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The Moscow Option: An Alternative Second…

The Moscow Option: An Alternative Second World War (edition 2001)

by David Downing (Author)

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1295170,048 (3.87)2
In this alternate history the German forces facing Moscow fight their way into the ruins and the Soviet Union collapses. The knock-on effects are too terrible to contemplate. This book reminds the reader of what might have happened in 1941.
Title:The Moscow Option: An Alternative Second World War
Authors:David Downing (Author)
Info:Greenhill Books (2001), 256 pages
Collections:Your library

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The Moscow Option: An Alternative Second World War by David Downing


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Showing 5 of 5
A fairly good book outlining an alternate history based on two minor changes leading to the overruning of Moscow and a US loss at Midway. ( )
  dswaddell | Jul 28, 2014 |
This is an unusual book. In his introduction the author credits Philip K. Dick's 'The Man in the High Castle' as the inspiration for this story. The author has no intention of writing a science fiction alternate history novel however. He writes: "In this book I have tried to write a history of a Second World War that both might and could have occurred. The scope - thirteen months of global conflict -..." He makes two initial changes to real history, one of which gives an early strong success to the Germans, and one that gives a decisive boost to the Japanese. He relates history over roughly a one year period to see what could have happened. The story begins on August 4, 1941.

What the author tries to show us is that even if the Axis powers had been even more successful early in the war, they would still in all probability lose. The author lays out a very believable history drawn based on the known actions of the participants and then plots the consequences of changed events. It reads entirely like a detailed non-fiction history of campaigns. But it still is made up. The current term for books like this is counterfactual history (This was written in 1978 well before this became sort of a fad). For me it isn't the sort of thing I will generally want to read. If I am reading detailed history I want it real. This is pretty much a book for military history buffs who like to play "What If?" rather than a casual reader. ( )
  RBeffa | Jul 5, 2013 |
One of the problems with alternate history novels is that in the end nothing really changes, only the journey is different. That is much the case with book. This is not a novel as such, but a history text book about an alternate history of World War Two from the point of view of Germany and their war against Russia. The main change in events is that the German army continued their advance against Moscow and occupied the city. The consequences of this victory are what this book is about.

It's an interesting read, but in the nothing much is different. The same events happen, but in different locations and time. ( )
  Balthazar-Lawson | Mar 30, 2013 |
Too many counterfactual historians, when addressing World War II, seem to suffer from a sneaking sympathy for the Wehrmacht. Furthermore, it is often accepted at face value that, if Hitler had not directed the thrust of his Panzers twice (towards Kiev in '41, and away from Stalingrad into the Caucasus in the summer of '42) then the Germans would have defeated the Soviets.
Downing falls into neither of these traps. He explicitly refuses to give the Germans those things which would have given them potentialy war-winning advantages: an economy geared for sustained warfare or a political acceptance of liberation in occupied Russia. To do so, he rightly considers, would require fundamental moral and philosophical changes in the nature of the regime that were profoundly at odds with both National Socialist ideology, and with Hitler's personal Weltanschaung.

Downing allows - as the title and cover suggest - for Germany taking Moscow. He also allows the Japanese a decisive triumph at Midway.

The result is a counterfactual book that runs contrary to the trend in this area. Downing is not saying "what could the Axis have done differently that would have allowed them to win?" Instead, he guides us to the conclusion that, given their early decisions, whatever the Axis powers did, they were doomed to fail.

This is not to say that he subscribes to a neo-Marxist analysis of "historical inevitablism". Rather, it is an intriguing exposition of how the logistical, manpower and strategic factors that faced the Axis would eventually have ground them down to an extent that rendered operational-doctrinal advantages irrelevant.

Thoroughly enjoyable on the level of a page-turner, this also provides a range of historically-grounded argument that will interest the military historian without alienating the casual reader. ( )
4 vote endie | Sep 7, 2006 |
The first change is the crash of an aircraft carrying Hitler back to Rastenburg in August 1941 after visiting his generals on the East Front. In reality, Hitler forced the Army to drive South to encircle the Soviet armies around Kiev after a long halt at Smolensk. In this AH, the plane crash leaves Hitler in a coma and the Generals decide to go straight for Moscow. This is successful and Moscow falls well before Winter. The Soviets do however, fall back in good order and establish a new government at Kubyshev on the Volga. The book then covers the 1942 Summer offensive "Case Blue" in our timeline which is aimed like ours at the South East rather than due East. This is co-ordinated by a Mediterranean strategy and a proposed link up between the DAK and the Eastern armies in Syria. All this in very convincing, well researched detail. The other change is an American defeat at Midway, and the IJN actually seizing Hawaii and raiding the West coast and Panama. The Japanese make the mistake of making the main thrust against India and Ceylon. The book ends in 1942, with the Allies having just contained the German co-ordinated offensives and planning the reconquest of Egypt. In Russia, 1943 looks bad for the Germans, bogged down in partisan warfare. The IJN is caught off Panama and loses it's carriers a la Midway. There are references to nuclear attacks on Germany in 1946 and a civil war between the Army and SS, but the meat of the book covers only the period August 1941 to August 1942 or so. It is truly excellent, and reads very much like a military history, complete with maps etc. ( )
1 vote Wprecht | Sep 5, 2006 |
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In this alternate history the German forces facing Moscow fight their way into the ruins and the Soviet Union collapses. The knock-on effects are too terrible to contemplate. This book reminds the reader of what might have happened in 1941.

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