Helena Schrader's Historical Fiction

Dr. Helena P. Schrader is the winner of more than 20 literary accolades. For a complete list of her awards see: http://helenapschrader.com

For readers tired of clichés and cartoons, award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader offers nuanced insight to historical events and figures based on sound research and an understanding of human nature. Her complex and engaging characters bring history back to life as a means to better understand ourselves.

Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Dissecting "Cold Peace" - The Eagle's View Plot Line

 "Cold Peace" is built on three major pillars which are formed by intertwining the individual character plot lines of each component. The primary plot line, which I refer to as the "Eagle's View," is the Berlin Airlift itself. In the course of the series, the causes, execution and impact of the Berlin Airlift are depicted in detail. "Cold Peace," the first book in the series, illuminates the major political and military events that culminated in the Soviet Blockade of Berlin in June 1948. 

There is a legend (and I have no idea if it is true or not) that the Russian novelist Leo Tolstoy wanted to write a book about Alexander II. When he sat down to write, however, he realized to appreciate the reformist Tsar one had to be familiar with the Dekabristi movement. That, in turn, could not be fathomed unless one looked at the impact of Napoleon's invasion of Russia. And so he ended up writing War and Peace

The point is that history is a continuum, and no episode exists in isolation. Every occurrence, no matter how sudden and dramatic it appears, has a "back story" -- and an epilogue. Every development has antecedents and causes as well as consequences. 

The Berlin crisis of 1948 had its roots in decisions and choices going back to the middle of the Second World War. To comprehend why Western garrisons were stationed  on territory deep inside the Soviet Zone of occupation, requires studying WWII summit diplomacy. However, it is impossible to grasp the nature of the relations between the wartime allies without a fuller understanding of Marxism-Leninism, which in turn requires and so on and so forth. A book, however, has to start somewhere.

Leon Uris in his tome on the Berlin Blockade, "Armageddon," opens the action in the middle of WWII. This highlights German atrocities and German aggression, and correspondingly underplays the role of the Soviet Union in Europe. It is a book about benevolent Americans and Germans who never quite deserve all the good things Americans are doing for them. The French and the Russians play almost no role at all. 

The book I set out to write, on the other hand, wanted to focus on the Blockade and Airlift as pivotal turning points during which the hostility between the Western Allies and Germany largely melted away to make way for post-war cooperation. Furthermore, starting in the middle of WWII seemed to me rather like beating a dead horse. I chose, instead, to open the novel more than two years after the end of the war at a time when wartime resentments and attitudes lingered but were no longer  fostered and fanned. 

At the end of 1947, when "Cold Peace" opens, wartime memories remain fresh, yet most people want to move on to greener pastures. They want to pursue the lives they put on hold to fight a war. They want the "golden future" then assumed would be theirs after victory. Instead, the European economy is in ruins and stagnating, governments are bankrupt, masses of people are unemployed and hope is fading. The reasons for this situation are visible to those in leadership positions whether in Washington or London -- or Moscow -- and the opening scenes of "Cold Peace" serve to lay out the issues.

The incremental steps undertaken by the Western Allies to resolve the underlying economic issues and their responses to Soviet aggression in Berlin (and Germany) form the basis of this plot line. Without going into detail, the novel informs the reader about the launch of the European Recovery Plan (Marshall Plan), the essential currency reform (introduction of the Deutschmark), and the constant yet futile daily struggles to find common ground with the Soviet Union. In addition, key milestones in the slide toward confrontation such as the Soviet's walking out of the Allied Control Council and Kommanadurta, the Soviet interference with Allied trains, and the Soviet fighter that collided with a British airliner, are included in this plot line. The official responses of the Berlin city government likewise make up a component of this plot line.

Cold Peace is Book I of the Bridge to Tomorrow Series. 

Three years after WWII, Europe struggles with rationing, widespread unemployment and a growing Soviet threat. Hitler's former capital lies ruined under the joint control of wartime allies bitterly at odds. With the currency worthless, the population lives on hand-outs or turns to crime and prostitution. Deep inside the Soviet Zone of occupation, Berlin appears to be an ideal target for a communist take-over, putting the defenders of democracy on a collision course with Stalin's merciless aggression. 

A Battle of Britain ace, a female air traffic controller, a concentration camp survivor and an ex-ATA woman pilot are just some of those trying to find their place in the post-war world. An air ambulance service offers a shimmer of hope, but when a Soviet fighter brings down a British passenger liner, Berlin becomes a flashpoint. The world stands poised on the brink of World War Three.


Find out more at: https://www.helenapschrader.com/bridge-to-tomorrow.html

View a video teaser at: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JTuE7m5InZM&t=5s

Previous releases include:



Riding the icy, moonlit sky,

they took the war to Hitler. 

Their chances of survival were less than fifty percent. 

Their average age was 21.

This is the story of just one bomber pilot, his crew and the woman he loved. 

It is intended as a tribute to them all.  

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 "This is the best book on the life of us fighter pilots in the Battle of Britain that I have ever seen.... I couldn't put it down."-- RAF Battle of Britain ace, Wing Commander Bob Doe.

Winner of a Hemingway Award for 20th Century Wartime Fiction, a Maincrest Media Award for Military Fiction and Silver in the Global Book Awards.

Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/where-eagles-never-flew


 For more information about all my books visit: https://www.helenapschrader.com


Disfiguring injuries, class prejudice and PTSD are the focus of three tales set in WWII by award-winning novelist Helena P. Schrader. Find out more at: https://crossseaspress.com/grounded-eagles








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