I have begun writing, at different times in my life, alternative histories that show World War II being much worse than it was, with the Axis coming closer to winning. This is not because I think any of the Axis powers had just cause for what they did, but because I wanted to show different campaigns, weapons, heroes, and villains. Usually I study from the view that Hitler made some decision contrary to IRL, and that made a big difference. Have any of you written stories of this nature?
I have not, but Harry Turtledove specializes in alternate history. His favorite time periods seem to be WWII and the US Civil War. For example, what if Lee's battle plans for the invasion of Penn hadn't been found by Union spies? The answer is found in How Few Remain where the CSA won and the USA has spent the last 20 years itching for a rematch. Continue in that history into the early 20th century. The archduke is assassinated in Europe and the CSA and USA take different sides. With the American Front opened, many bloody battles are moved to this side of the Atlantic.
You might enjoy them. I have found his writing mixed. Some of the small sampling I have read has been fantastic. Others have been dismal.
True holiness comes when we loathe sin not when we loathe getting caught.
Post by Christian Soldier on Dec 9, 2007 8:15:00 GMT -5
It is an interesting concept, and one I would be reluctant to explore too much. It really would not have taken much for Germany to finish Europe off. If Hitler had just left Russia alone. The problem is that Russia would have invaded as soon as Germany had finished her conquest. So, I suppose Europe would be speaking Russian now if that were the case.
Another thing you could change is the order of the war for the US. If we had gone after the Japanease first, Hitler would have had the time to finish off Europe. Also, the Atomic bombe would not have been available for the final invasion of Japan, so we would have had to use conventional weaponry and soldiers. Strategists at the time were calculating over 1,000,000 losses on the US side along during such a campaign.
You can't kill me, I'm already dead!
[br]This is the martyr's cry!
Turtledove is the master of the brilliant alternative history premise.
He also happens to be (in the one book of his I tried to read)...not as skilled a craftsman as one might hope.
But the popularity of his books shows that people can groove to a great idea even if the writing isn't that great. Whereas the opposite is not true: if your writing is supurb but your idea is sub-par, your books probably won't be popular.
The mystery comes when you have great writing and a great premise and the books still don't do well. Or when both the idea and the writing are poor and the books sell like crazy. Go figure.
Last Edit: Dec 9, 2007 9:43:20 GMT -5 by Jeff Gerke
I read most of one Turtledove book. When I got near the end and perceived that it was to be continued in another book, I stopped reading and threw it away. That book was so full of gratuitous sex that I didn't want to read anything he wrote ever again. But I wanted to use the same types of premises he did. However, I figured I could be more plausible than he for what I like to think of as "reasonable alternative history". RAH (my own term) does not involve aliens from another planet or universe coming to earth during World War II and causing the Axis and Allies to unite as one to defeat them. It also does not involve some guy time traveling back to the civil war to alter events. Instead, I like to use the personal decisions of people in the critical time period, to alter what happens. Another good RAH type is for events that took place long before the main story to have altered history. An example would be if the CSA had won in the 1860's, and the two nations coexisted for a hundred years until in the 1960's interesting people like JFK, MLK, Elvis, and others had some type of a hippy or civil rights movement-- maybe to end slavery, or something like that. Yet another example, imo, of RAH is when an "inevitable" event such as civil rights, women's lib, abolishment of slavery, a US Civil War, or the onset of communism, is somehow postponed by events and then takes on a new life at a later time. Like-- what if Abe Lincoln et al had managed to calm everybody down and come to some sort of an agreement that caused the 1860's war never to happen-- but tensions rose and the Civil War occurred in the 1960's instead of the 1860's! ( Can you imagine similar events to the real Civil War happening with the crowd that was in charge and in challenge back then???)
I recently edited a biography of Abraham Lincoln. I hadn't known much about him (besides the stuff everybody knows) before then. Turns out, he was almost killed at least twice before he was 25. As a child he was kicked in the head by a horse and left unconscious for more than a day. Doctors said he was a goner. Then as a young man he was guiding a large raft down the river and was attacked by river pirates (including some renegade slaves, as it happens) and savagely slashed by a large knife in the scuffle that left at least two people dead.
Oh, wait, there was also the epidemic of milk fever that killed his mother and others in the small cabin community where he was a boy. And the fact that he served as a commander in a small Indian war when he was a young man, and won acclaim for battle prowess with, of all things, the broadsword. And the fact that some foolish words he wrote in a silly editorial in a newspaper got him called out in a duel to the death--which was happily resolved by friends just as the combatants began circling each other with swords.
In all, there were lots of ways in which Lincoln could've been killed before becoming president. Any one of those would surely have made a radical difference in how the Civil War transpired.
However, I figured I could be more plausible than he for what I like to think of as "reasonable alternative history". RAH (my own term) does not involve aliens from another planet or universe coming to earth during World War II and causing the Axis and Allies to unite as one to defeat them. It also does not involve some guy time traveling back to the civil war to alter events. Instead, I like to use the personal decisions of people in the critical time period, to alter what happens. Another good RAH type is for events that took place long before the main story to have altered history.
I see. How Few Remain and Great War series are RAH. However, another book you might look for is Alternate Presidents (an anthology). I read it years ago and sometimes wish I had not sold it. There is only one story (Dukasis wins) where aliens are involved. All the other stories of what might have happened if someone else had been elected are based on a different decision, e.g. Ben Franklin runs against Washington and wins. There are more stories revolving around the elections prior to the Civil War than any other piece of history. I remember most clearly "How the South Preserved the Union." Lincoln's alternate pred was both pro-union and pro-slavery, and the New England states pull out in protest over slavery. The South invades to bring them back. In the process of needing soldiers and weapons, they offer freedom to any slave who will wear the union uniform or work in a war factory. So, ironically, the slaves get freed earlier.
True holiness comes when we loathe sin not when we loathe getting caught.
Sounds like a good read. I'll have to see if I can find it. One I have read is "Luftwaffe Victorious" by Mike Spick. This book reads more like a history book than it does like fiction. The author was very clever in his ideas, but it could have been a more readable story. Perhaps this is because Spick is a successful nonfiction writer, too. If you know little about World War II, particularly the air war, I suggest not to read it-- you'll get bogged down in technical details, German names, and dry tactics. If you do know about WWII, though, it's a worthwhile read.
I've a sort of alternate history short story I wrote. A few years ago I notice how similar the figure of Robert E. Lee on the back of Traveller was to the Scandinavian skinny St. Nick on horseback...so I wondered how would history have to be modified so that the images of Lee and St. Nick could fall together as a holiday figure that gave gifts to deserving (southern)boys and girls.
Valkyrie. What if Stauffenburg had placed the second charge in the bag even without the detonator? Hitler would have been killed, they studied it, then what? Would the operation have been a success? I watched most of the movie at work, and my oh my I'm intrigued. I knew the story, but all of a sudden...I want to write it lol.