Saturday, May 17, 2014

In The Grim Darkness of the 1940s, There Is Only War...

I had an idea the other day for a parody of Warhammer 40,000 that made fun of the people (mostly on the political left, like Bill Blum) who complain endlessly about American foreign policy post-1945 but overlook or even defend the exact same thing the United States did during WWII.

(Frex, complaining about US support for dictators in Latin America, never mind that they defend similar allegedly "defensive" imperialism by the USSR in its own border zones or U.S. aid to Stalin during the war, complaining about civilian deaths in bombing during Vietnam or Afghanistan and not caring about Hamburg or Dresden, complaining about McCarthyism and ignoring how Trotskyists and isolationists were tried as seditionists alongside legitimate fascists during the war, etc. Blum went so far as to claim in the edition of Killing Hope I read in high school that the United States was beloved after its victory in World War II but squandered this goodwill by "intervening" everywhere.)

Here goes:

It's a dieselpunk 1940s. The Western Allies are dominated by a United States united in worship of the comatose Franklin Delano Roosevelt kept alive in a gigantic golden wheelchair and sustained by the daily sacrifice of Japanese-Americans from the internment camps. The United States Marine Corps serves as the vanguard of the armies of the United States and the other Allies as they fight to destroy the armies of the Axis all over the world, all of them sustained by the US, Commonwealth, and what remains of the USSR's vast military industrial complex. Hoover's FBI and Beria's NKVD hunt for enemy agents and seditionists within the Allies, since only through unity of purpose can victory be achieved.

Ranged against them are the dread forces of the Third Reich, forced back into their own homelands in the west but compensating by occupying vast swathes of what was once the USSR, sustaining their war effort by offering Jews and Slavs in human sacrifice to supernatural evil forces. In the East the ever-victorious Japanese have placed Hirohito on what was once the Imperial Throne in Beijing and harnessed Asia's vast manpower in service to the Greater East Asian Co-Prosperity Sphere.

In the grim darkness of the 1940s, there is only war...

This started out as a bit of political snark, but this could actually be a really interesting war-game. For example, the Australians could be played very similar to the Cadians, since they'd be on the front lines against uber-Japan like the Cadians are against Chaos, or possibly the Catachan Jungle Fighters since they'd be fighting in the East Indies and New Guinea a lot. Soviet or Scandinavian Allied troops could be like the Valhallan Ice Warriors and the "Desert Rats" of the North African war like the Tallarn Desert Raiders. On the other side, the Ahnenerbe could be played something like the Thousand Sons Marines and Ahriman, while Admiral Yamamoto could be a saner and less ridiculous version of Ghazghkull.

I'd be leery of trying to market a game like this, since I would imagine I'd catch a lot of hell from pretty much everybody--making the WWII U.S. into some kind of super North Korea complete with a personality cult, depicting an East Asian polity as a vast army of warlike barbarians crushing their enemies beneath their numbers, etc. Given how it took me quite some time to find a source on the 1944 sedition trial in the US that didn't come from some entity like the Institute for Historical Review (cough *Nazis* cough), I could easily imagine my customer base would consist of people who try to drag the US and (Western) Allies down into the mud so they can claim moral equivalence with the Nazis, whom they secretly sympathize with.

However, there's a dieselpunk anthology accepting submissions until August and I could write something more subtle in this vein...

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