Chapter One

London, October 1941.

Edvard Benes was a worried man. He sat at his desk reading the report that had been handed to him by an aide a short while earlier. His nation was once more criticized for the lack of resistance the people were putting up against the occupying German forces. As the leader of the Czechoslovak Government, albeit in exile in London, he felt the need to do something to show the Allies that his was a nation worthy of its place in the international arena.

Things had been so different just a few years ago. Having finally gained independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire and re-established themselves as a nation at the end of the First World War, Czechoslovakia had been a proud nation, even if it was technically a new one, and was slowly building its stature on the world stage.

And then, at a meeting in Munich, and in an attempt to appease Hitler and prevent war, Britain and France had betrayed the Czech people, and handed half of the nation over the nation to Germany as though it were some worthless piece of land. In the year that the country would have celebrated it's 20th birthday.

For what good it had done them. Hitler had promptly swept up the rest of the country as if it were all his own, and then had gone on to invade Poland and bring Britain and France into a war against him anyway.

And now the British actually had the audacity to criticize his people for not fighting against the Germans! How could they fight, when their army had been told to lay down their arms and invite the enemy to come and take their fill of the nation.

Benes was angry at the way the British had treated his country as though it were insignificant, but still, something needed to be done. If he could not find a way to prove to them that the people were willing to fight for their freedom, how could he hope to convince them, once the war was over, to allow them their independence once more?

There had to be some way, some act, that could get the people to rise up against the Nazi barbarians. But it would need to be big, something so spectacular that the whole world would hear about it, and know that Czechoslovakia had struck a blow for freedom.

And then the idea came to him;

Assassination. Either a high ranking German, or a high ranking collaborator. No, not a collaborator, as that would serve no real purpose. It wouldn't harm the German war effort, as they would just find another traitor to replace the one that was killed.

Which meant it had to be a German. But which German should it be.

He called for his Intelligence Officer, General Moravec, to run the idea by him, and see if he could come up with any likely candidates.

The two of them spent several days mulling over possibilities, trying to find someone that was high enough up to actively harm the German organization, but yet someone who was not so well protected as to make an attempt to kill him impossible. In their discussions, the same name kept cropping up over and over again.

Reinhard Heydrich.

The Reichsprotektor of Bohemia and Moravia, the leader of the SS and the Gestapo, and supposedly Hitler's hand-picked heir apparent. Yes, such an achievement would put Czechoslovakia back on the map, and this time for the right reasons. But would it actually achieve its main objective, to get the Czech people to rise up and fight back?

They deliberated the idea for another week, both of them excited by the prospect of what a successful killing of Heydrich might mean for their country, and yet, at the same time, worried for the same reason. There could be no doubt that reprisals, even if an attack were to be attempted and fail, would be swift and brutal.

The question they had to ask themselves was whether the reprisals would be worth it. They were aware of the risks, but what of the rewards? Could they even be sure there would be any rewards for such an act?

After all, with Hitler's forces having taken almost all of Europe, and now most of the way into Russia and heading towards Moscow, there was only a slim chance that the Germans could be defeated in this war anyway. With that in mind, perhaps it would be better to sit it out, wait until things were over, and then see where they stood.

But no, that was not an option. No matter the outcome of the war, Benes could never find himself siding with a man with policies like Hitlers, policies of butchery and murder, oppression and sadism.

They had to fight, but was this the only way?

Again, they went through the options, reviewing everything that they had learned about the hierarchy of the German occupiers in Prague, looking for a weakness somewhere, perhaps somebody else that they could target that would have the same end result, but would hopefully lead to a lesser amount of innocent bloodshed.

Yet no matter how much they studied the intelligence, all roads pointed in one direction – Heydrich.

With great reluctance, on the 20th October, Edvard Benes gave the go ahead. Operation Anthropoid was a go….