Novels by M.J. Brett

(a.k.a. Margaret Brettschneider) 

A section of  freeway (Autobahn)  the USSR blew up to block anyone crossing their Border barriers. There were no barriers on the West side.
Tanks and Troop Carrier in a tank park in front of HQ US (headquarters). Former West German Kasernes (military bases)             looked like these. Many now are gone with drawdowns. Tank parks got extremely wet and muddy during fall and spring rains.
A Soviet guard tower and barrier fence in one of the small towns along the Border. Anyone trying to escape East Germany would have been seen by the floodlights and shot by Soviet guards in the towers. That's IF they made it past dogs, minefields, and razor wire.

A divided Europe   forover 40 years. The dark red line is the infamous Border, and the pink is theSoviet communist area they took from Germany,Poland,  Hungary, Czechoslovakia, and all othercountries east of the Border. Our troops defended the  Border to keep the USSR from taking the rest   of Europe. Note the positions of Hof,    Bamberg, Coberg, and Fulda..


       ISBN #  978-0-9748869-1-6

        Children waiting for the Candy Bomber during the         Berlin Blockade

About  Shadows on an Iron Curtain


      Shadows on an Iron Curtain illustrates the clashing tensions that existed between the Soviet Union and the United States

from the end of World War II through the years of the Cold War, as seen through the naïve eyes of a young widow,

Megan James.

      While everyone knows of the Berlin Wall, few know of the Border that slashed across a divided and dangerous Europe.

During the 1970’s, the 2nd and 3rd Armored Cavalry troops and their support units defending this Border were on constant

Alert against the threatening Soviet Army, thus increasing the pressure on soldiers, their friends and  their families.

      Megan’s naiveté brings her both comic and tragic learning experiences and widely disparate friends—fellow teachers

Emily, a mother figure with an imaginary “Ambassador,” sophisticated, rational Abby, flirtatious Lila who cannot seem to

understand the need for military security, and notorious womanizing CAV pilot, Carl, who senses Megan’s vulnerability and

vows to protect her from her own fears. The women soon learn the best kept military secret--that if the Soviets cross the

Border, as they constantly threaten, their officer friends must hold for forty-eight hours before help, probably nuclear, will

come—i.e. a potential suicide mission.

       Constant Border ‘Alert’ conditions foster a camaraderie unknown Stateside. The single officers and teachers form a

‘family’ and protect each other in the face of international danger, sabotaged ‘accidents,’ and personal crises. Under Carl’s

tutelage, Megan again dates and falls in love. But her new love, Ed, is an undercover agent so deeply involved in inter-

national intrigue that he is a target for Communist operatives, i.e. a "Spook."  When Lila’s ‘loose talk,’ inadvertently brings

the friends to a violent climax, all must learn new coping mechanisms to help each other go on. Though a novel of grief

recovery, it also documents the challenge of teaching overseas for the Department of Defense Dependent School (DODDS 

teachers), and especially the missions of the Cavalry, Engineers, Artillery, Infantry, Intelligence, and Aviation who defended

the Border between free and enslaved people for over forty years.

      This novel is a journey to find hope through friendship during a period of intense pressure world wide, until the

Berlin Wall fell, the Border opened, and the Cold War ended in November, 1989.

      Shadows on an Iron Curtain is M.J. Brett’s second novel. For you military people to know, she DID have this book

checked so as not to violate security concerns.                           

Comments from readers:

     "Having been an Army pilot flying the communist Border, I can only say, 'Bravo' for your portrayal of the dangers we faced in your book, 

Shadows on an Iron Curtain. I've found no one else who ever told our story or understood our frustrations as well. At last, someone who knows what

NOE means! Others should understand that the Cold War was not as 'cold' as most Americans thought at the time. Thank you for getting it right." Frank M.

     "Shadows is a great read. It seems now, that all anyone remembers of the Cold War is the Berlin Wall--never our more dangerous and secret Border. I

especially liked your explanation of our aircraft being 'painted.' My kids never understood the term when I tried to tell them what it was like guarding the

communist Border. Now they know. Thank you. Please do another book soon."  Jake S.   

Border tower and Iron Curtain fencing erected by the Soviets to keep their people from escaping to the west. The blue/white pole in the foreground is the real border, but Soviets put the fence further back to cause "border violations" which became "international incidents" if somebody accidentally crossed behind the pole. A deceptive tactic. No civilian could go near the Border without an armed guard of U.S. soldiers. But we teachers went often with CAV friends.

The infamous Hof, a small town on the Border that was divided by the Iron Curtain and bridges blown up by the Soviets. We had a Kaserne there, as Hof, Coberg, and Fulda "Gaps" were the three routes by which the Soviets could have gotten tanks into the West Zone and threaten to take the rest of Western Europe. 
A U.S. helicopter in the snow near the Border. Pilots flew NOE (nap of the earth - around trees rather than over them) Often they were "painted" (targeted and followed by missiles), and they flew in all weather, so it was a dangerous job.