As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not much of a researcher.  However, I am currently working on a Cold War Era novel with an on-line co-author.  (You know, that awkward moment when you suddenly wake up and realize that you’re in the middle of a book that you didn’t intend to write?)

We are currently working on the history of the characters and so I have been reading up on the history of Germany from 1900 to 1947 (spoiler alert: They lost. A lot. )  Having decided how old the characters are at the start of the story, we’ve been working backwards and seeing when they were born, figuring out where, what was going on at the time, and what sort of events shaped who they have become.

Europe in the first half of the Twentieth Century was an incredible time.  The amount of drastic change in the people’s daily lives staggers the mind.  Not just technological, the culture, the governments, the national boundaries–everything changed. And while it’s easy in retrospect to condemn the totalitarian movements–the National Socialists, the Fascists, the Soviets–the more I read the more I am able to understand how people could be drawn to the idea of monolithic central control.  When your world is so far out of control, the idea of somebody, anybody, being able to take charge and give you a chance to catch your breath must be quite appealing.

I am finding myself sympathizing a great deal with the character we set up as our villain.  He’s not an Agent Of SMERSH or some comic book minion to an evil empire, he’s an ordinary guy who lost everything in the war (he grew up in a small community outside of Dresden) and is struggling to provide for his family as best he knows how.  He’s not an ideological communist, he’s a man who has allied himself with the people that he believes are best able to keep the trains running at all, much less on time.

Doing this research has been an eye-opening experience.  It’s not going to change my own political beliefs (I’m what Robert Heinlein called “a rational anarchist”) but it’s helping me to understand how the Soviet system grew out of the chaos following the First World War.

About MishaBurnett

I am the author of "Catskinner's Book", a science fiction novel available on Amazon Kindle.
This entry was posted in Artists That I Admire, On Writing and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Research

  1. ksbeth says:

    i think the more we learn, the more we truly understand things, whether we agree with them or not. best of luck on your project ) beth

  2. The Germans were excessively punished after WWI. The conditions of surrender the allies imposed did help contribute to the rise of the Nazi party. Since then America, for all her faults, will help rebuild a country after engaging that country in war. Personally, I think America is far too kind with regards to this policy. But I can understand this policy when one considers the consequences of leaving the German population, a proud and cultured people, to live in a state of humiliation. What a rich historical time.

    • MishaBurnett says:

      What I am learning is that World War One was just part of an ongoing state of war throughout Europe. The American response to the defeat of Germany was, I think, less a punishment for a particular nation and more an attempt to crush the uprisings across the Eastern half of Europe as a whole. It was unjust and it was perceived as unjust, and I think you’re right, it contributed greatly to the rise of German Nationalism.

  3. susan says:

    The amount of change in the last 75 years has been incredible also. The thing is most people just try to provide for family the best they can.the evil doers are the ones with the evil plan not the little guy

  4. Harliqueen says:

    Research is one of those things I am never sure I want to do, but once I start I can’t stop 😀

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