Hypothetical Axis victory in World War II
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A hypothetical Axis victory in World War II is a common concept of alternate history and counterfactual history. World War II is one of the two most popular points of divergence in English-language alternate history works, alongside with the American Civil War. Such writings express ideas of what the world would be like had the Axis powers of Germany, Italy and Japan won World War II.
The term Pax Germanica, Latin for "German peace", is sometimes used for this theoretical period, by analogy to similar terms for peaceful historical periods. In some cases this term is used for a hypothetical Imperial German victory in World War I. The term was also used in Latin texts referring to the Peace of Westphalia.
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Many contrahistorical scenarios have been developed.
In the majority of cases, the Nazis and the Empire of Japan have conquered most or all of the world, and no major powers remain to confront them, due to the major power of the Allies, the Soviet Union, United States and United Kingdom, losing the war and being conquered, or due to domestic political developments within either countries, typically isolationism or appeasement, and impeded economic development and rearmament, or the prominence of domestic Anglo-American fascism as a reason for neutrality. Examples include:
- Swastika Night, by Katherine Burdekin under the pseudonym Murray Constantine (1937). Published before World War II, when Nazi Germany still existed, this novel is unique as a "future history" rather than an alternative one;
- What is probably the first Nazi-victory alternate history in any language was published in 1945 by the Hungarian László Gáspár (1901–1958) in his novel We, Adolf I - in which a German victory at Stalingrad eventually leads to the victorious Hitler crowning himself Emperor, erecting in Berlin a huge Imperial Palace incorporating elements of the Eiffel Tower, the Statue of Liberty and the Lenin Monument from Moscow, and preparing a dynastic marriage with a Japanese Princess in order to produce an heir who would rule the whole world.
- In 1946, the Revisionist Zionist physician and political activist Jacob Weinshall published in Tel Aviv the Hebrew novel "Ha-Yehudi Ha'Aharon" (היהודי האחרון, "The Last Jew"): Hundreds of years in the future, a completely Nazi-dominated world ruled by a "League of Dictators" discovers a last surviving Jew hiding in Madagascar. The Nazi rulers plan to publicly execute this last Jew during the forthcoming Olympic Games - but before this can take place, the Moon moves close to the Earth as a result of the Nazis' misguided attempt to colonize it, causing the end of human civilization and of Nazi rule. Weinshall's Hebrew text was never translated to other languages. It should not be confused with Yoram Kaniuk's novel, "The Last Jew" which has been translated to English.
- The Sound of His Horn, by Sarban (John William Wall) (1952);
- The Man in the High Castle, by Philip K. Dick (1962)
- The Ultimate Solution, by Eric Norden (1973);
- In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Harry Turtledove (2003).
In some of these scenarios, there may be reasons for hope on the part of Allied supporters. For example, in In the Presence of Mine Enemies, a victorious Nazi regime eventually undergoes reforms analogous to Perestroyka. However, in Swastika Night and The Sound of His Horn, Nazi Germany's empire has existed for several centuries. Furthermore, in The Man in the High Castle and The Ultimate Solution, a Nazi/Japanese Cold War of several decades duration may escalate into nuclear war between the two former Axis partners.
Some writers depict British and Americans as collaborating with a Nazi occupation and even facilitating the extension of the Nazi Holocaust (It Happened Here, Collaborator, SS-GB, Dominion, The Ultimate Solution), which is often intended as a critique of the actual societies and political systems of these countries. In other cases, an uprising and overthrow of the Nazi regime is depicted (Clash of Eagles).
Some books concentrate on internal American politics and how they could have produced a pro-Nazi administration in the US (The Plot Against America), how a homegrown American fascist regime, a natural ally of the Nazis, might have developed (K is for Killing), and how Nazi victory might have resulted from American isolationism (The Divide). All of these themes have implications for actual United States politics at the time of writing. Similarly, in The Leader Fascism in Britain is home-grown rather than the result of a German conquest.
Some books concentrate on the Imperial Japanese rather than the Nazis (The Man in the High Castle). In some cases, a specific country is the emphasis. Attentatet i Pålsjö skog depicts a successful invasion of Sweden in May 1941 that hastens the eventual Allied triumph by delaying Operation Barbarossa by three weeks, allowing the Soviet Union to prepare for invasion and turn it back; as a result, Hitler is defeated by the end of 1944. India is occupied by Nazi Germany and Imperial Japan in "The Last Article", which constitutes a criticism of Gandhi's policy of non-violence. In others, such as After Dachau, the scenario of a Nazi victory is used as a means to convey the writer's more general political and philosophical ideas.
One of the elements in Israeli writer Haim Be'er's 2014 novel "Their New Dreams" (חלומותיהם החדשים) is an alternate reality in which Erwin Rommel won the Battle of Al-Alamein and went on to occupy Mandatory Palestine, resulting in the inhabitants of Tel Aviv being massacred by Nazi Einsatzgruppen. In Be'er's book, this is a nightmare constantly haunting the protagonists in present-day Israel.
Some writers use an Axis victory as a background theme, in order to add perspective or contrast to a work emphasizing another topic. Thus, the timeline-hopping protagonist of Michael Flynn's The Forest of Time finds himself in an alternate Philadelphia where Catholic nuns are hanging from lamp-posts and public buildings display a "Swastika and Stripes" flag — and deciding not to investigate further, jumps away before denizens notice his presence, coming to the story's main setting - a balkanized North America where the Thirteen Colonies turned against each other shortly after the American Revolution.
Harry Turtledove's Crosstime Traffic operatives discover a world - described as very unpleasant - where Nazi Germany won World War II, and other worlds where unspecified Fascists won that war. However, all these remain in the background and the emphasis of Curious Notions is on a world where Imperial Germany won the First World War — with the world under a centuries-long oppressive rule by the Hohenzollern Kaisers. With the Nazis never existing, much less coming to power, many Jews loyally serve Germany and play key roles in the military and scientific breakthroughs which help their country dominate the world. This also occurs in Turtledove's century-spanning alternate Civil War Southern Victory Series, where Germany and the United States face off against the Britain-France-Russia-Confederacy Entente in both "Great War"s, and that timeline's "Holocaust" is the attempted extermination of Confederate blacks.
In Richard C. Meredith's Run, Come See Jerusalem!, Chicago is destroyed during 1947 by nuclear-loaded Luftwaffe bombers flying out of the occupied Soviet Union, but the Americans do eventually manage to overcome the Nazis — only to succumb several decades later to a home-grown theocratic dictatorship, which is the book's main concern.
A common motif in the literature is relatively advanced Nazi technology. Extrapolating from historical wartime German breakthroughs in rocketry and jet propulsion, the story posits a future in which the Reich has far exceeded our own reality in technological prowess. In The Man in the High Castle, for example, the Greater Reich has by the early 1960s begun the colonization of Mars and made suborbital transport common and economical- but the Nazi/Japanese Cold War has also resulted in an accelerated nuclear arms race relative to our own world. This is portrayed ambivalently - one of the central plot elements of The Man in the High Castle is "Operation Dandelion," which Josef Goebbels and associated hardline Nazi factions endorse, and which advocates a pre-emptive nuclear strike on the Japanese Home Islands.
Academics, such as Gavriel David Rosenfeld in The World Hitler Never Made: Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism (2005), have begun the research of this subgenre and its various implications as a subject of full-scale academic research.
Contrahistorical scenarios are also written as a form of academic paper rather than necessarily as fiction and/or novel-length fiction. For example, Greenhill's Alternate Decisions is an entire series written by military historians, academics, and officers without any pretense at the novelistic suspension-of-disbelief.
- '48 by James Herbert (1996)
- Attentatet i Pålsjö skog by Hans Alfredson (1996)
- Axis of Time, series by John Birmingham (2004-2007)
- The Big Time by Fritz Leiber (1957)
- Clash of Eagles by Leo Rutman (1990)
- Collaborator by Murray Davies (2003)
- The Divide by William Overgard (1980)
- Dominion by C. J. Sansom (2012)
- Farthing, Ha'penny, and Half a Crown, series by Jo Walton (2006–2008)
- Fatherland, by Robert Harris (1992)
- In the Presence of Mine Enemies by Harry Turtledove (2003, the first 21 pages were originally a short story published in 1992)
- The Iron Dream by Norman Spinrad depicts a sci-fi/fantasy allegory of an Axis victory
- K is for Killing by Daniel Easterman
- The Last Article by Harry Turtledove (1988)
- The Leader by Guy Walters (2003)
- Living Space by Isaac Asimov (1956)
- The Madagaskar Plan by Guy Saville (2015)
- Making History by Stephen Fry (1996)
- The Man in the High Castle by Philip K. Dick (1962)
- The Plot Against America by Philip Roth (2004)
- The Proteus Operation by James P. Hogan (1985)
- The Sound of His Horn by Sarban (1952)
- SS-GB by Len Deighton (1978)
- Swastika Night by Katharine Burdekin (1937) Not an alternate history
- Thor Meets Captain America by David Brin (1986)
- Timewyrm: Exodus (Doctor Who novel) by Terrance Dicks (1991)
- The Ultimate Solution by Eric Norden (1973)
- Warlords of Utopia by Lance Parkin (2004)
- When William Came written in 1913 as a future history, this is among the earliest of Pax Germanica genre
- Curious Notions, written by Harry Turtledove, explores the less common variant of a world where Imperial Germany won the First World War.
- Peace In Our Time by Noël Coward (1947).
- It Happened Here (1966), a British film directed by Kevin Brownlow.
- Fatherland (1994), based on the 1992 novel.
- Jin-Roh: The Wolf Brigade (1999), where Nazi Germany won a World War II that it fought against Japan.
- Jackboots on Whitehall (2010).
- Resistance (2011).
- The Other Man
- An Englishman's Castle
- "The City on the Edge of Forever" (Star Trek: The Original Series)
- "Zero Hour"/"Storm Front" (Star Trek: Enterprise episodes)
- Misfits (Season 3, Episode 4)
- The Man in the High Castle, based on the 1962 novel.
- Fred Bush (July 15, 2002). "The Time of the Other: Alternate History and the Conquest of America". Strange Horizons. Retrieved 2 January 2009.
- Carl Tighe: Pax Germanica -- the Future Historical. Journal of European Studies, Vol. 30, 2000.
-  "CAPUT LXVIII. Chronologia." in CAMENA. See for years 1648 et 1649.
- Eli Eshed, "Israeli Alternate Histories" (in Hebrew) published by the Israeli Society for Science Fiction and Fantasy, November 2, 2000 
- Kaniuk, Yoram (2007-12-01). The Last Jew: A Novel. Grove/Atlantic, Inc. ISBN 9781555848385.
- "World War Two: The Rewrite". The Independent. April 23, 2006. Retrieved 2009-06-26.
- Rosenfeld, Gavriel David. The World Hitler Never Made. Alternate History and the Memory of Nazism (2005).
- Tighe, C., "Pax Germanica in the future-historical" in Amsterdamer Beiträge zur neueren Germanistik, pp. 451–467.
- Tirghe, Carl. "Pax Germanicus in the future-historical". In Travellers in Time and Space: The German Historical Novel (2001).
- Winthrop-Young, Geoffrey. "The Third Reich in Alternate History: Aspects of a Genre-Specific Depiction of Nazism". In Journal of Popular Culture, vol. 39 no. 5 (October 2006).