This is the inside story of how Trieste found itself poised on a knife edge at the end of World War II. Situated near the boundaries of Italy, Austria, and Yugoslavia, this pivotal port city was caught in May 1945 between advancing Allied, Russian, and Yugoslav armies on the strategically vital front lines of the nascent Cold War. Germany lay defeated, and now there were new enemies—Russia and Communism.
Told through the stories of twelve men and women from seven different countries, Flashpoint Trieste chronicles, on a human scale, the beginning of the Cold War. A British colonel from the Special Operations Executive, a Maori officer from a New Zealand infantry battalion and a young Yugoslav partisan captain race for the city on May 1, 1945, with the Allies determined to beat Tito’s forces and the Russians to the vital port. An American infantry general, decorated in combat in Italy, then holds the line as Trieste is divided between the American and British armies, and the Yugoslav Communist partisans of Marshal Josip Broz Tito. An American intelligence officer tracks wanted Nazis. An Italian woman Communist walks back to her native city from Auschwitz. An Austrian SS chief goes on the run to escape justice for the atrocities he committed in the city. Having survived the war, everyone is now desperate to make it through the liberation.
American investigators hunt for priceless artifacts looted by the Germans. British intelligence will stop at nothing to hold the line against encroaching Communism, and Italian partisans hunt down fascist collaborators. Life is fast and violent, as former warring parties make common cause against the Russians. As the postwar world order unfolds, the borders of the new Europe are being hammered out.