Literature / All Along the Watchtower
This is a work of Alternate History
by writer 037771 of AlternateHistory.com
, author of We'll Meet Again
. The historical point of divergence is the premature death of Republican Party powerbroker Leonard W. Hall in 1959. This event allows Nelson Rockefeller to compete with Vice President Richard Nixon to be the Republican Party's 1960 nominee. Rockefeller ultimately loses, but he does
manage to land the VP slot under Tricky Dick. This combined ticket manages to squeak out a victory against Kennedy/Johnson, setting the stage for what will become known in this timeline as the "Shrieking Sixties."
Despite this description, the timeline is not solely American-centric in focus, but rather a look at the entire world. The ripples from Nixon's victory causes major changes everywhere from Brazil to Japan to the Soviet Union and beyond...
Read it here
All Along the Watchtower contains the following tropes:
- Alternate History: Duh.
- Allohistorical Allusion
- Balkanize Me : The Congo ends up this way with the Katanga secession succeeding.
- The British Invasion: Beat-what? "It's all about the Stones"
- In an inversion, Pete Best has the most successful career among the Beatles.
- Broken Pedestal: J. Edgar Hoover to Thomas Dewey.
- Car Meets House: Or in the case of Hugh Gaitskell, Car meets Tree.
- CIA Evil, FBI Good : Averted, somewhat. The abuses perpetrated during J. Edgar Hoover's tenure are a pivotal plot point. The CIA meanwhile kick off a bloody leadership transition in Indonesia, are trying to manipulate politics in Japan, and tries to become the power behind the throne in the Congo.
- Creative Differences: The Beatles.
- Defeat Equals Explosion: What happens when the U.S. Embassy staff in Congo use their magnesium-lined burn barrels when the local rebel army starts to approach the capital.
- “En survolant la ville maintenant. [Sound of explosion in the background; screaming; scattered gunfire]…Fils de pute…”
- Dirty Communists
- Drunken Master: Peter O'Toole and Richard Harris.
- Eccentric Millionaire: Aristotle Onassis, the man behind 'Ulysses.'
- For Want of a Nail: Most people on the Alternate History Board don't even know who Leonard Hall is.
- Heroic Sacrifice: Bayard Rustin.
- Hellhole Prison: Martin Luther King spends time in one for a few months, doing hard labor. It greatly weakens him, and he ends up dying in 1962.
- Jurisdiction Friction : Thomas Dewey versus J. Edgar Hoover on how best to approach organised crime and basic human rights for African-Americans.
- Kickthe Dog: Francoise Sagan.
- Latin Land: Averted - there's a detailed chapter on Brazilian society and politics.
- "L" Is for "Dyslexia": Famously dyslexic in real life, Nelson Rockefeller fluffs the announcement of his presidential run in 1960.
- “I, Nelson Aldrich Rockefeller, hereby announce myself as a candidature for President of the United States."
- La Résistance: Crushed by the Centurions. Who, by the way come to power by overthrowing and killing De Gaulle. Ouch.
- Manipulative Bastard: Alexandr Shelepin.
- A Nazi by Any Other Name: The Centurions are accused of being fascists by their critics. It's a charge not without truth although, as described by one thread commentator, it's less about ideology and more that the Centurions are a "bunch of generals who are frankly out of their depth."
- Nice Guy: Bayard Rustin to many people.
- Noble Bigot with a Badge: Natchez Police Chief J.T. Robinson. Despite his bigotry and harassment of the Voter Registration movement , he still tries to keep the peace. Unfortunately, he is killed by Earcel Boyd while trying to stop the Klan from attacking the Civil Rights workers.
- No Celebrities Were Harmed: Mixed. Hemingway's alive, but Bob Dylan will never write songs.
- Oh, Crap!
- Henry Kissinger when he hears shots were fired at Checkpoint Charlie.
- Only in It for the Money: Alec Guinness.
- “It’s only because I don’t have any bloody work! Now what’s his name? Doctor ‘Who,’ exactly?”
- Our Presidents Are Different: Since this timeline involves Richard Nixon being elected President sans his 1960 and 1962 defeats, he's more inclined to be President Scheming than President Corrupt.
- President Quadros of Brazil probably qualifies as President Lunatic.
- Politically Incorrect Villain: Ross Barnett and the KKK to a T.
- Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: LBJ decides to step down as Senate Majority Leader.
- Shown Their Work: Oh yeah.
- Sleepyhead: Secretary of State Henry Cabot Lodge. He's fired for it when Nixon gets sick of him sleeping through major world events.
- Stupid Sacrifice: Mobutu personally confronting mutinous and heavily-armed police.
- Arguably Larry Devlin as well.
- Swiss Cheese Security: The Assassination of Joao Goulart is a textbook example of why a unified intelligence service is necessary in the modern age.
- Titled After the Song: Written by Bob Dylan, made famous by Jimi Hendrix (who served in Cuba with honor & distinction, thank you very much). The funny part is that Bob Dylan's songwriting career is butterflied away.
- The Klan: Klansmen begin to show up when the Civil Rights activists begin to arrive in Natchez, MS. They attack the NAACP headquarters and lynch Bayard Rustin.
- Troubled Production: Orson Welles' Ulysses.
- You Have Outlived Your Usefulness: Subverted. Harold Wilson tries to imply this to other Labour MPs when Hugh Gaitskell starts to falter as Party Leader. When Wilson keeps pressing his point after Gaitskell dies, he loses the resulting leadership contest to his polar opposite, George Brown.
- Young Future Famous People: Sarkozy remembering the Centurion coup when he was a child, for one.