In THE ZONE, my story about a fictitious Nazi occupation of Britain, I’ve tried wherever possible to refer to actual history. For example, I researched the real-life Nazi occupation of France to help me imagine what an occupied Britain might be like. Actually, this is what gave me the story’s title. The Nazis called the part of France they ruled Zone Occupée, or Occupied Zone, and the southern, unoccupied part was called Zone Libre, or Free Zone. Like the Free Zone in my story, the French Zone Libre was ruled by a government friendly to the Nazis, so it wasn’t really free at all.
The British Free Corps, the army that controls the Free Zone in my story, really existed. It was a Nazi-run army made up of British prisoners of war. They only managed to recruit about 54 men in total, and it never had more than 27 men at any one time. But in my world, I’ve imagined that it would be much stronger.
The British Free Corps. The Free Zone. It’s funny how that word ‘Free’ keeps cropping up. It’s a powerful word, which the Nazis used to try and persuade the conquered that living under occupation isn’t so bad. I don’t think people would be so easily fooled though.
I’ve also referred to real people in my story. For example, Franz Six, the man who rules the Zone in my story, was a genuine Nazi official. If the Nazis had invaded Britain, it’s likely he’d have been put in charge, or have a senior role.
Also, John Amery really existed. He was a British fascist who actually gave the Nazis the idea to create the British Free Corps. He was convicted of treason after the war and came to a sorry end. In my story, he becomes the ruler of the Free Zone.
I always think, with alternative history stories, the closer you can base them on real life, the more powerful and believable they are.