ERNST BUSCH IN CAPTIVITY
By Dwayne Yancey
Copyright 2004; all rights reserved.
(June 1945. Nazi General Ernst Busch is in an English prison. He had been the general in charge of leading the planned German invasion of England in September 1940, an invasion that never happened. He is regretful, and angry.)
BUSCH: I am Ernst Busch, and by now every schoolboy should be required to learn my name.
I should be like Caesar. Like William the Conqueror!
(Quietly now) The Conqueror. Pha! (He spits his disgust.)
Now look at me. A prisoner. A God-damned prisoner of war! I should be the one taking prisoners. I should be the one deciding which ones are war criminals! I should be the one putting men on trial!
Look at them out there. Those guards. Theyre English. Pha! (He spits out his disgust.) The English are weak. Soft and weak. And we had them! We had them in our hands and we let them go!
September 1940, I had the entire German army poised at the channel, ready to cross. Wed rolled up the French in, what, two months? (He snaps his fingers.) It was just like that. Paris ours! The whole French army gone! We ripped up the whole map of Western Europe with barely so much as a scratch. All we had to do next was get in some God-damned boats and cross the fucking channel.
But no! Goering thought we could bomb them. Fine. Bomb them. Bomb them all you want. But theyre English; that means theyre going to be too God-damned stupid and too God-damned stubborn to surrender. The only way to deal with them is to get on the ground and stomp them into submission.
And I was going to be the one to do it.
Yes, me! Ernst Busch, general of the German army. German patriot.
Let Von Rundstedt get the credit for taking out France. That would be childs play. I would be the one to lead us to our greatest victory: The conquest across the channel!
Only two other people in history had done it and that was a thousand years ago. Now I was going to be the third! I would be the one theyd build monuments too, from one end of the reich to the other. Hell, from one end of England to the other by the time I got through with those British bastards.
And everything was set. We had a code name and everything. Operation Sea Lion. You like that? Its not fancy. But its direct. Just like me. Direct. Dont fuck around with your precious air campaign; just cross the God-damned water and get to work. Thats how things get done. You just do them.
Instead, what happens? The brass back in Berlin get all nervous all of a sudden. They say the Brits keep shooting down our planes. Fuck the God-damned airplanes. No airplane ever won a war. Jesus Christ.
And then they get all worried about not having enough boats. Hell, its the fucking English Channel, not the God-damned Atlantic Ocean. Its just 26 miles. Nothing more than a big river crossing, if you ask me. Weve practiced those thousands of times. Are we going to let a little water stop us?
Defeat England and our triumph would be complete. Let England live and, well, you see what happens. The Americans pour in like rats. Like rats! There were just too God-damned many of them.
Thats why we should have gone after the English when we did! When they were alone! When they were weak!
(Turning quiet again) You know what the worst part of it is? Its not losing. Oh no, there are worst things than defeat.
Its the humiliation of knowing you could have won.
(Calling out for the guard.) Guard! Guard! I need some water here. Guard!
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Cast of one male
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For more on Busch and the aborted Nazi invasion of England, see the one-act play "Sea Lion," also by Dwayne Yancey. Finalist, Southeastern Playwrights Festival, Asheville, Va., 2002.THIS SCRIPT IS COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL AND MAY NOT BE DOWNLOADED, TRANSMITTED, PRINTED OR PERFORMED WITHOUT THE EXPRESS PERMISSION OF THE AUTHOR
Performed by Todd Ristau