Like a dank whiff from a tomb, the news from Italy flowed over the Alps and oozed across the Reich. People high and low glanced at one another, calculating.
The best-fed Nazis were the first to rationalize. Good riddance, they said, but they knew better. Among the little Bonzen there was furtive pocketing of lapel pins.
Outside the Party there was a quickening. As a great wave passes beneath a ship, the news surged under Festung Europa. To millions of plain people it seemed to foreshadow an end to killing and to hunger.
To the shrewd ones, however, an end to...