Brian Griffin: Yeah, about your pamphlet... uh, I'm not seeing anything about German history between 1939 and 1945. There's just a big gap.
Tour guide: Everyone vas on vacation. On your left is Munich's first city hall, erected in 15...
Brian Griffin: Wait, what are you talking about? Germany invaded Poland in 1939 and...
Tour Guide: We were invited. Punch vas served. Check vit Poland.
Let's see... In the 9th century the Vikings came, and the 14th century had the Great Famine. But, what happened in the 11th century?
Asking grandparents and other elderly people yields nothing. Well, maybe they're just forgetful. But then, asking the librarian or a (dumb) historian yields nothing either. Could it be some sort of cover-up
? Or is it something more scary still
If a history is given, it usually consists of Fake Memories
and a Conveniently Unverifiable Cover Story
or two. People remember hearing the history teacher talk about how that was a "great unrest" but no clarification of events is given. Or perhaps nothing happened in Germany during between 1939 and 1945 because everyone was on vacation
This is usually a setup for some other plot, much like an Ontological Mystery
, only instead of for the person themselves, it's concerning the past of everyone. May also involve a Platonic Cave
to be explored, if enough events before this era don't add up. Is practically always part of either the Masquerade
, the Ancient Conspiracy
, or both.
Please note: Do not include examples where nothing much happened during a certain time period, these are for examples where history has been deliberately erased. Also, probably no examples that aren't ancient history. Modern countries have a tendency to get mad.
Compare Future Imperfect
and The Greatest History Never Told
. Sister trope of Alternate History
Anime and Manga
- Big O had the City of Amnesia, where nobody could remember anything before 40 years or so.
- The anime of Blue Dragon has the Book of the Beginning, which tells of the creation of the world. But it does so, in such a cryptic way, that it leads people to think that the world was one of light, before shadows came along to be stopped by the Warriors of Light. Actually, the world's original state was darkness, and probably nonexistence, until the Warriors of Light, who were themselves shadow-users, sealed it away, creating the world people live in.
- One Piece has the Void Century, after which the World Government took power. It's in fact a (little-known) crime for anyone to be able to read the ancient historical texts, because they might find out the history that was lost (which likely involves the World Government's methods of taking power). In the case of Nico Robin, other crimes were given to conceal this crime.
- ''Fullmetal Alchemist has the tablet of Xerxes, broken off in a key place. It tells of exactly how the empire fell, using alchemy to turn war zones into a giant Philosopher's Stone.
- The history of Norrath in EverQuest is highly detailed and was recorded by numerous races over countless millennia. Shortly after Humans came about, the great Combine Empire had rose up and nearly united all the races across Norrath in peace. An assassination attempt is what caused the Empire to ultimately fall, and the remnants moved up to the invisible moon, Luclin, just to remain safe from would-be attackers. Over the course of one night, all history of the Combine Empire's existence was lost, as was the knowledge of the magical arts known as Geomancy. This time period is appropriately known as the Lost Age.
- Final Fantasy X has a massive suppression of Spira's history by Yevon's priests. Summoners typically don't know much about the Final Summon (to the point where they are surprised when Yunalesca asks them to "choose a hero"), the war between the Al Bhed and Yevon, they don't really know why machina is forbidden (beyond false teachings that it is somehow responsible for Sin), and they certainly don't know that the Final Summon itself is what continues the cycle of Sin. Instead, the people of Yevon are fed propaganda, and the Al Bhed have a noticeable gap where there's many things they only half-understand, including their own technology.
- The official timeline for Marathon has a 139-year gap labelled "This century intentionally left blank. Seriously, nothing really happened."
- In the X-Universe the Argon Federation erased all records of the period prior to 0 Argon Stardate (2170 AD) and presumably created a new history to replace it, in order to keep anyone from leading the Xenon back to Earth. Earth eventually became a fairy tale kept alive by the Goners, a pacifist fringe sect, who were proved right in X: Beyond the Frontier when a Terran test pilot suffered a jumpdrive malfunction and landed in the X-Universe.
- Larry Niven was a big fan of doing this to Earth history in his Known Space stories, especially in the Man-Kzin Wars period.
- In the Babylon 5 episode "Secrets of the Soul", the Hyach race had a missing period in their archived history from about 1200 to 800 years ago. It turned out this was a period when they committed genocide against a cohabiting sentient race called the Hyach-do, which led to certain genetic deficiencies in the Hyach (who used to interbreed with them) leading to their present infertility crisis, which Dr. Franklin was investigating at their ambassador's request.
- The citizens of the Crystal Empire in My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic are initially unable to remember anything that happened before the rule of King Sombra.
- In Family Guy Brian and Stewie visit Germany, who has apparently subverted their own history. See the quote above.
- Warhammer 40,000 has entire millennia of history called "The Dark Age of Technology", where some of mankind's greatest technological advances were created, like the Warp Drive, and subsequently lost. This is so significant in sight of current events, as the technology to create such ancient relics like Titans, Teleportatiums (Entire complexes that allow entire groups to teleport), and ST Cs have been all but forgotten, making the items themselves practically priceless.
- Basic Dungeons & Dragons Known World setting. The Immortals not only destroyed the kingdom of Nithia but cast the Spell of Oblivion that erased all memory of its existence and history from the other peoples of the world.
- Historiography is the study of how history is written. This includes not only the study of what histories are popular in any given year, but also biases and omissions. One of the early historians for instance, Thucydides, had the History of the Peloponnesian War, which ended with consulting an oracle. The results of the augury are not told in the history, but Thucydides was an Athenian historian (Athens lost).
- On that note, this site claims some of archaeological records (and by extension, history) has been suppressed as it doesn't fit the framework of how life evolved on Earth. Although it is a bit sketchy (especially in areas where it discusses aliens), it points to 5 perceived omissions in history (the main one is that all history before 6000 BC is missing).
- At least one ruler in ancient Egypt actually had their hieroglyphs erased. Akhenaten apparently had such a different style of rule from normal, that future rulers tried to deface his tomb. This treatment was also done to Hatshepsut, because she was a female pharoah, but acted too much like a man.
- The Library of Alexandria burning took with it numerous books (likely some histories too). Depending on whether this is an accident or arson (historians aren't sure), this may or may not be an example.
- China's First Emperor Qin Shi Huangdi violently (as in, killed the scholars as well) destroyed all books written before his era, with the exception of those on war, medicine, agriculture, and divination.