The Third Reich

 

            One cannot discuss Haven without recognizing the existence of the Third Reich and the undeniable influence it has on everyone and everything on the islands. It goes without saying that if the Third Reich did not exist, then neither in all likelihood would Haven. They go hand-in-hand, however much we may wish to believe we are separate and independent.

            The Third Reich as it exists today is clearly not what Hitler envisaged in the thirties when he began his quest to create an Aryan master race and the empire for it. Gomorrah changed everything – including Hitler himself. Just as Haven was formed and shaped by circumstance and born of necessity, so, too, has Hitler's dreams of a vast dominion been altered by the horror he unleashed upon humanity.

            The Third Reich as it exists now encompasses several city states, the most distant of these from Germany being New York. All of these cities are governed by Nazi party members appointed by Hitler. However, the ultimate authority in each city resides in the Gestapo, which reports directly to the Fuhrer.

            There is no semblance of democracy in the Third Reich; it is a dictatorship and all political appointments are made by Hitler and his inner circle. There is a belief that the Old Ones hold considerable sway over decisions made by the Fuhrer; and, indeed, the Fuhrer is seldom if ever seen without at least one of them present. It has been argued the Old Ones were largely responsible for the plague, and that dispersing the virus among the world's population was part of a grander scheme – though there has never been any evidence to indicate just what the goal of such a grand scheme would have been.

            In 1948 Hitler's vamp forces all but crushed Immune resistance at the Battle of Cypress Hills, and the end of humanity seemed imminent until the Nazi offensive came to an abrupt and unexpected halt. In the days that followed, the remainder of the Immune army gathered in anticipation of one final, devastating push from the enemy. It never came. Instead, by some accounts (thought these differ from the "official" records), the Immune leadership received an invitation to meet with Nazi generals in the ruins of Medicine Hat. Expecting to be handed terms of surrender, the Immunes were stunned when their enemy proposed a truce that would guarantee the survival of the remaining humans.

            An initial ceasefire was signed that day, and in the weeks that followed vamp and Immune leaders met daily to work out the details of what are now known as "The Articles of Peace." These documents spell out in detail the parameters of the relationship between the surviving Immune community and the vamp Third Reich. Key to the agreement was the establishment of Haven on the archipelago of what was formerly known as Aipotu.

            Why the vamps would agree to a truce when they had all but achieved their objective of wiping out the remaining human population has long been subject to debate. That they would agree to the creation of the Republic of Haven is even more of an enigma. That these and other mysteries could be resolved if The Articles of Peace were to be made public is a certainty. However, as part of the agreement between the Immune leadership and the Third Reich, the reasons for the truce and the terms governing it are to remain forever secret.

            Regardless of government statements to the contrary, Haven depends a great deal on the Third Reich for much of the machinery and material that has made the republic a modern, civilized place in which to live. However, while imports are copious, all evidence suggests that exports to the Third Reich from Haven are minimal. The government has never sought to explain this, and attempts to uncover an explanation are usually met with silence. Regardless of the apparent imbalance in trade, the relationship seems to have worked well over the decades, and there are no indications things will change.

            By sheer weight of numbers the scientific and technological developments of the Third Reich outweigh those of Haven. As a consequence, as stated above, Haven often imports the high-end products that have come out of vamp R&D and manufacturing. While there are instances where technologies have been licensed, most are end products simply purchased outright. In the area of weaponry, however, there is no trade between the nations. Nor is there any Immune access to such Third Reich developments as the Von Braun space rockets.

             The gap between what can be achieved in Haven and what the Third Reich is capable of in technological terms is a source of great concern within the republic's government. Efforts to level the playing field have never met with much success because of the lack of funds; however, it is rumored the government has a secret research and development center on Brute Island into which it has poured immense amounts of money.

            While Hitler has never ventured to the islands, every president of Haven since the founding of the republic has gone to Berlin at least once during his term(s) of office. Some suggest this is a clear indication of Haven's subservience to the Nazi regime, while others have maintained that it is simply common sense to ensure that the levels of communications between the two nations remain open and free of bureaucratic entanglements that might lead to tragic misunderstandings.

            Some factions in Haven believe the republic should seek greater autonomy from the Third Reich and point to the existence of the vamp embassy as proof the republic's sovereignty is more illusion than reality. The anti-vamp factions, while not large, have grown over the years, and it is believed that even one or two members of the President's Council may be active in these circles. The debate has gained more traction over the last few years and there are those who fear that at some point it could become a major political issue and threaten the fragile peace that exists between Haven and the Third Reich.

            While divisions exist within Haven, there are hints that in the Third Reich resistance to the iron-fisted rule of the Nazis may be growing. Recent evidence indicates there are vamps in New York who desire to establish a clean break from the Hitler regime and become wholly independent of the Third Reich. Were such a situation to become a reality, it would have serious ramifications for the republic and possibly leave the Haven government in the uncomfortable position of having to take sides. Most of the republic's trade and contact with the Third Reich is through New York, so any change in the political landscape would force the government to rethink its relationship with Berlin.

             The most pressing concern in this matter is the vast difference in the strength of the republic's military and that of the Wehrmacht. Even were all of Haven's able-bodied citizenry to be mobilized and all equipment brought into active service, it would remain insufficient to adequately defend the nation from an all-out assault from the Nazis. In particular there is currently no adequate defense against the Von Braun rockets, which are capable of delivering devastating payloads over long distances.

            Officially the Haven government remains committed to its relationship with the Third Reich.

 

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