This trope deals with a story that features some sort of analogue of a real-world historical conflict in a fantasy or science fiction context in a different world from ours. This is especially popular in Japan, since it allows them to tell stories utilizing the era of World War II
without actively mentioning the war.
See also Recycled In Space
, Fantasy Counterpart Culture
, and Does This Remind You of Anything?
. Supertrope to Space Cold War
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Anime and Manga
- It's only seen through flashback, but the war between Thracia and Persia in Pluto is heavily based on the Iraq war (with robots). The United States of Thracia accuses the Middle East nation of Persia of making Robots of Mass Destruction, but before other countries can complete their investigation into whether it's true, Thracia sends troops in and starts a horrific, wasteful war that devastates the country. And this is all just a ploy to make Thracia the world's main superpower.
- In One Piece, the New Fishman Pirates threaten the people of Fishman Island to commit Fumi-e on the late Queen Otohime's image, to shed out their loyalty to Queen Otohime (who has the exact opposite view of the Big Bad Hody Jones') which is a reference on feudal Japan's practice of purging Christians (they have their people step on a Christian imagery to prove that they're not Christian).
Film - Live-Action
- In-Universe example in Argo: A group of American diplomats pretend to be a Canadian film crew to escape Iran. When questioned about the (fake) movie by the Revolutionary Guard at the airport, they describe the plot as the Iranian Revolution as a space opera.
- In The Begum's Millions by Jules Verne, two competing cities are expies for France and Germany. Verne made no bones on where his sympathies were.
- Books by Harry Turtledove:
- The second duology of Arcia Chronicles is a fantasy retelling of the Wars of the Roses, dubbed "War of the Daffodils".
- Yet another book series featuring an analogue to the War of the Roses is A Song of Ice and Fire, with the Feuding Families Stark and Lannister being less than subtle clues. And, even more directly, brief mentions are made of the Red and Green "Apple" Fossoways, who appear to have their own squabbles over titles and are two branches of a house. The symbol of House Tyrell, one of the major power players in the series, is depicted in the TV adaptation Game of Thrones as a dead ringer for the Tudor double rose.
- Discworld has a few of these:
- The historical wars between Ephebe and Tsort resemble the mythical Trojan War. In Pyramids, when there's a threat of the war re-erupting, both sides build wooden horses along the border.
- Jingo combines elements of the Gulf War (the enemy is the Arabian Fantasy Counterpart Culture, it's mentioned that Ankh-Morpork [ie the West] actually sold the Klatchians their weapons for use in "pacifying" their own people, and jingoism leads to racism against Klatchian-Morporkians) and the Falklands War (the conflict is over an island that is of no real significance except that the other lot aren't getting their hands on it).
- In the later novels, the terrorist actions of the fundamentalist "deep dwarfs" (who cover themselves from head to foot because they consider it a sin to look on sunlight) are reminiscent of The War on Terror.
- The Nilfgaard Empire's conquest of the Aedirn Kingdom in The Witcher series, for the Nazi invasion of Poland that led to World War II. Nilfgaard itself is a totalitarian state with visions of world domination and disdain for any nation it regards as less civilised, and tactics it employs against Aedirn include False Flag Operations, Blitzkrieg raids deep into the heart of their territory (with cavalry instead of tanks), and forming pacts with Aedirn's old allies, who betray it in exchange for a share of the conquered lands.
- The Honor Harrington series draws a lot of inspiration for its setting and events from the Napoleonic Wars, but with the land battles ported to Space Navy battles. The comparison goes Off the Rails around book nine.
- Firefly was partially inspired by journals of Confederate soldiers on the frontier from The American Civil War, and the Unification War and aftermath has its similarities (Alliance occupation troops in the series' present = Union occupation troops during Reconstruction, for instance). However the comparison isn't perfect, as the Independent Faction started out independent instead of trying to secede and failing.
- Dinosaurs: In the two-parter "Nuts to War" filmed shortly after the first Gulf War, had the two-legged dinosaurs go to war with the four-leggers over pistachio nuts in "Operation We Are Right."