Weird Historical War YKTTW Discussion

Weird Historical War
Conventional, historical war with sci-fi, fantasy or supernatural elements thrown in.
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(permanent link) added: 2012-01-24 07:53:43 sponsor: vynsane edited by: DAN004 (last reply: 2014-10-05 04:24:10)

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Tags: Needs More Examples, Do We Have This, Rolling Updates


Your standard Nazi troopers, now with zombies!

This specific flavor of Alternate History, or when the story is really historical but with unnoted elements, deals with a point of divergence that occurs during a large-scale war, usually (but not limited to) World War One or World War II. The divergence involves sci-fi, fantasy or supernatural elements added to the war's events. Examples can include use of weapons or technology that haven't been invented yet, vampire and/or werewolf soldiers, mysticism, and alien intervention.

This trope differs from Fantasy Conflict Counterpart in that this trope is the real war plus "extras", where Fantasy Conflict Counterpart is the war Recycled In Space.

World War II examples will overlap heavily with Ghostapo, Stupid Jetpack Hitler and We Didn't Start The Führer. Often is a sub-trope of Diesel Punk and Reality Retcon.


Comic Books
  • Arrowsmith is set in an Alternate History Earth in which the United States of America is actually the United States of Columbia, Magic is real, and the World War One is fought with and by dragons, spells, Vampires and all other kinds of magical weapons and beings.
  • Atomic Robo features the eponymous nuclear-powered automaton in adventures throughout his 80-year backstory. So far one story has taken place during his time as a soldier in World War II.
  • The Captain America franchise in general. The USA and Germany both have science research departments that result in Super Soldier programs, crazy technologies, weird semi-demonic villains, and more.
  • Hellboy - On the brink of defeat, the Nazis, with the help of Grigori Rasputin, are about to bring forth The End of the World as We Know It.
  • Dr. Manhattan was used as a weapon in Vietnam in Watchmen, which changed the course of the war.
  • David Brin's The Life-Eaters is premised on the idea that mass human sacrifice can create godlike beings, which the Nazis use to create Nordic gods to fight for them. Then other countries get in on the game, and things get pretty horrible.
  • "The Haunted Tank," a series running in DC Comics' G.I. Combat. During WWII Lt. Jeb Stuart is the head of a tank crew and the tank is haunted by his namesake, Confederate general J.E.B. Stuart.
  • There is an independent comic book called Über which attempts to deconstruct the typical comic book trope of super humans being used in World War II, instead painting them as walking Weapons of Mass Destruction that leave plenty of Gorn behind wherever they're deployed (especially when facing regular troops).
  • Zig Zagged Trope in DC Comics: While there were several war-time comics in Real Life showcasing superheroes like Superman helping the war effort (and the Axis upping the ante on various ways), a Retcon was done eventually saying that Hitler had in his possession the Spear of Destiny, which could shut down the powers of any superhuman within a given (yet undefined) radius, which prevented any superhero from simply blitzing Berlin on his/her own and ending the war early.

Eastern Animation
  • The Malaysian animated film War Of The Worlds: Goliath combines the War of the Worlds with the World War I timeframe. Set in a 1914 after the initial Martian invasion and wherein mankind has tank tripods and technology reverse-engineered from Martian tech, the first world war threatens to break. However all that is put aside when the Martians attempt a second invasion. What was supposed to be World War I is turned into the second War of the Worlds, with the likes of Manfred von Richthofen the Red Baron and Theodore Roosevelt fighting together in a united special organization against Martians.

  • Hellboy - Following suit with the source material, we have Rasputin and Kroenen bringing about The End of the World as We Know It, and Hitler being an accomplished mystic himself, dying in 1958 - not at the end of World War II as everyone thinks.
  • The Indiana Jones film series (particularly Raiders of the Lost Ark and The Last Crusade) revels in the idea that Hitler had a secret wing of his military searching for weapons of biblical proportions.
  • The Rocketeer - The US hasn't entered WWII yet, but the Nazis already plan on invading utilizing stolen jetpack designs invented by Howard Hughes.
  • Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow - Subverted, in that the actual war seems to be over, but the world is a much different place, featuring private militaries, Humongous Mecha, robotic fighter planes, Airborne Aircraft Carriers, and amphibious fighter planes.
  • Sucker Punch. One of the action sequences takes place during a sci-fi-infused version of World War One in which The Kaiser's scientists have figured out a way to bring dead German soldiers back to the front lines using steam power and clockwork. There are Humongous Mecha fighting triplanes, Zeppelins from Another World, and AK-47s thrown into the mix.
  • Happened in the backstory of Iron Sky, when the Nazis evacuated their Antarctic base and fled to the moon with the aid of antigrav vehicles.
  • In Bedknobs and Broomsticks, mages contribute to the war effort, and the climax sees the Nazis in a hopeless struggle against reanimated armor from British wars of old.
  • Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter: in The American Civil War, the Confederacy employs vampire troops. Abe only managed to win the war by using silver weapons.
  • In the short film 1945A, the Germans field a giant spider-like mech against the Allies, complete with a laser death ray.
  • In The Incredible Mr. Limpet Mr. Limpet - a former human, now a fish - uses his "thrum" call to guide Allied subs to German subs in order to sink them. The Germans develop a special torpedo which homes in on thrums.

  • "The Fantastic World War II" includes stories by A.E. Van Vogt, C.M. Kornbluth, Lester Del Rey, and Harry Turtledove. Basically every story is an example of the genre of "weird WWII" in some way or another. It includes such stories about Sir Francis Drake participating in the Dunkirk evacuation, Count Dracula dining on Nazis, a Nazi teleportation device, and an entire army of cloned Hitlers.
  • Subverted in Harry Potter - Grindelwald played a big part in World War II. Had it not been for Dumbledore's intervention, perhaps it WOULD have changed history.
  • The Guns of the South, by Harry Turtledove. Racists from the future travel back in time and give modern machine guns to the (at that point in The American Civil War) losing Southern army. Needless to say, they crush the North after receiving this unfair advantage.
  • Leviathan takes place during an Alternate History World War One fought between the Steampunk technology-using Clankers (Central Axis) and the Darwinists (Allies), who are using genetically engineered animals.
  • The non-fiction book My Tank Is Fight! by Zack Parson shows the various Real Life plans drawn up by both sides in WWII. Had any of these been built, they would have certainly qualified for this trope. Examples include the Nazi Landkreuzer P. 1000 Ratte, a super-large tank that would have been 35 feet long and over one thousand tons heavy, and the Allied aircraft carrier made of ice.
  • Worldwar by Harry Turtledove involves the Earth invaded by aliens during World War II.
  • The Temeraire series is the Napoleonic Wars with dragons.
  • The short stories "Missile Gap" and "A Colder War" by Charles Stross are the Cold War with added Cthulhu Mythos.
  • Mike Mignola's Baltimore, or The Steadfast Tin Soldier and the Vampire starts in the trenches of WWI, when the protagonist is attacked by vampires, their bloodlust awakened by the slaughter.
  • Two of the Elemental Masters novels (Phoenix and Ashes and Unnatural Issue) refer to magic being used by spies on both sides of World War I. The second also has a necromantic summoning in No Man's Land, which goes as well as you'd expect with all that raw material around.
  • In the Rivers of London series, WW2 had a distinct supernatural flavour in the background with the Germans doing all sorts of nasty things at Ettersberg (better known as Buchenwald concentration camp) involving death magic. The battle to shut down the Nazi's supernatural weapons at Ettersberg also destroyed the Allies magical corps too.
  • The Bartimaeus Trilogy indicates a few times that the American colonies, which never became independent in this setting, are gathering resources and wizards to fight a fantasy version of The American Revolution. This has the wizardly rulers of Britain very concerned.
  • Lammas Night, by Katherine Kurtz, follows the magical Battle of Britain that was fought alongside the publicly-known one, with archmage Adolf Hitler's Nazi coven fighting the witches and mystics of the British isles.
  • Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell has magicians helping out in the Napoleonic wars.
  • Appears in the backstory of Percy Jackson and the Olympians — apparently World War II was caused in part and fought largely by warring demigod children of Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. The effects were so devastating that they vowed never to have children after the war. Only Hades kept it.
    • In the sequel series, The Heroes of Olympus, the American Civil War was apparently caused by feuding Roman and Greek demigods.

Tabletop Games
  • Pinnacle Games published a Weird Wars line of d20 games taking place in Real Life past and future wars with supernatural additions. For example, Weird War II had the PCs playing Allied soldiers during World War II, but the Nazis had mutant soldiers, characters could use haunted vehicles and cast spells, and there were monsters. Lots of monsters. The Updated Re-release of the game line for Savage Worlds so far includes World War II ("Weird War II"), The Vietnam War ("Tour Of Darkness"), and the Roman Empire and its campaigns of conquest ("Weird Wars Rome").
  • The GURPS "World War II" line included Weird War II. Want to use rune magic to send giant monsters against the alien supersoldiers working for the other side? It's in here. (note: Despite the name similarity, this isn't part of the Pinnacle series.)
    • After the Hellstorm in 1945, a number of real-world wars still went ahead with China facing stiff resistance from magic Tibetian monks in their invasion of 1950 and Iranian Revolution takes place while Shah is being treated for vampiric leukaemia in the United States in 1979. The supplement, "Funny New Guys" focuses on roleplaying the Vietnam War if it were fought using wizards and dragons.
  • Dream Pod 9's Gear Krieg setting is a World War II which has both sides using Pulp Weird Science and most importantly Humongous Mecha of varying types (Mini-Mecha and Transforming Mecha standing modeled after and standing in for real-world military hardware, for example).
  • Secrets Of The Third Reich. World War II is still going on in 1949 (and going further into Alternate History as things go on) with an All Myths Are True Fantasy Kitchen Sink situation, with such things as Nazi zombie troopers, vampires, Powered Armor soldiers and Mini-Mecha being fought with Captain America Expies made from technology obtained from the Roswell UFO, a British Hero Unit that is a reincarnation of King Arthur, soldiers with Psychic Powers and Weird Science Military Mashup Machines.
  • In Deadlands, The American Civil War was complicated by the sudden awakening of magical forces. The war now includes features like zombies and Steampunk mad science devices. While not the main focus, the supplement Deadlands: Noir also provides info about how World War I went on this universe.
  • The Call of Cthulhu RPG has a supplement called "Achtung Cthulhu!", which is about Cthulhu Mythos and World War 2.
  • The miniature game DUST Tactics is about an alternative history World War 2 featuring walking tanks, powered armour, Nazi zombies and the like.

  • The Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series deals with Albert Einstein developing a time machine during World War 2, finally finishing it in 1946 and killing Hitler in 1924, only to have World War II now involve America and her Allies (including Germany) fighting the Soviet Union and their allies.
  • Operation Darkness involves werewolves and firestarters, Jack the Ripper, and a descendant of the Van Helsing family working as Allied commandos versus Adolf Hitler's Nazi Germany. Hitler is an archmage and has allies including a vampire. Oh yeah, Hitler can also summon a dragon and skeleton warriors to even out the odds.
  • In Ring of Red, Nazi Germany had been able to create Armored Fighting Walkers or AFWs in order to give the Wehrmacht a fighting edge against Allied troops. Due to the European terrain, they only saw limited service and instead, were used by North and South Japanese troops before and after the Japanese War when Japan was divided by the Allied Forces.
  • The Silent Storm series features the use of human-sized mecha called Panzerkliens, which were supplied by a terrorist group called Thor's Hammer to both Allied and Axis forces in order to reap off the profits while they waited for both factions to weaken each other off before they would start plans to take over the world.
  • Sengoku Basara features various wars in Feudal Japan, and some of the playable characters uses modern equipments such as chainsaws, variety of guns, and at least one Humongous Mecha.
  • In Call of Cthulhu: The Wasted Land (set during World War One), you lead a small squad of British and American investigators in the Eastern French battlefield, attempting to stop the German to create an army of Undead and Eldritch Abominations. The game then received a prequel DLC campaign in which you play as Docktor [sic] Kaul, the Big Bad of the main campaign.


Western Animation

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