THREE FAMILIES DIVIDED BY THE DEVASTATION OF WAR – WHITE SAND BY STEWART GILL OWEN

  • AUTHOR: // CATEGORY: Fiction, Historical Fiction

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    In the late summer and early autumn period of 1918 the German Government was in an impossible position. Civil unrest was increasing at an alarming rate fuelled and powered by members of the communist party and aided by the large number of deserters from the army. Due to the tight blockade of German ports by the British Grand Fleet, the population was starving.

    In 1917 the new communist government of Russia signed a peace agreement and ended the conflict on the eastern borders. The number of troops that were transferred from the eastern to the western front amounted to a million and these battle-hardened soldiers were much needed due to the high and increasing scale of the slaughter.

    However, the reality was that Germany was running out of young men available to be trained to fight. During 1918 troop ships were arriving at French ports transporting large numbers of fresh soldiers from the USA. The German government felt that their country had no choice but to force an end to the war.

    The final desperate campaign happened in the spring offensive when the German army launched their last major attack. After large initial gains the assault failed and eventually the government was forced to agree to the initial terms of surrender.

    To many in Germany the signing of the armistice on the 11th of November 1918 meant that life would improve, order restored and that the carnage would finally be at an end. However, some, including a soldier called Adolf Hitler saw the surrender as an act of betrayal. In the years that followed, the people of Germany continued to suffer through a collapsed economy, persistent high levels of unemployment and extreme inflation. Early in the 1930’s the appeal of the fascists gathered momentum and in 1933 Adolf Hitler, leader of the Nazi Party, was elected as Chancellor of Germany.

    Screenshot 2014-11-11 21.14.05In my first book, Two Sons, I tell the story of the Williams family from Britain, who while on a visit to Belgium in 1932 meet a German family, Eric and Martina Lehmann and their son Peter. Both families are in Belgium to pay their respects to their two dead sons who had been killed at Paaschendaele in 1917 and buried in Flanders.

    While staying at a Madame De Vos’s hotel in Poperinge, both families eventually realize that they have more in common than they first thought. In July of 1932, Hitler and the Nazi Party were threatening to take control of Germany and there was a growing fear in Belgium and France of the possibility of another war. Having lost their sons in one conflict, both families fear that they may have to make further sacrifices.

    White Book 1‘White Sand’ takes the story of the families on from the outbreak of the Second World War to the next decade.

    As we travel along the journey of our lives we will experience joy, pride, despair, love, grief and the fear of loss. ‘White Sand,’ continues with the theme and like ‘Two Sons’ it is about the emotions, the passion and the feelings that many of us share, regardless of nationality, class, faith and status

    White Sand is out on August 20th!  Keep an eye out for updates! 

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