->''"When Fascism comes to America, it will come wrapped in the flag and bearing the cross."''

''It Can't Happen Here'' is a speculative fiction novel written by Creator/SinclairLewis and published in 1935. In the novel, the United States succumbs to a totalitarian government headed by Berzelius "Buzz" Windrip, a charismatic politician who wins over the voters through populism and empty promises. With his cadre of advisors and a brutal militia of Minute Men (M.M.s), Windrip oversees a new era of poverty, oppression, and fear. Women and minorities are stripped of their rights, dissent is outlawed, and those who displease the government are imprisoned in concentration camps or killed.

Meanwhile, a New England newspaper publisher named Doremus Jessop watches these developments in horror. Doremus is torn between his own safety and the safety of his family, and his moral responsibility to speak out against the regime. After one of Windrip's advisors murders two innocent men in a drunken rage, Doremus is galvanized into using his voice.

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!!This novel provides examples of:

* BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor: Among the casualties of Windrip's coup are some of the very people who put him in power.
* BilingualBonus: When Doremus asks Lorinda about translating German, she replies that the only German she knows is a phrase Buck taught her: "God bless you" (''Verfluchter Schweinehund''). ''Verfluchter Schweinehund'' actually means "damned pig-dog".
* BittersweetEnding: Doremus returns to America to encourage dissidents, thereby playing a vital role in the resistance against the government. However, he's constantly on the move to evade Corpos and unable to see his loved ones. Even in a best case scenario, it will likely be years before he can settle down with Lorinda and Sissy again.
* BlackShirt: The Minute Men (M.M.s).
* BookBurning: The Windrip regime orders the burning of any book that might be perceived as subversive. Even Creator/PGWodehouse's books get burned because he makes fun of the nobles.
* BookDumb: Much of the American populace after the Windrip regime's educational "reforms", {{book burning}}s, and censorship campaigns. Institutions of higher learning have been evicerated, and the remaining schools only teach practical or useless classes, meaning that much of the populace is ignorant of history, literature, and civics. When citizens revolt against the Corpos, this works against them as well as the Corpos.
-->So, after the first gay eruptions of rioting, the revolt slowed up. Neither the Corpos nor many of their opponents knew enough to formulate a clear, sure theory of self-government, or irresistibly resolve to engage in the sore labor of fitting themselves for freedom ... Even yet, after Windrip, most of the easy-going descendants of the wisecracking Benjamin Franklin had not learned that Patrick Henry's "Give me liberty or give me death" meant anything more than a high-school yell or a cigarette slogan.
* CivilWar: A large-scale resistance mounts after Haik takes power.
* ColdBloodedTorture: The M.M.s delight in torturing detainees at the concentration camps. A favorite torture at Trianon is whipping prisoners and force-feeding them castor oil.
* DayOfTheJackboot
* DeadlyDecadentCourt: Windrip's administration. His closest advisors are constantly vying for power, and coups abound by the end of the novel. They also aren't slouches in the "decadent" department; Macgoblin once hosts meetings with business leaders in a Roman-era ship with nude hostesses, while Sarason hosts orgies with handsome young men [[spoiler: after he exiles Windrip]].
* DepravedHomosexual: Lee Sarason and the handsome M.M.s he surrounds himself with.
* DividedStatesOfAmerica: When the resistance against Haik's regime mounts in earnest, sizeable chunks of America come under dissident control.
* DystopiaIsHard: Poverty and economic downturns are the fruits of Windrip's regime, much to Windrip's dismay.
* TheExile: Canada becomes a destination for American refugees fleeing the Windrip regime.
** Windrip himself is ousted from power by Lee Sarason and forced to live in exile in Europe. Similarly, Macgoblin flees after a coup and lives in exile in the Haitian countryside.
* FascistButInefficient: The Windrip regime is efficient when it comes to suppressing dissent. On matters of education and the economy, not so much.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Ominous weather foreshadows the arrival of M.M.s at the Jessop home, who proceed to vandalize the house, brutalize Doremus, and eventually haul Doremus away to Trianon.
* TheFundamentalist: Karl Pascal, a die-hard communist. His communist fervor reaches a fevered pitch during his incarceration at Trianon, much to his cellmates' annoyance.
* GoodAdulteryBadAdultery: Doremus and Lorinda have had an ongoing affair behind Emma's back. The affair is depicted as positive, since the two are intellectual equals who are passionately in love.
* GovernmentInExile: Trowbridge's resistance movement after he finds refuge in Canada.
* HellholePrison: The concentration camps. Trianon is a filthy, crowded, miserable prison where guards torture detainees with whippings and force-feed them castor oil.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Several real-life public figures of the '30s (including UsefulNotes/FranklinDRoosevelt, UsefulNotes/HueyLong, and Father Coughlin) are mentioned in passing.
** Which is rather interesting, when you consider that characters like Windrip and Bishop Prang are clearly intended as [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed stand-ins]] for people like Long and Coughlin.
* KangarooCourt: How the Windrip regime tries dissidents. Doremus is hauled before one before being incarcerated at Trianon.
* KarmaHoudini: Windrip and Macgoblin.
* LaResistance: Lorinda, Doremus, and several members of the Jessop household disseminate forbidden news that they receive from Canada. At the end of the novel, a full-blown rebellion against the Haik regime has erupted across the country.
* MexicoCalledTheyWantTexasBack: Inverted. The regime invades Mexico as a means of spreading its empire and encouraging patriotism among the masses. Played with in that the regime falsely claims Mexico attacked America as justification for the war. (This being aomething of a HistoricalInJoke as the real Mexican-American War was justified by a similar imaginary invasion.)
* TheMigration: American refugees have been steadily pouring into Canada.
* ANaziByAnyOtherName: The Windrip regime is lead by a charismatic dictator and characterized by racism, jingoism, vicious suppression of dissent, concentration camps, and foolish wars of conquest. To boot, the Corpo Youth is reminiscent of the Hitler Youth.
* NobleDemon: Some of the higher-minded Corpos, who joined for noble reasons.
--> They were the idealists of Corpoism, and there were plenty of them, along with the bullies and swindlers; they were the men and women who, in 1935 and 1936, had turned to Windrip & Co., not as perfect, but as the most probably saviors of the country from, on one hand, domination by Moscow and, on the other hand, the slack indolence, the lack of decent pride of half the American youth ... They were proud of new Corpo roads, hospitals, television stations, aeroplace lines; they were touched by processions of the Corpo Youth, whose faced were exalted with pride in the myths of Corpo heroism and clean Spartan strength and the semi-divinity of the all-protecting Father, President Windrip.
* NoEnding: The novel ends rather abruptly [[spoiler:with the United States engulfed in a civil war. We don't find out whether the resistance will win, and what will be Doremus' eventual fate.]]
* NoWomansLand: The Windrip regime robs women of many rights and bars them from most occupations. Lorinda and Sissy chafe under the regime's misogyny.
* OppressiveStatesOfAmerica
* PoliceBrutality: Many of the M.M.s are bullies at best and sadists at worse, perpetrating atrocities against dissenters and minorities.
* PoliceState
* PoliticallyCorrectHistory: The regime uses propaganda to teach their version of history. Not helped by its book burnings and evisceration of the educational system.
* PrayerOfMalice: Before being executed at Trianon, Falck cries out a vengeful prayer against his oppressors.
--> "Father, Thou hast forgiven so long! Forgive them not but curse them, for they know what they do!"
* PropagandaMachine: The fascist regime exerts rigid control over all media, reporting rose-colored news to the masses. The media leaves out inconvenient stories such as revolts against M.M.s, refugees fleeing to Canada, and global events. One of the tasks of the resistance is importing factual news from Canada and secretly disseminating it to citizens.
* ReignOfTerror: When Windrip's regime takes power, the M.M.s perpetrate atrocities against minorities and dissenters. When Haik takes power, it gets even ''worse''.
* SpiritualSuccessor: George Orwell's ''NineteenEightyFour'', published fourteen years after ''It Can't Happen Here''. Both depict formerly democratic nations that succumb to totalitarianism. Both novels feature protagonists who find salvation in their lovers, rebel against the government through the written word, and endure torture and incarceration.
* TakeThat: Several against Upton Sinclair, who is described as a supporter of Windrip.
* TheStarscream: Sarason is this to Windrip. Haik is later this to Sarason.
* TortureAlwaysWorks: Subverted. Doremus and other characters are deeply traumatized from torture at Trianon, but they do not betray each other or abandon their convictions.
* UndergroundRailroad: How many refugees flee to Canada including Doremus.
* VicePresidentWho: Ineffectual VP Perley Beecroft plays no part in the power struggles.
* WarForFunAndProfit: The regime's war on Mexico is essentially this.
* WeAreStrugglingTogether: Doremus tries to join the Communists so he could fight against the Windrip regime, but gives up when he hears that they're unwilling to work together with other opposition forces, like the Socialists or Trowbridge.
* YouCannotKillAnIdea: The moral of the novel is that noble people will always fight for justice against oppressive regimes. The last lines of the novel stress this.
--> And still Doremus goes on in the red sunrise, for a Doremus Jessop can never die.
* YouCantMakeAnOmelette: Doremus' son, Philip uses the phrase defending the reigme. Doremus reacts with anger.
-->If I ever hear that 'can't make an omelet' phrase again, I'll start doing a little murder myself! It's used to justify every atrocity under every despotism, Fascist or Nazi or Communist or American labor war. Omelet! Eggs! By God, sir, men's souls and blood are not eggshells for tyrants to break!
* YouHaveOutlivedYourUsefulness: Sarason exiles Windrip, only to be assassinated by Haik.
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