In the BBC drama SS-GB the Nazis have invaded the UK and instigated their rule across the country. The timeline of the first episode appears to happen in 1941.

What event was different from our timeline to allow the Nazi invasion to happen?

  • Thank you for posting this question so that I know to go watch this show. :) Mar 6, 2017 at 15:46
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    Heh! My pleasure! :)
    – Burgi
    Mar 6, 2017 at 15:52

1 Answer 1


The series is based off of a Len Deighton novel by the same name. Within the novel, the Nazi invasion was the result of Operation Sea Lion succeeding.

Operation Sea Lion (German: Unternehmen Seelöwe) was Nazi Germany's code name for a provisionally proposed invasion of the United Kingdom during the Battle of Britain in the Second World War. Following the Fall of France, the Nazis expected the British to seek a peace agreement, and invasion was considered as a last resort only if all other options failed. As a precondition, the operation would have required both air and naval superiority over the English Channel and proposed landing sites, neither of which the Germans ever achieved during the war. A large number of ill-suited barges were gathered together, but Sea Lion was postponed indefinitely on 17 September 1940 and never carried out. The German High Command had little confidence in the plan's feasibility, and most historians agree it had little possibility of success.

Whereas in the book, it was successful:

SS-GB is set less than a year after Britain’s surrender following a successful Operation Sea Lion. In 1940, the Germans landed near Ashford, Kent, and Canterbury was declared an open city. The German advance captured London but a British rear guard around Colchester slowed down the Germans for long enough to enable Royal Navy ships to escape from Harwich. King George VI and Prime Minister Winston Churchill became prisoners of the Germans. Britain’s gold and foreign reserves were shipped to Canada.

The Wikipedia article for the show notes something similar:

It is set in a 1941 alternative timeline in which Nazi Germany, having won the Battle of Britain, is now a harsh occupying force in the United Kingdom.

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    I maybe wrong but I think the OP is actually interested in how did Operation Sea-lion succeed. In real timeline, it failed because of Luftwaffe's failure in winning aerial supremacy, Royal Navy's dominance of the English channel, Kriegsmarine incapacity of expelling the RN from North Sea and the Channel due to their lack of a comparable surface fleet, Nazis having more pressing threats towards the east in form of Soviet Union which was growing nervous by every Nazi victory etc etc. Which one of these factors was different in the show?
    – Aegon
    Mar 6, 2017 at 7:46
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    Oh nvm, I think BoB is the key here as you quoted wiki to note that. Luftwaffe wins Battle of Britain, attacks the Royal fleet to open way for Wehrmacht to land (Kinda Like Pearl Harbour, Decimating a fleet with air power) with RAF not there to provide umbrella to their ships, Wehrmacht lands virtually unopposed and Brit resistance collapses.
    – Aegon
    Mar 6, 2017 at 7:48
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    This is the bit that bugged me, as even without air support the RN was probably too strong to leave the channel unprotected Mar 6, 2017 at 9:50
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    @CearonO'Flynn Indeed. Sure Junkers were very lethal but I can't see them wrecking much havoc against arguably the best Navy in the World of that time, especially when that Navy knew that fate of their country rested on their determination. But reality apart, that's the only conclusion I can come to, to provide some reasoning as to how did Nazis occupy Britain. That the Luftwaffe somehow miraculously defeated both the RN and RAF in the vicinity. Otherwise I don't see how could a cross-channel invasion succeed.
    – Aegon
    Mar 6, 2017 at 9:57
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    @Aegon my grandad's ship survived over 18 dive bomb attempts from them in the battle of Crete, so i would agree with you there. I think we just need to suspend disbelief and assume they did...somehow as you say Mar 6, 2017 at 9:59

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