rallies and helps out at the local office of information to hunt down Jew sympathizers. I must go for now—you know—classes and all. Of course, it goes without saying that I miss you. I hope you like the picture.”

Four months slipped by with these kinds of exchanges between Lise and Heinrich, with the number of photographs in Heinrich’s locker growing by the week. Lise was turning into a woman before his eyes, taking to wearing unostentatious attire as her hair grew longer. She favored simple dresses that accentuated her curves and simple hairstyles that accentuated her gleeful, penetrating eyes.

Lise, Heinrich realized, was far more nuanced than the uniformed schoolgirl of the Castle Academy. I’m a lucky man, he would think when he’d have the chance to scrutinize the minutia of Lise’s smiling features.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-ONE: Family

Heinrich headed straight for Lise’s home during the Christmas break. Wolfgang was at the Castle Academy and Frieda was in Rome again. The Rebers were happy to have their daughter back, and Heinrich was always made to feel at home.

Wow!” Heinrich told Lise as she opened the door and flung herself into his arms. “I’ve missed you.” There was a scent of Lilac in her hair, Heinrich noticed as she tightened her embrace.

Lise was wearing one of the dresses they had purchased in Paris, the navy-blue one with the crocheted ivory lace adorning the sides. It fit her svelte figure gracefully.

“Come on in. It’s freezing out here. Dinner is almost ready,” Lise told Heinrich, leading him to the kitchen where Max was carving a roast.

“Good to see you, lad! And happy birthday!” Dr. Reber declared.

“Thank you, sir,” Heinrich replied, removing his overcoat. Lise took it from him to put it away.

Belinda was setting places at the table with Olga and Nannerl in red dresses while a Christmas record played on a phonograph in the background. She came over to embrace Heinrich afterwards. “The uniform suits you,” she told him, taking him in from top to bottom.

“You look wonderful, Mrs. Reber,” Heinrich told Belinda. “Your lace dress is most charming.”

“You’re too kind, young man,” Belinda replied laughing. “I had to lose five pounds to fit into it.”

The celebration of his birthday was as Heinrich wished, a convivial dinner, quiet and simple with a warm fire crackling in the background, sparkling crystal, flowing wine, and glowing faces laughing.

Olga and Nannerl took to his sides when it was time to open his presents in the living room. “Thank you,” Heinrich told Belinda after opening the first box. “I could use thermal underpants.”

“Don’t thank me, dear. It was Lise’s idea,” Belinda replied with Olga and Nannerl laughing. “She tells me your dorms are very drafty.”

“And thank you for the book, Dr. Reber. I’ll enjoy The Count of Monte Cristo.”

“It’s about a daring break from a French prison, Château d’lf, on an island,” Max told Heinrich. “Something for you to contemplate when you’re back at Potsdam.”

Father!” Lise declared, “Don’t encourage him.”

Belinda returned carrying a box that Frieda had mailed the week before. Out of it came the famous pandoro Heinrich favored, and two small boxes labelled Olga and Nannerl apiece, lighting up their happy faces. The gifts were baby dolls with red, puckered lips in lace dresses and bonnets.

The charmed evening wound down an hour later. Heinrich retired to the guestroom to wash up. The hot shower relaxed his body. He put on a long robe afterwards and sat down to leaf through a book on aerospace engineering—Lise’s other gift—but his anticipation for Lise overwhelmed his ability to pay attention to the equations.

Lise came in an hour later wearing pajamas. “My parents are asleep,” she whispered.

“Alas,” Heinrich replied putting his new book aside as he got up to embrace his giddy fiancée.

Lise undid Heinrich’s robe. “Impressive!” she uttered. “Potsdam has done wonders for your physique,” she added as her hands roamed over his bare chest.

“And university has been good to you,” Heinrich replied stroking his hand through Lise’s hair. She had let her brown locks grow below her shoulders for the first time since leaving the Academy.

Heinrich undid the three large buttons of her pajama top and enjoyed the touch of her bare breasts pressing against him as she embraced him.

They stopped talking as four months of pent up passion took possession. Their union was breathless and rough with their mouths pressing together as they rolled one atop the other and back again, grasping at each other until Lise closed her eyes and arched herself into Heinrich’s body—la petite mort.

The sight of Lise’s ecstasy, eyes closed, mouth open, her brown hair splayed, drove Heinrich over the edge into a powerful release of his own.

The two quivered afterwards, panting, as Heinrich settled into Lise’s bosom wrapped in her arms, still paired with her.

“Did you know it could be this way, Lise?” Heinrich asked her.

Lise cooed, planting a kiss on his neck…

The young couple awoke side by side when sunlight beamed through the guestroom’s window. The girls were up and laughing as they chased each other downstairs. The air was filled with the smells of a hearty breakfast being cooked in sizzling pans.

“So much for sneaking back to my room,” Lise said with an air of amusement.

“Is Hans’ mother divorced yet?” Heinrich asked, suddenly remembering how badly things had ended with Hans.

“Since September. Poor woman.”

“I could never be so bad to you, Lise.”

Oh?” Lise asked, sliding her hand down his abdomen. “Then what’s this?”  

Who’s the bad one now, Lise?” Heinrich replied as she climbed atop his bare body, closing his eyes to soak in the moment of union. Lise’s weight, her brown hair brushing his face and chest, were magical as his hands slid down her back.

***

That evening, Lise and Heinrich enjoyed dinner at Frieda’s favorite restaurant in Berlin. There was always a table available at Reinstoff for a von Onsager. “I don’t want to go back to university,” Lise told Heinrich leaning over her coffee, resting her face on the interlocked fingers of her hands.

“Yes you do,” Heinrich replied, similarly leaning over his coffee with his chin firmly in the palm of his hand. “You have important things to do.”

Lise smiled into Heinrich’s arctic blue eyes.

***

It was late when Belinda came to check up on her husband. Max was sitting in his favorite chair holding one of Lise’s old books on his lap. “What are you reading?” she asked him.

“The book I used to read to Lise when she was tiny. I can still remember holding her in my arms as if it were yesterday. Now she’s a beautiful woman and I’m happy for her, but I miss her.”

Belinda agreed. “She has Heinrich now, and he’s a good man, but she’ll always be your little girl. Come now, old fool. The bed is cold without you.”

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-TWO: Cannon Fodder

Middle-classman life was a nightmare from the start.

Heinrich made cadet battalion rank, becoming a cadet major in charge of fifty lower-classmen and ten middle-classmen. With the rank came a private dorm. Peter was placed one dorm over as his deputy.

Heinrich’s new responsibilities overwhelmed him for the first month, but unrelenting drilling brought his cadets into cohesion soon enough. By the end of April, unit cohesion was tight enough that Heinrich felt his men were ready for the first round of war exercises. He expected them to do well against the other battalions.

Hans paid a surprise visit to Potsdam in early May just before the commencement of the exercises. He came to attend an important meeting with his SS mentor, a humorless colonel.

“You’ve grown!” Heinrich told Hans as the boy entered his office wearing the official black uniform of the SS.

“I like your office, Cadet Major von Onsager. It’s of good size. As usual, rank has its privileges, or is it the other way around? Privilege ranks.”

Nothing’s changed, Heinrich thought peering into Hans’ dark eyes and tight-lipped expression.

“Do you like my uniform, Heinrich? I had it personally tailored in Berlin.”

“It’s snappy,” Heinrich replied, “and the number of medals on your chest grows, I see.”

“You keep many pictures of your fiancée,” Hans noted as he started strolling about Heinrich’s office with his hands behind his back. “I can vouchsafe that she’s doing well at university.”

“Thank you,” Heinrich replied as Hans picked up a photograph of the three them back at the Academy when they were first year students.

That evening Heinrich treated Hans to dinner among the middle-classmen of the Potsdam academy, introducing him to Peter Wohlthat.

“I tell you Peter, Hans is a genius!” were Heinrich’s first words to Peter while Hans and Peter shook hands at the officer’s mess.

Peter, noticing Hans’ SS uniform, laughingly told him, “So, you are an SS man. You should give those bums up and come join the real army!”

Peter was only joking, of course, but Hans took great umbrage. “You do know Herr Wohlthat, that the SS is Hitler’s favorite, elite force? The army is cannon fodder to be sacrificed on the battlefield for higher ends.”

Peter burst out laughing. “Touché,” he replied, rolling his eyes to the boyish Hans, still erroneously believing that Hans was also jesting, but Hans quickly corrected Peter’s mistake.

“So how are the pigs shitting at your parent’s sty? —I mean their swine farm. I’m sure that you miss their charming stench. Perhaps not though. You’re in the Army after all.”

Heinrich quickly grabbed Peter’s arm to stop things. “I’m starving,” he broke in. “Let’s go eat.”

Things only devolved at the mess hall, especially as Hans insisted on speaking loudly enough to be overheard by the other officer candidates dinning at nearby tables with his diatribe. Thankfully, for his own sake, he departed after eating. If he had stayed longer, someone would have punched his lights out.

 

CHAPTER THIRTY-THREE: Beginnings

Peter and Heinrich earned their commissions in the winter of 1932. They reported to their primary flight training base in January 1933, with the Luftwaffe (or German Air Force) base being collocated with Augsburg’s civilian airfield.

The training turned out to be everything that Peter and Heinrich had hoped it would be, beginning with two months of ground school, aeronautics training, navigation training, parachute training, weather training, water survival training, and so forth, before they climbed into their trainers to start actual flight training.

The young men plunged into their books at every spare moment, often at the Hammerschmiede café near the airport where they’d grab dinner and study over coffee until closing time at 2130 hours.

One advantage Heinrich had over his friend was that he’d mastered much more mathematics. Heinrich anticipated what his instructors had to say, often explaining to them some esoteric principal concerning wing optimization or propeller design. “You should be a test pilot Leutnant von Onsager,” his instructors would tell him. Heinrich would immediately utter, “No. I’ll fly fighters like my father.”

Peter developed a clever system using flashcards and mnemonics to memorize complicated things. One of his mnemonics became a favorite among students and instructors: GUMPS. It stood for Gas/Gear, Undercarriage, Mixture, Prop, and Straps, and it was used during landing to remind a pilot to lower the landing gear, turn on the gas pumps, set the mixture, flatten the prop and check the security of the safety straps.

***

During this period, Lise selected her research topic. She would determine if there were any observable symmetry violations in the production of electrons and anti-electrons in cloud chamber data. The universe was filled with matter. Where was all the anti-matter being the pressing question of the day. Tangentially, her research would require her to understand the nuclear transmutation reactions that underpinned nuclear chain reactions. Some physicists were beginning to realize nervously that this was early weapons research.

Hans, following a suspicion that the calculus of curved space-time in Einstein’s general theory of relativity could be related to phase curvature in quantum field theories, also chose his dissertation project. “I’ll win the Nobel Prize,” he’d often repeat to Lise with great confidence.

She’d listen to him politely, but their friendship was otherwise dead.

During this period, a select committee of senior Nazi scientists, including Hans’ uncle Werner Heisenberg, were winnowing candidates for a new scientific achievement prize to be awarded annually to the writers of Germany’s best dissertation proposals in physics. It would come with a tenured professorship and a sizeable pile of money, presented by Hitler himself to glorify Aryan science. It was down to Lise and Hans.


© Copyright 2018 Meitner. All rights reserved.

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